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The Bible Society of Nigeria

Deaf community commends BSN for Sign Language Bible

Mr. Zacchaeus Gbolade
A cross-section of the Deaf community in Nigeria has commended The Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) for its commitment to making the word of God available to the deaf in their language – the Nigerian Sign Language.
The group gave the commendation at the dedication of 77 Chronological Bible Stories in the Nigerian Sign Language that was held recently in Ibadan. Mr. Zacchaeus Gbolade, who came from Abeokuta, Ogun state, to attend the dedication ceremony said he lost his ability to hear when he was in kindergarten and is not able to read printed text. He, however, said that with the Sign Language Bible stories, he, and other deaf people now understand the word of God better. Mr. Gbolade said that before the intervention of the BSN and its partners, the deaf had difficulty assessing the word of God.
“I am so happy. The Bible Society of Nigeria is making sure that the deaf not only have access to the word of God but also understand it better. Although I am deaf, I am thankful to God because I went to school, and I can communicate. I thank the BSN and all those who make it possible for us to have the word of God,” he said.
Precious Shade Ola, a teacher, said she was excited the first time she saw the Sign Language Bible stories. “It has been a wonderful experience. I can’t explain it, but I know it is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are grateful to The Bible Society of Nigeria.”
L-R: President of BSN, Bishop Dr. Timothy Banwo; Prelate of Presbyterian Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Ekpeyong Akpanika; GS-CEO, BSN, Pastor Samuel Sanusi; Deaf Translation Consultant, DOOR International, Kenya, Mr. Praveen Kumar, and former General Secretary, BSN, Rev Dr. Fred Odutola at the dedication of the 77 Chronological Bible Stories in Nigerian Sign Language
Speaking at the event, which was well attended by members of the Deaf community, the Prelate of The Presbyterian Church, Nigeria, His Eminence, Ekpceyong Akpanika also thanked the BSN for its efforts in ensuring that the deaf people are not left out of the word of God and pledged to support the Society’s effort to help the deaf have access to the word of God. Speaking on scarcity of persons with the knowledge of Sign Language, Most Reverend Akpanika advised theological schools to consider training people in Nigerian Sign Language so they could minister the gospel to the deaf without difficulty.
The guest speaker at the event, Reverend Olalekan Bamidele, Translation Consultant-in-Training, the BSN, said that it is unfair for the church to neglect a particular section of their members, as they were also in the salvation plan of God. He called on the church to invest in building the capacity of members to be able to minister the gospel to the deaf. He also advised ministers to make deliberate efforts to plant churches for the deaf, adding that some of the deaf Christians roam the streets on Sundays because they do not have a place to worship God in the language they understand.
Earlier, the President of the BSN, Bishop Dr. Timothy Banwo reiterated the commitment of the BSN to ensuring that everyone, irrespective of their language, has access to the Bible. The General Secretary/CEO, the BSN, Pastor Samuel Sanusi, said that evangelism is not possible without the Bible. He called on the church to rally round the BSN to help make the Bible available to everyone. He noted that having completed the Bible stories for the deaf, the BSN had begun translating the full Bible for them, beginning from the book of Matthew in October this year. He thanked the few individuals and churches supporting Bible translation and called on others to join in supporting the translation project of Bible for the deaf.