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World News

Charity to help underground churches translate the Bible for themselves

by Premier Journalist

Wycliffe Associates has announced a new plan to train Bible translators in regions that face extreme Christian persecution. 

The US Bible translation organisation said there's a great need for people who are forced to attend church in secret to be able to read the Bible in their mother-tongue. 

Entire networks of underground churches operate in secret, but reliance on foreign-language Bibles severely hinders evangelism and discipleship efforts.

President and CEO of the charity Bruce Smith said: "These are places where religious militants operate like vigilantes, and governments are cracking down on Christians at the borders due to their hatred of Christianity. 

"In some of these regions, the moment you set foot there, your life is at risk."

Wycliffe Associates said the situation is equally dangerous for both local Christians and the American staff members in such areas, where they have to move through public areas, because it would have been deadly for the Christian if an American was seen entering his home.

By training national Bible translation leaders in "closed" countries, the charity can send them to people groups that outsiders currently cannot reach. 

This in turn enables them to hold Bible translation workshops. The aim for this project is 600 languages.#

"The key to their success is simple but crucial," Smith said. 

"They are local. They blend in. They can move about freely. They know whom to trust. They know how to protect themselves. They have become experts at surviving in the midst of hostility."

Wycliffe Associates is raising funds to provide translators with computer tablets containing Bible translation apps and resources, as well as funds for training, travel costs, and basic expenses. The total cost comes to the equivalent of £195,000.

In one Middle Eastern nation, for example, 14 Christians are ready to get started on Bible translations for language groups that represent more than two million people.

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