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How To Make The Most Out Of Church You Don't Speak The Language

Posted by Stacie Buhler on 9/30/15 10:30 AM

ILP Adventure

Going to church in a foreign country is a fascinating, fun ... but honestly also pretty challenging. Some countries will have English-speaking wards or branches, but what do you do if your ward or branch doesn't speak English? 

Want to serve abroad with others who share your standards?  Come fill out an application and learn more! 

While you don't have to be religious to volunteer in an orphanage program or come start living in abroad teaching English for a semester with ILP, a lot of our volunteers are — and we want you to get the most out of your church experience while serving internationally.

We'd love to help in a in a few ways, like how to find a church no matter where you are in the world these tips on how to participate even if you don't know the language: 

Sing With The Congregation 

Singing a hymn is like saying a prayer — it allows you to worship, participate, and show your gratitude no matter the language.  It can be hard to feel connected to feel like you're worshipping if you don't know what someone is saying, but sometimes that feeling can come through the music.

If you are attending a service where the congregation participates in the music of the service, sing along. Some volunteers like to sing quietly in English, or try their best to sing along in the local language, but the impact is the same — a way for you to participate and get the most out of the service. 

Even just listening intently can help you connect with the meeting and leave with the feeling you are looking for at a worship service. 

ILP Adventure

Read Your Journal + Literature

If you find yourself dozing off because you have no idea what's going on in your international service, try reading your journal, reflecting on the week, or spend time reading the materials supplied by your church. This may mean reading more than your daily or weekly study, but can help enrich your meeting if you aren't able to focus on the words of the service you are attending. 

Ask For Translations 

While volunteering abroad with ILP, the church or service you are attending may have resources for visitors, like audio sets where someone in the congregation can translate for you.

Or, there may be missionaries attending (or others in the congregation) who can translate the meeting for you. 

Here's how to say thank you to the missionaries who helped you out! 

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Do whatever you can to be involved! Open the door for someone, help pass out books, or help put up chairs. Smile at those around you. You might even make some of your best foreign friends at church without speaking a word of the same language! Simply try. If you try, you're going to be involved and get something out of church that week. 


Want to have a life changing experiences to help you grow individually?

Go to church in a foreign country while you serve abroad with International Language Programs.  Have a couple more questions? Send us a text! 

 Text Me! I've Got Questions


Topics: LDS

Hey friends!

We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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