Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Arabic at grocery store. Tue, Mar 31, 2009.

03/31/2009. 1128. I was just starting to check out at the self-serve check-out registers at a grocery store. Two men in the next self-serve check-out aisle were just leaving, and were speaking a foreign language. As they passed by, I asked one of them what language they were speaking. He said Arabic, and they were from Sudan. I asked if he still liked to read in Arabic and he said yes. I offered a church book in Arabic, making mention that it was Christian material (since most Arabic-speakers are Muslim). He agreed to wait for me outside while I checked out, and then would get it for him.

I finished, paid, and went outside and got Arabic and English copies of the Book of Mormon from my car. I didn't even bother to put my stuff in the car, just leaving it sit in the cart. I walked around looking for them, and when someone honked their car horn at me, I turned around and it was them. They were very grateful for the books. I asked if they were Muslim, but he said they were Christian. I pointed out my name and the info flyer inside, and invited him to visit.

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Amharic at Post office. Tue, Mar 31, 2009.

03/31/2009. 1127. I checked my mail at the post office, and went back to my car. There was a taxi parked next to me. It was a taxi-company that is known for having mostly Ethiopians and Eritreans as drivers. I rolled down my passenger side window hoping to talk to him, but his window was rolled up. I poppped open the trunk lid, and went back and retrieved English and Amharic copies of the Book of Mormon from the trunk. I walked around the driver's side of my car toward the front of his so I could approach him respectfully without startling him.

I waved at him and he saw me and rolled down his window. I asked if he spoke Amharic, and he did, so I offered him a free book in Amharic from church. He was very interested, and when I showed it to him, he got out of his car. He indicated he already had a copy, but it was the English edition that he had, so he accepted the Amharic edition. I pointed out my name on my business card inside, and the nearest chapel on the info flyer. I invited him to visit, and also said he or his friends could call the numbers on the flyer for more free copies.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Now on Facebook and Myspace.

I'm on Facebook as "Book Slinger" and Myspace as "indybookslinger".
For my email, see the sidebar.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Japanese to missionaries. Thu, Mar 19, 2009.

03/19/2009. Journal entry. I was on the way home from an older-adult Institute class and stopped at a gas station near home. There were two short-haired young guys in suits gassing up their car at the pump in front of me. Yup, they were missionaries. They struck up a conversation about my car, and I continued the conversation while I was thinking of how to pimp them. They were not our ward's missionaries, and I was wondering if they were the zone leaders who have seen me, or whether they didn't know me.

Anyway, I decided to play it straight and not yank their chain. And showed them the Book of Mormon collection in the trunk of my car.

One asked if I had a Japanese Book of Mormon, so I got it out. He said that the other elders that they live with had a Japanese investigator and that the mission office couldn't get them a Japanese Book of Mormon. Apparently it was temporarily out of stock at Salt Lake.

We got into a "wow, that's a coincidence" conversation for a while. Two missionaries in need of a Japanese Book of Mormon, just happen to run into someone who's probably the only guy in town with a Japanese Book of Mormon in his car. There were no spiritual promptings to bring us together, it just happened. They were duly impressed.

Anyway, when I realized it was about 9pm, I broke off the conversation and told them to get on back to their apartment.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spanish declined at laundry. Tue, Mar 17, 2009.

03/17/2009. 1126. I had put my weekly load of laundry in the car before heading off to the storehouse, intending to go to a 24-hour laundromat afterwards, and after eating supper.

I didn't see any obvious opportunities at the laundromat. About half the customers were Hispanic, but I haven't been approaching Spanish-speakers like I should.

One of the employees there was cleaning the exterior of the dryers just as I was finishing up folding my clothes at the folding table next to the wall of dryers.

And, she struck up a conversation with me. Doht, that made it easy. And she was Hispanic. We talked mostly in Spanish.

She asked if I were single. I'm sure she could tell just by looking at my clothes hanging from the cart thing. Basically she hit on me, saying she was single, and was looking for a decent guy. We made some small-talk, and I invited her to church at the Spanish branch that meets downtown.

I pulled out the info-flyer from a clear plastic zip-lock bag that contains both a Spanish Bible and Spanish Book of Mormon. (I always take that with me to laundromats, and place it on the washer or on the folding table I'm using.) She accepted the flyer. The Spanish branch's chapel and meeting time is indicated on the flyer. I indicated the ward/chapel that I attend, which is on the far side of town, opposite from where that laundromat is, and told her I was just over here working, and wanted to do late night laundry since I knew about that place.

I later offered her the Spanish Bible, but she already had one. I then offered her the Spanish Book of Mormon, but she politely declined.

We continued to talk a little more, and I told her about the monthly Single Adult fireside that that stake has, and wrote down the information, day of the month, and time, and indicated the chapel on the flyer where it is held.

