The Deaf "Moscow Bible"
Posted on July 14, 2012
The Deaf call the DVDs "The Moscow Bible!"
By Tex Winsome, IMB Missionary | Deaf Peoples
I live in Moscow, Russia. I recently traveled to another country that has a very strong Muslim influence. I was exploring opportunities for future ministry and also to find how we can begin distributing our Russian Sign Language Bible translation in that part of the world. While I was there, I met a group of Deaf Christians who had recently found and started using the Russian Sign Language video translation of the Gospels IMB produced. When the group found out I was responsible for producing the DVDs, their eyes widened with excitement and they immediately began asking questions. "What are the names of the people signing the passages?" "Are they all Deaf?" "Have you produced new passages?" "When will they be ready?" "Are you going to produce the entire Bible?"
As I talked with them about work we were doing, they began to share about another sign language translation that had been produced by a church in their own country. The Deaf of this country had eagerly waited to get a DVD from this church. When they finally got the DVD and started watching it, their hearts sank. The DVD had been produced by a group of sign language interpreters. The signers on the DVD were all hearing. The signing was not natural. The signing was not in the Deaf people's heart language, but rather, signing words in the word order and structure of the spoken language. Once again, God's Word was in a format that was very difficult, if not impossible, to understand.
That is, until they received a copy of the translation IMB has been working on. One of the leaders shared with me that when they first watched it, the Deaf exclaimed, "Yes! This is our language! These are our people! Finally, God's Word is understandable!" They are calling our translation "The Moscow Bible".
As we continued to talk, the Deaf men and women explained how they are using the Moscow Bible. Each week, they take a new passage and use it as the "text" for their preaching and teaching. They show the video and then one of their own people retell the passage in person. Then, they discuss the passage and ask how it applies to their lives. They also act out the passage and create their own songs related to the passage. Some of the Deaf use the DVD in their personal devotional time during the week. They have also converted the DVDs into a format they can put on their mobile phones so they can take their "pocket" Bible with them wherever they go, and, they can Bluetooth the scriptures from phone to phone with other Deaf they meet.
God's Word is living and active, and it is finding new ways to spread among people who have had little if no access to the Gospel.