People living in a country in Central Africa are getting very close to getting Bibles in their own language for the very first time.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been in political and civil turmoil for decades – an environment that has made it very difficult for missionaries to work and for Bible translation to make progress, according to Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.
"But because we are now working in a strategy that equips the local church – the local believers – to do their own translation, things are becoming possible and moving forward at a quicker pace than ever before," he shares.
OneNewsNow reported in 2016 on the ministry's MAST system – Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation – which Smith described then as "primarily a means of mobilizing the local church and a local community to get directly involved in the drafting and checking of the scripture itself."
Smith tells OneNewsNow that 16 language groups in the country now have asked for training and equipping so that mother-tongue translators can begin Bible translation efforts themselves. All that's needed now to move forward, he explains, is the funding.
"We have the training team, we have the technology, we have the tools that they need," he lists. "All we need now is the funding – and that's just a little over $300,000, [which] will get us going on all 16 of these languages. We believe God's provision is imminent, and we're looking forward to it."
Depending on the availability of that funding, some members of those language groups could be reading the Bible in their own heart language in a matter of months.
The technology associated with MAST training includes computer tablets loaded with translation apps and portable Print On Demand equipment. That equipment, says the ministry, allows translators to work discreetly, safely preserve the translation, and print Bibles or portions of scripture in custom quantities.
Wycliffe Associates reports that more than 1,000 MAST Bible translations are currently in progress worldwide.