Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

From the Bible Translators

Written by Gary DeSterke
Dear Mission Supports,

Greetings, from the Cubulco Achi Bible Translation team. The last time I wrote, I let our language helper, Leonardo, tell you something about himself so that you could get acquainted. What follows is another thumbnail sketch of my other language helper, Mateo (Matthew).

Mateo is gifted in convening Spanish hymns to Achi versions, or creating his own. He originally worked exclusively in the FVPO (Faith Comes By Hearing Project) and so established our network of contact churches in the mountains encircling Cubulco. This network is still in place for 'is in distributing music tapes of new hymns/psalms, Old Testament printed portions and tapes as they become available, and Achi text calendars.

He has since then translated all of Proverbs, and we have begun checking it against the Hebrew, while the community checkers work on Genesis, Volume 2 of 4. (All of Genesis is translated. The checking steps, though crucial, are very time consuming). Let's listen to Mateo below:

Greetings to you from our family and translation team,
Gary DeSterke


I was born September 21, 1960, during the celebration of the Saint Matthew feast day, on a mountain 12 km out of the village of Cubulco. Therefore my parents named me Mateo (Matthew).

When I was 8 years old my parents decided to move closer to town to a mountain area called Xecunabaj ([Shecoonabach, ch as in Bach], just 1 km out of town. I started school at age 11. For lack of funds I only succeeded in completing 4th grade. I am indigenous and speak Achi and Spanish.

When I turned 15, something special happened in my life-the Lord began to speak to me through His Word. But, since I was under my parents' control, I thought that I could not decide anything on my own without first consulting my parents, who were not evangelicals. When I attended a youth service, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me and I could no longer resist. Forgetting the fear of my parents, I kneeled before the altar and confessed my faith on that unforgettable day, November 8, 1975.

My first trial occurred one month after accepting Christ. My father kicked me out of the house and I spent one month sleeping at the homes of my friends. But thanks be to God, the church prayed for both my father and I. After about a month, the most extraordinary thing happened. My father called me and told me he was sorry for having treated me badly. I understood that it was God who had spoken to my father Now each one of our family has become a Christian. My father has already gone to be with the Lord. By God's grace, we have all persevered in our confession and walk of Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. My main source of livelihood has been from cutting sugar cane on the coastal plantations.

Later, the Lord began to bless me with more favourable jobs. I have worked in three institutions, including the Cubulco hospital, where I was chaplain. Presently, I am blessed to be working with brother Gary in the translation of the books of Psalms and Proverbs, as well as adding to the Achi hymnal.

In 1980 I married my wife Catalina and we have four children: Moses, 14; Isaias, 12; Julio Cesar, 9; and Melvin Daniel, 5.

I have several favourite Bible texts:

Psalm 121:7,8 - "The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."

I Thessalonians 5:18 - "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

John 10:14 - "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine."

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