The Toma Sisters - Learning and Leading
“I didn’t know my daughter was so smart,” said Antonio of his eighteen-year-old daughter, Juana Toma. The Cotzal Ixil (coatzahl eesh-eel) teenager had only completed second grade in the Guatemalan public school—ten years ago! But after attending vernacular reading classes, Juana is now the fastest reader in her church. Juana can now read, out loud, 125 words per minute, and she has been the principal reader for the recording of the Cotzal Ixil New Testament on audiocassette. “You have all my support in helping the young people of our church to learn the Bible in our language,” Antonio concluded.
Catarina, Juana’s older sister, also made her father proud by earning the reputation as the equivalent of a Sunday school superintendent, and she is in charge of all teaching materials. Church leaders agree that Catarina has done a commendable job. Now, under Catarina’s leadership, village children who used to spend all their time playing are learning to read the Bible in their own vernacular Sunday school curriculum.
The Toma sisters are having a very positive influence in the lives of the Cotzal Ixil villagers. How much faster and easier it is for a people to develop their intellect and gifts when education is available in their mother tongue.