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Uganda

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Uganda

Uganda lies on the northern and northwestern shores of Lake Victoria and includes a large portion of the lake within its national territory. It is otherwise surrounded by South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Called by Winston Chruchill the "pearl of Africa," Uganda is now enjoying a period of relative peace and stability.

 

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Photos of Uganda

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ECLEA in Uganda

Uganda is the first East African nation in which Jonathan Menn taught (in 2005). That trip was a key point in changing the focus of Jonathan's life and ultimately led to the formation of ECLEA. The formal commencement of ECLEA in early 2013 necessitated the formation of a new ECLEA-Uganda committee of pastor-teachers. We now have a solid and lasting, Uganda-based, structure that will result in much fruit in the years to come.

Here are updates from ECLEA's Uganda team concerning ECLEA's work in Uganda (older news accounts of ECLEA's work in Uganda and the rest of East Africa are located in the News Archive):

Stephen Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda national coordinator

Stephen Sempala

March 2018 ECLEA training sessions
We managed to train these centers: Amuria, Kabiramaido, Bukedea, Soroti, Bushenyi, Moyo.

In Bushenyi I had 17 leaders who turned up for the training. We went through The Church: It's Nature, Mission and Purpose. In all our near centers we have decided to start with this book as it is more foundational in nature compared to 1 Timothy. What stood out most for the leaders was the importance of Discipleship. Such questions were raised during the training: How can we have a proper discipleship class? How long does it take to disciple a church member? How do you know that someone is ready to be sent out for ministry? These and more related questions were asked.


Teaching outdoors

But as we went through the training they got the answers; more emphasis was put on leadership training. They all agreed that there is a need to make sure that the church is properly led by men and women who are well qualified so that they are in position to develop and equip the saints for the work of ministry. Secondly, these trained leaders will be able to work together with other leaders from other churches/denominations to build the Church of God in their areas. This has been a challenge in this region. More was said to put emphasis on make Disciples rather than Converts.


Training participants

In Moyo, I had 14 leaders, a mixture of the Pentecostals, two Anglicans, and the majority from the Baptist Church, which is Evangelical in nature. But the church there is united to a certain extent. What stood out most was the service bit. Serving within and out of the church among other aspects. Serving others above self was the major factor. It is more blessed to give than to receive. The leaders were encouraged to live their lives well in the communities were they live. As we have been told by the Holy Scriptures that "let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good work, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven." God is a Missionary God, so we are.


Training session

These trainings are so much valued when leaders come across them. Until that happens they will never get a chance to go through the trainings. It is for the above that we continue to pray for the work of ECLEA in Uganda to go to another level.
I have had a chance to do more extra bits in following up some centers, like Luwero where Pastor Waswa Emmanuel has involved himself with the community to do Stewardship on another level by teaching the leaders how to make cakes as a means of taking care of their livelihood. In Namagunga and Mukono, after the Stewardship follow-up we gave leaders certificates for completing their community involvement through taking care of their families and their surroundings.


Participants with their certificates

Yours in His Service,
Stephen

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Stephen Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda national coordinator

Comprehensive report of ECLEA training sessions through June 2018

ECLEA-Uganda appreciates the support we received from that has enabled us to train leaders across the country. These areas are in the northern, southern, eastern, central and western part of Uganda:
     South East (Jinja, Kamuli, Iganga, Kaliro, Namayingo, Busia, Bugiri, plus the Islands).
     South West (Lyantonde, Masaka and Kyotera, Bushenyi, Kanungu districts).
     North West (Arua, Koboko, Moyo and Yumbe, Nebbi – districts).
     North East (Kotido, Moroto, Abimu, Soroti, Bukedia, Amuyra and Kaberamaido –districts).

The number of church leaders was ranging from 10-29 in the centers that were trained. Though it was one center that had 10 leaders, but the majority was between 15 and 20 leaders.

One of the books that were taught in the centers was The Church. This book is foundational it gave the leaders a chance to come across Church history. Most of the leaders had not been to Bible colleges, so there was a mixture with the relationship between the Church at Jerusalem and the Gentile Church.

