State of Pioneer Bible Translators November 2012

posted by Greg Pruett on April 28, 2015

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

—John 17:17-18

In January 2007 Pioneer Bible Translators set the audacious goal to double in size, meet all the needs in our current fields, and start four new projects. Now at the end of our 6 year plan, we have not achieved all of our personnel goals. But God has helped us achieve almost all of our goals at least to the 90% mark. We prayed for this growth primarily to build the capacity to start translating the Bible for 69 languages spoken by 33 million people by the end of 2014. We now translate the Bible for 22 million people speaking 58 languages in 12 countries. By the next board report we should add four more projects translating the Bible into languages spoken by over 11.5 million people. By the end of 2014, God willing we will have surpassed the goal of 69 projects, and we will have left behind the goal of translating for 33 million people. The last six years have radically altered our capacity as an organization and nearly doubled every conceivable measure of success. God answers prayer!

So let’s stop talking about that plan and move on to the next journey that God has prepared for us. This time our goal is simple, but again only possible by God’s power: we will start and finish 250 projects by 2050 (bringing our total to 300 projects). We estimate that, if we will handle 250 more projects, i.e. about 10 percent of the remaining Bible Translation projects needed in the world, we will alleviate enough of the burden on our larger Bible agency partners so that they can finish the other 90 percent. If we will focus most all of these 250 projects among the peoples with practically no church and no Scripture, then we should be able to leave behind the legacy of a world where there are churches with Scripture transforming every language community on earth by 2050. We believe this is why God created Pioneer Bible Translators. Pray for the power to accomplish the mission God has given us.

Next Six Year Goals 2013 – 2018

With the long term future direction in mind, we resolutely set these goals for the next six years:
• Double personnel and funds again
• Start 37 projects by end of 2018 ending with 90 projects
• Finish 10 projects by end of 2018
• Accelerate each language project to be able to complete within a 20 year timeline

We are well aware of the fact that the goals we set are beyond the capacity of human beings. We believe God longs to accomplish this work. He loves these people with no church and no Scripture and will send us with power to draw them to him. We invite everyone reading this to pray with us for God to show us his glory in this next six years.

Growing the Team for the Bibleless

Our most strategic immediate need is for several more recruiters. One more recruiter joining us three years ago would have helped us exceed our personnel goals. The opportunities for recruitment are great, and we just need more recruiters to maximize all the opportunities. We need some returning missionaries to join our recruitment team. As we grow, it just gets harder to maintain the same percent growth rate on a larger number. We are still growing at a strong 9.5% annual growth rate, but we need more recruiters to boost that to the rate we need in order to double over the next six years.

Over the last four years, the number of overseas career missionaries has averaged about 16% annual growth rate. While this year we have continued to grow at about 12%, we need a fresh infusion of power into our recruitment department to keep up this incredible growth rate. Our stateside team has not grown in three years, so the same number of people are working harder and more efficiently to recruit, send and support an ever-increasing number of missionaries. It’s time to pray that God will grow the stateside team again in order to produce another major burst of new mission force overseas.

The greatest potential for growth may not come from North America. For six years we have prayed that God would help us send people from other countries. Now we have a new sending agency in Southeast Asia that is following up on 70 seminary students who are considering doing Bible Translation in their own country. We are this month holding our first major recruiting and training event among college students in Eastern Europe with over 25 potential recruits. Pray that God will call many of these to work alongside us to see transformed lives through God’s Word in every language.

Resources for the Bibleless

We have now passed the 47 percent mark on our Within Our Reach campaign. We are almost half way! We need these funds to increase the productivity of our first five fields and also to help get all our new works producing results quickly. The campaign will move our team into position to cross the last language barriers remaining with church and Scripture. This money coming in from this campaign has already been a great blessing to our team allowing our leaders to travel freely to start new projects and new branches. It has provided new structures and equipment needed to leverage our teams to new capacity. Praise God with us for the resources God is bringing us.

