In Tanzania, a small group of deaf people started translating the Bible into sign language.
The Biblia ya Lugha ya Alama Tanzania (BILAT) produces videos about teachings in the Bible. In the videos, a presenter carefully narrates a Bible story, supported with images and illustrations, The Citizen reports.
BILAT was founded in 2004 and since then has produced 15 DVDs, covering over 144 topics from the Bible. The team has distributed the Biblical DVDs and memory cards to deaf communities in the country.
“Following the study we carried out, it was found that most deaf people are not acquainted to the spiritual life and this was caused by the fact that they were using the Bible that is not in their medium of communication,” said Sensor Joseph, Chairman of BILAT.
Joseph, who is also the Senior Researcher in the sign language Bible, said the Bible is translated by topic and not in sequence. “For example, you select three scriptures on how God has created the universe, three on how sin came to earth, three scriptures on salvation and so on.”
Meantime, the Deaf Bible Society revealed that there are 70 million deaf people worldwide, and less than 2% of them know the Bible, Mission Network News reports.
JR Bucklew, president of the organization, said many deaf people are unaware of the Bible because it’s not introduced to them.
They may have hearing parents, but most of the parents never learn how to communicate with their deaf children using sign language. This prevents the sharing of the Gospel and other amazing Biblical stories such as David and Goliath, or Adam and Eve.
The Deaf Bible Society started celebrating June 11 as the World Deaf Day of Prayer. This is a call for people to pray for the disadvantaged members of society and to spread awareness on the spiritual needs of deaf people.
Thecitizencotz. (2017). Thecitizencotz. http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/magazine/soundliving/When-sign-language-is-used-to-translate-the-Bible/1843780-3935856-nd0w1l/index.html
Mnnonlineorg. (2017). Mission Network News. https://www.mnnonline.org/news/world-deaf-day-prayer-time-pray-gospel-among-deaf/