Dear Father Mike,
Thank you for your and your church's interest in our ministry! Here is what we are about:
We are translating God's Word into Quiatoni Zapotec (pronounced key-ah-TOE-ny SAP-of-tek), which is Nicasio's first language. One of the more than 350 indigenous languages spoken in Mexico, it was being spoken before the Spanish arrived so it is completely unrelated to Spanish. (Like all living languages, Quiatoni Zapotec borrows words from Spanish and other languages.) There are about 14,000 people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec, which is located in southern Mexico in the state of Oaxaca (wah-HAH-ka).
Our main goal is Bible translation but since Quiatoni Zapotec doesn't have a written tradition, we also are involved in literacy activities so that when the translation is published people will be able to read it. We are thankful for the bilingual teachers and other individuals who are interested in writing and teaching reading and writing in Quiatoni Zapotec.
We have produced four volumes of songs in QZ, a small Bible dictionary, a workbook for studying the Gospel of John, some Bible story books, and we have dubbed the Jesus film into QZ.
We also work on documenting the language and culture by writing a grammar explaining how the language works (for example, QZ has no equivalents for "yes" and "no"), by compiling a bilingual (QZ and Spanish) dictionary as well as writing up aspects of the culture.
Thank you for your interest in our ministry of Bible translation!
Father Mike, if you would like to include links to materials in QZ:
Scripture Earth gives a list of all the QZ materials available: https://www.scriptureearth.org/00i-Scripture_Index.php?sortby=lang&ISO_ROD_index=252
You'll find links there to read and listen to the Book of Galatians, the Jesus film (also available directly at: https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/zapotec-san-pedro-quiatoni.html), a link to the SIL site where you can find our literacy books, and links to other information.
We have posted two videos on youtube of QZ songs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCPWvYwuYgo&ab_channel=VNRMMTZ (Nicasio, our sons and a friend)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mSUdVE7z0k&ab_channel=VNRMMTZ (with photos of the Quiatoni area and the words to the song in Zapotec, Spanish and English)
Thank you again!
from Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
How was your February? We’re guessing that many of you dealt with more snow than you had for a long time! This last week has been quite cold for us, down in the low 50s and high 40s at night.
Nicasio is still doing youth group meetings and the Zapotec church service via Zoom. People seem to like it better and better as they get used to using Zoom and talking to a camera instead of people.
Nicasio has also revised some of Acts and finished checking the first part of Deditos (videos made using fingers for puppets; see deditos.org) scripts and songs to dub the videos into Quiatoni Zapotec. These have gone back to Beto for his consideration of the corrections and comments since he’s heading up this project.
Nicasio and Beto have also worked with the two other authors of the book about Quiatoni Zapotec numbers. After I went through it and made some suggestions and corrections, they all went through them. After they made some more changes, Nicasio asked me to read and comment on it again, so I did.
Beto has, for several years, been helping to teach a workshop for indigenous people on how to use LibreOffice. Because of the covid restrictions, the director asked Beto to make a couple of videos for the online students to watch. (Here is one: https://www.powtoon.com/s/gcZRv6veFlD/1/m)
Beto also continues to work on and revise the book of Genesis and the Psalms.
After Nicasio’s parents showed so much interest in reading in Zapotec through the simple puzzles I made them, I decided to make “large print” editions of a couple of our Zapotec books. They have both enjoyed looking at the two volumes of picture dictionaries that we’ve done. Each picture has a word, sometimes a sentence, by it, so it’s pretty easy to read the words.
Nicasio and his siblings have been having weekly meetings to talk about Mom and Dad’s living situation, their fields and house in Quiatoni, etc. About 10 days ago, Nicasio suggested to them that he move out of his office and we make it into a house for them so they can live more independently. (Nicasio’s office is on our other piece of land, right next door to our house and yard.) Dad was all for it right away but it took Nicasio pointing out to his mom all the advantages they would have. She finally agreed to a two month trial, and then there was no stopping them as they got excited about having their own place! Nicasio, on the other hand, was realizing how much he was going to miss having a separate office but had already decided to ask the owners of a couple of unoccupied houses near us if we could rent a room for his office. (Still no answer on that. We’d appreciate your prayers for a good office situation for Nicasio.)
