Deaf hearts and lives change when they encounter the Gospel. This is true for both Deaf translators and unreached Deaf people.
DOOR’s Deaf translators from South Sudan recently translated a narrative from Genesis 39: the testing of Joseph by Potiphar’s wife. The passages had an amazing impact on the Deaf team. Learn more about the translation process here.
One of the Deaf translators, John, was especially moved.
Deaf translators gain understanding
John remained completely attentive as he learned the passages for the first time. Then, he repeatedly practiced signing and recording the translation in front of the green screen. Memorizing the Scriptures and signing them in his heart language deepened his understanding of sex and morality.
John later shared the following:
“As a Deaf person growing up in South Sudan and Uganda, my worldview has always been that women are hard to find for sex, and have to be chased until found. I grew up believing that a man cannot reject any sexual advancement of a woman.
“This story has deeply challenged my assumption. I see how a Godly man is supposed to approach sexual matters. I realize sex is an honorable practice for married people only. I know this story will have a big impact among Deaf people in South Sudan; it will help us see that sex is sin against God and should never be entertained or allowed outside the context of marriage.
“I am so glad to be among the first Deaf people to see this truth from God’s Word in sign language. I pray it will bring the much-needed transformation among many other Deaf in South Sudan, as it did to me.”
A second Deaf translator shared, “Joseph’s ability to overcome such pressure to sin amazed me. As we reviewed the community-tested draft, I was again encouraged and it lifted my faith. I have prayed several times that God will give me the ability to overcome sin like He gave to Joseph.”
Sign language affirmed
Later, the Deaf translators reviewed passages on the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). After translation segments have been brought to the Deaf community for “testing,” Deaf translators review the segments to see what needs to be changed or re-recorded.
During the review of Genesis 11, Caesar exclaimed, “If God is the author of languages as we see in this Bible passage; then all languages are equal and important. Sign language is equally important too. Right?” Everyone in the room answered, “Yes, yes!”
The translation team continued the discussion later, and they now hold South Sudanese Sign Language in high regard. They see it as having equal value to spoken languages because God is the author of all language.
The Deaf translators are nearly done with the first section of the Chronological Bible Translation, “Know God How?” They hope to complete it this fall. Once published, it will be the first Scripture ever produced in South Sudanese Sign Language.