Update and Prayer Requests: March 2023
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
March brought another death and another disagreeable surprise. Our pastor passed away on March 21st; he was 83 years old and diabetic. He was the first protestant in the Quiatoni area and was persecuted in the early days when he was evangelizing in the area. He was the spiritual father and grandfather of most believers in the Quiatoni area. He has pastored our local church for more than 30 years; we were the first couple to be married by him in our church. ♥
Max, who had started the church after becoming a believer in Jesus, was named by Pastor Delfino as assistant pastor some years ago, and we all assumed he would become the pastor when Pastor Delfino wasn’t able to continue. So imagine our surprise when during the funeral, the national-level man from the denomination said that the denomination is giving us an interim pastor for three months while the church finds a new pastor! The denomination has many rules about how this will happen, who are the possible candidates, how the voting will happen, etc. Almost everyone in our church is resistant to the idea of an “outsider” (not someone from Quiatoni) being the pastor; almost everyone wants Max to be the pastor. (You might remember that all the church members are from Quiatoni or married into a Quiatoni family. One non-Quiatoni family recently joined the church.) We appreciate your prayers for this very difficult situation.
To add to the general upheaval at church, this Thursday and Friday (March 30 and 31), our church is hosting the state-wide pastors convention. We are expecting 150 pastors and whoever they bring (wives, assistant pastors?) so there is lots of cooking and organizing going on, as well as physical work getting the church and area ready for so many people. We appreciate your prayers for this to go well.
Nicasio has been going over the Gospel of Mark (which we started translating in the early 1990s!), especially going over notes left by others on the translation team. We are going through Mark at the beginning of each Zapotec church service; Nicasio or Fernando read a section and then give a short lesson on it.
We are finally finishing up studying the Book of Acts in the Zapotec service! We started studying it in April 2018, had one year off during covid, and are now seeing Paul in Rome. It’s been an amazing journey and we’ve all learned a lot. Nicasio has chosen Peter’s letters for us to study next, so he’s been going over and revising 1st Peter in preparation for that.
Beto has been busy with his regular jobs and now has another job: teaching English to 6th graders. This is for the community service that each university graduate is required to do in the area of his degree. We all are thankful that his service is here in Tlacolula and that he will be able to complete his hours fairly quickly since it’s three classes of 6th graders three times a week.
Beto has also been going over the “key terms” in our translation. Key terms are words that are important in Bible translation like glory, redemption, kingdom of God, salvation, and Gospel. These get refined over time and also when they occur in different settings in the New Testament. Beto considers how each one is translated and how it’s used in each place in the New Testament, and puts notes for Nicasio where he thinks it might be improved. He looks especially at words that have different meanings in different contexts. (Look up “glory” in a concordance and see how many different meanings it has!)
The end of February, I had my computer completely reset. It’s running much better now but it took about two weeks to get all my data up to date and in the places it should be. It was a very frustrating time but I learned a lot and am glad that it’s pretty much back to normal.
We haven’t heard anything more about Nicasio having to do town service. He’s considering going to talk to the town authorities and see if he can be given a town job that he can pay someone to do for him. This would allow him greater freedom and solidarity with the Quiatoni community in the future. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom and timing for this.
Nicasio’s mom is doing as well as can be expected; she’s missing Dad, of course. She continues to live with their daughter and her family in Quiatoni.
Mike writes, “We're doing well and excited about Royan continuing to expand his vocabulary. Tara wrapped up vision therapy and her eyes are doing great.”
Rusty writes, “I am happy to share that I recently had my 2 year post diagnosis cancer screenings, and so far everything looks good! I'll meet with my oncologist on April 10th to get the official all clear. Two years down, three to go! I continue to enjoy my job at the Lilly Center and spending time with friends and family.”
As always we appreciate your interest, support, and prayers for our ministry of Bible translation into Quiatoni Zapotec. Your prayers sustain us and encourage us. Thank you!
love, Valerie and Nicasio