ECLEA News & Blog
Accounts of ECLEA's training conferences are set forth below, often with photos. Accounts of all-African conferences and TOTs are contained in the pages of the individual East African countries (click on the flags above to go to the pages of the countries). Older news accounts are located in the News Archive. News items are added regularly, so please stop back often.
Additionally, ECLEA's director, Jonathan Menn, maintains a blog related to ECLEA that includes entries pertaining to his book, Biblical Eschatology, sermons he has preached, the activities of ECLEA-trained East African pastor-teachers, and other matters.
Visit Jonathan's blog here.
ECLEA Director Jonathan Menn with Maasai leader Boniface Kugotha at a Biblical Stewardship TOT in Nairobi.
REPORT OF TRIP TO BURUNDI AND RWANDA, JAN-FEB 2017
I went through our extensive Christianity & Islam: Theological Essentials book with the staff of Rema Ministries in Bujumbura, Burundi. Because I arrived a day late, we covered it in 3 1/2 days instead of 4 1/2. Nevertheless, we did it justice and the book was well received. This came at a very good time since in the past 2 years Muslims have been erecting mosques and schools all over the country, even where there are very few Muslims. It appears that Turkey is the prime mover behind this drive. I am sorry to say that the US and the West seem to have their heads in the sand when it comes to this and to involvement with East Africa in general.
At Reman Ministries
I have just finished doing Biblical Theology with about 12 participants here in Rwanda. This course is so important, and it prompted many questions and much discussion. Additionally, I spoke twice at night to a particular church regarding prayer. They are looking for "breakthrough" prayer. I focused my remarks on putting Jesus first--his character, values, priorities, desires, etc.--and becoming like him. That is the key, as I see it, to effective prayer. It may not have been what they expected, but when it was over, I think they understood and appreciated the importance of this.
Biblical Theology is a foundational course that covers the basic biblical storyline and how the Bible fits together (particularly how the NT fulfills the OT). The 15 participants found this to be an enlightening course. One member commented that "we thought we knew these things [but discovered we didn't]."
Brett Favre, post-retirement, in Byumba
One of the things I want to concentrate on with ECLEA's East Africa leaders is our foundational theological courses of Biblical Interpretation and Biblical Theology, which prepare the way for Expository Preaching. I was therefore happy to do Expository Preaching with 10 of ECLEA-Rwanda's regional leaders. Being able to take a passage of Scripture, analyze it, find the main point, and see how it applies to major life issues can be transformative. Everyone (including me) preached a sermon and was critiqued by the rest of the group. One participant said that this course "overcomes the problem of shallowness." Another compared preaching in this manner to "a good speech by President Kagame which remains in the mind because of good ideas even though he doesn't shout and say 'Hallelujah!'"
Kigali Expository Preaching students
I am happy to add that the Kigali class included Samuel Tumushime, general secretary of the Church of God in Rwanda. Samuel is going to recruit a number of pastor-teachers and form a new ECLEA center in Kigali. He is excited to become a part of ECLEA and is impressed by our materials. Samuel preached on Psalm 1. Following his preaching and critique, I asked him what he was planning on preaching in his church on Sunday. He said that he was going to rework his sermon in light of the critique and preach Psalm 1. I just received an email from him that he did preach that sermon on Sunday. He said, "Wonderful THINGS HAPPENED WHEN THEY NOTICED I WAS PREACHING DIFFERENTLY AND THEY CAME FORWARD TO BE THE BLESSED OF THE Lord."
I will be home until early April when I will leave for Kenya. During this time I have some translations to proof and also want to finalize our next ECLEA book on The Church: Its Mission & Purpose, which concentrates on discipleship and mission.
