photo on pg 252
(excerpts from pgs 236-240 - 2008 Yearbook)
"Although Russian was the dominant language of commerce and education in the Soviet Union, about 150 other languages were spoken. In 1991, after the breakup of the Soviet Union into 15 countries, interest in the truth among many speaking those languages was stimulated particularly in the newly independent lands. In harmony with Revelation 14:6, a concentrated effort was made to reach people of "every nation and tribe and tongue and people" within this vast territory. This has made it neccessary to produce The Watchtower in 14 new languages in the Russia branch territory to provide spiritual food for tens of thousands of new disciples. To facilitate the spread of the good news, the Russia branch office supervises the translation of literature into over 40 languages, enabling Bible truth to touch hearts more quickly and more deeply than ever before.
The majority of these languages are spoken within the Russian Federation. For example, one can hear Ossetian spoken on the streets of Beslan and Vladikavkaz; Buryat, related to Mongolian, in the area around Lake Baikal; Yakut, an Altaic-Turkic language, spoken by reindeer herders and other inhabitants of the Far East; and about 30 other languages in Caucasia. After Russian, Tatar is the largest language group in Russia with more than five million speaking it, particularly in the area know as Tatarstan. Tatar speakers are often willing to read Tatar literature, though few accept literature in Russian...
In Vladikavkaz, there was only one Ossetian-speaking congregation and at circuit assemblies and district conventions, none of the talks were translated into Ossetian. In 2002, however, talks were translated for the first time. The Ossetian-speaking brothers were overjoyed! Even those who knew Russian well said that hearing the Bible message in their native language touched their heart. This contributed to the spiritual growth of the congregation and attracted many Ossetians to the truth. In 2006, a circuit was organized in Ossetia, and Ossetia-language circuit assemblies were held for the first time...
There is a large population of foreign students in the city of Voronezh. In 2000 a Chinese-speaking ministerial servant organized some informal Chinese-language courses. Many Witnesses responded to the need and began to preach to Chinese students. Chinese is an extremely difficult language, but the brothers did not give up. In February 2004 the first Chinese book study was organized in the city...As the good news reaches all parts of this vast field, the Russia branch continues to respond to requests for more literature in more languages."
*even right here in our own backyard, there is a large foreign language field that needs help. The last stats I heard for Arizona were that there are apprx 30 different languages spoken in the state, and of those, 16 foreign language groups or congregations have been formed now. (thats including sign language and very difficult ones such as Chinese & Arabic. And of course Navajo, -a language so difficult that Japanese code-breakers during WWII couldn't even crack it!) Just about a month ago, I heard from a pioneer living on the reservation in northern AZ, that the English-speaking congregation up there needs help also.
-You don't even have to travel to a foreign country anymore to be a missionary! lol =)