International (MNN) — Improving an environment physically will also improve it spiritually, Wycliffe Associates has found.
That's what is motivating their most aggressive global campaign yet: Operation Clean Water. "We're bringing volunteers with training and expertise and experience in clean water technologies to address this issue, and really, to increase the credibility and the receptivity to the Bible translation task," said Bruce Smith.
The project has obvious short term effects as volunteers help filter the current water supply and educate people. The long-term goals are to provide ground water or rain water catchment systems in communities that lack a water supply.
There are more than 200-million Bible-less people worldwide living without clean water. However, without clean water, they will likely never get Scripture. "In some locations, community development impact, this kind of thing, is essential to even allowing Bible translators access to those areas," Smith said.
Wycliffe has already established a dozen of the projects in Indonesia, training locals in the technology. "It's gained tremendous credibility for the Bible translation teams that are working in that area, improving the view of the governmental authorities
that control visas and access to those areas, as well. But also, just improving the perspective of the local people and their respect for the Bible translators who cared enough
about them to bring this very basic improvement to their daily lives."
Smith says disease is another obvious threat related to the lack of clean water. Deadly diseases may shrink the Scripture audience in some areas. "It doesn't do much good to translate Scripture if you don't have an audience for it," Smith explained. Many people will die without ever hearing the Gospel, simply because they didn't have access to clean water.
Anyone who can become a volunteer overseas or give financially will be able to give more people more time to hear the Gospel, said Smith. "Investing in this naturally improves the
health of the audience for Scripture so that God has the opportunity to transform their lives spiritually."