Tuesday, March 29, 2011

10 things everyone should know about the Book of Mormon

Grand Hardy's 10 things everyone should know about the Book of Mormon.

Book of Mormon, #8 on a list of controversial books.

The Book of Mormon is #8 on this person's list of the top 10 notoriously controversial books. http://listverse.com/2010/04/24/10-notoriously-controversial-books/

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bambara declined at laundromat. Wed, Mar 23, 2011.

03/23/2011. 1277. I was doing late night laundry at the 24-hour laundromat. As I was leaving I noticed a lady in African garb doing her laundry. She was from Mali and spoke Bambara. I offered her a free book in Bambara from church (Gospel Fundamentals, aka, Gospel Principles Simplified.) She politely declined.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

HO LEE MACKERAL! Pohnpeian! At gas station.

03/09/2011. 1276. More amazing than this being a new language placement, is how it came about. Yes, the Lord does micro-manage sometimes. This situation was what I call a "double set up" which has been very rare in my experience. I was prompted to alter my itinerary to make an extra stop, which was a "timing loop" in order to put me at the right spot at the right time.

And, it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see how the Lord made the other party get "lost" to put them in my back yard.

So I met this family at the gas station that's literally a stone's throw from my apartment. I was there to just buy a newspaper, but they were sold out. And then I dilly-dallied over the DVD rack, looking for a cheap movie, and chit-chatting with the cashier. Looking back, I don't know why I dilly-dallied.

But, I wouldn't have met this family if I hadn't followed the prompting to make the side trip to a grocery store on my way home from a previous errand.

And, get this: this family was lost. They were driving from somewhere in Michigan to Knoxville Tennessee, trying to find I-75. I figure they might have driven here on I-69. But we're over 100 miles from I-75 here. I-75 runs from Detroit Michigan, through Toledo Ohio, Dayton Ohio, Cincinnati Ohio, through Kentucky, then on down to Knoxville, TN.

Anyway, since I'm Mr. Friendly, I tried to help them out, but they didn't speak English very well. The person who spoke English the best in their group wasn't the one driving. They needed a map, but I couldn't find my maps in my car, and the gas station didn't have any state or regional maps, just a city map.

On a piece of paper the cashier gave us, I wrote some simple directions to get them back on I-75 via Cincinnati. They could take I-74 from Indianapolis to Cincinnati. But I forgot what the loop around Cincinnati is called.

I offered to speak in Spanish, but when I asked if they spoke Spanish, they said no, they're from Micronesia, and speak Micronesian.

While I was digging around my car, I queried them further, and told them the church has free books in several Micronesian dialects, and I rattled off a couple names. Finally the lady told me they speak Pohnpeian, and they're from Pohnpei. Gulp.

I then realized this was a "double set up". The Lord got them lost on purpose, took them 100 miles out of their way, so they could get a Book of Mormon in their language, and my copy was probably the closest one to I-75 along their route.

Would you drive 100 miles out of your way to get a Book of Mormon, if you realized it's importance? Would you drive 100 miles to deliver one? The Lord sends missionaries clear across the world to deliver the Book of Mormon, so why not send a family 100 miles?

I don't keep a Pohnpeian copy in the car, because it's so rare.

But, remember, we're a stone's throw from my apartment, where I did have one. And that's probably why this "divine appointment" happened right next to where I live.

Anyways, what these people needed at the moment was a map, and I had some fresh meat and frozen vegetables from the grocery that I had to get to my fridge/freezer quickly.

I asked them to wait for me, and I'd run home real quick and get them a map and the free Pohnpeian book. I gave the lady my card and said she could call me if I took too long.

I also realized they were going to need help getting back to the I-465 loop, which would not be the way they came. Due to the unfamiliar surroundings, their lack of English, it would be best for them to have me lead them to the Interstate.

So first I went home and put the food in the fridge/freezer, and I still couldn't find my state and regional road maps at home. (Note to self: need to buy new ones.) I went to my "ready" shelf and looked for the Pohnpeian Book of Mormon. Hoo-boy, it was there.

So I high-tailed back to the gas station, and they were still waiting for me. Everyone was back in their car, and the lady I spoke with was in back, and two men were in the front seats. The passenger side guy rolled down his window, so I talked to him. I got the impression that the men didn't speak English very well. He pulled out an Ohio road map. I found Cincinnati. If they could get from here to Cincinnati, they could then get on I-75, and once on I-75 they would have a straight shot to Knoxville.

I added Indianapolis to the side of the map, and used my pen to mark the route taking them from I-74 to I-275 (the loop around Cincinnati), then to I-75, then I-75 south. I asked the lady for the paper I wrote on earlier, and I make a small correction to include the I-275 loop in Cincinnati.

