80 Nigerian Pastors Meet with Wycliffe Associates To Accelerate Bible Translation in the Shadow of Boko Haram
by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Wycliffe associates recently hosted a conference on Bible translation for 80 Nigerian Pastors, in a country where Islamic militancy has displaced millions and led to severe persecution against Nigeria's sizeable Christian population.
The conference was designed to implement the MAST strategy among local translators in Nigeria, a method which Wycliffe hopes to use to achieve its goal of translating the Bible into every language by 2025.
"Our breakthrough MAST strategy is accelerating Bible translation beyond anything we could have imagined, even a couple of years ago," said Wycliffe CEO Bruce Smith.
MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) focuses on equipping local believers with digital technologies and translation tools that enable the local church to do most of the translation work on its own in a collaborative fashion.
The new method allows for rapid translation in places where foreign missionaries are often forbidden.
"Word is spreading. Even people living in areas of intense persecution, violence, or danger, now have hope," said Smith.
Experts, moreover, estimate that over half of Nigerians cannot speak English and that 250 of Nigeria's 500 languages are without a mother-tongue Bible translation.
President Trump expressed deep concern twice last year over religious violence perpetrated against Christians in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram, which seeks to create an Islamic State and eradicate a Western influence.
"Violence continues to escalate in Nigeria and across Africa, and we don't have much time before some locations could close to Westerners," said Smith of a country that has the highest possible score for violence in Open Doors U.S.A.'s rating system for persecution.
Wycliffe Associates seeks to get the MAST method off the ground and the requisite digital technologies to believers in Nigeria before this window of opportunity shuts.