LP Helps Give The Bible in the Indigenous Language: Achi of Cubulco
Project ID: 77135
Testimonies of translators and promoter
September 20th, 2019. Cubulco, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala
1. Magdalena Antret Chicaj. “I was part of the group of translators from 2011 until it was completed in 2018. This year I translated the children’s book on values into Achi de Cubulco.
In all the communities of our town the Achi language is spoken. Here in the center of Cubulco, children speak more in Spanish, but it is not the same in the communities far away. The Achi language is taught in schools.
Being part of the team of translators was a great blessing to me. I really like to translate, especially because it is the Word of God.
Regarding the portions of the Bible [complete books] that were published, some local churches provided spaces to read them. There are many adults who do not understand Spanish, so with the portions they clearly heard the Word that is now in their language.
I learned a lot in my relationship with Jesus. By studying several words, I understood the Word better and it helped me a lot in my daily life.
A favorite part is the story of Job. As you know, everything was taken from him, and even his wife told him to curse God. It leaves us a great teaching that we should be close to God in the midst of any circumstance.
Most of the Achi people will have for the first time a complete Bible in their hand, some have had the New Testament before, but never the complete Bible.”
2. Celestino Alonzo Calo. “I was part of the team of translators from 2004 to 2018.
My native language is the Achi of Cubulco, this is the original language here. We translated the Bible in this language.
Translating the Bible in my own language was a blessing for me. The whole process of reading it and translating it enriches our knowledge about the Word of God. It also made an impact in my spiritual life and with my family and social understanding.
When the Bible portions were published, people were surprised and wondered how is was possible that it was in our own language. Some starting thinking that now they have to learn to read and write in Achi. For some others reading was ease. It was a blessing having had copies of the books of John, Acts, and Proverbs. They received them with joy and helped them to understand.
My favorite part are the Psalms, they are beautiful words that help me and having them in Achi make me feel with my heart filled. My favorite verses are John 6: 34-35: “Sir, they asked him, give us this bread always. I am the bread of life, Jesus told them. Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty.”
I want to thank donors for helping us to translate in some way, because without resources you can’t do the work. Thank you; this word written in our language of Cubulco will remain from generation to generation.”
3. Lucia Alvarez Ramos. 34 years old. “This translation started in 1953. I worked for 11 years participating in the different processes: Translation, revision, back-translation and consulting.
I´m very excited and happy for the launch of this Bible because it has been a long time for us wanting to have the Bible in our mother tongue. Many asked us when we are going to have the complete Bible in our hands. When we offered them some books, Acts or John they told us they would like to have the complete Bible. I feel happy because it is a work expected by the brothers, especially by the brothers of the communities that love the language and that would like to listen to the Word of God.
One of the challenges I face during translation was to find many times some terms difficult to understand or translate. I didn´t want to change the Word of God because we recognize that it is not just any book, but it is the Word of God. It is the fear we always had when working.
Recognizing the Word of God helps us understand the circumstances in our marriage, family or work. The Word of God helped me to understand others and to have faith in God always.
Psalm 91 is my favorite part because it tells us that God protect to those who believe in Him.
One my dreams with this translation is that people know Christ because the Word now is in our mother tongue, we can understand it now, I hope that many come to the feet of Christ.
4. Macario Juarez Mendoza. Promoter for 3 years; he is in charge of the litercy program.
“Within our Achi people, 75% speak in the Achi language and 25% speak Spanish. My job is to go to schools and churches teaching to read and write in the language. We are teaching Bible stories in Achi. He is in charge of the literacy program.
The program is very important because many children are learning to read and write because we speak, but we could not read or write. Children from elementary and secondary levels, as well as some church leaders are learning and improving in this area.
Many of the Achi families are separated because of migration, many parents leave the children in charge of their grandparents or siblings.
For me having the Bible in the Achi language is a privilege and a blessing that the Lord has given us in Cubulco. I already want to see the complete Bible; I am very excited and sharing the news that it is already here. We are grateful because we have one more job, we have the job of reading and understanding what the Word of the Lord says.
I have been able to distribute the Bible portions of Proverbs, John, and Acts. Some schools let me have 15 minutes to share with the students what a part of a chapter means.
This job has helped me with my relationship with Jesus. It is a pleasure because it is my own language. Now I will understand better what the Lord tells me, but also my family, my community and my people will be able to know the truth.
Schools have gratefully received the materials because we support them with those materials.
I am very grateful with the donors and invite them to continue supporting us because the children grow up and they need direction year after year. Thank you for what the Bible Society of Guatemala has done; hopefully this will help our people to improve their lives.