“Ashes there are, but that’s not all that remained after all our worldly possessions were burned!”
In the early 1970s, the McMillen family began serving in translation ministry in the town of Las Pacayas in the mountains of Guatemala. In 1979, everything they owned—plus the majority of the language material they had produced—was destroyed when their home was burned by rebel guerrilla forces.
“Our resolve remains to share God’s love with our friends and neighbors in Las Pacayas. The people want us back!” they wrote. “After the warm reception we have received and the encouraging words and actions of our supporters here in the States we are more determined (with the grace of our Loving LORD) to return to Guatemala and complete the task of giving the Uspanteco people the Word of God.”
Because of the support of dedicated prayer and financial partners, the McMillens were able to continue in Guatemala, eventually moving back to the Uspantan area. Over the next 20 years, a large body of printed and audio/visual Bible materials was produced and embraced by the community. In 2000, the Uspantec New Testament was completed.
Ashes often signal the end. Everything is gone. No hope left. Even the anointing of ashes at the beginning of Lent is meant to remind us of our mortality. But those ashes are put on the forehead in the shape of a cross, a symbol of the eternal life to come through Christ’s victory over death.
It’s easy to give up in the face of difficulties, whether the everyday variety or major calamities. But Scripture says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
The McMillens were able to rebuild from the ashes and share the hope found through Jesus Christ with the Uspanteco people. Because millions more around the world are still without Scripture in a language they can understand, people like you are participating in Bible translation through Lutheran Bible Translators. Together, we can put God’s Word in their hands!