At the end of this month, Vincent and I will take a group of 20 kids to the Cevennes mountains for a week-long camp. We are very excited, because with the Covid restrictions now much reduced here, it means that we can FINALLY take the younger kids to camp again! This has been impossible since March 2020 (camp was only possible for the older teens!)
It will be a huge blessing for the younger kids of Parfums de Vie, who will benefit so much from getting away from their cramped and difficult home circumstances and being in the fresh air and the great outdoors. As I have mentioned in the past, violence and abuse is sadly far too common among many of the families that we work with here, and so every opportunity for children to experience God's love and grace, especially for extended periods, is so life-giving and life-changing.
For many of the kids, it will be their first ever camp with Parfums de Vie, and also their first time away from home without their parents. Vincent and I are always so humbled by the fact that so many muslim families entrust their children to us, knowing that they will spend a week at camp with a Christian organisation! We have always felt that one week of camp produces more fruit in kids' lives than a whole year of kids clubs and homework clubs. Both are truly essential, but so much happens in that short but beautifully intense and special space away from the normal stresses of their home lives. Having extended time in a safe place for life together and to engage more deeply with the stories of Jesus changes lives for eternity.
As well as lots of adventures, hikes, camp-fires, games and cooking, we will also look after two donkeys for the week! Caring for animals is very therapeutic for children, and we are thrilled about this opportunity!
Will you pray for our camp? Will you also pray for the provision we need to cover the costs? One week of camp for one child costs $500. Should you be in a position to sponsor one child (or partially sponsor or even sponsor several children) all of the giving information is below.
There's so much more news to share with you, here's just a few updates:
Finally, as I write, we have a team here from one of our supporting churches in Dallas, Texas who have come to bless, encourage and serve alongside us this week. It is always very encouraging for Vincent and me to have visitors and it's also a blessing for our Parfums de Vie community. Will you pray for them over the next few days as they pour into us, our team, the children, youth and families of Parfums de Vie. God is always at work here, but sometimes special breakthroughs happen in people's hearts and circumstances when we have people from the "outside" who come and speak God's love, life and presence into our community!
Vincent and I pray for you often, Dixie, and we are so thankful for your love, prayers, generosity and friendship.
Nicole & Vincent
PARFUMS DE VIE - URGENT PRAYERS FOR FATIHA WHO STARTS CHEMO NEXT WEEK
I have attached a couple of photographs of Fatiha dancing which were taken two years ago at our 20th wedding anniversary. When I first saw these photos, I was deeply moved, as they capture her beautiful spirit and the freedom and joy that she has received, embraced and pursued.
Fatiha is one of my dearest friends here in Grasse and she also happens to be married to my brother (and only sibling) Roddy. Will you please pray for her, my brother and their three young children, as she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer last week. She is only 38 years old. She will start chemotherapy treatment next week, initially every three weeks and then every week. After 6 months of treatment they will see if the chemo has been effective in reducing the four tumors in her left breast and evaluate whether or not she needs a mastectomy. It has all happened very fast and Fatiha is still reeling from the shock. However, in keeping with her incredible hopeful spirit, her amazing response was "I'm so thankful it's not an arm, or some other part that I actually need, I can easily live without a breast!"
Fatiha arrived in France from North Africa in 2009, fleeing the oppression of her religion, her family and her country. She used her entire life savings to pay for the arduous journey across the Mediterranean and almost drowned in the process, as she can't swim, but got thrown out of the boat (without a life jacket) hundreds of meters from shore! That she survived is a miracle in itself. That she stumbled upon Parfums de Vie in her very first days in France is an even greater miracle. She encountered Christian community, began reading scripture and then married my brother in May 2011. They now have three adorable children - Ryan (9) , Lydia (7) & Leana (3). My brother Roddy moved to Grasse to marry her after meeting her in our home when he was on vacation! He has learned to speak fluent French, has integrated into French life and has an excellent job as an engineer for a yacht company. They are happy and settled in Grasse, have recently purchased a home and they and their children continue to be very involved in our lives and in Parfums de Vie.
Over the past ten years I have formed a close friendship with Fatiha. As she has shared her story with us over the years and begun the process of healing and finding new life in Christ, I have always been very moved by the reality of the extreme desperation she felt as a young woman to take such huge risks to escape the oppression she faced in Algeria, where as a young university educated woman, she was not allowed to make her own choices, but was the property of her father, who had chosen a husband for her. She would then become the property of an older man she didn't know, love or respect.
