Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Partnering with Wycliffe to Reach Deaf People in Thailand

Olaf and Wipawee are special missionaries: they are the first deaf members of Wycliffe Germany.

Olaf is from Germany. His mother tongue is German sign language. Wipawee is from Thailand. Her main language is Thai sign language—which is quite different from German sign language. They communicate with each other using American sign language!

Last year they joined Wycliffe Germany, and they are now developing a team of partners who can support them in their work. They’ve been using our software to help them stay organized, but along the way they ran into a technical issue. To get help they contacted Elke Meier, a local Wycliffe colleague who trains and consults missionaries in how to raise their support along with the use our software.

Elke explained to me some of the communication challenges she faced, “It was a combined effort and at times rather cumbersome, but in the end we managed to fix the problem. In the process it was brought home to me like few times before how much of our communication depends on little sounds, a friendly smile, etc.”

“For me this experience of being speechless was not an easy one—being reduced to the bare necessities, without the opportunity to talk on a deeper level. I thought about my relationship with God and how much I enjoy being able to communicate with Him on a deep level, to find out in His Word what He thinks. God for me is not speechless!”

Olaf and Wipawee plan to work as missionaries in Thailand. Their goal is to translate the Bible into Thai sign language. How special that in a few years 600,000 deaf Thai people will also be able to have this experience that God is not speechless for them anymore, but that they will be able to share His thoughts in depth.

We are so grateful to each and every one of you who have faithfully helped us to make ministry like this possible.