Archive for April 3, 2013

Apr 3

Pinched Nerve, God’s Word in Achi, and Driving 2 blocks Per Hour!? Barrera Bulletin – March 2013

2013 | by Clint | Category: Field Updates,Global,Rabinal Achi


Our beloved Carol y Rodrigo Barrera en Antigua - 2009

Our beloved Carol y Rodrigo Barrera en Antigua – 2009

Our dear friends and partners in mission to the Rabinal Achi, Rodrigo and Carol Barrera, write:

Over three weeks ago I (Carol) came off a high step and landed a little wrong, pinching a nerve in my lower spinal column that is still causing pain up to the present. The pain radiated in a strong burning sensation down the front of my thigh and into the hip area. I didn’t at first get the connection between the slight jar from the step and the subsequent pain that made it almost impossible for me to work at the computer or do much of anything.

After two weeks of pain that was only relieved by getting prone, Rodrigo canceled his trip to Mexico and Laredo to see his family members (losing his airline ticket), and took me for medical help in the capital. Last week I had a battery of tests over a three-day period. The conclusion of the neurologist was a pinched nerve. He prescribed two medicines and gave me a regimen to follow:

  • much walking – NO
  • going up and down the steps – NO
  • lifting – NO
  • certain exercises – YES
  • my daily water exercises – YES

Following these instructions has resulted in less pain, to the point that I have been able to work at the computer for longer stretches, lying down less. The doctor estimated that it might take two or three more weeks for the pain to subside.The no-stairs prohibition means that we had to move my computer to a downstairs room, leaving the only office with A/C that we have–just when the temperatures have soared into the nineties. Even with the door open, the room where I am now working gets sweltering hot from the heat and humidity. So this morning I got up at 5:15 AM to work while it was still a pleasant 63 degrees F.

Some other health issues came to light in the results of the lab tests that will need attention sooner or later. One of those has to do with a strong pain that comes and goes in my lower right abdomen, possibly related to my intestine or to adhesions from my many surgeries. At first I thought it was just part of the back pain, because it is directly in front of where the back pain originates. In addition, I am thinking that long term, I probably need to go back to the scoliosis specialists in the US to start treatment with them again and get fitted for a new brace. My last brace wore out over a year ago, so I haven’t been wearing one. I seem to need that support when I am upright. They also are offering short courses in new breathing techniques and exercises.

One unexpected incident occurred when we were trying to get to our hotel the afternoon before my tests. We had decided to stay in Antigua that first night, since the place we have been staying in the capital was full. Arriving at the outskirts of Antigua around 3 PM, we got caught up in the Lent processions. It took almost six hours to go 18 blocks! There were so many processions and “alfombras” (artistic designs laid down on the roads), that we couldn’t find a route that wasn’t blocked. After three hours, we parked the car and we walked–limping would be a better description in my case. Both riding and walking on the cobblestone roads was agony to me at this point, having already been in the car before reaching Antigua for over four hours coming from San Miguel. I collapsed into bed when we reached the hotel, while Rodrigo went back for the car. Even walking, he came to a place where the only way he could advance was to join in the procession, with solid bodies to his front, back and sides, forcing him to sway back and forth with movement of those carrying the “floats” on their shoulders. One of these “floats” was about sixty feet long, with dozens of men in purple robes and hoods carrying it. Finally, Rodrigo got to within one block of the hotel, and had to park the car, unable to advance. He carried our suitcases the block to the hotel, and waited another half hour before he could get the car into the parking lot at 9 PM.

When we weren’t going to labs and seeing doctors on Monday and Tuesday, I luxuriated in the quiet of this old colonial hotel, with its lovely gardens–praying, resting, reading devotional material and studying Hebrew. A welcome break–my first getaway this year. I didn’t say “our”, because while I was resting, Rodrigo was driving, picking up lab results in the capital, shopping for supplies or medicine.

Yesterday Rodrigo drove me (ordinarily, we would walk) the 8 blocks to the church of Daniel, who is in a missions and discipleship training course in Panama and Ecuador for five months. We congratulated the pastor and the congregation for encouraging and praying for Daniel. They have also given some offerings towards his support. When I read a passage in Achí, the audience came to life with a lot of amens. The pastor also prayed for us, thanking Rodrigo for all he does to encourage and train the pastors in the area.

If my health permits, I will be attending the next two-week session of AECM, where the seven Mayan teams will have international consultants checking the rest of Exodus and Leviticus. That workshop will be the second and third week of April. Unfortunately, my health problems have caused me to get way behind in my part of going over the Achí translation of those books in preparation for the checking sessions.

This year I made it a priority to observe Lent in preparation for Holy Week. The devotionals and prayers and other spiritual exercises have been a big blessing to me. I pray that you will have a meaningful remembrance of these key events in the history of the world and our own salvation. Let us mourn for the suffering brought on by our sin, and rejoice in Christ’s victory over evil and death, his provision to us of Life and relationship with God Himself.

Rodrigo and Carol Barrera

Apartado 54 Periferico

01011 Guatemala City,


Address for financial support:

Wycliffe Bible Translators PO Box 628200 Orlando, FL 32862-8200

Alfombras barrera bulletin march 2013

Lent processions in Antigua