Here in Grasse, she has continued to pursue growth and transformation, in fact her determination to disentangle herself from her strict Islamic background and integrate into European culture is remarkable. Not only do their kids go to a private Christian school, but Fatiha encourages them to learn about Jesus through Parfums de Vie and she has become an ambassador and defender of the values of Parfums de Vie within the Muslim community here and regularly speaks out for us when we are under criticism.
Several years ago, Fatiha became certified as a fitness coach. When she was a teenager, she had the opportunity to play sports at school and was so gifted at Volleyball that her coach wanted her on the team. When her parents found out, her father of course forbid her from playing any sports, because this did not fit the image of a respectable Muslim girl. Muslim women are raised to be ashamed of themselves and are taught to hide their bodies. Watching Fatiha learn to fully 'embody' herself as a liberated woman and fitness instructor has been a joy to behold and is a wonderful picture of the freedom and transformation that comes through Christ!
As you can imagine, the news of this diagnosis has come as a huge shock for everyone as she is very healthy, young and strong. I asked her permission to share this news with you to specifically ask for your prayers for her healing. She told me that it is her faith in God's goodness and love that is giving her the strength to face this new and difficult season and she is so incredibly thankful for your prayers.
On a personal note, Roddy and Fatiha's friendship is a huge blessing to Vincent and me. They are not just family, but intimate friends and their commitment to us and the ministry of Parfums de Vie is such a personal encouragement. It was a gift to have them serve alongside us at our most recent camp in July.
Please pray with us for Fatiha's healing, for strength and endurance to go through the treatment, and that God will somehow use the struggle and pain to bring even deeper abundant life, blessing and freedom for their whole family. We trust in His goodness.
Nicole & Vincent
Update and Prayer Requests: September 2021
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people
who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Dear friends, we are sad that we have several items of bad news.
With very heavy hearts, we heard that Karina (our colleague-friend who’s been intubated in the hospital for six weeks) passed away Friday night. We don’t know any more at this time. Her family and our colleagues who were helping to care for her would appreciate your prayers.
Beto’s mother-in-law is dying from diabetes. Her husband, their children and their families would appreciate your prayers.
Pastor Delfino (the pastor of our local church) is on oxygen at home because of covid. His wife passed away two weeks ago from covid. Again, your prayers are appreciated.
I keep forgetting to tell you that Nicasio found a room to rent for his office! You may remember that in February, Nicasio gave up his office that’s next door to our house (on our other piece of land) so that his parents could live there. They have adjusted well to living there and being more independent. One big perk is that their children who live in Oaxaca City are able to come and visit them more often.
Meanwhile, our living room became the “attic,” with all Nicasio’s office stuff stashed there. (Good thing we didn’t have any visitors in the house during that time; we saw visitors only on the porch.) Then in May, Nicasio found a place that fitted what he needed and is just a few blocks from our house. After getting internet service provided for and a few pieces of furniture, he moved into his new office in June. Thank you for praying for just the right place for him!
After working off and on for about six years on a small book describing Quiatoni Zapotec’s grammar, it has finally jumped through all the hoops (checking it for accuracy, terminology and Spanish) in early September! I was very happy to print 25 copies of it and look forward to distributing it. I hope it will be helpful to the bilingual teachers and people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec. (You might remember that people put down indigenous languages by saying that they don’t have any grammar.) The title in English would be A Peek at Quiatoni Zapotec’s Grammar.
Nicasio is really enjoying teaching his class on Indigenous Languages for the Master’s program of translation and interpretation. He likes all the reading he’s doing in preparation—and thanks to my niece, has discovered an African author who is influential in decolonizing the mind, that is, encouraging people to write in their own indigenous languages instead of the main European languages. Nicasio’s also enjoying the positive feedback from his students; how they are discovering the worth and value of their own languages and cultures.
All our regular activities continue: Nicasio is revising the book of Acts; he pastors a small group of young people; he’s teaching a couple of people on-line to read and write in Zapotec; he pops over to see Mom and Dad several times a day; and he and Beto take turns teaching in the Zapotec church service.
I continue working on the bilingual dictionary, keyboarding hundreds of illustrative sentences I found in a notebook (from the early 1990s!), and working on a book about the back-strap loom.
Beto continues to work on translating the Psalms, studying and recording Acts, and working on digital projects to make the translation and recording of it available on cell phones.
Rusty had a doctor’s appointment last week to go over his bloodwork and CT scan (check-up for the testicular cancer; he had surgery in March for it). Rusty was delighted that the doctor said, “Everything looks good. See you in six months!” since he thought it was going to be three months for the next check-up. We are so thankful for this great report!
