It's late here in Colombia and breakfast will be at 6:40 tomorrow
morning so we can go on an outing! (A little more about that in our
November update, which is attached.) But I want to send this to you now
since I probably won't have much time in the next few days to send it.
There were some problems in getting us connected to the Zapotec service
(at home) via zoom and are very thankful that it got worked out. We
enjoyed attending the service via zoom and are so impressed by
Fernando's teaching. The assistant pastor did a good job reading the
section of Mark in Zapotec and teaching a bit on it. (You can read more
about that, too, in the attached update.) We are certainly blessed by
the people God has moved to work with us!
Thank you for your part in all this! We hope you enjoy reading the
update--although Nicasio said it's more like a newsletter! (Lots of
pictures this time, too! That's why I'm attaching it as a PDF.)
Praying God's blessings on you!
Valerie and Nicasio
We realize that it hasn't been *that* long since we last sent out a
newsletter but we want to share what's been happening through Quiatoni
Zapotec and a bit of our family updates. So our November 2023 Quiatoni
Crier is attached.
We hope this newsletter is a blessing to you; you are a blessing to us
through your interest and prayers. Thank you!
Valerie and Nicasio
Dear Father Mike,
I pray you will receive the gift of faith and the blessing of hope this Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is such a beautiful day with a wonderful purpose! We are thankful for so many reasons. Family, friends, purpose, provision and the presence of God in our lives is only the beginning.
Before you are consumed by the activities of the day this Thanksgiving I hope you are able to make time to spend a quiet moment with the Lord and express to Him your heartfelt gratitude. A heart overflowing with THANKSGIVING!
PEACE! It is impossible to look at the world around us which is full of conflict, hatred and revenge... war and death, and not be thankful for the PEACE we have in our life here in our little corner of the world and in our hearts. Because of Jesus and faith in Him we are given a beautiful and most important eternal gift, received by faith!
Peace with God, Forever!
Your friend, with deep gratitude!
Dear Pastor Mike,
GREETINGS AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
As we witness the turmoil in the world around us I think we are all eager to set aside a time to give God thanks and praise for the wonderful peace we have in our hearts because of Jesus, the Prince of Peace! I pray you can deeply ponder this powerful truth with family and friends as we pray for those who a reeling and mourning the loss of loved ones in the Middle East and beyond. May God draw them near and give them comfort.
As promised, here is the news about the ministry in the Republic of Georgia and Azerbaijan.... continued from my previous newsletter.
(Please let me know if you didn't get a chance to read the newsletter I sent prior to this one, with news from the ministry we did in Israel. I will gladly resend it to you. Julia.Schatz@e3partners.org.)
Thank you for sending me!
Republic of GEORGIA: When we landed in Georgia my co-leader and I were a bit exhausted and just a little shaky. We had spent more than 40 hours at the airport in Israel because of cancelled flights. The awesome team with us the previous week in Israel were able to depart on time, safe and sound, THANK GOD! This all happened very close to the exact time the attack on Israel happened. Steffoni and I did not leave on time! About 40 hours later we were on our way, and miraculously to the place we had planned to go to begin with! The Republic of Georgia! Our small but amazingly compassionate medical team, including a doctor from Georgia, was already there and had completed the first day of clinic. Everything went as scheduled for our time in Georgia. God raised up an awesome team and we were blessed to serve with brothers and sisters in Georgia. It was also a great vision casting trip - a time to plan for future partnership and ministry in Georgia.
We are invited back next fall!
The Republic of Georgia has close to 4 million people. It's a small country in many respects, but it has 39 people groups, 16 of them are unreached. 80% of the people are culturally Christian, they do not have the peace that comes from the Prince of Peace. Less than 2% of the population are born again believers.
This country first came to faith in Christ in the 3rd century. God sent a single woman named Nino to Georgia to share the Gospel and heal the sick. After God healed the Queen of Georgia and miraculously saved the King from death, they both came to faith in Christ. Georgia borders the Black Sea and is located north of Turkey. Georgia and Armenia are 2 Christian countries surrounded by Muslim countries and Muslim territories of Russia.
AZERBAIJAN: When we departed Georgia, Steffoni and I went on to the country of Azerbaijan to train and equip in Trauma Healing. Thank God for the 12 believers we served in this beautiful country. We spent every day for 7 days in a row with them! Wow, it was a powerful time! We went through all 7 sessions in New Hope Trauma Healing and we also had a chance to share the gospel with another group of young people - some who did not know the Lord. Please pray for them. They are being followed up by our brothers and sisters in Azerbaijan.