One week from actually starting the change, including building a new bathroom for them, we moved Mom and Dad into their own little house. They seem to be happy there, especially since they have six chicks! Dad is enjoying clearing out the “wild field” that that piece of land had become. Mom’s settling well into the house. When we took them a few more things that they needed, Mom said she felt like a bride, getting so many new kitchen things! We are thankful for friends who gave them some kitchen things, too.
Rusty went to the Dominican Republic for three days as part of his photography job at MudLOVE. You can read and see why they went on MudLOVE.com “What’s Possible in Three Days?”
Meanwhile Mike, Tara and Royan stayed home and battled all the snow the hit that area.
Thank you for your support and prayers for us and for our ministry of Bible translation. Even though we don’t have any special events coming up, we appreciate your prayers for us, for our kids, for Nicasio’s parents, and especially for those who speak Quiatoni Zapotec, that they will come to know Jesus.
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Seeing as all restaurants and cafés are still closed here in France and we have a 6pm curfew, today Vincent and I are chilling at home with our kids...and thankful we're still in love after all these years (we'll celebrate 22 years of marriage this summer!)
Hopefully restaurants, travel and date night will be back on the cards again soon! In the meantime, our beautiful hand-crafted fragrances will transport you to the romantic flower fields of the French Riviera, just spritz your perfume, close your eyes and allow your imagination to take your there!
Happy February to all and God bless you!
We have just posted our newest newsletter entitled "Prepared" that shares about our first month back here in Honduras and in what ways God continues to prepare the way for ministry. We want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers and support, and we pray that you are seeking what God has prepared for you personally - and that you are opening your heart to Him to receive it.
CLICK HERE to Listen to "Prepared"
For His Glory,
Ryan, Kelly, Ezra & Kezia Saurers
MISSION UPDATE & HOW COVID IS OPENING PEOPLE'S HEARTS TO THE GOSPEL
I hope that you are doing well? We know that everyone everywhere is being impacted in different ways by this ongoing pandemic, and we continue to lift you and your family up in prayer! Here at Parfums de Vie, it has been a very full and busy month for us! We have made huge progress with the many renovations at the ministry center including fixing the floor, installing the toilets and a kitchen sink and building more shelves for storage. Due to all the interruptions and mess with the various building repairs, throughout the month of January we've had ALL the Homework Club, Kids Club and Youth Group activities in our home! As you know, we already use our home very significantly for the ministry on a daily basis, so this past month we've had a lot of extra chaos and organization as we've sought to continue all of our ministry activities, despite the fact that our ministry center was out of action!
The good news is that this week the ministry center is back in action, and while we're still working on some of the renovations, the space is accessible again!
As well as the challenge of welcoming so many children and parents into our home this past month, the start of this year has also been very challenging, because Vincent and I are literally surrounded by people who are struggling, lonely and in despair, and all looking to Vincent, to me and to Parfums de Vie for strength, friendship, community and guidance.
Here in France, while schools remain open and we have the freedom to continue our work with the children and youth, many "non-essential" businesses, including all restaurants, cafes and bars, have been closed for many months, and since January 1st we also have a 6pm - 6am curfew (before that it was 8pm for several months). In a Mediterranean culture where people work late, shops and businesses stay open late and where we eat late, it's very difficult for people to have to get home (and stay home) so early in the day.
