Sign language Scripture leads to reconciliation

DOOR International’s Deaf Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) translation team often travels to nearby Deaf villages to hold “community testing” sessions. Community testing is intended to 1) bring Scripture to the Deaf community and 2) show the DOOR team where any improvements are needed in their current translation.

The following account was signed by James Kinuthia, a member of the KSL team:

“One Sunday, my colleagues and I traveled to Eldoret county in Kenya to conduct community testing for one week. We had recently completed a section of Deaf Translators’ Notes, and were bringing the Scriptures to a local Deaf community to make sure that the signs we used were clear and natural.

“Upon our arrival, we were shocked to realize the two Deaf churches in the area couldn’t agree about anything. They were acting like rivals.

“Each Deaf church wanted us to meet in their location. Each church thought they were superior to the other. Holding our meetings in either of the churches would be dangerous, because it would imply that we favored one church over the other. So, we met with Deaf leaders from both of the churches.

“At the meeting, we shared the Bible story found in Philippians 4:2-3 — an exhortation by Paul to Euoda and Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Paul also asks his faithful friend to help these two women, both of whom had served with him in telling the Good News and whose names are written in the Book of Life.

“However, even after reviewing and discussing the passage, the two Deaf churches were still in disagreement. We asked the Deaf leaders to reflect on the plea for harmony. In the meantime, we agreed to use one of Deaf churches for community testing and began the following day.

“Two days later, leaders of the rival churches were touched as we tested the commentary part for Philippians 4:2-3. Because the commentary segment is in Kenyan Sign Language, the content took on new meaning to the Deaf. As they saw the Scriptures in their heart sign language, Deaf leaders reached a new level of understanding. The two churches’ leaders and members confessed their sin to one another and forgave each other.

“We are thankful to God for the way His Word is touching people’s hearts and meeting real needs.”

  • Praise God for the ways He is transforming Deaf lives.

  • Please continue to pray for these two Deaf churches.

Less than 10% of the world’s 400+ sign languages have any portions of translated Scripture.

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