Wycliffe Associates, an organization that focuses on accelerating Bible translation around the world, plans to send volunteers to South Sudan to influence unreached people, many of whom are without the scriptures in their own language. Its been five years, since the end of the region's civil war that interrupted Wycliffe's efforts, that the translation of the Gospel that began in the 1980s restarts.
"Southern Sudan is special because of the opportunity created by the end of a civil war with the northern part of Sudan…it's a culture with strong elements of animism and Christianity where scripture in the heart languages of the people can make a huge impact," said Don Hallman, spokesman for Wycliffe Associates, to The Christian Post.
An estimated one million South Sudanese, speaking 54 languages, do not have biblical resources. Out of those, six are considered dying languages. However, Wycliffe aims to bring hope to families living in refugee camps that are desperate for God's word.
For the last three months, South Sudan has been a hotbed of unrest as the nation became involved in armed conflict between the government and rebels fighters last December. Fighting continues to break out despite both groups signing a ceasefire agreement in January.
Thousands have been killed, while the United Nations estimates that 900,000 people have been displaced from their homes, with some 190,000 fleeing to neighboring countries.
"But in the midst of the turmoil, there is a ray of hope," said Bruce Smith, CEO of Wycliffe Associates, in a statement. "This ongoing conflict has created a fertile ground for seeds of faith in the most unlikely soil, that of refugee camps…they must have God's word in their heart language to cling to in the midst of such persecution and tragedy."
Many of the unreached people living in camps are refugees from Northern Africa who currently find themselves with no work or food. In addition, their lives are in danger as they are prone to getting caught between the violence.
Despite the ongoing conflict, Wycliffe plans to continue translation and aid services to the nation. As of now, there are Bible translations in progress in seven languages in South Sudan and more are planned for ten additional languages.
Last year, the organization mobilized 3,145 volunteers and staff members to accelerate Bible translation in 71 countries.
Wycliffe Associates focuses on working as quickly as they can to translate every verse of the Bible into various languages. They partner with nationals, mother tongue translators, staff, volunteers, and supporters to direct and fund these efforts, as well as provide logistics, networking, and technical support.
Through a growing global network, Wycliffe Associates hopes to translate the Bible in every remaining language by 2025.