Update and Prayer Requests: May 2022
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
May started off with a bang! We asked for prayer last month for the Zapotec music group and their first event since the pandemic started. The short, untangled version of the long, tangled back-story: A lady from Quiatoni’s second largest town had asked Nicasio to sing Zapotec songs while she and her family prepared food for her son’s wedding (which would be the next day). She said that non-believing family members would be there and she wanted them to hear Christian songs in Zapotec. Nicasio got permission from our pastor (another long and involved story), the Zapotec music group got busy and spent a day and a half practicing—the first time together in two years! Nicasio was impressed by how quickly they got back into it and that they didn’t need as much practice as he’d anticipated.
When we got there and the group got all set up and were singing, a lady came to me and asked what we had available on CDs because her mother couldn’t read. She already had our song CDs and was happy to get the Gospel of Mark, Galatians and the Birth of Jesus on CDs. When she paid me for them, she didn’t want her change, saying, “You keep it. Y’all are doing a good work and an important work!” Five or six more people bought all three song CDs and none of them wanted their change! (One man’s change was one and a half times what he was buying!)
When the food preparations were winding down because it was almost time to go to the bride’s house for part of the traditional wedding, the lady who had invited the group asked Nicasio if we could go with them to the bride’s house and provide music there, too! Even though that meant packing up everything, driving to the next town (happily it was on our way home!) and setting everything up again, Nicasio agreed.
The songs and the parts that Nicasio read out of the Gospel of John in Zapotec were very well received at both places. Different ones of our group overheard things like, “He was reading out of the Bible in Zapotec and we could really understand it!” and “We really like the songs because they are in Zapotec!”
The lady who invited the group had asked Nicasio what they charge for an event; he told her there wouldn’t be any charge but if she’d like to give something to help with expenses, that would be accepted. She was very generous with her “something” and a few other people, including the groom, also gave Nicasio “somethings” to help. Nicasio was pleased to share it with everyone who had gone with us and helped make it a success.
Later in the month, we went to the closing program that Beto had for his reading and writing in Zapotec class in that same town. It was a very small program, the eight students and their families, but it was given a lot of prestige because the town mayor and his men arrived in response to Beto’s invitation. Later, the town hall’s big van came to take the students and their families across town to where Candy (Beto’s wife), her sister, Beto’s mom, and Rogelio’s family (he started the project to rescue Quiatoni Zapotec’s numbers) had prepared a meal.
The closing program went really well. Beto had focused his reading and writing program on riddles and tongue twisters. The students were from 3rd to 9th grades, one gal was just learning to speak Zapotec! Each one confidently took the microphone and read from his large “book” the tongue-twister and the two riddles that he had written. Each one waited for someone to guess the answer to the riddles—even though a couple of them had written the answer large enough for everyone to see!
The mayor gave a nice speech about how we know how to speak Zapotec but don’t know how to write it so it’s good that the children are learning to write in Zapotec. Beto had asked Nicasio to speak, too, and he emphasized how important it is for people to use their minority languages even though they can speak the national language, too.
This was a big project to Beto to undertake and even though the classes are done, he still needs to analyze his results and write it all up to present as part of his requirements to graduate with his bachelor’s degree. We are very proud of him and of how Candy and their daughters have supported him through his college years. (My dad often said, “I wonder how many more Nicasios there are out there in the Quiatoni mountains.” Beto is one of them, and I know my parents would have been just as proud of Beto as they were of Nicasio.)
Everything else that happened in May pales in comparison to these events! We did keep on with our regular stuff, jobs, and studies this month, though. I also attended a five day (online) seminar on verbs; the participants will be making presentations about some facet of verbs in the language they are studying on June 16th.
Please continue to pray that Nicasio’s US visa will be granted, and we’d be delighted if the required interview in Mexico City were waived.
And please pray for me as I travel to and around Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, from May 31 to June 19.
Thank you for your interest in our ministry of Bible translation. You are an encouragement to us and we hope that we encourage you with these glimpses of what’s happening in the Quiatoni area.
love, Valerie and Nicasio