I hope I don't regret it, but I also wrote down my name and cell phone number on the flyer. She didn't accept the Book of Mormon, but the flyer has all the info of a pass-along card, plus the local mission office phone number, and the list of local chapels.

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Chinese at restaurant. Tue, Mar 17, 2009.

03/17/2009. 1125. Before going to the storehouse, I decided to do my weekly laundry on that side of town at a 24-hour laundry. But first, I wanted to have dinner at a restaurant that I haven't been to for a few years, and it was on my way to the laundry.

I sat down and ordered, and the waitress brought out my soup and appetizer. While eating I put out several books and magazines on my table: traditional and simplified script copies of the Chinese Book of Mormon, an English Book of Mormon, a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, and Chinese and English copies of the Liahona.

There were a few copies of a Chinese newspaper sitting on one of the other tables, such that the waitress might have been reading them before I arrived. They looked like they were Traditional script.

When the waitress brought my entree, and cleared the appetizer tray, she noticed the material, and I introduced it a little bit. I asked if she were from Hong Kong, Taiwan, or China, and she replied Taiwan, and pointed to the traditional script edition of the Book of Mormon.

I offered her the material, and she accepted the Traditional script Chinese, and the English Book of Mormon, and the Chinese and English Liahonas. She said that she didn't read English very well, but when I opened both the Chinese and the English Book of Mormon, and read 1st Nephi 1:1, while pointing to both, she seemed to catch the idea of learning English by using both. Or else she just went along with me, and accepted the English edition just out of politeness. But she was enthusiastic about receiving the Chinese edition.

Before I left, I mentioned to her that if she liked what she read, and wanted to know more, she could call one of the phone numbers in the material, and could have someone visit her.

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Amharic at gas station. Tue, Mar 17, 2009.

03/17/2009. 1124. I was at a gas station getting gas on my way to do some work at the storehouse. Just as I was about to get back in my car, a man walking back to his car from the storefront noticed a version of the Ethiopian flag on the front license plate on my car.

Indiana does not require a state-issued front license plate. And when I came across that license plate at a store, I thought it would look cool on my car. This older version of the Ethiopian flag has the "Lion of Judah" on it, and according to Wikipedia, it remains popular with the Rastafari movement and people loyal to Haile Selassie.

I put it on the car for two reasons. One, I like the "Lion of Judah", because I'm of the tribe of Judah. The second reason is that I was hoping for contact with Ethiopians who would recognize it.

Anyway, this guy, who looked caucasian, asked me if I was from or had been in Ethipia. I replied no, I just liked the Lion of Judah on it. He said that he had a friend from Ethiopia. I asked him if his friend might be interested in a free book from my church in Amharic. I said it was religious matieral. He said yes. So I went to the trunk of my car, and pulled out an Amharic Book of Mormon and gave it to him. He politely accepted it. I pointed out there were toll-free numbers in there if his friend wanted more copies or wanted an English copy to go with it.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

At the fitness center. Fri, Mar 13, 2009.

03/13/2009. 1123. I met a cool neighbor at the fitness center. I struck up a conversation like I do with most people I meet in the fitness center. He's originally from Africa, so we talked about his home country, and immigration in general. I have an LP record with folkloric music from his country, and gave him a CD of it, along with a copy of the lyrics sheet. (There's no copyright notice on the LP, and if there were, it's old enough that it might be public domain by now anyway.) We had a long conversation as we worked out. I offered, and he accepted copies of the Book of Mormon in his native language and in English.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why Mormons build temples. New church video.

Why Mormons build temples. New video from the church.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Vietnamese at store. Tue, Mar 10, 2009.

03/10/2009. 1122. After eating I went to a nearby close-out for more shopping, and as I was checking out, an Asian family came in: a little girl, mom, and grandma. I got out of the checkout line, went over to them and politely asked what language they were speaking. They said Vietnamese. I offered them Vietnamese and English books and magazines from church, and they were very interested, both the two adults who wanted to learn more English and the little girl who wanted to learn to read Vietnamese. Of the three, the little girl (about 8 to 10) spoke the best English. I put my basket down and went out to the car and brought back in a Vietnamese and the corresponding English Liahona (a conference issue), and Vietnamese and English copies of the Book of Mormon. I went back in and found them again, and all three were excited to receive the bilingual material. They accepted both of the magazines and both of the books. The mom indicated she'd like to visit the church, so I pointed out the nearest chapel on the the flyer I put in the books. She volunteered her cell-phone number, so I'll give her referral to the mission office.

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Chinese at restaurant. Tue, Mar 10, 2009.

03/10/2009. 1121. Tonight I had supper at a Chinese restaurant that I haven't been to in about two years. I had taken Chinese church material there previously, but I forget what material they accepted back then. Tonight I offered my waitress Chinese and English copies of the Liahona magazine, and a bilingual (parallel column) Chinese-English New Testament from the Intl' Bible Soceity. That caught her attention, and she accepted the NT, but politely declined to receive the church magazines. There was a flyer with a list of local chapels, and a BoM pass-along card in the New Testament.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Undergrad student Rachel Esplin at Harvard explains LDS beliefs.

