Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese. Road trip. Wed, Jul 8, 2009.

07/08/2009. 1162. I took a day trip to visit relatives. Around lunch-time I came across an Interstate exit where I had noticed an Indian restaurant during a nearby fuel stop on a previous trip, so I decided to eat there. The cashier spoke Punjabi, and accepted my offer of Punjabi and English copies of the Gospel Fundamentals manual, and Punjabi and English copies of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlets.

1163. Later, that evening, after visiting with relatives I was on my way home, but still in the metropolitan area where they lived. As I was about to pass a certain exit, I felt a spiritual prompting to take that exit, but I was in the wrong lane to quickly act upon it. I was pretty sure it was a spiritual prompting, as opposed to my own thought, because I was not looking for opportunities or thinking about stopping anywhere at the time, but I had planned to look for a Chinese restaurant later on.

The next exit was only a mile away, so I took it, got back on the Interstate and took the previous exit. As I observed the sign containing the logos of the gas stations at that exit, I felt prompted to visit a certain one. However, when I reached the stop-light at the end of the exit ramp, I received a prompting to turn in the opposite direction from that gas station. I figured there must be another opportunity or "assignment" in that direction too, and could then come back and get that other gas station on the way back.

So I turned in that direction, looking for an opportunity, and hoping for further directions. It was about time for a late dinner anyway, so I thought there might be an opportunity at a restaurant. (My relatives eat late, so waiting around to eat with them would have caused me to arrive home too late at night.) Within a couple blocks there was a gas station, and I felt an impression that that was where the assignment was.

I went in and bought something, and as I paid I asked the cashier where he was from. India. And what languages he spoke. Punjabi and Hindi. I was out of Punjabi Gospel Fundamentals, but he also read Hindi. Many Punjabis who speak both Punjabi and Hindi, read Punjabi, but don't read Hindi; as Hindi is their second language, and is not taught in many of their schools. But this guy did read Hindi, so I offered him a Hindi Book of Mormon, and he accepted. After paying I went to the car and brought back Hindi and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and a Hindi Liahona. He gratefully and enthusiastically accepted them. Yup, it was worth the side-trip, and very convenient to the Interstate, to boot.

1164. I headed to the other side of the Interstate to one of the other gas stations, the one that I thought was my "assignment", and bought something there. Based on the cashier's accent, I asked him if he spoke Arabic, which he did. I offered him a free book in Arabic from church, and he heartily agreed to receive it. So after paying, I retrieved an Arabic and an English Book of Mormon from the car, went back in and presented them. He was also grateful and enthusiastic in accepting them. In both cases I made sure they realized it was Christian material before I retrieved the items from the car.

And I went on my way rejoicing, as missionaries used to say. Defintely worth the stop, and even backtracking the mile. The Lord knew they were there.

1165. Further towards home, just outside of that metro area, was another town that seemed like a good spot to look for a Chinese restaurant. It didn't feel like an assignment this time, but as I drove, I prayed if I should take that exit, and the answer seemed to be "you can if you want." So I took the exit, and headed towards the town. I went about three blocks without seeing a shopping center or strip mall, and then took the turn indicated by the "Business District" sign, and within that next block was a strip mall type shopping plaza. I turned in there and at the other end was a Chinese restaurant.

It was a typical mom-and-pop place, mainly carry-out, but also with tables for dining in. I ordered, paid, sat down, put the Chinese Simplified and English copies of the Book of Mormon, and the Asian "Finding Happiness" DVD on my table, and read the paper that I had bought at the last gas station.

Their son noticed the material when he brought out my food, but he didn't read Chinese, he just spoke it. As I ate, I needed another can of soda, so I went back to the counter to buy another, and there made the offer of material. The cashier agreed to see it, so I went back to my table and brought both copies back to the counter. The cashier accepted the Chinese copy, but declined the English, and declined the "Finding Happiness" DVD.

Later on, as I left, their son was outside on the sidewalk talking to another teen who looked like he could have been the son of the Indian couple who owned the sandwich shop next door. I struck up a conversation with the young man, and he ended up accepting the English Book of Mormon that his mom turned down.

1166. I also offered the other young man a Book of Mormon in Hindi for his parents, but he politely declined. I thought of going in to offer it to them directly, but I had already eaten. Maybe I can remember to stop at the sandwich shop on the next trip.

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