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Bible translation expansion project underway in Indonesia

By August 5, 2011

Indonesia (MNN/WAS)
— Bible translation throughout Oceana remains a high strategic priority with
underlying challenges.

Art Greenleaf with Wycliffe Associates
explains, "We've got a great opportunity there in
Timor partnering with the national church. This particular area is not as
heavily Islamic as more western provinces might be. There are a lot of Christians
there, very similar to what you might have in the province of Papua."

Using
national translators streamlines the process of Bible translation in a region
that sometimes deals with hostility toward Christians. "Nationals can move and function 100%
better than we can as expatriates," says Greenleaf. He adds, "We are on a property that
we're sharing with the national church. They have actually provided this
property to develop the linguistics center. There is harmony in this particular
part of Indonesia."

However, the
team's progress is being hampered by the cramped quarters at the current translation center. A short-term solution came through renting
additional workspace. Even then, some
translators are carrying out their work in a garage and even outdoors.

That's
why Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that involves people in
the acceleration of Bible translation efforts, is planning to build a fully
functioning translation center on the island of Timor in Southeast Asia. "There's a need to train national
translators right where they are," he explains, adding that an "indigenous
linguistics center with the local church eventually overseeing it, is perfect."

"They are deeply
committed. They're willing to work. They urgently want to see God's Word in the
heart language of their people. But they need our help," says Bruce Smith,
president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.

More
than 65 Bible translators are currently working on translations in more than 80
languages in the Timor region and the surrounding islands of Indonesia, and
some of the languages are spoken by as many as half a million people. Greenleaf says that "Indonesia
is probably one of  the most needy areas
in the province of Papua, which is part of the island of New Guinea. It has the
largest number of languages in the world to be reached."

Wycliffe
Associates is seeking to raise $100,000 to turn the current facility into a
fully functioning translation center, doubling its size and providing the basic
necessities and equipment for translation work.

The timeline? "We're beginning work now over there. Over the
next year, we would like to see the facility completed and functioning. This will be probably an ongoing project as
we have the Training Center, housing, that sort of thing, on the church
campus."

Much
of the construction will be completed by teams of volunteers who partner with
and are mobilized by Wycliffe Associates. Aside from the resources, Greenleaf says, "We need
to pray for the safety and security of those linguists. Something we
need to be praying for, too, is the wisdom to do the task they're doing and the tenacity
just to stick by it. It's not an easy task, taking God's Word and putting it
into one's own language."

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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