Maya-Tektitek in Mexico

Photo Source:  Ed Beach 
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People Name: Maya-Tektitek
Country: Mexico
10/40 Window: No
Population: 90
World Population: 3,490
Primary Language: Tektiteko
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 95.00 %
Evangelicals: 5.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Maya
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Identified as "Teco" language group by Dr. Terrance Kauffman (1969, "Teco-a New Mayan Language" IJAL 35:154-74) and subsequently identified as a need for Bible translation in a language survey. The people group and its language were officially named "Maya-Tektiteko" (note the use of the letter k rather than the letter c) by government decree in the late 1980s or early 1990s. In English we drop the final -o on the name, thus: Maya-Tektitek. A translation team was assigned to the Maya-Tektitek translation project in 1978; the New Testament translation was finished in October 2003, it was published in 2004, and was presented to the public January 1, 2005.

When a translation project began, there were said to be approximately 5000 speakers in Guatemala; however on-site agency estimates were more in the neighborhood of 1500 speakers. Currently the number of speakers in Guatemala is officially at 4897 speakers based on a census taken in 2002 speakers in Mexico and the USA would add an unknown number to this number. A transltion Scripture use promotion team is currently assigned to the Maya-Tektitek project and is working in a wide variety of projects.

Where Are they Located?

Most Tektitek speakers are located in the western highlands of Guatemala in the municipality of Tectitan, Huehuetenango. Speakers of this language are also located in the Guatemalan municipalities of Tacana, San Marcos, and Cuilco, Huehuetenango. An unknown number of speakers (and believers) are located on the Mexican side of the border across from these Gautemalan municipalities. An additional unknown number of speakers are scattered throughout the USA, most working as illegal immigrants. A majority of Tektitek households in Guatemala have at least one relative in the USA.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Typical of western Guatemala --- small farm owners living in rugged mountainous terrain, growing primarily corn, beans and squash; they also raise cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, and chickens. Some Tektiteks now have businesses (e.g., construction, stores, trucking), and many Tektiteks have a partial cash income from relatives in the USA. Because this area was neglected by government support for so long, there are now numerous agencies providing health, agricultural and nutritional resources. Infant mortality is way down compared to 20 years ago, and economic and educational levels are steadily rising. 30 years ago most Tektiteks did not venture beyond nearby Mexican coffee farms, but now many of them travel frequently and widely for economic purposes.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Majority: Syncretistic folk religion mix of animism and Roman Catholicism. Emerging, small minority: Evangelical.

What Are Their Needs?

The greatest need is for ministry that leads people to deliverance from bondage to alcohol and other vices.

Prayer Points

Pray for wisdom and power for the vernacular Scripture use team that is working in various aspects of ministry, including radio, music, literacy, youth, personal evangelism and discipleship, and is leading a weekly gathering for Tektitek Bible study, worship and prayer.
Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that leads people to deliverance from bondage to alcohol and other vices.
Pray for a healthy Tektitek church to emerge that will be solidly rooted in the Scriptures and experiencing the true transformation that the Holy Spirit brings.

Text Source:   Ed Beach