Bible translation center to provide hope in war-torn Congo

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Congo (MNN) — In the Central African country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), war has ravaged the land for the past five years and left three million dead.

The Belgium-based Crisis Group has labeled it as "the site of one of the world's worst ongoing humanitarian crises." The almost 1,200 people who die each day "from conflict-related causes" are a tangible example of the crises. In addition to this, the life expectancy rates are age 45 for men and age 48 for women.

Wycliffe Associates sensing the spiritual need in the country, will be constructing a Bible translation center in the city of Bunia in northeastern DRC. Some of the violence has subsided in this region recently, according to Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.

"There's a window of peace, of security. If we move quickly, we can establish a permanent translation center. The Christians of the Democratic Republic of Congo are begging for this opportunity not to be missed," Smith said on Wycliffe Associates' website.

The center will be located at Shalom University and will begin translating the Bible into five new languages. This will give 1.6 million people access to the scriptures in their own language for the first time.

Smith also said, according to Wycliffe Associates, "Missionaries tell us again and again that conflict subsides when people begin to absorb the Bible in their own heart language."

Therefore, Wycliffe Associates hopes their message of Christ will bring an end to some of the violence desolating the country.

Now begins the task of raising the $100,000 needed for the center. Wycliffe Associates has already set aside 50 percent of the funds for the center's library. DRC nationals have also donated 50,000 bricks for the project, and Wycliffe Associate volunteers and nationals make up a labor force.

"With a lull in the violence in a major region of the country, workers are available right now, and the price of building materials has dropped dramatically," Smith also said on the Wycliffe Web site. "The work can go forward faster than it ever could have before if we can provide the funding for construction."

For more information go to Wycliffe Associates or call 1-800-THE WORD (1-800-843-9673).

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