Thanks to new technology, people in isolated regions receive Bibles in local languages: World: Christianity Daily
An isolated tribe named Sawi or Sawuy in Western New Guinea, Indonesia received BTAKs (Bible Translation Acceleration Kits) from Wycliffe Associates, which make it easier for people to receive God’s Word.
This will aid in efficiently translating the Bible into the native language of the tribe, considering that their place has no internet connection. In fact, translators are almost done translating the Old Testament, reports The Christian Post.
Wycliffe Associates, an organization dedicated to working with native Bible translators and local churches to make Scripture available in all languages, developed BTAK to expedite translation in remote locations. Each kit includes Bible translation software and a built-in satellite for Internet connection.
“In remote, underdeveloped areas – jungles, rainforests, mountainous regions – anything handwritten on paper is actually threatened by inclement weather, moisture, flooding and even insects,” said Tim Neu, interim president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “BTAKs protect all work that has been invested in translating the scriptures day in and day out.”
Neu added that with the region increasing cases of persecution, the technology will protect any advance in the translation work.
“Even if terrorists find you, even if your equipment is confiscated or destroyed, even if the unimaginable happens, your translation work – weeks or months of translation progress – will be protected,” he said.
CP further reports that over 12,000 remote areas in Indonesia are without internet service, with more than 100 language groups lacking internet access, including Sawi. The location of the tribe can only be reached by plane or boat. With the help of BTAK, more Sawi have been able to hear and read the life-giving message of the Bible in their own language.
“This was once a tribe of cannibals. Generations have learned to just kill or be killed in tribal warfare. Today God’s Word is transforming their hearts,” Neu said. “Without a BTAK, they could be years away from experiencing God’s Word in its fullness.”
Wycliffe Associates announced to CP that 549 BTAKs have been installed in 48 countries, benefiting 793 language groups. The organization aims to harness the power of technology to expedite Bible translation with the help of native translators. Tools like BTAK allow translators to remotely work on and participate in Bible translations or collaboration events.
“COVID bans kept Bible translators at home,” Neu said, “but our online Bible translation system allowed many to continue working together.”
The organization added that they had a breakthrough in 2020 when more Bible translations were completed. So far, the New Testament has been translated into 141 languages and the Old Testament into 8 languages.
“I was humble to see how unwavering believers in difficult areas, some in places of intense persecution and real danger, were utterly unwavering in their commitment to the cause,” said Neu.
Sawi’s practice of cannibalism gradually ended in the 1950s, when more people learned of God’s redemptive act through Christ’s sacrifice. The embrace of the tribe by the Christian faith is beautifully captured in Don Richardson’s book “Peace Child”. He and his family have lived among the Sawi for years until they returned home in the late 1970s. The event described in Richardson’s book resulted in the publication of the New Testament translation in Sawi.