Why do it?
Many learn another language because it’s a required part of their schooling. Others have a personal incentive. For example:
Anna, a young woman in Australia, decided to learn Latvian
—her mother’s native tongue. “Our family is planning a trip to Latvia,” says Anna, “and I’d like to be able to communicate with my relatives there when we visit.”
Gina, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses from the United States, learned American Sign Language (ASL) and moved to Belize to expand her ministry. “A deaf person’s world may consist of just a handful of people he or she can communicate with,” she explains. “People really appreciate it when I tell them that I learned ASL in order to teach the Bible in their language!”
Did you know? The Bible foretold that the good news of God’s Kingdom would be proclaimed to people of “every nation and tribe and language.” (Revelation 14:6, footnote) In fulfillment of this prophecy, many young people among Jehovah’s Witnesses have taken up another language to expand their ministry at home or in another land.
What are the challenges?
Learning a new language isn’t easy. “I thought it just meant learning new words,” says a teenager named Corrina, “but I found out it also involves learning a new culture and a new way of thinking. Learning a language definitely takes time.”
It also takes humility. “You have to learn to laugh at yourself,” says James, a young man who learned Spanish, “because you’ll make lots of mistakes. But that’s part of learning.”
The bottom line: If you can deal with setbacks
Tip: Don’t despair if others seem to make faster progress than you. The Bible says: “Let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person.”
What are the rewards?
The benefits of learning a new language are many. For example, a teenager named Olivia says, “When you learn another language, you widen out and make new friends.”
A teenager named Mary found learning a new language to be a boost to her self-confidence. “It’s difficult for me to be proud of anything I do,” she says, “but now that I’m learning a language, I get excited after learning each new word. It makes me feel better about myself.”
Gina, quoted earlier, has found that teaching people the Bible in sign language has added joy to her ministry. “Seeing people’s faces light up when I start communicating with them in their own language is the best reward!” she says.
The bottom line: Learning another language can help you make new friends, boost your self-confidence, and add meaning to your ministry. It’s a vital way to reach “all nations and tribes and peoples and languages” with the good news.