Equipping Church Leaders • East Africa                   |||             "DEEP FOUNDATIONS • HEALTHY CHURCHES • TRANSFORMED LIVES"

Deepening the foundations of biblical knowledge for East African church leaders

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Burundi Kenya Rwanda S Sudan Tanzania   

to create healthy churches and transformed lives.

To learn more about each of the countries of East Africa and ECLEA's work in those countries, please click on the flags of the countries above.

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

ECLEA Director Jonathan Menn with Maasai leader Boniface Kugotha at a Biblical Stewardship TOT in Nairobi.

Jonathan Menn-ECLEA Director
Jonathan Menn

February 2024: Report from Rwanda

I am back in "the land of 1000 hills," the beautiful country of Rwanda. The first three days we did Biblical Interpretation in Kanombe, a district of Kigali for 10+ participants. I have been to Kanombe several times. This was a repeat class on Biblical Interpretation. It had been taught by another ECLEA teacher some time ago. As I told the students, "Repeating a curse is a good thing. You will probably learn new things and things that you may have heard before will sink in in a way they hadn't previously."

That proved to be the case here. Several students commented how they were impressed with reading and thinking about what they read more deeply and the importance of CONTEXT. In a few areas, their pre-existing "frameworks" (the way they always had understood something) were challenged. We saw how every aspect of the Bible has implications and applications for our lives. These may not be spelled out in narrative passages, but clearly emerge when the passage is thought about and put together with the rest of Scripture. All-in-all, it was a good and worthwhile time for all of us.

Kanombe group

We then traveled to the Ngoma District of the Eastern Province where we repeated Biblical Interpretation. The first day (Thursday) was Heroes Day here in Rwanda. We are staying about 30 minutes away from our venue, because there are no hotels or guest houses in the village of Rukizi where our training conference is being held. I have not been here before. The Heroes Day celebrations at first were going to delay the beginning of the conference's first day until the afternoon. However, because of rain, the celebration itself was delayed; as a result, we had to cancel our first day of training. One gets used to such things here in East Africa.

Today (Friday) we completed the first of now two days, with 22 enthusiastic participants. Many of them had previously attended ECLEA classes taught by ECLEA-Rwanda teachers. That is one of the great benefits of our model: most of the teaching is done by trained East African teachers instead of having to rely on Westerners.

The class went well. Pre-existing interpretational "frameworks" of some Pentecostal participants were challenged (particularly regarding the necessity that all people who have the Holy Spirit must speak in tongues) when we went through the text of 1 Corinthians 12). Lively and lengthy conversations regarding that and the church at Laodicea (Revelation 3) took place in Kinyarwanda. Protais later told me the substance of the discussion/debates. I always think it is a good thing when something like that happens, since it indicates the participants are interested and engaged. 

We also discussed the different spiritual gifts and the relative importance of the gifts compared to the "fruit of the Spirit." That discussion may not directly challenge a framework, but I believe that some will re-look at their priorities as church leaders. We will be doing a number of exercises tomorrow. In short, although our time in Rukizi is truncated, the time is well-spent, and much learning is taking place, which, God-willing, will lead to deeper foundations, healthy churches, and transformed lives.

Ngoma group

Following my last report, I was supposed to have two more conferences--in Gicumbi and Kigali. Gicumbi went very well, as I shall mention. However, in Kigali, the day before the conference was to begin, the Kigali City Council closed down the church where we were going to meet, demanding that the church "use tires and advanced sound proof" system. We certainly do not make much noise. The government has been heavily regulating and imposing itself on churches throughout Rwanda, particularly non-Anglican and non-Roman Catholic churches. We were not able to find another venue in such a short time, so we had to cancel.

In Gicumbi, I had been scheduled to do the book of Revelation. However, when we arrived at the venue, Protais said he thought that doing Biblical Interpretation again would be more valuable at this time. So, we did Biblical Interpretation. The attendance increased from about 30 participants to 40 on the last day.

