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Wycliffe Associates Schedules First Secret Training Session for Translators Targeted by Islamic Extremists

( [email protected] ) Apr 06, 2016 12:59 PM EDT
One month after four Wycliffe Associates translators were killed while working in the Middle East, the ministry has announced it is scheduling a training session for those working areas most hostile to Christianity.
Officials for Wycliffe recently revealed the organization has scheduled the first Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation training session at an undisclosed location in order to help Bible translators working in dangerous areas. Photo Credit: Wycliffe Bible Translators

One month after four Wycliffe Associates translators were killed by Islamic extremists while working in the Middle East, the ministry has announced it is scheduling a training session for those attempting to translate the Gospel in areas most hostile to Christianity.

"Even when tragedy strikes, as in this case, the testimony of Christ is loud and clear," Wycliffe President Bruce Smith told FoxNews.com. "Yes, there is a tremendous cost. But as Tertullian, an early Church father, said - the blood of martyrs are the seeds of the church."

Officials for Wycliffe recently revealed the organization has scheduled the first Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation training session at an undisclosed location in order to help Bible translators working in dangerous areas, according to The Christian Post.

The training sessions will reportedly use new translation strategies that aim to shorten the time needed to translate the Gospel, with portions of the Bible available in weeks or months rather than years.

"There is no place on Earth where God's Word is more urgently needed," Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, told CP.  "This is a place of terror, oppression, violence, death, and heartache. To be a Christian is to be a target. Yet the few Christians living there are pleading for Bibles to share secretly with the many, many people around them who are hungry for the truth."

As previously reported, four national translators, unnamed for security reasons, were recently slaughtered by Islamic extremists while working in an unidentified Middle Eastern country.

"Militants killed four national translators and injured several others in a raid on a translation office in the Middle East," reads the report from Wycliffe, an organization which seeks to "involve people in the advancement of Bible translation."

"They shot and destroyed all the equipment in the office including the Print On Demand (POD) equipment," it continues.

"The invaders burned all the books and other translation materials in the office. Two workers died of gunshot wounds. Two other workers laid on top of the lead translator-saved his life-and died deflecting bludgeoning blows from the radicals' spent weapons."

Officials for Wycliffe said hard drives containing the translation work for eight different language projects may be salvageable, however, and those who survived the attack have committed to finishing the projects in an effort to recover the work lost.

"The remaining translation team has decided to redouble their efforts to translate, publish, and print God's Word for these eight language communities," Wycliffe Associates said following the attack.

In order to help translators in dangerous areas, the group will provide computer tablets with software, other technology and equipment, shelter, meals, and basic day-to-day support.

"Given the realities of the world in which these translators live and serve, some people might think the best thing they could do right now is to go into hiding and lay low for a while," Smith told Mission News Network.

"But that isn't their plan at all," he added. "The church is growing rapidly in these countries through the sharing of God's Word."

As earlier noted, Wycliffe translators often set up offices in the areas where a new translation is needed, working on the ground level in places like Asia, Africa and South America as well as the Middle East using a method of translation called "Paradigm 3.0," which focuses on local translators and local control.

CP notes that he goal is to facilitate MAST teams starting in projects in at least 500 additional languages in 2016.

"God's Word will be placed in the hands - and the hearts - of people in multiple nations, nations I can't name because the risk is so great," Smith said. "Our response to the terror and tragedy is to flood the area with God's Word, in the language of the local people."