Mark & Joyce Cain, Missionaries in Colombia
We are both children of missionary parents that worked with NTM; Mark\’s parents worked in Venezuela & Colombia and Joyce\’s parents in Japan.
After finishing our training with NTM, we went to Colombia in 1973, filling in as bookkeeper for three years. In 1976 we joined the team working with the Guahibo tribe along the Tomo River. Today the Guahibo people number between 80,000-120,000 and are scattered over much of the Eastern prairies of Colombia and western Venezuela.
The Guahibo had heard the Gospel in broken Spanish years before. Because it sounded like one of the tests their ancestral hero would bring them to obtain immortality, 60% accepted this new system of works as they understood it, in order to obtain the immortality promised.
Upon completion of our language and culture studies, we moved to a more central location of the tribe and lived in a village in 1986. We began to teach them in the book of Genesis, laying the foundational truths of the Old Testament, contrasting the lies of Satan with the truths of God\’s Word. Eventually, after several temporary evacuations due to the presence of Marxist rebels in the area, the Lord raised up a group of believers, who had a clear understanding of the gospel of grace.
We continued our teaching of this group of believers until our final evacuation in 1994. Since then we have been teaching key people how to teach others. God has now raised up three teams of Guahibo missionaries in three different areas of this large tribe, who are evangelizing and discipling their own people; going where we can\’t go due to the continuing lack of security.
Since 1995 we\’ve been living in the larger cities translating portions of the Old Testament and Building on Firm Foundation Bible lessons for the Guahibo. The Lord has helped us by providing Guahibo Christians who are willing to come in to town to help us with these translation projects. Finally after ten years of work, with many interruptions, we are grateful that in March of 2008, 1/6th of the Old Testament was printed!! What a time of rejoicing we had with the Guahibos at the dedication of these portions!
Wycliffe Bible Translators had translated the New Testament 25 years ago but not the Old Testament which is needed to teach the Bible beginning in Genesis.
God has provided us with Colombian partners, who work with us in the discipleship and evangelism of the Guahibos. They are: Alberto and Nancy Gonzalez, as well as a Colombian single woman, Consuelo Jimenez. Consuelo works on Children\’s lessons. Alberto has been writing the Firm Foundations Bible lessons for the disciples, as well as making trips to the tribe to encourage our church planting teams and to teach them. We as a team also go out periodically and teach the Guahibo disciples as well as the disciples they make.
At the request of the Guahibo church, we, Mark and Joyce, along with the Guahibo co-translators, have spent the last number of years revising the Guahibo New Testament along with the Wycliffe Bible translator who did the first translation. We also hope to continue translating the other portions of the Old Testament as we have time but our main thrust now is revising portions of the New Testament in the next few years.