I told them I'd lead them to Interstate 465 in my car, and they could follow me. I said that when we got there, I'd pull over to the side of the entrance and wave them on. They understood, and followed me there, and that's what we did.

It's been over three and a half hours between the time that all happened and when I now type this in, and I'm still trembling.

As I write this, I realize there are at least four other open gas stations between the nearest interestate and "my" gas station here on my corner. They didn't stop at those other gas stations after they got off the interstate, they stopped at mine. ("Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." -Humphrey Bogart.)

In fact, think of how many other Interstate exits and gas stations there are between here and I-75 (100 miles away in Ohio) where they could have stopped for directions. And they stopped at the one next door to the guy who had the Pohnpeian Book of Mormon, and he just happened to be at that gas station getting ready to walk out the door. (Oh, Lord, I'm not worthy of any of this. "I know, I know. So get yourself worthy.")

Pohnpeian, at the gas station on the corner..., a family driving from Michigan to Tennessee, who should have been in Ohio, gets lost in Indiana, gets off the Interstate in Indianapolis, bypasses four other gas stations, and finally decides to ask directions at the gas station next door to me, and I happen to be there at that particular time soley because the Holy Ghost told me to make a side trip to a grocery store on my way home.

And I thought I failed because I didn't meet anyone at the grocery store.

I don't know whether to break down in tears or jump for joy.

How marvelous are the ways of the Lord.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

Swahili and Arabic at restaurant. Fri, Mar 4, 2011.

03/04/2011. 1275. I was at a restaurant for a buffet lunch. There was only one other customer at the time. We were both at the food table. I forget what we initially talked about, but I noticed that he spoke with a slight accent, and his name tag showed a non-Anglo name. I asked where he was originally from, and he said Kenya. In addition to perfect English, he spoke Swahili and Arabic. He was rather chatty himself, so he told me some of his life story. I brought up the Book of Mormon being available in Swahili and Arabic, and he was very interested in getting something to read. I was all out of English copies of the Book of Mormon, but I was pretty sure I still had Arabic and Swahili in the car.

After I filled my plate and put it on my table, I went outside and retrieved Arabic and Swahili copies from my car. I went over to where he was sitting to present them, and he enthusiastically received them. I explained that I was out of English copies, but I showed him the phone number that he could call to get a free English copy.

Because he was wearing his name tag, I might be able to contact him through his employer for a follow-up.

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Shona at store. Fri, Mar 4, 2011.

03/04/2011. 1274. I was on the West side of town running errands, and was on my way to a restaurant. I stopped at a dollar store to buy some stuff. One of the other customers was talking on her cell phone in a foreign language. After I went around the store getting some stuff I needed, plus some impulse purchases, she was still on her cell phone. Not wanting to interrupt her, I went to the check-out line. After another man got in line behind me, then she got in line. So while the cashier was ringing up my purchases, I talked to her. She was from Zimbabwe and spoke Shona, so I offered her a free book from church in Shona. She was interested, and agreed to receive it. So after I paid for my stuff and took it out to the car, I took back in a Shona and an English Book of Mormon. When I got back in, the cashier was ringing up her purchases, so I presented it to her, pointed out the info flyer (with chapel addresses) inside, and my calling card. She gratefully received them.

I have to give credit to the Lord on this one. The West side of town has many immigrants, so as I was on my way from my previous errand to the restaurant that I had in mind, I sought and received guidance on which route I should take. I don't know if I was inspired to visit this particular store, but the idea of shopping here came after I was on this particular route.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Burmese and Hindi at gas station. Thu, Mar 3, 2011

03/03/2011. 1273. While on a shopping trip, I stopped by a gas station where my Marathi-speaking Indian friend works. He was recently transfered to this gas station when the owner closed the old gas station where he worked.

He wasn't there. I bought some soft-drinks and the cashier on duty spoke with a cool accent, so I asked where he was from. He said Burma. He was multi-lingual, speaking and reading Burmese, Nepali, Hindi, and English. I offered him some free books from church in Burmese and Hindi, and he agreed to receive them. I pointed out that they were Christian material, and he was okay with that.

After I paid for my stuff, I took it out to the car and retrieved a Burmese Gospel Fundamentals, a Hindi Book of Mormon and an English Book of Mormon.

I went back in and presented the Burmese Gospel Fundamentals and he read the title. Another customer came up to the cash register at that point, so I let him go ahead, since I didn't want to interrupt anyone's business. After the cashier took care of him, I presented the Hindi and English copies of the Book of Mormon. He seemed genuinely grateful and interested.

I also pointed out the flyers inside listing the local contact information, and gave him a personal calling card with my name and number

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

There's no such thing as bad publicity.

Preview of "Book of Mormon Musical" from the irreverent and raunchy creators of South Park. Opens March 24, 2011 on Broadway in New York City. Web site.