Archive for January 12, 2015


Jan 12

Barrera Bulletin – January 2015

Our dear friends and partners Carol and Rodrigo Barrera write:

Where are we?

HINT: View from our front door yesterday was this… Mail Attachment-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not This… (View from our side door in San Miguel)

Mail Attachment-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are we here and not there?

When we arrived in Wyoming in June this year, we optimistically expected to return to Guatemala by late August with Rodrigo’s US residency card in hand.  The process turned out to be much more complicated and expensive than we anticipated.  We finally managed to submit the 7 forms and many accompanying documents for the application in September.  On October 21st, we received acknowledgement that our forms had been received, and Rodrigo’s  “case” was in process, during which time he is not allowed to leave the USA.  He was told to report to an immigration office on Nov. 4th to be finger printed and photographed.  However, around this time we received a letter saying that his application could not be approved, because it had been determined that our income did not meet the requirement of being 125% of poverty guidelines. I was given a long list of “proofs” that I had to submit if I wanted to appeal that decision.

On Nov. 20th, I sent in 122 pages of proofs to show that we did indeed meet and surpass the income requirement.  We are still awaiting an answer on that appeal.  Please pray that he will be issued a permanent residency card soon!  We want to be in Guatemala by February for the annual pastors conference sponsored by the Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque, which supports us and directs a number of projects in the Achí area.  (This is the conference that was to be held in January, but was postponed until February.)

Has this time in the US been a waste of time?

I would give a resounding NO! to that question.  While we fret at delays to our planned schedule, I firmly believe that God is in charge. Here are some reasons I believe the past six months have not been a waste:

  1. Modern technology has allowed me (Carol) to be able to do my part in the editing of the Achí Old Testament project by Internet.  The suggestions I write in the drafts of Scripture are received in a matter of minutes by the team of Achí translators in Guatemala!  In the same way, I am able to answer questions about the Achí translation sent to me by the international translation consultants, who don’t know the Achí language.  When I have a doubt about how a term or a verse will be understood, I write to one of our Achí co-workers, who answers right back.
  2. Rodrigo has spent the majority of each day and a portion of each night communicating with Achí friends, troubled youth, pastors and youth leaders by Face Book, Skype or telephone.  He counsels, exhorts, urges that Scriptures be applied to our lives and problems, while encouraging those involved in ministry and missions among the Achí.  There has been an explosion of interest in and participation in mission outreaches by choice young people in the Achí area. This thrills our hearts.  I intend to write a separate letter soon about that.  As an advance, here is a photo of a missions outreach from Guatemala to Nicaragua led this month by our long-time Achí friend Hector Hernandez:Mail Attachment-1
  3. Finally, we and some trusted friends believe that it has been God’s timing for us to re-connect with our son, get to know his wife and have input into the lives of our small grandchildren, who at this age are happy to do even the simplest things with us.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, the frosting on the cake included:

  1. the family reunion with our daughter and her family, my “sister” Candy and her family in August
  2. the first time to spend Christmas with our son since 1993 (yes, that was 21 years ago) and
  3. my getting to sing in and Rodrigo getting to hear our church’s Christmas cantata, which still echoes in my mind and heart.

What are our dreams for this coming year?

  1. Our desire is to return to Guatemala in time for the February pastors conference.  That is not impossible, though admittedly not probable.  Please pray!
  2. In February, May, August and October there will be translation checking sessions with the seven Mayan teams translating the Old Testament into their languages.  I would love some face-to-face time with them and the international consultants at one or more of these two-week sessions in Guatemala City.
  3. We especially want to be on hand to come alongside the church teams from Albuquerque mid-May through mid-June for medical, water, weaving cooperative and pastoral training projects.

When not in Guatemala, we will continue with the translation and Scripture engagement work outlined above from our home here in Cheyenne.  My health has improved by our time here because of access to therapy and medical help I can’t receive in Guatemala.  Our family “homestead” has been further improved from its rescue last year by our attention to it this year, particularly the renovation of the dormer room upstairs, converted into a play room for our grandchildren.  And close to our heart, we will have the continued opportunity to relate to our son and his family.

How can you continue to be part of this ministry?

God often speaks to us through your timely letters of encouragement and exhortation.  Your prayers for us and God’s work among the Achí people do not go unheard.  Your gifts of support enable us to pay bills and carry on the work in Guatemala.  Speaking of finances, a Christian financial adviser recently reviewed our income, expenses and assets, and came up with this conclusion:

  • “You don’t have a spending problem but you do have an income problem. You have no real room to reduce expenses and there are things you should be spending money on that are not possible at the moment.”

He came to this conclusion after totaling the regular income from our monthly supporters, and subtracting our non-negotiable, fixed monthly bills (NOT including what we have to spend on food, clothes, computers, medical attention, etc.); the result was a negative number.  The reason we have not gone greatly into debt this year is due to some special, one-time gifts of support that have come in unexpectedly.This financial adviser gave us a list of suggestions, which we are trying to follow. One thing he suggested was that our support base may have assumed we are retired and no longer working with Wycliffe.  I told him you know that is not the case, but he advised me to reiterate it.

The missions pastor from our “accountability” church, who initiated our contact with the financial adviser, sent this for me to include in our next prayer letter:

  • “Carol and Rodrigo Barrera have served and continue to serve the Rabinal Achi people with faithful and precise translation work, ongoing counsel and discipleship, as well as pastoral training and mentorship. And what’s so encouraging is that they are able to continue this work so effectively from Wyoming as they minister to family there as well. These are the reasons why our church has made it our aim not just to continue supporting them prayerfully and financially, but to seek to increase this regular investment over the past several years.  We look forward to celebrating the spiritual fruit of their ministry to the Achí for years to come.”

Our health and the length of our lives is in God’s hand, but our desire is to continue our involvement until the entire Bible is available in the Achí language.  How long might that take? The main translation consultant for these Old Testament projects in Guatemala wrote to me recently:

  • “I think the project has about six more years. I believe the translation will be much much better with your input.”

Wycliffe/SIL celebrated its 80th birthday this past November.  We have been  members of Wycliffe for 40 of those years.  We give God praise for His provision through you since we joined Wycliffe.

Our prayer for you is that you be greatly blessed in this coming year and that you will be a blessing to many,

Rodrigo and Carol

Mailing Address (this is valid even when we are in Guatemala):

Rodrigo and Carol Barrera

1520 E. 18th St.

Cheyenne, WY 82001

Telephone:home in Wyoming: (307) 514-1756, cell (307) 214-8666

Email addresses: carol_barrera@sil.org, rod_barrera_mtz@hotmail.com

Mission address for gifts of support:

Wycliffe Bible Translators

PO Box 628200

Orlando, FL 32862-8200

(checks to Wycliffe Bible Translators, separate note: preference for the ministry of Rodrigo and Carol Barrera, account 040519)