Doing What it Takes
Missions come in all shapes and sizes. Many have risked life and limb chopping their way through bushes to reach tribes nobody has seen without an airplane. We take fewer physical risks, but we’re reaching out to the most spiritually isolated people whose “tribe” is the largest unreached people group on every continent of the world.
More than 90% of deaf children are born into hearing households where signing is a foreign language. For them, their families’ common communication is beyond their reach. It’s quite a dilemma, and largely unknown. Deafness is the rarest anomaly… a pediatrician sees a new deaf diagnosis about once in seven years. Rather than being an isolated but findable group on the backside of a jungle, these kids are sprinkled among homes and communities at a rate of roughly ten per thousand. Alone in a crowd.
To reach them, we’re building resources that can go into every household, capture and hold the interest of hearing siblings, be understood by non-signing parents, and most importantly, introduce deaf children to Jesus.
To say we’re producing a TV show and developing a VBS curriculum doesn’t quite convey the story. Here’s a behind-the-scenes overview:
First there’s the concept, theme, script, and selection of actors. For an audio production, there’s no need for video equipment or costumes. There’s also no access for deaf kids. We have to do more. So, bring on the lights, cameras, costumes, props, and… ACTION!
If your audience is all deaf, and all signing, you’re good to go. But that leaves out the hearing siblings and the deaf kids who attend mainstream schools where libraries of signed materials don’t exist. We have to do more. So, bring on the voice actors, music, sound effects, and… BOOM!
At last, there’s something to reach deaf and hearing kids together. That is, as long as your video and audio are together. (Did you watch Godzilla in the 70’s?) It’s not as simple as one might expect, because there are two separate languages at play, and all expressions have to fit within the same space and time on the screen.
One more thing…there are the people of all ages who don’t sign and they don’t hear well. So, bring on the captions… TADA!
Again, it’s not as simple as it may seem. They have to be easily seen without blocking signs or key props, and they have to move at a pace that fits the voice without zipping across the screen too fast to read.
Generally, we spend half of the time getting videos from idea to deaf-ready, and the other half getting them hearing-ready and captioned. On average, we do 5-8 hours of work for each minute of video.
It takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it. We’re reaching children across the United States and worldwide. Their letters and emails tell us so, and it’s a blessing to read every one.
Please pray about your part in the work of developing biblical resources for introducing deaf children to Jesus.