I thank you for your prayers and financial support. On the flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi we had to turn around and return to Amsterdam because of a problem with the "skin" on one of the wings. The importance of prayer came home to me (again) in that I received an email from one of my supporters who said "when I read about the plane having to turn back, I realized that I did hear the HS about praying for the flight....didn't know why, but I prayed....thank you for sharing and encouraging me with what you said. Not sure how to put it any other way." God's ways, and the whole issue of prayer, sometimes can be mysterious. I thank you all for your faithfulness--it makes a difference.
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REPORT OF TRIP TO KENYA--APRIL 2017
We got to Murang'a in central Kenya about 1:00AM (I brought 2 cases of Bibles over here for one of ECLEA's regional coordinators, and it took a considerable time for them to actually get off the plane and to me). In any event, we did Biblical Theology at George Kariuki's church with about 20 participants. Because of some scheduling conflict, we were only able to do 2 days, not 3. Nevertheless, we covered most of the important material, and I think the participants generally "got it," although much of the material (especially how the entire OT is full of "types" and "shadows" that point to Christ and the church) was largely new to them.
On the way to Muthara: baboons by the road and Mount Kenya
Barnabas Mpekethi picked me up, and we traveled to his home town, near Meru. This is the area where the drug mirra [khat] is grown. Barnabas and other church leaders are trying their best to get the local farmers into other cash crops instead.
I preached on Sunday from Hebrews 4-5 on why we can trust Christ. The host pastor, who was one of the participants in our Biblical Interpretation course, told me on Monday that one young woman received Christ as her savior and Lord as a result of the sermon. Praise God!
The Biblical Interpretation course went well, I believe. The 15 or so participants discussed many different OT and NT passages of different genres. This was all very new, and there were lively discussions particularly concerning prophecy and eschatology (the study of the "last things").
Barnabas, Jonathan, Robert, and Muthara participants
We headed back south for another Biblical Interpretation course in Kiangai, near Karatina (where I stayed). I am happy to say that Samuel Tumushime, one of ECLEA-Rwanda's (new) regional leaders has come to Kenya and was part of this course and will also join our next course on Biblical Stewardship in Nakuru. Samuel (who does have a theological education), said that our material on Biblical Interpretation is deeper and goes far beyond the similar material he had at theological school and, at the same time, is very practical.
Again, most of the material was new to the participants. Many commented how their "frameworks" (the way they traditionally have seen things) are being challenged. One example: we looked at 6 OT and NT passages that discuss Sodom and Gomorrah (in addition to the basic story in Genesis 18-19). We found that the traditional view of the "sin of Sodom" is never explicitly stated, the actual reason God destroyed the cities (stated by God in Ezek 16:49-50) is different from the the "traditional" view, and the actual "sin of Sodom" is far more nuanced than the way they have traditionally taken it. I am trusting God that this course will bear good fruit in their lives and ministries as they read the course book and study the Scriptures in context.
By "chance" our group met Bob Mwangi's friends, Bishop Zachariah Shahasi and his wife Rebecca, at a restuarant; Rebecca and Zachariah then invited us to stay in their house while we were in Nakuru. They were wonderful hosts and we very much appreciated their hospitality and home cooked meals.
Bishop & Rebecca Shahasi
In Nakuru we did Biblical Stewardship with about 11 participants. The section on stewardship of relationships prompted a huge discussion on marriage, which became quite animated and evolved into a discussion conducted in Kiswahili. I am so happy when that kind of thing takes place! Two pastors, who had gone through very unfortunate divorces, told their stories. That made me think that the principles of the Bible go to the heart of our lives, and when we get away from them, problems of various kinds inevitably result.
We did Biblical Interpretation with about 18 participants. The Nairobi pastors tend to be a little better educated than those in more rural areas. However, cultural and denominational "frameworks" still tend to be quite strong. One interesting dynamic of the Nairobi meeting was that it occurred during the middle of Kenya's electoral primaries. There was lots of campaigning going on (including vehicles equipped with loudspeakers, which many candidates seem to love). The final election will be held in mid-August. Please pray that it be free and fair and that there will be no post-election violence as occurred in 2007.
