Friday, May 30, 2008

Shona at gas station. Fri, May 30, 2008.

05/30/2008. 1028. I was out running errands on the other side of town and stopped to get gas at a gas station where I've met several cashiers who were from Africa. I paid at the pump, fueled up and went inside to get a soda. I hadn't met this cashier before. He was from Zimbabwe and spoke Shona. He agreed to receive a Shona Book of Mormon, and I thought I had one in the car, but on looking for it in the trunk of my car, I realized I had forgotten to restock the car after the last one I gave out a week ago.

I went back in and gave him just a flyer, that lists the languages of the Book of Mormon, and our local chapels. I included my name and phone number, and also the name and number of a local member from Zimbabwe who said I could give out his information to other Zimbabweans. I said I'd be back within a week to get the book for him, and he said it was okay to leave it there with another cashier if he wasn't on duty when I got back.

Followup: The next day, Saturday the 31st, I was back there, and left a Shona and an Ensligh Book of Mormon with the cashier who said he was going to be on duty later in the day.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Spanish, French, Shona at laundromat. Fri, May 23, 2008.

05/23/2008. 1027. I was at a laundromat doing laundry, not the 24-hour one that I normally go to. There was another customer who spoke Spanish and French, and whose husband spoke Shona. She accepted my offer of Spanish, French, English, and Shona copies of the Book of Mormon. I also gave her a paperback Spanish New Testament. She was very pleasantly surprised, and indicated that her husband would be delighted to have something in Shona to read. We talked a bit about Africa, immigrants from Africa, and restaurants. It was a very pleasant encounter.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Twi, Wolof. Tue, May 20, 2008.

05/20/2008. 1025. On my way to dinner I stopped at a small store that I hadn't been to in a while. I've been there before, but I had forgotten if I had offered them any material. I bought some stuff that I normally eat. The couple behind the counter had some friends from Ghana who spoke Twi, and they thought it would be nice to give their friends the Twi and English copies of the Book of Mormon that I offered them. I also pointed out the phone numbers that they could call to get more free copies.

05/21/2008. 1026. I then had supper at a Mexican restaurant that I haven't been to in a long time, at least since before I started this book placement thing. I took in some material: a couple videos, a Spanish Bible, and a Spanish Book of Mormon. The waitress/cashier was very busy, and I didn't see any convenient, easy and non-intrusive way of making a presentation, so I didn't.

Outside, as I went to my car, there was a man walking by as if he were on break from a nearby office. We were in conversation distance, and since I really enjoyed the meal I just had, I asked if he had ever been there. At that point, my only intention was to recommend the restaurant to him. I think he said no, he hadn't eaten there. Anyway, I recommended the place as having good food.

I noticed the man spoke with an accent, so I asked where he was from. He said Senegal. I asked if he spoke French and Wolof and he said yes. I told him about the church's Sunday School manual in Wolof, and that I had one with me, and offered to show it to him. He agreed to see it, and was pretty impressed when I got it out of the car. He accepted the English edition too. I forgot to offer him a French Book of Mormon, or one of the DVDs with a French track.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Missed opportunity at gas station. Fri, May 16, 2008

05/16/2008. Journal entry. I was in a nearby city for an evening training seminar and after a late supper at a Chinese restaurant I headed for home. Before I got on the Interstate, I went by a gas station/convenience store, and felt inspired to stop there.

I went in and bought a newspaper, but I chickened out of offering the cashier some church material. I don't think she spoke any foreign languages, but I felt like I was supposed to offer her something, and I didn't.


Chinese at restaurant (supper). Fri, May 16, 2008.

05/16/2008. 1024. After the training seminar in a nearby city, I stopped by another smaller Chinese restaurant for a late meal. (I drove by myself to/from the seminar.) We had gone to a nearby Chinese buffet for lunch.

I went in, went up to the counter, ordered and paid, sat down, and put out some material on the table, both kinds of Chinese Book of Mormon (traditional script and simplified script versions), a couple DVDs (Finding Happiness and Together Forever), and a Chinese edition of the Liahona magazine, along with the same issue in English.

