Update and Prayer Requests: December 2021
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
We hope your Christmas was special, in whatever ways make it special for you and yours! Ours was very quiet but included joining our kids via a video call to watch them open their presents. One of our biggest blessings is what good friends our three kids are.
Last Thursday during Zapotec church, Nicasio asked people to share what they are thankful for from this past year. We were so encouraged to hear how many times people said that they were thankful that we are having Zapotec church online. We know it’s not ideal but because our church isn’t observing any safety precautions, we are thankful, too, for technology that allows us to see and talk to each other safely.
Another theme for their thankfulness was the way we are studying the Bible; that we study in Zapotec and that we study straight through one book at a time. From things they have shared, we see how much they have grown in their understanding of what a Christian’s life should look like and how they are working towards that.
Beto said that he’s thankful that Jesus hasn’t returned yet because that gives him more time to share the Gospel with people. Sofía agreed with him and said that she used to be scared and not know what to say to people but now “I can just tell people. Thank you for how we are studying the Bible here.”
Meche, who leads the music when we have church in-person, has been out of work since the beginning of covid restrictions. (She did house-cleaning and making traditional type clothes at home to sell to tourists but there haven’t been any tourists, of course.) Part of what she was thankful for was that about when she was starting to look for work, a dog ran into her and she fell, hurting her knee so that it was very painful to walk. She had to quit looking for a job but a Christian lady contacted her and asked if she would make traditional type clothes for her to sell! Meche thanked all those who have helped her and her mom financially during the pandemic and thanked God for providing what they need each day. (In the spring she had told Nicasio that she was so thankful for all the rain because they’d been able to gather wild greens for meals.)
Nicasio’s parents shared how thankful they are to have survived covid and that they have their own house next door to us. They said they couldn’t imagine how that would happen since they hadn’t brought anything with them when they came because Dad was so sick with covid. “But thanks to many Christian brothers and sisters and our children, we have everything we need!” Dad thought they wouldn’t be able to eat sweet corn or raise beans but Nicasio encouraged him to plant the whole yard. Mom wanted to have chickens. They have had lots of corn, beans, and chickens!
Beto’s wife Candi said that this year had been really hard for her, with her mom so sick (diabetes) and then her death in November. She said she was thankful for everyone praying for them and for the financial help they were given. Both Beto and Candi were thankful for Yari’s successful emergency appendectomy, recovery and for the financial help they were given for that, too.
Candi also shared how she needed to go to the doctor. (We had planned on making this happen just before the covid restrictions started in March 2020.) She was scared because she thought it was going to be diabetes (which many in her family have) but the medicines cleared up a bad urinary infection; while she showed no signs of diabetes, the doctor did give her information about how to eat and exercise to reduce the chances of it. The other part of her health problem is that she needs to have her gall bladder removed but she needs to lose almost 30 pounds before they will operate. She would appreciate your prayers as she works on this difficult job.
Both Nicasio and I said we are thankful that Mom and Dad are living next door and are doing so well. Nicasio said that one of the good things that has come out of them having covid is that all their kids come and visit them, and then we get to see them, too.
Another thing I shared was that I am so thankful that our kids are following the Lord and are involved in their churches. Mike and Tara are on the music team, Rusty teaches in his church’s Wednesday night and Sunday morning programs for the children.
Nicasio has really enjoyed teaching his class on Indigenous Languages in the Translators and Interpreters Master’s Degree program. A highlight for him was the presentation that a friend and colleague gave (at his request) about glossaries and dictionaries. Nicasio said that his students appreciated it so much and learned so much from it. (There are three more classes in January.)
Rusty says that he is happy to put 2021 behind him but he’s thankful for the Lord’s goodness through it all. Most recently he really enjoyed spending Christmas with Mike, Tara and Royan. (He will have a check-up about the testicular cancer in March, one year after his surgery. We are praying for a continued clean bill of health.)
Mike says: We have been enjoying the month since Royan's birthday trying to keep up with him as he runs around getting into everything. We are looking forward to watching him grow and are excited to be doing some updates to our house.
We would really appreciate your prayers for going back to in-person church. At a meeting with those who attend the Zapotec service, we decided to start going back in-person at the beginning of February, provided things haven’t gotten bad again.
This update is longer than usual—I guess it’s more of a 2021 update than a December update! We appreciate you for taking the time to read our updates, share in our burdens and our joys, for your support of the Bible translation for the Quiatoni Zapotec people. We pray God’s blessings on you in the New Year of 2022.
love, Valerie and Nicasio