Who We Are
annual report
April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020
Chantel Pagan: Thank you for planting your seeds of partnership, prayer, and provision in Deaf Bible Society. Through watering, cultivating, commitment, and yes, even pruning, the fruit that grew over this past fiscal year has many Deaf communities around the world tasting and seeing that the Lord is indeed good! For those of you who I have not had the pleasure of communicating with yet, my name is Chantel Pagan. I have been serving with Deaf Bible Society since... its beginning and the mantle of Chief Executive Officer was graciously passed to me on January 1, 2020. I pray that the fruitful success you see in our annual report will be a sweet encouragement to you. Stuart Thiessen, Deaf Bible Society’s Chief Programs Officer, and Adan Burke, Chief Operations Officer, are here to share with you some of the highlights you will find in this annual report.

Stuart Thiessen: Thank you, Chantel. Yes, this past fiscal year has been very fruitful! Through faithful partnership and collaboration, sign language Bible translation work accelerated across 22 projects. Some of these projects are providing more Bible content for sign languages currently accessible on Deaf Bible. Other project teams are beginning the great work of translating God's Word into their sign languages for the very first time. For more than 19 million Deaf people, Bible content is available to them through the 29 sign languages accessible through Deaf Bible. We continue to see steady, ever-increasing engagement with God's Word. Deaf Bible engagement increased 33% since last fiscal year, and we are now seeing more than 10,000 people actively engaging with their signed Scripture every month.

In addition to this, the vital nutrients of Deaf-centric training programs and tools for translation teams are developing strong roots for the future growth and long-term sustainability of the sign language Bible translation movement. Some of these fruitful endeavors include the launch of the Josiah School of Translation, the development of Aveditz and the Sign Language Translation Tool (SLTT), and the CoRD team —Consultants and Resources Development. As these tools and programs grow, we will continue to see sign language Bible translation teams and projects flourish.

And, just as good stewardship of these programs continues to advance the mission, Adan Burke, our Chief Operating Officer, will share how the generosity you’ve invested is bearing great fruit in the lives of many Deaf people.

Adan Burke: Thank you, Stuart! It is exciting to see the fruitful growth in sign language Bible translations, tools, programs, and engagement. All of this diligent effort comes down to this -- the impact signed Scripture has on a Deaf person. The stories shared in this annual report express the love, joy, and peace many Deaf people are experiencing by seeing God’s Word in their sign languages. We hope these stories encourage you, for they are directly connected to your gracious giving. Our Stewardship section provides an overview of how your giving has been allocated -- with the majority of funding going directly to the programmatic work that is producing such abundant fruit! Of course, keeping the lights on, the Zoom video calls going, and the coffee pouring all contribute to this faithful fruit as well. Our Diligent Fruit section shares some interesting slices of information, including our consumption of nearly 170 pounds of the most wonderful fruit, coffee!

