Profile of the Tenek-speaking People
- Northern Mexico
- The Tenek make up 12 villages
- 121,000 (Ethnologue)
- Peasant agriculturalists
- Mayan, Huastec
- Catholic – 60%
- Protestant – 20%
- Independent – 20%
- Evangelical - < 1%
- < 1%
Our Tenek translator's life story has been written up in a book targeted to middle schoolers - You can click here to go to the Amazon page.
In the time of Daniel the prophet, the ancestors of the Tenek people of central Mexico were founding the mighty Mayan empire. Their cities, dotted with great pyramids, are still being uncovered today. Throughout their nearly three millennia of history, only a handful of this great race has ever responded to the love of God. Missionary Fernando Angeles, a Tenek national, is attempting to change this with his own people.
The Tenek are one of the last living descendants of the Mayans, and they have never had the Bible translated into their language. Fernando grew up in a Tenek village in the state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico. After he learned Spanish in school, he came across a Spanish Bible and read it. Fernando read about God’s love and forgiveness. He believed in Christ’s gift of salvation and shared the truth with other Tenek people, but his people could not read the Bible in their own language. Fernando wanted his people to hear God speak in Tenek too.
Missionary work among the tribal languages in Mexico is difficult. One problem most missionaries have is a lack of ability in the language. Roman Catholicism also has a strong hold in the area, some nationals fear repercussion of the priests if they make any changes. It is estimated that there are less than 10 fundamental, evangelical churches in the Tenek language group. The churches are using the Spanish Bible but understanding is at a minimum. As a result, the growth of the churches is slow at present but Fernando believes the churches will grow with the use of a Bible in the Tenek language.
Parts of the Bible that have already been translated are being used for Bible studies. The following story shows the power of having the Bible in one’s own language. Rosa, a teenage girl who could read a little in Spanish, loved seeing God’s Word in her own Tenek language and memorized all she read. With each new verse she said, “Oh! So, that’s what it means!” As Fernando watched Rosa bending over the verses, he thought, God is speaking in Tenek!