Campaign bus in Nairobi
I finished the trip in the central Kenya town of Kangari, doing another Biblical Interpretation course for about 14 participants. I began my time in Kangari by preaching three times on Sunday. Our host, ECLEA regional coordinator Thomas Mwai, not only has his regular church but also leads a congregation of mostly younger people which meets in a supermarket. Later on Sunday, his wife Esther (who is a gospel singer) was having a CD launch event at Thomas's church. It was a well-attended and fun event. The Biblical Interpretation training itself went well and, in particular, prompted a good conversation concerning the centrality of love, both for relationships and for Christianity as a whole.
Esther & Thomas Mwai Ng'ang'a
I will now be home until mid-June, when I will leave again, this time for Tanzania. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. You are making a difference in an extremely strategic part of the world. God bless you, Jonathan
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Report of trip to Tanzania, June-July 2017
This is an interesting trip in that we have done our new course on The Church: Its Nature, Mission, and Purpose for the first time, and I will be teaching Biblical Eschatology for the first time next week as we complete our time in Tanzania. Here are some highlights:
Dar es Salaam (Kibamba)
I flew into Dar, which is the largest port on the coast. It is a largely Muslim area. In the new subdistrict of Kibamba we did Christianity and Islam: Theological Essentials over four days with 15-18 participants. The course deals with the most important aspects of both Christianity and Islam: Jesus & Muhammad; Sin & Salvation according to Christianity and Islam; Yahweh & Allah; the Bible & the Qur'an; and bridging the divide between Islam and the gospel, primarily by using the Qur'an itself. So it amounts to an in-depth comparison and contrast of both religions in one place.
Discussion group in Kiamba
One interesting point: a prime sticking point for Muslims is the idea of the Trinity (one God in three persons). It was evident that most of the church leaders had never thought much or studied the concept of Trinity. The concept clearly emerges from the Bible and is reflected in many aspects of creation itself, as the book discusses. I think this will help church leaders defend their faith when it is attacked. The book, along with our other books, is on the "ECLEA Courses & Resources" page of the ECLEA website (www.eclea.net).
Tegeta and Tanga
We then went to the city of Tegeta in the greater Dar es Salaam area for "The Church." Although 25 participants had been invited and said they would come, we had only eight. The attendance was disappointing, but the participants themselves were very active and there was much good discussion. I should add that, although it is a good-sized city, Tegeta has the worst roads of any place I have been throughout East Africa. The paved roads are fine, but most of the city has dirt roads that are up-and-down and full of ruts such that our driver could only drive in 1st or 2nd gear. Incredible.
Our venue in Tegeta
We then took a lengthy bus ride up to Tanga where we again did "The Church," this time with 16 engaged and interested participants. In the book, we discuss, among other things, worship, discipleship, mission, and unity. At the end of the course, one participant told me that awhile ago a couple of pastors from Rick Warren's church were in Tanga leading a seminar that dealt with the same four issues. She added that our ECLEA book is far deeper and more detailed. Needless to say, I was gratified to hear that. This is a course which, if applied, can transform the churches and, through them, the communities.
Lunch in Tanga
We did the course on Expository Preaching in Babati. This was one of the more frustrating experiences I have had. We began with 12 participants, all of whom were supposed to be reasonably fluent in English since I would not be using a translator and they were supposed to preach in English on the last day. Unfortunately, while they all knew English to one degree or another, only one was quite fluent and was able to preach in English (and, I am happy to say, he did a creditable job). The others simply were not that comfortable, so they did not answer many questions, and the questions they asked were in Swahili. Dickson Laizer translated some of what I said. I was quite concerned that they were not "getting it," and it was evident that the vast majority had never really learned how to study a passage of Scripture to see what it was all about. We also lost some of the students after the first day: two were called away by their bishop for some event and two vanished without a word.
