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New Symbolic System of Writing Brings Bible to Deaf and Blind Users Worldwide

03-23-2020
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A new concept is placing the Holy Bible into the hands of the deaf and blind around the world.

Wycliffe Associates introduced Symbolic Universal Notation (SUN) New Testament, a program that brings the scriptures to life for the deaf and blind through a symbolic system of writing.

Regardless of location, SUN users can begin learning from this concept-based language in less than a week.

Lori Jenkins, SUN program director for Wycliffe Associates said that SUN was created while a volunteer was searching for Braille Bibles.

"SUN was created by Wycliffe Associates after Emely Wang, then a volunteer with the Wycliffe Associates Print On Demand program, began researching how to print Braille Bibles," Jenkins said. "Wang learned that an estimated 600,000 people in the world are both deaf and blind."

"The question became, 'Do these 600,000 have a Bible of their own, and is there a way we can do that for them?' How do we provide a Bible for not only those who are deaf and blind, but for those who do not know the national sign language?"

The concept was created from symbols that represent the Mandarin language - which Wang used to develop general symbols that could be easily identified and understood.

Users of the SUN New Testament begin by learning 100 core symbols - then they discover how the symbols are blended to have meaning.

"When you think about the deaf and blind, they're very limited in the ways they communicate," Jenkins said. "So, for them, this actually opens up a whole new world of being able to communicate with their family and with other people around them. It's quickly becoming the preferred language of many of the deaf and blind people that we work with."

Presently, Wycliffe Associates' SUN New Testament is the only known venture to provide Scripture to the deaf who aren't using sign language and for both the deaf and blind.

"SUN is a miracle of God. It has more possibilities and more ways it can impact the world than we can imagine," Jenkins said. "We have no idea where it's going to lead. It's opening doors and changing lives."

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