Sudan (MNN) — The last fifty years of Sudan's history have
been marred by civil war. Protracted armed conflict in many parts of the
country has killed, wounded and displaced millions of people. It not only
displaced the Sudanese, it displaced missionaries.
Bible translators were affected, says the President of Wycliffe Associates Bruce Smith. "Bible translators really had to move out of Sudan
pretty much en mass about 20 years ago. There were a few that were still doing
work, some national partners that were doing work inside the country, but under
very difficult circumstances."
However, Smith says the signing of a peace accord last year
has, "created kind of a window of
opportunity for the next five to six years where this cease fire is supposed to
be in place that has given us enough encouragement for the Bible translation
teams who were working outside of the country to move back into Sudan."
That allows Bible translation to become more efficient.
However, they have a problem, says Smith. "The
facilities that they left 18 years ago have not had any maintenance in the
intervening period of time. There (are) actually squatters and other people
that have used the facilities and so they're in terrible disrepair."
Wycliffe Associates needs volunteers to help rebuild the
facility. Smith says, "This is a great opportunity to really have firsthand
personal experience and make a personal contribution to enable them to have
Scripture in their own language and to really encourage the Christians that are
in that country as well as getting the word out to the people who still need
the Good News of the Gospel."
One team just returned from Sudan, but there's a lot of work
to do and they're looking for skilled construction workers and other who can
Smith says the challenging part of volunteer recruiting is
convincing people it's safe. "If it wasn't a safe situation we wouldn't be
going back in there. We're doing this because our partners who live there and
work there are telling us that it is a safe time. That it is a safe opportunity
and we really need to seize this opportunity because we don't know that the
future is going to be like."