by John McKain

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Sunday School: Is It Worth Having? (1 of 2)
John McKain
Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

Bill Bentley moved to the mountains of southern Mexico near Guatemala in 1938. He went there to translate the Bible into the language of a remote tribe in those mountains, the Tzeltals. His fiancee, Marianna, was serving a neighboring tribe. They went back to Pennsylvania to be married, but six days before the wedding Bill died of a heart attack.

Marianna was crushed, confused. God had called her to go to the Tzeltals with Bill. But she soon resolved that even without him she would go back and minister to the Tzeltals. The journey took ten days, five on foot and five on horseback. The Tzeltals lived an awful existence. Poverty, alcoholism, violence, disease, and hopelessness darkened the entire region. It was a place overwhelmed in pagan idolatry and Satanic influence.

After spending six years there alone, learning the language, Marianna was joined by Florence, a missionary nurse. For the first eight years their work met with suspicion, rejection, and hostility from the Tzeltals; the missionaries were unwanted and misunderstood. But they stuck it out.

By 1965, after more than 20 yrs., they had completed the translation of the New Testament into two dialects. Then a miracle took place. More than seventy congregations suddenly sprung up with growing Christians from the seed that had been planted over the past 20yrs. Suspicion became faith, rejection became acceptance, hostility was transformed into Christian love. The Tzeltals called God's word "good seed"; it had taken root. 21 years of life by two single women and, finally, the Word of God grew. They looked forward to spending the rest of their lives translating the Old Testament right there.

But then Cameron Townsend came. He told the Tzeltal people about the Paez people in the Andes Mountains in southwestern Colombia. They did not have the Word of God. He asked the two women to go and start the entire ...

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