Friday, October 23, 2009

Punjabi pamphlet at storefront. Fri, Oct 23, 2009.

10/23/2009. 1197. I was at a strip mall type shopping center on my way to dinner at a Chinese restaurant that I've already been to. I walked past a storefront, and there was a lady who appeared to be from India standing just behind the glass door of her storefront. She was the only one in the store, so I assumed she was one of the owners or was the manager, or at least the person on duty.

I stopped to chat with her, and asked if she spoke Telugu, but I guessed wrongly. She was from India, but spoke Punjabi. And I was all out of Punjabi copies of the Gospel Fundamentals. But I did have a Punjabi copy of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet. She agreed to receive some church material in Punjabi, and I had made sure she understood it was Christian material. I retrieved Punjabi and English copies of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet from my car, and presented them to her. She politely declined the English copy, but accepted the Punjabi copy.

I forgot to include a pass-along card or info-flyer. I hope I wrote the mission office number on the back of the pamphlet.

I recently called the Distribution Center to re-order more, but they are out of Punjabi copies of Gospel Fundamentals.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amharic x 2 in parking lot. Sun, Oct 18, 2009.

Lesson #1: Be kind to those who despitefully use you.
Lesson #2: EVERYONE is a potential investigator.

10/18/2009. 1196. I had just finished putting air in a car tire that had a slow leak. I was parked in my parking spot in the apartment complex's carport. An Ethiopian-looking man came over to talk to me, and asked me if I had been in Ethiopia because on the front of my car I had a license plate that has the Ethiopian flag on it. (I did that because I like the Lion of Judah that's on it. It's actually the previous flag of Ethiopia, and it remains popular with the Rastafari movement and people loyal to Haile Selassie.)

I thought that he might be the owner of the taxi-cab that had parked in my reserved carport spot the previous week. And he was. It turned out that he just didn't know that the carport spots were reserved, and people had to pay extra for them. (I'm so glad I didn't get angry when I called the phone number painted on the side of his cab. No one answered, and I left a message, very politely asking him to park elsewhere, and let him know it was a reserved and paid-for spot. It was probably the taxi-cab company phone number, not his personal number anyway.)

Anyways, he was actually from Eritrea, and spoke Tigrinya as his main language, but Amharic (the language of Ethiopia) was his secondary language. I offered to him, and he accepted, a Book of Mormon in Amharic and in English. So I reached into the trunk and got a couple out. He was genuinely interested and grateful.

A little later, I was back out at the car for something, and again saw him, this time, a couple ladies were also approaching, and he asked if I would give a copy of the Book of Mormon in Amharic to them. They were his relatives and were visiting him. Woo hoo! A two-fer.

So I got a second copy out of the trunk. (I always keep two or three Amharic copies in the car since there are so many Ethiopians in town.) The ladies accepted both an Amharic and an English copy too. When they got in their vehicle, I realized their vehicle was the other one that had parked in my reserved and paid-for carport spot the night before the taxi had trespassed.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. That night when they had parked in my spot, I was so frustrated, and angry, and had such a sense of violation. But, the scripture about blessing those who despitefully use you came to mind, and all I did was leave a Bible pass-along card under their windshield wiper.

Anyway, it turned out to be a nice encounter, and he told me his address and asked me to stop by some time. I really LOVE Ethiopian/Eritrean food, and I'm thinking of how to wangle a dinner invitation. I'd even PAY them to have me over for dinner. That's actually a good idea, I think. I'll ask if, for $30, if his wife will prepare a typical Eritrean meal for me and "two of my young friends from church."

Hey! The $30 is for the FOOD, not payment for listening to a missionary discussion. But, if he asks what my "two young friends from church" do, then hey, they'll just have to answer the question. :-)

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spanish at restaurant. Wed, Oct 14, 2009.

10/14/2009. 1195. An appointment at a client's office on the other side of town ran well into the evening, so I was hungry and wanted to eat before driving home. I picked a Mexican restaurant that I hadn't been to before. I've been to that location several times, but the restaurant has changed owners and is under a new name. It's a nice mom-and-pop place.

