Rick is the son of Canadian members of Wycliffe, who translated the Scriptures into the Awakateko language of Guatemala, in Central America. He was born in Mexico, and grew up in Guatemala. In 1976, when an earthquake devastated that country, Rick returned, helping out in reconstruction projects and then assisting in the construction of a translation centre. During that time, he felt God’s calling on his life to join Wycliffe as a translator.
After completing his linguistic training in 1981, he and Carol, a Wycliffe member from New Jersey, were married and returned to Guatemala to translate Scripture for the Poqomam people. The Poqomam were in a process of language shift, so after a number of years it was decided to close down that project with just the portions/books that had been translated so far.
Rick and Carol spent the next 10 years assisting national translators by promoting the Western Kaqchikel Scriptures. It was during this time that they saw the need for, and power of the Scriptures in audio and visual formats to facilitate access to the Scriptures, as well as help the Mayans integrate the Scriptures into their daily lives.
The Western Kaqchikel New Testament was dedicated in 1996. The McArthurs were then able to develop new vision to provide oversight for a ministry started by Wycliffe to empower Mayans in the production of non-print discipleship materials. In 2001, Viña Association became an independent ministry and the McArthurs moved to Guatemala City. Rick and Carol both serve on the board of Viña Association. Rick also serves on the board of Ethno Media Associates, a North American non-profit resourcing indigenous media organizations in Latin America.
Rick currently serves as media co-ordinator for the America’s Area of SIL, Wycliffe’s key partner organization. The ministry works to empower the indigenous church to build on the legacy of Bible translation, by producing Scripture-based materials in audio and video media for their own communities.
Carol’s responsibilities tie in more closely with Viña Association in Guatemala, helping give oversight to the bookkeeper and translating lessons for Deditos (a video series of Old Testament Bible stories for children produced by the Viña studio). The English translation will facilitate the dubbing of this series around the world where English is the trade language!
The McArthurs have four children; three are living in the lower mainland of B.C. and the youngest is attending John Brown University in Arkansas.