South Sudan uncertainty not stopping Bible translation

By January 30, 2012

South Sudan (MNN) — Tribal violence particularly in one state in the new country of South Sudan has United Nations officials concerned. However, Christians are moving forward with plans to expand Bible translation facilities there.

Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that involves people in the acceleration of Bible translation efforts, is continuing to assist Bible translators in newly independent South Sudan with logistical, financial, and personnel support.

From 1955 to 1972, and 1983 to 2005 respectively, Sudan was plagued by two lengthy periods of civil conflict in which an estimated 2.5 million people died from starvation and drought, most of whom were civilians. In July 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan, and that has, according to Wycliffe Associates, opened new doors for religious freedom as never before.

"There are more people without the Bible in the Sudan region than in any other area of Africa," says Wycliffe Associates President and CEO, Bruce Smith. He points out that the need for Bible translation projects in all of Sudan is great, with 21 million Sudanese waiting for the Bible to be translated into a language they can understand.

There are 29 languages without any Scripture in South Sudan, representing 20% of the population. Currently, six language projects are underway.

"Our partners on the ground say that without our immediate action, no new translation projects can begin," Smith says.

Wycliffe Associates has been renovating facilities that had been abandoned by Bible translators for security reasons nearly 20 years ago. Upon the Bible translators' return in 2005, they lived in mud huts until housing and office space could be repaired.

Recently, anonymous donors have provided $39,100 for a matching challenge, which means that gifts toward Bible translation in South Sudan will be doubled, up to that amount. The gifts will be used to provide Bible translation facilities and resources for Bible translators.

Bible translation in this region remains one of Wycliffe Associates' top strategic priorities for the coming years.

Wycliffe Associates involves people in accelerating the work of Bible translation through their time, talents, and treasure. Because millions of people around the world are still waiting to read the Scriptures in the language of their heart, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as they can to translate every verse of the Bible into every tongue to change every heart. The organization partners with nationals, mother tongue translators, staff, volunteers, and supporters to direct and fund these efforts, as well as provide logistics, networking, and technical support. Through a growing global network, Wycliffe Associates is striving to overcome local limitations of time and resources to achieve the goal of beginning the translation of God's Word in every remaining language that needs it by 2025.


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