In the campaign, we are currently raising money for a vehicle in Papua New Guinea and vehicle costs and print shop equipment for Guinea. We are raising the first year’s costs for our new sending organization in Southeast Asia. Our next long term priority in the Within Our Reach campaign will be to plan and build the next phase of our facility in Dallas. We learned in the last phase of our facility construction that it takes years to raise funds and build. Since our new facility is already full, we need to immediately begin the next phase in order to have the space to put together the new teams needed to cross the remaining language barriers. We are finalizing the floor plan this week. We have decided to build a two story facility with 12,000 square feet this time. The cost of the land development and structure will be around 2.5 million dollars. Pray that God will guide us as we make these plans, and that he will provide the needed funds.


This year our team has drafted the equivalent number of verses as four New Testaments.

The graph above shows how many verses we have currently refined at each stage of the translation process. The area in bold shows how much we have accomplished this year. We have now drafted over 573,000 verses of the Bible, the equivalent number of verses as 72 New Testaments.

Almost a third of our projects are nearing completion for the New Testament or Bible. Please continue to pray for the Tay, Waran, Mborena Kam, and Apal projects of Papua New Guinea to complete the New Testament. Pray for the TSAMD project of Southeast Asia to complete the New Testament. They are all pretty much in the home stretch, but that can still take years. Also pray for the East Africa branch that has the Kutu, Kwele, Lughuru, Makua, Ndamba, Ngindo, Nguu, Pogoro, Vidunda, and Zigua projects rapidly approaching a complete New Testament. Also pray for our Tatar and Susu projects which appear to be in the final few years of completing the whole Bible. God willing, we will dedicate the Yalunka Bible on Feb 3, 2013, our first full Bible produced primarily by Pioneer Bible Translators. Keep praying for our translators to be inspired by God as they generate quality translations that have a powerful impact on their language communities.

Pray that every project would work diligently to see networks of churches using Scripture to grow, mature, and multiply. Pray that God would work through us and our partners to realize our long term vision of transformed lives through God’s Word in every language on earth. Below we have listed our current strategic prayer requests. Prayer is our strategy, so I invite you as you read this to lift these matters up to God.

Pioneer Bible Translators’ Strategic Prayer Requests
  • That God would help us empower all 58 translation projects to result in networks of churches using Scripture to grow, mature, and multiply within 20 years
  • For perfect unity of purpose and heart in our team
  • That God would expand Pioneer Bible Translators to send teammates from many countries
  • For God to help us end 2018 with 90 translation projects total
  • For God to bring the right people for a total of 740 teammates by end of 2018
  • For God to provide $1.87 Million for the Within Our Reach Campaign in 2013
  • For Tay and Waran, Mborena Kam, and Apal projects to finish the New Testament as well as the TSAMD project of Southeast Asia and Kutu, Kwele, Lughuru, Makua, Ndamba, Ngindo, Nguu, Pogoro, Vidunda, and Zigua in East Africa. For Susu and Tatar projects to complete whole Bible.
  • That Pioneer Bible Translators would be allowed by the government to live among rural language groups in Mainland Southeast Asia
  • For peace and stability in North Africa to open wide the door for work there
  • That God will help get 24/7 prayer going for Pioneer Bible Translators. Right now 53% is covered.
  • That God would bring and fully fund 2 more recruiters and 2 IT specialists to the ISC in 2013.
  • For God to provide $257k to return the money borrowed from within Pioneer Bible Translators’ accounts to finish the Smith building
  • That God would help us add 8 new directors to the board: one with financial capacity, one mega-church pastor, one networker in the acapella movement of our heritage, one practitioner of international law, one security expert, one seasoned fundraiser, one church planter, and a campus minister

That all may hear,

Greg Pruett
President, Pioneer Bible Translators

Greg Pruett

Greg has served as President of Pioneer Bible Translators since 2007. He, his wife Rebecca, and their three children served in West Africa for more than twelve years, completing the Bible in the Yalunka language. He has a degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M, and a Masters and a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He also has linguistic training from the University of North Dakota and the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics.

twitter: @GregJPruett

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