Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

Achi Bible Translation

Written by Gary DeSterke
Dear Mission Supporters,
Greetings from the Cubulco Achi Bible translation team in Cubulco. The following is a translation of a penned self-portrait of Leonardo who is my key language helper.

Leonardo Antret Reyes
I am an indigenous Guatemalan. I was born in 1968 in an aldea (one of the many mountain villages) called Chua-enum (Chow-ay-newm) which is 12 kilometres from the central and larger valley town of Cubulco.

With my sister and parents we made up a family of four. My father is not the first husband of my mother, and my mother also had another spouse before him, so that on both sides they had already had children married off before my sister and myself.

At 8 years of age I started attending the school in my community, but by the 5th and 6th grades I had to study in town. Many years later, I took courses on how to read and write in my maternal language. This included the Mayan numbering system. With these studies I became a bilingual language teacher, meeting with the people in my rural village and teaching them to read and write in Achi and Spanish. Due to everyoneÕs need to work 5 days a week in the fields for next yearÕs corn supply, the classes were a day long, one day a week.

I married when I was 18 and my wife was 17. After two years we received our first child. It was often quite sick and after its third birthday we received our second child. She, however, was also constantly sick despite visits to the town doctor.

One day, my nephew from the same mountain village was converted to the Lord. The brothers in Christ from the town of Cubulco lent him cassettes of the New Testament with a cassette player. My nephew came to my house every night so that we could listen together to the cassettes. We would listen until we couldnÕt shake off sleep any more. With time I began to understand and finally my family and I accepted the Lord and His message of Good News.

When we had become Christians, we dedicated our children to the Lord and very soon they began to experience healing from their sicknesses. At the moment we have three children, two girls and one boy, making us a family of five.

I am very happy to have the work of translating GodÕs Word in my maternal language. Besides this, I have the opportunity of constantly learning more and more of the Word of God. It is not just myself who is growing in my understanding more of GodÕs Word, but all of my people are by what we have already translated and distributed--I know first-hand as teacher of the Achi Sunday class in the church I attend. When they listen to the Spanish lessons, they definitely do not understand. This adds to my joy in my work as it shows the need being filled and that the future promises hope for my people.

My favourite text is from 1 John: ÒIf we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness> (1:9).

SeasonÕs Greetings to you from our family and the translation team. What a marvel that only keeps us marveling: God so identified with us in His love that He eternally became one of us. Hallelujah. Even so come, Lord Jesus!

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