Translating Scripture brings new understanding

The Deaf communities of Mozambique are waiting anxiously for sign language Scripture. A few months ago, DOOR International’s Deaf Mozambican translation team finished drafting the remaining stories in the first section of their Chronological Bible Translation. They finished a large portion of the second section, too.

The team returned to the DOOR campus last week after reviewing drafts of translated Scripture videos with Deaf communities in Mozambique. They were checking for clarity and the “naturalness” of signs that were used in the translation.

Even though the first set isn’t completely finished yet, it’s already transforming Deaf lives.

door international
Mozambican signer

One Deaf man on the translation team signs, “As a Deaf person, it was always confusing to know that there are many different spoken languages.

“I always wondered why hearing people sometimes were not able to understand what another person was saying, even though they were both speaking. The story of Babel was so interesting because it explained how and why God created the different languages.

“God is a great God who created all the languages and who understands all the languages.”

For a second Deaf Mozambican man, translating God’s Word changed his understanding of the Lord’s power:

Recently, I was drafting a passage from Luke 8 about a man with evil spirits who is tied up with chains. When he appears before Jesus, the man breaks all of his chains and tells who Jesus really is. This was amazing to me – how can a man break iron chains?!

Somehow, in my mind, he must’ve been able to break the chains because the evil spirit inside of him is more powerful than Jesus.

This was really shocking and scary information. I decided to talk with the Deaf consultant-in-training (CIT) about this confusion in my mind. He explained that the power of the evil spirit might be greater than the power of a man, but this power was not greater than Jesus. The evil spirit knows who Jesus is and it fears Jesus. Jesus has authority over the spirit but not the other way around; that is why the evil spirit obeys what Jesus says and fears Jesus.

The wrong understanding that I had blinded me and I was not able to understand what was really happening in the story. I am so thankful to God for helping me understand the real meaning and message of this passage.

Of the estimated 279,000 Deaf people in Mozambique, less than 2% know Christ. You can help change this reality by supporting DOOR International’s Mozambique Sign Language (MSL) Bible translation. At the bottom of the Donate page under “Additional Information,” select Translation from the drop-down menu and write “Mozambique” in the comments section.