Friday, October 31, 2008

Free web site filter add-on for Firefox (Mozilla).

I found a good, easy, and free filter add-on for the Firefox browser (versions 2 and 3), called ProCon Latte.

You can specify key words both in the body and in the URL which cause it to block a site. So if you type in the URL in the block list, that blocks the site. Plus it can block sites containing specific words. Plus it has a "white list" so you can keep some web sites unblocked.

Granted, since I haven't passworded it yet, I can unblock at will. But at least it will give me a second to remember why I don't want to waste time on other blogs.

I think Internet Explorer has built in filters based on ratings, and you can put in black-lists and white-lists too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I need a vacation (from blogging).

Writing this blog doesn't take up much time. I probably spend more time checking my statistics and tracking service (, visiting the blogs that link to mine, hovering the cursor over the search engine referrals in the log to see what search words people used, and clicking the search engine referral to see where I rank, than I actually do writing things on my own blog.

Oh, and there are five other blogs I check on a daily basis (or more often), leaving comments on various posts. I write more on other blogs (in comments) than I post on mine.

I sit down to "check my stats", and if I don't get up and away from the computer immediately after doing that, I end up spending two or more hours galavanting around blog-land. ARGH!

I've heard this problem euphemistically described as being an "information junkie", but I think a more honest and accurate label is "internet addict."

I'm still going to keep church material in my car to distribute, but I'm going to stop blogging about it for a while, and see how that goes. I've removed the stats-counter code from the blog template so I won't be tempted to "check my stats", which seems to be my main entry point into this time-sink.

I thank those of you who've let me know that you were inspired by the encounters I've written about. I've been extremely complimented by the 58 other people who've linked to me from their blog.

As parting words, I want to point out that most (like around 90% of) people whose native language is not English are very interested, and even delighted to receive free material in their native language plus English (bi-lingual material essentially). This is true even though the material is from a different religion than their own.

Other points:

- Striking up a conversation with someone about where they are from and what languages they speak is a legitimate form of interaction. People are usually proud of their heritage, and it is okay to talk about it.

- I have focused on "making the offer". I don't "give" things to people cold. I verbally offer them material, and only if they agree to receive it or to see it, do I actually hand it to them, or retrieve it from the car. As an article in the Ensign once pointed out, if we consider "making the offer" as "success", we can then maintain our own positive attitude.

- In making the offer, I emphasize two things: 1) it's free, 2) it's religious/Christian in nature. That way, you avoid the common assumption that you're selling something, and the person is not surprised or disappoined when they later see that it is religious.

- You can get a quick list in MS-Word format of the 105 (106 now, please add "Serbian") Book of Mormon languages on this page, (Or 109 languages if you count American Sign Language, English Braille and Spanish Braille.) Or on this blog page.

And then all languages of the Church (164 at last count), can be found here. The difference is that some languages only have a "Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith" pamphlet translated, or a "Gosepl Fundamentals."


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Portuguese to missionaries. Sun, Oct 26, 2008.

10/26/2008. Journal Entry. Last night, the missionaries for the other ward that shares our building called and asked for a Portuguese Book of Mormon. This evening, I took a copy over to their apartment, and also gave them a Portuguese Gospel Principles, and a Portuguese Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Missed opportuntiies. Thu, Oct 23, 2008.

10/23/2008. Journal entry. I missed a couple opportunities to offer material. One was at a Chinese Restaurant. I had been there before, about a couple years ago, and wanted to do a follow-up. Tonight, I had supper there, but just chickened out of offering any material, or asking them about the previous material I had given them.

A little later I stopped at a gas station for a newspaper, and also missed an opportunity with the cashier who was foreign-born.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Telugu. Tue, Oct 21, 2008.

10/21/2008. 1080. Telugu and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a Telugu issue of the Liahona magazine.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Chinese at gas station. Mon, Oct 20, 2008.

10/20/2008. 1079. On the way home from lunch I felt inspired to stop at a certain gas station. I went in and bought a newspaper. There was an Asian lady at the other cashier. I stood around outside for just a few seconds reading the paper until she came out, and I struck up a conversation. I offered her a free video in Chinese from church, and she agreed to receive it. I went over to my car and brought back a "Finding Happiness" and a "Together Forever" DVD, a Chinese Liahona magazine, and a simplified script Chinese Book of Mormon.

She was definitely interested in the material. She was more comfortable with traditional script Chinese, so I swapped her a traditional script Book of Mormon for the simplified script. She asked where the church was and if anyone spoke Chinese. I don't know any Chinese speakers locally, but had the local cell phone number of a member who speaks Mandarin, but moved away.

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Korean declined, restaurant. Mon, Oct 20, 2008.

10/20/2008. 1078. I had lunch at a restaurant owned by a Korean family. I took in a Korean and English Book of Mormon and a Korean Liahona. The waiter noticed them and asked if I read Korean. I said I'm just learning a little, and offered him the material. He politely declined.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

French, Hausa at laundromat. Sun, Oct 19, 2008.