Chantel Pagan: Thank you, Adan and Stuart, for sharing this wonderful news about the great fruit we are seeing in projects and programs, and the impact it is having on Deaf people around the world. We give thanks to God for His incredible goodness this past year. And we thank you, our wonderful partners who have patiently prayed and faithfully given. Let us continue to celebrate the abundant fruit that is still ahead! In June 2020, DBS celebrates its fifth birthday; and in October we celebrate the faithful, diligent work of those who have worked with Deaf Missions on the ASLV, Book by Book Translation and those who have worked with DOOR international and Deaf Harbor on the Chronological Bible Translation. Both of these projects in American Sign Language are a huge win for God’s Kingdom. Thank you again for participating in this extraordinary journey to make God’s Word known among the Deaf in their sign languages. May the fruits of the Spirit, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, and Self Control dwell within you!
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Our Faithful Pursuit
“For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life...”
- John 6:40
God’s Word in Every Sign Language
Mission GIF
Our vision is to create local, sustainable, Great Commission initiatives among the Deaf to reveal the hope of the Gospel so that every Deaf person has the opportunity to receive, experience, and share it.
Vision GIF
Connecting People
to the Goodness of His Word
“Taste and see that the Lord is good...”
- Psalm 34:8a
Scripture in 29 Sign Languages providing access to God's Word for more than 19 million Deaf people globally.
Sign Language
Estimated # of Signers
10,000+ people worldwide are actively engaging with this Bible content through the Deaf Bible App monthly. Click on any Sign Language name listed in the table to see Bible content in that language.
Patient Cultivation
“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”
- Luke 6:40
Aveditz Logo
There are still many unknowns about the numerous Deaf communities around the world and their sign languages. The seeds of this information have been around for a long time, yet lacked a clear overarching system to bring this fundamental data together. Those seeds have finally produced great fruit. Along with three key sign language Bible translation partners, Aveditz launched the framework to house relevant linguistic research relating to Deaf communities, sign languages, and Bible translation work.
Milestones we are celebrating:
  • Aveditz beta version launched.
  • Three key sign language Bible translation partners unite to gather information on sign languages, Deaf communities, and any past or present Bible translation work.
    Door International Logo SIL Logo Asia Pacific Sign Language Development Association Logo
  • 1,023 articles, books, and other resources gathered and indexed.
  • 79 sign language Bible translation team profiles created.
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Josiah School of Translation Logo
Josiah School of Translation
The Josiah School of Translation is a new kind of training program already bearing great fruit. It offers six months of training over three years for current and future Deaf translation teams to accelerate sign language Bible translation. The vision of JST is to bring different teams into one cohort to learn and grow collaboratively through coursework specifically designed for the success of Deaf translation teams and sign language projects.
Milestones we are celebrating:
  • JST launched its pilot program.
  • 20 Deaf members from 5 sign language Bible translation teams including:
    • Colombia
    • El Salvador
    • Rwanda
    • Tanzania
    • Uganda
  • First of its kind, a cohort hosted in Israel.
  • Deaf teams traveled throughout Jerusalem experiencing the biblical places and stories they were bringing to life for their sign language communities.
  • Over 30 days, 5 training courses were provided, including:
    • Language & Culture
    • Project Administration
    • Bible - Old Testament
    • Video Production
    • Exegesis and Translation
  • 126 hours of in-depth instruction taught in sign language and experienced for the first time by participants.
  • Immeasurable knowledge and understanding gained!
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Consultant and Resource Development Logo
Consultant and Resource Development
As sign language Bible translation continues to grow and accelerate, more trained and qualified Deaf consultants are vital to the work. Deaf Bible Society is addressing this urgent need through CoRD, focusing on two key components; training and equipping, and the development of resources for the success of Deaf consultants.
CORD Picture Example 1 CORD Picture Example 1 CORD Picture Example 1
Milestones we are celebrating:
  • Developed a comprehensive Code of Ethics for consultants comprising six tenets and illustrative behaviors to guide the application of the tenets. The code addresses ethical guidelines, standards of conduct, and conflicts of interest that consultants may face.
  • Developed a comprehensive ethics training program for Deaf consultants that addresses key concepts in the work area of consulting including practice profession, metaethics, "do no harm" and teleological and deontological outcomes.
