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Sharing Your Testimony When You Don’t Speak The Language

Posted by Emily Cummings on 7/12/17 5:55 PM

ILP Adventure in Romania You don’t speak a word of Spanish but that doesn’t mean you can’t bear your testimony in your local branch. 


ILP isn’t affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but we do have a lot of volunteers who are members  (And no! You don’t have to be to volunteer with us!). But if you are, you’ll be able to attend church on Sundays no matter what ILP country you go to …  church just might be a little different than it is at home. 


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One hiccup our volunteers commonly face is going to church even when they aren’t speaking English. It sounds like a big problem when it comes to bearing your testimony, but it’s really not. You can still bear your testimony at your local word even if you don't speak a single word of the local language (trust me ... you may just need to get a little creative). 

Play An Instrument

Even when you do speak the language, one of the most powerful ways to bear your testimony is through music. You can even sing the lyrics to a hymn in English and the Spirit can still touch members in the audience who don’t speak your language. How many times have you felt touched when listening to the church hymns even if you don't understand the lyrics? 

Think about singing with your ILP group in church one Sunday. Or, packing your instrument on your semester and playing a musical number to share your testimony with your international ward or branch. 

Be An Example

You don’t have to go up to the pulpit to share your testimony — you just need to attend church, or read your scriptures, or live as an example. Do what you can to live like Christ, and others will be able to feel your testimony of Him and your beliefs.

Just by smiling to the members in your local branch, attending activities, and being a kind and gracious person is a way to let your testimony shine without worrying about a language barrier. 

Find Someone To Translate

You can always try to learn a few phrases in the local language or find someone to translate your testimony. Some of these wards abroad may already have missionaries who translate for you each week (here’s how you can thank them!) so you may be able to ask if they can translate your English testimony into the local language so the whole ward can understand your message. 

You an also bear your testimony in English then say a little section in the local language. Every situation where I've tried to speak the language, the locals around have always been really encouraging and appreciative. Even if you can't get the pronunciation exactly right, just ending your testimony in the language of the congregation is going to go a long way. 

Say It Anyways! 

There’s nothing stopping you from still bearing your testimony in English! When Laura C. was volunteering in Thailand, she talked about how powerful Thai testimonies were, even when she couldn’t understand what they were saying: “No matter what language a testimony is given in, you can still feel what they are saying”.

Those words are so true; don’t be afraid to bear you testimony in English because the ward members will still be touched even if they don’t understand. 

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