A time to celebrate

On 5th August 2017, over 2500 people came together in the town of San Cristobal Varapaz in central Guatemala for the official launch of the Poqomchi Bible with Deuterocanon.

For the 70,000 Poqomchi people in the country (many of whom are Catholic) this is a cause for celebration! Speaking at the colourful ceremony in the Church of the Calvary, Vilma de Cojoc, leader of the town’s Catholic community, said, “Without the Bible – the Word of God – life is impossible.”

And many Poqomchi people must have agreed, travelling from miles around to get their copy.

Nine-year-old Veronica left home with her father before dawn to get a copy of the Catholic edition of the Poqomchi Bible. Her parents’ anticipation and excitement of finally having a Bible to read in their heart language rubbed off on Veronica.

“My parents have bought me this Bible and I’m happy,” she said, “Now I’ll be able to read about Jesus in my own language and take my own Bible with me when I go to my First Communion catechism classes.”

Literacy through the Bible

But in an area afflicted by grinding poverty and drug-related violence, she is one of the few that can read their new Bible for themselves.

To combat this, over the past three years the Bible Society of Guatemala (BSG) has run literacy classes to help people learn to read and write in their own language. This, together with the regular invol

vement of the community in testing the text, and the enthusiastic promotion of the project by Catholic leaders, meant that there has been great excitement and anticipation about this new Bible.

The translation work

The first Poqomchi Bible was published by the BSG in 2009, and has mostly been used by evangelical churches. Later on that year, the BSG began working on a Catholic version, as well as translating the books of the Deuterocanon. They worked on revising and building on both the 2009 translation and the much earlier 1992 western Poqomchi New Testament and Psalms translation by Catholic priest and scholar Father Ennio Bossu.

Father Bossu worked with the team of five indigenous translators for a year before he passed away in 2016, one day before the translation was completed. His contribution to this translation and the Poqomchi community was honoured during the Bible launch ceremony.

Please pray that the 6000 copies of the new Poqomchi Bible with Deuterocanon will touch many lives. Please also pray for the Bible Society of Guatemala and their ongoing work to translate the Bible into the many indigenous languages in the country.