Conferences past and future

As life returns to normal after Easter celebration and spring break,we want to take a few minutes to share news with you about two conferences,recently past and coming up.

Embera church conference:

Thank you for praying for the Embera church conference held in Abundio’s village during Semana Santa. There were probably between 170 and 200 there from all the churches except one. The believers there did a very good job hosting the conference,even though they had to buy everything,including the platanos. One village upriver gave 1,700 platanos as part of their quota for the conference. 

We were not involved in the conference at all,except for praying behind the scenes,but we got a thorough report from Jamie Enemark,one of the missionaries with New Tribes Mission who works in teaching and discipleship among the Emberas. Here are some excerpts:

“The [men] that had gone ahead to the conference left word that I bring the speaker and microphones,but no one told me that,so we ended up using a sound system that another missionary had given to an Embera church in a nearby village.

“We [the New Tribes Mission Embera team] had received over $4,500 in outside donations to go to the flood victims [remember the floods that damaged so much property and destroyed crops and livestock in December],so I had already picked up a $1,400 medical order.  We also used some of these funds to make sure the people would be able to get to the conference to take advantage of the fellowship as well as the medicines. It was pretty basic stuff,Imodium,Tylenol,Ibuprofen,Flagyl,Mebenda,Clotrimazole,another antibiotic cream,lice treatment shampoo,Amoxicillin in powder form for children,and some Nystatin. Elidia,Abundio’s daughter,did all the dispatching of the meds,and did a very decent job. She’s been getting some training from a health promotor from the village upriver,who has been helping the church in her village as they have the meds coming in from the Christian Medical Mission of Panama. She sat there for hours on end,with people coming and going in the afternoons,as there was nothing done in the mornings because of the teaching sessions. 

“The remainder of the donated money will be spread between the churches for them to buy seed for this coming rainy season,and the executive committee encouraged them to invest this amount in local church agriculture projects to then be available over the years to come. Some of the rest of the costs of the conference were covered by our team fund and of course the food money that was collected from the people attending. 

“Edyl and Otoniel taught a group of young people who were unsaved and Torro taught the saved ones. Diana and Bienvenido taught the kids,and the adult sessions were handled by Cesar,Chicho and Abundio. The general sessions were handled by different men,as were the devotional periods. All are impressed with Américo Ají and the way he teaches clearly. I preached on Saturday night,but really was there at the conference as an observer most of the time,which was OK with me.

“Throughout the conference people came forward and were saved. Two men came back to the Lord after walking away for many years.  About 11 or 12 were baptized on Sunday.  I couldn’t see how many were in the line,so am kinda guessing!  The Gospel message was very clearly preached during the night meetings,and that was good because the meetings usually ended up going till close to 11pm!!! Some were sharing and many sang specials.

“There is one lady from Caleta,who got up and shared several times.  She was definitely an encouragement to those in the congregation.  She has been a believer for many years,and she has been very faithful over those years,as has her husband,a quiet,unassuming man.  She loves to fellowship during the conferences,but for a long time she hadn’t been able to attend until a few years ago. Next year’s conference is going to be held in her village. The Christmas conference will be held in the same village where it was to have been held last year but was cancelled because of the floods.

“Americo Aji and Beltran Berrugate were chosen to be the official reps for the church for the alphabet issues and related activities.  They’ll do a good job together.  Nothing new has come about on the alphabet,so the church is going to be trying to get an appointment to talk with someone in the Ministry of Education and also come up with a statement of resolution on the church’s stand on the alphabet,actually getting it published in the newspaper.  They’re not going to sit back and just let the rest run over them now–it’s time to take a stand.

“One thing that really encouraged me during one afternoon session was when Eufemio,a church leader (whose wife died suddenly in November),got up and gave a strong challenge to the other leaders to pray for each other by name each day,that God would give growth to each church and that the leaders would be faithful to God during this next year.”

Chaz also spoke briefly with Abundio last week,who said he’s very satisfied with how the conference went and they could all see God’s hand in it. Please pray for lasting positive results,increased unity and spiritual growth for the attendees. Jamie told us several people expressed interest in Scripture portions that don’t have any,so he will come by this week to pick up some copies that Chaz had bound this week. He is heading back out to an Embera community and will distribute them out there. Thank you for your gifts to our work fund,so that we can pay for that binding and distributing.

That was some GOOD pork soup and arroz con coco [rice with coconut]!

Eufemio sharing from the Word during a morning session

Baptism in the Tuquesa –Dionisio in the water,Eufemio leading on shore

Translation consultant training

Looking to the future,Chaz left this morning for Oaxaca,Mexico,for two weeks. He will be attending a seminar of training to be a translation consultant with Wycliffe. This is a person who works alongside translation teams,checking their work,giving suggestions,asking questions,etc. to ensure that the translation is understandable and is progressing at a good rate. The consultant sometimes can do his/her work over e-mail,other time s/he will travel to meet with the team and usually with the indigenous co-translators as well. He is considering this as a future job when the Embera translation project is done,and could possible do some consulting sooner on a limited schedule. He’s excited about this great opportunity for training and asks for prayer,that it will be clear to him what God wants him to do with this training and when. Please pray for all those attending this conference and for those doing the teaching.

Helga,for Chaz,Kirsten,Danny and Laura

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