Update and Prayer Requests: August 2023
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
You may remember that Beto was the head of the Quiatoni Zapotec team who attended a three-week workshop on translating 1 Corinthians. The three new folks were surprised by how many “gringos” (foreigners in general) have left their homes to come to Mexico to translate God’s Word for people like themselves. Rebeca said, “I see these people like Paul, traveling all over to share God’s Word with people.” All three new ones commented on how they would spend an hour or more understanding one verse and then each would work on how they thought it should be translated. Then they would come together and share their ideas. Eloisa said, “Now I realize that God’s Word in Zapotec is important, that we understand it better in Zapotec than in Spanish.” Fernando said, “So many things we think we understand (in Spanish) and sometimes we want the Bible to say what we want it to say!” Nicasio is impressed with Fernando’s abilities and hopes that he will be able to work with Beto to continue revising 1 Corinthians, when Beto finishes teaching in the Native Authors Workshop and when Fernando can take time off his job.
August 5th was our last meeting with the Quiatoni pastors where they learned to read and write in Zapotec, sing Zapotec songs, and how to evangelize others in Zapotec. We are very glad for all the pastors and others who arrived. We are also very thankful for The Cahaya Foundation (www.thecahayafoundation.org) who gave us 200 small Kulumi audio devices, already filled with our Zapotec materials! The pastors and assistant pastors were delighted to get their own devices and then additional devices to share with church members who would be interested in listening to them. We haven’t heard much from the pastors yet but Josefina, who has been using “big books” in Zapotec to teach Sunday School, said that she would like 10 more to share in her church! Those in our church (in Tlacolula) have really been enjoying listening to them and that they are so portable. God and The Cahaya Foundation are blessing us with another 500 devices in a few months! Please pray for wisdom for Nicasio as he decides what is the best method to distribute them.
Last Friday (Aug. 25), was the first day of classes for the Master’s Degree program of translation and interpretation that Nicasio will be teaching at “his” university. Then on Saturday, he went to Quiatoni with Beto and the youth music group to give an introduction to apologetics to the youth in Quiatoni’s largest church. Beto was invited to preach at the evening service. We are thankful for all the ways God is providing to encourage people to use Zapotec in church and to provide them with the tools to do that.
We would appreciate your prayers for Nicasio as he participates in the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages event that will be held in Mitla on Sept. 19. He has been part of the organizing committee and will be one of the emcees for the event. He will also give a talk on how indigenous people’s identity has been damaged over the years since the Europeans arrived in the Americas. He has also invited Candy and Beto to give a talk about the “big books” they make and use with children. He is also arranging for a lady from Quiatoni to have a table where she will be embroidering a traditional Quiatoni blouse. People will have the opportunity to buy something and ask her questions. Our Zapotec music group will also be participating with some songs in Quiatoni Zapotec.
Then on Sept. 20, there is a similar event in Mexico City. Beto and Candy will be participating there, sharing about the effects and impact of having God’s Word in their own language. This is a major event, and something new for Candy and Beto, so we appreciate your prayers for them, too.
Please pray, too, for our relationship, especially Nicasio’s, with our local church. It has been a little rocky.
A week ago (Aug. 22), at Mike and Tara’s request, I flew up to help them with Royan (now 2.5 years old!) so they can finish up stuff to sell their house in preparation of moving to Oaxaca. Royan and I have been getting to know each other and I’m learning his language. (You might remember that his speech has been delayed. His speech is improving a lot and he uses a lot of methods to communicate.)
On September 9th, Rusty will celebrate another year of being cancer free and will celebrate his 29th birthday!
We appreciate your interest, prayers and support for our ministry of Bible translation. We are blessed to see God working in so many ways right now among those who speak Quiatoni Zapotec. Thank you for your part in making it possible!
love, Valerie and Nicasio