The Deaf in African countries wait for God’s Word

By December 14, 2016

Africa (MNN) — You know that feeling of joy you get when someone else is delighted by a gift you’ve given them? Their eyes light up with gratitude at the thoughtfulness that went into such a present. Giving a gift often feels better even than receiving one, knowing you’ve had a positive impact in the life of a loved one.

(Screen capture courtesy of Deaf Bible Society)

(Screen capture courtesy of Deaf Bible Society)

JR Bucklew, President and CEO of the Deaf Bible Society shares one such special moment of giving a priceless gift — God’s Word — and the reaction it elicited.

The encounter was with a Deaf man in Kenya who works as a tailor. Bucklew was with the Africa Coordinator for Deaf Bible Society, Simon, at a marketplace in Nairobi, Kenya when they met with the man.

“Such an incredible story. You have a man who makes cultural dresses, makes other clothes, but works in a marketplace just off the south side of one of the slums in Nairobi. This guy, he doesn’t have much. He has a smartphone and it’s cracked and it looks like it’s been through some experiences, if you will. We come up to this guy and Simon just starts engaging with him.”

(Screen capture courtesy of Deaf Bible Society)

(Screen capture courtesy of Deaf Bible Society)

The Deaf man started asking Simon through Kenyan Sign Language, “Do you have more of the things?” While Bucklew didn’t understand what “things” he meant, Simon knew what the man was asking.

“All of a sudden, Simon pulls out this little bag from his pocket, and it’s a little baggie filled with micro-SD cards. This was the best deal I had seen in the marketplace that day. He pulls out this little bag of micro-SD cards, and the guy’s face lights up. [Simon] takes out one of those little cards and hands it to him. Immediately he runs over and he pulls out his phone, he plugs this micro-SD card in and the Bible starts playing.”

Bucklew pauses, then continues, “He just loses track of time as he watches from where he left off before he gave away his last micro-SD card. He starts talking about how he brings Deaf people in this marketplace together every week to engage with Scripture.”

Deaf Bible Society's Africa Coordinator, Simon, and a Kenyan man watch the Deaf Bible in Kenyan Sign Language. (Screen capture courtesy of Deaf Bible Society)

Deaf Bible Society’s Africa Coordinator, Simon, and a Kenyan man watch the Deaf Bible in Kenyan Sign Language. (Screen capture courtesy of Deaf Bible Society)

By giving the gift of God’s Word to Deaf people in African countries like Kenya, it starts a ripple effect of those individuals then sharing that gift with others.

“Just to see such a hunger for the Word of God, so many Deaf people around the world, especially in Africa, don’t have access to anything in their Sign Language. So there’s already a passion to say, ‘We just want to see something in our language.’ Then when it’s presented to them, it’s the Bible, it’s the Word of God, it’s the book that tells the story of Christ, and they can see it and they can engage with it and their lives are just transformed.”

All of this is why, this Christmas season, Deaf Bible Society is specifically tackling more Deaf Bible projects for Sign Languages in multiple African countries. They already have Sign Languages like Nigerian, Ethiopian, Ghanaian, and Ugandan with recorded portions of Scripture. Click here to see the full list.

“This Christmas, we’re excited to be able to provide hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of Deaf people in Africa with the Bible in their Sign Language, a Bible they can have personally, that they can engage with, so they can come to a knowledge of who Christ is and have a personal relationship with Him.”

(Photo courtesy of Deaf Bible Society via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy of Deaf Bible Society via Facebook)

Bucklew explains, “This window of opportunity has been given to us right now where we can go into Deaf schools, Deaf organizations, places that aren’t typically religious who are open to us coming with the Bible in a specific Sign Language — Kenyan Sign Language, Ugandan, Nigerian, South African — where we can go in [and] equip these non-religious places to broadcast the Bible to Deaf people they come in contact with.”’

Gift-giving during the Christmas season is meant to be a symbol of the best present — God’s gift of Himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Consider celebrating this Christmas by sharing the message of that Gift with a Deaf person in an African country.

The Deaf Bible Society makes sure your gift goes a long way too. Just $47 pays for 25 micro-SD cards loaded with a Deaf Bible. You can click here to give!

But it’s not about “give-and-forget” either. In addition to your Christmas gift, Deaf Bible Society encourages you to continue to pray for the Gospel going out to Deaf people around the world.

“We’re excited about prayer,” says Bucklew. “We know that prayer is key to us reaching the Deaf with the Gospel. We can come up with any strategy we want, and if we have excluded God from that strategy, it will not be successful. You can actually text pray to 444-999 and you’ll be added to our weekly prayer list.”

Every week, Deaf Bible Society sends out a text message prayer alert related to ministry projects, staff, or general prayer requests for the Great Commission. It’s a reminder to you then to take a minute to join with everyone else in that prayer group and lift that prayer request to God.

To learn more, Bucklew encourages, “go to and watch the videos, hear the stories, and see how God might have you partner with us.”

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