Yesterday the North American Forum of Bible Agencies met for their annual meeting at the Wycliffe Mobilization Center in Orlando. I've been participating in the Forum's work for the past few years.
One of the events at this gathering was a live-link interview with two men serving with two of the Forum organizations in Guatemala. I had the privilege of conducting the interview.
Decades ago, two single women serving with Wycliffe went to Guatemala and served within the Q'eqchi language community, translating the Scriptures into Q'eqchi. The whole Bible has been completed and printed. In partnerships with the Southern Baptist denomination working there and other organizaitons, Bibles have been distributed through churches and is being used.
That is the good news. But, as in many language communities around the world, there is also bad news. Many Q'eqchi speakers are not literate so the printed Scritures don't have great value for them. Education and literacy strategies have increased the literacy rate to some degree, but it's not enough.
In recent years, the JESUS Film has been produced (based on Luke's Gospel) and Faith Comes By Hearing has done a dramatic audio recording of the New Testament in the Q'eqchi language.
Yesterday I interviewed Abdiel Lopez, the Latin American Coordinator for FCBH (and pastor of a large church just outside of Guatemala City) and Anibal Duarte, the National Director for the JESUS Film Project for Guatemama. They told stories of the ways this oral stragegy is impacting hundreds of Q'echi speakers -- of how churches are being planted and new brothers and sisters discipled through intentional engagement with the Word of God in the language and form they understand best.