In areas where Christianity is a minority religion and Christians risk persecution, even death, Wycliffe Associates’ Print On Demand system (PODs) allows believers to print Bibles inconspicuously, thus reducing the risk of detection.
“We can’t ship Bibles into many areas,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “Mother-tongue translators must be able to print the Scriptures themselves, in the heart language of the people they’re reaching. Our Print On Demand equipment gives national Bible translators the ability to print Bibles each day—and do it quietly.”
Word of the printing equipment has spread through the Christian community, where local believers have been discreetly printing thousands of Bibles.
Wycliffe Associates trains workers to operate and maintain high-speed, digital printing systems, which can be concealed in the small room of a safe house. The translated Scriptures then can be printed from a flash drive.
“In six countries, our small Print On Demand systems can’t keep up,” said Smith. “Demand is high, with the potential to reach millions of people.”
These compact, portable printing systems can be operated in secret by local believers and underground churches in volatile regions or communities.
The systems also complement Wycliffe Associates’ MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation), a collaborative translation method which enables teams of national translators to translate books of the Bible simultaneously and quickly. When mother-tongue translators complete a new translation, the equipment makes it possible to immediately print and distribute Bibles or portions of the Bible.
Wycliffe Associates hopes to provide six high-capacity, Print On Demand systems at a cost of $25,000 each to help meet the growing demand for Bibles, particularly in the Middle East.
“Day after day, more and more people ask for Bibles,” said Smith. “The teams run the printing equipment nonstop, producing as many Bibles as the printers can handle.”
To date, Wycliffe Associates has deployed 114 Print On Demand systems (PODs) in 41 countries. More than 1,200 MAST translation projects are currently underway.