Update and Prayer Requests: May 2022
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
May started off with a bang! We asked for prayer last month for the Zapotec music group and their first event since the pandemic started. The short, untangled version of the long, tangled back-story: A lady from Quiatoni’s second largest town had asked Nicasio to sing Zapotec songs while she and her family prepared food for her son’s wedding (which would be the next day). She said that non-believing family members would be there and she wanted them to hear Christian songs in Zapotec. Nicasio got permission from our pastor (another long and involved story), the Zapotec music group got busy and spent a day and a half practicing—the first time together in two years! Nicasio was impressed by how quickly they got back into it and that they didn’t need as much practice as he’d anticipated.
When we got there and the group got all set up and were singing, a lady came to me and asked what we had available on CDs because her mother couldn’t read. She already had our song CDs and was happy to get the Gospel of Mark, Galatians and the Birth of Jesus on CDs. When she paid me for them, she didn’t want her change, saying, “You keep it. Y’all are doing a good work and an important work!” Five or six more people bought all three song CDs and none of them wanted their change! (One man’s change was one and a half times what he was buying!)
When the food preparations were winding down because it was almost time to go to the bride’s house for part of the traditional wedding, the lady who had invited the group asked Nicasio if we could go with them to the bride’s house and provide music there, too! Even though that meant packing up everything, driving to the next town (happily it was on our way home!) and setting everything up again, Nicasio agreed.
The songs and the parts that Nicasio read out of the Gospel of John in Zapotec were very well received at both places. Different ones of our group overheard things like, “He was reading out of the Bible in Zapotec and we could really understand it!” and “We really like the songs because they are in Zapotec!”
The lady who invited the group had asked Nicasio what they charge for an event; he told her there wouldn’t be any charge but if she’d like to give something to help with expenses, that would be accepted. She was very generous with her “something” and a few other people, including the groom, also gave Nicasio “somethings” to help. Nicasio was pleased to share it with everyone who had gone with us and helped make it a success.
Later in the month, we went to the closing program that Beto had for his reading and writing in Zapotec class in that same town. It was a very small program, the eight students and their families, but it was given a lot of prestige because the town mayor and his men arrived in response to Beto’s invitation. Later, the town hall’s big van came to take the students and their families across town to where Candy (Beto’s wife), her sister, Beto’s mom, and Rogelio’s family (he started the project to rescue Quiatoni Zapotec’s numbers) had prepared a meal.
The closing program went really well. Beto had focused his reading and writing program on riddles and tongue twisters. The students were from 3rd to 9th grades, one gal was just learning to speak Zapotec! Each one confidently took the microphone and read from his large “book” the tongue-twister and the two riddles that he had written. Each one waited for someone to guess the answer to the riddles—even though a couple of them had written the answer large enough for everyone to see!
The mayor gave a nice speech about how we know how to speak Zapotec but don’t know how to write it so it’s good that the children are learning to write in Zapotec. Beto had asked Nicasio to speak, too, and he emphasized how important it is for people to use their minority languages even though they can speak the national language, too.
This was a big project to Beto to undertake and even though the classes are done, he still needs to analyze his results and write it all up to present as part of his requirements to graduate with his bachelor’s degree. We are very proud of him and of how Candy and their daughters have supported him through his college years. (My dad often said, “I wonder how many more Nicasios there are out there in the Quiatoni mountains.” Beto is one of them, and I know my parents would have been just as proud of Beto as they were of Nicasio.)
Everything else that happened in May pales in comparison to these events! We did keep on with our regular stuff, jobs, and studies this month, though. I also attended a five day (online) seminar on verbs; the participants will be making presentations about some facet of verbs in the language they are studying on June 16th.
Please continue to pray that Nicasio’s US visa will be granted, and we’d be delighted if the required interview in Mexico City were waived.
And please pray for me as I travel to and around Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, from May 31 to June 19.
