Keeping Your Mission Language Alive

“Keeping Your Mission Language Alive,” Ensign, Oct. 1988, 64–65

Keeping Your Mission Language Alive

“To work!”


“To read the scriptures!”

“Leer las escrituras!”

Remember the hours of language drills in the Missionary Training Center and all the time and effort you put into learning that new language? Through diligent study and prayer and constant practice, you learned it well enough to preach the gospel with power.

But now that you’re home, are you gradually forgetting the language you worked so hard to master? Do you feel embarrassed when you try to speak the language to others? You don’t have to. If you continue to use your acquired language, you can keep your fluency level surprisingly high. Reading, writing, or speaking the language requires only minutes a day, does not impose upon your busy schedule, and requires no special classes or textbooks. Try activities such as:

  1. Reading your scriptures regularly in your acquired language.

  2. Keeping a dictionary in your second language handy. Look up words when you have forgotten their meanings or when you come across unfamiliar words.

  3. Subscribing to and reading the Church’s international magazine published in the language of your mission.

  4. Writing letters—in the language you used—to former missionary companions or to friends in your mission area.

  5. Attending your mission reunions and speaking the language you learned.

  6. Finding a friend, neighbor, or ward member who speaks the language and conversing as often as possible with him or her in that language.

It is not easy to learn a language in the first place. But with continued practice, even in small amounts, it really is possible to keep your skill alive.—Terry J. Moyer, Salt Lake City, Utah