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Ministering to the Deaf and Blind


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Most mainline religious groups don’t cater expressly to the deaf or blind. They ensure their buildings are compliant with the American Disabilities Act, and they often make available sound amplification devices for the hard-of-hearing. But few churches, synagogues and mosques employ someone proficient in sign language.

 

One denomination, though, is determined to reach as many people worldwide as possible, and has devoted significant time and resources to developing programs and materials for the deaf and blind. Jehovah’s Witnesses have translated the Bible into approximately 160 languages, including American Sign Language, or ASL (as well as other sign languages used elsewhere in the world). The ASL translation is a series of videos. A Braille translation of the Bible also is available.

 

https://www.postandcourier.com/features/faith_and_values/ministering-to-the-deaf-and-blind-how-religious-groups-accommodate/article_a67f84b6-8b6f-11e8-831a-0f7d169dfe4e.html

 

Good article on how we prioritize reaching the deaf and blind with the good news.

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Nice article Brother Robert!  

 

O/T: Just as I suspected from my post here, it didn't take too long after this thread was created (within a 60-min timeframe) that apostates/opposers would go to the commentary section of that article to start their gripe(s) again.  (Ha! They leave it up to JWT to find pro-JW articles to post; then quickly swoop in with the negative comments there.)  What empty lives they lead! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m in an ASL Congregation. There is a saying amongst the deaf : There are only three kinds of ASL interpreter 1. CODA’s ( children of deaf adults ) 2. Homosexuals 3. Jehovah’s Witnesses.  While this is not actually true It is the case that interpreters tend to be weighted heavily in this direction.

     From what I’ve experienced only Jehovah’s Organization is establishing ASL congregations. Some churches may have the occasional interpreter but if a deaf person wants to really learn And benefit from Christian association a total ASL congregation really makes a big difference. 

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29 minutes ago, BenJepthah said:

From what I’ve experienced only Jehovah’s Organization is establishing ASL congregations.

Over 40 years ago I was spending a lot of time with a set of twin sisters that started getting involved in ASL. It was a very small beginning to what is going on today. They would meet at a  brothers house to learn ASL and they were used to translate at the District Conventions, I remember that it was a very small group of ASL, probably less than a dozen that would attend the DC so the ASL group would take shifts signing for them. I really wished I had been more involved, I would have over 40 years of experience by now...

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I do NZSL which just incorporate the American Alphabet often ... I have a deaf study ... he used to be a builder and he got beaten up so badly he ended up in a coma, had a stroke and lost his speech and hearing. But he's at every study and sometimes comes to the Kingdom Hall in fact, I picked him up at the kingdom hall. Will be interesting to see where he goes.

 

Just done two refresher courses at our local polytech last year to get up to speed with latest signs and  how the sign language and culture have changed. Perhaps you could do that RIchard? I know it's renewed my signing.

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4 hours ago, Tortuga said:

I remember that it was a very small group of ASL, probably less than a dozen that would attend the DC so the ASL group would take shifts signing for them. I really wished I had been more involved, I would have over 40 years of experience by now...

About 1981 I met a deaf woman in the door to door ministry. I knew no sign language. We wrote...but that was too slow. I was desperate so I got her 4 year old daughter to interpret for us, that didn’t work too good because she only had the vocabulary of a 4 year old. There were no brothers or sisters  that used ASL for a hundred miles. Needless to say I got a crash course in ASL.To compound the problem the deaf woman and her deaf husband with 2 little girls started coming to the meetings right away and they were regular. 

This was an interesting time in my theocratic life. It was spiritually refreshing but physically and mentally exhausting. 

Anyway, the whole family is baptized. The 4 year old girl now has children of her own, older than that. Her dad has been a ministerial servant for years in a hearing congregation.

There was another deaf couple ... friends of the first couple that made a dedication also. 

 

I was was heavily involved with that world for a long time...as I got older and when I moved I kind of drifted away from it with other distractions. Long story.:coffee:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I knew some of the ones back in the 1970's who used to sign at the Conventions. They would be in a seating section where they could see the platform and not disturb others. They took turns standing in front of those seated in the section and sign, I found it interesting and thought it would be nice to learn how to sign.

 

However, I ended up getting involved in a different language group. We sat on the main floor fairly close to the stage where everyone could see us  :eek:   and our language only had 2 vowels and 5 consonants - but, we managed ....

 

Now that I am older and have some hearing difficulties of my own, I sometimes think about how much easier it would have been if I would have tried learning ASL back then - I figure I could have learned both languages at the same time

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5 hours ago, Tortuga said:

Where was that?

They lived in a small town in Nebraska near the Iowa border. 

 

 

 

4 hours ago, Qapla said:

I knew some of the ones back in the 1970's who used to sign at the Conventions. They would be in a seating section where they could see the platform and not disturb others. They took turns standing in front of those seated in the section and sign, I found it interesting and thought it would be nice to learn how to sign.

We had a group at our convention in Lincoln Nebraska.....twenty something deaf and almost that many hearing brothers and sisters that were either interpreting or hanging out to learn or were relatives. There were no congregations, no videos for the deaf ...nothing. 

Although at that time they (FS) were discussing it.  Reason I know is that one day at the convention in 1981 the convention overseer approached me and said “come with me someone wants to talk to you”. So I followed him down into an office and it was brother Ted  Jaracz

He proceeded to ask me my opinion on how the GB can help the deaf. In so many words he said they can see a lot potential growth coming from the deaf. I asked him about a bible translation For the deaf. Video didn’t occur to me at that time. I was thinking at that time about a written translation that is easy to read. Since  English and ASL sentences structure has different rules. There is a simplified English translation for the deaf but it wouldnt be as good as if our brothers translated it (I’m bias). :coffee: 

He said, first they were considering all options before we go forward. He said we don’t want to go too quickly and then have to back up. The next few years that followed things slowly started happening.  I remember when I heard the first congregation was formed. Very exciting times. Things were certainly sped up for the deaf community.

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Thank you for finding the article :) 

 

On 8/12/2018 at 6:18 PM, Pjdriver said:

one day at the convention in 1981 the convention overseer approached me and said “come with me someone wants to talk to you”. So I followed him down into an office and it was brother Ted  Jaracz

He proceeded to ask me my opinion on how the GB can help the deaf. In so many words he said they can see a lot potential growth coming from the deaf. I asked him about a bible translation For the deaf. Video didn’t occur to me at that time. I was thinking at that time about a written translation that is easy to read. Since  English and ASL sentences structure has different rules. There is a simplified English translation for the deaf but it wouldnt be as good as if our brothers translated it (I’m bias). :coffee: 

He said, first they were considering all options before we go forward. He said we don’t want to go too quickly and then have to back up. The next few years that followed things slowly started happening.  I remember when I heard the first congregation was formed. Very exciting times. Things were certainly sped up for the deaf community.

That's a really cool story, thanks for sharing :) 

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