New Bible translation projects planned for 400 “impossible” language groups

By February 21, 2018

Asia (MNN) — There are some areas of Asia that haven’t had their own translations of the Bible because, well, it’s been too difficult to get into the region. There are many countries on the continent where the persecution of Christians is fierce. These areas are volatile and can change quickly. It’s also why a lot of language groups in this region are considered “impossible language groups.”

Impossible Made Possible

“In a practical sense, these are languages that have been beyond our reach because of political, religious, and security considerations,” Wycliffe Associates’ Bruce Smith shares.

(Photo courtesy of Pongo 2007 via Flickr)

“Not because the languages themselves are impossible to translate, or because they didn’t need scriptures, but because the accessibility and the security situations were such that the timing just wasn’t available to us to reach out in that direction.”

That was the case until now. At least 400 language groups in Asia are asking for Wycliffe Associates to come alongside and help them get the Bible translated into their own languages. These language groups come from at least a dozen different Asian countries.

It’s still dangerous for foreigners to be traveling through these areas as they’re automatically shrouded with suspicion and often times their every move is tracked. But Wycliffe Associates won’t have to be sending anyone in.

Instead, locals will be trained for the work. These folks can travel in and around Asia without causing suspicion or raising the alarm. These people also have easier access to closed countries, also referred to as creative access countries, than Wycliffe Associates or other foreigners could dream of in this age.

“River of God”

“We have a partner that has really sensed the move of God in equipping and raising up believers in their own nation and they’re calling this strategy the river of God,” Smith explains.

“It actually comes from a devotional time that this particular leader was spending in Ezekiel 7, where this image of the river of God flowing out from the throne of God and refreshing the land of Israel really was sort of the metaphor for him having an idea that this could be the way their people in their country could be a blessing to the other countries of Asia.”

(Photo and header photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

Already this partner has 20 qualified Asian ministry leaders ready to facilitate mass workshops and start Bible translations in their countries and potentially others. “Each of those 20 would have the opportunity to be able to impact, probably 20 languages in the next years.” Do the math and that’s 400 languages with a freshly translated Bible.

Smith says more and more, the actual Bible translations taking place are being led and accomplished by local churches. Wycliffe Associates serves these local churches by providing training and resources.

“This has been the movement of God as we’ve seen it and we believe that it’s going to have the impact in really hundreds of languages in Asia that I said before, were really beyond our reach before,” Smith shares.

Help the Translations

So please– start praying. Pray for the success of this project, the safety of these translators, and for God’s hand to be evident throughout the translation process.

Many of the final unreached people groups live in Asia. But as one can imagine, getting the Bible to these people will be costly. However, when has anything worth sharing not been?

It takes $96 dollars a day, or roughly $20,000 a year, to keep a translator working. Will you give to help the Gospel spread in Asia?

To give, click here!

For more ways to pray, click here!

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