BELIEVERS THREATENED IN SOUTH ASIA
Attacks have taken place against Christians—believers persecuted simply for following Jesus. One nation where Wycliffe Associates is supporting Bible translation is seeing an increase in anti-Christian violence.
This persecution takes many forms. We heard of prayer meetings and church services being interrupted and believers assaulted. There are reports of churches and homes being vandalized.
Worse still, we know of dozens of church leaders and members who have been taken to court, charged with illegal “religious conversion” activities—and many are denied due process and are simply left in prison.
Perhaps most troubling is news we received from missionaries in this region—which I cannot name or Christians would be in danger—that believers are being threatened with years of imprisonment if they continue to gather for worship.
CHRISTIANS REFUSE TO “STOP LOVING JESUS”
Yet even as they endure such persecution—do they relent and deny their Savior? They do not. Instead, they grow more determined than ever to get God’s life-transforming Word into the hands and hearts of their people.
We’ve even heard from one local partner that believers in South Asia are meeting every morning, before local authorities awaken, to pray and worship the Lord. What strength, boldness, and dedication to the one true God!
Sadly, persecution extends far beyond South Asia. In the Middle East and parts of Africa, our Bible translation partners and their families are sometimes risking their lives for the sake of sharing God’s Word with their people in their own heart language.
In some areas, anti-Christian authorities will monitor phones, which makes it extremely difficult for Christians involved in Bible translation to communicate safely. This was certainly the case for one translator, an ex-military man who found Christ and was put on a government watchlist.
Undaunted, he and his wife established a church and soon he began traveling to other countries to share the Gospel, while his wife cared for the church. But a crackdown against Christians made it impossible for the man to return home, and surveillance was so intense the couple couldn’t even communicate safely by phone, text, or internet. Month after month, year after year, they were cut off from each other.
After 10 years of separation, God reunited this translator with his wife at a Safe Haven supported by Wycliffe Associates.
This was a lovely reunion, but even more, it demonstrates how God will always find a way—even when it seems impossible—to connect with people in need of His love.
WHO INSPIRED WHOM?
At a secret training workshop to equip Bible translators in South Asia, our team met a young man who was raised in a 90% Buddhist community surrounded by a 90% Muslim country. To keep that kind of sectarian purity in their culture, they expunged all the other religions from their ranks by whatever means necessary.
So, when the young man’s parents converted to Christianity, the family had to flee their home and community to save their lives. “I want to take the Bible back to my community,” he said, trusting that when the truth is revealed through Scripture a great many lives will be transformed. Our team asked him, “Your parents’ lives were threatened, do you think yours will be too?” He nodded and calmly replied, “If I die, I die for Christ. If I live, I live for Christ. Either way means the same to me.”
The young man’s commitment and fearlessness had a profound impact on our team. There were tears and hugs—and a renewed sense of just how important it is to launch and support as many Bible translation projects as we can!
Let us pray for this believer as he dares to translate God’s Word in a part of the world where it could cost him his life. And let us pray for God to lead him as he returns to his village to share the truth that, “Buddhism isn’t the answer, Christ is the answer.” There will be repercussions to his actions, and he may be in hiding like his parents before him, but it’s the path he’s chosen.
At the end of the session, he said, “Thank you for your teaching. You inspired me.” But our translation team knows it was they who were inspired.
PRAY WITH US GOD WILL OPEN DOORS TO MAKE SCRIPTURE AVAILABLE TO MORE LANGUAGE GROUPS!
A Wycliffe Associates colleague who deals closely with some of the translation partners mentioned in this blog post, walking them through every challenge and rejoicing in every victory, says, “What an awesome thing to be part of a ministry that offers hope. What an awesome thing to know more language groups now have the hope of God’s Word and the blessing it provides.”
You can personally impact 50 translation projects nearing completion—10 or more in Southeast Asian countries where anti-Christian persecution is severe—by providing the funds they need to start printing and distributing their translated New Testaments.
And when the gift of a Bible is finally given—when the truth finally arrives, on the printed page, in the heart language of the people group—it’s as if life starts anew.
By God’s grace, through your heartfelt response, you are making it possible. And then, empowered by your love . . . Our brothers and sisters are risking everything to do the translation work, often in secret.
Your support will join the gifts of other believers to raise the $75,000 needed to give 50 language groups the long-awaited joy of having God’s Word printed and distributed in their language!