November 27, 2022
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Languages of the Heart Find a Home in the Bronx

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The Bronx is home to hundreds of languages. And while many residents are multilingual, often there is one — generally the one they first learned at home as a child — that they consider as the language of their heart. One resource that is uniquely qualified to speak to them is the most translated website in the world — jw.org, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The website includes content in more than 1,050 languages, including Jamaican Creole, also known as Patwa.

When Pamella Krug moved to New York from Jamaica, she was instructed not to speak Jamaican Creole in public. So, when Krug streamed the Jamaican Creole translation of the 2020 Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses on jw.org it brought her indescribable joy. “I sat back in my chair with nervous anticipation” she said. “Then, a voice-over said, ‘Breddas, welcome!’ I looked over at my husband, who is not Jamaican, and his eyes were watering.”

The opening song grabbed the strings of her heart as she recited a familiar lyric that, on that day, “just felt special.” And then she heard the prayer in the language of her heart. “I started smiling,” Krug said. “I just kept smiling through the whole thing. I could not stop. I could not stop smiling, and I kept wiping tears from my eyes.”

Lorena Daquilema moved to New York from her home in Chimborazo, Ecuador. She also grew up in an environment where speaking her native language, Quichua, outside of the home was discouraged. She, too, appreciates the effort to produce content in her Indigenous language. “To see and read for myself Bible literature in my own language was breathtaking,” Daquilema said. “It was a life-changing experience. I feel honored that such beautiful information in my own language is accessible to all on jw.org.”

The translation effort is a “labor of love,” said Robert Hendriks, the U.S. spokesman of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The work is challenging and timeconsuming. But our goal isn’t to make a profit; it’s to provide the Bible’s comforting message clearly and accurately to as many people as possible.”

Sharing a message of hope and comfort with others in the Quichua community has been a powerful experience for Daquilema. “I have seen people brought to tears over what they hear and see on the website in their own language,” she said.

Krug also appreciates being able to share the Bible’s message with others in her native language. “This is the first time in my life that I am able to preach to someone as a native Jamaican, with their language, and reach their heart,” she said.

In addition to Jamaican Creole and Quichua, jw.org has articles, videos and audio content in other languages found in the Bronx, such as Ga, Twi and Bengali.

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