Love Works

Daniel Jenkins

About The Episode

Out of the 9 million visually impaired people in the United States, it is estimated that 95% of that population is unchurched. Daniel Jenkins, President of Lutheran Braille Workers is working to decrease that number by increasing access to Scripture through braille and large print bibles. For this episode of the Essentially Translatable podcast, Dr. Rich Rudowske and Daniel discuss the enduring hope found by making the Word of God accessible to everyone.

Daniel shares testimonies from blind and visually impaired individuals who got to experience Scripture through braille for the first time. To produce these bibles, countless hours of work are required by the devoted volunteers at Lutheran Braille Workers. This dedication has made Lutheran Braille Workers the largest producers of braille bibles and large print materials in the world. As the demand for Scripture has grown, the team at Lutheran Braille Workers has faithfully risen to meet the needs of everyone wanting to be served. 

Lutheran Bible Translators and Lutheran Braille Workers have recently formed a partnership to help lower barriers to accessing Scripture. Listen as Rich and Daniel discuss the partnership between organizations to help others fully engage with God’s Word.

Daniel Jenkins: [00:00:00] And this comes from one of our employees who is actually blind. She said there is something powerful in reading God’s word for yourself and not having to rely on somebody else’s voice to give it to you.

Rich: Welcome to the Essentially Translatable podcast brought to you by Lutheran Bible translators. I’m Rich Rudowske, the executive director here at LBT. And today I’m going to be talking with Daniel Jenkins, who is the president at Lutheran Braille Workers. One of our Partner Ministries, who’s doing some amazing work to both advocate for and help meet the needs of the visually impaired and blind, access to scripture.

And Lutheran Braille Workers is an amazing ministry. They are by far the largest producer of free braille and large print materials for scripture at no charge. in the world by a factor of 10 over the next largest producer. So an [00:01:00] amazing ministry. Hope you enjoy this conversation with Daniel Jenkins.

Today on the podcast, we have the president of Lutheran Braille Workers, Daniel Jenkins. Welcome to the podcast, Daniel. Thank you, Rich. Can you share a little bit of your ministry background and also maybe a little bit about how you knew about Lutheran Bible translators? 

Daniel Jenkins: Absolutely. So, I am born and raised Lutheran, grew up in the middle of rural California deserts, and we actually had a member of our tiny little church, uh, in Barstow, California, who actually was involved with Lutheran Bible translators, John Dutzman and his wife, Kathy.

And so that’s how growing up, I heard about LVT all the time. It’s, it’s been a ministry that’s on my heart, my whole life, career and ministries a little different. I actually graduated from Concordia university Irvine, and I went there to be a Lutheran high school teacher. And I’ve never [00:02:00] taught a day in my life.

Uh, God had a different plan for me. So my journey actually took me to Selma. I was Vice President of Advancement at Concordia College in Selma. And from there, I ended up at Lutheran Hour Ministries in St. Louis for a number of years before God really brought me to Lutheran Braille Workers starting in 2018.

Rich: That’s awesome. It’s wonderful that you have that connection with John and Kathy Dutzman. And so how did you actually get involved with Lutheran Braille Workers? 

Daniel Jenkins: So again, my family and I were in St. Louis. I was with Lutheran Hour Ministries loved it there and it was a situation I was having dinner with a mentor and he had been on a call with Lutheran Braille Workers Board of Directors and they were looking for an advancement person.

They hadn’t had anybody in about 10 years and he told me that when they just, the board described who they were looking for, he instantly thought of me, but my family and I loved St. Louis. In fact, we said we’re never [00:03:00] moving back to California, famous last words. And I kind of pushed back on even thinking or considering this opportunity, but he asked if I would speak to the president of LBW at the time, uh, Reverend Dennis Duvy.

And so I had a call for about two hours with Dennis, and it was a wonderful call. I was still resistant, though, to change. And ultimately, what brought me to this ministry is, Pastor Stuvi sent me thank you letters from people who had received Braille resources over the years. And the very first letter I ever opened up came from a 13 year old boy from India, who said, I know when I read Jesus name, Because I can feel his love travel up my arm and to my heart.

The second letter I opened came from a 14 year old girl from Mexico who said I had been blind since birth. I’ve never seen a person’s face, not even my own parents. [00:04:00] But now I know when I get to heaven, Jesus is the first face I’ll ever see. And the third letter I opened came from a dad outside of Philadelphia.

Who said my 10-year-old daughter came home from church today crying, but they were tears of joy. Last week she received the gospel of John in the mail, and for the first time in her life she was able to go to Sunday school and read to the other children instead of always having to have them read to her.

