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Wycliffe Responds to Coronavirus Outbreak

by Peter Wooding

Wycliffe Bible Translators have released a report that they are continuing to support the work of Bible translation across the world, despite the upheavals and uncertainties caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Boy reads the Bagwere New Testament

They say although many Wycliffe workers have returned to the UK and Ireland, a considerable number have remained in their host countries. However, wherever they are based, most of them are still able to continue the crucial work of Bible translation despite the restrictions placed on them by the coronavirus outbreak, due to their strong relationships with local partners.

Meanwhile, although all four offices in the UK (High Wycombe, Belfast, Edinburgh and Bridgend) have had to close, the staff team have switched to home-working and all office systems continue to function normally.

James Poole, Executive Director of Wycliffe, says: ‘Wycliffe has workers all over the world, so a key aspect of our response has been ensuring the welfare of those serving overseas. What we have done has varied according to the local situation, resulting in very different outcomes – even within the same continent. So, for example, most of our workers in East Africa have returned, but those in West Africa have largely remained. As a result, we still have 117 people overseas. Although they are unlikely to be able to return to the UK in the near future, we are in constant contact with them.’

In the midst of the pandemic, stories of the impact of Bible translation continue to come in. For example, this excerpt from the Bagwere Bible translation project, published in the past week:

‘As more copies of the New Testament reach the hands of local people, excitement and enthusiasm for the whole Bible to be available continues to grow. Alongside this, churches are expanding as more people are able to read, or listen to Scripture being used in services.’

James comments: ‘Though the coronavirus outbreak is bringing much disruption to the world, God is very much at work, drawing people to him. At this time when people are desperately looking for answers and solutions to what is happening, and are thinking more about life and death questions, it is vital that we get the word of God into people’s hands in the language they understand best.’

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