Eurasia (MNN) — Political and cultural lines divide nations and continents, but Eurasia is the world’s single largest landmass. It contains roughly 65-percent of the world’s 7 billion people, including millions of Deaf who have no access to God.
Deaf Bible Society is changing this through sign language Bible translation. Mike Brabo, Eurasia Field Coordinator for DBS, says they could use your help.
“Ask God how you may be part of the solution by providing funds and prayer… until all the Deaf in Eurasia shall see the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be able to grow in their faith and walk with God.”
Bible translation work in Eurasia
Deaf Bible Society funds and distributes Bible content in more than 25 sign languages. See the full list here. None of the world’s 400+ sign languages has a complete Bible, but DBS is working towards a global goal: God’s Word in Every Sign Language.
Deaf teams in Eurasia are currently translating God’s Word into four sign languages:
Brabo says they have more in mind for 2020, and it all begins with outreach. “We (Field Coordinators) make contact with Deaf Christians in a specific country to determine their interest,” he explains.
“As these conversations and the relationships develop, we then begin discussing [how to establish] a sign language Bible translation in their native language.”
A common assumption also presents a significant test for Deaf translators, Brabo adds.
“Probably the greatest challenge out there is the perception of the larger community that Deaf people are unable to accomplish much, that they’re just not able to accomplish anything – including translating the Word of God.”
How do Deaf translate God’s Word?
As noted here, Deaf people comprise a very small percentage of the global population. Deaf believers are even more rare – only an estimated two-percent of Deaf people know and follow Christ.
But God never fails to provide Deaf Christian communities with the people and resources they need to begin sign language Bible translations. DBS and its partners often serve as the catalyst.
“They (Deaf believers) choose their own team members, and then we come alongside and provide training and equipping for specific roles that are needed on the translation team,” Brabo explains.
“We encourage them to choose team members, particularly the translators and the team leader, who are actively maturing in their Christian faith. Ideally, persons who have grown up all their lives in the Deaf community and are fluent in the local sign language… having a teachable attitude is also crucial.”
Often, God “grows” and develops these believers over time. For example, one translator on the Romanian Sign Language team first met Brabo in 1990. He and his Deaf wife were part of a DOOR International team teaching local Deaf about evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.
“On an Easter Sunday, I preached on the resurrection and after the service, a Deaf man came up and he said, ‘I have never seen, never heard of the resurrection’,” Brabo recalls.
“Jesus, the dead guy who’s hanging on the cross, I see Him on crucifixes all over our country. Tell me more about this resurrection.”
The man became a believer after Brabo explained the Gospel in the man’s heart language – Romanian Sign Language. “Today, 25 years later, he’s a faithful pastor… and he is also a key part of the Romanian sign language Bible translation [team],” Brabo says.
“He knows the Word of God is powerful when it is viewed by Deaf individuals. So, he desires to see the Word of God in its entirety translated for all the Deaf of Romania to see and know our Lord Jesus.”
How can I help?
Ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage Deaf believers who are translating God’s Word into their heart sign language. Pray Deaf Bible Society and its partners will have the resources they need to train and equip national Deaf translation teams.
“Ask God to bless them, to equip them, to give them the tools and resources – spiritual and physical resources – needed [so] that they may accomplish all that God has in store for them,” Brabo asks.
“[Pray] that they may go translate the Word of God and… see their Deaf community transformed by the Gospel.”
Header image obtained via Wikimedia Commons.