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A Different Angle: Singing in Sign

Our July tour of Texas was a big blessing, as we visited 8 churches where we presented our plans and passion for starting a Deaf church in Romania, made new friends, and learned how to travel with a baby. Serenity is adapting well to life on the road, which comes with various nurseries, hotels, and prophet’s chambers. We have thanked God many times for a daughter who lives up to her name… most of the time! Upon returning home to Georgia, we’ve presented in two more churches, including a virtual (videocall) meeting with a church in Michigan from our living room. How things have changed since missionaries were on deputation years ago! also just hit 66% of our promised monthly support!

We welcomed the month of August half-way through an 8-day, intense discipleship seminar (see picture on right), where Ben co-taught with our mentor and mission board director, David Bennett. This is our 6th year attending these retreats in northern Georgia, and Ben and I actually first met at this seminar in December, 2015. (Though it was certainly not love at first sight!) Thank you for praying for Ben especially this past week. We are now home in northern Georgia.

As we travel throughout the US on deputation, I (Marie) have been asked at times to sing a special as part of our mission presentation. One of the songs I routinely sing is called, “Lord, Send Me Anywhere.” I sign this song in American Sign Language while I sing it in English, and usually drop my voice for the 3rd chorus, so I’m just signing, and those watching can catch a glimpse of what it might feel like to be deaf and watch a song, instead of hear it. But did you know that I am not signing the song word-for-word at all?

Perhaps you’ve heard Ben’s explanation of Deaf culture, and the various strengths and weaknesses of this unique group, and why they need – ideally – missionaries dedicated to this needy field without borders. One of the commonly overlooked aspects of deafness is how it greatly impacts reading. You likely learned how to read by first learning what sounds the letters of the alphabet make, and how certain combinations of sounds were the same as words you knew in your first language, English.

But what if you were born Deaf?

What would “A” say? Nothing. Phonics doesn’t exist for you. Besides, even if you could sound out the word “apple”, it still wouldn’t mean anything to you, because you’ve never heard that word (that combination of sounds) before. You’ve seen an apple… you may have eaten one, and if you’ve learned sign language, you’ve probably learned the sign for apple, but that sign looks nothing like the written word, “apple” (or “APPLE” as these letters look slightly different, capitalized). The sign language and spoken language of any country are two different languages that look very different, and that makes a big difference when your world is visual.

Additionally, the logical, visual combination of signs in American Sign Language is different than the order of words in a linear English sentence. Simply put, the grammar structure of each is very different.

Combine these dynamics of deafness and linguistics together, and you get the following…

NOTE: Multiple words connected with hyphens (eg, a-long-time-ago) are the closest English match to a single sign in ASL

English version:

1. O Lord, since Thou hast died

To give Thyself for me,

No sacrifice could be too great

For me to make for Thee.

ASL version:

hey Lord you a-long-time-ago death crucifixion

why? Your life exchange-with-me

now my life sacrifice, sacrifice

every-day, every-day for you should

English Refrain:

Lord, send me anywhere; Only go with me.

Lay any burden on me; Only sustain me.

Sever any tie, Save the tie that binds me to Thy heart.

Lord Jesus, my King, I consecrate my life, Lord, to Thee.

ASL refrain:

Hey, Lord, send me any location, But please go-with-me

You-give-burden, stacked-burden, stacked-burden, fine, I-accept, but please you support

World-I’m-connected, family-I’m-connected, friends-I’m-connected, you cut, cut, cut, but your heart, my heart connected continue

You my King, my life past-future yours

2. I only have one life,

And that will soon be past,

I want my life to count for Christ;

What's done for Him will last.

ASL version:

Life have one, limited,

soon, time-passes, death

I-want use lifespan for [point to God]

Why? Activity for [point to God] future remain-firm

3. I follow Thee, my Lord,

And glory in Thy cross;

I gladly leave the world behind

And count all gain as loss.

ASL version:

I follow you my manager/director

Your cross, pain, suffer accept (smiling)

World ignore

They quotes improve, improve, I-call loss

Those of you who are bilingual in any two languages and/or have studied interpreting techniques will understand that this is just one of potentially dozens of ways to interpret this hymn into American Sign Language that communicates the original meaning and intent of the English lyrics as well as possible. If you have seen this song signed differently than the above, it is very possible that the interpreter took another linguistic route to communicate the same message. We do not wish to indicate by any means that the above is the ONLY way to interpret this hymn, but to give you a taste of a language and people we love!

If you would like to see me sing and sign this song, click on the button below…

["Eagle Soar" is a facebook ministry of Silent Word Ministries, sharing videos on "Deaf ministry help, training, teaching, preaching, skits, music, more" To see more videos, click on the link above, and then click on "Silent Word Ministries."]


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