In addition to a history of civil war and unrest, the DRC faces the challenges of hunger and disease, with excess mortality rates due to AIDS. Life expectancy for men in the DRC is 53.9 years, while women are expected to live an average of 56.8 years.
“I know regions of the DRC continue to suffer senseless violence and death under the heavy burden of its history. It is a place where many don’t want to go or even talk about,” says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “And, quite frankly, it is one of the most challenging places for Bible translation.”
There are 215 living languages spoken in the DRC, a country with one of the greatest needs for Bible translation. And some 120 languages in the country are still waiting to receive the hope of God’s Word in their own heart language.
The late Dr. Alo, a DRC seminary president whose 8-year-old grandson was kidnapped a few years ago by a rival ethnic group and brutally murdered, says, “If we are going through very difficult times in our country, it is because God’s Word has not been rooted in our people’s hearts. If God’s Word could be closer to them, then things would change.”
That is why Wycliffe Associates is committed to building a permanent national Bible translation training center, at the Shalom (Peace) University, in Bunia, DRC—a place of peace and security. There is faculty ready to train national Bible translators, but no housing and limited space for training. A national Bible translation training center, training Congolese Bible translators will give the people of DRC the hope they need to survive.