  • Continued development of consultant growth plans for Linguistic Translation Consultants and Exegetical Translation Consultants. Each growth plan covers areas of competence covering Human Relations, Theory and Knowledge, Language and Culture, and Professional Competencies.
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Sign Language Translation Tool Logo
Sign Language Translation Tool
In partnership with United Bible Societies, the SLLT was developed as an essential Deaf-friendly, web-based software uniquely designed to support sign language Bible translation. For the first time, teams have software customized to draft and record feedback through both sign language videos and written format.
SLTT Picture Example
Milestones we are celebrating:
  • Recognizing that both Deaf and hearing people work together on sign language Bible translation projects, SLTT allows access to all team members for greater participation, collaboration, and ownership.
  • SLTT is being developed in partnership (United Bible Societies) and is currently used by three translation projects.
  • Ongoing feedback from teams contributes to the continued growth and development of SLTT.
  • Three new releases deployed this fiscal year, offering more features and optimal functionality.
  • As greater partnership and collaboration occurs among sign language translation projects, SLTT will become a critical tool as team members work together from different locations and time zones to accelerate Kingdom work.
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Showing God’s Love
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- John 13:35
Scripture engagement trainings spanning 14 countries
MicroSD cards developed and distributed to Deaf communities around the world so they can access a Bible of their own anytime anywhere
Deaf international leaders trained to use signed Scripture, understand its value, and be ambassadors for the Gospel in their community
Scripture engagement trainings spanning 12 states and provinces in North America
Deaf U.S. based leaders trained to use signed Scripture, understand its value, and be ambassadors for the Gospel in their community
Connect People Pie Chart
15 sign languages have Bible content on Deaf Bible
14 sign languages have Bible content on Deaf Bible and continued ongoing translation acceleration in FY20
8 sign languages began translation work in FY20
325 of remaining sign languages in the world without any Bible content
* Based on the 362 currently identified sign languages in the world
Deaf Bible Society
Diligent Fruit
“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”
- 1 Timothy 4:15
Of the 362 identified sign languages globally, in partnership with Deaf Champions around the world, Deaf Bible Society is currently distributing & training, researching, engaging with and/or funding 76 Sign Language Bible Great Commission initiatives.
16 Sign Languages in Africa
11 Distribution & Training
3 Applied Research
8 Engagement
5 Funding
18 Sign Languages in the Americas
7 Distribution & Training
3 Applied Research
12 Engagement
2 Funding
23 Sign Languages in Eurasia
7 Distribution & Training
7 Applied Research
11 Engagement
4 Funding
19 Sign Languages in Asia-Pacific
9 Distribution & Training
9 Applied Research
9 Engagement
People Icon
60% Deaf /
40% Hearing
Staff Ratio
Laptop Icon
Zoom Meetings
Mail Icon
Emails Sent & Received
Coffee Icon
170 lbs.
Coffee Consumed
Deaf Bible Society
Stories of Joy
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
- Psalm 16:11
Steady Stewardship
“...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
- 2 Timothy 1:7
The seeds you planted are bearing great fruit. Through your generosity, sign language Bible translation accelerated, engagement with signed Scripture grew, and new tools and programs are laying a solid foundation for what is to come.
Thank you for your investment in the mission and vision of
Deaf Bible Society!
Total Revenue: $6,466,024.46
Expenditures *
Financials Pie Chart
Program: Bible Acceleration
Program: Scripture Engagement
Program: Innovation-Technology
Program: Applied Research and Curriculum & Training
Administration: Operations
Fundraising: Advocacy
*These are pre-audited financials for Deaf Bible Society’s fiscal year from April 1, 2019 - March 31, 2020.
Deaf Bible Society
Deaf Bible Society
Board of Directors
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
- Colossians 3:12
John Dickinson, Chairman
Founder, Dickinson & Partners
Dale Berkey, Ph.D.
Co-founder and President, BBS & Associates
Grace Townsend-Goreth, Vice Chairwoman
Partner Relations Representative, JAARS
Mark Apodaca
Chief Financial Officer, New Mexico School for the Deaf
Melvin Morris, Treasurer
Chief Financial Officer, Faith Comes By Hearing
Thank You To Our Partners!
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
- Ecclesiastes 4:12
Partners that we are
working with
Prayer partners
Churches on
Deaf Church Where
DBS partners with many different organizations, churches, and prayer warriors to accelerate the mission of God’s Word in Every Sign Language. Some of our translation acceleration partners are represented below.
Thank you for the great fruit each of you provides to make Christ known to Deaf people around the world in their sign languages!
Deaf Bible Society
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:16