Nigerian Sign Language gains Scripture

Nigeria (MNN) — A.W. Tozer once said, “That which is spiritual cannot be shut in by ink or fenced in by type and paper.” Over one million Deaf can soon meet the God beyond the page. DOOR International is nearly done producing a Chronological Bible Translation (CBT) in Nigerian Sign Language.

(Photo courtesy of DOOR International)

“We’re excited that 1.9 million Deaf people in Nigeria will have access to this significant portion of Scripture; first-time access for many of them,” says Rob Myers, DOOR President and CEO.

There are approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide, according to World Federation of the Deaf. Less than two percent of them know Christ, making the Deaf one of the world’s largest unreached and unengaged people groups.

To remedy this, DOOR began outreach work in strategic “launching pads”. Identifying these regions allows them to reach Deaf people on a broad scale.

“In terms of reaching a community, Nigeria is an amazingly strategic place to start,” explains Myers.
“There are 1.9 million Deaf people in Nigeria…that’s a little under three percent of the global Deaf population.”
Nigeria is also strategic because if Deaf ministry takes hold there, it can easily spread to other countries in West Africa.
Getting God’s Word into Nigerian Sign Language
DOOR began translating God’s Word into Nigerian Sign Language back in 2013. At that time, there were no Scripture resources available in NSL. Working together with local believers and the Bible Society of Nigeria, they recruited and trained a Deaf translation team and three teams of Deaf church planters.

(Photo courtesy of DOOR International)

“The translation team has been working for the last four years, and this September they are publishing a significant portion of Scripture,” says Myers. “We’re going to be holding a celebration on our campus in Nairobi, Kenya.”

An in-country celebration will be held later in the month, he adds, through a partnership with the Bible Society of Nigeria, Deaf Bible Society, and local churches. Then, DOOR’s Deaf church planting teams begin “follow up” work — going out into Deaf communities, sharing more about the biblical accounts, and training Deaf leaders.

“We do that in partnership with Deaf Bible Society, who does an amazing job publishing and distributing the work that the translation team does,” Myers explains.

“They provide the technology that allows our church planting teams to go out into the field and bring that published Scripture into the hands of Deaf communities throughout Nigeria.”
What’s next?
Finishing the CBT is certainly a major milestone, but the journey isn’t over yet.

(Photo courtesy of DOOR International)

“Deaf populations who’ve never had access to the Gospel for thousands of years are now beginning to have that access…. The enemy doesn’t like when people begin to surrender and begin to give their life to Christ, so pray that those strongholds would be broken,” asks Myers.
“Pray for God to break down barriers and strongholds that would prevent His Word, His message, and His people from being able to reach the Deaf in Nigeria.”
Moreover, DOOR’s Deaf church planters need help covering the basic costs of ministry (transportation, food, etc.) You can help meet critical needs for as little as $21. Go here to help Deaf church planters in Nigeria.