In the nation of Guatemala, there are dozens of indigenous dialects that are still spoken today. About 30 years ago, Wycliffe, an organization whose mission is to translate the Bible into every language to make it accessible to all people groups, worked alongside local linguists to help create written languages for indigenous Mayan dialects that had for hundreds of years been spoken and passed down through generations, but never put into the written word. Wycliffe continued this effort to completion with several of the larger Mayan people groups in Guatemala, but paused the Biblical translation project for the smaller indigenous people groups after translating the New Testament.
The Bible is one continuous narrative of God’s love story. It’s the story of His continuous pursuit of His children. The need for the translation of the Old Testament in the smaller indigenous communities has been very real, as the people in these communities have never had the opportunity to understand the full story of Scripture. God put it on the heart of 8 local pastors and linguists in Guatemala to work alongside the National Mayan Association to continue the process of translation that would put the full Bible, the Old and New Testament, into the hands of every indigenous people group in Guatemala so they can encounter the heart of God through the Scriptures.
They have been faithful to this task, some of these leaders dedicating more than 30 years of their lives to this effort, and it is their hope that translation and formatting of the Old Testament will be complete by May of 2022 to meet their printing goal that will be supported by their renewed partnership with Wycliffe ministry.
IMN has the privilege of partnering to bring financial support to these dedicated local directors and formatters as they work through this upcoming year to achieve their goal. Each of the 8 local directors have the need of $700 a month to provide salaries for their formatters, as the difficulties of COVID-19 have required many of the formatters who had previously been volunteering their time to find work with an income to be able to provide for their families. They are also in need of updated computers that are compatible with the software provided by Wycliffe that allows the translators and formatters to cross check their translation with the translation of other linguists around the world so they can produce the most accurate translation of the Scripture that they can into their respective indigenous languages.
Revelation 7:9 speaks of the great multitude that will stand before the throne of God giving praise after the Great Tribulation. It says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” For this to occur, every tribe, tongue, and people, here on the earth needs to have access to the Word of God. IMN is thankful for the opportunity to help make a way to support these local leaders and linguists in the coming year as they make their way to the finish line of their goal; to make the living Word of God accessible in the heart language of their people so they can deeply know the heart of the Father through the scripture and encounter the person of Jesus, through the Words breathed and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Project Director: Martin Tulul
“I am so thankful to God that He has allowed us to participate in His work. During these years we have seen how the Word of God in our mother tongue has impacted lives. Our experiences helped us to see the need in our community to make a translation of the Word of God into our mother tongue. We have received testimony from families impacted by hearing the Word of God in our language, which encourages us to continue working so that our Kiché-speaking brothers and sisters have a Bible in which they can hear God speak in the language of the soul.”
Project Director: Francisco David Esquina
“One of the men from the community said the following when he first heard the word of God translated into our own Tz’utujil language: “Now I understand what God wants. God wants to come close to me and speak to me in my own language, and it is amazing. It fills me with faith.” Because of testimonies like these, we understand how important it is that the Word of God reaches our people. It is a taste of the love of God, who God is, and His love for others. The Bible will communicate purpose to each life, and it will open the eyes and the understanding of each of us so that we can see and receive the blessing of our Creator God.”
Project Director: Manuel Enrique Chávez Mendoza
“The Aguacateca-speaking community has been blessed to have the New Testament translated into the native language since 1974, and the Aguacateca church has been using the current translation for the glory of God. In 2009 AECM began to translate the Old Testament into Aguacateca. The church has been praying and waiting for the translation of the full 66 books of the Bible to be translated into our mother tongue. The churches are organized, and thanks to the translation there is an understanding of God’s grace, shown in Jesus Christ. It is recognized that there is much to do in the field of reading and writing, and the church, little by little, is beginning to understand how to share the gospel with children, young people, and adults who have not been able to learn to read because they did not have the access in the past to go to receive an education. That’s why we believe a Bible translation in our mother tongue that can be used in our churches will make it possible for our people to begin to understand the heart of God. Thank you for being part of this great vision that is born from the heart of God to regenerate fallen humanity.”
IXI, Nebaj Quiche Project
Project Director: Josefa Imelda Miguel Silvestre
“As translators, we have been working on the translation of the Bible into our mother tongue for more than ten years. We have seen the impact that the Word of God has had in the lives of many people who have had the opportunity to hear the word of God in the Ixil language in the media. That is why we continue working to finish translating the Bible completely, so that our brothers and sisters in Christ have the Bible in their hands as well as the people who have not received Christ as their Savior.”
Project Director: Leticia Maribel Silvestre M.
“One day we decided to no longer post anything on social media because it seemed that no one was reading the translation. We didn’t want to waste our time. But a week later, a man called us and exhorted us: “Why don’t you post the Bible verses on Facebook anymore? Keep posting in our language! One day I was so depressed and desperate, and when I entered the social networks, the first thing I saw was a verse in my own language that had a great impact on me, that talked about trusting only in God and not in ourselves”. From that day on, we began again to publish the biblical verses that we believe are of great impact on our community.”
Project Director: Esteban Oswaldo Lem MÓ
“Thanks be to God that He allows us to be part of this ministry of Biblical translation in our soul language, Pokomchí. There are great testimonies of men, women, and young people, and how the word of God is having an effect in each life. That is why we are well encouraged to continue working in this ministry. To God, we give all the honor and glory forever.”
Pastor Elias with Esther and Persida,
Editing Reviewers of the Achi Bible project.
Project Director: Elías Xitumul Hernández
“After a man I knew read a good part of the book of Deuteronomy, a religious leader of the community who had not read the Scriptures, he said this when he understood the message of the book he read. He came to my house and he said: “Elias, when you read the Word of God in your own language, it is as if Jesus personally is speaking to you, or you’re speaking face to face with Him. It is really wonderful to read and understand the Word in the language of our heart”. There are other testimonies that encourage us to complete this great work that God has entrusted to us.”
Byron Temaj, Mam Team Edition Reviewer