– For As Many as 400 Languages in Regions Off-Limits to Westerners
(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, has the potential to launch new Bible translation projects in up to 400 languages in Asia this year, in areas where Christians live under constant threat of persecution due to vicious extremism.
“So many language groups are crying out for God’s Word—urging us to bring them the tools they need to translate the Scriptures in the language of their people, the language of their hearts,” says Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “Requests are pouring in from parts of Asia where it’s difficult, dangerous, and even deadly for Americans.”
According to a ministry partner in Asia, 20 highly qualified Asian ministry leaders are ready to lead Bible translation efforts in many areas that have been unreached entirely. The ministry leaders, who live and work in those areas, would not attract the same suspicion as Westerners.
Yet being a Christian is not without risk for the nationals. Last year, radicals from the majority religion kidnapped a national Bible translator’s wife and children. His family still has not been found, and the translator’s Christian friends are keeping him in hiding.
In another area, a pastor would only agree to hold a meeting about Bible translation in a boat, in the middle of a lake, to be certain the conversation would not be overheard.
“These are places where religious oppression is so intense, where anti-Christian persecution is so fierce, where authorities so harshly deny entrance to outsiders that foreigners have never even attempted to conduct Bible translation there,” says Smith.
Wycliffe Associates’ development of MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) in 2014, a revolutionary rapid-translation strategy, equips nationals to translate the Bible for themselves. Language groups no longer must depend on—or wait for—Westerners to translate the Scriptures for them.
Some Bible translation teams working with the MAST strategy in other regions of the world have been able to complete their translation of the entire New Testament in a matter of weeks and months rather than years.
“God is building His Church in these countries, not on the strength of ‘foreigners,’ but on nationals,” Smith says.
A translation leader can be funded for $96 a day, and currently Wycliffe Associates has funding for three of the 20 available translators in Asia. Funding all 20 leaders has the potential of bringing the translated Scriptures to 400 language groups in areas that are virtually unreachable by Westerners.
“Just like a river that flows with life and abundance, this team will rush to the nations to bring the Good News,” says Smith. “They will bring abundant opportunity for people to know God in their own heart language.”
To date, 1,086 Bible translation projects have been launched using MAST workshops.
About Wycliffe Associates
One of the world’s leading Bible translation organizations, Wycliffe Associates was organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators to accelerate the work of Bible translation. Wycliffe Associates empowers national Bible translators to provide God’s Word in their own language, partners with the local church to direct and guard translation work, harnessing their passion and desire for God’s Word, and engages people from all around the world to provide resources, technology, training, and support for Bible translation.
Because millions of people around the world still wait to have the Scriptures in the language of their hearts, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as it can to see every verse of God’s Word translated into every tongue to speak to every heart. Wycliffe Associates is directly involved with speeding Bible translation by providing technology, training, resources, logistics, networking, expertise, volunteers, discipleship, church planting, and support. Last year, 7,402 Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers worked to speed Bible translations in 72 countries. For more information, please see www.wycliffeassociates.org.
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