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Aurora woman supports deaf Coloradans during pandemic with sign language Bible

Nevelyn teaches ASL Bible study.jpg
Posted at 5:31 AM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 10:44:01-04

AURORA, Colo. — Two years after the first recorded COVID-19 case in Colorado, we’re still learning about the heroes who helped us through that difficult time.

One Colorado woman spent her days connecting with people who are deaf through video chat.

Nevelyn Benjamin, of Aurora, helped them study scriptures with the help of what’s being called the first complete American Sign Language Bible.

“Love means action,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin, a sign language interpreter, has been sharing the love through video chat all pandemic long.

“We don’t just say, ‘I love you,’” she said. “There’s more to it when it comes to truly showing affection for others. There’s actions involved.”

Benjamin is a Jehovah’s Witness. She has taught the Bible to deaf people of all denominations.

“The Bible’s message offers something positive, uplifting, and right now it’s so crucial because of all the things going on in the world that can really bring us down,” she said.

The American Sign Language Bible, which has been in the works for decades, was completed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in early 2020.

“The language of their heart is not words on paper,” said Robert Hendriks, the spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “It’s thoughts expressed through sign language. It truly is a completely different medium and love moved us to make this effort some 20 years ago.”

Benjamin says seeing the Bible in American Sign Language can open new doors for people who are hard of hearing.

“Their communication style is just different,” she says. “Even the order of the language in sign language is not the same as English.”

As religious gatherings begin to take place again, Benjamin says she’ll continue spreading the Bible’s message any way she can.

“To have that opportunity to get to chat with people on a weekly basis and show them the Bible’s message and God’s hope for the future and things that will really impact them in the future, that really touches me to be able to have that impact in my life to share with others,” Benjamin said.