When the cashier/waitress brought out my egg roll, I started a conversation and offered her the two copies of the Book of Mormon. She was interested and enthusiastic about them, and gratefully accepted them. She also accepted the Finding Happiness DVD.

Later, when she brought out the rest of my meal, I asked if she also spoke Cantonese (in addition to Mandarin), and when she said yes, I offered her the Together Forever DVD. That DVD has a Cantonese audio track, but not a Mandarin audio track. But it also has sub-titles in Chinese, so that Mandarin-only speakers could at least read the sub-titles. However, the sub-titles are in traditional script Chinese (the kind used in Taiwan and Hong Kong), so people from mainland China may have difficulty in reading them.

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Chinese at restaurant (lunch #2). Fri, May 16, 2008

05/16/2008. 1023. I met up with my group in another city. We were there for a hobby convention in the day, and a training seminar that was scheduled for 6:00pm. A little before 4:00 pm they wanted to go out to eat for either a late lunch or early supper, and they invited me along. I said sure, as long as it was Chinese.

We found a Chinese buffet restaurant nearby. I took in my Asian language book bag with me. We were seated, and then we attacked the buffet. When I got back to my seat, I took my standard stuff out of the bag: both kinds of Chinese Book of Mormon (traditional script and simplified script versions), a couple DVDs (Finding Happiness and Together Forever), and a Chinese edition of the Liahona magazine, along with the same issue in English.

When the waitress brought us our drinks, I couldn't tell if she noticed that the material on the table was in Chinese. I asked if she liked to read Chinese, and she showed definite interest, and enthusiastically accepted the simplified script Chinese Book of Mormon along with the English edition.

After paying, I offered the magazines and a DVD to the waitress, but she said other people brought by magazines. But she did accept the Finding Happiness DVD.

There was another smaller Chinese restaurant in an outlot in front of the buffet restaurant, and I thought I might go there for a late meal after the training seminar.

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Japanese declined (lunch #1). Fri, May 16, 2008.

05/16/2008. 1022. I was out of town for a training seminar, and stopped for lunch at a national chain sandwich shop. I thought this may have been an inspired stop, but I wasn't sure. This chain's franchises are sometimes owned by immigrants, so I was hoping to find out that was the case here. I didn't take any material in with me, not knowing what foreign language I might encounter.

The people behind the counter were English-speaking non-immigrant folks, but there was a table of Asian men. I got my meal and sat across the aisle from them. After a while I concluded they were Japanese, and went out to my car to get my Asian book-bag that I normally take to Chinese restaurants. I keep most of the common Asian language (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Cambodian, Indonesian, and Spanish) copies of the Book of Mormon in that bag.

(In order to make it obvious that you're coming back to finish your meal, and so the staff doesn't clear your table, you need to leave something there, and as I wasn't wearing a coat or jacket, I took off my glasses and left them on the table, and that's a good sign to the staff that you're coming back. Otherwise, they'll clean off your table, figuring you left.)

I put my book bag on the unused seat at my table, and took out a Japanese and an English Book of Mormon. When the other table had a lull in their conversation I asked if they were from Japan. One said yes, so I held up the Japanese Book of Mormon and offered it to him. He politely but firmly declined, indicating he already knew what it was.

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DVD at gas station. Fri, May 16, 2008.

05/16/2008. 1021. I was taking a trip to another city for a training seminar. I stopped at a gas station for a bathroom break and to get something to drink. As I paid, the cashier seemed like she'd be receptive to something from church, but I brushed off the idea. As I walked back to the car, I felt like I really should offer her something, so I got out a Together Forever DVD, and went back in.

When I presented it, she was hestitant, but didn't say anything, and turned to the other cashier on duty. I asked the other cashier if I could leave it, and she said it was okay, so I gave it to the first who was closer. I described the DVD as being from my church and about couples.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Liahona at Chinese restaurant. Tue, May 13, 2008

05/13/2008. 1020. I stopped at a very nice Chinese restaurant for supper. I hadn't been here before. I offered the waitress a Chinese copy and English copy of the Liahona magazine. She accepted both.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Chinese declined at restaurant. Fri, May 9, 2008

05/09/2008. 1019. I was driving through a town adjacent to Indianapolis around supper-time and stopped at a Chinese restaurant that I hadn't been to before.

