International (MNN) — Approximately 95 percent of the world’s 400-plus sign languages have no Scripture. Thankfully, Deaf Bible Society notes significant progress in sign language Bible translation.
Deaf Bible Society’s Chantel Pagan says 28 sign languages now have Bible portions available 24-7 on the Deaf Bible App and website. Learn more about Deaf Bible Society here.
“It’s just been astounding to see God align strategic partnerships with translation organizations who are physically and actively working to excel in translations for sign languages around the world and provide that content to our Deaf Bible platform,” says Pagan.
“We’ve just been so astonished to see God’s hand at work amongst the Deaf community at large.”
Deaf communities around the world use more than 400 distinct sign languages. Having God’s Word in 28 of them may not seem like a big deal. However, this number is significant considering Deaf history.
American Sign Language – and the hundreds of other sign languages that exist worldwide – only gained recognition as a “real” language during the past century. Some governments still don’t officially recognize the sign language used by their Deaf communities.
Furthermore, sign language Bible translation work didn’t begin until the introduction of mainstream video recording tools. Many of the translations on Deaf Bible’s platform were created in the past 20 years.
Additionally, the Lord gathered 1,100 people from around the world to join Deaf Bible’s prayer movement during the past fiscal year. Find more details in Deaf Bible’s annual report.
“Everything that’s been accomplished this past fiscal year… has been accomplished because of partnership — not only partnerships with other organizations, but partnership with people who are advocating to see the Deaf community know Christ.”
It’s great progress, but there’s still a lot of work left. This is where you come in.
…with eyes on the horizon
In addition to the advancements described above, God grew Deaf Bible Society as an organization. The ministry’s headquarters relocated to another state, Pagan shares, and they added a new department. DBS also launched a new Deaf Bible platform “that is engaging the Deaf community in a more Deaf-centric way,” she describes.
“Those [developments] have helped to spur [us on] and encourage us to cast ‘God-sized’ goals this year.”
Pagan lists several goals Deaf Bible Society is aiming for in the coming fiscal year:
- 30 active sign language Bible translation projects;
- at least 40 sign languages with Bible content available on the Deaf Bible app and website;
- 544 Deaf individuals trained and equipped to engage their local community with God’s Word in sign language;
- 1,000 devices per sign language pre-loaded with content and distributed in Deaf communities;
- 20,000 active users regularly engaging with God’s Word in sign language; and,
- 1,500 prayer advocates.
“We know that God is able to help us achieve these goals,” she says, adding that the total cost of these objectives hovers somewhere around $8 million USD. Click here to help cover that sum.
“[Readers] and listeners of Mission Network News, we’re excited to have you partner in the ways of advocacy, but also in the way of ‘allyship’ – to come alongside Deaf people who have a place in the Kingdom.”
Header image courtesy of Deaf Bible Society.