And I got through those three letters and I just instantly knew God was calling me and my family to move out. to California and be involved with Lutheran Braille Workers. 

Rich: Those sound like really amazing letters. I think some of our listeners will, uh, will know about Lutheran Braille Workers or LBWs.

Yeah, tell us like what we’re supposed to call you now, but just tell us about the organization as well as some of the history and, and where y’all came from and what’s going on. 

Daniel Jenkins: Sure. We accept LBW or Lutheran Braille Workers. We’re, we’re proud of our Lutheran heritage. Uh, we started [00:05:00] in 1943 during World War II.

There was a request from a German pastor needing Braille Bibles in German. And so the call went out to the United States through the Lutheran Witness and the Lutheran Hour Broadcast. And there was a lady in Southern California by the name of Helene Kehler. Not Helen Keller, Elaine Heeler, and she heard this and she felt this was something she could do.

So she learned German Braille and she actually began the process of transcribing the Bible using a stylus and slate, one dot at a time, the entire Bible. And basically it was about 18 months, a year and a half for her to finish one Bible. It was 16 boxes that she packed up. She shipped it overseas. She thought that was the end of it until she received a letter from this pastor weeks later, and he wrote, Thank you so much.

This is exactly what [00:06:00] we were looking for. How many more can you send? And Helene wrote in her journal, It’s overwhelming to think of how much work went into producing one Bible. How in the world are we going to meet this request? People are asking for the gospel. How do we ever say no? And so that was the start of LVW 80 years ago.

Since that time, we have actually produced over 15 million. Volumes of braille and specialized large print material. We’ve worked in 40 languages in our history. We’ve shipped materials to 164 countries around the world. And the most remarkable part of all of this is every single book is given away free of charge to the people who request.

Rich: That’s amazing. And you shared before that if someone isn’t connected with Lutheran braille workers, the cost is really high, right? 

Daniel Jenkins: Yes. So. If you were to go online right now and try to purchase an English Braille [00:07:00] Bible, your starting cost would be about 800 for one Bible. And if you were looking for Spanish Braille Bibles, it would be about 2, 200.

And these are all being given for free. And then with large print, which is of course, different from Braille. Uh, what you see in the bookstores, that’s not really the international standard for large print that really doesn’t help people with significant visual impairment. And what we produce not only meets those international standards, it’s almost impossible to purchase even.

So, to even access it is incredibly difficult with people losing their vision. 

Rich: So let’s talk a little bit about the population that you service worldwide. What are some statistics and facts for about the blind and visually impaired 

Daniel Jenkins: population? Absolutely. So worldwide, it’s estimated by the World Health Organization, there are 338 million people Who are in the most severe category of [00:08:00] visual impairment.

What we in the U S would define as legally to fully blind within our own country, within the United States, that number is actually over 9 million people within our country. And it’s estimated that 95 percent of that population is unchurched, primarily because within our own country, it’s believed there are fewer than 120 Christian churches who provide intentional outreach to that entire population.

So this is a huge population that we are trying to serve. And unfortunately, in 2024, there aren’t a lot of organizations left doing this work. There’s a lot of people who are seeking Jesus and they just don’t know where to 

Rich: turn. So there’s a bunch of misconceptions about what it means to be visually impaired or blind.

How does that connect to the Ministry of Lutheran Braille Workers? Can you share a little bit about what people have had questions about and how you’ve been able to offer clarification? 

Daniel Jenkins: Absolutely. So one of [00:09:00] the biggest questions I’m, I’m asked, and I understand it, but, The question is, well, hasn’t audio replaced it?

Is there still a need for braille? Is there still a need for large print? Can’t people just listen? And first off, let me just say, audio is certainly a critical component to any ministry. I am never going to Knock audio, it’s so important, but there are dozens of organizations who provide bibles and other resources through audio, especially for people who lose their vision later in life and can’t learn braille.

Certainly audio is 100 percent where we need to direct them. But for people who have learned Braille or for people with low vision who can still read a book, first of all, it’s not our place to tell them how they should access the Word of God. If they want Braille, if they want large print, they should still have the right to access.

And there is something powerful, and this comes from one of our employees who is actually blind. She [00:10:00] said there is something powerful in reading God’s Word for yourself. And not having to rely on somebody else’s voice to give it to you. On top of which, I don’t know about you all, but there’s some times I need to re read the Bible and a certain passage over and over.

It’s challenging. I need to just continue to process it. That’s very difficult with audio. Whereas when you have that word right in front of you, you can take your time. You can work on it. And I think there’s a power in just holding that Bible for yourself and knowing that’s your Bible and nobody can take that from you.

