Kenya (MNN) — A new Bible translation may well revolutionize outreach to the Deaf community.
Mike Toupin of The Seed Company recently returned home from the dedication of a new Bible translation project in Kenya.
"It's a sign language Bible that was actually recorded as a DVD so that those who are Deaf or hearing impaired can see in sign language someone signing out the Scriptures in their heart language," explains Toupin. "And that's the first time that's ever taken place, that we know of–probably in the history of the world, but certainly in the history of Africa."
Until now, the Deaf community in Kenya, which consists of about 220,000 to 250,000 people, has gone largely unreached with the Gospel. Many believe members of the Deaf or Deaf/Mute community to be cursed; many simply don't know how to communicate with them.
"These people [in the Deaf community] are incredibly marginalized with very little access to the Scriptures," says Toupin. "The vast majority never become literate in the national languages of English or Kiswahili, so they simply are pushed to the outskirts."
With the new Kenya Sign Language Scriptures, however, this is all changing. After a viewing of the sign language DVD at the dedication, one man was overjoyed to hear the Good News and asked why it hadn't come sooner. Another woman asked to receive Christ right there.
"The amazing thing about the Deaf community," Toupin adds, "is once folks capture something that's important to them, they have these incredible networks and ways of getting to one another where they spread the information quickly. So we expect there's going to be an incredible access not only to the Gospel, but also to teaching tools about the Gospel through the Kenya Sign Language Scriptures."
The Kenyan translation is not the full Bible, but it takes on the major points of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation with a special focus on the life of Christ. Before each new topic, there is an introduction about the background of the book; at the end of each segment, questions are asked to ensure comprehension and application of the Word.
The Kenya Sign Language Scriptures are certain to transform many in the Deaf community and show them that they are not cursed but are indeed very valuable in the eyes of Christ. The Seed Company has just introduced a similar project in India and hopes to continue these projects across the globe.
To learn more about how God is working in the Kenyan Deaf community, watch this video. Please continue praying that the Lord would use this outreach to build His kingdom.