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Rebuilding hope in Congo

By July 26, 2010

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — War
wounds run deep in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tensions are as varied as the tribes that
live in the region. Violent flare-ups
are common. 

Ten days ago, a rebel attack in
North Kivu scattered tens of thousands. Just north of there sits a facility Wycliffe Associates wants to
refurbish, in Bunia, Ituri Province.  

Wycliffe Associates President
and CEO Bruce Smith explains that now is the time to strike. "Because of the
current peace in this area and the opportunity that we have to make this
investment, we want to make sure that we equip the local people to do Bible
translation." 

That's what Wycliffe Associates
does best. The international
organization mobilizes volunteers and resources in support of Bible translation
efforts.

A Bible Translation Center in DR Congo
will be key to peacemaking. "All of
this ethnic strife is only going to be changed and impacted when God's Word and
God's truth changes people's hearts and minds."

Among the more than
3.6 million inhabitants of the DRC, there are 62 living languages spoken in the
country, according to SIL International's Ethnologue. In addition, more
than 200 African ethnic groups are found in the country.

Wycliffe Associates
notes that in the highest translation needs areas, like DRC, the most effective
way to accelerate Bible translation is by equipping and involving nationals in
every level of the many Bible translation projects.

An improved center will
provide the necessary space to assist this method of Bible translation and
ultimately will accelerate the completion of portions of the Bible in local
languages that have never before had access to the Scriptures.

For example, a national
translator recently had the opportunity to share portions of the Bible with a
border soldier in the soldier's native language.

While stopped at an official
checkpoint, the translator used the time to text his wife, which caught the
attention of the soldier, who recognized him as someone from the same village.
The soldier asked the translator whether he was texting in French or Lingala, a
trade language.

The translator said that he
wasn't texting in either language and that he was writing to his wife in
Mayogo, one of the DRC's living languages. The soldier then asked how he could
learn to read and write in Mayogo.

The translator gave him what he
needed to learn to read in his native language, along with copies of the New
Testament books of Luke and Acts and a booklet of Bible stories–another seed
planted.

Volunteer teams are forming now,
but Wycliffe also need to raise $81,375 to help. Smith says the project should go quickly. "It's an existing
building. It needs to just be improved in order to have better utility to the
translation teams that are going to be working in the area there. So, we're planning to have a succession of
teams, probably two to three teams in the coming year."   

To request more information
about the skills needed and time frame, click here.

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