Be that as it may, on the last day I had one English preacher (and another who spoke well enough to listen and participate in the critique). Three of the other participants preached in Swahili for Dickson. He, like I, was encouraged. He said that, although they have quite a way to go, they picked up and tried to apply some of the things we talked about. Further, the whole group said they wanted more trainings. So, praise God! More was evidently getting through than I had thought at the time.
Stephano Edward, my English preacher
I concluded the trip with 5 full days going through Biblical Eschatology (the study of the "last things") with around 15 interested participants in Arusha. The book (which was published in Sept. 2013 by Wipf & Stock Publishers and is available in a Kindle edition) is a comprehensive look at eschatology: it deals with all the major issues, biblical passages, and positions. The participants themselves had basically only been taught the "dispensational premillennial" view, so being exposed to a more comprehensive look at eschatology was eye-opening. It was quite challenging for many of the participants to look at the symbols and images of the book of Revelation as symbols, rather than trying to "literalize" them, as one participant did by asking, "What about the women?" concerning Rev 14:4 where the church is depicted as male virgins. (That image of the church denotes spiritual purity and draws on the historical precedent of an army which required ritual purity to fight a holy war.)
The group in Arusha
We all saw how relevant Revelation is for the church, as it continually confronts us with the questions, "Who is my true Lord, and where do my true loyalties lie--with Christ or the world, my life in Christ or my physical life?" Dickson Laizer (ECLEA's Tanzania national coordinator) has suggested that we repeat the course in Tanga, TZ later in the year.
I will now be home until mid-August, when I leave for Uganda and Rwanda. There will be much to do while I am at home, and I am also looking forward to seeing many of you. Thank you for your prayers and support--you are making a difference. Attached are some photos to give you an idea of the people I worked with in Tanzania. Until later, Jonathan
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|Jonathan Menn, ECLEA DirectorREPORT OF TRIP TO UGANDA AND RWANDA: AUG-SEPT 2017
I have finished a full week in Mukono, Uganda
. I have been with a good group of about 28-30 church leaders, including most of ECLEA-Uganda's national and regional leaders. We did the following two courses:Biblical Theology
We began by doing the course on Biblical Theology
over 3 full days. Biblical Theolog
y concerns the storyline of the Bible and how the New Testament fits together with the Old Testament. The latter aspect is most interesting, as Christ and the church fulfill everything that the OT was about. Seeing all the "types" and "shadows" in the OT and how they point to Jesus proved to be stimulating, and much good and fruitful conversation ensued. All of this also has practical application, as we strive to have churches that exhibit the living Christ in our communities.
At the end of the course, one participant said, "What we are teaching are deep things that pastors need to know. It kindles a new zeal to learn some more."
Biblical Theology group at MukonoBiblical Interpretation
We then did Biblical Interpretation
with the same participants. It was a great time as we looked at multiple passages from different genres. Some of these gave new insights to the church leaders. One commented, "Bad theology leads to bad preaching which leads to a bad harvest and problems with churches." So true--but that is one of the things ECLEA is working to remedy.
It was reassuring that these meetings were well organized by ECLEA-Uganda's national coordinator, Bishop Stephen Sempala, and the participants were good at keeping time. The depth and interest in the meetings meant that we went from about 9:15AM to close to 5:00PM except for the last day when we ended earlier.Here are highlights of events in Rwanda, where I was after leaving Uganda:Expository Preaching, round 2
We did a second round of Expository Preaching
for 12-13 participants, including most of Rwanda's regional coordinators. Before we began, several of the participants reported that they have endeavored to preach more expositorily. Some have found analyzing biblical passages to be difficult; however, all have found it worthwhile and that this system has deepened their own understanding and the congregations tend to be more "alert and attentive and want to hear what you have to say."
I noticed some improvement when the participants preached on the third day of our training. Application still tends to be too general, so we spent considerable time talking about that. We are on the right track, and the participants wanted to do a third round of Expository Preaching when I return to Rwanda next year.Biblical Interpretation
We did Biblical Interpretation
for 12-13 participants at Samuel Tumushime's school complex in Kigali. Some of the participants had previously taken this course, but as one of them said, "This time it seemed so much sweeter, and I gained more insights."
