Bible translators focus on African languages

By November 30, 2006

Africa (MNN) — Pressure on church ministries in Kenya have slowly been escalating as other faiths are putting pressure on the government to repress Christian work. Despite these pressures, Wycliffe Associates is building a translation center that will help a major Bible translation initiative.

Vice President of Operations for Wycliffe Associates Brent Ropp says it’s called the Bantu Initiative. “This language group has over 500 languages and these languages and these language groups are spread throughout the continent of Africa. And, over 250 of these languages have no translation efforts started in them yet.” That’s over 14 million people without God’s word.

According to Ropp, this is causing problems for evangelism. “Bible translation is the foundation of all Christian work that goes on — evangelism, church planting, (and) discipleship,” says Ropp. “Unless a people group has the Word of God in their own languages these things are received only in a shallow sense.”

This is all part of Wycliffe’s Vision 2025, says Ropp. “Vision 2025 actually says that we’ll work towards seeing a Bible translation project started in every language group that needs one by the year 2025. And, with over 250 languages in this language family, that’s a lot of work to be accomplished.”

To help them address these translation needs, Wycliffe Associates is constructing a $500,000 translation center in Nairobi, Kenya. “We definitely could use volunteer construction workers,” Ropp says. “We have construction leadership out there in Niarobi, Kenya and we’re hoping to organize as many as five different teams over the course of this coming year to go out and work along side our national colleagues.”

With HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, the need for Bible translation is vital. “It is one of the things that is speeding up the death of millions and millions of people and for us this creates an added sense of urgency,” says Ropp.

They still need funding for the project. Ropp hopes translators can move into the new headquarters in the next 18 months.

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