Monica Leach does not go to church because there is no budget for them to provide her with a sign language interpreter. Instead, she logs on to view The Upper Room daily devotions in British Sign Language. Every day, Leach is one of over a thousand who visit the website BSL Daily Devotions, produced by Drip Media in partnership with The Bible Reading Fellowship who publish the print UK-English edition of The Upper Room.
"I am from the UK and emigrated to New Zealand nearly 14 years ago," Leach says. "I am really happy I can access this important devotion in sign language through internet on my mobile, tablet, and laptop nearly every day."
Emphasizing the importance for sign language users to have access to visual information in BSL, Leach adds, "Now more people can access the internet from their homes, and they do not have to worry about how they will communicate with people."
The daily devotions, "teach me a lot and help me review my values," she says.
Inspired by the American Deaf Missions’ Daily Devotions and encouraged by his minister, Ramon Woolfe felt God calling him to start the website after his own battles with cancer. Woolfe says, "I felt the need and the duty for this to be shared among British Sign Language signers in the United Kingdom so that they can receive the Gospel.”
Today, over a thousand BSL signers regularly visit the BSL Daily Devotions website and a shared Facebook group page. According to their website, BSL Daily Devotions has received great support from many individuals and church organizations including "Go! Sign," an outreach and evangelistic initiative of the Christian Deaf Link UK. In 2012, within its first year in production, the BSL Daily Devotions site won the “Accessibility Award” at the Christian New Media Awards in the UK.
Drip Media, Ltd. creates videos with English subtitles. The videos, Leach says, "are accessible for the UK, plus English-speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand where they use similar sign language." She explains, "BSL is ‘mother’ to AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) and NZSL (New Zealand Sign Language)." (Note: American Sign Language is not derived from BSL).*
To view the daily devotion in British Sign Language, visit BSL Daily Devotions.
BSL Daily Devotions exists because of support from generous individuals and organizations. Since 2015, donations to The Upper Room international editions fund have helped cover some of the expenses of the BSL edition. Click here to give to the international editions of The Upper Room.
*Conversations are underway concerning a possible American Sign Language edition of The Upper Room.
The United Methodist Church in Honduras uses El Aposento Elto, the Spanish language version of The Upper Room daily devotional to start new faith communities. They use "An Easy Plan to Use The Upper Room in Small Groups" found in the back of the magazine. As the groups grow, they build critical mass for new church starts.