Water safety plays a role in Bible translation in the Pacific.

By January 8, 2004

International (MNN)–Stress levels can stop a Bible translation project in its tracks.

JAARS’ Glenn Smith explains that days or even weeks of stressful and hazardous travel, often on ill-equipped small boats, is the standard transportation mode for some 150 Bible translation teams who live and work on remote Pacific islands.

The craft usually lack the minimal equipment required for safe passage on the open seas – life preservers, compasses, navigation lights and communications gear. Many of the boats are little more than outboard powered dinghies overloaded with cargo and people.

With frequent trips to local villages for linguistic work, he says the pressure can endanger work. “Whether it be on rivers or lakes, swamps, coastal waters or open seas, it really doesn’t matter. That danger exists and they have to face it every single time. Sometimes it just gets too much for them, and then they vacate the program, so that ends the translation project prematurely.”

Smith trains captains to provide safe passage. The mission of JAARS’ Maritime Services Deparment is to reducing trauma in water travel through training, safety kits, safe boats, search and rescue. “By helping them to overcome a lot of the stress factors in their lives, then we can get it down to where their stress is manageable, and then they can continue on with there work. Bible translation sometimes takes from 20-25 years, so we have to look at the whole gamut.”

JAARS speeds Bible translation by providing quality services for Wycliffe Bible Translators and others.

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