International (MNN) — What would your life look like if you couldn’t attend church? What if you didn’t have God’s Word in your heart language? This is the reality for Deaf people around the world, and Deaf Bible Society is stepping in to help.
Through an interpreter, Deaf Bible Society’s Director of Technology, Scott DeLoach, tells MNN the Deaf Bible app and Deaf Church Where? website now work together. Click here to see a beta version of the Deaf Bible app integration.
“We’re really hoping that the two apps will work in tandem and encourage more Deaf people to be involved and engaged with our products,” DeLoach says.
Why is this important?
Many Deaf people in the West can read English Bibles. However, since it is a translation of a spoken language, Deaf will not connect with it on the same level as sign language Scripture. Deaf Bible Society’s Deaf Bible app provides free and easy access to Scripture portions in many of the different sign languages used around the world. This way, Deaf people can receive the promises of Christ.
However, communication barriers often mean that Deaf believers are stuck in isolation. They may have Scripture access, but many lack a local church family. “(Deaf) People in general don’t oftentimes go to church. Maybe because they don’t know where the church is; or, they think [the church is] not going to have an interpreted service,” DeLoach explains.
“[Deaf have] very limited options as opposed to people who can hear, [who] can pick any church you want.”
Now, thanks to the Deaf Church Where? integration, believers can search for and find the closest Deaf-friendly church through the Deaf Bible app. The process also works in reverse, DeLoach says. Deaf people may be using the Deaf Church Where? website, but didn’t realize there was sign language Scripture.
Thanks to the integration, “they can then click the Deaf Bible icon and it’s then going to open up the website, and they’ll see, ‘Oh, they actually do have a sign language Bible!’,” DeLoach says.
Deloach’s team also made a number of improvements to the backend of the Deaf Bible app. Previously, making Scripture accessible on the Deaf Bible app was a very time-intensive process requiring lots of step-by-step manual work.
Now, however, DeLoach’s team can get completed translations to users of the app much sooner. Deaf Bible Society also added a full-time employee to focus on content management, which further helps to get translations and videos out faster.
“I don’t want them to have to wait months at a time, or weeks at a time, to get the content. I want them to get it as soon as we get it,” DeLoach says.
How to help
Whether you’re Deaf or not, you can help Deaf Bible Society provide God’s Word in every sign language. “We always need prayer,” DeLoach says.
“Your help through prayer and financial support really helps us get God’s Word out in sign language.”
Furthermore, “we have various campaigns to raise funds for targeted languages,” he says. “The translation team is really reliant on those funds and contributions to help expedite their work.”
Please pray that God would use the Deaf Church Where? platform to grow churches around the world, and that many would receive the Gospel through the Deaf Bible app. To learn more or to give, click here.
Header image courtesy of Deaf Bible Society via Facebook.