The Short Version:
Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement of nearly 70 projects. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
A Slightly Longer Version:
Profile Mark & Mary Esther Penner
· Missionaries to Japan since 1983.
· Grew up in Japan as missionary kids
Mark –Works with the Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project
The Need: As most Deaf have never heard Japanese, they learn it as a second language and many have difficulty reading their written Japanese Bibles.
· Helped start ViBi (Video Bible), a Japanese Sign Language Bible Translation project, in 1993
· ViBi brings together a broad coalition of Japanese Deaf Christian organizations for the common goal of a Bible for the Deaf by the Deaf
· ViBi has transitioned to being completely run by Japanese Deaf leadership, and Mark serves as a consultant
· Currently published on DVD, smartphone app, and YouTube: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Jonah, Ruth, Esther, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I, II Thessalonians, Titus, Philemon, James,
· As one of the leading sign language Bible translation projects, ViBi plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement of nearly 70 projects.
Mary Esther—Founded a Japanese Christian non-profit refurbishing wheelchairs to send throughout Asia.
The Need: While old wheelchairs sit unused in Japan, there is a great need for wheelchairs in other countries throughout Asia.
· Mary Esther founded Wheelchairs of Hope, a Japanese non-profit that partners with local churches and their surrounding communities to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs to those in Asia who need them.
· Over 2,000 wheelchairs have been distributed to countries throughout Asia including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
· Wheelchairs of Hope gives the Japanese church an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God both locally within Japan and globally in the receiving countries.