Eurasia (MNN) – Deaf throughout Eurasia are learning that God “signs” – communicates using a sign language – and they can know Him by watching His Word.
“They have this mindset that they have to read a printed Bible, but that’s not in their first language. Their first language is sign language,” Jeremy Roe explains. Roe, a Deaf leader, works with Deaf Bible Society as the Sign Language Scripture Engagement Specialist for Eurasia.
Deaf people often feel they have to read a printed Bible to know God, he says. However, the truth is that God signs, too — His Word goes beyond the page.
“They (Deaf) don’t have to work so hard…to understand God.”
Reaching Deaf in Romania…
Collectively, the Deaf are one of the world’s largest unreached people groups. None of the world’s 400+ sign languages have a complete Bible, but technology and collaboration are changing the “status quo” in Eurasia.
In 2015, Wycliffe USA and SIL teamed up with local Deaf believers to translate God’s Word into Romanian Sign Language. Translation work officially began the following year, and Roe says team members celebrated the completion of some Scripture portions this summer.
Now, Roe and his local partners are training Deaf leaders in Scripture engagement.
“We bring them together for a week-long training, and [teach] them about how to serve in their community, how to reach out to the Deaf community,” he explains. “Our goal is to spread the translation work throughout the entire country.”
Scripture engagement matters because it teaches Deaf they CAN know God… and that He knows their heart language.
“A Deaf person whose heart language is sign language [who tries] to read printed words – it’s hard to understand,” Roe says.
“But, when they see the Scriptures in their heart language, they’re able to understand what is going on and know what is in the Bible.”
…and throughout Eurasia
Bible translation work is also underway in Catalan Sign Language and Bulgarian Sign Language. Roe says he’ll begin working with Deaf leaders in these communities once he completes his work with the Romanian Deaf.
“It really felt like God wanted me to come and help them (DBS) spread God’s Word to all of the people within the Deaf communities…[and] it’s been great,” Roe says, describing his transition from U.S. to international Deaf ministry.
Support sign language Bible translation work in Eurasia here through DBS. Most importantly, pray. “Pray that Deaf people in Eurasia would begin their Bible studies by watching God’s Word in their heart language,” Roe requests.
Pray Eurasia Deaf will realize “they don’t have to read the printed Bible… they can watch it (Scripture) in their heart language and develop that relationship with Christ.”
Header image courtesy of Wycliffe Global Alliance. The Deaf Romanian Sign Language translation team signs, “Jesus loves you.”