The Deaf Bible Society (DBS) is working to bridge the gap between faith and the Deaf through sign language Bible translation. "Only two per cent of the world's 70 plus million Deaf people have ever experienced the gospel of Jesus Christ," DBS states.
Those who are Deaf do not learn to read in the same way as those who hear. Because of that, worldwide they are one of the most unreached and unengaged people groups when it comes to the Bible according to the DBS.
"Of the more than 350 known sign languages, not one has a full Bible. We know that Christian communities thrive when they have access to and engagement with God's Word. This is why the Deaf Bible Society exists," DBS states.
On October 31, DBS released a story of their Deaf team who went into a Thai Deaf community to share the gospel message in Thai Sign Language. The Thai culture is firmly rooted in Eastern religious values so when seeing and learning about the scriptures for the first time they had many questions.
"They show a thirst for discipleship and God's will for their lives."
They shared the story of Prem* a Deaf Thai community member who was curious about this new faith. Prem has never attended school. He asked one of his friends, "Is it a sin to catch fish? Will I go to hell?"
His friend explained that fish from the river are free and safe to eat and that it is only a sin to steal from someone else.
Through watching this interaction it was clear to the DBS Deaf team that God is working through this community because they went on to discuss Bible stories and verses. "God is not silent. He is speaking to Deaf people like Prem. They show a thirst for discipleship and God's will for their lives," a representative from DBS signs.
DBS makes the Bible accessible through scripture sign language videos for the Deaf, keeping in mind their culture and their language.
DBS is based in Arlington, Texas. It first launched its biggest project in 2012 with a Deaf Bible app and became an independent non-profit in 2015. Almost 30 sign languages have a portion of the Bible translated. Now, with many partners supporting their work, they are working to make the Word of God available in 100 more sign languages in the next three years to Deaf communities around the world.
*An alternative name is used to protect his identity.