The world's largest Bible translation organization has already raised nearly $250 million, or one-fourth of its $1 billion goal, for the campaign to translate the Bible into every language by 2025.
Even in the current economic tough times, supporters donated generously and helped the campaign make significant progress within two years, said Wycliffe's president. The ten-year Last Languages Campaign has the ambitious goal of beginning Bible translation for all languages that still need the scriptures by 2025.
"To raise nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in two years is impressive even in a booming economy. In the current climate, it's nothing short of miraculous," said Bob Creson, Wycliffe USA president and CEO. "We are so grateful to God and our supporters who partner with us to make sure that all people have access to the Bible in the language and form that is most meaningful to them."
When the campaign first launched in November 2008, an anonymous donor gave an astounding sum of $50 million to Wycliffe for the Last Languages Campaign. It was the largest single gift in the ministry's 75-year history.
More than 2,000 languages still lack translations of the Bible, leaving more than 350 million people without Scripture in their own languages. The Last Languages Campaign was launched to gather people, prayer and financial resources to at least start Bible translation in all remaining languages within our lifetime.
"In spite of economic uncertainty at home and a daunting task abroad-including political roadblocks, security concerns, restricted access to certain locations and the sheer number of languages yet to be translated – we are is participating in the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation in history," Creson said. "These financial resources will ensure that the mission stays on this pace."
There are more than 6,000 languages spoken in the world and about a third of them do not have Scripture translation. The Last Languages Campaign will use cutting-edge translation techniques to accelerate the pace of language development and Bible translation from 125 years to 17 years.
In 1999, Wycliffe was averaging 20 new translation starts a year and there were about 3,000 languages left.
Ten years later, however, Wycliffe had 109 new translation starts in 2009. The average new translation starts for the past 10 years is 75, noted Paul Edwards, executive director of Wycliffe's Last Language Campaign, in an earlier interview with The Christian Post.
"Our hope and desire as we look at 2010-2011 is that North American churches can wake up to and choose to engage in this thrilling, final lap," said Edwards. "Can you name another 2,000-year-long continuous movement that is going to have its closing in our lifetime?"
The exact amount given in pledges to the Last Languages Campaign as of Oct. 31 is $231.5 million.
Founded in 1942, Wycliffe Bible Translators exists to make the Bible accessible to all people in the language and form that is most meaningful for them. Nearly 6,000 translators, linguists, aviators, humanitarian workers, educators and administrators, along with dozens of partnering organizations, are working in 90 countries on six continents.
Besides Bible translation, Wycliffe also contributes to community development by establishing water purification systems, AIDS education, human rights and community empowerment programs.