COVID-19 has disrupted a lot of things this year but the missionary task of Bible translation is not being slowed by the pandemic.
“People probably assume that Bible translation maybe had to shut down because we’re no longer able to send Americans out to do training and things like that,” says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “But, in fact, what has happened is that our international teams that are positioned already in about 20 different countries –these are local citizens of those countries — what they have done is they have basically made lemonade out of lemons.”
Those teams, Smith further explains, have realized that domestic travel is continuing even though international travel has been stopped in many cases.
As a result, Smith says they’re seeing a continuation and even an acceleration of Bible translation efforts.
“For some of them, it’s giving them more time to spend on Bible translation,” Smith advises.
One issue Wycliffe has faced during the virus outbreak is food supply due to restrictions on international travel and shipping.
“The prices just went through the roof,” Smith recalls, “because they don’t have rules about price gouging. And so we had email messages coming to us from our partners saying, We’re starving, we don’t have basic food to survive.”
Wycliffe mounted a campaign to help its workers find and afford staples, which Smith says is an issue worth considering when people witness big events around the world.
“It’s easy to lose track of Bible translation amid the 24-hour news cycle,” he adds. “I often tell people whenever you hear a news story, one of the things you can think about is, How does it affect Bible translation? How does it affect people around the world having access to His Word? How can we assist them?”