Hundreds of Christians, with nothing to give, gave themselves to God as Wycliffe Bible Translators completed its 1,000th full translation of the Bible in South Sudan.
The major milestone was achieved in August, though accounts for only 10 percent of the world's languages. Some of the remaining 90 percent have incomplete translated Bibles at various stages, but an ambitious project is looking to have Bible translation efforts on the way in every last language of the world by 2025.
Wycliffe USA Chief Operations Officer Russ Hersman described to The Christian Post in a Wednesday email the scenes at the dedication of the Keliko Bible in South Sudan last month:
"The day after the dedication of the Keliko New Testament, there was a church service in the Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp, the second largest refugee settlement in the world with more than one-quarter million refugees. The church service was almost a second mini-dedication. During the service, the pastor called for an offering to be taken. Hundreds of people streamed forward."
Hersman added: "Where refugees got bills and coins to put in an offering is a mystery, however there were many who had nothing to give ... but they still came forward and put their hand into the offering basket. It was as if they were saying, 'I give myself to the Lord.' These are the people for whom the Keliko translation was done."
With the Keliko Bible, now roughly 10 percent of all the world's languages have a completed Bible. Close to 2,500 other languages have translations underway, but as many as 1,600 languages, or 22 percent, have no translated Scripture at all, the organization says.
Wycliffe's "Vision 2025" goal of having all 7,000 of the world's languages see a Bible translation project underway by the year 2025 faces notable challenges, however, with close to 45 percent of the world's languages set to go extinct by the end of the century because they lack a written form.
Still, technology has made the translation process faster and more efficient. As Hersman told CP, it took the organization 50 years to reach the 500 translation milestone in 2001, but only 17 years to complete the next 500.