Update and Prayer Requests: April 2023
Valerie and Nicasio Martinez
Translating God's Word with and for the people who speak Quiatoni Zapotec
Thank you for praying for our church during this time of upheaval, after our pastor’s death. There have been lots of long meetings, some with just the church members, others with representatives from the denomination. We are thankful that the meetings have been calm and respectful. So far, it’s been agreed that Max, who started the church more than 30 years ago, will be the pastor, with an ordained pastor supporting him. (Since Max isn’t ordained, he can’t officiate at weddings, baptisms, baby dedications, etc. so this is where the ordained pastor will step in.)
Still up in the air, however, is whether our church should belong to the Quiatoni district or the Central Valleys district. It has belonged to the Quiatoni district because our pastor was from Quiatoni, had planted many churches in the Quiatoni area, and was the ordained pastor covering most of those churches. The denomination says that the church should belong to the Valleys district because that is where it is physically located. We don’t agree with this because the church is overwhelmingly made up of people from or with ties to the Quiatoni area. The language, culture, and traditions bind the church closely to the Quiatoni district. We appreciate your prayers for a good resolution to this.
Last month we asked your prayers for the state-wide pastors’ convention that our church hosted, barely a week after our pastor’s death. Thank you for praying for this, too! It went very well; I heard that the church fed about 300 people for five meals over two days. (The 300 people include our church people who were cooking, setting up tables, etc. etc. and their families.) Quite an accomplishment for our church of almost 80 members!
A couple of months ago, the Quiatoni pastor who invited our Zapotec music group to participate in their New Year’s Eve celebration asked Nicasio and Beto to join him and a few other Quiatoni pastors in a meeting to talk about evangelizing the Quiatoni area. During the meeting, Nicasio encouraged them to first make sure that their own church members understand that Jesus died for their sins and want Him to be their Savior, before branching out into large evangelistic campaigns. Nicasio has seen how many people don’t really understand the Gospel, even though they’ve been baptized and going to church for years, because sermons are almost always in Spanish. So he also encouraged them to evangelize in Zapotec and, as a result, they decided it would be good for Nicasio and Beto to give them Zapotec reading and writing classes, and for Beto to teach them how to use the evangelistic tools he’s been using. As part of their reading practice, Nicasio will have them read the Gospel of John in Zapotec and Beto’s wife Candy and our Zapotec song leader will help them practice songs in Zapotec. This will be a series of four day-long classes over the next six weeks or so.
We are so very thankful and excited about this! This is the first time that pastors (or churches) have asked for help in using Zapotec in their churches. You know that we’ve worked with lots of bilingual teachers over the past few years but the pastors just haven’t been interested. Thank God with us for this change in attitude! And please pray for the classes and that the pastors will be committed to attending them.
With all this upheaval during the month, much of our regular things have been put on the back burner. (Both Nicasio and Beto have been named as part of the church council and are very involved in helping to resolve the issues the church is facing.)
The Zapotec service continues (although it was cancelled a couple of times due to the funeral and then the pastors’ convention); we finished studying the Book of Acts and last week started learning about the background to Peter’s letters.
Nicasio and Beto continue going over the consultant’s comments on the translation of Acts, in the hopes that it can be checked off as “completed” soon.
Nicasio had been working on his doctoral thesis, but again, this is on the back burner, especially now with the classes for the Quiatoni pastors. He said, “We’ve been waiting so long for the churches to be interested, they have to have priority now!”
In our February update, I told how the building that houses “my” children’s library and the homeschool resource room was to be reroofed because of the asbestos in the original roofing. That project is almost done. I’m so thankful for the employees who covered all the bookshelves with the books still on them in sheets of plastic to protect them against the debris and the unseasonable rains we’ve been having, including hail! (I understand they rented a big tarp to also provide more protection from the rain, even though this picture of the children’s library doesn’t show either the tarp or the rain clouds!)
Thank you for standing with us and taking our needs to our heavenly Father. This is His work and we couldn’t do it without Him or without your support. Thank you!
love, Valerie and Nicasio
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