Archive for May, 2004

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.

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.


May 21

Great Commission as Life

2004 | by Clint | Category: Global,Rabinal Achi


Since God’s Glory is the center and focus of not only Desert Springs Church, but the message of the Bible, and ultimately His revelation through Jesus Christ, missions is a natural overflow of a church seeking to spread His glory “broader and deeper.” We not only want our community in Albuquerque, NM to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” but all the nations. We desire for our hearts to cry out with the Psalmist, “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!”

Missions is, therefore, a part of our worship of God and normative for a church that desires Him above all else. We see then that missions is not just a church ministry, but rather the center of the church’s life, and the Great Commission is not merely a guidepost for those few called as “missionaries,” but it is, rather, the world-embracing, reconciling work of God in which we are all commanded to participate. It is out of love for God and His fame that we will participate in missions at DSC, and missions is not an end in itself, but our expression and response as we aim to be about His glory. Our worship is the fuel for our missions.



Revelation 7:9-10, Psalm 96:2-4, Isaiah 66:19-20, Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-19

Our God is not just a God of Israel, or the United States, or the historically Christian countries of the West. He is the God of all peoples, and desires His name to be famous amongst them all: “And I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations…to the distant coast lands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.” Therefore, as Christ commands us as believers to “Go…and make disciples of all the nations, ” we will go to these nations for the sake of His Name.



DSC will focus our efforts in the missions field to a few places and peoples, rather than making many different endeavors. We will strive for quality above quantity. Focused strategic involvement in missions allows DSC to maximize the effectiveness of its resources and gifts. We will be more directly involved and have more directly at stake if we concentrate on fewer, more intense relationships.



Desert Springs does not and cannot accomplish this task alone; other believers have resources, expertise, access and gifts that we do not. We must allow the different parts of Christ’s body to perform their function in the world, while performing ours to the best of the ability. We will join with other churches, agencies and individuals as members of the body of Christ to make best use of our collective gifts and talents.



For the sake of Christ

They were His last words to his first church: “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every nation…” (Matt. 28: 19-20, Mark 16:15). Through the ages, He commands His church to go…He commands Desert Springs Church to go.

His heart is for the nations; it is for the great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language that he suffered and died. How can we, who have received the treasure of His Presence, possibly keep it only for ourselves?

So for His sake, as his church and his bride, we go. Whether you are among the few who are called to foreign missions, or the rest who are called to serve as their senders, you are called to do so with all of your hearts in a manner worthy of God (3 John 1-8)

For your own sake

The cry of our hearts at Desert Springs has long been Paul’s cry in Phil. 3:10, “I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death…” Do you want to know Christ? Then join Him where He moves among the peoples of the world…experience His heart, broken for the lost as you pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send workers to the ripened fields. Do you want to save your life? Then lose it, for Christ’s sake and the gospel (Mark 8:34-35). In exchange for your life, which you cannot keep, He will, with great joy, give you Himself, which you cannot lose.

God is calling Desert Springs to move from a church who “has” missionaries (as a line item in our budget) to a church that “sends” missionaries, as a hands-on, hearts-on, involvement of every man, woman, and child, for the spread of His fame in the earth, and for your great satisfaction and joy!