As always, we thank you for your interest, prayers and support for our ministry of Bible translation and for all of us involved in making God’s Word speak Quiatoni Zapotec.
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Dear Pastor Mike,
Greetings! First, I want you to know I am recently back from 3 weeks of ministry in Central Asia! Praise God it was a productive time for God's purposes. Thank you for praying for me and sending me! Everyday I thank God for you and for our partnership. We do this together!
God raised up a compassionate and caring team: Someone fitting eye glasses, a children's ministry leader and medical professionals who touched the lives of 800 patients in 6 days of clinic. Also, we made great connections with community leaders and believers who are asking for more of the same as well as being equipped in Trauma Healing.
You may wonder about my role. No, I am not a medical professional. I am an administrator and an organizer ..... although I can check blood pressure and count pills! But really my job is making the connections and arrangements with believers we come alongside in the villages and communities where the clinics are held. I arrange travel details and reservations, order supplies and conduct team trainings for ministry and the manage the logistics to get all of our "ducks in a row" so we are ready to touch lives with God's grace and mercy. Also, in recent months, since the onslaught of the Pandemic, God has made it possible for me and others I serve with to be equipped with something called"New Hope". New Hope is Trauma Healing training. I'm so grateful for this! I love it!
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
While I was away when possible I would check out the news on the internet. You probably agree with me when I say the longer I live in this broken world with all its broken and hurting, dear souls, it is all the more important to spend the time God gives us with His purposes!
Update and Prayer Requests: August 2021 - Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Nicasio, Beto, Rogelio (the main author of the book about Zapotec numbers), Felipe (the other author and a teacher), and I met three times this month via zoom to revise the book of exercises for students to learn and practice the numbers in Zapotec. (Other than 1 to 10, 20, and 100, Spanish numbers are usually used when people are speaking in Zapotec.) Mostly we looked at the directions (in Zapotec) of how to do each exercise. I have to admit that even though we got a lot done in the first session of five hours, it was a little discouraging to see that we’d covered 16 pages out of the 60 pages that I’d made. But it was encouraging to realize that the farther we went, the more we’d be able to use the instructions from similar exercises that we’d already revised.
The next step is to ask some of the bilingual teachers to test the exercises in their classrooms. We hope it will help them as they incorporate more Zapotec into their teaching.
We continue to study the book of Acts during Zapotec church via zoom. Nicasio is encouraged to see that people are becoming more and more accustomed to speaking up during the service. It was also wonderful to hear Chely thank God for so many blessings, even though she’s recuperating from covid. (She went to Quiatoni to nurse an uncle who was very sick with covid and then got it herself, although with a lighter case.)
We are so thankful for these folks who are so interested and dedicated to studying God’s Word in their own language and applying it to their lives. They are a blessing to us!
This afternoon (Thursday, Aug. 26) Nicasio will be one of three presentations celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Department of Adult Education. He will be speaking about how indigenous people have a poor self-identity, having been scarred and mis-shapen by the insults, prejudices and abuses they have suffered for generations and how they need healing from that so they can be self-confident and proud of their indigenous heritage, language and culture.
We ordered a new computer for Beto since the battery in his is swelling and can’t be replaced. Mike and Tara brought the new one but unfortunately its battery wouldn’t hold a charge. We are returning that one and ordered another. We are so thankful that it was delivered to Rusty on Tuesday so he could bring it yesterday when he came.
We are happy to let you know that Beto and Candi’s daughter Yari is doing well after her emergency appendectomy three weeks ago. In another week, she’ll be able to resume her normal activities. Thank you for your prayers for her. We are also very thankful to let you know that the medical expenses have all been covered by God’s generous children!
Thank you, too, for praying for our colleague-friend Karina. She is still on a ventilator, which is slowly being reduced; her organs seem to be functioning well and x-rays show no sign of pneumonia or other damage apart from covid. Her condition is serious but stable. Thank you for your continued prayers for her.
Family news: Mike and Tara have been here two weeks! We are enjoying having them here and getting to know Tara and Royan better. Royan (9 months old) is very active, “talking” a lot, very curious, and likes to be where the action is. He loves Grandpa Nicasio, who often takes him next door to see Great-grandma and Great-grandpa. They thoroughly enjoy him!
Rusty got here last night and will be here for two weeks. We have a full house and even fuller hearts! We are so thankful that our kids are good friends and that they want to come home to visit.
