Update and Prayer Requests: November 2021
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people
who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
We hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and had lots to thank God for!
Since Nicasio and I have basically been doing the same ole stuff this month, we thought we’d share some about Beto, who is Nicasio’s right hand man, and his wife Candi.
Beto translated the Psalms and continues to work on revising them. He’s beginning to use a translation resource that now has commentaries on the Psalms in Spanish. He’s also been recording Acts for people to be able to listen to it on their cell phones.
Beto is also starting to translate Exodus. (He’s already done Genesis.) He said, “I’ve started reading about the names of God. This is what seems hardest to me: if we should use ‘God’ or if we should use ‘Yahweh’ or ‘YHWH.’ In some places, I’ve used ‘Yahweh,’ but this will make it necessary to use it everywhere. This is hard to decide.”
When Beto and Candi came to visit last week, Candi told us how she’s been recording the Gospel of John in Zapotec and sending short bits via Whatsapp to two groups of family members. Two people from those groups want to join our Zapotec church service!
Candi also told us how grieving her mother’s death has been made even harder by some very unkind (and untrue) things her uncle has said to her and her siblings. Candi said that she’s grateful that we are studying whole books of the Bible because it helps her deal with these things. Her brother, who also attends Zapotec church, is having a harder time. Candi and Beto have been praying for and counseling him.
We are so thankful for Beto and Candi, for their love for Jesus, for how they initiate projects, for how they are sharing the Good News of Jesus, for their wisdom is counseling family and friends who come to them with problems. As you thank God with us for them, will you also pray for solutions to Candi’s medical problems?*
A few small things out of the ordinary for us: Nicasio and I spent some time this month on filling out year end and next year forms as well as updating our emergency information. We are also working on getting all the information together to make our wills. (All this reminds me of how my dad used to say, “Why does everything have to be so complicated?!”)
Nicasio’s sister and her husband came from Mexico City to spend a week with Mom and Dad. Nicasio gladly took his brother-in-law’s offer to help with fix-it jobs, so besides fixing some things for Mom and Dad, he and Nicasio spent a day fixing the roof on our storage shed. All the other kids came to visit while Alicia was here, too!
We are very thankful that what was suspected to be covid again turned out to be that Mom had bronchitis. We’re thankful that the medicine has been effective and she’s feeling much better.
In other family news, Grandbaby Royan had his first birthday on Thanksgiving Day! Rusty joined Tara and Mike for a family Thanksgiving dinner and we were treated to a nice, long video call with all of them. So fun to see Royan walking and so busy with his toys! It’s fun to interact with him via video calls but we would so like to hug him—and the big kids, too!
Thank you for your interest, prayers and support making God’s Word available in Quiatoni Zapotec. We appreciate you!
Looking forward to celebrating our Savior’s birth!
love, Valerie and Nicasio
*We had been planning on helping Candi with her medical problems just before the covid restrictions started. So it’s been on hold since then; now that things are improving, she’s moving ahead with seeing the doctor. We thank God that there was extra money given to pay for their daughter’s emergency appendectomy, which will be put towards Candi’s medical expenses.
Family & Friends,
We have just updated our website with a new newsletter entitled "Small Victories" which talks about what God has been doing and showing us these past two months here in Honduras. We hope that when you have the time you are able to watch it, and as always we thank you for your continued support, prayers and encouragement. God bless you all, and we pray that you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Ryan Kelly Ezra & Kezia Saurers
"Small Victories" Newsletter
For His Glory; In His Love,
Ryan & Kelly
Dear Pastor Mike,
Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm currently at an airport in the Middle East on a layover and waiting to board for a country in North Africa. I'm thinking of you and those who partner with me in this work as I pray and praise God for all the amazing things He is doing through us, in the hearts of men, women and children in this part of the world. Thank you for sending me! To simply say I am thankful to you for our friendship and our partnership in God's purposes really doesn't adequately express the measure of gratitude I have.
Where we are now has been a time for meetings to equip and encourage one another. We came here after 2 weeks of ministry in Central Asia. Truly I can't remember ever feeling this degree of wonder and anticipation. God is powerfully and compassionately in the process of healing the hearts of many people who have been traumatized in this broken world. Through the wonderful power of God's word, the stories in the Bible, God is touching the hearts of His beloved children who have been deeply hurt, so they can begin to heal and to trust that He can use these hard things for their good ..... for our good, and His purposes. And the healing multiplies to those around us who also need comfort and healing!
