Missions Blog

May 21

Why Guatemala?

2004 | by Clint | Category: Global,Rabinal Achi

After months of prayer and God’s gracious guidance, He has directed us to the Rabinal Achi people of Guatemala. We were introduced to Carol and Rodrigo Barrera, who have been ministering in that region and translating the New Testament into Achi, a Mayan language, since 1975. After getting to know this couple, and seeing the incredible things God is already doing in the region, DSC has begun to put resources toward the building of His church among the Achi people. We hope for and anticipate DSC’s long term involvement in that part of the globe.

The Achi are a people in need of many things, but their greatest need is God’s Word in their native language. The completion of the New Testament translation was always first and foremost out of the mouths of the believers in Baja Verapaz. Desert Springs will humbly and prayerfully support the completion of the Achi New Testament.


About Guatemala and the Rabinal Achi

Guatemala is a Third World nation where the vast majority of inhabitants live on less than US$120 per month. Approximately 2% of population owns 80% of the country’s land in Guatemala. Pagan Mayan rituals, including animal sacrifice, are still practiced and beliefs still help by an increasingly large segment of the population. The indigenous Mayans are still treated as second-class citizens by the European Guatemalans. In the twentieth century, Guatemala was rocked by numerous civil wars, the latest one occurring from 1982-1996. As a result, over 200,000 indigenous Guatemalans were killed, including many Rabinal Achi.

Residing in their ancestral home in Baja Verapaz around the town of Rabinal, the AChi people are a proud Mayan people in great need of the Gospel. long know as the greatest warriors of all the Guatemala’s tribes, the Achi could not be conquered militarily by the Spanish conquistadors of the sixteenth century. Not until Catholic missionaries learned the Achi language and converted many of the people did the Achi become subjects of Spain. Today, they continue to be a separate people in Guatemala; only 20%of the Achi can discuss more than common topics in Spanish: discrimination is prevalent. Until the mid-twentieth century, the Rabinal Achi did not have a systematized written language so spiritual growth that results from reading the Word of God was nearly impossible. Even among “Christians,” syncretism (a mixture of evangelicalism, Catholicism and Mayan rituals, superstitions and gods) is widespread–of course, in large part, a symptom of a Bible-less people.