SE Asia (MNN) — SE Asia isn’t exactly known as a welcoming environment for Christ-followers.
“Officially, Christianity is at less than 2% in the entire area,” shares Wycliffe Associates’ Vice President, Brent Ropp.
“But we would venture to say that that number is actually growing quite rapidly, and it’s probably in the 8-10 percentile range, at this point.”
Three of the five countries where Wycliffe Associates is assisting translators are on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List – a ranking of 50 countries where persecution is most severe. A fourth nation, ranked at #51, just missed the designation.
“Buddhism is the primary religion in all of the countries,” Ropp shares.
Persecution ranges in severity, from severe restrictions on Christian materials to physical abuse.
Despite potential risks, a group of local Christians has joined efforts to begin translating the Bible into their own language, even with minimal resources to carry the work forward.
New believers are hungry for God’s Word, and they’re teaming up with translators to get Bibles in their heart language.
Wycliffe Associates provides the tools and training they need to get the job done.
“We’re using some new translation methodologies, but we’re also using technology,” says Ropp.
“Groups of people from one or more churches, from the same language community–working together with their pastors and church leaders–are able to work through passages of Scripture at surprisingly fast pace.”
The technique is called MAST — Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation.
Bilingual members of a minority language community team up with translators, using a majority language and tools provided by Wycliffe Associates, to get God’s Word into their native tongue.
In recent weeks, 13 believers from a minority language community in the Himalayas gathered with translators and Wycliffe Associates facilitators to try out the MAST process.
“In just two weeks, those 13 people were able to translate half of the New Testament,” Ropp shares.
How you can help
Because millions of people are still waiting to read Scripture in their heart language, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as it can to get every verse of God’s Word translated into every tongue to speak to every heart.
Organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators, Wycliffe Associates empowers national Bible translators to provide God’s Word in their own language.
Last year, 2,544 Wycliffe Associates team members helped speed Bible translations in 73 countries–including those in Southeast Asia.
“We’re being inundated with requests for help with new translation projects all the time,” Ropp says.
You can help Wycliffe Associates meet the demand by praying, giving, or going.
The success of thousands of Bible translators and volunteers–at home and overseas–depends on the faithful prayers of God’s people everywhere.
Right now, thousands of dedicated Wycliffe Associates volunteers support the worldwide work of Bible translation in prayer every day.
As explained on Wycliffe Associates’ Web site, your gifts impact eternity as you:
- Provide ministry support for missionaries and their families involved in Bible translation.
- Construct airstrips, offices, translation centers, training centers, homes, schools, and meeting facilities at Bible translation sites all over the world.
- Provide necessary equipment and tools for the work of Bible translation.
- Respond practically to crises caused by unrest, disaster, or hostility that endanger missionaries and their families.
- Recruit and provide skilled and trained volunteers to assist missionaries and translators.
- Help others find God.
Wycliffe Associates has short-term missions opportunities available nearly every month from now through December.