2 Corinthians 1:3- 5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
~ Julia Schatz
We have just returned from a truly magical and miraculous 9 days of camp with our younger Parfums de Vie kids! As you will see from the photos I've attached, their joy is so tangible - it's amazing and encouraging to see the seeds of faith that are taking root and flourishing in their hearts! Vincent and I are so thankful for your partnership with us: many lives are literally being impacted for eternity thanks to your love and generosity!
There were many encouraging highlights for me personally. In particular it was truly wonderful to see our young leaders Walé and Aya (11th Grade) and Mara (10th grade) serving throughout the camp. They did an outstanding job: helping plan activities and teaching content, leading games, Bible studies and discussions and providing such a wonderful example through their love and patience for each of the children. Seeing their growth, motivation, commitment and joy as they serve in a leadership role gives me so much hope and faith for all of the younger kids of Parfums de Vie, and helps me to trust that soon, they too will become leaders for the next generation!
At camp, my favorite thing is always the conversations and prayer times that happen spontaneously in the "in between" - the discussions or tears or fears or stories that naturally come up for one reason or another. These precious moments cannot be planned or programmed, they occur while walking, playing or making s'mores around the fire, or washing dishes or at mealtimes or bed-time, but these meaningful moments are the fruit of the year-round work of Parfums de Vie in these kids' lives: the trust that has been built, the understanding that has been gleaned, and camp just provides the perfect soil for these conversations and prayer times to take place, and for the resulting growth in their lives. I am so thankful that our camps help to facilitate these opportunities for transformation and it's truly a privilege to see Christ at work in such miraculous ways within the sacred space that camp can so uniquely create!
There are many meaningful stories about every child who was at camp. To mention just a handful: Ryan (9) who shared his fears and questions about his Mum (Fatiha's) breast cancer with our wonderful intern Luke! Momo (11) who cried and talked more than ever before about his traumatic past and asked for help and prayer. Zaineb (11) who prayed that the seed God has planted in her heart will grow to maturity! Abdel (15) who sat down and cried, literally at the foot of the cross on one of our hikes, because he's so concerned about his future and then poured out his heart to Vincent. Fatma (9) who despite her very strict Muslim family openly expresses her faith and easily prays out loud for her friends and Idir (12) who is questioning the Islamic values taught by his parents and sincerely engaging with scripture.
We are so thankful! Please continue to pray with us for all the children and youth of Parfums de Vie.
Each year our Mission Organization Communitas International holds a special Giving Day Event. This year's Giving Day is Tuesday November 16th (just one week away!) and Vincent and I would like to invite you to consider a special one-time donation on this day to help support the ministry of Parfums de Vie.
We have three very specific needs that we hope to raise support for on this year's Giving Day.
1. For our personal support.
As you can imagine, raising personal support for our family is an ongoing necessity, and not something that we focus on very much. However, our personal support account is flagging and so we are praying to raise $15,000 on Giving Day towards our personal support account.
2. For our general Parfums de Vie ministry fund
Our monthly committed giving doesn't cover the ongoing operational costs. We are therefore very dependent on year-end one-time gifts to help ensure the running our camps, homework club, youth group, kids club and all of the necessary equipment and resources to facilitate our various programs (teachers & staff, vehicles, ministry center maintenance and utilities etc.) We hope to raise $20,000 towards our general ministry fund on Giving Day, which would really help tremendously towards next year's budget.
3. For our College/University Fund
Parfums de Vie is now sponsoring four College students (Narjes - 2nd year of neuroscience at St Andrews University in Scotland - now the #1 Uni in the UK! Laith - 1st year International Business at Rotterdam, Mahdi - 1st year Chemical Engineering in Rome and Simon - 1st year Design in Nice). All four of our College students are doing very well in their studies, enjoying getting settled in their new cities and also committed in student Bible study groups. Narjes found a job the first week of term, but the boys are all still finding their feet and have not yet managed to start part time jobs. They are all in regular contact with us - in fact pray for me as this actually adds several hours per week of extra time on the phone with each of them! The four of them regularly need to talk to either me or Vincent regarding the various issues they are facing as they navigate their new lives! We hope to raise $20,000 towards our University Fund on Giving Day.