Some preferred the Jerusalem church because in that church members were united, they shared with those in need and met daily for prayers, while other leaders desired to have the Gentile church since everyone “owned” their wealth, lived in their “own” homes, and they seemed not to have pressure from the Apostles. The Gentile church characterizes the setting of most churches in Uganda.

Basing on the differences between the church in Jerusalem and the Gentile church that similar challenges were meant in different centers in Uganda and these were:

1. The Pastor and his wife/family possessing the church.
      i. He/she is the treasurer
      ii. He/she is the founder
      iii. He/she appoints anyone at any time and he/she is free to fire anyone at any moment.

According to the report from the center Coordinators lessons have been drawn from both settings of the Churches in Jerusalem and Gentile world. This is to mean that one can own things but use them to help others and this is for the glory of God.

2. Be holy for I am Holy.
Many found this to be challenging to be holy as God while others were quoting scriptures in the Old Testament that say that ‘our righteousness is filthy rugs’, so the question was how can we be holy as God?

We saw that when we keep on living for Him (God), He makes us. We will be holy as He is finally when we get to Glory. Our identification with God makes us to be his children and Him being our God and Father. Our relationship with Him makes us holy. It is through the blood of Jesus of the New Covenant that makes us holy.

3. Other areas of concern were issues to do with unity, where it was mentioned that unity comes from appreciating one another through the gifts God has given to each one of us. Serving one another, and belonging to one another, which lead us to have unity. We are called to be missionary people as God is a Missionary God; He went out to save that which lost…”Missio Dei”. Leaders were encouraged to reach as this is our mandate. Serving, giving part of our resources, giving our time and using our strength for others is our priority.

Pastor Josiah:

He and Pastor Francis as they were doing the training in the areas of Kyazanga, Masaka district they found this place to have 95% to be Muslim. They managed to get 10 senior Pastors from different denominations. Biblical Stewardship was the course that they taught and it fit in well with the demand of the time. We believe that Dr. Jonathan takes through the Coordinators through the course of Christianity and Islam when he comes in August this year, we will be well equipped to train such areas with the growing numbers of Islam.

One of the challenges we faced this time around more so in the distant districts was the early morning rains that affected members’ turn up and others came late. The most affected districts were Masaka, Kyotera, Kyazanga this is towards south western Uganda. Greater eastern was affected too and in some areas people died because of the floods, though the centers there members well acquitted with ECLEA trainings that keeping time is not their challenge.

Bishop Godfrey:

The same experience of Islam numbers was found in Iganga, Bugiri and Busia, says Bishop Godfrey. The reason why these areas have much Islam population comes way back in the late 18th century and early 19th, when the Arab traders settled along the Long Distance Trade route from Mombasa, Kenya to the interior of East Africa. They created trade centers, which later became towns and now these towns are turning into cities. It is on the same back ground that these areas need Bible teaching churches. This led Bishop Godfrey and the team to teach Biblical Interpretation. 24 leaders were registered in Iganga, and Busia 17 leaders. He says “it was a real challenge to them…they testified that they have been teaching and preaching using their own interpretations. But with these teachings, we know now how we are going to teach properly and reach out to the Muslims here.”

In brief, I may say that with your coming to train us in Christianity and Islam you will do us good, and we are looking forward to seeing you Sir. Thanks for your support and all who stand with you in this noble cause to equip us in order to reach out to others using this formula of 2 Timothy 2:2.

Pastor Alex:

Dr. Alex is recovering from a difficult momenthe went through with his family where by they lost their twins at the time of delivery. I have attached his report because it contains someinformation, which has been put together carefully. This is his report below:

I had just returned from Moroto district where I have been with the pastors handling 1 Timothy. It all turned to be one of the amazing group of leaders I met. Praise God. As you may know, Moroto is in the North eastern part of Soroti with distance of 180km from each other and only 35km away from Kenya border. In Kaberamaido, Kotido, Bukedea and Abim, the pastors and leaders in attendance were very participatory in the meetings and discussions. They kept time of arrival of which to me, this was so encouraging. Some pastors in Moroto, Bukedea have incorporated ECLEA materials and resources into their discipleship classes.

