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Wycliffe Associates Aims to Help Underground Churches Translate the Bible for Themselves and Millions Living in Oppressed Regions

March 2, 2020 | Orlando, Florida

(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that empowers mother-tongue Bible translators and partners with local churches in the advancement of Bible translation, aims to launch Bible translations for 600 new language groups in places of oppression and persecution for Christians.

Hundreds of missionaries in these locations have been forced out, and authorities have revoked their visas.

“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,” says Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “In some of these regions, the moment you set foot there, your life is at risk.”

When one Wycliffe Associates staff member met with a local Christian leader in such an area, they moved through public areas, because it would have been deadly for the leader if an American were seen entering his home. Regardless of the risk, he’s ready to launch Bible translation for his people.

“These are areas so treacherous for Christians and places so dangerous for Americans that we can’t even risk slipping in to conduct the training,” says Smith. “We have to bring the translators away from their homes, to a safe place, to set this all in motion.”

By training national Bible translation leaders in “closed” countries, Wycliffe Associates can send them to people groups that outsiders currently cannot reach. If we do, they will start Bible translation workshops themselves—to launch Bible translation in, God willing, 600 new languages.

“The key to their success is simple but crucial,” Smith says. “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 $250,000.

“They’ll share God’s Word with millions upon millions of people who have never seen a single verse of Scripture in the language of their hearts,” Smith says. “This is our Beyond Borders strategy for people groups who are trapped behind a border of oppression and darkness.”

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.

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

“There’s just one missing link,” Smith says. “The people need the Scriptures in their own heart language. They have the passion. They have the courage. All they lack is the technology and training.”


About Wycliffe Associates

One of the world’s leading Bible translation organizations, Wycliffe Associates was organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators to accelerate the work of Bible translation. Wycliffe Associates empowers national Bible translators to provide God’s Word in their own language, partners with the local church to direct and guard translation work, harnessing their passion and desire for God’s Word, and engages people from all around the world to provide resources, technology, training, and support for Bible translation.

Because millions of people around the world still wait to have the Scriptures in the language of their hearts, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as it can to see every verse of God’s Word translated into every tongue to speak to every heart. Wycliffe Associates is directly involved with speeding Bible translation by providing technology, training, resources, logistics, networking, expertise, volunteers, discipleship, church planting, and support. Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers are currently accelerating Bible translations in 108 countries. For more information, please see

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