‘Muchas gracias, Commissioner’

Thanks to Knaggs’ vision and Rosetta Stone, Western officers are learning new languages.

By Jeff Martin, Major

The Salvation Army Western Territory, working directly with Rosetta Stone, implemented an online platform so that officers can learn the language of their choice.

At the officers’ councils held during the Gathering (the 2012 Western territorial congress), Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs challenged Western officers to learn a second language. Many officers responded immediately, accepting a free Rosetta Stone course. So many rose to the challenge that Knaggs asked the territorial education department to facilitate a method to turn the dream of learning a second language into a reality; hence, the partnership with Rosetta Stone.

“The whole idea is to increase our ability to reach more people for Jesus, and in their language,” Knaggs said. “Rosetta Stone helps us with basic language. It’s up to the officer to apply their learning to lead others to hope, help and healing in the name of God.”

The majority of officers are studying Spanish, but some are also learning Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, German, Tagalog, and English as a second language. Although only a few officers are studying English as a second language, they have already logged more than 54 hours. At this point, 140 officers are enrolled in the program, spending over 700 hours in language study with more than 460 of those hours in Spanish.

Several of the West’s Spanish-speaking officers agreed to be Spanish helpers for those learning the language. Major Randy Kinnamon, who has been studying Spanish longer than most, used Rosetta Stone to polish his skills. He then teamed with Major Gil Roman, who helped him by reviewing a sermon that Kinnamon wrote in Spanish and later preached successfully at the Santa Cruz (Calif.) Corps.

Knaggs himself accepted the challenge and is diligently learning Spanish through Rosetta Stone.

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