I sat down, ordered, and enjoyed a nice meal. When I paid, I took a Spanish Bible and a Spanish Book of Mormon with me to the cashier counter. After paying, I said to the cashier that I like to give out Bibles, and offered him the Bible for free, if he needed one or wanted on. He graciously accepted it. Then I said that at our church we use the Bible and the Book of Mormon while I displayed the Book of Mormon in my hand. I asked if he had heard of it, and he said yes. I asked if he had read it, and he said no. He asked what it was about, and I gave him the short explanation of the Bible being from the Old World, written by prophets and apostles, and that the Book of Mormon is from the New World, written by prophets and apostles, and that both books teach of God and Christ. He graciously accepted the Book of Mormon too.

It was a pleasant encounter.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Missed op at gas station. Fri, Oct 9, 2009.

10/09/2009. Missed opportunity. Well, it was more than a missed opportunity. I just plain disobeyed. I was driving home after a meeting of a club that I belong to. I felt a clear impression to stop at a gas station along the way. I picked up a newspaper to buy and got in line. The two cashiers looked like regular English-speaking folks. My cashier looked about 18 to 22 years old. I forgot to check to see if there was anyone behind me in line, but I was supposed to say something to her, and I didn't. I just plain disobeyed. I kept thinking she "only speaks English", but of course that's not an excuse.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Yoruba at fitness center. Wed, Oct 7, 2009.

10/07/2009. 1194. I was working out at the apartment complex's fitness center when a group of three people came in. The man was helping two ladies with their exercises. The man had an accent, but the ladies did not. During a break in their conversation, while the man was within conversation distance with me, I asked where he was from. I guessed wrong at first, but he said he was from Nigeria. When I asked if he was Igbo or Yoruba, he looked surprised that I would know about those languages/groups. I said there were lots of Nigerians in town, and he was aware of that too.

After he went back to helping the other two people he was with, I took a quick break and ran back to my apartment and retrieved a Yoruba copy and an English copy of the Book of Mormon. I put the books next to my machine, and started exercising again.

When he had his two friends busy with their exercises, he came back near me and we conversed some more. I eventually asked him if he still liked to read in Yoruba, and he said yes, so that's when I presented the Yoruba Book of Mormon. He was very excited to see a book in Yoruba, so we talked about it, and about the church for the next half hour or so. There was a flyer in the book listing the local chapels, and I pointed out which one I went to, and which one was where he lived in another part of town.

It really made his day to find something to read in Yoruba. He was very grateful. He mentioned that he hadn't been to any church in a while, and he seemed like he might visit some day.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Chinese at restaurant. Tues, Oct 6, 2009.

10/06/2009. 1193. I was on the other side of town at a client's office for an appointment. My client and I took a lunch break and went to a nearby inexpensive Chinese buffet. Very inexpensive, but the food was good. I've been there before, years ago, but I don't remember if they accepted anything. It might have changed owners since then, too, since the staff looked different.

This client is a member of the church, is a Caucasian-American, and speaks Mandarin. He has taught several investigator Sunday School classes at church to Mandarin-speaking Chinese students who were studying at a local university. So, he's familiar with my restaurant approach.

After we finished eating, I asked him if he wanted to present material to the staff. He told me "you go for it." So, I took a Chinese/English bilingual New Testament, Chinese and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a DVD to the cashier stand, and offered them to the guy behind the counter. He was interested, but not overly enthusiastic. He accepted the books, but not the DVD.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Elder Holland's testimony of the Book of Mormon.

Elder Holland gave a stirring talk on the Book of Mormon in the Sunday afternoon session of conference, on October 4th. You can see the video here. Or, listen to the mp3 here, or read it here.

I believe Elder Holland's talk fulfills the prophecy of President Benson's "pulpits aflame" remark in his "Flooding the Earth" talk 20-some years ago.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Punjabi at store. Thu, Oct 1, 2009.

10/01/2009. 1192. I was on the other side of town, leaving one appointment, and on my way to another when I noticed an ethnic grocery store that I hadn't been to before. I still had some time before my appointment, so I stopped in to browse and maybe buy some things I might need.

The owners were from India and spoke Punjabi. I bought some stuff I needed anyway, and after paying, I asked the clerk if I could give them some free church material in Punjabi, and he said okay. So I went out to the car and brought back in Punjabi and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals and the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet. He graciously accepted them. I explained that Gospel Fundamentals is a Sunday school manual, and the pamphlet covers how the church was started.

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