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Growing in Christ through sign language

By December 16, 2015
(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Bible Translators)

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Bible Translators)

Romania (Wycliffe Bible Translators) — The need is great for the Scriptures among sign language communities where it is estimated that only 1% of Deaf people worldwide attend a church. Wycliffe and its primary partner in language development, SIL International, are committed to partnering with local, regional, and global organizations to build capacity in sign language communities for the pursuit of their language development and translation goals.

The Key to Opening Hearts to Christ

In Romania, the vast majority of Deaf may be familiar with some of the visual aspects of their parents’ religion, but because of a lack of a common language with their parents, they do not understand their parents’ religion well. Many do not understand much about doctrine, so it typically doesn’t affect their daily life.

When interpretation is provided for a spoken message, the beliefs presented may influence Deaf people’s lives; however, even with interpretation, the message is often not clearly understood. When the Deaf have access to and can understand Bible passages which are translated clearly and naturally in their own sign language, they are open to a relationship with Jesus and are eager to grow in their Christian faith and service.

Interpreted church services encouraged the beginning of Deaf congregations; however, their growth was stunted since they did not have Scripture recorded in their sign language.

Volunteer Power

There is still much work to be done to make the Scriptures available in the many signed languages around the world. Romania is no exception. Consider that Romanian Sign Language is not the only signed language used in the country; in fact, Romanian Sign Language itself has three different major varieties! But despite the challenges, there is encouraging news.

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Bible Translators)

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Bible Translators)

A Deaf translation team is committed to the task of making God’s Word in Romanian Sign Language available more quickly. Two translators who were volunteering over the summer have started working more hours. Even more wonderful is that, in August, both of these translators were baptized! By God’s grace this translation team, which has three total members, is now working to translate passages from Genesis.

Various organizations are also working together to enable these Deaf volunteers in Romania to work on Bible translation. These partners have provided a translation office and studio, publicity, and help with the technical aspects of the work. In addition, Deaf churches are getting involved and encouraging members to evangelize. One church holds a weekly Deaf Bible study.

• Please pray for many people to commit to pray for this project. Increased prayer support is needed from other Romanian churches and from other Deaf Christian communities in Romania.

• Pray for more Deaf to feel called to work with the translation project. Since the work is on a volunteer basis, there are, at the moment, not many Deaf who have time available.

Pray for wisdom in planning further training for team members. Pray too, that the team will get into a better work flow.

• Pray for adequate funding for the project so that good progress can be made.

• Praise God for collaboration! Pray for God’s continued leading as the translation team, Deaf and Hearing churches, and other organizations work together to plan a translation project that will make God’s Word available and see it being used in Romanian Sign Language.

Make a Prayer Connection: Pray for and send an online note of encouragement to Martha Granderson, who is new member of Wycliffe starting out into Sign Language work as an intern in Romania.

See original article here.

One Comment

  • Joel Burkum says:

    Hi,
    For several years, starting back in the ’90s, I worked with a group of deaf Christians from Cluj, Romania, doing Bible translation in Romanian Sign Language. At that time, I was working with Deaf Missions in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and we had started the ASL version of the Bible which has been an ongoing project since 1982. [Deaf Missions hopes to finish translation of the entire Bible by the year 2020.] My work with deaf folks in Romania was not directly connected with Deaf Missions, but was definitely influenced and helped by Deaf Missions’ work. We completed several large passages of Scripture translation in Romanian sign language which I think you can access through Deaf Missions. In the course of our work in Romania, we learned a great deal about Romanian sign language (which was just beginning to be standardized at that time) and also recorded an RSL dictionary of signs. I would love to see deaf Romanians have God’s Word translated into good RSL, and I’ll be interested to see how your project moves along. When I was working with our little team of translators, we tried to keep in contact with the Societatea Biblica Interconfesionala in Bucharest, which graciously allowed us to work and video in their facilities for several years. May God bless your efforts.

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