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Guatemalan town celebrates as Bible arrives in native tongue

Author: Bible Society, 13 March 2020

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Translator Magdalena Antret is thrilled that the Bible has finally been published in the Achí of Cubulco language in Guatemala. All photos credit: United Bible Societies

‘This is my first Scripture,’ beamed Trinidad López, 39, as she held a copy of the first Bible in her language. ‘I have never owned my own Bible until today! Now, I have the full Bible in Achí of Cubulco!’ 

Trinidad was among more than a thousand excited Achí of Cubulco speakers who gathered in a sports centre in the mountain-fringed town of Cubulco in Guatemala to attend the launch of the first full Bible in their own language. 

It was a joyful occasion in a beautiful country that remains plagued by serious poverty, organised crime and corruption in the ruling elite.

Hundreds had taken part in a celebratory parade around the town on 21 September, 2019, driving specially decorated cars, or carrying colourful banners and singing.

Thanks to your generous donations, the community of Cubulco received 4,500 Bibles in their language, which is spoken by more than 51,000 people. They live in and around the town of Cubulco, which is 125 miles along ragged, winding, bumpy roads to the north of Guatemala City. Most are subsistence farmers growing basic grains, and around 60 per cent live on less than a dollar a day. 

One of the translators, Magdalena Antret, worked on the project for eight years and said, ‘I feel very happy and emotional about all the work that was done for all our [Achí] people.’

High on a mountain top in the village of Chimachó, Pastor Francisco de la Cruz, who shepherds a 400-strong congregation, said, ‘It is a great blessing and a great joy to have the Bible in our hands because it makes it easier for us to understand God’s message.’

The new Bibles are of huge value to the Bible studies that have been ongoing in schools and churches for a number of years, meetings that help tackle the very high rate of illiteracy in the area.

‘I love being able to teach children to read and write using Bible stories,’ said Macario Juáre, who has been using the various Scripture materials produced by the translation team over the years. ‘I hope that all children learn to read and write in our language, and engage with the word of God, and that many children who have never been to church will, bit by bit, learn about it through the Bible stories and through the full Bible, which is now ready.’

We are so grateful for your support in enabling the Achí of Cubulco to be printed, produced and distributed. Please pray that the new Bible will have a great impact! And also please pray for our continuing Bible and literacy work in local languages and Sunday schools in Guatemala.

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