Helga dropped me off at 11 AM on Wednesday morning at yet another Embera alphabet meeting on the way to taking her parents to the airport. This meeting was brief and productive,yet it turned into two lunch periods and another meeting on the other side of the city,which was also positive,for the church has found some allies in the council of local Embera village leaders.
It turns out that while the alphabet debate has been going on,there has also been a dispute in regard to who is the general chief of the Emberas in Panama. One was elected in 2003,then replaced in a hastily arranged meeting in 2004. About a month after this,his dismissal was nullified. As a result,the council of local leaders met and decided there would be no general chief until the general congress elects one at the end of July. The council will act as the chief until then. We are not sure if the dispute over the chiefs has anything to do with the alphabet or not.
There currently is a dispute among the people of the church,though. This is happening right when there are signs of hope,namely that the alphabet issue will be decided fairly and openly,as they wished,rather than behind closed doors. Certain members don’t trust others,while some want to use their roles in the alphabet debate as a means of self-agrandizement. Not all are in agreement about a certain strategic move that I believe was key. Please pray that the church members would submit to one another out of reverence for Christ and let him fight the battle. Pray that they would realize that the greatest among them must be the servant of all.
There will be a workshop tomorrow at the Embera church near the city and I will be demonstrating how the two alphabets are based linguistically and the differences between them in practice,i.e. reading! I ask for your prayers that I communicate clearly and effectively.