Blindness causes many challenges. For Christians one of the greatest of these is not being able to read Holy Scripture: no morning devotion, no joining in a hymn at church, no curling up with a Christian novel or keeping up with your pastor’s message in the congregation’s newsletter. We rely on God’s Word to feed our faith. It’s hard to picture your Christian life without access to all the written resources we take for granted!
Sixty years ago, WELS women who were members of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society saw the challenge of blindness as an opportunity to share the gospel. They founded our synod’s Mission for the Visually Impaired (MVI). Many women learned how to type braille. Their first project was Luther’s Small Catechism.
Since then, MVI has produced a steady stream of Christian materials in braille, as well as audio and large print resources. The ministry continues to grow with the help of the Internet as volunteers across the U.S. are able to record audiobooks in their homes and upload them to an online library for the blind.
However, the growth of the ministry has been hampered by limited resources to purchase and maintain the technology used to serve the visually impaired in our congregations and communities. Thus, we seek special gifts totaling a minimum of $30,000 to purchase braille embossers, thumb drive duplicators, and copiers. We believe that purchasing such tools will greatly expand our ability to provide Christian resources to people of all ages who cannot see and read.
The opportunity is larger than you might think. Every church and neighborhood has people who are visually or reading impaired. You might see the need at worship when someone picks up a large print copy of the service. Other members with failing eyesight may no longer be able to attend church but have an audio reader in their home. Blind men and women are active in your community using electronic braille readers and smartphones to keep informed.
MVI produces braille Sunday school curriculum and confirmation materials for children and adults. We receive requests for confessional Lutheran writings and Bible resources in braille. We make Forward in Christ and Meditations available for anyone who cannot read the printed editions.
Would you consider a special gift today to support the WELS Mission for the Visually Impaired?
Being blind is an everyday challenge for some WELS members and people in our communities. Can you picture the greater loss of not seeing Jesus as the Savior? Please join us in shining the light of the gospel into their lives.
Director, WELS Commission on Special Ministries