Daniela Guerra

Document Type

Honors Thesis


The Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) operates in Colombia doing linguistic and anthropological work in order to translate the Bible into indigenous languages, and also to provide for the physical, spiritual and educational well-being of individuals living in the villages they serve. An ethnography of Bible translators and other personnel working for SIL in Colombia was conducted in order to better understand the culture of the organization from the 1960s until the present day. The lives of SIL workers were studied by conducting interviews online through Zoom and library research, including biographies and memoirs of the lay missionaries. Key themes of this study included the development of the SIL Lomalinda center, the challenges of translation work in indigenous villages, enduring faith, terrorism from anti-American Marxists, and mixed relations with the state. Overall, the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Colombia proved to be a unique group significantly impacting Colombia’s indigenous communities physically, educationally and spiritually.

Publication Date






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