Archive for June 10, 2013


Jun 10

Barrera Bulletin June 2013: Stories from DSC’s Mission, Home Renovations, and Sabbatical

Barrera Bulletin — June 2013 

News Briefs: Several have asked about these issues:

  • My extreme back pain has been subsiding, but am still planning on the MRI next week.
  • Rodrigo’s stolen Guatemalan ID card was finally replaced after being “in the pipeline” for 11 months.
  • If you are short in time, please don’t miss the PS. Skip down to read the prayer requests there.

Were you among those that sent up a prayer for the time of the recent visit of  the Albuquerque team here in Achí land?  Some even wrote that they prayed daily through the schedule for the whole ten days.  God answered those prayers above and beyond what we had dreamed!

Achi Pastors’ Conference

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Rodrigo giving introductions at the DSC-Achi Pastors’ Conference

First off, forty-four of us gathered in the mountain retreat center for the Pastors Conference on good practices in Biblical interpretation and application. That these topics struck home was obvious in the attention and the interaction among the participants.  Each participant went home with several excellent books to reinforce the truths and practices presented, with tools for digging deeper.

Physical (and Spiritual) Therapy

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Lynne helping a handicapped boy learn to use a walker.

I could give you the impressive statistics on the number of towns and homes visited, the number of medical and dental patients treated (including ME–thanks to PT Lynn, PT Becky, Dr. Brent, Dr. Jacobo), the hundreds of people encouraged to put and to keep their trust in the Lord.  Instead, I want to take you along on just one memorable home visit made by Lynn the Physical Therapist, an Achí guide (assigned to us by the mayor), and me.

At the first home we stopped at in one village, our guide called out over and over the traditional greeting that replaces a knock or the ringing of a doorbell. The house was quite a ways down the slope. Only dogs slunk out to bark menacingly at us.  So after a long, fruitless wait, we went on to visit two preteens with symptoms of cerebral palsy.

At the end of our time in that town, we went back to the first house and tried again, with the same results: no sign of anyone being home.  We gave up and started back towards the car. About a block away a young lady ran after us saying, “I heard you are looking for my aunt. If you will wait until I grind this corn, I will go tell her you are coming to see her.”  The patient we were looking for had been in the house down the hill all along; but being unable to walk, she hadn’t been able to come out to tell us to come in.  Now that this lady’s mother had returned home and took us to see her adult  daughter. This daughter broke into tears when she saw me, saying my name and reaching out to me.  She had seen me in her church years before,and recognized me.  She had been a healthy teacher until one day ten years ago she took a corn gruel drink to her father working in his fields.  On the way she saw a gigantic snake that terrified her.  She was so traumatized by this that she didn’t want to leave her house any more. Every time her parents would entice her to go outside, she would see snakes on the trail–snakes that no one else could see. She slowly lost the ability to walk and started having some epileptic seizures. We spent a long time trying to minister to her about her physical, psychological and spiritual issues.

Just as we were saying our goodbyes and starting to leave, the lady’s mother said out of the blue, “I fainted three days ago.”  No more details were forthcoming, so I asked, “And why do you think that happened?”  Answer: “My grandchild died ten days ago.”  We sympathized with her, saying how hard that must have been for her.  Then the daughter blurted out: “My sister killed herself by drinking rat poison” (the preferred suicide method in this culture).  I could see that this visit wasn’t over yet.  This was a very hurting family.  Turns out there had been a scandalous affair within the family that became public knowledge, and the lady who killed herself just couldn’t face the shame. She took that hard way out, leaving behind a husband, two young daughters, the school class of elementary children she taught, and a family, church and community rocked by these events.  “And as if that isn’t enough,” the grandmother added, “I am a widow struggling to care for an adult daughter who can’t walk and have yet another daughter who had been abandoned by her husband and the father of her children–and now I have great-grandchildren without a mother due to this latest tragedy.”  She asked us to pray for her, which of course we did, surprised when the government-assigned guide broke into fervent prayer with us for this family.  As we walked away, it struck me how close we came to missing out on what I felt was an encounter planned all along by our Guide.

Cheyenne Home Renovations

Barrera home improvement

DSC volunteers whipping up something in the kitchen at the Barreras Cheyenne home.

Two years ago when we saw the deteriorated shape of the family home in Cheyenne that has housed several generations, my daughter remarked, “I wish I could convince one of those home make-over TV shows to rescue this house.”  Well, she didn’t do the convincing, but I am convinced Someone did.  This very week a team of seven from Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque are working long hours to do all they can to get the house livable for our six-month “Sabbatical” in the U.S.  Coming alongside of them have been members of the First Baptist Church in Cheyenne.  Only so much can be done in one week, but they are giving it all they have.  The goal is for us to be able to start living there from June 13th through December 10th.  There are many challenges to getting setting up in a house so far from our San Miguel home.  We are not sure if much can be salvaged of the things put hastily in the garage and basement after my mother died 12 years ago and we returned to Guatemala after my medical leave in the US.  We will try to get Internet service as soon as possible to keep in touch with you.  Our home address will be 1520 East 18th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 82001.  (During this time in the US, we will continue to have no income other than support donated through W.B.T.)

Bible Poverty

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The Achi New Testament along with gospel tracts in Spanish used at the medical clinics.

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The Achi New Testament Proclaimer. Audio Bible, solar or wind up powered.

Some of you have come alongside of us for decades in a mutual commitment to reduce Bible poverty–others have come on board more recently.  I have a question for all of you.  How would you define Bible poverty?  (In a language the person understands well)  a) no complete Bible available, b) only New Testaments, or c) only a few Bible portions?  How about people with access to Bibles in a language they understand but with no desire to read them?  My deep desire is that we all be rich in the Scriptures we have in our homes, our minds and our hearts, and that we spread that wealth around the globe.

Rodrigo and Carol Barrera

PS: Counting on your prayers!

For those staying: We will be maintaining communication with our Achí co-workers, who will continue their ministries of translation, Scripture use, administering special project funds. We will be sending them funds for some of their project expenses and for maintaining our house, car, yard while we are gone.  Pray for them and for Kathi, the missionary to whom I have been giving Achí lessons using the Achí NT.  She has been taking small groups around house to house to pray with people and see that every home has Scripture in a language they understand.  There will be many stresses and challenges in setting up our home in the US,  getting a car, car insurance, Internet, cell phones, etc.  For us: This is daunting to us at this point.  On top of that is the grief we are already feeling as being away from our friends and ministry here.  It was í)wrenching to have our last Bible studies (for pastors, for kids, for studying Revelation in Achí, OT summary in English), the last swim in my water therapy pool, the last book read with our Achí “grandchildren”.  Even though we told people classes wouldn’t resume until we came back, we have been getting calls asking if there are classes this week.  One compassionate young Achí lady, who has had experience caring for her elderly grandparents, told us: “Be sure and come back.  We need you.  If you get too old to take care of yourselves, I will take care of you,–feed you, bathe you . . . .” How many of you have had offers like that recently?  But before I get too nostalgic, I hasten to add that we are also anticipating with joy the chance to be close to our son and family in Cheyenne, to visit our daughter and family on the other side of the world, and to see some of you!

Wycliffe Bible Translators

P.O. Box 628200 Orlando, FL 32862-8200