International (MNN) — Yesterday, we began a conversation about Deaf Scripture engagement. Today, the discussion broadens from US Deaf believers to the international Deaf community.
Only about 2% of the global Deaf community has a relationship with Christ. Donna Valverde-Hummel is one of those Deaf believers. She’s part of a Deaf Bible Society team teaching Deaf Christians how to utilize sign language Scripture.
“In the US, they’ve had interpreters, sign language resources, to help them understand the printed Bible… this time it’s different,” Valverde-Hummel explains.
“We’re asking them to move aside the printed Bible and interact directly with [the] sign language Bible.”
The Scripture engagement team wants all Deaf believers to know how to interact with God’s Word in their heart sign language. However, “It’s such a huge, urgent need to get out there and reach those international communities. Just yesterday we were talking about Moldova, Romania, India… Africa, South Africa Sign Language…
“It’s a beautiful question: who comes first? They all come first. They’re all like, ‘hey! Deaf Bible Society, come here! We want to know what to do with Scripture!’ It’s a great problem to have.”
Trial run: India
Demand is high, but meeting that demand isn’t easy. “You can’t just develop something and then go to another country and say, ‘hey, take this curriculum and use it’,” she notes.
“Deaf culture is different there. Their language is different, and sometimes we find in one country there [are] four or five different sign languages.”
The team isn’t hindered by obstacles. Instead, they’re actively looking for opportunity. “We’re responding to needs on an ‘as-needed’ and [availability] basis,” Valverde-Hummel says.
“If we have a language that we can work with and someone on the ground, we’ll work with them. Right now, it’s India.”
Working through a Deaf Bible coordinator in India, the Scripture engagement team is introducing their current curriculum to local Deaf this month. Community feedback will help the team tailor their curriculum to fit specific needs and preferences.
Please uphold the Scripture engagement team in your prayers. Pray this training will help Deaf Christians draw closer to God.
“We really believe in prayer here at Deaf Bible Society. We have prayer campaigns that you can sign up for.”
Header image courtesy of stokpic via Pixabay.