A total of 117 pastors and leaders have in this half of the year have gone through training on various courses like 1 Timothy, Biblical Marriage & Parenting and Biblical Counseling.

Amidst the challenge of floods in these areas still pastors could leave their gardens and come to study God’s Word. Bukedea, Moroto, and Kotido are badly hit by floods and this is affecting Teso region districts that always is a catchment area for the water flowing down from the Karamoja regions. Prayers are needed here brothers.

The areas I believe that pastors were challenged were as follows:

1. Issues of self-appointed apostles. In this region, there is a problem of people self-claim to be the apostles who are having fresh revelations from God to help build His Church. As we delved into what the scripture teaches on this and the commentary given in the manual, we were able to realize the clear distinction between the foundational apostles and the church commissioned apostles. This helped a great deal and leaders present confessed that this material is timely to this problem eating up the body of Christ in this area.

2. The second challenging issues to the leaders was the handing over to Satan....form of church discipline. I challenged the pastors by asking them how many of them still carry out church discipline? Out of 23 in attendance, less than a half said to do. Most of them said they have shied away because of church committees that always make clicks and turn the church disciplining process political. This was one of the reasons most leaders gave. Also their superiors in ministry dictate on the entire process of church discipline.

More to the above, pastors thought that it was difficult for them to really hand over the brother to Satan....But after going through Matt 18:17-19.they were encouraged and willing to execute this vital command.

3. On the issues of women teaching and women’s authority over men....Pastors said they were following their denominations’ beliefs and would critically study scriptures and see which position would be appropriate.

4. On qualifications on leadership, when Paul begins with “One must be...” Leaders in attendance were surprised to know that there are 15 requirements to have in order to become a leader in church. This was new to them and this charged them to know that aspiring to leadership is not just a simple issue but should be taken seriously.

5. The majority of the participants were challenged in their area of marriage and parenting. Issues of adultery stood up and recognized that this is one of the problems eating up their marriages.

6. Members pledged to take care of their wives, husbands, families, and children.

On the other issues: we learnrf that participants were encouraged and confessed to have opened their eyes; like our prayer life styles in talking and not waiting for God to talk back to us, the core scripture of 1Tim 1:5 turned to be a blessing to our study. Participants realized how that  scripture centers our life's in ministry and our personal life styles in everything we do. The participants were willing to lay down what they have been indoctrinated by their various denominations and follow the teachings of the Bible.

As a matter and means of follow-up, the participants asked me to help form accountability and preaching clubs so that they will check another s lifestyles and doctrines. To me this is a great milestone to combat heresy, falsehood, etc. At the end of the follow-up conferences, everybody thanked God for this opportunity to have come for this timely teachings and materials.

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Stephen Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda national coordinator

Stephen Sempala

Here are the updates from some of the centers where l have been conducting the training in July 2018.

In Namayingo where Alfred Balaza comes from I taught 1 Timothy. The number of leaders present were around 15 and the number was fluctuating, some came early, while others came late. We had a challenge where some had had a training with Rev Martin Odi. Although some of these leaders had been trained by him, there were some issues that were raised. So we got a chance to deal with them, such like the sound doctrine, which comes from the doctrine and authority of the apostles of which Paul was a herald from the false doctrine that came from certain men. The issue of a man having one wife was raised. I emphasized that if a man be found with more than one woman he should not be in place of leading a church, but that doesn't stop him from being a Christian and a member of a local church. Another issue was brought up when Paul instructed Timothy to drink little wine. I found out that most of their community leaders were born again Christians and some of the issues we address l believe that they are going to make a great impact in the nearby future.

There are more places where we have been invited to go, l have sent Alfred to go there and meet with brethren there and the report from there for me is encouraging.

