Four Wycliffe Associates workers were brutally murdered by Islamic militants while working in the Middle East just days after the U.S. declared that the atrocities being perpetrated against Christians in the region are "genocide," the organization revealed in a disturbing new report released on Sunday.
"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."
Miraculously, the hard drives containing the translation work for eight language projects was saved.
What man meant for evil God is using for good, as the remaining team has vowed to redouble their effort to translate, publish and print the Gospel for the eight language communities that they had been working on. However, Wycliffe said it will be looking for a new safe location to continue its translation and printing work.
"Please ask the Lord to mend the hearts and wounds of the translation team who have gone through this horrible ordeal. Pray that God will strengthen their minds, their hearts, and their bodies to be able to continue the translation of the gospel for their people," Mae Greenleaf, a prayer coordinator said in a statement.
The four martyrs join thousands of others killed for their faith by Islamic Militants in the Middle East, prompting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to officially declare ISIS is committing "genocide" against Christians and other ancient minority groups in the region.
"Christians are being massacred because of their faith," Mark Arabo, president of the California-based Minority Humanitarian Foundation, told The Gospel Herald. "Their churches have been bombed, their houses have been taken away, their clothes have been stripped from them. They're left in the desert in camps, begging for someone to rescue them. They've lost everything they have because of ISIS, but they haven't lost their faith, they haven't lost their hope."
Greenleaf is urging believers worldwide to not only pray for the families of those martyred, but the killers, as well: "Pray for these whose hearts are so hard," she wrote. "Pray the Lord will open their eyes to what they have done. Please ask the Lord to meet them, each one, right where they are. Pray that He will show Himself merciful, that they will know His forgiveness, His love, and His peace."
"Please take this opportunity to be an encourager to translation teams in dangerous places. And continue to pray," Greenleaf urged.
"Pray for all the newly formed translation teams diligently translating Scripture in their own language, for their own loved ones, in extremely difficult places."
Wycliffe Associates, which was formed in 1967 and had over 6,279 staff and volunteers translating the Gospel in 75 different countries in 2015, according to its website.
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