A Tsunami rebuilding project is completed, Bible translation may follow

By June 28, 2006

Indonesia (MNN) — It’s been nearly 18 months since the tsunami hit Indonesia. Today, Wycliffe Associates is celebrating the completion of a key objective there.

President of Wycliffe Associates Bruce Smith says, “We set up a training program there with some of the local people, so that we could get involved in assisting them with best construction techniques and specifically we targeted 15 homes that were strategic.”

Smith says in Indonesia alone there are more than 300 languages that need Scripture in their own language. Helping physically can help with that. “One of our requirements being in that arena of the world is to work closely with the government in way that they see as constructive to their local communities and to their own functioning. And, so we’re involved with these community development projects because it enhances our credibility with the local communities, with the local government and gives us a platform for the continue work of creating translation work in that arena.”

In an area off the northwest coast of Indonesia, Wycliffe Associates constructed 15 houses at a cost of $150,000. “Our investment is in the people who were adversely affected by the tsunamis and subsequent earthquakes, and should ensure their future safety and cement a long lasting friendship for years to come,” says Smith.

In March 2005 a major earthquake rocked this area of Indonesia destroying over 700 government and school buildings and upwards to 50,000 homes. This was in addition to the December 2004 tsunamis that gained international headlines when giant waves wiped out the coasts of several countries in Southeast Asia, severely crippling the local fishing and farming settlements.

Helping in areas like tsunami devastated area is key to Wycliffe’s work, says Smith. “The western part of Indonesia is a part where there is no language work able to be accomplished because of restrictions. The earthquake and the tsunami opened up the opportunity for our organization to come in that had never happened previously.”

“We wanted to come to Indonesia and help them through these tough times. But we also wanted to pass on to them the skills and knowledge we have to protect structures from earthquake and flood damage,” stated Smith. According to development officials of the United Nations Development Programme, the key to recovery for the island rests on building an “enabling environment.” Dr. Paul Deuster, writing for the program, is quoted as saying “a strategic approach would be to build back better, including the infrastructure.” Wycliffe Associates specifically focused on hiring local labor, training them in advanced construction techniques in hopes that they will spread this advanced knowledge to the other pressing relief efforts in their community.

Officials, including the mayor, expressed their gratitude to Wycliffe Associates by hosting a feast for the volunteers and construction superintendent.

During 2005, some 1,252 Wycliffe Associates volunteers served in 36 countries as part of the worldwide Bible translation team. Wycliffe Associates plans to send more than 1,500 volunteers to 40 different counties this year to build and renovate facilities, construct roads and airstrips, teach Vacation Bible School, help with language development and office work, oversee projects, use their computer skills, and much more. For more information, visit www.wycliffeassociates.org or call 1-800-THE WORD (1-800-843-9673).

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