Thank you for your interest in our ministry of Bible translation. You are an encouragement to us and we hope that we encourage you with these glimpses of what’s happening in the Quiatoni area.
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Dear Pastor Mike,
Greetings to you from Alaska! I hope you are celebrating Mother's Day with family and friends!
I'm spending a week in beautiful Alaska with dear friends, Ginger and her husband. Ginger and I are co-workers on staff with e3. Today we conducted an evangelism and discipleship training course for a church in Wasilla. My friend Ginger's grandchildren attended, too! They were enthusiastic students; very attentive and seemed to really love all they learned about sharing with others what it means to have saving faith in Jesus. The youngest, only 12 years old, wants to be a missionary. She was my training buddy for the day. It was wonderful! Together we practiced with each other the things we learned that will help us to know how to share with others what the Bible teaches us about the gospel, the Good News. Jesus who was crucified, died an agonizing death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Three days later He rose again, just like He said He would, conquering sin and death! When we put our faith in Him we are given the free gift of eternal life; forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation with a Holy Creator, God. Now that's a relationship!
If your church would like to have this training please let me know!
Thank you for joining me. With your support and prayers we serve the Lord together!
Blessings and love,
I know we just sent out our newsletter and hope that you are interested in what we did in April. So here’s our:
Update and Prayer Requests: April 2022
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people
who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Last month we told you about the back-translators and why we need people to translate the Zapotec back into Spanish.* The back-translator writes the Spanish meaning under the Zapotec, not word for word but by thoughts or phrases. When the back-translator returns the book to us, Beto types the hand-written back-translation into the program that we use for the translation. Then the back-translation and the Zapotec translation can be easily sent over the internet to the colleague who will check the book. If the colleague is familar with Zapotec, seeing the Zapotec sometimes will answer questions—or bring up new ones!
Since Esmeralda finished and sent us the back-translation of the book of Acts, Beto typed it all into the translation program. So the next step is to sent it to a colleague to check it. Please pray that one of our colleagues who checks translations will have time to check Acts for us. Acts is a long book!
Beto and Nicasio have been working on revising and improving the scripts for dubbing the Deditos videos, (https://deditos.org/en/home) which are Old Testament children’s videos, although we are sure adults will enjoy them, too! Old Testament information is so important for understanding the New Testament. We hope to record the voices as soon as covid restrictions relax some more here.
When we were studying Acts 21:27-29, about the Jews accusing Paul of taking a Gentile into the Temple, Beto saw that “word pictures” of the Temple and its courts wasn’t enough, so he made a short video in Zapotec explaining the history of the Temple and its courts. We are thankful for Beto’s creativity and love of digital things!
Nicasio has applied for his US visa to be renewed. We’d appreciate your prayers that it will be granted and that he won’t have to go to Mexico City for the interview. (Apparently interviews are often waived for people of his age.)
Would you also pray for our internet during the (online) Zapotec church service? It often goes off during our prayer time and sometimes during the study time.
The Zapotec music group has been invited to play and sing at a wedding reception in Quiaton’s second largest town! Let the practicing begin! They haven’t played or practiced together since we stopped meeting together in March 2020. Nicasio has received permission from our pastor to accept this invitation (necessary since we are under discipline) so the group will be practicing this weekend and maybe evenings next week since the wedding is on May 8th. Thank you for praying for this, too.
I (Valerie) will be in (NW) Ohio and (NE) Indiana for two weeks, the beginning of May, with our kids. I hope to be able to do some visiting so if you’d like to be on the list of potential visits, let me know! (Nicasio and I are planning on attending a missions week in Sandusky, Ohio, the first week of October, so we hope to see people in that area then.)
We appreciate your interest in and your prayers for us and for our ministry of Bible translation for those who speak Quiatoni Zapotec.
love, Valerie and Nicasio
*In case you’ve forgotten or missed that, back-translations allow a colleague with more translation experience to check our translation so it will be the best it can be.
Correction: I will be in the US the beginning of JUNE!