Wycliffe Associates translation work continues despite challenges from COVID-19

By April 22, 2020

International (MNN) –Wycliffe Associates remains confident that translation work will continue around the globe despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Translation Despite Crisis

At the beginning of this year, Bruce Smith discussed the new strategies and goals Wycliffe Associates developed for translation in the coming years. With country after country shutting down travel, Smith explains that those translation efforts are going to be disrupted.

“[The pandemic] has caused us to reassess how [translation] will happen. One of the things we’ve learned from experience is that God’s ways are not our ways, and His ways are higher than our ways.”

However, Smith believes Wycliffe Associates’ strategy will help translation work to continue.

“We can see how God has prepared us through the years. We’ve worked to equip and train local churches around the world,” he says. “Preparation for such a time as this really has positioned us in a place where Bible translation can move forward despite the limitations that have now surfaced.”

Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates

Wycliffe Associates has equipped a large number of indigenous believers to undertake translation work around the world.

“We’ve actually trained thousands and thousands of people to do Bible translation in their own language,” Smith explains. “In fact, in the last 12 months we’ve had around 7,000 people involved in Bible translation around the world working in about 108 different countries.”

Helping Neighbors

Another impact on translation, though, is training new people groups. When travel began to shut down, most of the Wycliffe Associates staff members leading workshops were able to return to the United States. Even without these workshops, Smith is confident training can still happen.

“[We] tried to leave the training and the technology with the local people,” he says. “These are the people that still have access, still have opportunity, and now have training and experience in Bible translation where they can begin training their neighbors.”

Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates

This strategy, called “Each One, Reach One,” is aimed at trained partners reaching out to neighboring groups.

“These 1,600 languages that we’ve trained in the past five years are all neighbors to languages that still have not even a single verse,” Smith says. “We’re connecting with these partners to cultivate and catalyze this movement where each language group that has translation in process can train one of their neighboring languages so that Bible translation can keep going forward despite travel limitations.”

“We see this as a huge opportunity for the people of God, for the Body of Christ worldwide to demonstrate their care for their neighbors by helping them to have the Scripture that they have themselves.”

Partnering With Wycliffe Associates

Smith encourages prayer for this new strategy, their partners worldwide, and Wycliffe Associates staff members that are still trying to get back to the United States.

“Be mindful that this [pandemic] also affects people that are still without Scripture. This is not affecting the people in rural areas of the world the same way it’s affecting us in urban America,” he says. “Be mindful that this impacts poorer communities and poorer economies especially in the rural parts of the world in a more harsh way than it does us.”

You can also visit Wycliffe Associates’ website here to support them financially.

“We still need financial support during these kinds of times, and it could be a time when it’s tempting to turn to giving by sight instead of giving by faith. All of us need to continue to cultivate that faith mindset and that faith outlook, trusting God for his financial provision in our own families, in our circumstances, and our communities.”

For more ways you can be praying for Wycliffe Associates during this time, visit their website here.



Header image courtesy of Wycliffe Associates 

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