I ordered, sat down, and placed the normal stuff on the table: both kinds of Chinese Book of Mormon (traditional script and simplified script), an English Book of Mormon, two DVDs (Together Forever, and Finding Happiness), and Chinese and English copies of the Liahona magazine.

The cook brought out my meal but didn't seem to notice the material. They were rather busy, so I didn't engage him in conversation other than a quick "thank- you."

I read the English Liahona, and eventually went back to the counter to buy another soda. I took the three copies of the Book of Mormon with me, and asked the cashier if she like to read Chinese. She said yes. I showed the books to the her, and offered them to her, mentioning that they were from my church, and were free. But after reading the cover, she said something like "We're different." I took it to mean different religion. Her body-English was polite but firm in declining to receive them. I didn't go into the bi-lingual aspect though, and I don't think I took the DVDs to the counter either. She seemed rather busy, taking orders over the phone, working back in the kitchen, and preparing to-go orders, so I didn't go back to her to present the DVDs. (Oftentimes, they accept a DVD or two if they turn down the books, since it's easier to watch TV than read a book, and many restaurants have a TV/DVD combo going while they work.)

I think it would still be worth while going back to present the DVDs.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Please donate for Myanmar (Burma) relief.

The International Rescue Committee has been assisting refugees around the world for 75 years. 90% of funds raised are spent on programs and services, 6% goes to administration, and 4% to fund-raising.

They have much experience in serving refugees of all types, whether they be those fleeing political strife or suffering from natural disasters.

If you'd like to donate, there's a link on the above page to donate specifically for Myanmar (Burma) relief.

You can check out International Rescue Committee or other charities at: Charity Navigator to see how much of their revenue goes directly to program services, and how much goes for administration and overhead.

Here's Charity Navigator's page for International Rescue Committee.

World Vision is another organization that already has people on the ground working in Myanmar (Burma). They are accepting donations for Myanmar too.

Here's Charity Navigator's page for World Vision.


Also, from LDS Philanthropies: (There's also a donation link on that page.)

Church Responds to Myanmar Disaster

SALT LAKE CITY - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extends its sympathy and assistance to the citizens of Myanmar following the recent devastating cyclone.

Church leadership has approved funds to purchase large quantities of tarps, blankets, basic food, medical equipment, and especially clean drinking water for those in need. All items are being purchased in Myanmar or in nearby countries. The Church is partnering with Atlanta-based CARE International, a well-known non-governmental organization, to distribute the supplies.

Church humanitarian representatives will continue to monitor and assess the situation.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

DVD at Chinese restaurant. Tue, May 6, 2008.

05/06/2008. 1018. On my way home I stopped for supper at a Chinese restaurant that I haven't been to before. I ordered, and while waiting for the food, put out the two kinds of Chinese Book of Mormon, an English Book of Mormon, and a Chinese Liahona on the table. And I read an article in the English Liahona of the same edition as the Chinese one. When she brought the food, the waitress didn't seem to notice them. On a return trip to refill my beverage, I asked her if she liked to read Chinese. She said yes, but she didn't have time to read. She mentioned that someone comes by her house once a month to give her a Chinese magazine from a church, but it's probably another church, since she didn't say it was the same as the Liahona, but said it was smaller.

She did accept the "Together Forever" DVD that I offered her. It has a Cantonese audio track, which she speaks, and traditional Chinese script sub-titles, which are good for both Mandarin and Cantonese.

I forgot to offer "Finding Happiness" which is another good DVD for those who are not from a Christian background. So that's something to plan for next time.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

English at laundromat. Mon, May 5, 2008.

05/05/2008. 1017. I was doing a late-nighter at the 24/7 laundromat. The previous time I was there, a street-person hit me up just as I was getting into my car, and discombobulated me (which is usually their intention) such that I didn’t give them anything except money.

This week, I had just put the soap and fabric softener back in the car and was walking back towards the front door, a man on a bicycle hit me up for “bus fare.” He smelled of alcohol too, but technically could have been telling the truth since many Indianapolis buses have bike-racks on the front of them.

