Communities Connect Through a Shared Language
Religious Group Organizes Special Outreach to the Twi-Speaking Community
NEW YORK– Ernesto Sotomayor
Jehovah’s Witnesses will engage in a special campaign to share the Bible’s message with the Twi-speaking communities of metro New York and New Jersey. After years of planning and an unexpected interruption due to the pandemic, this special initiative will occur during the month of May 2023.
In addition to their trademark door-to-door ministry, the Witnesses will be standing beside mobile literature carts in public locations from Yonkers, New York, to Newark, New Jersey, and in the New York City boroughs of the Bronx and Queens, where Bible-based publications in Twi will be available at no charge. An effort will also be made to contact people from this West African community at their neighborhood businesses, shops and markets.
Hundreds of Twi-speaking Witnesses will share in this initiative. Over the course of four weeks, 10 local Twi and Ga-language congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses will host more than 200 volunteers arriving at bus terminals, train stations and airports from across the United States at their own expense.
“We are eager to welcome our fellow worshippers traveling here to participate in the campaign,” said Alex Zebra-Walker, a local volunteer from the Twi Newark, New Jersey, congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “No matter what time the participants arrive, local families will greet them with placards and gifts. It is going to be a special event from the time they arrive until the time they leave. We are excited to show them hospitality.”
“When we read the Bible in English we understand the words, but when we read the Bible in Twi, it really touches our hearts.”
– Alex Zebra-Walker
Twi Newark, New Jersey, congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Zebra-Walker, originally from Cape Coast, Ghana, feels the campaign will positively impact the local Twi community. “The Twi community is known for being hardworking, family-oriented and respectful of the Bible,” he said. “When they see the effort to share the Bible’s practical advice for families and its message of hope for the future in their own language, they will be happy.”
Twi belongs to the Akan group of languages, spoken by millions in Ghana and neighboring countries in West Africa. According to a 2019 U.S. Census Bureau report, nearly 68 million people speak a language other than English at home. Among them are thousands of Twi-speaking individuals in metro New York and New Jersey.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have assembled hundreds of translation teams globally to make Bible-based material accessible to as many people as possible. Notably, new Bible translations were released in Twi (Akuapem) in 2021 and Twi (Asante) in 2022.
“We were not left behind,” Zebra-Walker said, commenting on the significance of having a Bible translation in one’s own language. “When we read the Bible in English we understand the words, but when we read the Bible in Twi, it really touches our hearts.”
To learn more about Jehovah’s Witnesses, their history, beliefs and activities, visit their official website, jw.org, featuring content in more than 1,070 languages available at no charge.