Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

From Bible Translators DeSterkes

Written by The DeSterke Family
Flight and Arrival
We arrived safely in Guatemala City in mid-September. At the airport we were greeted by Rev. Herfst and family, along with Bob and Wanda McRae, our former ÒbossesÓ and good friends, and also the substitute grandparents of David and Ruth (and IÕm sure that now Jonathan our most recent addition by adoption will be added as well!).

After picking up supplies the next day we had a beautiful drive to Cubulco enjoying the lush green landscape brought on by the rainy season. Once in Cubulco we were greeted at the compound by Mary who had so kindly ensured that our house had a good cleaning and that we had some ready-made meals. Supper was an FRC communal affair at the Ottens, where we all had refreshing fellowship and shared a meal together. John and Connie Otten impressed us as people who have grown under the weight of their responsibilities for both the hospital and the experimental farm. The FRC has good reason for being proud of them! Let us never forget the incredible difference that the hospital makes to the Cubulco Achi people to whom we as a denomination have been called to minister. It stands as Òa city on a hillÓ whose acts of mercy and kindness cannot be hidden; but rather witnesses to the heart of Christ for Whom we attempt to give witness and Whom we serve. The well wishers of Cubulco, whom we hadnÕt seen for three years, dropped in regularly after that, and still do.

Current Plan of Work
The original plan was to spend one full week per month immersed in the Achi language in a mountain aldea. Due to the unexpected manner of arrival of an indigenous man from Huitzilep (Watsileb) named Leonardo (whom I have known from our previous stay), the one week per month aldea stay and the intense conversational training will need to be postponed.

Leonardo very animatedly told me of his ÒvisionÓ of seeing all his people able to read the entire Bible in their own language. They donÕt really understand it in Spanish, he would say again and again. Leonardo is also involved in literacy work in his aldea for two days a week, but he enthusiastically offered himself as my language helper and teacher so that we could bring his people the Old Testament and, time permitting, revise the New (Mary Shaw, the New Testament translator, has already welcomed it).

The work has a four-pronged attack, two hours each day in each of the following conversational language, learning one on one, prototype translation of Genesis, a dictionary, and a grammar work. In his enthusiasm Leonardo has persuaded me to focus on the translation of Genesis and teach me as we go along. The grammar and dictionary are now weekend work!

The translation of Genesis, which gives us the only correct world-view, is our main work at the moment, but work had begun on Jonah, whose cry from the fishÕs belly led to Psalm 1. Exodus 20 and the ApostleÕs Creed were also translated for use in the Sunday FRC services.

The above initials are the Spanish rendering of the phrase from Romans that Òfaith comes by hearing,Ó and it is also the name of a non-denominational organization which literally gives away a complete set of Achi New Testament cassette tapes (on which the New Testament in Cubulco Achi is recorded), to all groups promising to listen to them for a minimum of one half hour a week. We expect about 30 to 40 church and group leaders from the surrounding mountains to attend the meeting this Saturday. We may have to look around for cassette players, but we will let you know how things turn out.

CubulcoÕs Very Own Newspaper!
The Vox Cubulence is our first attempt at establishing a regular magazine/news ÒpaperÓ in Cubulco. Many will remember Victoriano, Mary ShawÕs New Testament helper and now JohnÕs right-hand man at the hospital. He is sporadically devoting time and energy to being the editor, while I am his computer technician. The second issue comes out in a couple of weeks, D.V.! This has been a proven means of promoting both literacy) in both languagesÑit is a bilingual ÒpaperÓ), and of increasing the prestige of the Achi language.

Achi Hymnal
The current hymnal is all sold out as well as out of print. In agreement with SIL, Martha and I typed and typeset it for a first round of copies. They will be on regular paper size but in larger print, since many of the services occur under very poor lighting conditions. The folders will be plastic and allow for easy insertion of new hymns (we have heard that there are some forty new ones Òfloating aroundÓ).

We are in the adoption process rather unexpectedly for another child who is now almost 5 months old. We feel privileged to be able to raise another abandoned Latin American so that he too may hear the Good News; and we pray that he will be a blessing here to his own people one day.

We sincerely rejoice to be fellow workers with you in GodÕs work here.

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