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Press Release

06/01/2017: Wycliffe Associates Aiding Underground National Bible Translators in Places Where Christians Are Targets of Persecution

(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, is aiding underground national Bible translators in countries that are intensely hostile to Christianity.

Last year, in a nation the organization cannot name for security reasons, four Bible translators were murdered while they were working in a secret location. Terrorists broke in and shot two of the translators, two other Bible translators threw themselves over their Bible translation team leader to protect him. The terrorists beat those two men to death. 

“The men who died weren’t faceless statistics, they were friends, brothers,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “I know many of the translators serving in dangerous places. They are willing to lay down their lives so that their people can have access to God’s precious Word.”

Another Christian brother was poisoned and became gravely ill, but recovered after receiving extensive medical treatment.

“The surviving Bible translators in this part of the world are not giving up,” says Smith. “In spite of the terror, the persecution, they want to continue. They need us to stand with them.”

Christians are risking persecution, even death, for their faith in areas where nearly 1,000 languages are without any Scripture, representing 280 million people.

Under a program called Scriptures for New Frontiers, Wycliffe Associates supports underground Bible translators with resources that include open source Bible translation technology, digital Scripture distribution, and training to support national-led translation efforts.

In addition, Wycliffe Associates provides the translators with “Open Bible Stories,” a Bible translation and evangelism tool consisting of 50 fully illustrated Bible stories.

Wycliffe Associates is ready to begin Bible translation in 25 new languages in this region and is currently raising $340,000 of additional funding for those projects.

 “The prospect of dying for your faith is no longer a matter of theory for these translators,” says Smith. “It is reality. They are truly putting their lives on the line. They live with the expectation that one day they will be called upon to sacrifice their lives for the gospel. We don’t know—and they don’t know—when or if that day will come. We can only move as quickly as possible to help them translate the Scriptures for their people.”

 In 2016 Wycliffe Associates was involved in launching 351 new Bible translation projects around the world and has plans to launch 400 this year. There are 3,771 translation projects worldwide that have yet to begin.

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. Last year, 7,097 Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers worked to speed Bible translations in 76 countries. For more information, please see
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