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Jehovah’s Witnesses gathering presents Bible in sign language

KRUM — Mike Hoy realized the importance of learning American Sign Language when his daughter, Makayla, was born deaf.

“We learned to sign more so we could support her,” he said.

That’s why Hoy enjoys the District Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in American Sign Language, which allows his family to learn about the Bible together.

“The most important thing we can do is teach our daughter about the Bible,” Hoy said.

He and his family were at the annual convention held at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Krum this weekend.

Being at the convention as a family gives them the opportunity to explain to their 9-year-old daughter anything she doesn’t understand, he said.

The teachers presented Bible passages on the theme “Safeguard Your Heart” solely in sign language. About 1,800 people filled the silent auditorium, which had screens in the back for people who couldn’t see the stage as well as tactile signing for those who could neither hear nor see.

Joanna Sauter, who lives in Omaha, Neb., was baptized Saturday at the convention. This is her second year to attend.

The 69-year-old was born deaf and she’s been having vision problems since 1993.

She enjoys the convention because she meets people who share her language and it’s an opportunity to learn more about God, she said.

“I get to learn about God in my own language and it’s very encouraging,” Sauter said.

The denomination translated the Bible from Matthew to Revelations into American Sign Language, said Brian Moore, a news service representative for the convention.

Tim Lowe, who has been deaf since age 3, said he enjoys having the Bible in his language.

“Sign language is so visual and so animated,” he said. “Having the Bible in ASL makes it so much more lively.”

He pointed to the TV in the room broadcasting the convention — the man on the screen was signing a verse.

“Our goal is for the entire program to be visually adaptable for the deaf,” said Lowe, who helped organize the convention.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is rmehlhaff@dentonrc.com.


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