Missions Blog

Jul 22

Barrera Bulletin July 2013: Restoration, Wreck, Refuge, Rescue, Results, Rest, Renewal and Relating

2013 | by Clint | Category: Global,Missionary Care,Rabinal Achi

Barrera Bulletin — June 8th, 2013

For those of you who like alliteration, the buzz words for this letter are Restoration, Wreck, Refuge, Rescue, Results, Rest, Renewal and Relating

Carol’s Cottage–Restoration Project, from Wreck to Refuge         

Two years ago when we walked into the house my grandfather built and which my mother then later I inherited, it was a most depressing experience.  The house had gone greatly downhill since my mother’s death in February of 2001.  I literally had to run outside to gag, because it smelled so bad.  Some people said I should just sell it.  However, not only I, but also my husband and our children are very emotionally attached to this property, which had been in the family from the time it was practically prairie back in the early 1920’s.


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Rodrigo enjoying the renovations

that we needed a place to stay for our six-month “sabbatical”, we hoped to somehow get the house liveable again.  To the rescue Desert Springs Church of Albuquerque, First Baptist Church of Cheyenne, my son and daughter-in-law and friend Shirley!  To our absolute amazement, about twenty volunteers spent almost two weeks working long hours to turn our wreck of a home into a refuge for us.  Under the old tile and carpet, wood floors were discovered and restored.  Tile floors were put in the kitchen and bathroom.  Some men crawled around in dark, dank, narrow spaces under the house to check out and repair some plumbing.  Some new windows, a new toilet, new kitchen cupboards and counter top, two new doors were installed.

Four rooms were painted, and painting was done to some of the windows outside.  Two gigantic dumpsters of junk were hauled off.  Much clean-up was done in the large yard, including tearing out the eye-sore dog fence area and cat run, plus planting new grass in the area where the dog area had been.  Some furniture, kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, house plants and food were donated.  And in addition to all of that, flowers were planted along the front of the house.  What a welcome we felt when we walked in late in the evening of June 13th!  It felt like home–a place we could work and rest in for the rest of the year.

Of course, not everything could be done in two weeks. However, we now had five pleasant, clean rooms (kitchen, sun porch, living room, bedroom and bathroom) to live in while seeing what can be done about the rest of the property that remains in lamentable condition (laundry room, upstairs bedroom and small office area, bedroom and bath in the outside rock house, small garage.)  We can find no way to adequately thank our God and His agents for their contributions of time, talent, money and love that have gone into this restoration project.

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Rodrigo enjoying the grand kids.


One of our main motivations for this “time out” after almost continuous missionary work for the past 40 years, was to spend some time near our son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

We have delighted in relating to them about every other day in one way or another.

We already knew and adored three

and a half year old James from the two times we had spent a couple of weeks with him.

Now we have added to

our list of favorite people our youngest grandchild, Anita “the Bonita”.

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Carol enjoying time with her son and grand son.


has a placid, pleasant personality.  We came here with the hope of helping out that family, but it has turned out that almost all of the helping is coming the other direction–from them to us


As to our daughter,

son-in-law and two grandchildren in the Middle East, we are still hoping to visit them over there in November.

Our “family” in Guatemala via telephone, Skype, Facebook and email, we are in daily communication with our many friends in Guatemala.

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Carol with her daughter-in-law and grand daughter.

Eder is capably holding down the fort as our representative in the work there.  Missionary Kathi keeps us up to date on happenings in San Miguel, as well as heading up a program to visit and distribute Achí NT’s and Spanish Bibles in homes throughout the region.

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Carol and Rodrigo’s daugher, son-in-law, and two grand daughters.

I confess that getting adjusted to life in the US and the business of living (driver’s license, voter re

gistration, Soc. Sec. issues, health insurance claims, house and yard maintenance, getting phones and Internet), has taken up a large chunk of our time.  That means that I have done very little so far in my work of reading and making suggestions regarding the Old Testament project in Achí.  However, the Achí team has been making great strides, having drafted all of the Pentateuch and most of the historical books.  Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus have been checked by an international consultant, and as the result, those books have undergone more revision and polishing.  Already this year, the team has given an Achí reading and writing course to two different groups of people.  Achí radio programs continue to be a blessing to numerous listeners.



Just before leaving Guatemala, I finally had an MRI of my lower spine.  I still don’t

understand the implications of the results.

The neurologist who looked over the test results just shook his head and said he had never seen such a condition. His only recommendation was that I had to be very careful of my spine, to protect it as much as possible.  Here is a Google translation of the conclusions of the radiologist:

  • Severe osteo-arthrosisSevere rotational scoliosis
  • Degeneration and dehydration of most of the nucleus pulposus
  • Signs of subluxation of D12 on L1
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal at L4-L5
Moderate to severe facet disease
  • Grade II – III disco-vertebral sclerosis

I had some sort of delusion that once I arrived in the USA, my back problems would disappear.  That has not been the case.  I am still on some medications and am trying to do water exercise at the local YMCA several times a week.  It is very hard for me to comply with the doctor’s instructions not to lift or carry anything, not to bend down.  Here almost all of the burden of helping me falls on Rodrigo, who always comes when I call.  But so many times I find myself breaking the rules as I do what would be normal activities for a person with a healthy spine.  The slightest little jar sets off waves of pains.  After doing dishes, putting away clothes, bending down to pick something up, I feel the repercussions in my back and right knee.

We have not yet been able to arrange a trip for me to be evaluated at the Scoliosis Systems doctors I saw a few years ago, to see if I should again obtain and wear a soft brace.  (The ones I had before have worn out and would have to be replaced.)  There don’t appear to be any such clinics being held in Denver for the months we will be in the US.   Our best bet may be to schedule an appointment in October in Southern California, during the time we plan to visit  that area.  We ask prayer for guidance and divine help regarding this medical condition.

FINALLY, a very special thank you to those of you who have helped with the rather expensive traveling and setting-up costs.  In the time leading up to our trip, I was having a lot of doubts about whether this time in the USA was really a good idea.  Now that we are here, I think Rodrigo and I are sensing that it was the right thing to do, that in the long run it will prove to have been a correct decision.

We are grateful for your letters, calls, support as we seek times for rest and renewal, and for relating to our family, friends, churches–while keeping in touch with our ministry in Guatemala.

(Our contact numbers until our return to Guatemala on December 10th)

Rodrigo and Carol Barrera

1520 E. 18th St.
Cheyenne, WY 82001

tel. (307) 214-8666


P.O. Box 628200

Orlando, FL 32862-8200