As is usually the case when I teach this course, people's "frameworks" (the received ways of seeing things) were challenged in certain areas as we actually looked at what several passages of Scripture have to say about certain topics. Samuel Tumushime and his wife
Pastor Tumushime himself said, "You are destroying all the verses we go to when we want to raise funds."
I replied in substance, "No. As you have seen, you have been using those verses the wrong way. When you see what they are actually saying in context, they can be more powerful and meaningful."
In fact, a day or so after we completed the course, I saw one of the participants who told me that seeing what the Bible says in context gave him the confidence to talk to a Muslim and other nonbelievers about the gospel from the Word of God! He could not have said anything that would make me more happy."The Engine"
Francis Ngoboka (ECLEA-Rwanda's national coordinator) and I completed my time in Rwanda by meeting and going through Biblical Stewardship with several influential people. This was arranged by Francis's sister. The group started calling itself "the engine," as they hope to be the engine that will get ECLEA more widely known in larger churches and among well-known and influential pastors and bishops. They will continue to meet from time to time in my absence. This has real potential. Please hold it up in your prayers."The Engine"
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Jonathan Menn, ECLEA Director
REPORT OF TRIP TO UGANDA & TANZANIA, OCT. 22-NOV. 11, 2017
I have finished my fifth trip to East Africa for 2017. We began with a week in Uganda. Here’s what happened:
Bishop Stephen Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda's national coordinator, and I traveled to Masindi, headquarters of the Masindi-Kitara Diocese of the Church of Uganda (COU--Anglican). There we led ECLEA's course on The Church: Its Nature, Mission, and Purpose with 13 participants in attendance. That book focuses primarily on discipleship and mission. It includes multiple resources and practical suggestions for developing a systematic and comprehensive discipleship program.
As I told the participants, "If you do not have a formal discipleship program in your church, you are failing at your primary responsibility." Each of the church leaders did have some form of discipleship program, but it was clear from the note-taking and the discussion that they all saw many areas in which their discipleship programs were lacking and could be improved. It will take some time, some earnest discussion and research, and some effort to implement more systematic and comprehensive discipleship programs, but it will be worth it. Real discipleship will be transformative--not just for the individuals involved but for the churches and, through the churches, their communities. This is ECLEA's goal: "Deep foundations, healthy churches, and transformed lives."
Meetings with Bishops
The day after our training session ended, Stephen and I met with the Masindi-Kitara Bishop, Rev. George Kasangaki. The next day we were able to meet with the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, his grace Stanley Ntagali. He was very favorable about what ECLEA is doing and has given his blessing for us to partner with the COU throughout the Province of Uganda. Through the good offices of the archbishop, ECLEA in the future will be able to develop good working relationships with the COU throughout the entire nation. The day after that, we met with Bishop Alfred Olwa of the Lango Diocese, headquartered at Lira, UG. He also was enthusiastic about our working with his diocese. These developments are very heartening, and the potential impact of these meetings is tremendous!
Bishop Sempala, Archbishop Ntagali, JMM
After leaving Uganda, I traveled to Tanzania. Here's a brief report of events in Tanzania:
I led our course on The Church: Its Nature, Mission, and Purpose for about 18 participants. There is so much important, practical, and potentially transformative information in this course! Dickson Laizer, ECLEA-Tanzania's national coordinator, told me that the participants were discussing the course outside and during lunch. He told me that one said, "This course has so much more than we had in Bible School." Dickson felt that everyone was eager to learn and estimated that 75% would try to apply what we discussed.
Application is, of course, the key, particularly since the course has a real concentration on discipleship and mission. It includes lots of practical suggestions for both, including multiple discipleship resources and courses available online for free. However, applying a comprehensive and systematic discipleship program (and mission strategy) will take lots of research, conversation, thought, and effort, since both represent a sea-change in how most churches are currently operating. The potential impact in both areas, however, is tremendous!
