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Bible Translation Center moves forward despite Boko Haram concerns

By March 6, 2012

Cameroon (MNN) — Boko Haram's efforts
to rid Nigeria of Christians has also raised concerns in neighboring Cameroon.

There are reports from Cameroon's Muslim
leaders that religious extremism could be gaining a foothold.

According to the Cameroon Association of Imams, there are some mosques that
have allowed the Boko Haram to preach. Boko Haram is a jihadist terrorist organization based in
northeast Nigeria.  

It seems that the concern is
serious enough that Muslim leaders may look at regulating religious groups in an
effort to keep Boko Haram's extremism out of Cameroon.

At the same time,
Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that involves people in the
acceleration of Bible translation efforts, is moving forward on plans to build
a new Bible translation center in Cameroon.

Bruce
Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates says, "There
is a lot of concern about what might happen, but so far, it's been peaceful.
We're obviously concerned that the translations would be able to move forward
without interruption. We'd certainly
request people to pray." 

The region is
strategic to unreached people groups. Smith explains, "It's a place where there are so many
different languages–about 300 in Nigeria and about another 100 in Cameroon–that are still without one verse of Scripture. We are convinced that the best
solution for the instability and the concerns that have arisen there is that
God's Word go forward in a language that they can understand."

The project has been a long time in
the planning, made even longer by unexpected delays. "The main holdup has
actually been that the government has been thinking about building a football
(soccer) stadium, and recently the approval came through to start the
construction project for the training center. So we're moving ahead with it
now, along with our partner, the Cameroonian Bible Translation
Association."

The idea is to
move the training closer to the actual language work itself. The current Bamenda Translation Training Center is actually a tiny, old, three-bedroom house and three other houses spread out over four separate properties. A new Bible translation training center would provide a more efficient space which would help facilitate the more than 40 language projects that are currently underway
in Cameroon.   

Now
that the last obstacle has been cleared away, Wycliffe Associates wants to waste
no more time getting a  training center
in Bamenda built. They're raising the first $50,000 to launch. "We're
actually going to begin immediately. We have a construction superintendent
assigned; we've got materials being ordered at this time. We've got volunteers,
professional construction people from the United States who are going to assist
with the local laborers."

Once the work teams make it to the
site, Smith says, "We expect that
they'll be finished in about a year, at least with the initial phase, and then
maybe continuing beyond that with some additional buildings."

Why the rush? "The need for Scripture is so great in
Cameroon that there are many more communities, many more people desperate for
hope," says Smith. "We have a window of opportunity now to provide national
translators the resources needed to accelerate translation efforts and reach
the remaining language groups."

Wycliffe
Associates involves people in accelerating the work of Bible translation
through their time, talents, and treasure. Because millions of people around
the world are still waiting to read the Scriptures in the language of their
heart, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as they can to translate every
verse of the Bible into every tongue to change every heart.

The organization
partners with nationals, mother-tongue translators, staff, volunteers, and
supporters to direct and fund these efforts, as well as provide logistics,
networking, and technical support. Through a growing global network, Wycliffe
Associates is striving to overcome local limitations of time and resources to
achieve the goal of beginning the translation of God's Word in every remaining
language that needs it by 2025.

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