Rachel Esplin, Harvard undergrad student explains her LDS (Mormon) faith at a symposium on religion in 2008, sponsored by Harvard Hillel, a Jewish organization at Harvard University. The symposium was called "Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose." The panel was moderated by Sally Quinn. She interviewed five students.

The above Youtube videos don't stream well, so go to one of the following links to see the same thing. Rachel's segment is here www.vimeo.com/2120177. And it can also be seen here hillel.harvard.edu/media/videos/550.

To see all the panelists, including the introduction visit: vimeo.com/user481977/videos/sort:date ; or visit: hillel.harvard.edu/media/videos/day-of-faith


The hand that rocks the cradle rules the Bloggernacle.

Behold: mormonmommyblogs.blogspot.com.

(Sexist pointy-headed navel-gazing here.)


Friday, March 06, 2009

Missed op, Vietnamese, Hindi. Fri, Mar 6, 2009.

03/06/2009. I felt inspired to take a detour on my way home, but I think I allowed my own desires to side-track me, and not follow through correctly on where I was supposed to go. But I think I eventually got where I was supposed to go.

Missed opportunity. Long story about how I got there, but I ended up having lunch at a Chinese buffet restaurant in a town North of Indy. I put some material on my table as I ate. The waitress/cashier may have noticed it, but she didn't indicate so. She was so busy bussing tables, running the cash register, and putting out food on the buffet tables, that there didn't seem to be any opportunity to present something to her.

There were several people in line at the cash register (for either the pre-pay buffet or for carry out) when I was ready to leave, and I didn't think it appropriate to just wait around because it looked like she wasn't going to get a break at all. And it's not appropriate to interrupt the employees when they are in the midst of serving other customers.

Vietnamese Liahona at nail salon. 1119. After I left, the Spirit made clear to me that I needed to go to a certain town, and not just towards it. So I was going to back-track a bit, and then head on in my previous direction.

However, I saw a nail salon in the same shopping center as the restaurant. I normally don't do cold-calls at nail salons, but I felt a little spiritual "tug" to go there. I drove over, parked, got out a Vietnamese Liahona magazine (the Liahona is the international version of the Ensign) and an English copy of the same issue.

I went in, and there were two employees, and no customers; a lady up front, and a man towards the back. I asked the lady up front if they had any Vietnamese operators or employees, and she indicated the gentleman. I asked if I could give him a free magazine in Vietnamese from my church, and she said okay. I went back to see the man, and he was reading a book in Vietnamese.

I offered him the magazines, and he eagerly accepted the Vietnamese Liahona, and politely declined to receive the English. He didn't seem to catch the bilingual nature, but I didn't want to belabour the point. I thanked him and left.

Hindi Book of Mormon at hotel. 1120. As I got near the destination town, I saw a sign for a certain motel. The Spirit indicated that was where I was supposed to go. But I kept my eyes open to see if there were going to be other opportunities presented along the way such as ethnic grocery stores

I got to the motel, and got out Hindi, Bengali, and English copies of the Book of Mormon. Hindi and Bengali are languages I've placed at hotels before.

I went in and asked the caucasian clerk if the owners were from India. She immediately said: "Oh, you must mean the hotel over there" and pointed to a hotel that was practically next door. Boy, that made it easy, and saved me some awkwardness of having to explain why I asked.

This was not actually a mistake. The second hotel didn't have any advertising signs along the road like the first one did. There was nothing in view for the Spirit to use to guide me. So the Spirit used what was available to get me to someplace that was one easy step removed from the final destination. The Lord used what I could see, the first motel's sign, to get me to a place I couldn't see. The second hotel was actually on a cross-street, facing in a direction such that I wouldn't have seen it without twisting my head around as I drove through the intersection.

This process has happened before: being guided to a place that I could see in order to get me to a place I wouldn't have seen had I not first gone to "point A".

I then went over to that hotel, and there were no other customers at the front desk. I asked the desk clerk if the owners were from India. She said yes, and asked me how she could help me. I said I had a free church book in the Hindi language that I'd like to give them.

She went over to the office and spoke to someone, then came back and said I could go around to the office. I went over to the office, and asked the man if he'd like a free book in Hindi from my church, and showed it to him. He extended his hand to receive it, so I could tell he was curious. And then he flipped through the pages after I gave it to him. He was curious and appreciative, but not really enthusiastic. But he thanked me for it. He politely declined to receive the English copy when I offered it. I thanked him, and excused myself.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

English and Swahili to neighbor. Thu, Mar 5, 2009.