Your interest, prayers, and support in our ministry of Bible translation are such an encouragement to us! Thank you for standing with us to give the people of Quiatoni God’s Word in their own language.
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Dear Pastor Mike,
Hello! I hope you are well.
Tomorrow I'm boarding a plane and taking a Medical Team to Central Asia! God raised up caring and compassionate medical professional to take God's love to hurting people in remote villages in the mountains. Please pray for us. The team prayer calendar is attached in the link below.
We were never meant to do life alone. We need the love and care of others, as much as we are needed by others in the same ways. God is using us to reach out to dear men, women and children, He loves, who living in places where medical care is not easy to find.
Thank you! With your prayers and financial support we do this together. Simply saying "THANK YOU" doesn't seem like enough. Please know I am deeply and sincerely grateful.
Your sister in Christ and Missionary to the Middle East!
Blessings to You and Yours,
We pray this email finds you well, and that you continue to see the Lord working in your lives. We have published a new newsletter on our website where you can see photos and videos of our mission trip to Tomalá, Honduras, that we were blessed with the extra support to be able to take with the Enlaces team earlier this month.
We want to thank all of you for your continued prayers and interest in how God has been opening doors here to minister. We feel blessed to be able to be hands and feet as the Lord has called us to.
We hope you enjoy, and God bless
Newsletter - Tomalá
Ryan, Kelly, Ezra & Kezia Saurers
For His Glory; In His Love,
Ryan & Kelly
"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all people" - Psalm 96:3
VALERIE AND NICASIO MARTINEZTRANSLATING GOD'S WORD WITH AND FOR THE PEOPLE WHO SPEAK QUIATONI ZAPOTEC
The Zapotec church sermon is more of an interactive Bible study. It took a little while for people to get used to answering questions when we went to using Zoom for Zapotec church but we are finally more comfortable with it. If you had been there on July 1 when we studied Acts 20:7-12 (about Eutychus falling asleep and falling out of the window), you would have heard this (from my quick translations into English):
Beto was teaching: “Why do you think Eutychus fell asleep?”
Several people answered, “Because Paul talked so long.” (Everyone was smiling; I’m sure they were identifying with poor Eutychus!)
Rebeca: “Maybe Eutychus didn’t understand Paul’s preaching.”
Fernando: “Maybe he was tired from working, too.”
Beto: “And no cell phone to look at!”
Nicasio: “There weren’t any deacons to walking around rapping people on the head to wake them up.” (Yes, churches in our area do have deacons that do this!)
Carmen: “It’s good that Paul was talking so much ‘cause he was leaving tomorrow.”
Meche: “Maybe he should have asked questions while he’s preaching!” (Implying “like Beto and Nicasio do”.)
Beto: “So what makes us want to sleep in church?”
Sofía: “When we don’t understand the language that being used for preaching.”
Beto: “That’s right. Another one is that we are physically tired and sitting still. So how long should a sermon last? How long can we sit still?”
Priscila: “One hour, maybe.”
Fernando: “It depends on what the sermon is about!”
Elizabeth: “If there are questions and it’s more of a Bible study, it can go longer.”
Beto: “Maybe it’s neither’s fault that Eutychus fell asleep. And maybe both sides!”
Nicasio: “Paul didn’t normally preach all night. He didn’t scold anyone for Eutychus falling asleep. But nowadays the person preaching isn’t responsible for people sleeping; it’s always the fault of the congregation for going to sleep. That’s why the deacons wake people up but no one says to the preachers, ‘You’ve been going on too long.’”
Beto: “It’s good to talk about this because we can learn from it about how long we should preach, etc. I think, too, that there are people who take very literally what Jesus said about ‘Come to Me and I’ll give you rest’!”
* * * * * *
Now that we have received more chapters of Acts that were back-translated into Spanish, Beto has been busy keyboarding that into the program we use for translation. (Since the people who usually do back-translations don’t have computers, we print out the chapters with very short lines of text and lots of space between the lines so they can handwrite the Spanish in under the Zapotec and not have to crowd it in.)
Nicasio and Beto have been working with Rogelio, the main author of the book about Zapotec numbers, on revising the book for a reprint of it. I’ve made a book of exercises to encourage students to learn and use the Zapotec numbers. There’s still a lot of work to be done on it; we’ll be meeting with Rogelio and Felipe (the other author and a teacher) on Friday (July 30) to edit and improve that.
Please pray for the people of Quiatoni. They are being hit hard with lots of covid cases.
