I got a wonderful post from Nan Jordan, a fellow missionary and ViBi board member who is working with Japanese Deaf outreach. (Explanatory notes in [brackets]):
With "Olive and Friends" we are going through the Book of Genesis. We always use the [ViBi] DVDs for the scripture. Today was Genesis 22. They were enrapt at the story of Abraham and Isaac. It was the first time for five of the seven ladies (six are Deaf). It’s days like this that make being a missionary worthwhile. After telling the story several and discussing it, we went to Heb. 11:19 [no JSL translation yet] and spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out [from the Japanese Bible] what kind of "exchanges" were going on. What did Abraham consider "futsu"[normal]? Four of the ladies took a turn signing it, word for word. (The hearing lady didn’t offer a translation. We just waited patiently as they discussed it.) They puzzled and puzzled over what it meant. One lady had forgotten her glasses, so was just watching the signing. She finally said, "Oh I get it, Abraham believed that even if he killed his son Isaac that God would bring him back to life again."
RIGHT! We need Hebrews in JSL—and…..well, you all are workING! The Bible translations into sign language are SO important for the Deaf to understand God’s word! Gambatte[keep up the good work]!