Islamic militants forced their way into the Wycliffe Bible translators’ office and brutally murdered four defenseless translators. Two of them were shot and killed immediately. In a heroic effort to save the lead Bible translator, the other two lay on top of him and died while deflecting bludgeoning blows from the militants’ spent weapons, but managed to save his life. Several other people were also injured in the raid.
After killing the translators, the as yet unidentified attackers destroyed most of the equipment in the Bible translation office and burned all the books and other translation materials that they could get hold of.
Although shocked by the gruesome killings, Wycliffe Associates thanked God that the computer hard drives containing the translation work for eight language projects were not destroyed. The organisation will be looking for a new safe location to continue its work of translating and printing the Bible and other religious works.
The remaining members of the Middle East translation team are determined not to give up. They decided to re-double their efforts to translate, publish and print the Gospel for the eight language communities that they had been working on.
Wycliffe Associates are asking everyone to pray for the families of the murdered translators. Mae Greenleaf, prayer coordinator, said:
“Please ask the Lord to mend the hearts and wounds of the translation team who have gone through this horrible ordeal. Pray that God will strengthen their minds, their hearts, and their bodies to be able to continue the translation of the gospel for their people.”Greenleaf asked.
“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. Please ask the Lord to meet them, each one, right where they are. Pray that He will show Himself merciful, that they will know His forgiveness, His love, and His peace”
“Pray for all the newly formed translation teams diligently translating Scripture in their own language, for their own loved ones, in extremely difficult places” she added.
Wycliffe Associates, which was formed in 1967 has over 6,279 staff and volunteers translating the Gospel in 75 different countries.