After weeks of bulging inboxes of e-mails and countless webcam conferences, it’s finally happening. Ten leaders interested or engaged in Sign Language Bible translation (SLBT) from seven countries will be converging on Japan to join ViBi leadership in planning Deaf Bible access in Asia. Our aim is to lay the groundwork for the creation of a comprehensive plan for SLBT in all of Asia, including a funding proposal.
Pray! With all the time, energy, and funding that has already gone into this endeavor, we want these next four days to be the crux of something new. Beginning with arrivals and someone to meet each person coming, there are seemingly endless possbilities for things to go wrong. Pray that everyone will make it, sleep well, and be ready for the first day. Pray that we’ll find ways to communicate in the various Sign Languages we’re using. Pray that we will find a way to begin building a solid plan that includes all of the Sign Language Bible needs in Asia. Pray above all that the Holy Spirit with fill us with wisdom and unity, that what comes of this meeting would surpass our dreams. Bible translation needs in the Asian Deaf community have gone unnoticed for years–its time to start moving.
Some who have supported us for years and know our commitment to Japan’s Deaf might be wondering: How does this all fit in with ViBi’s needs and goals for Japan’s Deaf? The way I see it is this: The main thing keeping ViBi from really moving quickly is insufficient funding. Since ViBi’s strong Deaf leadership and committment to excellence and innovation have already positioned them as world leaders in SLBT, they are sure to be part of any funding proposal that is made. Funding ViBi’s translation needs will meet the needs of Japan’s Deaf, while at the same time showing the way and providing resources for other Deaf groups in Asia and beyond.