Celebrating the ASL Bible
Let me share with you something I am continuing to learn about, and it has been opening up a world of language that I knew nothing about.
People in the Deaf community primarily speak sign language, and this is a different language than the spoken language of the community they live in. This was hard for me to get my head around, but here was the most helpful thing that was pointed out to me. When we read or write in English, each sound that we make with our voice has a written representation that is connected to it (though sometimes loosely in English!). So, there is a connection between what we say and what we write. But for someone whose first language is sign language, that connection doesn't exist. There is always a disconnect between the "spoken" (signed) language and the written form (English).
On top of that, the Deaf community members also tend to lose their voice in this conversation. Think about this. It's hard for us to hear from the Deaf community because we don't speak their language! When a Deaf person speaks in their heart language (eg. ASL), someone like me (illiterate in ASL) will not understand them. That is the definition of a language barrier.
And so, there are people all over the world working to make Scripture a reality in hundreds of sign languages! It's a really exciting time. And last year, the very first Bible in American Sign Language (ASL) was completed.
Here's a little video about their celebration and what it means for them to have the Bible in their heart language.
If you're interested, you can also find completed excerpts of the Bible from sign languages all over the world on the "Deaf Bible" app by the Deaf Bible Society. It's a pretty incredible thing to see!
We are continuing to learn more all the time about what it means to have the Bible in your language and it's getting us more and more excited to be on the ground in Côte d'Ivoire soon!
Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support!