03/05/2009. 1118. Tonight I helped my next door neighbor with some computer stuff, in response to a favor that he asked. We were chit-chatting after we finished, and in answer to one of his questions I said I was in South America as a Mormon missionary. He then continued the conversation along that line asking questions about the church. He went on to say that he'd like to read the Book of Mormon, so I offered him one and he accepted. I went back to my place and retrieved an English copy for him, and a Swahili copy for one of his friends. He graciously accepted them, and continued asking questions which I answered the best I could.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A + B = Persian at store. Wed, Mar 4, 2009.

03/04/2009. 1117. Today I picked up our ward's full-time missionaries, took them to an investigator's, sat in on the lesson, joined the discussion, and afterwards took them back to their apartment. After I dropped them off, and was on my way back home, I felt inspired to stop at a little cafe/restaurant that I haven't been to before. It's not ethnic, but the impression to stop there was strong.

I had lunch there and liked it. I did not make any book-placement attempts. On the way back home from lunch I felt inspired to stop at a certain close-out store along the way. It's one that I've often been to just to shop. Again, I hadn't planned on it, and didn't really want to, but the impression was strong.

I entered and started browsing the aisles that I normally browse, looking for deals. A fellow shopper walked over towards the check-out counter and asked for someone to get something down from a top shelf for her. It looked like it was going to be a while as the cashier had to call back to the stock room for someone. I offered the other shopper to get it down for her if it was in my reach, and she indicated I should be able to reach it by myself. I followed her over and got it down for her. I didn't have to use a ladder or step-stool or climb on anything to get to it.

She spoke with an exotic accent; and her appearance, demeanor and voice indicated she was a classy educated person.

I forget my exact words, but I commented positively on her accent and asked her where she was from. She said Iran. I asked if she spoke Persian/Farsi, and she said yes. I asked if she still liked to read in Persian and she said yes. I said that the reason I asked was that my church had free books in Persian, and that I had one with me in the car that she could see if she wanted. I said that it was a Christian religious book, but I forget if I mentioned at that point that it was the Book of Mormon.

She expressed interest, so I asked if I could get it and bring it in for her, and she said okay. I went out to the car and retrieved the Persian and an English copy of the Book of Mormon from the trunk, went back in, and presented the Persian copy to her. She started asking questions about where the church was, so I pointed out the information flyer that I had in it. I pointed out the chapel that I go to, but she was not familiar with that area. She actually lived in a suburb of Indianapolis, about 15 blocks from the LDS chapel in that suburb. So I pointed out the chapel that was close to her.

We chit-chatted some more, and I pointed out my two favorite passages that I had marked with Post-it(tm) notes: Moroni 10:3-5, and 3 Nephi chapters 11 through 26. I said I taught myself the numbers by studying the page numbers, but had forgotten them soon after. I also offered her the English, and she graciously accepted that one too.

She asked about a Persian Bible, and I wrote down the URL for the International Bible Society for her. I said that if she couldn't find it online, to call me, and I'd get her another number to call. The LDS church also sells copies of the Persian/Farsi Bible, but not online.

We met up later in the store, and she re-commenced the conversation, telling me what she does, giving me her card. I actually might be able to direct some business her way. She told me she speaks several other languages, which I noted on the card, and I said the church has translations of the Book of Mormon in those languages too. I did not offer her more copies, and I don't remember if I encouraged her to call the 800 number for more free copies.

Anyway, it was a cool encounter that I enjoyed, and I think she really appreciated getting reading material in Persian, and had no qualms that it was Christian in nature.

It wasn't until after the encounter that I realized that the inspired stop-over at the cafe was likely a "timing device" so that it put me at the store at just the right moment.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Yoruba at Post Office. Tue, Mar 3, 2009.

03/03/2009. 1116. I was at the Post Office and the photo-copier in the lobby reminded me that I had something in the car that I wanted to photocopy. It was the lyric sheet that came with a Ghanaian LP that I bought back in 2006.

After I checked my PO box, there was a man who looked like he just finished using the copier. I asked him if it was working okay. He said yes, and that he was just going back to his car to get a nickel. He spoke with an accent. I offered him a nickel out of my pocket to save him the trip. He accepted it.

I went out to my car to get the LP record, and when I came back, he was exiting the lobby. I asked where he was from, and he said Nigeria. I asked "Are you Igbo or Yoruba?" He said Yoruba. I offered him a free religious book in Yoruba from my church, and he was interested. He was in a hurry, but I said I'd get it quick from my car. He agreed to wait.

I retrieved a Yoruba and an English copy of the Book of Mormon from the car, and went back and presented them to him. He was definitely interested. He wanted the Yoruba copy but said that he already had an English copy, and had called a number, and had some missionaries deliver one. I wanted to chat more, but since he was in a hurry, I just said that there were more numbers in the book that he could call if he liked what he read or wanted to learn more.

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