USA (MNN) — What’s the first thing to come to mind when you hear “Bible translator?” Is it a person in a long, flowing, white robe or clean and tidy suit, sitting behind a desk with a furrowed brow and hunched over two Bibles?
In all honesty, this description couldn’t be more wrong.
A Bible translator could actually be seen as the Indiana Jones of missions. Many times, translators have to journey through thick jungles and rappel down cliffs, just to get to a small, remote village. Then they have to work with villagers to understand their foreign language. It is both physically and mentally exhausting.
Wycliffe Bible Translators USA has embraced the journeys and lifestyle of Bible translators. Through Wycliffe’s Race to 2025 program, they are showing that translation involves more than just sitting behind a desk.
Kris Russel is the director of Wycliffe’s programs team. “What we’re trying to do with the Race to 2025 is simulate what it would be like to go on a language survey, by hiking through the woods, where the race is being held, and setting up various challenges that Wycliffe workers could possibly face.”
Five or six teams of four people compete in the two-day challenge which pairs extreme sports with Bible translation.
Each team must complete seven obstacles, four of which could be anywhere from white water rafting to mountain biking. The other challenges include solving linguistic puzzles, like trying to figure out how to translate a Bible verse into a different language. “They’re getting a little taste of what it would be like to be a Bible translator,” Russel reported.
Wycliffe has multiple events per year. This year they will have one in Washington, Tennessee, New York, and Wisconsin.
Race to 2025 isn’t strictly for an amazing experience or to see what the life of a translator is like. Its main goal is to raise money for Wycliffe translation programs spread throughout 70 different countries.
Each competing team raises funds for the programs. Last year was the first year of the competition and they were able to raise $50,000. Russel said, “The goal that we’re shooting for is $127,000, and so we are looking at trying to raise another $77,000.”
This year funds will be donated to translation programs for deaf Bibles in Africa.
Though the competition sounds exhausting, Russel said everyone has a lot of fun and people don’t have to be in excellent shape. They just have to be willing to try.