10/19/2008. 1077. I was pulling a late-nighter at the all-night laundromat. A family, a mom and five children ranging from teenagers to a newborn, came in speaking a foreign language. I waited until they had put all their laundry in the washers and I had my laundry in the dryers, then I went over and spoke to the mom.

They were from Niger and spoke French and Hausa. I offered them a French Book of Mormon and a Hausa Sunday school manual. The mom accepted and agreed to receive them. So I went out to my car and retrieved them, plus the English copies.

When I presented them, they were definitely interested, and the mom asked where the church was. She started flipping through the material right there. After I went back and was folding my laundry, the mom was still reading the Gospel Fundamentals Sunday school manual.

Later on, I gave them a multi-lingual copy of "Together Forever" that has a French audio track.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Inspiration. Fri, Oct 17, 2008.

From President Ezra Taft Benson's "Flooding the Earth" talk in 1988:

The Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to “sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect.” (Moses 7:62.) This sacred volume of scripture needs to become more central in our preaching, our teaching, and our missionary work.

At present, the Book of Mormon is studied in our Sunday School and seminary classes every fourth year. This four-year pattern, however, must not be followed by Church members in their personal and family study. We need to read daily from the pages of the book that will get a man “nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (History of the Church, 4:461.)

And when we are called upon to study or teach other scriptures, we need to strengthen that undertaking by frequent reference to the additional insights which the Book of Mormon may provide on the subject (see 1 Ne. 13:40, 2 Ne. 3:12).

The recent, well-done video on the Book of Mormon entitled How Rare a Possession carried many messages. First was the power of the Book of Mormon to convert men to Christ and hence to His church. Another message was that a man could study and preach the contents of the Book of Mormon for so many years without either his or his associates’ knowing the name of the book or the Church which published it.

The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon for the many reasons which the Lord has given. In this age of the electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way.

We have the Book of Mormon, we have the members, we have the missionaries, we have the resources, and the world has the need. The time is now!

My beloved brothers and sisters, we hardly fathom the power of the Book of Mormon, nor the divine role it must play, nor the extent to which it must be moved.

“Few men on earth,” said Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “either in or out of the Church, have caught the vision of what the Book of Mormon is all about. Few are they among men who know the part it has played and will yet play in preparing the way for the coming of Him of whom it is a new witness. … The Book of Mormon shall so affect men that the whole earth and all its peoples will have been influenced and governed by it. … There is no greater issue ever to confront mankind in modern times than this: Is the Book of Mormon the mind and will and voice of God to all men?” (Millennial Messiah pp. 159, 170, 179.) We testify that it is.

Now, my good Saints, we have a great work to perform in a very short time. We must flood the earth with the Book of Mormon—and get out from under God’s condemnation for having treated it lightly. (See D&C 84:54–58.)

I challenge the members of the Church to participate in the family-to-family Book of Mormon program—to send copies of the Book of Mormon on a mission for you. Sister Benson and I have been doing this for some time now, and we intend to do more. We should be sending out millions of copies of the Book of Mormon to the missionaries every month.

I challenge our mission leaders to show their missionaries how to challenge their contacts to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Missionaries need to know how to use the Book of Mormon to arouse mankind’s interest in studying it, and they need to show how it answers the great questions of the soul. Missionaries need to read with those they teach various passages from the Book of Mormon on gospel subjects.

I challenge our Church writers, teachers, and leaders to tell us more Book of Mormon conversion stories that will strengthen our faith and prepare great missionaries. Show us how to effectively use it as a missionary tool, and let us know how it leads us to Christ and answers our personal problems and those of the world.

I challenge those who are in business and other professions to see that there are copies of the Book of Mormon in their reception rooms.

I challenge owners of cassette players to play Book of Mormon cassettes from time to time and to listen to them at home and while walking, jogging, or driving.

I challenge the homes of Israel to display on their walls great quotations and scenes from the Book of Mormon.

I challenge all of us to prayerfully consider steps that we can personally take to bring this new witness for Christ more fully into our own lives and into a world that so desperately needs it.

I have a vision of homes alerted, of classes alive, and of pulpits aflame with the spirit of Book of Mormon messages.

I have a vision of home teachers and visiting teachers, ward and branch officers, and stake and mission leaders counseling our people out of the most correct of any book on earth—the Book of Mormon.

I have a vision of artists putting into film, drama, literature, music, and paintings great themes and great characters from the Book of Mormon.

I have a vision of thousands of missionaries going into the mission field with hundreds of passages memorized from the Book of Mormon so that they might feed the needs of a spiritually famished world.

I have a vision of the whole Church getting nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of the Book of Mormon.

Indeed, I have a vision of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chinese at restaurant. Mon, Oct 13, 2008.

10/13/2008. 1076. I felt inspired to go have supper at a certain shopping center in a nearby town. I haven't been past this location in two or three years. I don't think I've actually stopped at this restaurant before.

I ordered and sat down, and when the waitress brought my dinner she didn't seem to notice the material I had set out on the table. They were kind of busy with lots of delivery orders that night.

