Update and Prayer Requests: March 2021
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Nicasio continues to work on revising the Book of Acts, keeping ahead of where he and Beto are teaching through it for the Zapotec church service. Last Thursday we studied Acts 19:1-7 and got into an interesting discussion about baptism and being rebaptized. One lady told us how she was going to church because she enjoyed listening to the sermons (in Spanish) and how people talked about God. She was encouraged to be baptized and she finally was but didn’t really know what baptism was for. Beto’s wife Candy said that she was raised in a Christian home and thought that she would go to heaven because her parents were believers. She said that it wasn’t until they began studying the Bible in Zapotec that she understood that each person needs Jesus as his Savior to be able to go to heaven. We love to hear our Zapotec church family share how much they are learning through studying God’s Word in the language they understand best! Thank you for praying for the Zapotec church service, for those who attend it and for Nicasio and Beto as they teach.
In January, Nicasio participated in a presentation of a story book in Quiatoni Zapotec since he had helped with editting the Zapotec. After the presentation, a man asked if he could interview Nicasio on the radio! Nicasio agreed and that interview happened the last day of February. I was glad to go along and also glad to not be interviewed. As we walked with the interviewer to the radio station, he asked me why it was important, almost asking what was the use, of preserving indigenous languages. I told him that each language has its own world view, its own knowledge, and what would people like my parents-in-law do if they couldn’t speak their own language? Then I asked him how he would feel if “they” said that Spanish wasn’t allowed any more, that only Russian could be used, only Russian would be taught in schools. He thought for a minute and then said, “It would be very difficult.” Nicasio said, “And that’s what’s happened to us indigenous people.”
We had taken a set of all the secular books we’ve produced in Zapotec, since they had met at the Quiatoni storybook presentation. He was fascinated by the books and especially by the non-fiction. He wanted to know how indigenous languages deal with technology that they don't have words for. Nicasio used "rocket" as an example, since we have a book about the first time man went to the moon. He explained that lots of things in Quiatoni Zapotec are "metal" and sometimes have a phrase with them to indicate what kind of metal (metal that one hunts with--gun, metal for the ears--earring, metal to write on--typewriter, etc.) and sometimes the context gives the needed information. So a rocket is "a metal that goes to the moon."
We were pleased with how the interview went and how interested the interviewer was about indigenous languages, especially Quiatoni Zapotec.
I’m happy that I’ve been able to concentrate more—thank you for praying for me in this!—on the dictionary assignments. I’m making progress, although it’s slow. (I thought I was a year behind but it’s only 10 months!) I’ve also been able to work on some corrections for our Peek at Quiatoni Zapotec Grammar book. I have hopes of seeing it published this year!
Now for family news:
Nicasio’s parents have adjusted well and are happy in their new home next door, which used to be Nicasio’s office. Mom and Dad are doing well, keeping busy with living more independently (making meals, keeping house, taking care of their chickens, cleaning up the yard that had become a wilderness, etc.). Their children and their families come to visit; even their daughter and son-in-law from Mexico City came for a weekend! Both Mom and Dad are getting stronger from the exercise that living independently entails. Nicasio is over to see them several times a day; we get groceries and whatever else they need from stores. They do like muffins so I keep them supplied with those. Thank you for your prayers for Mom and Dad.
Nicasio has turned out guest room back into his temporary office while he looks for a place to rent. He has found a possible office--actually a whole house! It's on the outskirts of a little town near us. Apparently the house has been broken into (when it was empty) so he said that if he decides to rent it, he'll ask the owner to beef up the security especially on one room where he'd have the important stuff. Thank you for continuing to pray for an office for him.
Tara and baby Royan (now four months old! and “talking” and laughing) are doing well at home together. They would appreciate prayers as Mike is looking for a new job this year. We are thankful that Tara is so thoughtful in often sending us pictures and videos of Royan! And we enjoy video calls with them, too.
We thank you for all your prayers for Rusty during this hard time. We are thankful that the doctors moved quickly, that the seminoma (testicular cancer) seems to have been contained and removed, that his recovery has been good, for Mike and Tara taking such good care of him. Rusty has two appointments for second opinions on March 29th and an appointment with an oncologist, referred by the surgeon, on April 1st. We appreciate your prayers for these appointments, for wisdom for the doctors and for the best treatment for Rusty. (Not necessarily the “easiest” treatment but the treatment that will be best for the best outcome.) Thank you for standing with us and Rusty—and our whole family!
Thank you for being part of our ministry of Bible translation and part of our lives! Your part is important and we thank God for you.
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Thank you so much for praying for our Winter Study Camp for our older teens. It was truly an amazing two weeks in the mountains with our fantastic group of teens. It actually moves me deeply to see how much these kids have really begun to embrace and live out the values and faith that we have sought to impart to them since they were young children, we are amazed and thankful!
