Editorials: Deaf ministry encouraged by growth

PUBLISHED ON 17 OCTOBER, 2016 BY

USA (MNN) — Something big is happening at Deaf Bible Society. They started as a project under Faith Comes By Hearing years ago, and have grown remarkably into a ministry all their own since then.

(Image courtesy of Deaf Bible Society)

JR Bucklew, President of the Deaf Bible Society, explains, “Our organization grew from just one person years ago to now we have somewhere between 12 to 15 people working with the Deaf Bible Society globally.”

Deaf Bible Society realized, in order to maintain effectiveness in ministry to the Deaf, they may need to consider new locations and opportunities for growth.

“Earlier this year, we began to really pray and seek the Lord as we looked at where we would move our office spaces. We had a small office in Albuquerque, but we knew if we were going to continue growing, if we were going to continue reaching more people in the community with God’s Word in their sign language, we would need to have more skilled, qualified Deaf staff. And then also, being in an environment where we’re in close proximity to our donors, in close proximity to an active Deaf community, we could be involved even in our personal lives.”

Bucklew says, “As we began to research, we saw Dallas-Fort Worth right there in Arlington, Texas had the largest population of our donors, and Texas today has one of the largest Deaf populations in the US. Texas is growing in their provisions as far as education for Deaf people. There is a lot of opportunity to do more recruiting, to bring on interns who could later get free education in state schools and have access to many other Deaf churches and churches with interpreting ministries, places where our staff could really plug in.”

(Photo courtesy of the Deaf Bible Society)

The decision was made to relocate to Arlington, Texas. Deaf Bible Society plans to open their new offices after January 1, 2017.

One of the bigger visions this move would allow Deaf Bible Society to tackle is the recording of sign language Bibles into every known sign language. They’re working with several other ministry partners, including the Every Tribe, Every Nation Alliance, Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL, The Seed Company, and The American Bible Society. Their collective vision is to see a portion of Scripture available in every language of the world by 2033.

“The vision is large,” Bucklew admits. “Of course, we talk about God’s Word in every sign language, and we know that means every sign language. There are over 400 sign languages in the world, and today there’s not one sign language that has a complete Bible. American Sign Language is the only sign language that has a full New Testament.”

To have a portion of Scripture in every sign language recorded by 2033, it would mean starting 22 sign language Bible recordings every year from 2015 onward. It’s going to take a lot of funding. Hopefully, through more strategic partnerships with believers, Deaf Bible Society can make it happen.

“We’re talking in today’s cost structure, what it’s costing on average for a foundational set of Scripture in a sign language, what it costs us for distribution to every Deaf person, and to fund the consultants for each of their own sign languages that have been identified to date, that’s going to cost around $280 million — which is not impossible. It seems really, really difficult, but it’s not impossible.”MNN Hope for Every Deaf Person

Click here to donate to the Deaf Bible Society, and be a part of making God’s name known to every Deaf person!

Bucklew also asks that you remember their ministry in prayer, especially during the understandable stresses of moving.

“Please be praying for us, because the idea that we’re moving to a place that’s going to allow us to grow and is going to provide, not only a better platform for the organization, but a better environment for staff, for spiritual vitality and personal growth, that’s exciting. But moving is frustrating…. So please be praying for our staff who are relocating, pray for our partners that we’ll be engaging with.”

If you’d like to learn more about Deaf Bible Society, click here!

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