After I finished eating, and after things quieted down, I went back to the counter and bought another can of soda and offered her some Chinese and Engnlish material from my church. She agreed to receive it. I went back to my table and retrieved the Chinese Book of Mormon (simplified script) and an English copy, along with the Finding Happiness and Together Forever DVDs. She seemed geniunely interested and grateful.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Hmong. Fri, Oct 10, 2008

10/10/2008. 1075. Hmong and English copies of the Book of Mormon.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, German at store. Mon, Oct 6, 2008.

10/06/2008. 1073. I was shopping at a nearby "close-out store". Two emloyees were talking in an aisle, and one had an accent. I asked him what country he was from, and he said Nigeria. I asked if he spoke Igbo or Yoruba, and he said both. I asked if he spoke Hausa, and he said he spoke that too. I asked if he read all those, and he said he did.

I offered him "free books from my church" in his languages, and he agreed to receive them. He said it was okay to bring them into the store, and I pointed out they were Christian, and he said that was okay.

I bought back in Igbo, Yoruba and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and Hausa and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals. I asked him to read a verse from the two copies of the Book of Mormon, and he could read them, but I don't know if he understood them correctly. I forgot to ask him which his main or tribal language was.

He was delighted to receive the material.

1074. Another customer joined our conversation, and she asked for something in German. I said I'd get one from the car for her, but when I looked I couldn't find it. I gave one out earlier in the year, and must have forgotten to restock the car. So I gave her a couple videos that had German audio tracks, "Together Forever" and "Introduction to the Church."

I told her of several options to get a German Book of Mormon. I pointed out the info flyer in one of the DVD cases, and said she could call the local office (the mission office) or the national toll-free number to have one sent. She had asked where the church was that I go to, so I pointed out the chapel I attend, and circled the time, and said she could just show up, and I'd give her a German copy.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

French, Haitian Creole at church. Sun, Oct 5, 2008.

10/05/2008. 1072. I was sitting in the back row of the chapel waiting for general conference to start. A guy came in and sat next to me. I've seen him before at the chapel, but he goes to the other ward that shares the building. I'm not sure if he's a member or an investigator. He spoke to someone, and I could detect an accent, so I asked him where he's from. He said Haiti. I asked if he spoke and read Haitian Creole and he said yes.

I offered him a Haitian Creole Book of Mormon, and he agreed to receive one. I thought I had one in the car, but when I went out to get it, I couldn't find it. I did have some Haitian Creole copies of the Liahona, so I brought those in, and gave them to him. I said I'd get him the Haitian Creole Book of Mormon at the next conference session that day, or else I'd see him next week at church. He then said he could use a French Book of Mormon. I had forgotten that French was another common language of Haiti, along with Hatian Creole and Spanish.

I went back out to the car and retrieved a French Book of Mormon and a French Liahona magazine, came back, and presented those.

After that session of conference, I remembered I had a French New Testament in the car, so I gave him that one too, out in the parking lot.

I went home between sessions of conference, and put some Haitian Creole copies of the Book of Mormon in the car.

He was there for the second session, and I handed him the Haitian Creole Book of Mormon. He seemed happy, and when I glanced over a little later, he was still flipping through it.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Swahili at gas station. Sat, Oct 4, 2008.

10/04/2008. 1071. I was on my way home from priesthood session of conference. I had given a ride to one of the teenagers, and had dropped him off at his house after we had late night snacks at Steak -n- Shake with the others who attended priesthood session.

As I was about to drive past a certain gas station, I felt inspired to stop there, so I pulled in and bought some soda.

The cashier spoke with a slight accent, so I asked where he was from. He said Kenya, so I asked if he spoke Swahili. He said yes, so I told him that my church has free books in Swahili, and offered one to him. He agreed to see it, so I went to my car and retrieved a Swahili copy and an English copy of Book of Mormon. He had heard of the church, and accepted the Swahili copy.

I pointed out my card in the book, and the info flyer with the list of chapels, and the mission office number.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Various at stake center. Thu, Oct 2, 2008.

10/02/2008. Journal entry. I was at the stake center for an appointment. I offered one of the stake leaders with whom I spoke, a few copies of the Book of Mormon to keep in his car to see if this thing of meeting people works for others. He agreed, so I gave him a Shona (Zimbabwe), an Amharic (Ethiopian) and an English copy, labeled, and in a plastic zipper-seal bag.

I ran into another member who was there for a stake meeting. I struck up a conversation with him, and learned he and his wife are Japanese. They occasionally go to Japanese restaurants which are mostly owned by Koreans.

I offered him a Korean Book of Mormon, Korean and English copies of a Liahona magazine, and the "Finding Happiness" DVD which has Japanese, Korean, Chinese and English sound tracks. He said he planned to visit a particular restaurant while traveling in a few weeks, and agreed to attempt to give them out.

On my way to my car, I passed one of the counselors in the Stake Presidency who was in his car. I offered him a handful of the business-card sized custom pass-along cards. I suggested he might find those more handy to carry around than the larger full-color ones the church produces. The church's are good, but they're not always easy to carry around