Focus on Africa

Week 4 of the home school curriculum is not only about Africa, but about a unique translation project in Africa; one that translates the Bible for deaf Africans. Read on!

Olivia had never listened—at least not with her ears. But even though she was born deaf, she’d understood how her family felt about her. Frowns and scowls on their faces were all too common, whenever she was around. Not one had ever stopped to hug her or offer a kind smile! Olivia felt cursed. She didn’t have to hear the words—their expressions told her enough.

But recently as grown-up Olivia watched the computer screen, tears streamed down her dark, smooth face. For on the monitor, in her Kenyan Sign Language, a Bible translator told God’s story. Olivia could hardly believe it. God had not cursed her. Instead, He really, deeply loved her!

Deaf people speak with their hands and faces. In Kenya’s Deaf churches, worshipers use Kenyan Sign Language to “sing” along to heavy drumbeats. And when someone prays, others listen with their eyes, not their ears. If they closed their eyes, it’d be rude!

Just this year, Deaf translators finished a story version of the Bible in Kenyan Sign Language.

The process looks like this: the Deaf translators carve the air with their hands as they excitedly discuss how they’ll present each story. Then one of them stands in front of a video camera and signs the Scripture story onto a DVD. The storyteller has to be careful to use the right facial expressions. If the story is sad, his face must show sorrow. If is exciting, surprise or joy must glow in his eyes and his smile. It takes several weeks to do all the corrections and prepare each DVD for Deaf congregations to use.

For the first time, Olivia and her friends have real hope for a good future as they view God’s Word in their language. And the Vidunda need God’s Word in their own language, too, so they can also fully know the good news of the Bible.

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