This group expressed great gratitude for all they learned and plan to begin to lead groups in Trauma Healing. That's what we long to see! That's what our Lord desires! Multiplication! We are excited to continue with them by zoom and to help them start their own Trauma Healing groups in Baku! Believers who receive healing from past trauma in their lives become bold and confident Ambassadors for the King of Kings!
Equip the Saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ! Ephesians 4:12
Please click here if you would like to give.
There is actually good news coming out of Israel and Gaza.
Please click here if you would like to give.
Hopefully you will get a kick out of this photo. While enjoying our tour day, someone we partner with while doing the ministry in the Republic of Georgia asked me to try on this hat! They is famously worn in this part of the world! Hey, I like it! I think it will work well in Ohio too!
Update and Prayer Requests: October 2023
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people
who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Thank you for praying for the second part of the course on 1 Corinthians that Beto, Fernando and Rebeca attended. I was sad that I wasn’t here to attend the closing program for it but Nicasio asked them to write up for me what they shared during the program. Beto and Fernando were both impressed by learning the background of Paul’s teachings about Communion.
Rebeca was most affected by learning about spiritual gifts. She wrote, “Through an activity we did, I realized that I had spiritual gifts or that what I do is because of my spiritual gifts. I used to be envious of people that could pray, that could heal people, who could easily speak to large crowds and I wondered why I couldn’t do any of those things nor did I know how to be able to do them. But now, through studying 1 Corinthians and learning that God gives different gifts to each person so that we can help our brothers and sisters in Christ.” Rebeca realized that her gifts are hospitality, which we have often experienced!, and evangelism, which we are seeing as she distributes materials in Zapotec. She ended her report by saying, “Thank you so much for the opportunity to learn more and understand better what God tells us through His Word.” And we thank YOU for making it possible for them to attend the course!
Nicasio has been busy this month with all his regular things: teaching through 1 Peter in the Zapotec church service, checking 1 Peter and the Gospel of Mark (which is what we’re reading through at the beginning of the Zapotec service), leading the youth group, teaching a course in Indigenous Language in the university, and preparing for upcoming events:
Nicasio, Beto and Candy will be leading a workshop on Indigenous Leadership during the conference we are attending in Colombia, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. Nicasio will be speaking about the challenges that indigenous people face, such as shame and fear, and how Jesus calls them and prepares them for what He wants them to do. Beto and Candy will speak on the practicalities of leadership.
Part of the preparation to go to Colombia involved getting Beto’s and Candy’s passports, which involved getting Beto’s birth certificate corrected. Then Nicasio took them to Puebla to actually get their passports, which they had in hand in less than two hours!
While Nicasio was waiting for them, a colleague called him and asked if he would do one of the plenary sessions at the conference! (Someone had to cancel his participation in the plenary session.) He has accepted that challenge and asks that you pray a lot for him as he prepares for it.
Nov. 2 is the yearly Quiatoni youth conference that Nicasio started some years ago. This year he won’t be involved in any leadership roles but our church’s youth group will be doing some of the music for the day-long event. Just a couple of days ago, the organizers asked Beto and Candy if they will teach the younger children who will be there. They were delighted to say “yes!” Rebeca asked if she could take some USB drives with our Zapotec materials on them and some copies of our Zapotec hymnal in case anyone is interested in buying them. We were delighted to say “yes!” to that request. Rebeca loves to distribute the Zapotec materials and is such a blessing to us in that area.
This weekend (Oct. 28 and 29), Nicasio will be distributing more Kulumi audio devices (https://kulumi.org/kulumi-x/) that the Cahaya Foundation has given us (https://www.thecahayafoundation.org/). These have all our Bible materials in Zapotec on them. On Saturday, after church, he will be giving one to each family in our church here in Tlacolula. (You may remember that most of those who attend our church are from the Quiatoni area.) Sunday evening we will be visiting another church here in Tlacolula where several Quiatoni families attend and giving each family a Kulumi. (About five years ago, Nicasio led a Bible study in Zapotec in this church, which included learning to read and write in Zapotec.) We appreciate your prayers that the Kulumis will have a big impact on people understanding the Word of God as they hear it in their own language.
Shortly after I sent out our September report, Mike and Tara got the disappointing news that it would be another 4 to 8 weeks for the closing on their house sale. We all agreed that it would be better for me to fly home instead of waiting that length of time to drive down with them, so I flew home on October 13th, after spending five days with Rusty. Even though Rusty was working (I went shopping while he was at work), we decided that after work was vacation and enjoyed going out to eat (fast food places that are not in Mexico) and doing things together. I enjoyed watching him play pickleball; I’ve heard about pickleball but this was the first time to see it! He enjoyed playing in the tournament and even though they came in towards the bottom, it was a good experience and he’s ready to do it again!
