Pending projects drop below 2,000 for the first time

By December 4, 2012

International (MNN) — Do you know what the Great Commission is? It's the command Jesus gave His followers before He went to heaven: "Go and tell the world about Me." You can find it in Matthew 28:18-20 and Luke 24:46-47.

"We see getting the Scriptures into each language as being a key part of completing the Great Commission," says Russ Hersman, COO of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Wycliffe reported some major progress in recent days: less than 2,000 languages lack God's Word.

"This is the first time that it's ever dropped below 2,000, so that's kind of a real milestone for us," Hersman states. This also means that less translation projects need to be started than what are already in progress.

"We rejoice, and we also recognize that we need to continue working hard."

The Wycliffe Global Alliance reports that 1,967 languages are in need of a translation project. Three areas of the world house nearly 75% of these languages: Central Africa & Nigeria, Mainland & Southeast Asia, and Oceania.

"Pray for access to the people groups," requests Hersman. "Some of [them] are in places where there are other majority world religions that are very antagonistic toward Christianity."

Factors such as political and religious roadblocks, security and limited access can make translation work in these regions especially difficult. But a lack of Scripture often triggers a ripple effect on other areas of ministry. Church planters can't effectively share the Gospel and disciple new believers without God's Word, and Christian radio can't reach remote areas unless it has been translated.

Pray for safe access and opportunities, and pray that God would allow His Word to go out.

"He's promised us…that His Word will go out and accomplish what He wants for it," says Hersman. "But He's also given us a stewardship to be involved in that."

Hersman says the most important way to get involved is through prayer.

"[MNN listeners] could actually sign up to pray for a language that doesn't have the Scriptures yet, and just pray for that language on a daily basis until God breaks through there," Hersman explains. Some have spent decades praying for a specific language.

He says, "As soon as they start praying, God starts working."

You can also give or go.

"There's a ton of work to be done, if people would actually like to be involved," says Hersman. "We've got opportunities to be involved in both short- and long-term ways in Bible translation."

However the Lord moves you to respond, ask Him to help you obey His calling.

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