ECLEA.net

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

Deepening the foundations of biblical knowledge for East African church leaders

Burundi Kenya Rwanda South Sudan Tanzania Uganda
Burundi Kenya Rwanda S Sudan Tanzania   
Uganda

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

APRIL 2022

It has been good to be back in Kenya (healthy and well this time). The trip has been interesting and productive. We began in Karatina with Christianity & Islam for about 20 participants. They were eager to learn. God-willing, they will apply what they have learned. 
   
Barnabas and me in ECLEA hoodies                                             Karatina Christianity & Islaml group

Kenya is in the grip of a terrible fuel shortage. Most petrol stations are out and the minority who can get it see lines blocks long. So far, we have been able to get some, albeit at exorbitant prices 

We did our next conference in a small, mud-constructed church in a rural area near Usingo village, about as close to the middle of nowhere as one can get. The 14 participants, however, absorbed the material like sponges. They see the value of biblical training and want to start a school there. Barnabas Mpekethi, George Okuta, and Robert Mwago all teamed with me in teaching Biblical Stewardship. They did excellently and related well to the students. All this confirms the truth of our name: we equip the church leaders of East Africa and they, in turn, equip others.

The students proved how committed they were. The church did not even have a pit latrine. After discussing stewardship of the environment, including an incident that happened in Uganda some years ago when cholera broke out in an area where people did not have pit latrines, the very next day the people of the church began digging a pit latrine! And we even talked about how doing that for others could be a great outreach. Applied Christianity is truly amazing! It also confirms ECLEA's motto: Deep Foundations => Healthy Churches => Transformed Lives.
    
                       Usingo church                                                                    Digging pit latrine

We did another Biblical Stewardship conference in the western Kenyan town of Kimilili. We had more than 50 participants, with Robert and Justus Wafula sharing the teaching load. They are understanding the material. This is my first time here, and they want ECLEA to return. I am sure that Bishop Justus will do just that. I am sending this report now because tomorrow, as soon as we finish in the early afternoon, we have a long trip back to Karatina, where we will begin another conference (on Biblical Marriage and Parenting) the next morning.

              Robert teaching at Kimilili

In our travels to the various venues we were able to briefly stop at: Thomsons Falls, located near the town with the highest elevation in Kenya (2360 meters above sea level) and also saw the homes and graves of Barack Obama's grandparents and father
    

I did three more conferences: Biblical Marriage & Parenting in Karatina and two 1 Timothy conferences, in Kiambu and Nairobi.

The Marriage and Parenting conference involved what I believe were the most in-depth discussions I have had in East Africa concerning the most important issues of marriage. These included communication, trust, sex, and money. The 12 participants also broke into small groups and discussed at length what they like and do not like about their spouses. All of this revealed that there are very significant issues in all of these area in a large number of Kenyan marriages. In light of that, we also talked about the need for doing lengthy and comprehensive pre-marital counseling for couples who want to get married. They need to go into marriage with their eyes open and equipped to deal with many of the challenges they will face. Please pray for the church leaders as they address these important matters.

     Small group discussion at marriage conference

In Kiambu, I was able to lead the church's Bible study and preach on Easter Sunday. At the conference, which began the next day, ECLEA regional coordinator Thomas Mwai taught about 1/2 the 1 Timothy teaching sessions. This was a new venue for me, and they definitely want ECLEA back. Thomas will probably lead a Biblical Stewardship conference in the relatively near future.

                Thomas teaching at Kiambu

David Njeru organized the 1 Timothy conference in Nairobi. He, along with former ECLEA-Kenya national coordinator Ernest Mwilitsa, taught about 1/2 the teaching units. The conference went well. As was true throughout this trip, this conference showed that our East African ECLEA teachers know their stuff and can teach it well. This is very important, since deepening the foundations and equipping the church leaders should not depend upon the Westerners.
     
               A gift from the ladies at Nairobi                               ECLEA teachers James kamau, Tomas Mwai, JMM,
                                                                                                 Ernest Mwilitsa, and David Njeru at Nairobi

One thing I learned was rather troubling. Kenya will be having national elections in August. Some people are afraid of the election being stolen. Related to that is that there appears to be a movement among some of the Kikuyu (Kenya's largest tribe) to go back to their traditional religion. Current President Uhuru Kenyatta recently said that Christianity is a foreign, white man's religion. This idea was started by his father, Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta. This is troubling in that the "traditional religion" of the "god of the mountain" entails such things as animal sacrifices, tribal traditions, female genital mutilation, drinking blood, etc. I was told that even some pastors have gone to traditional tribal elders to be blessed by them after slaughtering goats. Please hold this situation up in prayer.

On a more positive note, I met Oliver and Margaret Chiraba who operate the Agape Center orphanage and school. They are doing amazing work and recently have opened a restaurant to provide a source of additional income as well as a training ground for some of the orphans. David and I ate breakfast and dinner there during the time I was in Nairobi. Even when there are forces of darkness, the light of the gospel can still shine brightly, bringing hope, change, and salvation to many.
     
              Oliver and Margaret Chiraba                                     Kids at the Agape Center orphanage

My plan is to next return to Burundi in the latter part of June. In the meantime, I will working on my next ECLEA book, the book of Ruth. Thank you again for your prayer and tax-deductible financial support. They are making all this possible and, as I hope you see, bearing much good fruit.

