Volunteers evacuated from Chad, translation project on hold

By February 12, 2008

Chad (MNN) — The government of Chad has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on N'Djamena (jah-MEE-nah) and six southern and eastern provinces, as reports indicate rebels are regrouping. This comes following last week's thwarted assault on the capital by an alliance of Chadian rebels. These new circumstances have started to affect a Bible Translation support organization.

Wycliffe Associates is the volunteer arm of Wycliffe Bible Translators. President of Wycliffe Associates Bruce Smith says, "We actually had a volunteer team of six people in place in the capital city of N'Djamena. And over the weekend, they were evacuated actually by the French military and taken to Gabon, en route to their final destination of Cameroon."

According to Smith, everyone is safe and was never in any danger. However, he says, "The work has been disrupted, and our project is on hold until things settle down back in the country. But it really doesn't change our long-term commitment to the country. It's just one of these things that interrupts the process and progress of translation."

"Our particular project was to work on the expansion of a translation training center for Chadian Christians who are part of the translation effort," Smith says. "At this point, we've got pretty much the foundation (in place), and some of columns are getting ready to be poured. But that's basically where it's going to sit until things settle down."

Smith says this delay will only be temporary because "there [are] still languages that need Bible translation and a couple dozen languages that are already in progress and still more that need to be started in translation."

However, Smith doesn't believe this most recent unrest will hurt recruiting efforts. On the contrary, volunteers are pretty much ready to go anywhere that are asked to go. He says, "Because of their commitment to Scripture and their own personal experience in seeing the impact in their own life, they're anxious for that to be available to everybody. The more-difficult situations aren't for everyone, but the good news is that God has prepared people for every situation."

Chad is just one example of the translation project needs that are available to volunteers with Wycliffe Associates. Smith says two years ago, they had 38 projects going on around the world, "And we thought that was too many at the time. But last year that number increased from 38 to 61. And now, we've got 84 projects in process all around the world."

If you'd like to go on a trip, click "Mission Trip" on our homepage — or click here to go to Wycliffe's Web site.

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