Uganda (MNN) — It was Steph Davison’s first time on the African continent, let alone in Uganda. She was there recently with Deaf Bible Society to connect with local ministry partners, and she was especially looking forward to attending a Ugandan Deaf church service.
Initially, Davison says she thought a Deaf church service would be rather quiet. But as the team ascended the church building steps, she heard something that surprised her — drums.
“These people are rejoicing and praising and worshipping God as they know how to do. There is a drumbeat that is going and people are up front dancing and singing in sign language and just worshipping and praising God. It was such an amazing thing to see firsthand!”
Ugandan Deaf Christians are a close-knit group and Davison recounts their vivacity and connectedness as the Body of Christ were inspirational.
“The other thing that really stood out to me is the announcements. I mean, church announcements are pretty common, but I noticed within the Deaf church, this is a primary way they are receiving information. People are really paying attention to what is being signed and shared — fellowship nights that are coming up and other things that are happening within the church and how people can get involved [and] people who need help.
“Then they want to know who the new people are. And it’s not just this very passive ‘okay, raise your hand and we’ll get with you later’ kind of scenario. They bring you up on stage and you have to introduce yourself to everybody there because they want to know who you are. They want to know your story. They want to know how you found out about the church and who your family is and [if] you have friends in the church currently.”
The Ugandan Deaf church was also using Deaf Bible’s scriptural resources in Ugandan Sign Language. They had Deaf Bible materials on a DVD and showed it on the screen during their church service.
One of the biggest challenges to the Ugandan Deaf community at-large is they don’t have a full Bible translation in their sign language. In fact, not one sign language in the world has a complete translation of Scripture.
Deaf Bible Society is raising funds for the Ugandan Sign Language Bible translation through their year-end giving campaign, God’s Word Taking Root. Their ministry partner in Uganda is working on the translation and Deaf Bible has joined them in support.
“They are so excited about this work — and not just for Ugandan Sign Language! There are other sign languages they will eventually want to focus on, but their primary focus right now is on getting more of Scripture translated in Ugandan Sign Language.”
Deaf Bible is also sharing the stories of Ugandan Deaf Christians through their God’s Word Taking Root campaign.
“For me personally, just seeing how God is working in and among these people really challenged me in my own faith — just to see their passion and wanting more and this deep hunger they have for God’s Word.”
For example, Davison met a Deaf Christian woman in Uganda named Judith. Davison shares, “She kept again and again signing, ‘I need it in my language. This is my language. Ugandan Sign Language is my language.’… If she is able to have God’s Word in her language, she is going to interact with it more. It is going to transform her life even more because she is going to be able to mature in her faith.”
Please pray for the Deaf Christian community in Uganda to continue growing as a vibrant Body of Christ. Ask the Lord to accelerate Ugandan Sign Language Bible translation efforts.
You can also give to God’s Word Taking Root with Deaf Bible Society!
Deaf Bible Society’s mission is to provide God’s Word in every sign language. You can join them in working towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission among the Deaf.
Header photo courtesy of Deaf Bible Society.