A post on the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog popped into mind, so I reached into my pocket and got out some change (I still had an excess of quarters). I told him I liked to give out Bibles, and asked if he needed a Bible. He said he had three Bibles at home. I said that’s great, and that our church believes in the both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and I asked if he’d like a free Book of Mormon too.

He got a curious look on his face. I forget his immediate answer, but I felt it was appropriate to go back and get out a copy from my car. I gave him the quarters, and presented the Book of Mormon, which he accepted. He invited me to accompany him into the laundromat in the waiting area up front, and he asked me what it’s about. I responded with a quick sound-bite about believing in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Another Testament, which is the third testament of Christ.

I believed he wasn’t going to be welcomed into the laundromat since he wasn’t a customer, smelled of alcohol, and they are picky about non-customers using the restrooms etc.

Besides, even though many alcoholics have a high tolerance level of alcohol, and can appear to be lucid (as he mostly was) when they have a high blood-alcohol percentage (it was coming out of the pores of his skin) there’s no good in preaching or sharing the gospel with someone who is under the influence. The best you can do is give them something (card, flyer, pamphlet, etc) that they can use to follow-up with when they sober up and if they're still interested when they’re sober. He was sober enough to ride a bike, so calling the police wasn’t needed, and getting himself home was up to him.

I think the best I could do was give him his $1, and get the book in his hands (and get him out of the laundromat), hoping that if he didn’t keep it and read it later, he’d pass it along (or even sell it, I don’t care) to someone who might really read it.

So after the “donations” and the sound-bite, I excused myself and went back to check on my wash, and then he left.

The BoM I gave him was in a plastic ziplock bag, was marked inside, had 2 pass-along cards in it, and a flyer listing the addresses of the local chapels with meeting times.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Russian, Croatian to church employees. Fri, May 2, 2008

05/02/2008. Journal entry. A couple weeks ago, one of the church employees with whom I associate mentioned that an employee of a company with whom he does business is from Croatia. I gave him a Croatian Book of Mormon, which he later presented to her. He later said that she was very pleased and excited to receive it.

Today, another church employee mentioned that someone whom he sees in her professional capacity is from Russia, so I offered him a Russian Book of Mormon, which he accepted, and plans to present to her.

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Wolof at gas station. Fri, May 2, 2008.

05/02/2008. 1016. I was working with some church members, and one suggested I do a follow up at a certain gas station that was going to be on my way to lunch. I had been there at least twice before and placed Wolof and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals*.

So I stopped there on my way to lunch and bought something. There were two employees on duty, who appeared to be from Africa, and who were speaking a foreign language, but I couldn't figure out which language. I guessed French, and asked the one who was not the cashier "Parlez vous francais?". She said "oui." I then asked which country she was from, and she said Senegal. I then asked, in French, if she spoke Wolof, and she said "oui" again. I said, in Wolof, that I spoke a little Wolof, and she broke out into a big smile. Meeting someone who spoke any Wolof at all really made their day.

I assumed that the cashier was her husband. I asked him, in English, if he'd like a free book in Wolof from my church, our Sunday School manual. I asked if they were Muslim, and they were, and then I pointed out it was Christian material, and asked if that was still okay, and it was okay with them. They agreed to see it, so after I paid I went out to my car to retrieve the material. The lady went out to empty some trash, so she stopped by my car on the way in, and I gave the material to her. She was delighted to receive it and immediately started flipping through it.

I offered a French Book of Mormon, and some church movies with French audio, but she politely declined. Actually she said "that's okay", which Americans mean as "no", but I suppose she could have meant it as "it's okay for you to give them to me." I'll have to ask for clarification next time, as I may have misunderstood what she meant by that.


* Note: English Gospel Fundamentals isn't listed at any more, but the catalog number is 31129-000 if you want to order by phone. It is the shortened version of Gospel Principles. Gospel Principles has 47 chapters and Gospel Fundamentals has 36. In languages where they haven't translated the Book of Mormon yet, they first translate Gospel Fundamentals, so I use the English version to pair with it, in order to make it into bilingual material. Another thing to note is that the church has renamed this publication, which used to be name "Gospel Principles (Simplified)". You'll find the latter name "Gospel Principles (Simplified)" on the older copies, and on many of the Lanauage Material Listings.

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