Missions Blog

Feb 4


2018 | by Josiah | Category: Field Updates,Global,Missionary Care,Prayer,Rabinal Achi

Our dear missionary, Rodrigo Barrera, went home to be with the Lord this past Tuesday (January 30). Rodrigo and his wife Carol have been missionaries in San Miguel Chicaj, Guatemala, for over thirty years. They headed up the translation team that completed the New Testament, in Mayan Achi, in 2010. Since then the Barreras have worked with translation distribution and usage. Carol also has been working with the Achi team that is translating the Old Testament. And in addition to helping with Scripture usage, Rodrigo continued his ministry of discipling, counseling, and coaching men, young and old, pastors and lay.

Rodrigo had been experiencing some heart problems since Saturday night, January 27. Sunday he was seen in a nearby hospital, then released. But within 24 hours they realized that he needed more tests, and he was transported by ambulance to Guatemala city (3-4 hours away). While in the hospital and under good care, early Tuesday morning he went to be with the Lord, as far can we can tell, quickly and without much pain.

Rodrigo had always wanted to be buried in San Miguel, even though the Barreras were spending most of their time in their home in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We fondly remember Don Rodrigo saying, “I want to live where bananas grow” (the lyrics to one of his favorite songs). We think he would have equally said, “When I go to be with the Lord, I want that to happen in a land where bananas grow.”

His body was transported to San Miguel late Wednesday evening. When it arrived at around 3:00 a.m. early Thursday morning, about 70 people had stayed up to care for the casket and actually start the first worship and memorial service for Rodrigo, which lasted for several hours.

The second service was held Thursday evening, and lasted for five hours going until after midnight. The length of these three services was not compulsory (just one service is standard, as it is here in the states). Rather the Achi people longed to grieve, recall memories, celebrate the life of a man who poured out so much to disciple others, and sing of their faith and hope in the Lord Jesus.

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At this main service, Thursday evening, Pastor Clint Moore represented both DSC and Christ Church as one of the key speakers. Over 600 were in attendance at this service, with dozens of churches and pastors represented.

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Then Friday morning was the final service, a memorial service, then a processional of the casket, with a Mariachi band (Rodrigo was from Mexico, and loved music) and several hundred people following, around the plaza of San Miguel, past his and Carol’s home, and then to the cemetery outside of town. There the final part of that day’s service was held, as prayers of thanksgiving for him were offered to the Lord, final songs were sung, and his body was lowered into the grave. Several commented that never in the history of San Miguel had they seen, heard of, such numbers of people coming from all over the region of Baja Verapaz.

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Rodrigo’s daughter was able to fly in from overseas. Several others flew in from out of the country, including Rodrigo’s sister, several fellow workers from Wycliffe, and a small group from Desert Springs church and Christ Church.

El libro de Psalmos dice que “Esta vida es solamente un vapor, o una respiración”
Que ací sea, un vapor hasta que nos encontremos con R. otra vez.
Pero aun mas importante que nosotros, con R., nos encontremos con Cristo.

The book of Psalms says “this life is only a vapor, or a breath.”
May it indeed be a vapor, until we meet Rodrigo again,
But more important, until we, with Rodrigo, meet Christ.

-Pastor Ron Giese