The Exponential Journey

Khartoum, Sudan, April 2021. I was sitting in a small hotel conference room with the leaders of Greater Reach Alliance and half a dozen representatives of unreached Sudanese people groups. We were talking about the potential of Church-Centric Bible Translation for their people. Wanting to illustrate what God had done in other places, I shared a brief video of some South Asian brothers and sisters celebrating with exuberant singing and dancing the Bible in their language for the first time.

Suddenly, a man toward the back of the room began audibly weeping. I thought, uh oh, what have I done? His name is Faheem. He’s a high school physics teacher and member of the Masalit, a half-a-million member people group in western Sudan. When he regained his composure, I asked, "Can you tell us why you are so moved?"

Through a translator, he replied, "I can never imagine a day when that will be true for my people. I can never imagine a day when the Masalit will have God's Word in our language."

Faheem believed that because he had not yet witnessed the exponential power of Church-Centric Bible Translation. But soon, he became part of the movement.

The demand for Bible translation tools, training, and content from global church planting networks is growing. From a handful of people with a vision and no funding in 2017 to a team of about a hundred, and a rapidly expanding budget, unfoldingWord has grown exponentially to now be impacting people groups on four continents.

We are committed to empowering the world's largest workforce, the global church, with the open-licensed tools, training, and biblical content it needs to plant the church in every people group with the Bible in every language. Using the Gateway Languages strategy, teams from every one of the 7,000 language groups on earth can translate God's Word for themselves, clearly and accurately, in less time and less expensively than ever before.

The field reports and stories on this website illustrate that the exponential strategy is working. But Bible translation has never been easy, and that hasn't changed. One of the missing pieces in the modern era of Bible translation is the lack of good theological education and linguistics training among unreached people groups. unfoldingWord® Equipping Journey was developed and field tested in 2022 to address that. Equipping Journey helps church-planting Bible translators lay a foundation for their faith and ministry, giving them the theological worldview to do accurate, high-quality Bible translations as they plant churches.

Church-Centric Bible Translation can succeed where the traditional approach cannot. Places like Sudan, Iran, Middle Eastern Muslim countries, and North African regions with political, cultural, and religious persecution that make traditional Bible translation methods untenable. Church-Centric Bible Translation can also reach totally unreached people groups that, though numbering in the tens and hundreds of thousands, are too small for the limited human resources available to traditional Bible translation agencies. But the church in those parts of the world has the human resources. The believers and church-planting networks already in or near these areas want to make their own Bible translations and are willing to take risks and do the work.

But one thing more holds them back: the belief that they are not educated enough, wise enough, or holy enough to do it. Our friend, Faheem, is a good example. Now, in just a year's time, his people have Open Bible stories in Masalit, and he's moving into scripture translation from Job and Genesis. He's on the exponential journey, with five other unreached Sudanese people groups, to having the Bible for his people.

It is an enormous privilege to tell these brothers and sisters, "This is possible. You can get there. We will walk with you to help you." Won't you join us?

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Stories From the Field

  • Ten Times Faster

    • March 14, 2023

    Imagine you are ordering a new internet connection or cable TV or maybe something new from Amazon and you get the message saying, “Your town is too remote and we can’t serve your area at this time. We...

  • Meet Amy & Priscilla

    • March 14, 2023

    unfoldingWord operates as a catalyst for the Church-Centric Bible Translation movement. We collaborate as part of the body of Christ to develop and implement strategies and unrestricted biblical resou...

  • Jeremiah and the Occult King

    • May 04, 2023

    When Jeremiah* first heard that his Chadian church-planting network needed his help translating unfoldingWord® Open Bible Stories (OBS), he was skeptical. “I thought Bible stories were for children, l...

  • The Exponential Journey

    • April 10, 2023

    Khartoum, Sudan, April 2021. I was sitting in a small hotel conference room with the leaders of Greater Reach Alliance and half a dozen representatives of unreached Sudanese people groups. We were ta...

  • Iran: Bibles in every language


    • Escape from Kharkiv

      • June 13, 2022

      BAM! A rocket penetrates a building, shattering windows and shaking foundations. Clatter! Bomb debris splatters cars, building façades, and adjacent roofs. Bang-Bang-Bang! The jackhammer staccato of A...

    • Innovation in Bible Translation

      • March 13, 2023

      unfoldingWord catalyzes innovation in Bible translation. Your gifts and prayers are enabling remarkable new developments! One of those is happening in a state in Asia. It began with translationCore. ...

    • Breakthrough in Chad

      • July 04, 2022

      Three churches were birthed when a local chieftain, who formerly combined Islam and the occult, came to Christ. In the another community, new believers were baptized, and two new churches were planted...

    • OVERCOMING the ODDS for 300,000 PEOPLE

      • April 06, 2022

      The challenge Pastor Manish was facing seemed insurmountable. His 300,000-member South Asian mountain people group desperately needs Scripture in the language they understand best. Pastor Manish, an e...

    • Ruska Roma celebrate first Scripture in their language

      • September 20, 2021

      EASTERN UKRAINE — To Stephen K., holding a Ruska Roma translation of 3 John means more than a chance to celebrate with his Roma friends. It’s the answer to 10 years of prayer.  In April, a team of fou...

    • Escape from Kharkiv

      • June 28, 2022

      BAM! A rocket penetrates a building, shattering windows and shaking foundations. Clatter! Bomb debris splatters cars, building façades, and adjacent roofs. Bang-Bang-Bang! The jackhammer staccato of A...

    • Oscarcito and the Yanomami

      • June 23, 2022

      Hernán walked out to board a missionary’s small plane deep in the South American rainforests. Then he paused, turned around, went back to his house, and did something unusual. “I feel like I should le...


      • April 06, 2022

      Imagine you had never heard of Noah’s Ark, Joseph’s many-colored coat, Moses and Pharaoh, or David and Goliath. You could not call on their inspiration and encouragement, because your language did not...

    • A Scrap of Paper that Changed a Life

      • March 13, 2023

      It was 2006. A young Islamic man, walking home in Khartoum, Sudan, found a scrap of paper that changed his life and began his journey to the forefront of Church-Centric Bible Translation. His name is ...

    • Bible Without a Village

      • December 27, 2021

      On December 4, our Spanish Gateway Language partners held their first translation workshop with Portuguese translators. Portuguese is the Gateway to 530 people groups representing about 50 million peo...

    • Iran: Bibles in every language

        Transform Iran President Lazarus Yeghnazar dreams of the day his country, Iran, will have Bibles in every local language. Using unfoldingWord's translation tools and Biblica's newly-revised Farsi Bibl...

      • Maryam the Librarian

        • March 08, 2023

        Maryam was a little girl living near the Iran/Iraq border when war broke out in the 1980s. When she was still very young, her family moved to Tehran to escape the fighting, but the move did not fill t...

      • Paying the Price of Persecution

        • March 13, 2023

        "We have been invited to the police station many, many times," said Pastor Vic*. "We have been harassed and so has the Bible translation team. Some of our original team members left because of the ris...

      • Zafar's Favorite Tool

        • March 13, 2023

        This year, unfoldingWord completed the initial training of the Russian Gateway Language team. All 50 Open Bible Stories and nine Scripture Book Packages are now available in Russian, serving as the Ga...

      • Inside a Church-Centric Bible Translation Workshop

        • March 13, 2023

        A large conference room in sub-Saharan Africa is filled with 45 Sudanese men and women. Gathered around tables in groups of five or six, laptops open, with soft conversations punctuated by occasional ...