Mike and Tara are still waiting for the exact date for the closing on their house but understand that it should happen by the end of October. We appreciate your prayers for them as they deal with the uncertainty as well take care of the final details of moving out and driving to Oaxaca. (I won’t be able to go up to drive back with them because of the Colombia trip.) They are so ready to be done with selling the house and are so ready to be living here!
I have been humbled and honored by how many people (colleagues and Quiatoni people) have said that they missed me and are glad I’m back! I’ve been busy processing LOTS of donations into the children’s library.
We are pleased to have Nicasio’s mom with us for a week. It was a little hard at first for her since she hadn’t been back since Dad passed away in February, but she seems to have adjusted. She loves to listen to her “radio” (Kulumi), especially the songs!
Your interest, prayers, and support for our ministry of Bible translation into Quiatoni Zapotec means so much to us and keeps us going! We love to share with you how God is working through His Word. Thank you for making it possible!
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Dear Pastor Mike,
Thank you so much for your prayers. They were greatly needed and deeply appreciated. Of course I thank God for hearing your prayers. He is able! I have very recently returned from 28 days of ministry in the MECANA Region of the world. God gave us many wonderful opportunities to let our light shine for His glory in dark places. We were in a three countries. You probably never thought you would hear me say that I'm at a loss for words, given that some have been reading my updates and newsletters for almost 25 years!
So why in the world am I at a loss for words? You may know that one of the countries where we served is Israel. We took a medical team to a poor village where men, women and children have limited access to medical care and they are in the bondage of spiritual darkness. The clinic went well. A community leader said that our team "brought joy to his people!" It was our prayer that God would reveal the joy of knowing Him through faith in Jesus, to those we ministered to with God's love and compassion. On the morning, and the very hour, my co-leader and I were preparing to depart the country with the team, is when the horrific attack happened. Our driver and friend arrived to take us to the airport, with these words: "We are under attack! You must hurry!" Shortly we learned just how dire the situation was in our beloved Israel AND as the conflict continues... well, I'm at a loss for words. And, probably like you, I'm NOT at a loss of grief and heartache and desperate cries to our Lord.
This is an excerpt from a newsletter from the president of Chosen People Ministries, Mitch Glazer. I really appreciate his words of advice how to pray.
"These terrible events today will be a game changer for Israel, and as Scripture tells us, we need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). We know the Lord gave the land to the Jewish people, and that he will protect them, but that’s not to say that along the way there will not be considerable pain. Finally, pray for the citizens of Gaza, many of whom are oppressed by Hamas, especially the believers. Pray that their leaders will come to their senses and release those who have been kidnapped, that they would stop sending missiles into the various territories, and that efforts will be made on all sides to make peace.........."
Please pray God will cause the seeds that were planted in our time of ministry to bear fruit for His glory! And for the Jews in Israel as we pray for them, "They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61. God, they need your healing.
Good News!There is actually good news coming out of Israel and Gaza.
Update and Prayer Requests: September 2023
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez Translating God's Word with and for the people
who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Some major events have happened since we gave you our update in August! Thank you for praying! (I am still in Ohio with Mike, Tara and Royan. More details at the end of this update.)
The biggest church in the Quiatoni area had arranged with Nicasio to teach the youth group about apologetics. Because of the time constraints, it was more of an introduction to apologetics but something is better than nothing, right? Everyone enjoyed the class. As is often the case in the Quiatoni churches, other people attend the meetings even if they aren’t in the group that the event is for. The pastor’s father sat in on the apologetics classes and was paying a lot of attention. Nicasio felt that he really learned a lot and when Nicasio chatted with him, he said that it would be good to have classes on marriage, just like the classes on apologetics. It’s so good to see people wanting to learn more about what the Bible teaches!
Two days before the big UN event for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, Nicasio heard that a pastor-friend in Quiatoni’s second largest town had passed away. He and the Zapotec music group went to the wake that night. They played and sang for about an hour and then when they were having some supper, the cooks said that they hadn’t heard the songs and so they sang some more! The family would have liked them to stay longer but since the UN event was the next day, they had to leave. We have gotten to know one of the pastor’s sons through the courses for bilingual teachers. He asked if the songs were recorded so Nicasio gave him a USB drive that has all our Zapotec materials.
