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Outlander in European LDS ward, seeking advice

Super Mom

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We are currently living in Europe and do not speak the language in our ward.  Almost all the adult members speak English, to a degree, but all the meetings are held in another language with translation offered to us.  My husband and I both serve in the ward and we attend every Sunday.

The problem is that our daughter is now old enough to attend Young Women.  The girls her age do not speak English but are nice enough.  She is already an introvert but the language issues make it worse.  She does not want to go to the weekly activities or even to church on Sunday.  This is having a major impact on her testimony and, in my opinion, she needs more interaction with English-speaking LDS girls and youth leaders.  I have looked online for a Skype YW class or Skype Sunday School Youth class, but have found nothing.  I know that our Farsi friends in our ward meet weekly on Skype for Sunday School, but I have not found anyone meeting in English.  I have contacts in the U.S. I could ask for their YW and youth classes to Skype with our daughter, but then there would be time zone issues.  Has anyone heard of an official (or unofficial) Skype class for expats?  Or for YW who are home bound?  Any ideas?  Thanks in advance.

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I know there's a ward in Alaska that meets on Sundays entirely by phone.  Or is there a military base in your time zone?  Or just an hour ahead or behind?  Even if the meetings are too far away to attend, they might be willing to set up a Skype.


Edited by Traela
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Get hold of the nearest military base and see if their branch can set you up, would be my first advice. I am pretty sure Turkey's Air Force Base would have been glad to help but since they sent all the families home I bet that once robust community of Saints is gutted.  I think there is still US personnel in the south of the Netherlands, and for sure there is a US base in Germany.  

Secondly, the area representatives are usually English speaking.  Perhaps their children are in time zones that sync.  

Failing that, communicating to the Church Headquarters might help, if you find a sympathetic ear.  

Does NO ONE her age speak any English?  Most European kids get English classes at school and are wild to show off their skillz.  You could volunteer to conduct a English spoken class for the youth. Some parents wold be delighted to have the extra English practice for their offspring with a native speaker.

Good luck.  That's one expat problem I never ran into.  My best to you.

Edited by jana at jade house
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You didn't say where in Europe.  England cannot be so far out of your time zone as to make some arrangement impossible.  Get hold of the Area Rep to find out what is available.  Your daughter cannot be the only person in that predicament.  We have lots of full-time missionaries worldwide who conduct all their teaching online now.  A couple of sister missionaries could be called upon to hold a special class for your daughter and any other girls in her category.  It is worth pursuing.  Good luck.

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Has she considered using google translate at YW?   Or there are interpretation services that you can get via telephone in the US.  The hourly rate is costly, but may be worth it to you?   Or how about hiring an interpreter from your local university to go with her to church (that would give the advantage of letting your daughter go with a "friend").

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Thank you, all, for your responses.  I have found a military ward but it is several hours of a drive away. 

Our bishop knows what is going on and is very sympathetic.  The YW leaders are kind, but there is no substitute for friendship when you are at this tender age.  The activities are not the same, the lessons aren't the same, and having a meaningful discussion is impossible, even with a translator.  She can follow along in her manual, but after 3 years of doing this it's just getting really old.  I can handle it because I'm adult and I have a strong testimony.  They do offer her lessons in English, but she is the only one in the class because although the other girls take English at school, they are not at all able to speak and/or understand.

I can contact this military ward, but I"m wondering if they will be willing to go to all the trouble to skype with us -- and if all the other girls are in the class and my daughter is the only one skyping, I'm sure she will feel awkward.  It would be cool to get a full Skype class where everyone has issues with their ward classes (transportation, language, whatever) and they can call in and visit for 5-10 minutes before the "class" starts.

I hadn't thought of contacting the area rep.  I will do that and see if I can get more information or even get something new started.  Thanks for all of your feedback and support.  If you have any other ideas, please share!  :o)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Super Mom, I could have written this! My oldest is sixteen now. She and her brother do homeschool here in France because the local school has zero support for French-as-a-second-language students. Thus, their biggest challenge is isolation.

The younger kids have it easier learning French so their experience is very different.

My daughter Skypes and loves to make new friends. I'll message you.

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