Training center in PNG nearer to completion

By February 8, 2012

Papua New Guinea (MNN) — Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that involves people in the acceleration of Bible translation efforts, is working to complete a strategic, national Bible translation training center in the Eastern Highlands region of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Located east of Indonesia and north of Australia, Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, the second-largest island in the world. Papua New Guinea is home to 841 language groups, comprising approximately 12% of the world's known living languages. Compounding the number of languages spoken in the country is its diverse population, with several thousand different small people groups, all with unique customs and languages.

With a land area slightly larger than California, Papua New Guinea's terrain makes travel throughout the country difficult, further isolating its communities. Elevations range from sea level to more than 14,000 feet at its highest point, Mount Wilhelm, and the area is also exposed to frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity.

About 200 Bible translation projects are currently in process in Papua New Guinea, while more than 175 translation projects have already been completed. Even so, there are still hundreds of language groups in Papua New Guinea that still do not have even one verse of Scripture.

"Language groups in this isolated region are crying out for Scriptures," says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. "Without resources for facilities, training, and equipment, we cannot respond."

National translators are crucial to reaching the last 300 people groups in PNG. Without the national training center, Bible translation in PNG will be significantly slowed down, and many people groups will continue to ask and wait for the message of God's Word in their heart language.

The translation training center in the Eastern Highlands will accelerate Bible translation efforts in the region by providing training, logistical, and translation support to national translators.

The training that nationals receive at the new PNG National Training Center will enable them to go back to their target language groups to carry out literacy and translation work.

"Hundreds of thousands of people are waiting for a single word of Scripture. Wycliffe Associates is working urgently to speed Bible translation efforts," Smith says.

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.

In 2011, the organization mobilized 3,703 volunteers and staff members to accelerate Bible translation in 77 countries. Additional information is available at or by calling 1-800-THE WORD (1-800-843-9673).

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