The UN event for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages went very well! Nicasio had a bad cold but managed to do his part as emcee, give his five-minute presentation and then two small group sessions giving more information about his theme of how indigenous people’s identity has been damaged over the years since the Europeans arrived in the Americas. Beto and Candy did small group presentations on the course for speakers of indigenous languages to write stories. Our Zapotec music group played and sang off and on during the whole event. The event coordinator said, “The group added so much fun and love with their songs to the event. We are very glad that they participated!” People enjoyed talking with the Quiatoni lady who attended to show and talked about the traditional Quiatoni embroidery. She had a blouse that was made of fabric woven on a backstrap loom; someone wanted to buy it but since it was very old, she wasn’t willing to sell it but did sell several other blouses.
That night Beto and Candy took the bus to Mexico City to participate in another event for church leaders for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. They spoke about how having the New Testament in Quiatoni Zapotec has affected them and others. They gave their testimonies about how they were raised in Christian homes but didn’t really understand the Gospel until they started attending the Zapotec church service. They enjoyed meeting the SIL Executive Director in person. One of the organizers of that event told me, “It was AMAZING to have them there! You could see how they had prepared. It was personal and also educational. It was very good!” She told me, too, “We also found a note in their room that made me cry. It said, ‘God is good all the time; all the time, God is good’ and 60 pesos! I’m still trying to figure out how to express how thankful we are.”
Looking ahead, we’d appreciate your prayers for the second part of the 1 Corinthians course. Beto, Fernando and Rebeca will be attending it from Oct. 2 to the 13th. Please pray for them as they commute each day (20 minutes) as well as for them during this intense course.
Nicasio, Beto and Candy will be giving some small group presentations at an event the end of November in Colombia! They have started the process to get Candy’s and Beto’s passports. (I will also be going as a learner.) I hate to buy plane tickets but that’s my role for this trip. J We appreciate your prayers for all that’s involved for this event.
Meanwhile, I’m here with Mike, Tara and Royan. There have been some bumps in the road of getting their house sold but now things seem to be working out. An investment company is buying the house; we are waiting for paperwork to be finished and a closing date to be set. Then they will buy and pack a trailer and then we’ll be on the road to Oaxaca! Please pray for all that needs to be done yet and for safe travels for us.
I’ll be spending a few days with Rusty after we are out of Mike and Tara’s house! He’s excited about being in a pickleball tournament on October 7th!
We are truly thankful for your interest and prayers for our ministry of Bible translation, for those who work with us to share the Gospel in Quiatoni Zapotec, and for us and our family. You are a blessing to us!
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Photo: Beto, Keila (Candy and Beto’s younger daughter), Dr. Michel Kenmogne (SIL Executive Director), Candy
Soon, I'm boarding a flight for the Middle East! We are mobilizing an amazing medical, eye glass, children's ministry and Trauma Healing team... taking God's love, light and compassionate healing to hurting people living in spiritual darkness. They need Jesus, the light of the world and the Prince of Peace in a choatic world. After we will move to the second mission point, also on the other side of the world. The Republic of Georgia where will also hold a medical clinic. Then after about 10 days we will move on to Azerbaijan where we will help followers of Christ by training them in the ministry of Trauma Healing.
The preparation for this 28 days of ministry has been all consuming but also, very exciting! God is opening doors and we are entering in and praying He is preparing the hearts of all we cross paths with to receive His love!
Thank you for sending me! When I get on my flights to Go and make disciples in obedience to God's Great Commission, you are always on mind. I pray for those who support, pray and partner with me in the Great Commission!
Fondly yours, Julia
Family & Friends,
We have just finished our latest update - Where you can see a little insight into the craziness of why we don't always get a monthly newsletter out! The kids share some special things and we give a little more detail and a reflection on what we've been experiencing in ministry. We hope you can take a moment to enjoy.
Thank you for your faithful support and we hope to be able to see some of you soon as we will be visiting North Carolina and Ohio in the next months to share all God is doing here in Honduras. God bless!
Click Here to View the Newsletter "Pressing On"
For His Glory; In His Love,
Ryan & Kelly
"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all people" - Psalm 96:3
We're attaching [click file below] our September Quiatoni Crier. We hope you are encouraged
by the way that God is providing for people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
to hear His Word in their own language--and for the interest that they
are showing to listen to it!
Thank you for your interest, prayers, and encouragement for our ministry
of translating God's Word into Quiatoni Zapotec.
love, Valerie and Nicasio