Last week Vincent attended a meeting at the local school with 11 year old Maram. Due to the violent abuse Maram's mother endured when pregnant with Maram, the dear child was born with a brain injury and continues to struggle with ongoing medical and cognitive issues. Despite her beautiful spirit, her determination and hard work, she has reached a point where she can no longer keep up with her peers in a normal school, and so starting in September 2023, in 6th grade, she will go to a special school for kids with disabilities. The meeting was important, arranged by her teacher and the Principal of her Elementary School to introduce Maram to the Principal of the new special school and to talk about her transition. Maram's mom was of course unavailable to attend the meeting (and no-one knows if the father is even alive), and so at Maram's request, Vincent attended the meeting with her. At the meeting Vincent was shocked to discover that for several years, Maram has been telling her teachers at school absolutely EVERYTHING about me, Vincent, our personal lives, Parfums de Vie, our camps, everything - that she reads the Bible with us, that she prays to Jesus, how much she loves us, belonging to Parfums de Vie, coming to our home etc. So for the first half of the meeting the two principals and Maram's teacher were just so curious to talk to Vincent and questioned him intensely to learn more about who we are, what is Parfums de Vie and why we do this work!
We have worked with Maram every day since 2015 when she was 4 years old. She's a dear sweet child, who has managed to master reading, writing and math (currently at 3rd grade level) despite her learning difficulties. However, she has been aware for some time that she can't keep up with her peers academically or physically (her head injury means that she even has to be careful when playing) and this is very hard for her, because although she is a little 'slow' to master skills compared to her peers, she is also intelligent and capable and very much aware of what's going on around her, and she is frustrated by her inability to keep up. In fact if French schools were a little less rigid and more flexible in learning styles, Maram would be more than capable to continue in a 'normal' school setting, she just needs more time to learn.
I wanted to share this story because it really reminded me of the immense importance of the work of Parfums de Vie. While I know that Parfums de Vie is a safe haven, where every day we are bringing Christ's life, love, light, hope and healing to so many children, the reality is that it is also just a lot of hard work everyday - being present, being consistent, being patient, showing up, making sure there's food, that the bills get paid, that the government paperwork is correctly filed, that we remember to celebrate everyone's birthdays and that we show up to meetings at kids' schools because if we don't go, no-one else does. So sometimes in the daily struggle of the endless lists of everything that needs to be done, sometimes I forget that for all of the kids we work with, Parfums de Vie is literally their ENTIRE world, it's the most important thing in their lives and it's the reason why they keep showing up every day! God is truly at work!
Will you pray for Maram? Her mother is very abusive and neglectful (the two principals were shocked that she didn't even show up to the meeting) and the home environment is very difficult, but we remind Maram every day that God is present, even in all of these struggles, and that she can trust Him today and for her future.
When I write to tell you that your love, prayers and generosity is changing lives - this is what I am talking about. An abused, neglected child with a disability feels loved, cared for and important. She wasn't upset or surprised that her Mom didn't attend the meeting - she was proud, happy and confident that Vincent was there for her. Maram is important in God's eyes, and thanks to Parfums de Vie, she knows it.
with love & profound gratitude for your partnership with us,
Nicole & Vincent
How to Give?
***We continue to raise support for our General Ministry Fund which covers the operative costs of running our Education & Literacy Center, Kids Clubs, Youth Groups and Camps. We have camps planned for December 2022 and February 2023. We are also still raising support to cover Tuition and Living Expenses for our four College Students. If you would like to support the ministry through regular or one-time giving, all the information is below. 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 Côte d'Azur Project #70350 OR the DERIEUX family #40415*****
If you would SPECIFICALLY like to help our College Students - please designate the gift to Parfums de Vie with a note specifying "University Scholarship Fund"
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!
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PO Box 60543
City of Industry, CA 91716-0543 USA
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Update and Prayer Requests: November 2022
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
We told you in our last update about receiving samples of a small solar-powered audio device. (You can see them and read about them here: https://kulumi.org/) Besides the started package of 15 devices, the ministry has offered to send us more at no cost, other than the duty on them! We have been talking a lot about how to distribute them: give them away? charge a small amount? You might remember that we sell our books in Zapotec for what it costs us to print them; we see that the people buying them value them more because of buying them. (Think about when you are given something vs having to spend money on something. Which do you value more?)
There’s always the tension between wanting people to value the “package” their Zapotec comes in and wanting people to hear God’s Word in their own language without any cost. We appreciate your prayers and we figure out how to distribute these devices.
We are also working on the audio files that will go on the devices. Beto has been some of the New Testament books (John, Acts, Romans, Philippians, Galatians, and Hebrews), an explanation of the Tabernacle and the Temple and The Birth of Jesus. We also have three volumes of songs and hymns in Zapotec. I’ve sent these to the ministry to put on the devices before they send them to us. Beto is also coordinating recording the 16 Old Testament stories that Candy has taught in the Zapotec Sunday School. Beto will record some of them and he’s also asking Candy, her brother, and his wife to record some of them. Since they want to practice reading their stories before recording them, Beto says he will put these Old Testament stories on the devices when they arrive. These Old Testament stories will be very helpful to believers who speak Quiatoni Zapotec since they usually don’t know much about the Old Testament.
As a result of the translating Proverbs workshop Beto attended, he’s making a book called “Learning How We Can Be Good Parents and Good Children” with verses from Proverbs. We are so blessed by the way Beto and Candy find ways to share what they are learning and the Quiatoni Zapotec translation with others!
Nicasio was invited to sing a couple of songs in Zapotec at the inauguration of new murals at the Mitla center. Never one to do by himself what he can involve others in J, he invited our Zapotec music group to participate with him. Everyone really enjoyed it! (Picture below.)
We have had two sessions with the bilingual teachers in one of the schools in Quiatoni’s second largest town. It’s been neat to see how they are so interested in learning the Quiatoni Zapotec sounds and alphabet as well as writing in their own languages about themselves from prompts Nicasio gives them. Helping the teachers be proud of their indigenous heritages is a big step towards them helping their students in the same way. (Indigenous people here have suffered a lot of discrimination and prejudice.) We are thankful for opportunities to work with the bilingual teachers. Think how many will be able to read the Quiatoni Zapotec New Testament when it’s finished!
Rusty celebrated six months at his new job (The Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams https://lakes.grace.edu/) He says he’s settling in and making it his own!
Mike and Tara are thankful for another year of life for Royan, who had his second birthday this month, and are looking forward to watching him grow over the next year. They’d appreciate prayers as they continue to investigate his hearig loss and delayed speech; the therapist has been a great help.
Nicasio’s parents moved home to Quiatoni the end of September. His dad is not doing well; it’s probably prostate cancer but because of his age and physical weakneed, they can’t do much for him. We would appreciate prayers for his parents during this hard time and for Nicasio’s sister who is caring for them.
Thank you for your part in making these things—and many others!—possible so that the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec will have God’s Word in their own language. Your interest, prayers and support are so important to us. Thank you!
love, Valerie and Nicasio