We are from Colombia, South America. After 4 years in Missionary training, the leadership of the Mission encouraged us to work with the Guahibo tribe. The Guahibo were one of the biggest tribes in Colombia. Other Christian groups sent missionaries to teach the Guahibo in Spanish, but this led to a “works salvation” and syncretism because of their lack of a clear understanding of the Gospel message. They mixed the little bit that they understood of the Gospel in Spanish with their own beliefs. Because of this many years went by with no visible spiritual fruit among the Guahibo.
Mark and Joyce Cain, are our co-workers, they are in charge of translating the Scripture. And Consuelo, she was our co-worker as well, but in this days she has cancer. She is in medical treatment.
After spending several years living with the Guahibo and learning their language and culture we made good friendships and got to know the people. As time went on, we got closer and closer to the time when we would present the Bible teaching. In order to do this we had to write the Bible lessons in the Guahibo language, beginning in Genesis and continuing chronologically through the Bible. Alberto and some of the Guahibos worked on these lessons for months. Thankfully the New Testament had already been translated into Guahibo by a missionary couple with Wycliffe. Mark and Juana, our coworkers worked on translating parts of the Old Testament and the revision of New Testament.
Once we had written all the Bible lessons, everything was ready to begin the teaching! We had asked God to lead us in how to do this because at that time we weren’t able live in the village with the people because of instability situation in the country and security reasons.
God showed us that we needed not only to teach the people, but also to disciple them. We strived to disciple young couples and singles who could then go and teach their own people groups from God’s Word and disciples others. This is how we started the exciting work of evangelism and discipleship among the Guahibo people.
It has been amazing to see how God has worked in the lives of these men and women. The have grown spiritually and we know that God continues to do incredible things in their lives! Because these people were formally animistic, there are a lot of things they hold tightly to from their former religion. Sometimes it takes a while to break through this, but God’s Word has been breaking down these barriers and giving the people victory over the old ways they used to live.
SERVING AS LANGUAGE AND CULTURE-LEARNING CONSULTANTS AND IN LEADERSHIP
At the same time that we were working with the Guahibo people, our field leadership asked us to serve the field of Colombia as consultants, guiding, encouraging and giving support to the missionaries who work among the different people groups of this country. We are providing consultant services to the missionaries at some countries of South America , as well. It has been a joy to develop this ministry, which has allowed us to get to know and relate much more closely with many missionaries, learning more about church planting and sharing the benefits of our experience while our lives are enriched in many ways.
God is allowing us to participate in a variety of other areas of ministry, as well, such as assisting in the development and contextualization of teaching materials in other tribal languages and helping them learn to teach and disciple in the process of church planting. We have been working with the field leaders here in Colombia and participating in the many responsibilities involved in this ministry.
It is our desire to continue supporting the work among the Guahibo in every way that we can. They will always be in our hearts. We are aware that the church needs to continue growing, maturing and being fruitful. It’s the Lord’s church; He is the one most interested in continuing this process.We also want to continue serving as language and culture-learning consultants.