12 million Haitian-Creole speakers in need of God’s Word.

By September 14, 2006

Haiti (MNN) — The small Caribbean nation of Haiti has seen a lot of changes and much upheaval in recent decades, but there’s one change now in the works that will have eternal significance.

The World Bible Translation Center has launched a new project that has grown out of some new research showing a tremendous need. Around 12 million people speak the Haitian-Creole language, but the available translation of God’s Word uses antiquated language.

WBTC’s Gary Bishop says they’re working to translate God’s Word into the Haitian-Creole language in updated, current language. “There is a huge literacy challenge for Haiti. There are many, many people, who even though they can read to some degree are not able to read the language of the text that has been printed. It is in an ancient language, and it’s very old, and of course, not readable or understandable by most of today’s readers.”

Bishop says the translation project will help meet needs now and in the future, “Haiti has been beset by dictator changes, by economic oppression, and even by religious oppression, for many decades now. And so, the result of that is poverty, (and) a level of education that is far, far below most of the neighboring countries and most of the rest of the western world, and so they are a people really in need for this text.”

Haiti is a nation embattled with spiritual forces. There’s a huge conflict between voodoo and Christianity, says Bishop, and more than 50 percent of the Haitian population still actively practice voodoo. Bishop emphasizes the need of God’s Word there, to combat the spiritual forces of darkness, “Our latest research from Haiti tells us that only one in ten believers today have ever had a Bible. And so, the need is both for existing Christians and for the many that will be brought to Christ.”

Last year, The Bible League, a partner of WBTC, completed 100,000 Bible studies with Haitian nationals. The normal process when people finish the study is to equip them with their own Bible, but this didn’t happen. Due to the shortage of God’s Word available in Haiti, they were only able to give out 20,000 Bibles. 80,000 people walked away from completed Bible studies with no Bible. Bishop says there’s a profound need there, “That is a challenge that God’s people must respond to. We just can’t continue to allow people to come seeking the new life in Jesus Christ, the Good News, and then turn them away without the very thing they’re seeking.”

The WBTC is working with indigenous translators and also through the Bible League to accomplish this task. The translation project has been launched, but will not be immediate. With technological advances, translation efforts have been accelerated drastically. Bishop expects it will take two or three years to complete the New Testament and seven years for the entire Bible, but it may be even shorter as technology continues to advance.

There’s an ongoing financial need that goes along with Bible translation, and the entire translation project will cost an estimated $375,000-$600,000 to complete. If you would like to help contribute to this project, contact the World Bible Translation Center by clicking on the link listed here.

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