Do you think all Deaf people can read? It’s a common misunderstanding. In fact, roughly 90% of Deaf people struggle with reading. It’s much easier for Deaf people to receive information in their heart sign language, and this also leads to true understanding.
A recent community testing session in Mozambique shows the importance sign language Scripture holds for Deaf communities.
When DOOR’s Deaf team finishes translating a portion of sign language Scripture, they take it to the Deaf community for testing. These “community tests” are intended to 1) expose the Deaf community to God’s Word and 2) show the DOOR team where any improvements are needed in their current translation.
Praveen, a Consultant-in-Training (CIT) working with the Mozambican Sign Language translation team, shared the following:
The community testing in Mozambique was an amazing thing. We would really like to thank DOOR and its partnering organizations for giving such a wonderful opportunity to the Mozambique Deaf community to interact with Scripture in their own language.
Most of the people who attended the community testing were non-believers and were seeing a Bible story for the first time in their life. As the test progressed, the non-believers started to get more excited and they wanted to know more about God.
There were a few believers in the group, and the passages were a revelation for them, too. The believers have learned most of the Bible stories from different sources; mainly their knowledge came from the hearing church, where they use an interpreter. The interpreted services confuse Deaf people because they are not able to understand which part is from the Bible and which is from the preacher.
Many times, they misunderstand the Scripture portions because of the additional information from the preacher, which the Deaf consider as Scripture. For example, when we showed the section from Mark 2:8-11, one believer asked, “Why are you changing the information? Jesus did not tell that man to get up and walk. He just thought that in his mind and it happened.”
When the CITs explained the Scripture to the Deaf believer, she was shocked. She had no idea that she had the wrong information! All along, she thought that Jesus just stood there without saying any words. She thought He made everything happen just by thinking it in His heart.
This is just one example of how Deaf people get confused, and why it is important to have Scripture in their heart language.
Less than 10% of the world’s 400+ sign languages have any portions of translated Scripture.
To support sign language Bible translation, click here and select “Translation” from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the Donate page.