The latest news out of South Sudan isn’t good. Yet, DOOR translators are pressing on to finish the task.
Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch reported widespread ethnic clashes and human rights violations in and around the western city of Wau. Abuses initiated by government soldiers following their arrival in December 2015 have caused tens of thousands of people to flee.
“With all eyes on the new national unity government in Juba, government soldiers have been literally getting away with murder in the country’s western regions,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
South Sudan is no stranger to violence. Born in 2011, the world’s newest nation has been unofficially “at war” with Sudan since 2013. Fighting between tribal groups in South Sudan adds another layer of instability.
All-in-all, approximately 2.3 million people have had to flee their homes in the past three years, according to UNHCR. Some 678,000 people are living across borders as refugees, and 1.69 million are internally displaced.
“We ask for prayers for the South Sudan team members who are working in Kenya,” requests Francis**, a deaf DOOR consultant-in-training (CIT) working with the South Sudanese translation team. “They have left their families back in South Sudan.
“Pray for God’s grace and protection, remembering that Sudan has been a war zone area for a very long time, and that most of these families are still traumatized.”
The wives and children of two DOOR translators are living as refugees; one family is in Egypt, and the other in a town on the Kenya-Uganda border. One of the translators has family still within South Sudan; they have been displaced and now live in different parts of the country. All of these families need your prayers, and so do the DOOR team members.
The South Sudan team began work at DOOR Africa’s training center in Kenya in May 2015. The project isn’t expected to reach completion until 2019, which means the translators will spend another three years away from their families. Please pray for God’s grace upon the team, and strength to be away from their loved ones for such an extended period of time.
Even though the South Sudan project is new, it’s already demonstrating the power of the Gospel. God’s Word in South Sudan Sign Language is transforming the hearts of translators and community members.
“Since I started Bible translation in South Sudan Sign Language, my hunger for God’s Word has grown a lot,” says a member of the translation team. “In the past, reading God’s Word was a task that was too heavy for me to bear. Now, I enjoy watching the passages we are translating.
“It is interesting for me because God communicates to us in the form of stories. As a Deaf person, stories are part of my daily life.”
When sign language Scriptures were community tested (a process that shows Deaf community members the draft version of a translation to make sure it is clear, accurate, natural, and acceptable), the passages found in Exodus 3 had a strong impact on the Deaf.
“For the first time in my life I have become aware that it is God who made me; that I am not less important than other people,” signed one Deaf woman, after watching the conversation between God and Moses at the burning bush. A DOOR field worker adds, “Many of them, for the first time, felt important.
“God told Moses that He created all manner of people, particularly the Deaf. This made them feel significant in God’s eyes and equal with other people, rather than just being accidents.”
This knowledge of worth is lacking throughout the Deaf community. Partner with us here to help DOOR translators finish the South Sudan Sign Language translation, bringing God’s Truth to the Deaf of South Sudan. In the “Comments” box near the end of the form, please enter “South Sudan Project.”
** – Names have been changed to protect identity.