Wycliffe Associates, a Florida non-profit dedicated to bringing the gospel to hundreds of obscure languages, is seeking to raise $50,000 to reestablish the translation project that was unexpectedly halted when Islamic extremists murdered four translators in the Middle East and destroyed much of their work.
"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."
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.
Fox News notes that 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.
"The Church prefers to do translation where the people are," Smith told the news outlet. "Paradigm 3.0 Bible translation is all about church engagement from beginning to end. Dislocated translations delay and dilute the impact to the local communities."
Such work comes with extreme risks. According to a June report from Wycliffe, there is a widespread, deadly presence of Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Central Asia, and over the past year, 11 of the 28 Bible translators living and working in this region have been reported dead or missing.The report notes that extremist groups are free to operate and are systematically wiping out Christian minorities.
"The attack on translators shows how dangerous it is for Christians," Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst for the Clarion Project, told FoxNews.com
"Translators know the language and are usually familiar with the territory and population. Yet, even they are at high risk of death simply for being Christian. There is no how-to guide for survival that a Christian can follow."
Currently, Wycliffe is in the process of setting up a new secret location and have asked for the public's help in raising emergency funds. The money will not only be used to further the Gospel, but will also "provide support for the families of the national translators who were killed so that a great many others will come to know Him through His Word."
"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."
"The church is growing rapidly in these countries through the sharing of God's Word," he added. "even through means such as God revealing himself to non-Christians in dreams."
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