Passion Conference Raises $450K for Bible Sign Language Translations

There are 400 distinct variations of the sign languages.

The Passion Conference held in the first week of January raised almost half a million dollars which will aid the translation of the Bible for deaf individuals. Many now can experience the stories told in the New Testament in their respective sign languages. Approximately 40,000 college students came together at the 2019 edition of the Passion Conference. They made it possible for the gospel to spread to all who do not enjoy access to it.

For the Passion students, fundraising is not new. The preceding years have witnessed the students raising $8.3 million to combat modern-day slavery and the END IT Movement. They wanted to include a new initiative in 2019. They collected about $448,370 for the Deaf Bible Society (DBS). The effort was a component of Hope in Every Language, a particular campaign which helps to fund and also distribute the translations of the many stories glorifying Jesus into a unique sign language.

There are a large number of sign languages, exceeding 100 variations, and not a single one of them have a complete Bible translation. Only two percent of all deaf people in the world enjoy gospel access in their respective sign languages. As per the DBS, complete comprehension of the Bible is a must to understand the scriptures.

The collection of funds will assist partner organizations to translate the many stories associated with Jesus as mentioned in the New Testament into unique sign languages as present in countries like Mexico, Russia, Cuba, Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Japan, Moldova, Ghana, Tanzania, South Sudan, Thailand, and the Philippines. This activity is important as about 70 million individuals all across the world use only sign language to communicate.

According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, about 400 different versions of sign languages are in use all over the world. For translation professionals, the sign language universe represents their final frontier. The Chronological Bible Translation or CBT translates the Bible through stories. This is in contrast with the Book-by-Book or BBB translation that utilizes the chapter with verse structure. The fruit of these efforts will be deaf Christians internalizing the message as described by the gospels and remaining connected to their respective churches.

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