Braille Bibles help visually impaired receive word

A visually-impaired individual in Africa and India will soon be able to study a Bible made at a church located only a stone's throw from U.S. 84 in Lariat.

Braille Bible production has been going on at St John Lutheran Church of Lariat for four decades, according to St John Lutheran Pastor David Symm.

Farwell resident Liz Kaltwasser said she has helped produce the Bibles for 40 years at the church.

"We feel like we're missionaries trying to help the blind all over the world," Kaltwasser said. "Today we're making some Bibles for India and Nigeria. We have to be real careful. We want our pages to be perfect because they are checked into customs. We don't want words to be missed when they are being read with the fingers."

Braille is a series of raised dots that is read using the fingers. Individuals who are fully or partially blind can use Braille to read material that is usually printed.

The team at St John Lutheran, part of Lutheran Braille Workers, Inc., produces sections of the Old Testament in English and Swahili in English Braille, also known as grade-two Braille.

Bibles are produced with donated materials. Flawed Bible pages unfit for binding are used to create paper ornament angels which are sold by church members.

Two Bible production groups meet every month and produce about 700 Bibles a year. Bibles are sent to 120 countries.

Kaltwasser said Braille Bibles have been in higher demand in recent years and production at the church has increased.

Symm said he likes to encourage and promote Braille Bible production. He participated in Bible making for the first time a few months ago.

Symm said his hands-on learning experience was fulfilling and he was happy to know the Bibles he helped put together would help blind individuals overseas with their faith.

"They do such wonderful work here," said Symm, who has served as pastor at St John Lutheran for nearly 14 years.

"I think it (making the Bibles) is seen very consistently by our members as a very important outreach of the gospel. It's kind of a unique way to help spread the word of Jesus Christ."

Facts about Braille Bibles:

  • One Bible consists of 37 volumes.
  • One Bible uses about five feet of shelf space.
  • Lutheran Braille Workers Inc. has about 7,000 volunteers at 200 centers across North America.
  • The Bible and portions of the Bible are produced in Braille in more than 30 languages.
  • Bibles are distributed in more than 120 countries.
  • All publications are free.
  • For information: call 1-800-925-6092 or 1-909-795-8977 or visit lbwinc.org.

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