17 year old Baptiste (pronounced "Ba-teest" in French!) came to Parfums de Vie through his friendship with Laith, they've spent the past three years together in the dorms at the CIV High School. Baptiste is a typical French kid: despite his "christian" name which is the French for "baptist" as in "John the Baptist", his parents are completely secular/atheist and until meeting Laith, Baptiste had literally never seen or held a Bible, much less heard anything about its teachings! The beauty in this story is that Baptiste, the French secular/atheist kid is finding faith in Jesus through his Muslim background friend Laith! Through their friendship and Laith's witness, Baptiste was open to learning more about the Bible with Parfums de Vie and he started coming home with Laith on the weekends to participate in Parfums de Vie.
At camp, we spent time in scripture everyday, reading and discussing the story of Joseph. Baptiste not only participated, but he engaged very seriously and expressed clearly his desire to know more and to go deeper. Baptiste had a lot of questions and told us that he wanted to continue reading scripture on his own after the camp, so we gave him a Bible of his own. We all wrote an encouraging note inside the Bible, but it's worth translating from French the words of 17 year old Laith: "This is the book that saved me! It brings me encouragement in hard times and I hope with all my heart that it will help you as much as it has helped me."
Will you pray with us for Baptiste? May he follow in Laith's footsteps...
While prayer and reading scripture have always been central to our activities and camps with the children and youth, it was interesting to note that our group of older teens are truly moving into a new season, towards adulting. When they were younger teens, for some years it would often feel like everyone was enduring the Bible Studies and serious conversations - especially in larger groups. Sometimes we would feel discouraged as so often there would be limited participation from the kids. Everyone was happy to play but would roll their eyes when it was time for the Bible Story. But now a few years older, these kids WANT to have serious adult conversations about life, faith, God, scripture, purpose and relationships and they're not afraid to express it! In fact, they are full of questions and it's very obvious that they are listening! It makes me very thankful that we persevered and it reminds me that the younger teens ARE listening even when they're rolling their eyes and it FEELS like they couldn't care less!
Parfums de Vie, and our camps in particular, are really meeting a significant need for these kids who are truly hungry for meaningful community and guidance as they seek to find purpose and direction for their lives. For most of our kids, neither home nor school is a safe place where their questions, struggles and fears can be broached. In fact home and school are a source of discouragement, pain and frustration. For many, home is a stressful (sometimes abusive) place where strict Islamic rules take precedence over relationships. On the other hand school is also unsafe: one of the recurring talking points was the prejudice and lack of expectation that they experience from several of their teachers at school. Laith, Simon and Mahdi have all been advised by their guidance counselors to apply for trade apprenticeships instead of University, despite the fact that many of their French classmates with lesser grades are being encouraged to pursue their College applications!
Despite the reality of our broken world where it would be easy for these kids to feel rejected by French society, it's truly exciting to see them wrestle through what it means to have a healthy sense of identity, learn to believe in themselves, break through the glass ceilings and pursue their dreams. It's also inspiring for the other kids who are just one or two years behind - to see that despite any prejudice or lack of expectation that society might have, these young men who are developing healthy values grounded in scripture are succeeding in school and are en route for University Education! Their academic commitment and their desire to grow in faith and healing provides such a healthy example for the other kids!
At our camp the Bible Study time is essential and formative, but it's the cooking and eating together, the experiencing of challenging and fun outdoor activities together, the late-night chats around the fire-pit that really help to create a unique, special and safe space for this deep, hopeful and healing conversation to happen, far away from the stresses of home and school, the distractions of technology and surrounded by the majestic beauty of nature. Camp is the perfect soil for discipleship.
I became a Christian in High School, and when I was at university I joined a student group where I was discipled by the couple who lead it, Marilyn & Karl (who remain dear friends to this day). They deliberately lived with their young family on campus because they wanted students to have safe space to drop by if they wanted or needed it, and I for one, took them up on that open invitation regularly. I loved showing up to their home, hanging out with their family, watching them parent their kids: they lived a life of faith that I hadn't known in my own home and I remember being so drawn into their loving home and being so full of questions about their lives of faith. They made a choice to live in this missional way: making their lives and their home available and accessible to others based on their belief that "more is caught than taught". In other words they knew that young people learn from Bible studies, but that they learn or "catch" more from experiencing real life and real faith in real community, and they had the courage to live that out with their young family on a noisy university campus when their peers were moving to the suburbs and making very different lifestyle choices.
When I see the hunger for purpose, relationship and community in our 17 and 18 year old students at Parfums de Vie - how they want to hang out with me and Vincent - help with cooking, gardening or whatever, ask questions, listen to what we have to say, and just be around, it reminds me so much of the relationship that I had with Marilyn and Karl when I was a student. I am so incredibly thankful for the choices that they made - to help me and others "catch" a life of purpose and faith.