The French have a long-established café culture, where in every French town, village and neighborhood, there are small, simple, individually owned café-bars where people congregate on a daily basis: in the morning before work, at lunchtime or after work. In a culture where the church hasn't been at the center of the community for centuries, this café culture is at the heart of French daily life and brings a natural connecting point for people where they find a sense of community and a source of encouragement. For Vincent and me, throughout the years that we have lived here, participating regularly in this café culture has been a key way that we have developed and invested in friendships with many French neighbors and business owners. So the prolonged closure of these truly "essential" community gathering spaces, coupled with the 6pm curfew and the massive increase in people working remotely, means that the majority of the people we know are truly suffering from increased loneliness and isolation.
Several months ago, in response to this isolation and despair, and despite strict covid measures, Vincent and I decided to be more purposeful in reaching out and inviting people into our home for meals. We began inviting people whom we've known more casually, but had never before invited to our home....
I've probably shared with you previously the extent to which the majority of French people, those who don't know us well, initially bring a negative judgement to their interactions with Vincent and me, simply based on our faith. The French are so suspicious of Christianity, and they don't have a category for people with a lifestyle centered around serving others (especially the "outcast" Muslim community), and so many French people hold us at a safe distance, based on their misgivings about the church. Of course, over time and through our courage, gentleness and faithful commitment, we (or rather, the Holy Spirit!) regularly pierce through people's preconceived ideas and even lead them to a truer understanding of the Gospel!
But the particular reality of the stigma attached to Christianity here in France is real and something that we have learned to navigate within relationships. However, this past year, due to covid lockdowns and the struggles and uncertainty that people are facing, we began to see a significant shift in many interactions with people that we have known casually for years. We began to notice how much more people really wanted to talk whenever we ran into them about town - getting groceries or whatever. And not just small talk about the weather, but real and meaningful conversation about how much they were struggling, how lonely they were, right there on the street corner! The superficial barriers were gone and the openness for something deeper was tangible. It feels like the very reasons that caused some people to exclude, reject or judge us (their negative opinions about our faith) were now the very same reasons that were causing them to open up - the knowledge that we are people of faith, trustworthy, willing to listen and able provide a safe space and perhaps even some hopeful answers....
So Vincent and I started inviting some of these people that we've only known quite superficially into the intimacy of our home for meals, conversation and community. And due to the curfew and the risk of hefty fines if stopped by police when going home, on the weekends we have even invited them to stay overnight in the lovely rooms of our beautiful rental Villa (which has remained vacant due to the lack of travel right now).
It has been a joy for Vincent and me to continue to deepen these relationships and to see this new opening for bringing the blessing of the love, life and light of Christ to so many people around us! It has been humbling to see how these simple invitations of hospitality have provided a beautiful and restorative gift to people.
Just this past weekend, an unmarried couple in their early fifties whom we have known for years, and who had previously told us on many occasions they didn't believe in marriage, asked Vincent if he would be willing to do their wedding ceremony.....I will share more in a future email...
The truth is that the vast majority of the people we know were without a sense of purpose or meaningful community before Covid, but it has been this prolonged lockdown situation which has separated people from family, friends and normal social activities that has really brought people face to face with the pain of emptiness and their lack of hope.
I am sure that what we're encountering here is not unique, these are indeed unprecedented times that we are facing worldwide, but here we definitely see God at work for HIS purposes in the midst of the struggles and pain that people are facing.
Will you pray that He will continue to use us and Parfums de Vie to bring Hope, Healing and New Life to many more people here in Grasse?
Thank you so much for partnering in this important work of the Gospel with us!
with love and thankfulness,
Nicole & Vincent (for everyone at Parfums de Vie)
How to Give?
*****Please remember to specify if your gift is for: Parfums de Vie Cote d'Azur Project #70350 OR the DERIEUX family #40415'*****
Phone: 888-242-5930You can make donations over the phone if you prefer. Lynette in the office is amazing and super helpful. Stock donations are also possible, ask Lynette for more details!
PO Box 438
Lewiston, ME 04243 - 0438
You can email the Communitas office for any enquiries about setting up donations.