Wil and Gosia moved from Poland to England for work in 2016. Gosia became a Christian in 2017 after a friend led her to know Jesus and Wil became a Christian a few months later. They joined an online church until they moved to Mancot in 2021 when they started attending Mancot Presbyterian church. Jonathan Hodgins asked them some questions about their experiences of worshipping God in a second language.
What is it like for you to worship in a second language?
Wil: I listen to a lot of Bible teaching from American pastors like John MacArthur and Paul Washer. Sometimes there are subtitles but not often so I learn a lot of English from listening to them and from the quotes from the English Bible. I understand more and more when I worship in this language. Singing the hymns in English is another language lesson. First of all I am learning about the nature of God so it is fun. I sing more in English than in Polish.
What ways have you found to help you understand in the church service? How can a church help someone who has English as a second language?
Gosia: In my work and at home I hear only Polish so I need more time to understand English. I don’t understand everything from the men who preach. I need more time to read the Bible in English but I don’t have time to learn a lot of new words. It is helpful to me when the words of the Bible or the hymns are put on a screen so I can read as well as hear.
Wil: Putting the notices on a notice sheet is good too. Before the service starts I have my Bible open to read the passage of the week and I check the Polish translation. I want to confirm what I am reading and to see the context so I can grasp it all.
Gosia: We don’t speak perfectly but it doesn’t matter. The people in church are the same as me. We always have time to talk to each other even if not fluently.
Wil: We have learned to be patient while we try to express what we mean and our church friends need to be patient with us too. Also we can taste different cooking! We would never taste these things without our church!
How do you share what you have heard with others?
Wil: Every Sunday after church we always phone Gosia’s mother, her mother’s friend, and the daughter of her mother’s friend. I always have something prepared to share with them but when I hear the preacher I have the sense that I have to pass what I heard over to them. The preacher’s words are on my heart and I want to share them. Gosia’s mother and her friend both lost their husbands and they were struggling with anxiety. Now they pass on what they hear about God from us to their family. This is challenging for them because the family ask hard questions!
What benefits do you think we have when Christians from different countries worship together?
Wil: It is important that we have one foundation. Although we are different colours and nations, we are the same. Nothing is between us. There is one common purpose in life to praise God for creating us all differently and for uniting us. Differences should not divide us but bring us together. It helps break barriers when people from different nations are worshipping together. In the world we are being divided but in church we do not have that problem because God is gluing us together with his love.
Gosia: When we are all together in church it is a sign that God is everywhere and whoever you are, you can be saved whether you come from Thailand, Poland, England or Wales. God remembers that we are his children. He doesn’t recognise the countries, only the hearts. I think it is amazing that even though we have different cultures and traditions we can be together because of Jesus.