The Americas (MNN) — A significant gap remains in reaching the global Deaf community for Christ. Less than two-percent of Deaf people know Him as Lord. None of the world’s 400+ sign languages has a complete Bible.
Deaf Bible Society works alongside sign language Bible translators to close the Scripture gap. As the Americas Field Coordinator for DBS, Azael BuPerry– a Deaf man – ensures everyone is on the same page.
“Wycliffe, I believe all of them can hear,” BuPerry says through a female interpreter.
“It’s hard (for them) to have direct communications with the Deaf community and especially with the translation team.”
Language barriers between Deaf and hearing people prove a constant challenge, as discussed previously here. BuPerry serves as a liaison between Deaf translators in the Americas and the non-Deaf support team connected to each project.
Why is sign language Scripture important?
Deaf Bible Society currently works alongside Wycliffe USA and The Seed Company to translate God’s Word into the sign languages of Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, and Brazil. Next year, they hope to expand and start new translation work in Ecuador, Guatemala, the Dominion Republic, and Costa Rica.
Multiple Spanish and English versions of the Bible are available for free on platforms like BibleGateway.com. However, written text doesn’t quite meet the spiritual needs of Deaf communities.
Sign language Scripture is so critical because it unlocks understanding for the Deaf, BuPerry explains.
“I can read and write in English, and I can understand it. But, when I actually watch the Scriptures in my heart language, (American Sign Language) I can clearly understand what the Scriptures are saying.”
He compares the language difference to eating soup with a fork.
“If we’re trying to eat a bowl of soup with a fork, you can taste it but you don’t actually get to have all of it. So, it’s better to eat a bowl of soup with a spoon because then you get all of the food,” BuPerry says.
“It’s just like reading the Scriptures. If you’re able to see in your heart language, then you get all of the Word.”
How can I help?
Ongoing prayer and financial support are critical to “closing the Scripture gap” in the Americas. Click here to get started.
“It’s going to be a long time before we finish [all the translation work],” BuPerry says.
“Pray that we are able to at least start these projects for all of the Americas.”
Header image courtesy of aitoff via Pixabay.