A Sign of Changing Times—
Listen as Mandy explains the importance of Bible sign language videos to deaf Christians in Vietnam.
“I was gifted a Bible in 2016. But, when I opened it, I could not read what was written. I tried, but it was too difficult to understand. I could not even make sense of the table of contents listing the names of the books in the Bible. I believed in God, but I could not get to know him using the Bible.”
Like Mandy, more than 1 million deaf people living in Vietnam are facing the same difficulties. They feel discouraged to go out, to interact with others and have a normal social life. There are so few reading materials in Vietnamese sign language that can be easily understood by deaf people, and the Bible is no exception.
Up until now, there is no Bible in sign language for the deaf in Vietnam. They suffer from the lack of this effective tool, helping them draw closer to God. This also creates so many obstacles to evangelising the deaf. With the deaf in Vietnam, desperately need Scripture to be translated into sign language.
Most deaf people living in Vietnam do not have the same opportunities as others in their community and are limited in what they can achieve as a result. Today, there are about 35000 to 53000 deaf people living in Hanoi and Haiphong. Mandy is one of them. Many of them have difficulty in reading the written text. This is their prayer.
“God, I want to communicate with you and I cannot understand everything written in the Bible. Because it is not the language of my heart. I pray that I can know your Word better.”
Bible Society, Vietnam, have embarked upon an ambitious project to translate Bible stories into Hanoi Haiphong sign language for the Deaf community. The project began in 2015, and by December 2019 it had completed 15 stories in the Words of Wisdom series and 32 stories in the How to Know God series for the first phase.
On the 21st of September 2019, Bible Society Vietnam held a dedication for the sign language project in Hanoi with more than 200 guests. Many of them were from international organisations that work for the well-being of deaf people all over the world. The sign language videos have been well accepted and well favoured by the deaf communities in North Vietnam. These videos have been used by churches in worship services, Sunday schools and Bible study groups.
“When I read the written Bible, I cannot only obtain about 30% of the whole meaning of the passages, but when I watch the videos, I can understand 100% of the content. Thank you translation team for bringing to the deaf community these videos. Thank God we have these videos in sign language.”
Now, Bible Society Vietnam and their partners are moving on to the second phase of the project by translating another 32 stories in the series.
“When talking about Bibles, people usually think of a book like this, but in the sign language Word, Bible looks like this. We will not stop until the deaf in Vietnam have the full Bible stories in their own language. Will you help us?”