20 March, 2016

Deaf ministry in Japan

It was good to hear of a little-known need today at church. The Japan Deaf Evangel Mission sent a representative to speak at our church this morning. They pointed out that there are 400 deaf languages in the world and none of them have the whole Bible, only one (in the US) has the whole New Testament. 

I didn't realise that people who have been deaf all their lives often struggle to read because written language is very dependent on knowing what words sound like. Hence the need for a deaf Bible.

Here is a video explanation:

This video points out that until recently we haven't had the technology to produce and widely distribute deaf bibles, which are obviously visual. These days that is much easier.

I was struck again at how the deaf have a language and cultural barrier between them and hearing people, even when they have the same nationality, something I realised when we watched The Hammer, a movie about a deaf wrestler. 

We were operating in three languages during the presentation this morning: spoken Japanese, Japanese sign language, and some English as well (the video was in English with Japanese subtitles). Being independent as a deaf person must be a real challenge. Being independent without good written and spoken Japanese is a problem for us foreigners, imagine living that your whole life! 

The reason they came to speak to us is that they are seriously lacking in funds, it takes a lot of hours to translate accurately and produce these videos, and hence funds are needed to pay for salaries. So difficult! Especially when the Christian population of Japan is under 1%, that's not a large number of people from whom to gain support. The deaf population of Japan is about 300,000 people.

Food for thought. This is what they have on their website (link at the top of this post):

How You Can= Help
Pray for us. Get the news through our mailings and join in prayer.
Become a Member. Anyone who contributes any amount to ViBi becomes a member for the rest of that fiscal year (until March).
Join the 1000/1000 Program. We're looking for 1,000 people to support us 1,000 yen/month, so we can sell our tapes for 1,000 yen each. To date, we have 746= committments.
Be a "Library Partner." Request that our Bible translation tapes be placed in your local Deaf Chapter video library, or your local community library.
Join (or Start) a Translation Team. You don't have to move to Tokyo. We'll help you learn where you are.

No comments: