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Missions Blog


May 21

Esther’s Story

2004 | by Clint | Category: Global,Rabinal Achi

from Karen G.

A little girl lingers at the house of the missionary translators, transfixed. She comes to play, but she stays to watch and listen, discovering a new world of speech written down on paper. The translators have begun to write Achi, her own language, in alphabet form, and Esther, bright and interested, picks it up quickly. By age seven, she is not only reading, but teaching other Achi children to read also.

At age eleven, she helps translate The Bible in Pictures, a simple Bible story book, to familiarize her people with basic Biblical history. Somewhere in this process came the slow realization that this foreign Bible, with its mysterious messages from God, really could be expressed in her own Achi. This is a God who would travel far, and spend much, to visit her and to speak her language.

Esther married a man also interested in translation, and she and Carol Barrera have grown close. They raised children together, as a harsh succession of Guatemalan earthquakes and civil war ravaged the land and its people. She has worked over the years with Rodrigo and Carol, helping to produce readers, Achi folk tales, and some books to promote literacy among the Rabinal Achi.Esther’s children are now grown, and she is currently the main Achi translator working alongside Carol as they labor over the final crucial stages of the New Testament Translation.

Excitement among Achi Christians to mounting as they anticipate the completion of this more than 30-year project. Conversation with them quickly reveals an intense longing to read, study, and teach from the Scripture in the heart language of the people. Pray for Esther and the team of Achi translators in their painstaking work to produce an excellent translation worthy of the Savior she loves.