Protais addressing Gicumbi group

I thought things went very well. Not only were there important discussions of the relative importance of the spiritual gifts vs. spiritual fruit, preaching series' of sermons through books of the Bible, and how to deal with the "Lamechs" (Gen 4:17-24) in the churches, but several participants testified at the end of how valuable the conference was to them. More than one mentioned the importance of taking into account the immediate and broader context of Scripture when reading the Bible, how love is more important than all of the spiritual gifts, and that, in the New Covenant, our giving to help the poor and needy and spread the gospel, should not end at 10%, but should begin at 10%.

Terraced hillside near Gicumbi                                "The land of 1000 hills" near Gicumbi

All in all, it was a worthwhile trip. As Protais texted me when I was about to leave, the classes "went well, and now people are responding well." I will now be home until early April, when I return to Kenya.

Best regards, Jonathan


Paul and Rosemary Nelsen-ECLEA Missionary Teachers

February 2024
Paul and Rosemary Nelsen are in Tanga, Tanzania. Rosemary has been teaching the Biblical Literacy course she developed. Biblical Literacy is ECLEA’s overview course of the Old and New Testaments. Check it out (both the written course and Rosemary’s video lectures) on the “ECLEA Courses & Resources” page of the ECLEA website (

Rosemary teaching in Tanga                         Visual aids for Biblical Literacy course                  Rosemary teaching Biblical Literacy

Rosemary spoke to a pastor named Lazarus who has taught the ECLEA course Christianity and Islam. His church has witnessed to more than 200 Muslims. Sixty have come to Christ. This is the power of the Equipping Church Leaders East Africa material.

Rosemary and Pastor Lazarus

Deep Foundations produce Healthy Churches for Transformed Lives.

Rosemary just filed this supplemental report:

It may have been said once that, “East Africa is a mile wide and an inch deep” in its Biblical understanding, but this is changing and at a rate that shows the power of God.

Paul and Rosemary Nelsen witnessed this personally from January 22-27 while in Tanzania with their host, Joram Ibrahim, who is the National Director of Equipping Church Leaders East Africa in Tanzania. They were there to teach three courses in Biblical Literacy by Rosemary and a leadership course based on Nehemiah that Paul taught.

Besides this Rosemary said, “When we set our dates we had no idea that an ELCEA graduation of about 40 students would fall on the day before we left in Tanga. What a privilege it was to be part of this well organized course of study by the students.”

For more than two years 20 courses of ECLEA were taught which included assignments, logging their hours of study, doing papers and being assessed by their teachers. Joram said, “We want them to go deep into the scriptures, to understand the power of God’s Word.”

“It was obvious that they wanted to know the Bible and see its transforming of lives,” Paul added. “We may not have been able to speak Swahili, but we certainly understood their commitment to His Word.”

The Nelsens not only witnessed the graduation but were asked to hand out the certificates of accomplishment. The graduates wore black cap and gowns, but their leaders wore ones that were colorful. “It was a wonderful experience,” the Nelsens said. They had met many of these students in Tanga where they taught. Most were pastors who already had their own churches, but now could offer so much more depth of understanding in their preaching and teaching.

Something else that impressed them was what another ECLEA leadernamed Lazarus told them. He teaches ECLEA’S Islam and Christianity Course. He had not only taught it but he and his church now witness to Muslims whenever they can. Lazarus said, “We have witnessed to 200 Muslims (in Tanga) pointing out Jesus in the Quran. Sixty have been converted to Christianity” and nine are in his church continuing in a small group to learn more about Jesus.

Joram is convinced that the mission statement of ECLEA is being fulfilled. It states ECLEA is deepening foundations, helping to create healthy churches, and is seeing transformed lives. This is not just happening in Tanzania, but in the other four nations Rawanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya where ECLEA courses are being taught. Other graduations have been attended by ECLEA Executive Director Jonathan Menn in Kenya and in Burundi.

The mission statement is being fulfilled and ECLEA is deepening the Biblical and theological understanding of church leaders in these countries.

Joram said, “It isn’t an inch deep anymore. It is now up to our knees or higher and we glorify God for this.”


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