Mirerani is a town about 20km from Kilimanjaro International Airport. It is pretty much dependent on the tanzanite mine located nearby. (Tanzanite is a gemstone found only in Tanzania.) Typically, the town looks to be flat, dry, and dusty; however, due to the rain, when we got there it was flat, wet, and muddy.
Dickson and I were joined by ECLEA-Tanzania national secretary Joram Ibrahim and led the course on The Church: Its Nature, Mission, and Purpose for approximately 18 mostly Pentecostal participants. Our host, Bishop Somy Severiua Kaaya, is a good, wise, and winsome man. He said that he had been both enlightened and challenged by the course. The four interlocking missions and purposes of the church we stress are worship, discipleship, mission, and unity (wholeness). Some of the participants felt so strongly attached to the biblical mode of baptism (immersion) that they seemed very reluctant to reach out to and work with churches of other denominations who baptize by sprinkling or pouring. I hope that as they reflect on matters they will adopt a less exclusivistic attitude. Please pray for them.
Unfortunately also, only about half of the participants were able to actually contribute the 10,000Tsh (about $4.50 USD) to get the books. As a result, I fear that for most of the participants there will be little application. I hope I'm wrong, as this course, if applied, can transform churches and lead to multiple church members growing in depth in many areas of life. Again, please pray for this.
The last week was spent in the coastal city of Tanga where we did Biblical Eschatology for 12-14 participants over the course of four full days.
Most of the participants were Pentecostals. Consequently, the only thing they had been taught was premillennial eschatology and the "pretribulational rapture." Neither of these views are, in my opinion, biblically defensible. Hence, most of what we discussed was both new and challenging (the Anglican participants had a more biblical view of eschatology).
We began by looking at the major issues and then considered what I think is key: the overall biblical eschatological structure of the "two ages" (this age and the age to come). The dividing line between the two is the second coming of Christ, which entails resurrection of all, judgment of all, and the renewal of the earth. With that foundation, most of eschatology actually falls into place and is coherent and understandable. We looked at the major millennial views, and spent a day looking at Christ's Olivet Discourse and a day on the book of Revelation, as well as responding to multiple questions along the way.
At the Tanga Biblical Eschatology class
When we had finished, our host (a good and godly man) said in substance, "This has been a very thought-provoking and worthwhile time. We need to revisit the subject of eschatology and the book of Revelation so that we can know why we believe what we believe and be able to teach with confidence to our people."
At the conclusion, Joram Ibrahim (ECLEA-Tanzania's national secretary) gave the participants a homework assignment: take any passage or issue and write a page or so on what he/she believes concerning that issue and why. Each participant is to sent a copy to Joram and to me for our feedback. I think that is a great idea, and I look forward to hearing from them.
Now I will be home until mid-January. I hope to see many of you during that time. Your support of ECLEA is making a real difference.
Thank you and God bless you, Jonathan
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ECLEA 2017 YEAR-END REPORT
2017 has been an eventful year for ECLEA. Here are some of the highlights:
Jonathan’s work in East Africa
As has been my practice for several years, I made 5 trips to East Africa and did training sessions in each of the countries of the East Africa Community (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). As I have been trying to do for the last few years, I am working more and more with smaller groups of leaders rather than doing larger conferences. Also, I am trying to not do as many of ECLEA’s foundational courses (since we have good African teachers in each of the countries who teach these well) but concentrate on training our pastor-teachers in more theological courses. This focus is reflected in my work this year:
* Burundi: I spent a week doing Christianity & Islam with 10 members of Rema Ministries (ECLEA’s partner in Burundi) and selected others.
* Kenya: I did Biblical Interpretation 4 times with 65 total participants, Biblical Theology once with
20 participants, and Biblical Stewardship once with 11 participants.
