The underground Church is flourishing in the Middle East, where a steady supply of freshly printed Bibles is reaching the populace.
Brent Ropp, vice president of operations at Wycliffe Associates, says print on demand technology is helping in dangerous areas where Christians face persecution, if not death, if they are discovered.
Yet the danger is still there. Ropp recalls when several Bible translators were attacked and only one of them survived. The lone survivor sent a message to Wycliffe from the hospital: “Don't be discouraged. It is worth it."
“When we got that message, all of us broke down,” Ropp recalls, “because here was a guy who had just lost four of his closest colleagues, and he's writing to us so that we wouldn't be discouraged over what happened.”
To date, Wycliffe has deployed 114 PODs in 41 countries. The print system complements the ministry’s MAST system, which is used to translate books of the Bible into native languages. So a newly translated book of the Bible can be quickly printed and distributed – all done quietly and secretly.
Wycliffe Associates plans to provide six high-capacity, Print On-Demand systems at a cost of $25,000 each to help meet the growing demand for Bibles, particularly in the Middle East.