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Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

Hi there! I'm Kimberly Yow, a passionate journalist with a deep love for alternative rock. Combining my two passions, I've found my dream job. Join me on this exciting journey as I explore the world of journalism and rock music.

Interview: ‘First of Its Kind’: A Jesus Film for the Deaf Community

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A new movie from Deaf Missions tells the gospel story in American Sign Language.

Bible translation is as old as the church—older, even, when you take the Septuagint into account. From Jamaican Patois to Filipino Taglish and New Zealander Māori, translators today are still seeking to faithfully render Scripture for particular communities and cultures.

Subtitling is a kind of translation too. There are whole ministries devoted to dubbing and creating captions for Bible movies and TV shows, including The Jesus Film and The Chosen.

But what if you’re trying to reach people who communicate primarily not through spoken words, but with their hands and facial expressions? How can that act of translation bring new aspects of Scripture to life?

These are the questions behind Deaf Missions, a 50-year-old organization that began its ministry by making VHS tapes of American Sign Language (ASL) New Testament translations and distributing them in the mail. In 2020, Deaf Missions finished the first-ever complete translation of the Bible into ASL. In 2018, they put out a dramatic film, The Book of Job, now available for free on the Deaf Missions app.

Now, Deaf Missions has released Jesus: A Deaf Missions Film. The movie premiered at the Deaf Missions Conference in Texas last April and will be playing in theaters across the US on June 20.

Jesus was produced by a Deaf cast and crew for a primarily Deaf audience. That’s evident in ways aside from the use of ASL. Peter sees rather than hears the rooster crow. There’s a tight close-up on the ear cut off of the high priest’s servant.

Some of the film’s scenes put a uniquely Deaf spin on the biblical story. Jesus gives Simon the fisherman a “name sign” meaning Peter. When Jesus is crucified, the loss of his hands effectively means the …

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