Update and Prayer Requests: December 2022
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez - Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Tara and Mike have graciously let us use their Christmas card (photo by Tara) to wish you a (belated) Merry Christmas! We hope you had a special time celebrating with loved ones. We had a delightful time opening gifts with Mike, Tara and Royan via a video call, with Rusty right here with us! Tara and Mike were hunkering down through the winter storm that hit just about the time Rusty was to fly here. He managed to get a flight for the day before his scheduled flight and got here 32 hours later. We are thankful for friends who helped him get here!
I went with some colleagues to Juchitán, Maria’s* hometown for two events: to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the Isthmus Zapotec New Testament being completed and for a memorial service for one of the women who had worked on the translation. (She had passed away in 2021 and wanted her ashes buried in Juchitán.) The services were very nice—it was a bit strange to realize that when I first went to Mexico, it had only been six years since the Isthmus Zapotec New Testament was finished!
But the best part for me was after the services when I saw many of María’s family. I had to ask many times who was greeting me since I hadn’t seen most of them for more than 30 years. I was a little startled to see women holding their grandchildren who had been teens the last time I saw them! I had a delightful time talking with them, especially those who I had known best. They all made me feel so loved!
In January 2023, the Zapotec church service will have its 15th anniversary! This is even more amazing since our church is only 32 years old. At the end of the year, Nicasio asks everyone who attends the Zapotec service to share blessings God has given them over the past year. Some things mentioned: Nicasio told about the two presentations he was asked to make this year (UNESCO and the conference we went to in Mexico City) and for the two years that we had his parents with us. Beto told about finishing college and how thankful he is for Candy’s and their daughters’ support during his five years of college. Candy mentioned about God giving her strength during her mom’s illness and death and for all she learned at the conference in Mexico City. Two people thanked Nicasio for continuing to teach the youth group. Various people mentioned how good it’s been to study Acts, to see how Paul always preached about Jesus, how the Spirit led him to where he should preach, and how God’s Word changes us.
The lady who attends the Zapotec service via zoom because she lives in Mexico City is here visiting her children. She said, “I’m learning so much through the Zapotec service and I’m thankful for being able to attend through zoom.” We were pleased by how almost everyone mentioned that they appreciate the translation in Zapotec so they can really understand and learn from God’s Word. It's humbling to be used by God to give them what they now know they need.
Nicasio and Beto have been invited by one of the pastors in Quiatoni to have a Zapotec church service in his church. (You might remember that even though most people speak Zapotec as their first language, church services are usually done in Spanish since it’s considered “better.”) Nicasio, Beto and the pastor are still working out what this will look like but Nicasio wants the pastor or someone else to be learning how to lead the service and to do an interactive Bible study. That the church won’t be dependent on Nicasio and Beto and the Zapotec service can continue without them. Please pray as they figure out the details for the service.
This same pastor invited Nicasio to take our Zapotec music group to his church’s New Year’s Eve service to do some special music! The music group has grown and there are a few family members that want to go along so 16 in all will be going. We’ll take our truck and our car and Beto will take his car. We’d appreciate your prayers for safety on the road and for us to be a blessing to the people there.
Thank you for your part in giving the people God’s Word in their own language! YOU are a blessing to us and to those who speak Quiatoni Zapotec.
love, Valerie and Nicasio
* María was an Isthmus Zapotec woman; she and I started learning Quiatoni Zapotec together.