Any gift of any amount on Giving Day will be such a huge help and blessing for our ministry! If you would like to pledge to give on Giving Day, you can do that TODAY by responding to this email! I will send an update and reminder before Giving Day with our pledge total.....and let you know where we're at towards reaching our goal! Thank you so much for your prayers, friendship and support!
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! All the giving info and links are below!
with love and thankfulness,
Nicole & Vincent
Update and Prayer Requests: October 2021
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people
who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Nicasio recently visited our pastor to take him our tithes. He said that Pastor is off oxygen but very, very thin. We’ve heard that he is preaching again. Thank you for your prayers for him. Please pray for us as we continue to monitor how covid-related things are going here for when we should return to in-person church services.
Beto’s mother-in-law passed away shortly after we sent out our September update. They are thankful that she is no longer in pain and that she knew Jesus as her Savior.
Nicasio has been revising the book of Acts to stay ahead of what we are studying in (online) Zapotec church—although right now that’s not much of a problem because we are at the beginning of chapter 21. In verse 5, it tells how the believers and Paul knelt on the beach and prayed. Nicasio decided to talk about how we should pray, both our physical posture and what we should pray about. One verse he referenced was Matt 6:7, to not be repeating the same thing. He said, and others agreed, that it’s easy to do a lot of repetition when praying in Spanish because it’s easy to do when you don’t really know what you are saying, but it Zapotec, it’s hard to repeat and repeat because you do know what you are saying! (Remember that most church services, even in the Quiatoni area, prayers, sermons, and songs are almost always in Spanish.) Now we are studying the Lord’s prayer before going back to Acts 21.
Nicasio is also revising Acts to give the last chapters (22-28) to Esmeralda who has been back-translating Acts for us. Due to covid restrictions, it’s been more of a challenge to get the next chapters to her and then get them back from her after she’s translated them back in Spanish. You may remember that we have back-translations done so that a colleague can “read” our Zapotec and check the translation to make sure that it’s correct and complete. Please pray that God will work in Esmeralda’s heart as she reads and thinks about the book of Acts so she will come to know Jesus as her Savior.
Nicasio was invited to accompany UABAJO’s (“his” university) rector and a few others to a Zapotec speaking town about 45 minutes away. The rector was presenting a book in Zapotec published by UNAM, the largest public university in Mexico. Nicasio was asked to go as an expert in indigenous languages. He was happy to be able to meet the rector, who is originally from Mitla, and spend some time talking with him about possible liaisons between the UABAJO and Quiatoni, specifically for publishing similar book on medicinal plants in the Quiatoni area.
Nicasio has gotten lots of positive feedback from the students in his Indigenous Languages class for the university’s Master’s program of translation and interpretation. They have found the practical exercises of writing in their own languages just as challenging as the reading that he has assigned them.
Please continue to pray for Nicasio as he works on his PhD thesis. He can’t get the files from his hard-drive and needs to talk to his advisor about how to manage without that data. Thank you for your prayers for encouragement for him, too.
A little update on the small Quiatoni Zapotec grammar book I wrote: I’ve been working on translating it into English and adjusting it for an English-speaking audience. In the process, I’ve found some mistakes in the Spanish edition; so I’m fixing those, too. Why do I find mistakes after I’ve printed the book?! (I guess it’s better to find them after rather than never!)
I’m still working on typing in all the illustrative sentences in the notebook that I found. There are 694 words listed in the notebook and each word usually has three sentences to go with it. (I’m currently on word 330, so I’m almost halfway through the notebook!) Not only do these sentences provide illustrative sentences for the dictionary but I’m discovering new words and correcting definitions and/or adding definitions to words already in the dictionary. I enjoy working on this; sometimes it feels like I fall down a hole chasing “rabbits” (words and meaning) and have a hard time finding my way back to the starting spot! I’m so thankful for this wealth of material.
Now that our state is in “green” of the covid restrictions, I’m getting back to working in the Children’s Library and the Homeschool Resource Room in Mitla. I’m thankful for my friend Marge who has helped and been a wonderful companion during the attack on the mountain of donations!
Thank you for standing with us as we push towards the goal of giving God’s Word to those who speak Quiatoni Zapotec—and help others towards similar goals. Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement!
Praying God’s blessings on you.
love, Valerie and Nicasio