Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Moment #517. French/Wolof/Arabic, gas station. Tue, Jan 24, 2006.

01/24/2006. I was driving home from having lunch in a city about an hour away. I came to one of the suburbs of Indianapolis and had a strong impression that I should take this exit as there would be another opportunity on my way home. This would take me through a few business districts instead of pure highway.

Just after getting off the exit there is a Shell gas station. I wasn't thinking of it prior to exiting the highway, but I wondered if this was one of the franchises owned by the man who hires a lot of Senegalese. No prompting here, but it was worth a try, so I stopped in and bought a newspaper.

The one clerk looked like he could be West African. He spoke English very well, and I didn't detect a noticeable accent. I took a gamble and asked "Parlez vous francais?" He said "oui." I asked where he was from, and he said Senegal. I asked "Parlez vous Wolof?" and he said "oui." I said "Tuuti Wolof rek laa degg" (trans: "I speak just a little Wolof") which I learned from a language CD set. He started to speak in Wolof, but I said that was about all the Wolof I knew.

I offered him free church books in French and Wolof and he agreed to see them. I brought in Wolof/English Gospel Fundamentals and the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet, and French/English copies of the Book of Mormon, and presented them. He graciously accepted.

There was another clerk who looked Middle Eastern. I asked if he spoke any other languages, and he said Arabic. I offered him a book in Arabic, and he agreed. I went out and brought back in Arabic and English copies of the Book of Mormon for him. We shook hands, he thanked me, and I said "afwan," you're welcome in Arabic. I saw him flipping through the Arabic copy as I got into my car.

It felt like my assignments were over, so I got back on the Interstate to go home.

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