Tulsa Church Helps the Blind to Read the Scriptures

Monday, September 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Christian bible speaks of God bringing light to those in darkness. A Tulsa church tries to help share that light by giving the blind a way to read the scriptures. Nannette Murrin is blind but says she would only feel handicapped if she couldn't read scripture in her Braille bible. "Oh I have lots of favorites," she said. "One of my favorites is Philippians 4:8."

With the words at her fingertips, she has studied the bible for thirty years and taught a bible class at her church. "Well, my faith has always been an important part of my life, the most important part," said Murrin. Reading the bible strengthens her faith, and it's possible because of Braille publishers like the one in the basement of a Tulsa church. "There's Braille imprint on both sides of the plate, and in the process it's printing on the front and back side of the sheet," said volunteer Marvin Carbiener.

The Lutherans publish the Braille Bible in 40 languages. It's such a job that the work is scattered among 200 churches including one in Oklahoma. Volunteers work two days a week, pressing the books of Leviticus in English, a Russian children's version of Second Samuel, and the Gospel of St. Luke in Swahili. "We send them to Africa and Russia and many different countries," said volunteer Helen Machuli.

A dozen workers turn out five books an hour. Each copy is bound and checked, then boxed and shipped directly to where it is needed, into the grateful hands of the blind. "None of us who are making these books can read Braille, so we don't have a feel for what we are doing," said Carbiener. "We can't see what we're doing."

The job is monotonous and the workers meticulous. But they feel this is their ministry, giving others insight to the scriptures of the Christian church. The Lutherans give bibles to the blind for free with support provided by donations. With volunteer labor, they estimate it costs $144 dollars to publish the entire bible in Braille, bound in 18 volumes.