I would say if I could, another question I always get asked is about digital technology as technology improves and replace the need for printed word, same way we use Kindles or e readers. And the fact remains that even within our own country, technology For visual incessant assistance is outdated. It’s about [00:11:00] 15 to 20 years behind our technology and it’s incredibly expensive.

And that’s within the United States. You start going internationally to other parts of the world. That technology doesn’t always even exist. And so our goal is how do we meet people where they are? Not where we think they should be. And I think that’s a big distinction within this ministry as well. It’s a 

Rich: great observation.

I think technology is, is on everyone’s mind. And so there’s always that question of, isn’t there some way to solve this already? But yeah, it’s, uh, bridging the gap is really difficult and yeah, looking at the. The cost of, of that versus what’s happening here and, and figuring it out, um, that that’s a big job, but truly once you talk scale and scope in terms of the world, that’s a, it’s a whole nother ball game too, in terms of getting equipment and technology in the right place.

If you’re saying we’re going to really lean on only tech. So tell, tell us a little bit about how LBW works. You [00:12:00] talked some about distribution of texts, but y’all are definitely in production too. In fact, yeah. I’ll let you. Say the thing I’m always most impressed about by the production of your organization, but you’re in production.

Tell us a little bit about the scale of your production and how it all 

Daniel Jenkins: works. Yes. So first of all, the cornerstone of our, our ministry for 80 years is volunteers. And we have currently over 3200 volunteers throughout the United States at over a hundred and four. What we call ministry production centers and about another 40 ministry outreach centers and the men and women and children at our production centers.

Some of them do braille production. Some of them do large print production. There’s a few centers that do the large print for prison production. And they are just the most incredible group of people I’ve ever met in my lifetime. Such a passion and [00:13:00] dedication for doing this work. We estimate probably last year, our volunteer labor force saves us about 20 million a year just in, they provide 20 million a year just in labor value, I should say.

So what the work they do is incredible. And only do they produce these books. At their centers, they box it up and they ship it directly to the recipients who are waiting for these books. And so it is a direct line between their work and the people who are waiting already to receive it, which is, I think, incredibly powerful.

Last September, one of our newest centers in Georgia, within one year of opening, had already sent materials to six continents, which just shows the global request for these materials. Though I did have to tell them, I don’t know if we’re ever going to get a request for Antarctica. 

Rich: If they already hit six, they’ve, 

Daniel Jenkins: they’ve, they’ve done it.

So, so the volunteers are, are certainly without them, our ministry would not exist [00:14:00] in the scope of what we do. The other part of it is at our headquarters, the use of technology. Uh, we have machines that are called Bralos. These are massive digital embossers. And when we’re running all the machines throughout the week, we will literally go through about one ton of paper per week, just at our headquarters, just for braille on those machines.

That doesn’t include the large print production we do on our massive digital printers in the back, uh, in our, in our print shop. So, it’s really just an ongoing production. It really never stops throughout the year. I mean, every week, every day, there’s production going on, usually somewhere in the country.

Rich: That’s really amazing to hear. And I know that you guys are not only interested in the distribution of Scripture, but also with engagement. So, can you tell our audience a little bit about what LBW is doing for blind and visually impaired individuals for engagement with 

Daniel Jenkins: Scripture? [00:15:00] So, certainly the most important thing that we can distribute is the Bible.

I mean, God’s Word, of course, is the most important thing, but internally, we’ve also looked at, yes, the Bible is important, but what’s the next step? How do we encourage what we like to term faith development? And so, we produce dozens of faith development resources, whether it’s the catechism, whether it’s Bible studies, devotionals, topical materials.

That deal with depression or anxiety or other issues that people are struggling with. In English Braille alone, it’s probably close to 200 titles that we produce. In addition to the Bible in English, large print, probably 250. And that’s both of those numbers are growing every year because we want people to not only come into faith, but be able to strengthen their roots through the power of the Holy spirit, through God working in their lives.

We wanna meet everybody in all of [00:16:00] those areas as well. Uh, and that’s why when we talk about total number of what we distribute, it’s not only books of the Bible, it’s all of the resources that we provide altogether. So let me take a step back. In 2022, we actually produced as a ministry close to a hundred thousand.

Volumes of braille and specialized large print material that we distributed. Even with that level of production coming into 2023, we had approximately 160, 000 volumes on back. These are orders people are waiting for us to fulfill. In 2023, God really blessed the ministry and allowed us to increase our production.

