For some time now, God has laid on our hearts a burden to see more solid Bible materials made available to the Deaf in American Sign Language (ASL).
It is a VERY common misconception that, "hey, there's a wealth of PRINTED MATERIAL available to them IN ENGLISH; shouldn't that be enough? After all, they're not BLIND, right??"
While that APPEARS to make perfect sense, if you understood what we have learned about the Deaf in the last couple years, you would see that assumption is comparable to Marie Antoinette saying "Let them eat cake!" when she was told her subjects were starving, because "they have no bread" (I realize some today question the historical accuracy of that old story. But you get the point).
You can learn more specifics from some of my previous posts. For now, I'll ask you to just trust me that:
1) Because of an oralist dominated educational system, an alarmingly high percentage of deaf people have only an elementary reading level AT BEST.
2) Simply put, ENGLISH IS JUST NOT THE LANGUAGE OF THEIR HEARTS.
In the land of the free and home of the brave, AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE IS!!
From William Tyndale to the founding fathers of New Tribes Mission, God has laid it on the hearts of His people that the unreached NEED to hear the Truth of His Word IN THE TRUE LANGUAGE OF THEIR HEARTS.
As a result of these two factors, the Deaf, even here in 21st century America and Canada, are considered a MAJOR UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP!
So, the answer is NO.
The Great surplus of Bible materials in PRINT is NOT enough.
If we are going to reach the Deaf with the Gospel that is "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16), we need to do it in ASL, the true, viable LANGUAGE that is an integral and indispensable part of DEAF IDENTITY.
Karen and I are growing more serious each day about wanting to see this vision become reality. We are certainly not the only ones!
Most of the Bible is available now in ASL on a free app through the Deaf Bible Society.
Karen and I believe God would have us be a part of translating powerful chronological teaching materials into ASL in the near future.
An opportunity and suitable vehicle may be opening up for that now.
-- If this is truly of God, that He would provide His perfect direction;
-- That He would raise up a team of laborers and enable us and these others to carry out His will to His standards.
-- That NO man or emissary of the Adversary would be allowed to hinder or obstruct this task (I Corinthians 16:9)!
-- That God would provide all needed finances, personnel, wisdom and skill
-- That God would consecrate us to this task, if we are correct that this is His will for us (and, conversely, that He would clearly direct otherwise, if it is not!).
It is always exciting to be a part of an endeavor that seems to capture the very heartbeat of God. We MAY be caught up with the zeal of the moment, and MAY just be getting way ahead of ourselves.
But I would rather that than bury away the pound or the "talent" the Lord has entrusted to me, and consequently fail to bring in the return our Lord so richly deserves (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-26).
And, meanwhile, more and more precious Deaf souls continue to live and die each day WITHOUT the life-transforming truths of God's amazing Word.
Wouldn't you LOVE to be a part of changing that through the power of prayer (Psalm 126:5-6; I Corinthians 3:8-9)??