* Rwanda: I did Biblical Theology 2 times with 28 total participants, Expository Preaching 2 times
with 22 total participants, and Biblical Interpretation once with 12 participants.
* Tanzania: I did The Church 4 times with 60 total participants, Biblical Eschatology 2 times
with 27 total participants, Christianity & Islam once with 30 participants, and Expository Preaching once with 12 participants.
* Uganda: I did Biblical Interpretation once with 30 participants, Biblical Theology once with 28 participants, and The Church once with 13 participants.
Frank Cummings’ work in East Africa
Frank made 3 trips to East Africa. He concentrates on Biblical Counseling and Hermeneutics (he uses somewhat different material than I use for Biblical Interpretation). He taught the following courses to over 100 total participants:
* Kenya: Biblical Counseling 3 times.
* Uganda: Hermeneutics once and Biblical Counseling 2 times.
* Rwanda: Biblical Counseling once.
All-African ECLEA training conferences
ECLEA’s name reflects what we stand for: we equip church leaders of East Africa so they can equip others. As a result, the vast majority of ECLEA’s work is done by the East Africa church leaders themselves! This is reflected in the all-African ECLEA training sessions conducted in 2017. My records indicate our ECLEA teams have taught the following courses (and the number of times each course has been taught):
* Burundi: Rema Ministries (ECLEA’s teaching partner in Burundi) did Biblical Theology—2; Biblical Stewardship—2; Christianity & Islam—12; Biblical Interpretation—4; and 1 Timothy—2. Rema
has established 4 teaching centers around the country and typically teaches for 5 days in a row, giving
assignments and conducting follow-up.
* Kenya: Kenya has 14 regions for ECLEA training, each with a regional coordinator. This year the
ECLEA-Kenya teams have done 1 Timothy—23; Forgiveness & Reconciliation—19; Biblical
Stewardship—35; Marriage & Parenting—8; Biblical Theology—6; Expository Preaching—4;
Biblical Interpretation—12; Biblical Counseling—1.
* Rwanda: Rwanda has established 6 training centers around the country, each with its own coordinator. This year the ECLEA-Rwanda teams have taught Marriage & Parenting in 3 centers, Biblical Interpretation in 4 centers, Biblical Theology in 4 centers, Biblical Counseling in 4 centers, Forgiveness & Reconciliation in 5 centers, The Church in 3 centers, and Expository Preaching in 6 centers.
* Tanzania: Tanzania is divided into 4 zones which are subdivided into regions and districts, with
ECLEA leaders over each. This year ECLEA-Tanzania teachers have done the following training
sessions: 1 Timothy—19; Biblical Stewardship—23; Expository Preaching—12; Biblical Theology—7; Biblical Interpretation—1; Forgiveness & Reconciliation—1; Marriage & Parenting—3.
* Uganda: Uganda is divided into 3 ECLEA teaching regions: West (primarily the Masindi-Kitara
Diocese of the Church of Uganda); Central (consisting of 12 centers); and the East (Soroti area).
ECLEA-Uganda teachers have taught the following: 1 Timothy—36; Biblical Stewardship—2; Biblical Interpretation—2; Marriage & Parenting—7; Forgiveness & Reconciliation—4; Biblical Theology—3; and The Church—3.
The impact ECLEA is having
Here are some reports I have received this year from East Africans concerning the effect ECLEA is having:
* Michael Mwalumba (Kenya): “ECLEA is making tangible and remarkable impact. Truly speaking ECLEA is completely different as compared to other organizations in terms of vision, structure, operation, and implementation; hence the fruits are vividly evident in many parts of Kenya and the rest of East Africa. For the years I have been involved, I am confident in training the courses since this has become part of me that I practice what I train and I have seen results in my personal life and in the ministry as well. We are proud to be part of what God is doing in East Africa through ECLEA.”
