USA (MNN) — Every day, Deaf individuals navigate a world that can’t always communicate with them or understand their walk of life. This can be very isolating. However, thousands of Deaf folks are expected to gather this weekend for a celebration of Deaf heritage, culture, and unity!
The Deaf Celebration Expo of North Texas will take place on September 29th in Dallas, Texas. There will be 81 vendors including Deaf businesses, Deaf churches, Deaf performers, and more.
JR Bucklew, president of Deaf Bible Society, says their ministry will also be at Deaf Celebration. “We get really excited when we see events like the Deaf Celebration of [North] Texas because it provides us with a really intimate way to connect with the community at large.
“When you walk into this ballroom and everyone there can communicate in your language and you walk up to a church and you’re engaging with someone and you’re asking them questions in American Sign Language…I mean, talk about a weight off your shoulders.”
Deaf Bible Society supports sign language Bible translation efforts and also provides free access to Scripture and biblical resources in sign languages.
Unfortunately, Deaf people are largely unreached with the Gospel. Many don’t even know there is Scripture in American Sign Language.
At Deaf Celebration, Bucklew says Deaf Bible’s goal among the Deaf community is to “help them see there is a Bible in American Sign Language, how they can engage with it or access it, [and] engage with other churches or businesses. [We] also show this initiative of translating the Bible in sign languages and distributing it to the Deaf community is not outside of the broader vision of the Deaf community for equal rights.
“It’s a place where we say, yes, this is for me, this is for my community, this is for my language group, my people. What we sprinkle into that is that it is, and the Gospel is also for you too and the Gospel can be accessed in your language, and yes, God does speak to us in American Sign Language.”
Bucklew encourages hearing Christians to spend time with Deaf communities. Those in the Dallas area could even go to Deaf Celebration and connect with Deaf Bible Society!
“Going to an event like this is going to be extremely scary if you have no exposure to Deaf people or the sign language community, but you should probably do it. Feel the weight of not knowing what’s going on because you’re the only one who is not communicating in the majority language. Experience the weight of seeing all these services and things being provided without knowing what is really happening. Maybe walk up to a Deaf church and not really be able to get all the information. That’s huge because that’s an experience that the opposite experiences every day.”
With a chuckle, Bucklew adds, “But then be sure to go find our booth and say, ‘Hey guys, I’m here because JR told me to be here. Now…help me out here!’ And then our team will certainly do that! If you have the ability to go, I would say go. It will be a good experience.”
You never know how God is going to move your heart or open a door for the Gospel.
“It changes the way we pray, it changes the way we give, and it changes the way we go.”
There are several other ways Christians can come alongside Deaf Bible Society’s ministry. First, you can pray that through them, Deaf men and women in the United States and around the world would know the profound love of their Heavenly Father.
You can also support Deaf Bible Society financially! Bucklew points out, although their Deaf Bible app is free for people to use, it is not free to produce and maintain.
“We really need more people to come on board with us and say, ‘You know what? I want to make sure a Deaf person has the Bible because I have ten in my house and most Deaf people don’t even know that one exists.
“So I would say not only pray for the event, pray for the people going, but also pray and see if the Lord would have you give to us.”
If you would like to give to Deaf Bible Society, click here!
Header photo courtesy of Deaf Bible Society