In fact, we last year produced over 270, 000 books of Braille and large print. We nearly tripled our production, and yet we’re coming into 2024 with the backlog of about 180, 000 books. [00:17:00] So we triple production and our backlog continued to grow. Because there is so much demand for these resources and when we look at other organizations who are also doing this work and we’re not here to compare every ministry is wonderful and what they’re doing, we are producing over 10 times as many books.

as the other organizations worldwide combined for this work. That’s just 

Rich: amazing. And I, I love that a Lutheran organization is the world leader in the production of materials to meet the needs for scripture access for blind and visually impaired people. That’s personal point of pride even for me. And I love sharing that story too.

So you’ve shared some of the letters

Daniel Jenkins: That’s probably one of the greatest joys of my job [00:18:00] is there isn’t a week that goes by where we’re not receiving a phone call, a letter, an email, a Facebook message from somebody whose life has been impacted in a positive way. But then when you go out into the world and you actually meet people, and sometimes in some of the, in some places you just don’t expect, and that can literally be rest areas, we’ve met people who’ve needed our materials at rest areas on the interstate.

On airplanes, it’s just, it’s, it’s really incredible. Some that come to mind, there was a lady we met at a national federation of the blind convention a few years back. She had come up to our table asking if she could order a set of the Psalms. Because in English Braille, the Psalms are actually two massive volumes.

It’s just the book of Psalms. And we asked if she had ever read these before and she very, very shyly admitted this was going to be her third set [00:19:00] and she was maybe mid thirties. And we asked, well, why is it your third set? It’s because she had worn down the dots for reading the first two sets so often. I met, uh, just back in August.

I was flying from Oklahoma back to California. I met a couple on the plane. The husband was a former minor league baseball pitcher. He was on a fast track for the majors after a minor league game. He was in a car accident. He was hit by a drunk driver and he lost his sight and he was sharing just his very painful recovery process and dealing with the depression of his life has changed and he has no vision.

His fiance at the time kept reading the Bible to him every day. And so when he got out of the hospital, when he was learning Braille, he asked his teacher, well, is there a way I could get a Braille Bible? And I can surprise my fiancee by reading the Bible back to her. And it was Luther Railworkers that provided him his Bible.

And he [00:20:00] actually really, he admitted, self admitted, he really wasn’t a believer. He was doing this just for his Beyoncé. But he said when he got that first book in the mail and he started reading it, his exact quote was, I felt the strength of God enter my life, and I knew I had purpose again. I knew I could continue for those type of stories are just so powerful because you, you see the direct impact, but you see the power of God in incredible ways, far beyond what we can quite frankly, imagine or 

Rich: understand.

So, uh, as we’re moving into 2024, what does LBW have next on the horizon? What kind of challenges are you looking at? What are some exciting possibilities? 

Daniel Jenkins: Well, certainly the challenge, which is. A good challenge to have is we’re trying to just continue to increase our production capacity. We don’t want people having to wait to receive the Bible and we’re trying to fill in that backlog a little bit faster [00:21:00] because the challenge is how do we continue to recruit new volunteers, open new centers, and, and create that production.

I think another challenge that, that we are trying to address is how do we help churches realize that there are members within their own congregation and there are people within their own communities who need God’s word and don’t know that we’re even here and available for free. So how do we help our churches and our pastors and our members recognize that these resources are available?

And then certainly when you start looking overseas, how do we help missionaries? How do we help churches in other parts of the world also realize that these are free resources available for them or people in their communities. And so I think those are probably some of the top challenges that we are trying to address.

But on the other hand, talk about incredible opportunity. You know, our ministry is not done. God has given us so many [00:22:00] doors. That we can go through. And of course, as you, you all know, the challenge sometimes is which is the right door right now. Can’t go through all of them at once. So some of those opportunities we’re, we’re opening, I think, five to six new centers in the first half of this year alone.

So these are churches throughout the country and individuals who are coming forward saying, we want to be a part of this. Uh, we have new staff on board. We have partnerships. We’re looking to expand our outreach program this year. So just everywhere we look at, whether it’s creating new production, whether it’s adding new languages, adding new titles.

Working on outreach, leadership training, there’s a lot coming in 2024, which is just incredibly exciting. 

Rich: So how can our listeners get involved and reach out to you? 

Daniel Jenkins: Absolutely. So whether it’s through our website, certainly lbwloveworks. org, facebook. com [00:23:00] slash Lucerne Braille Workers. They can call our office, 909 795 8977.