* Theodore Mbazumutima (Burundi): “We have been teaching the same course The Church: Its Nature, Mission, and Purpose in Cankuzo and I must say that the churches are being transformed beyond what can be described in an email like this. The course on Forgiveness is turning things upside down. I heard stories and stories on how people have been applying this course in their churches, families, and community. I cried because of joy and I could not believe my ears! Let me say it this way: you have no idea how God has used you in developing these courses. Yes you have no idea how important and practical the courses are. I am humbled by what God is doing.”
* Stephano Edward (Tanzania): “I thank you for the materials for translation which you promised to send to me. As I have said before, it has triple benefit to me. I take it as ministry opportunity for me, I am edified by the materials because in the process of doing I get deeper understanding of the subject and also this gives me general support as an individual and the family in my living.”
* Samuel Tumushime (Rwanda): “I am reporting to you that I have been blessed by translating the book and I have learnt much more about Christianity and Islam and salvation than ever before in all my theological training.”
* Alex Obaale (Uganda): “I had a team of 15 pastors and Christian leaders who attended our 1 Timothy conference in Mbale. The discussions were encouraging as a cross section of the pastors said with lament in their hearts that they wished they had first done or trained by ECLEA before they got into ministry, especially going through 1 Timothy. This is because 1 Timothy is foundational in the life of a Christian leader.”
Other ECLEA happenings
In addition to the all-African training conferences and the conferences led by Frank and me, more is going on to help equip the church leaders of East Africa, including the following:
* Each country now is led by excellent people and has organizations of pastor-teachers who all share the same vision and are committed to what ECLEA is doing. ECLEA’s vision and goal is summarized as “Deep Foundation - Healthy Churches - Transformed Lives.”
* Our goal is to have indigenous, independent, self-sustaining ECLEA organizations in each of the East African countries. To this end, the ECLEA organizations in the countries of East Africa are in the process of developing constitutions and registering with their respective governments as independent organizations (in Burundi our partner, Rema Ministries, is already established). This will facilitate a more effective presence and continuity, especially after the Westerners have left the scene.
* The development of new teaching books and the translation of our books into the major East African languages is continuing. This year our new course book The Church: Its nature, Mission, and Purpose was premiered, our book Biblical Eschatology was substantially revised, Biblical Interpretation was translated into Kiswahili, and Biblical Theology was translated into Kinyarwanda. The Kiswahili translation of Forgiveness & Reconciliation and the Alur translation of Biblical Stewardship are in their final stages.
* We now have a major opportunity to work with the Church of Uganda (Anglican) throughout the nation of Uganda. Stephen Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda’s national coordinator and I met with Archbishop Stanley Ntagali who has given ECLEA his blessing to work with all of the dioceses of the COU in Uganda!
I am very grateful for the East Africans who are doing an excellent job of equipping the church leaders in this vital and strategic part of the world. I am also thankful for those of you who pray for this ministry and support ECLEA financially. God has certainly answered our prayers, and your financial support is paying great dividends. Very few others are doing what we are doing and not on the scale we are doing it.
Here’s what you can do to make a difference
* Giving opportunities: Automatic fund transfers can be arranged through your bank, checks (payable to ECLEA) can be sent to the ECLEA office at 3701 N. Gillett St., Appleton, WI 54914, or tax-deductible giving can be done through the website (http://www.eclea.net/contact.html).
* To contact ECLEA's bookkeeper: If you wish to contact Benda Haase, ECLEA’s secretary and
bookkeeper, her office number is 920-731-5523 and her email address is email@example.com.
* We value your input and suggestions. If you no longer wish to receive these updates, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from the mailing list.
To give you some visual picture of the people we work closely with, below are photos of the national coordinators for each of the East African countries.
Frederic Harerimana, BU Ernest Mwilitsa, KE Francis Ngoboka, RW Dickson Laizer, TZ Stephen Sempala, UG
Thank you, and God bless you, Jonathan Menn (ECLEA Director)
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