Christian women’s conference IF: Gathering raised over $1 million in just hours toward funding a Bible translation for the people of southwest Ethiopia.
At its March 6 online conference attended by thousands of women, a wave of donations began to meet the Bible translation needs. Five minutes into the conference, 750 viewers had signed up to give money to the challenge.
Five hours later, the women had funded the entire translation—over $1 million. It was just the beginning.
The money continued to flow in, reaching over $1.6 million as of writing, according to IF: Gathering’s livestream.
The conference hopes to raise $1.92 million for Bible translation, its website says.
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“IF:Gathering, we are blown away by your generosity,” Bible translation partnership IllumiNations said on Instagram. “After launching the 12 Verse Challenge with you last weekend, over 6,000 of you have given and we’re now close to funding a second translation of God’s Word.”
The people in Ethiopia who will receive the Bible include 235,000 speakers of the Oyda, Melo and Konta languages. All these groups have portions of the New Testament in their languages, but none have a full copy of The Old Testament, according to the Joshua Project. Most of these people are Christian.
Other funds will go to a country where churches meet in secret, said IF: Gathering founder Jennie Allen.
“We’re going to be Christians that know this book, love this book, believe this book, and give this book away,” said Allen.
Sponsoring 12 verses costs $420.
Today, translators estimate that 1 billion people do not have God’s word in their own language.
IF: Gathering’s fundraiser opens a campaign that funds the Bible 12 verses at a time, according to Illuminations. On Facebook, the campaign said it hopes to translate the Bible into every language by 2033—the 2000-year anniversary of Jesus’s resurrection.
Collaboration between the 10 top Bible translation ministries in IllumiNations has decreased the expected time by which every language will have its own Bible translation by 117 years, if funding remains consistent. The group’s website displays 308 translations in progress.
Women have played an enormous role in Bible translation over the past 70 years, according to Wycliffe’s website. In the 1940s, nearly a third of Wycliffe’s translators were single women.
“If it hadn’t been for single women over the 70-year history of Wycliffe, half of the translations wouldn’t have been completed,” said Wycliffe chief operations officer Russ Hersman.
To donate to the translation campaign, click here.
Jackson Elliott is a Christian journalist trained at Northwestern University. He has worked at The Daily Signal, The Inlander, and The Christian Post, covering topics ranging from D.C. politics to prison ministry. His interests include the Bible, philosophy, theology, Russian literature, and Irish music.