Wycliffe Associates is launching Bible translation efforts in two new areas, one of which has a Christian minority constituting 0.02 percent of the population.
President and CEO of the Bruce Smith, labeled the expansion "one of the most difficult efforts in Wycliffe Associates history."
"The Gospel cannot be openly preached in these countries. The Scriptures can't be read in public. Borders are closed, but hearts are open," he said.
Though both regions could not be named for security reasons, one was revealed as a predominately Muslim country with a strongly Islamic government, where Christianity is heavily restricted and believers are severely persecuted and ostracized by family members and neighbors.
"This is no easy undertaking," Smith said. "It is one we cannot, and do not, take lightly. I find myself continually pleading with God for guidance in our efforts, and for protection for Bible translators, trainers, their families, and their support teams."
Preparation to cross the two new frontiers is underway, but it may take up to 15 years before the Bible becomes available in the native language.
"It takes on average five to 15 years to complete a translation of the Bible in a language," Donn Hallman from Wycliffe Associates told The Christian Post.
Progression varies according to several factors, including the complexity of the language, the team of linguistic experts and missionaries working on the language, and relations with the host country, Hallman explained.
The interdenominational organization partners with volunteering laymen, families, construction workers and nationals to accelerate the work of Bible translating. This is achieved by taking over various practical and time consuming tasks allowing for free hours of translation time.
Wycliffe Associates was founded in 1967 by Bill Butler, Dale Kietzman, and Rudy Renfer, who wanted to bring God's Word "to every tongue and every heart in the world."
As part of Vision 2025, the organization aims to start translation projects in every language still needing the Bible translated by the year 2025.