Hello, my name is Josef Klus.
Whenever I had an opportunity to meet a Deaf person, I would try to introduce myself and see if I can strike up a conversation. And, I remember whenever I would go to other churches, Christian conferences, I would sit in the Deaf section and see how much I could understand and pick up and maybe communicate with one another.
It was the sense of inclusivity, you know a reciprocal inclusivity that I wanted to be included in the Deaf community, and I also wanted them to be included in a world that was maybe bigger than just their local Deaf culture. Which is why when I stumbled upon Deaf Bible, I was so excited because it seemed to have that same reciprocal purpose, wanting to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ open to everybody.
In regards to inclusivity, there’s a lot of things that the hearing community needs to learn from the Deaf community.
I find some hearing people do know some signs, some basic signs, I would encourage them that even if they don’t know signs to dare to have that conversation with somebody because a lot of Deaf people are really excellent lip-readers, and if not, we have smartphones and the ability to communicate with one another just by, well, not even typing it out, you can speak it out and the translator will put it all there in English, and the person can read it if they are English-based. A lot of Deaf people though, are not English-based, so I might go ahead and encourage them to take the sign language class that they’ve always been talking about and go ahead and learn the basics.
I guess it’s just daring to take the class and daring to start somewhere. Yeah, just dare to start a conversation with someone!
Everybody needs God’s Word in their native language
Recently, a Deaf woman joined my Bible study…
She told me, I went to every church in town, but no one could understand me or even accept me, and I felt really rejected by all the churches because of who I am, my medical issues, and my deafness. I was starving to have church.
Just hearing that the churches weren’t accepting of her disabilities and even willing to work through them with her and find a mode of communication just broke my heart. So, inclusivity is important because everyone who is a believer is God’s child, and God has a provision for them, and more often than not, we are the answers to someone else’s prayer, and someone else is the answer to ours. That’s why Jesus Christ created the body of Christ, and we need to be that support, that help, and that encouragement to one another, especially being rooted and grounded in God’s Word. I believe that’s our first commission that whatever we share of the Gospel, of God, and of the Lord, Jesus Christ with other people needs to be grounded in a solid understanding of His Word and what God’s Will is.
Everybody needs God’s Word in their native language and, even, as you know, I’d go further to say in their native dialect of that language. Just because I think our first language is the language of our heart and that the language that we learn in. So that’s why it’s important for the Deaf community, especially those who are ASL speakers, to be able to have the Bible in their own language because, of course, God wants to communicate to them. God speaks all languages, so why wouldn’t he want to speak to someone in ASL?
God wants His message of salvation to go out to every single person in the world – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”John 10:14-15