Audio Bibles for the People of Guatemala
Tajumulco Listening Group
Guatemala, with its striking features and strong indigenous culture, is one of the most beautiful countries in Central America.
Approximately half of Guatemala’s population is indigenous, Mayan or mixed Amerindian-Hispanic origin. Mayan languages are spoken alongside Spanish, the official tongue. Because of many partnerships and through the generosity of donors, Faith Comes By Hearing offers the Audio Bible in many of the indigenous languages. Listening groups are implemented with languages such as Cakchiquel, Quiché, and Mam, as well as many others, to reach and disciple people with God’s Word in their heart language.
Please read below about some wonderful things that are happening in Guatemala through the listening of the Scriptures in a mother tongue.
We Are Your Sheep
Pop is dedicated to the cultivation of cardamom, chile, and corn in his village and actively participates in training courses at his church.
I am the true vine and my Father is the Vinedresser (John 15:1).
Pop's family welcomes the Proclaimer in Kekchí. "The dramatized New Testament helps us understand the message of salvation, contained in Scripture." The Gospels and the Pauline letters are heard at home, while doing housework, or at the end of dinner. During the various meetings, the faithful hear the Word of God and then ask questions to clarify any concerns.
Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11:1).
They are encouraged by the words of Jesus: Fear not, O my flock, you are few, but the Father in His goodness, has decided to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32). For those who have not learned to read and write, the Proclaimer is a tool that allows access to the books of the New Covenant. "If they ever take the Proclaimer, we would be very sad, including the children," says Pop, who now shares the Word with his brothers.
"Light in the World"
"We are listening to the Proclaimer with a women's society group in our church called Light in the World. We thank God that we can understand it well, because it is in our native language of Mam. We now have 15 women who meet every day and listen to the Proclaimer with excitement. Since my sisters have really enjoyed listening, we have made a schedule so that each of us takes a turn taking the Proclaimer to their house so their family may listen, too. Now, entire families are starting to come to church. We also use the Proclaimer when we visit brothers who no longer come to church and four of them have been reconciled. They are standing with us and have thanked me because we are carrying the Word of God in the language they understand." - E. E.
Word of God Changes Hearts
In one village, five brothers, each living with his girlfriend, were convicted by the Word of God. They all decided to enter the covenant of marriage as a testimony of the change in their hearts. In response, the entire community pitched in to help them celebrate with one huge wedding ceremony.
"I listen to the Proclaimer® with my family and friends. We have a group of 18 people who come to my house and hear it daily. It helps us understand the Word of God better. Thus we have changed our lives and have helped others change also.
"I get up at 3:00 in the morning to go to plant seed in my field, I listen to the Proclaimer® as I walk to work, and that way I can tell others about God's Word. Some have told me that by listening they are exhorted to live better each day. This device is very useful for us."
"The pastors were so grateful to receive the Word of God in their own language that they wept and prayed and thanked God for a long period of time. I have never observed this much emotion from those receiving the New Testament in audio." – FCBH Field Coordinator
Treasure God's Word
Pastor Felipe and his wife Corina grew up without knowledge of God's Word, but have since learned to treasure it. In recent years, Corina's eyes have developed severe cataracts, leaving her unable to read the precious Scriptures, bringing her profound sadness.
When a pastor from the United States demonstrated a Central Cakchiquel Proclaimer® his mission team had brought for them, Corina broke into tears and exclaimed, "I understand it, I understand it!" in her native tongue. She is so thankful to God for providing this new way of communicating His Word.
Recording Team Touched
According to the recording team director, all the participants in the Achí Rabinal New Testament project were thankful to God and very happy to be a part of recording the Word of God in the language of their people. They were blessed by the experience and felt that they "learned many things" in the process.
The most profound moment came while recording the crucifixion. Because the reader of Jesus' lines was tasked with making it real, the Lord showed up powerfully through him as his cries brought the entire team to tears.
Here, Mam-speaking Indians—modern day descendants of the great Mayan Empire—have lived since the first millennium. In 2,000 years since the Gospel message has been preached, they, along with thousands of other language groups around the world, still have not had God's Word in their own language.Last June, the Faith Comes By Hearing Latin American regional coordinator carried 60 Mam Proclaimers to the Tajumulco. These Proclaimers were used after showings of the JESUS film.
Faithful laborers have struggled for decades to bring the Gospel to this area, but services in the five churches in Tajumulco are held in Spanish rather than their own heart language. At most, only 350 people attend.
So when we found out that 60 different listening groups were started in only 2½ months, with over 1,000 Tajumulco people listening, once again, we stand in awe at the power of God's pure Word.
One woman, Señora Marina, started a listening group in her house. Next thing she knew, her house was regularly packed with people wanting to hear God's Word and people were also beginning to listen outside at the windows.High in the Guatemalan mountains near Volcán Tajumulco—the highest point in Central America—it is perpetually cold, sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, and clouds sometimes roll past at ground level.
So another woman started a listening group, then another, and when the FCBH coordinator visited 2½ months later, 60 women had started 60 different listening groups, with over 1,000 people listening!
When they sent in reports from their listening groups, here are a few of the things they said:
- "We feel equal because now we have the same Word of God."
- "One brother received healing by listening to the Word."
- "There are two youth that received the Lord."
- "I received God in my heart."
- "In Revelation it talks about the end of the world. Is that true? Is the world going to end?"
Please pray for the fire of God's Word to continue to spread so that all 50,000 Tajumulco people will have the opportunity to hear His Word. Please pray also for the millions of people around the world who still, after 2,000 years, don't have God's Word in their own language.
"The Bible Is for Us"
This is the case for the Kekchi people of Guatemala. As one Kekchi man says, "Thank you for thinking of us. Now it is clear that the Bible is for us. We are listening twice a week. In the absence of a pastor, we have been using the Proclaimer. We listen to a chapter, and then ask questions. We are praying for the donors who make it possible for us to have this device."