Braille Outreach Worldwide
As I See It
by Glynn Langston
The Lord tells us that "To whom much is given, much is required." This can apply in many ways. Take our senses, for example. How often do we fail to use what God endows us with? There are many books and other printed materials that are available where the average person can learn about God. And yet many remain ignorant of His word.
Perhaps this point bothers me so much because I never had this option. I received too much oxygen at birth and have been totally blind since. I am not trying to evoke pity, but rather want to point to the fact that only a tiny fraction of the printed word is available either in Braille or on tape for the people who cannot see. What is available is bulky and expensive. I did not get a Bible in Braille until I was ten years old. The Scriptures in Braille are in 18 large volumes and take up around six feet of shelf space. Not only that, getting any materials printed in Braille is a time consuming process.
As in other communication areas, there are revolutionary changes taking place in Braille production. Now, a tract or other pieces of literature can be placed on a scanner (or typed) and sent to a computer. The computer automatically translates the materials from print to Braille. The material is electronically sent to a Braille printer (embosser) and within a matter of minutes, a Braille copy is printed. Costs of the equipment have dramatically fallen in the last few years.
This means that we can now easily produce Bible materials in Braille for the ten million people worldwide who presently use this medium, but many more rely on cassette. Over all there are an estimated 240 million people throughout the world with vision problems, ranging from total blindness to severe sight impairment. The demand for Braille religious literature is remarkably high, especially in third world countries, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Recently, because a small amount of Braille Bible literature was sent to Ghana, five people obeyed the Lord. In one year, 19 souls were added to Christ in South India as a result of Bibles and lessons being sent in the Tamil language.
My wife and I have worked on the mission field for the past 30 years. Before returning to the States we began plans to start a full time Braille ministry. Now that we have moved back to the States, we have been able to engage in extensive research and activity into both equipment and the global need for our ministry. We are more convinced than ever that this ministry is vital.
I have obtained the Braille embosser, computer, scanner and other necessary equipment. The cost of beginning such a ministry was relatively small compared to startup costs of similar efforts. We are continually looking for additional support to finance the phenomenal growth experienced in this ministry. Any contribution would be welcome, but a monthly commitment would allow us to make a more planned effort as we conduct this outreach. The support is needed in such areas as: mailing, printing, office management, travel, hardware and software upgrades, etc. (There is a real need for additional personal support to replace that which has been lost over the last few years.) We want to give the blind the chance to regain the only true and eternal "Sight." Your participation in this ministry is prayerfully requested.