Thinking back to my own discipleship journey which began in my teens fills me with so much hope for everything that God is accomplishing through Parfums de Vie and our efforts to provide opportunities for children and youth to "catch", experience and embody the Gospel. Our friends Marilyn and Karl had no idea how (or if) Vincent and I would take all that was taught and caught through their student group and run with it. What began at Glasgow University in 1993 eventually found its way to Grasse...and now beyond....Narjes is now at St Andrews' Uni in Scotland. Laith has been accepted to the best business school in The Netherlands. Mahdi hopes to be accepted to University in Italy. Simon and Baptiste hope to study in Nice. And there's many more following close behind! These remarkable teens are future leaders for the Kingdom, and NONE of this would even be possible without YOUR love and partnership with us! Thank you for making it possible for us to serve Christ and raise up the next generation of leaders through the ministry of Parfums de Vie.
with love & thankfulness,
Nicole & Vincent
How to Give?
***If you would like to support the ministry through regular or one-time giving, all the information is below. We continue to raise support towards our General Ministry Fund which covers the operative costs of running our Education & Literacy Center, Kids Clubs, Youth Groups and Camps. We also continue to raise support for our University Fund. Please don't hesitate to contact me for more information! Thank you so much!***
*****Please remember to specify if your gift is for: Parfums de Vie Cote d'Azur Project #70350 OR the DERIEUX family #40415'*****
Phone: 888-242-5930You can make donations over the phone if you prefer. Lynette in the office is amazing and super helpful. Stock donations are also possible, ask Lynette for more details
PO Box 438
Lewiston, ME 04243 - 0438
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Dear praying friends,
First of all, my apologies for not sending out my first prayer request for Rusty as a BCC.
Second of all, thank you all for praying for Rusty and for us. We so appreciate your lifting him up to the Great Physician. Please continue to pray for him as cancer was found but thankfully seems to have been contained. More details below.
And now, here is Rusty's update, written by him:
Thank you so much for praying as I went through surgery last week! Recovery has been quick and stress free. I spent the week after surgery with Mike, Tara, and Royan, who took excellent care of me.
As in all things, there is good and bad news. I received the pathology report of the tumor in the middle of last week. Unfortunately cancer was detected in the tumor, labeled seminoma. At this point it appears that the cancer was confined to the testicle. And while there is no indication that the cancer has spread, we will be keeping a close eye on one suspicious lymph node. According to my urologist, seminoma "is the good one to have." It spreads slowly and has a 95% to 99% cure rate, which is incredibly encouraging.
For those interested in the technical stuff, this is currently labeled as T1B.
Last week I also wrapped up my CT scans with a scan of my chest. Praise the Lord it came back clear! In addition, the urologist ordered one more round of blood work, called "tumor markers" yesterday after my post op. They also came back normal!
I'm thankful to have many more answers than I did two weeks ago. So where do I go from here? Based on the suspicious lymph node, I've requested a second opinion from IU Health in Indianapolis. Unknown to me, IU is the world center for testicular cancer. In fact, Lance Armstrong was treated for advanced testicular cancer at IU and lived to tell the tale! So the last week of March I'll spend seeing several oncologists and one more urologist to cover all my bases.
Then we'll be able to make a decision on whether to continue observation or move ahead with a specific treatment.
Thank you for your support during this difficult time. My community here in Warsaw and around the world (literally) has been incredible! Please continue to pray that tumor markers would be clear and that this one lymph node would behave itself!
Please pray for our older son Rusty as he will have surgery this coming week to remove a tumor. Please pray that it all goes well and that the tumor is not cancerous.
The day after Rusty got back from his trip to the Dominican Republic (Feb 19), he had an appointment with his family doctor. The doctor was concerned about a lump and sent him to a urologist. He had that appointment this morning (Feb 25), which led to a CT scan of his abdomen this afternoon. There were no signs of cancer other than the lump/tumor, for which we are thankful. The doctor scheduled surgery for Friday March 5 at 4pm to remove it and in a week will have results about what, if any, cancer there is.
Mike and Tara will take him to the hospital for the surgery, which will be out-patient, lasting about an hour. Then Rusty will stay with them for his recuperation. After seven days, Rusty will be able to return to his normal activities and he'll go in for his post-op check-up, where he'll find out the results of the testing on the tumor and what further treatment might be needed.
He and we appreciate your prayers for him, the doctors and staff that will be attending him, for his recuperation, and for the results of the testing on the tumor.
Thank you for standing with him and us in this. Words can't express our appreciation for you holding Rusty up to the Great Physician as we ask Him for healing.
love, Valerie for all of us