Ira is a young Deaf woman who went to a high school nearby her house and had a few deaf friends. Like most Deaf people in the Philippines, she had no job and very little hope for one. She contemplated suicide. She didn’t know what impact she could have – or what her purpose was.
In 2017, she didn’t know that while she was attending school and hanging out with her friends, several hours south in Manila there was a translation team working to publish about 200 verses of scripture – 10 stories. These 10 stories changed her life.
Not only was she impacted, and her local community, but she was invited to a national conference in the US – Passion 2019, where she shared her testimony. The young men and women at Passion were impacted by her and donated $450,000 for sign language Bible translation work. This was possible, in part, because of your partnership with us. Your donations and partnership helped us connect and work with the translation team, encouraging them and guiding them in the translation of the first scripture verses. While you have never met Ira, or been to the city which she lives in – you have impacted her life and countless others.
I apologize for not updating this blog in a long time! Evidently moving to a foreign country and trying to adapt takes a lot of work and time. However, we are back in the states and I have finished my Masters. Therefore, I have some more time to spend on this blog.
We also want to update you on our plans for the next 5 years.
We are moving to San Diego, CA in August 2019. Rachel has been accepted into a Ph.D. program at UCSD studying language deprivation among deaf people (We will update more on this soon).
While she is studying, I will be working remotely for Bible translation teams in Asia as a consultant. This means I will be video conferencing with teams on a day-to-day basis, as well as traveling as needed.
We are very excited about this next step and feel like God is opening this door to us in amazing ways.
For most people, they learn the language their parents or caregivers speak to them. However, for the vast majority of Deaf people this is not the case. Only 2% of Deaf babies are born to Deaf parents. Most Deaf babies are born to hearing families that do not sign.
So how do deaf people learn sign language?
Deaf schools in addition to teaching academics, have been the place that many Deaf children learn language. When Deaf children go to school at the age of 5, it is when many of them are first exposed to and begin to learn sign language (their first language). However, around the world, there are many Deaf children who are not sent to Deaf schools for various reasons. This means that they are not exposed to a language that they can learn naturally. For these Deaf people, they begin socializing with other Deaf people as adolescents or even adults and begin to learn their first language late in life, if at all.
What happens if deaf person isn’t exposed to language as a child?
This means that they have matured without the ability to discuss their thoughts, ideas, and feelings with another person. It also changes the way that they learn language. Around the world, millions of Deaf people live with this experience. When shown a Bible verse in their sign language, it is hard for them to understand because they do not have the same language abilities as those who started learning a sign language as children. Rachel is taking the time to research how these individuals learn language with the hope of affecting language policy and informing translation work. This is what she will be studying at the University of California San Diego.