They can send us a message through carrier pigeon, uh, vote signals. We, we accept it all really. However, people want to reach out. Whether it’s the idea of bringing this to their church, but we also have a lot of volunteers who work from home on their own doing certain work. And so, anybody who is ever interested in another level of volunteerism and evangelism, we would certainly welcome that discussion.

Rich: I love that. That’s awesome. And same, uh, if people need braille or large print resources, they reach you in the same way, basically. 100 percent the same way. Awesome. This is so exciting and we’re proud to be in partnership together as Lutheran Bible Translators and Lutheran Braille Workers with the common objective of removing barriers to access to God’s Word.

How can our listeners pray for you and [00:24:00] for Lutheran Braille 

Daniel Jenkins: Workers? Well, I think the number one thing I would ever ask for prayer is for our recipients of the materials that as the Holy Spirit works through God’s word, it changes their lives in incredible ways. And we have so many stories about that.

I will, I will share all of them, but if I could share one story about how we just, we’ve seen this work in incredible ways. I actually had a lady come up to me after a Bible study presentation in Texas. And she shared that her sister lost her sight at the age of 40. Her sister’s name is Mary, by the way.

So Mary lost her sight at age 40. She learned Braille, but she was the only one in the family, not a Christian, atheist, just totally against Christianity. But her family, after she learned Braille said, well, let’s at least bring her the gospels in Braille. And so they ordered it from us. They showed up to our career department.

Yeah. They put it into her [00:25:00] lap and when Mary read what they had given to her, she took the book. It was the book of, uh, Matthew, actually. She threw it across her apartment and she told her family to get out. And how dare they do that and never talk to her again. And for months, there was no contact between Mary and her family.

And then one day, Uh, the lady who I spoke with said her phone rang and it was Mary and she answered it. And the first words out of Mary’s mouth were, is it too late for me to be baptized? And the next week she was baptized. And approximately six months later, that illness that had taken her eyesight came back and actually she died.

And the family said, of course we mourn her. We miss her, but we know where she’s at now. And it also turned out that. No one had talked to her about it. Mary had been going through her apartment, found the book of Matthew she had thrown, and one day said, you know what, let me start reading it. And she read the Gospels, and that’s [00:26:00] when she called her sister.

And so that’s why whenever I ask for prayer for our recipients is, they don’t always have access to other people, or they sometimes don’t want other people talking to them, but the Holy Spirit can still work through their heart. And so that’s why I always ask for prayers for our recipients. I would certainly ask for prayers for our volunteers that they continue to be excited and motivated to do this incredible work, knowing that they’re changing people’s lives, not just in this world, but eternally.

And then I would also ask for prayers for our staff. I mean, for an organization of our size and scope, we have 14 staff and there’s some days it could be very overwhelming. Trying to meet all of these requests and so I would just ask for prayers that the staff continues to be excited and Rejuvenated and energized by the incredible work that they are doing as well 

Rich: Well, we will definitely be keeping you and the rest of the staff at Lutheran Braille workers in our prayers Thank you for your dedicated service Daniel.[00:27:00] 

Daniel Jenkins: Absolutely, and if I could just say to thank you as well and We are very excited by being able to work alongside of organizations, especially Lutheran Bible translators. As you said, we all have the same goals. We’re coming at it in different ways, which is incredible that God allows us to serve in different ways.

But that partnership is just incredible. It means a lot to our organization as well. So thank you so much. Thanks Daniel.

Rich: And just reflecting on the conversation with Daniel, I, I really impressed by the, the amount of, of care and love and advocacy for. The blind and visually impaired community and the multiple volunteer centers that Lutheran Braille Workers has and just the testimony to the vision that, uh, the organization has had historically and continues to have to serve this very underserved population.

We’re very pleased to be partnering with them [00:28:00] to, uh, In our own ways, bring awareness to obstacles to scripture engagement and to remove those barriers and really thankful to be in partnership with Lutheran Braille workers. You can find out more about their ministry and how to get involved at their website, which is Again, that’s Thank you for listening to the Essentially Translatable Podcast brought to you by Lutheran Bible Translators. You can find past episodes of the podcast at or subscribe on Audible, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow Lutheran Bible Translators social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or go to to find out how you can get involved in the Bible translation movement and put God’s Word in their hands. The Essentially Translatable Podcast is edited and produced by Audrey Seider. Artwork designed by Sarah Rudowske. Music written and performed by Rob Veith. I’m Rich [00:29:00] Rudowske. So long for now.


  • Daniel Jenkins is the President at Lutheran Braille Workers
  • Lutheran Braille Workers is the largest producer of braille and large print bibles
  • Lutheran Bible Translators has recently formed a partnership with the organization to lower barriers to Scripture

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