USA (MNN) — As a global people group, the Deaf have been forgotten and overlooked by believers for thousands of years. Finally, the U.S. Church is becoming more aware of the global Deaf community and their need for sign language Scripture.
Last year on #GivingTuesday, Deaf Bible Society raised nearly $2,800 to fund Scripture engagement training in Uganda and the surrounding region. “We saw such a generous outpouring,” says Deaf Bible Society’s Chantel Pagan.
“[It] was just so encouraging to us that this year, we said ‘what more can we put in front of the giving community?’ What are the remaining languages that just haven’t received that much notice?”
This year, Deaf Bible Society is “upping the ante” on #GivingTuesday. Pagan says the group wants to raise $28,000 dollars to train Deaf leaders worldwide in Scripture engagement.
Why do the Deaf need Scripture engagement training?
There’s a critical need for sign language Scripture; less than 50 of the world’s 400+ sign languages have any portions of God’s Word. No sign languages have a complete Bible, and only American Sign Language has a complete New Testament.
Providing sign language Scripture is a great first step, but ministry efforts cannot stop there. Deaf Bible Society identified two additional necessities during “the last five years of… intense survey and research with [Deaf] communities around the world,” Pagan says.
First, Deaf need to see Bible content in their heart sign language. Second, “there needs to be some encouragement for Deaf communities [to] take ownership of that Scripture,” Pagan explains.
“For so long… the hearing community has impressed upon the Deaf that… printed text is superior and trumps a Bible in other languages, like [a] visual format for the Deaf.”
The training begins with correcting misperceptions, Pagan says, then moves on to “various factors that have impacted the Deaf community, owning and accepting Bible in their heart language, understanding how to use that and apply Scripture to our daily walk; also, how can I as an individual share that with others?”
How to support Deaf on #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is coming up on December 3. According to NonprofitsSource.com, the charitable movement has grown each year, rising from $10.1 million in 2012 to $380 million in 2018.
You could wait until December 3 to get involved – Pagan says there’s a matching gift for every donation on that day – or, you can take action now. Visit Deaf Bible Society’s #GivingTuesday page for more information or to make an online donation, Pagan suggests.
“Prayerfully consider [supporting] our efforts so that no Deaf person would be without a Bible in their heart language.”
Header image is a free resource courtesy of #GivingTuesday.org.