Int’l (MNN) – 2019 brought many milestones for DOOR International. From translated Scripture to newly certified Bible Translation Consultants, God was at work. Rob Myers, president of DOOR International, recounts four major changes and successes of the last year.
1. New Translation Work
God did great work through translation this year, especially for Deaf language groups. Most Deaf people do not have Scripture in their heart language.
Myers says, “Many people are unaware that there are there’s more than one sign language. In fact, there’s 350 to 400 different sign languages around the world. And close to 90% or more of those sign languages have no published scripture right now. So, there’s a huge need, just in terms of resources.”
But praise God, this year two new Deaf language groups received Scripture.
“We saw two language groups, two Deaf communities receive a full portion of Scripture, the full significant portion of Scripture, for the first time: Mozambique sign language and South Sudan sign language.” Myers continues, “And these constitute almost 500,000 deaf people who up until that point really only had very, very small portions of Scripture.”
2. Church Planting in Asia
After years of working with and training local leaders in several restricted Asian countries, 2019 saw twelve new people head into two difficult countries as Gospel workers.
Myers says, “So even if people don’t know what countries those are, God does. And so people can be praying for those new church planters that are on the field, working among people who, in one case, less than .1% of the Deaf population in that country are Christians [or] know anything about the Gospel. So prayers will be appreciated. There’s a there’s a huge need out there but God is raising up workers.
3. Certified Translation Consultants
Checking translation work is an incredibly important task. Consultants must determine if the translated Scripture is clear, accurate, natural and acceptable. The work requires an in-depth knowledge of the languages and of Scripture. However, that can be hard to find.
“Within Deaf communities up until April of this year, it was incredibly limited,” Myers says. “It was—the number of translation consultants who were fluent in a sign language and approved to check sign language translations was less than 10 worldwide. And we were able to knight, to commission, 15 new translation consultants in April of this year.”
4. Growing Exposure in Hearing Communities
Deaf communities and the need for Scripture in sign languages has gotten attention in 2019 in a new way. People are seeing the need and the Church is prioritizing reaching Deaf communities with the Gospel.
“Finishing the Task this year in early December had an incredible Deaf focus to it. And there was a coming together of a number of organizations to say, let’s see this. Let’s see Deaf communities reached in 2020 and beyond with the Gospel, and that’s something we’re looking forward to in the coming year.”
What’s in Store for 2020?
2019 was an exciting year, but there is more to come. Myers sees the Church really stepping up Deaf ministries in 2020. DOOR is also looking forward to new and exciting opportunities. Myers asks for prayers for wisdom for DOOR leadership as they try to connect with indigenous leaders and decide what opportunities to pursue.
DOOR is exceptionally excited for progress in their training program for indigenous leaders, called “2-by-2 teams”.
“And we’ve been training. We currently have almost 50 different teams out on the field: pairs of indigenous Deaf leaders working in their communities to share the gospel and plant churches. And we’re looking at potentially expanding that program. Because there are more communities, there are more leaders.”
Please pray for the wisdom of DOOR’s leaders as they pursue new Deaf people groups. Please also pray for the effectiveness of Christian workers as they go into difficult places.
“And we emphasize again and again that these communities that we work in have been cut off from the Gospel for thousands of years. And that’s a huge spiritual stronghold, that that can only be overcome by prayer. So your prayers are incredibly significant and important.”
If you would like to learn about more ways to partner with DOOR or contribute financially to the spread the Gospel among unreached Deaf groups, click here.
All photos courtesy of DOOR International.