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Bible translation effort to begin in country where evangelism is illegal

The Wycliffe bible translation organization is ready to begin scripture translation for 10 languages in an undisclosed nation where the government fiercely opposes Christianity, and evangelism is illegal.

The international ministry, known for translating the Bible into thousands of languages, says there are 150 language groups in the country, and Christians from 10 language groups there want to begin translations using a newly developed strategy called MAST, or Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation.

“Many Christians in this part of the world had resigned themselves to never seeing a Bible in their own heart language,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “But then they heard about the MAST strategy—a way for them to be equipped to translate the Scriptures themselves.”

MAST is a collaborative translation method that Wycliffe Associates teaches to mother-tongue translators in a workshop setting. Teams from local churches staff the language projects, which consist of four drafting steps and four checking steps. The translators and local church leaders engage in an ongoing checking process to ensure accuracy of the final translation.

In the nation where Wycliffe Associates hopes to launch at least 10 new MAST workshops, the government tracks every move of people believed to be Christians.

“There are thousands of secret house churches in this country,” said Smith, “and we have reports of more and more people coming to Christ. Yet millions of the people attending these churches don’t have a Bible in their own heart language.”

In addition to MAST training, Wycliffe Associates provides the translators with technology such as computer tablets loaded with Bible translation apps, open source Bible translation technology, and portable Print On Demand systems.

Wycliffe Associates has received word of Christians in small villages who have made attempts to begin translating the Bible into their own language in small portions. But some were discovered by the authorities, who confiscated their work. The translators were punished, and some have been barred from traveling because they’re considered a threat to the state.

“This is so important to them—more important than anything in their lives,” said Smith. “They are willing to lay everything on the line.”

Each language project will cost $19,500, and Wycliffe Associates is currently raising funds for all 10 language projects.

There are 1,058 MAST translation projects currently underway around the world.

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. Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers are currently accelerating Bible translations in 92 countries.

For more information, please seewww.wycliffeassociates.org.

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