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This month we want to tell you more about Lutheran Braille Workers, recipients of a $100,000 grant from Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) in the 2019–2021 biennium.

The mission of Lutheran Braille Workers (LBW) is to passionately reach out to people who are blind and visually impaired with the Good News of their Savior, Jesus Christ. There are over 36 million people in the world who are blind or visually impaired, with an estimate of over 94% of that population being unchurched. Many have not had access to reading the Word of God by themselves.

Since their founding in 1943, LBW has shared the Gospel with individuals who are blind or visually impaired. They have produced over fourteen million volumes of Braille, large print, and audio materials. Work started in a single language, but materials are now produced in over thirty languages. The volunteer force has grown from one in 1943 to over 3,000 volunteers working in 170 work centers across the United States today. LBW is one of the largest producers of Braille Bibles in the world, and they are daily approached to send God’s Word to people who are blind or visually impaired. Bibles are sent to people in many countries around the world, and all materials are free. Volunteers help to produce the Bible and other Christian materials in Braille using zinc plates, Braille presses, specialized paper, covers and spiral bindings.

LBW Braille Bibles at a school in India.

The complete Braille Bible consists of 37 volumes and is over five feet in length. Each volume contains up to ninety pages on which Braille is printed on both sides. Each page requires production of a separate zinc plate, via a plate embossing device (PED). Multiple plates of each page of the Bible are needed in every language. Production of zinc plates is critical to the printing of the Bible and other materials. Currently, a large workload is placed on the existing PEDs.

LBW volunteers preparing plates for the Braille press.

A new technology has been developed by the Puma company that makes the embossing of these plates, and the development of plates in different languages, easier. The new Puma device, manufactured in Norway, allows more zinc plates to be developed. LBW will use this grant to help purchase the machine and pay for shipping, installation and staff training. It will help LBW print the Bible in additional languages and spread the saving news of God’s grace to more people throughout the world.

Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML) is the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Since 1942, the LWML has focused on affirming each woman’s relationship with Christ, encouraging and equipping women to live out their Christian lives in active mission ministries and by supporting global missions. For more information on each month’s mission focus, visit Saint John’s Mission Guild (LWML) meets the first Tuesday of each month at 10:30 AM in Room 301. All ladies of the congregation are invited to attend.