In other centers like Mubende and Busia where 1 Timothy has been taught the above theological questions kept on coming up. The doctrine itself has been lacking, but the good thing is that as we go through other books of ECLEA, the leaders will be equipped with sound doctrine. The results will be amazing.

Tomorrow l will be going to Kyazanga with Pr. Josiah to train in a Muslim populated area.

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Stephen Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda national coordinator

Stephen Sempala

July 2018, continued:
Greetings in Jesus' Name. Here is the update from Kyazanga, which is beyond Masaka towards Mbarara in the western Uganda. This place has got more than 95% Muslims. There are 6 Pentecostal churches on the outskirts of this big town, and one Pentecostal church in that town. They have been getting threats from the Muslims to bring them down either by burning their structures with fire or physically fighting them out of the town. These people have been depending on prayers for their existence as the threats are too much to the extent that even the police can't do anything about those threats.

We taught 14 leaders, but we had a challenge with their time management. They promised to work on that next time we meet this was reached at after we took them through the importance of having training. We did the book of 1 Timothy as it suited well the time flame we had. Some of the Pentecostal Pastors didn't believe that in the Anglican community there are Born Again Christians. Their framework was that they are the only Christian believers and they could not have fellowship with the Anglicans. Through the teaching about the true and false doctrine, we explained what Paul meant when he mentioned myths, endless genealogies as a result of false teaching, and the true instruction that leads to having a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith. More emphasis was put on love, which leads to having a pure heart. Basically, 1 Tim 1:5 being the overall verse in this book, the leaders we encouraged to show love to God's people by living their myths and endless genealogies that are keeping them from interacting with God's people.

The news about the training reached the chairman of the Pastors' Fellowship of that town and his deputy who were not around, they met us and pledged to mobilize the church leaders come September to start major trainings in this region.

Thanks for the support, and your prayers. Next week l will be going to Zombe towards Arua in northern Uganda the leaders there what to meet them concerning the Eclea training in that sub region. May the Lord richly bless you.

Yours in His Service, Stephen

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Stephen Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda national coordinator

Stephen Sempala

August 2018--Report from Zombo, UG:
This is the report from Zombo west Nile. When traveling it takes between 8-9 hours’ drive, so I travelled at night. I met with Pr. Felix who took me and met other church leaders. One of them was from Anglican church.

I shared the vision of ECLEA and about your passion to see to it that these trainings equip the leaders. In our discussions I found out that we can reach Congo still through this region. There are three border points that can be used to enter Congo. One is 5km, another 20km and then 50km.

I also did a training in 1 Timothy, which was appropriate for them at the time like this. Major areas of concern were, the false doctrine, praying for those in authority and how that is important, choosing of leaders, father-son relationship, women in leadership, money and prosperity gospel. I praise God that during and after the training the leaders saw the need to be trained. They will be having a time where they will meet and share more with others who didn't turn up. They are going to mobilize themselves to see that their fellow's join them next time. They were 18 in number, more were going to join us but the morning rains affected us so much that we ended up with that number.

In His Service, Stephen

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Alex Obaale, ECLEA-Uganda regional coordinator

Alex Obaale

Report from Teso and Karamoja regions, August 2018:

Teso And Karamoja regions at this time are hit with harsh weather conditions. This has affected crop production and so there is looming famine to show up soon. Pray with us.

At this time 6 trainings have been done in both Teso and Karamoja regions amidst some challenges that have showed up since the reduction and cut of funds to feed the participants.

Some of the challenges met:

1. Almost all the centers reached by now. There has been a set back on the attendance as most of the people found it difficult to contribute for their lunches. This caused them to shy away from the trainings.

2. For Karamoja region, I had to print the books with mind that participants will pay back, but always less than a half of people in attendance could afford to  pay for the materials.

3. Before we used to provide food for the participants and have it cooked and served at the venue of the training, Now that each person has to cater for his or her meals, this has greatly affected the time of beginning afternoon sessions as people have to travel to their homes for long distances and come back or not even return.

Prayerfully looking for the upcoming trainings for this month and end of the year.

Blessings, Alex

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