Friday, January 27, 2006

Moment #518. Thai declined. Fri, Jan 27, 2006.

01/27/2006. I was driving through a shopping center when I noticed a Southeast-Asian looking man standing at a bus stop shelter. He stood out in a way that drew my attention. I continued on, but within about 15 seconds, I felt a sense of urgency about contacting him. So I looped back and parked near the bus stop. I happened to have Thai and Chinese copies of the Liahona magazine in the car, so I grabbed those and my small case of Chinese Books of Mormon.

I forget how I started the conversation, but he was not interested. I couldn't tell if he was not fluent in English, or just extremely shy, so I didn't prolong the conversation. But he did see the covers of both magazines.

This was one of those situations where I wonder if I erred in my approach or if the purpose was something other than a placement. Probably both, as my approach was not very smooth.

Unsuccessful placement attempts can still serve several purposes. As long as the other person sees the title of the Book of Mormon, or the Liahona magazine, or the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet, an idea or image has been planted that the Holy Ghost can later latch on to. If that person ever seeks religious truth in the future, then the Holy Ghost can bring that image or testimony to remembrance, and either lead them to it, or cause them to recognize it the next time they see it.

Another possible purpose is that the Lord tries to reach out to people even when he knows they will not respond. Such has happened to me many times in my life. As I've pondered the many mistakes in my life, the Spirit brings to memory the promptings or the people who tried to help me, but I wouldn't listen.

Sure, many people have lived and died on this earth without having a chance to hear the gospel, but one of the Lord's purposes is to give as many people as possible a chance to hear. And the scriptures are clear that everyone must hear before the Second Coming.

I think a common question people will ask in the hereafter is "Lord, why didn't you let people know you had an official church on earth?" And the Lord or one of his representatives will answer "Do you remember those two young men in suits and black name tags who knocked on your door that one day?" Or, "Do you remember that fat guy who tried to give you that blue book at your restaurant?"

As hard as it is for me to comprehend the idea, the Lord loves me too. He wants me to learn new things. That was my first approach at a bus stop, therefore it may have been appropriate that the sense of urgency was so clear. It reminds me of the first time I was prompted to speak with a fellow customer at a gas station instead of the clerk. Or, the first time I was prompted to stop at a gas station when I didn't really need anything. Or, the first time I was prompted to stop some place, and actually had to wait for my intended contact to show up, instead of them already being there.

Many times the Lord dumped opportunities right in my lap such as standing right next in line to someone who was overjoyed to receive church material in their native language. But sometimes the Lord has asked me to go out of my way a bit. It's completely in line with gospel principles for the Lord to expect us to put forth effort and sometimes go out of our comfort zone.

As I ponder what I am to learn from this encounter at the bus stop, I have the idea of actually sitting on the bench and letting a conversation develop more naturally, or of even taking a bus ride.


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