Family news: We are looking forward to our kids coming to visit in August! Mike, Tara and Royan arrive on Aug. 11 for three weeks. (Mike will be working from here part of the time.) Rusty arrives on August 25 for two weeks, so there will be one week when they are all here with us! We appreciate your prayers for safe travels for them and for a good and safe time while they are here.
Thank you for your interest, prayers, and support of our ministry of translating God’s Word into Quiatoni Zapotec. We are thankful for YOU!
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Last night about 9 pm Nicasio took Beto's older daughter (16 year old
Yari), Beto and Candy to the doctor because Yari was in so much pain.
She's been in pain off and on for a week or more but they hadn't been
able to figure out the cause. Tonight at the doctor's, they realized it
was her appendix. They took her appendix out about midnight. She came
through it well. Nicasio will pick them up (Beto and Candy stayed with
her during the night) and take them home when she's released.
Please pray for Yari's recuperation and thank God with us that it wasn't
If you would like to help them financially with this unexpected and
expensive need, we'd be glad to facilitate that.
Thank you for your prayers!
love, Valerie and Nicasio
Thank you so much for praying for Laith's baptism. He's thrilled for me to share these photos with you, although can I remind you not to post the photos or the story anywhere online? It was a very special time for him, and so very encouraging and inspiring for all of us! We are so pleased to see all of the ways he is growing in maturity in Christ and vision as a young leader!
Simon turned 18 this week and has also been preparing for baptism, he will get baptized next week while we are at camp! Mahdi too is preparing for baptism, and while we haven't yet decided on a date, it's great to see these three young men mutually encouraging each other in their faith journey!
This week Laith, Simon and Mahdi also got their Baccalaureate results (High School Diploma) and graduated from High School! I've attached a photo of them in their gowns! They all did very well and Mahdi, who was elected Valedictorian, gave his speech in Italian (he obtained the French and Italian Baccalaureates simultaneously, both with outstanding grades - less than 5000 students obtain this "ESABAC" each year in France!) We are deeply encouraged and filled with hope as we launch these young men into their future studies and continue to walk alongside them in their leadership development.
At Parfums de Vie we have a very busy summer ahead and we have several prayer requests for the coming weeks:
Summer Youth Adventure Camp 11-25 July
Mission Trip Tunisia 28 July - 8th August
Getting Laith to The Netherlands
Getting Narjes to Scotland
Finding Accommodation for Simon in Nice
Our Ministry Center
Thanks to the generosity of some of our donors, for a number of years we have been in a position to purchase our ministry center, and while the owner does want to sell, we still haven't been able to agree on a price as his asking price is double the market value - which we are not willing to pay. The owner is in his eighties, not in good health and has significant debts. We have enlisted the help of an attorney to negotiate the sale, but so far, the owner hasn't responded to any of the letters the attorney has sent since March this year! Will you pray for a miraculous breakthrough for him to be willing to negotiate a better price that we would be willing to pay and for the sale to go through by the end of 2021? Vincent and I remain sure that this really is the right place for our ministry center......
Will you continue to pray with us for the ongoing support of the ministry? In addition to ongoing funding for our various programs with the children and youth, sponsoring four kids through University is obviously quite a commitment and we also continue to raise support towards the University Fund. We truly believe that investing in their further education is investing in the future of Parfums de Vie and the kingdom in France.
Luke Parker - Intern for 2021-2022
Finally, can I ask you to pray for Luke Parker. He is a young graduate from Spokane, Washington and plans to intern with us for a year starting September 2021. We really need the extra help and are very excited about having him join our team here for the coming school year. Specifically, he is working on his visa application which is of course essential for him to come. Will you pray that God opens the doors for the visa in a timely manner so that he can travel as planned to join us in early September?
Vincent and I are so encouraged by your love, friendship, prayers and generosity. The academic success AND the faith commitments of our four young University students truly inspires my prayers for the many younger children that we are working with at Parfums de Vie. Continue to pray with us that they too will not only succeed in their schooling but grow into young leaders with Christ centered values. May it be so!
with love & deep gratitude,
Nicole & Vincent
Friends & Family,
We hope this email finds you well, and that you have been healthy, blessed, and seeking after what God has for you in this season. We are sending this email with a link to our newest newsletter entitled "Consistency". We apologize as it's been a while since our last update and email, but we want to thank each and every one of you for your continued prayers and support.
God bless you,
Ryan Kelly Ezra & Kezia
Click Here to Watch "Consistency"
For His Glory; In His Love,
Ryan & Kelly
"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all people" - Psalm 96:3