MIDDLE EAST: Four Bible translators murdered by militants


Armed Islamist militants killed four Wycliffe Associates workers in the Middle East last week.

Bible translating ministry Wycliffe Associates has reported that terrorists raided its office, killed four national translators (first generation Christians) and destroyed equipment. The militants shot and killed two translators, and when two other staff members saved the lead translator by lying on top of him, the attackers – having run out of ammunition – killed them with blows from their weapons. Names and the location cannot be disclosed for security reasons.

The militants destroyed all the equipment in the office and burned all books and other translation materials in sight. However, computer hard drives containing the translation work for eight language projects were not destroyed.


President/CEO Bruce Smith said, “By God’s grace, the digital copies of the translations that were underway in about eight languages were protected. They were backed up, and the work can continue.” Speaking of the effect of the attack on the translation team, he said, “It increases their resolve to see God’s Word reach the hearts of the people who are caught in this kind of violence and hopelessness.

The organisation intends to look for a new, safe location to continue its translation and printing work. It said in a statement, “The remaining translation team has decided to re-double their efforts to translate, publish, and print God’s Word for these eight language communities.”

Wycliffe Associates has requested prayer for the families of the murdered translators. “Please ask the Lord to mend the hearts and wounds of the translation team who have gone through this horrible ordeal,” said prayer coordinator Mae Greenleaf. She asked for prayer for the safety of team members, and that they would be able to replace equipment and continue their work in the Middle East. She added, “Pray with me for the killers too. Pray for these whose hearts are so hard. Pray the Lord will open their eyes to what they have done.”

Print on Demand
In countries where Christians are persecuted and Bible translators must work in secret, Print on Demand systems can help to keep translators safe.

Print on Demand is a compact, high-speed, cost efficient, digital printing system that can be hidden in one room of a “safe house”. Local Christians can bring a flash drive containing the Bible or teaching material in their own language, and copies can be printed quickly, on demand – either a few copies for personal use, or many copies to be distributed to the church.

In this week’s brutal attack on the Wycliffe Associates office, the Print on Demand system was destroyed. The organisation has launched an appeal to replace translation equipment and to provide support for the families of the martyred translators. Details can be found on its website, wycliffeassociates.org.

(CBN News, Christian Post, Mission Network News, Wycliffe Associates)

Published by Julian Kennedy

Bus pass carrying 67 year old disciple of Jesus Christ. Member and deacon of Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena. Married to Marianna. Son Joseph at home. Two daughters Marie Isabel and Kirsty in England. Enjoys keeping fit (including indoor rowing), watching track and field, nature and nature documentries. Got hip replacement in April 2014 and major surgery to re-align right knee in November 2017. Blessed in the Covenant love of God in Christ. Retired Emergency Medicine Specialty Doctor.

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