Helping Chinese People in Mexico
“TEN men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will actually take hold of the skirt of a man who is a Jew, saying: ‘We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.’” (Zechariah 8:23) Today, this beautiful prophecy is being fulfilled throughout the world. People “out of all the languages of the nations” are clinging to the spiritual Israelites in order to worship Jehovah God. Jehovah’s Witnesses are keenly interested in the fulfillment of this prophecy. Many of them are learning another language in order to share in the worldwide preaching work.
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico are no exception. An estimated 30,000 Chinese-speaking people live in Mexico. In 2003, 15 of them attended the Memorial of Christ’s death held in Mexico City. Thus Witnesses in Mexico became aware of the potential for spiritual growth in the Chinese field. In order to have more preachers to care for these Chinese-speaking people, a three-month course was established to teach Mexican Witnesses simple presentations in Mandarin Chinese. Altogether, 25 Witnesses took the course. At its completion, an official from the Mandarin-speaking community in Mexico City attended the graduation, showing the impact of the class on the Chinese-speaking populace. A local Chinese institution offered three of the students scholarships to go abroad to polish up their Chinese.
The language course involved practical training. After learning some very basic phrases, the students immediately began preaching in Chinese in the business district of Mexico City. The zealous students started 21 Bible studies. The brochure What Does God Require of Us? in Chinese with text rendered in the Roman alphabet, called Pinyin, was of great help.
How did the Witnesses who had just started to take the course in Chinese conduct Bible studies? At first, they could say only, “Qing Du [Please read]” and point to a paragraph and then to the question. After the person read and answered in Chinese, they would say, “Shei shei [Thank you]” and, “Hen Hao [Very good].”
One such Bible study was started with a woman who was a nominal Christian. After the third study, the Witness wondered if the woman really understood the information. So the Witness took along a brother whose native tongue was Chinese. When he asked the woman if she had any questions, the woman asked: “To get baptized, do I have to be able to swim?”
Before long, a Congregation Book Study was established with an average attendance of 9 Chinese-speaking persons and 23 local Mexican Witnesses. Among those attending was a Chinese doctor, who had received the Watchtower and Awake! magazines in Spanish from one of his patients. Since he did not read Spanish, he had someone translate a few lines for him. Realizing that the magazines dealt with the Bible, he asked the patient if she could obtain the magazines in Chinese. She did, and through the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico, arrangements were made for a Chinese-speaking Witness to call on him. His mother in China had a Bible, and the doctor had enjoyed reading it. When he decided to go to Mexico, his mother told him not to stop reading the Bible. So he had been praying for someone who could help him learn more about the God of the Bible. He exclaimed: “God has listened to my prayer!”
Also attending the book study was a Chinese family who rented living quarters from a Mexican woman who was studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although the Chinese family understood very little Spanish, they would sit in on the Bible discussions. In time, the family asked the Witness conducting the study if she had any publications in Chinese. Soon a Bible study in Chinese was conducted with them. Before long, the family expressed a desire to preach to their fellow countrymen and to dedicate their lives to Jehovah.
True, Chinese is a difficult language to learn. As seen in the foregoing experiences, however, with Jehovah’s help people of many languages, including Chinese, are learning God’s will in Mexico, as well as in other parts of the earth.
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A Chinese language class in Mexico City
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A Mexican Witness conducting a Bible study in Chinese
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Door-to-door ministry in Chinese, Mexico City