TOP OF PAGE


Jonathan Menn-ECLEA Director
Jonathan Menn

February 2022

I made it to Tanzania without any of the documentation problems I was concerned about materializing. Thank you for your prayers.

I am happy to say that ECLEA has an agreement with Bishop Kiguru Bible College in which our courses are being used as part of BKBC's curriculum and will lead to diplomas for the students. They are calling the endeavor the East Africa Theological Bible Institute-TZ. Joram Ibrahim told me that they are planning on spending one week per month here going through our courses. 

We completed the book of Habakkuk, including a session on "The Problem of Evil: God's Sovereignty, Human Responsibility, and the Existence of Sin and Evil."  There were approximately 22 students (including some bishops). The course included homework, small group discussions and group reports, individual reports, and a final written examination. Also, there is a "post-session assignment" of several questions with a practical/applicational focus to be completed in about 2 weeks. I am very excited by this and hope to see this kind of thing replicated all around East Africa. The new ECLEA-Tanzania leadership (following the death of Dickson Laizer last year) really seems to be stepping up, for which I am very grateful.

After the group and individual reports (which were all given in Swahili), Bishop Sheggah (one of the ECLEA-Tanzania leaders) told me that they showed that the participants really understood everything we had been talking about. A number of the participants indicated that our going through Habakkuk caused them not to want to read just a few verses but see the whole context and caused them to realize that a "minor" prophet does not mean an "unimportant" one. All of this was confirmed by the lively discussion we had following my presentation on the "problem of evil." BTW, if you are interested, Habakkuk (including the appendix on the "problem of evil") is on the "ECLEA Courses & Resources" page of the ECLEA website (www.eclea.net).

    
           Jonathan teaching in Babati                                Small group discussions

After that, we went through (with the same group) part 1 of the gospel of Mark.
Again, there has been very good engagement, lots of good Q&A, and the summaries by the participants each morning showed that they have been paying attention and have learned much. One bishop was struck by the deep meanings of Jesus' baptism, i.e., it identified him as the Son of God, showed his identification with sinful humanity (which would be consummated at the cross), began his recapitulation of the history of the nation of Israel, and symbolized his fulfillment of the requirements of the priesthood. During the course, we had discussed the subject of fasting. The group demonstrated their commitment today by deciding to spend the lunch hour fasting and praying for the ECLEA school, their families, the nation, and some other important matters.

         
                 Lake Babati                                   Paul Mdimi, Joram, Eric, Pst. Bernard, Bsh. Sheggah

Following Babati, we did conferences in Arusha on the book of Revelation and in Kikatiti (near Moshi) on Biblical Eschatology. Here's how they went:

Arusha--Revelation
We began with 22 participants and increased to 28 on the second day. Revelation was entirely new, since virtually all the participants had only previously been taught a very dispensational view in which, in the culminating book of the Bible, the church was said not even to be present after chapter 3!

Since the book is apocalyptic literature, based entirely on symbols, the natural inclination to "literalize" things also proved problematic. However, light began to dawn as we discussed the "progressively parallel" structure of the book. The second day was spent largely going through the symbolic depictions of the church, which appeared in almost every chapter.

At the beginning of the third day, each participant briefly talked about what he or she had learned. Although challenged, their responses indicated that they were, indeed, "getting it." There were lots of good questions. As we summarized toward the end, I pointed out that the book continually confronts us with the questions: Who is the true Lord of the world? and Who is my Lord? I think and hope they will continue to study and think about this book, since it promises a blessing to those who read, hear, and heed it (Rev 1:3).

We were very fortunate to have Moses Malugu among our number. He has a PhD in Islamic studies. He spoke on two occasions at some length concerning Islam. I hope the participants and their churches take advantage of his expertise.


               Wall art in Arusha

Kikatiti (near Moshi)--Biblical Eschatology
We did Biblical Eschatology to a group that varied between 22-26. It was a challenging course since all the participants had only heard and been taught dispensatuonal premillennialism.

We went through the Bible's clear "two age" eschatological structure ("this age" and the "age to come") and saw that the dividing line between the two is the second coming of Christ. The second coming entails resurrection and judgment of all people and the renewal of the earth. Hence, there is no place for a temporary 1000-year "millennial kingdom" after Christ returns. Indeed, the "1000 years" of Revelation 20 is a symbolic term for the time we are in now.

I do not expect that people would change their views as a result of one 2 1/2 day seminar. But many bought the book, asked good questions, and stayed engaged. They were given good food for thought, and Joram told me he heard a number of conversations in which the people obviously were reflecting on what they heard and were encouraging each other to investigate further.


                Kikatiti group

I am now home until April, when I am tentatively scheduled to go to Kenya (depending on various covid-related government restrictions which I have to check out). Here are some pics from both weeks in Tanzania.

God bless you, Jonathan

TOP OF PAGE


News Archive  
  

Click here for ECLEA's News Archive

TOP OF PAGE


Support ECLEA

Donate now to help ECLEA thrive!

Please visit the Contact & Donations page to support our work with a secure online donation or to mail us a check.

Your tax deductible gift helps equip, train, and empower church leaders in East Africa to promote biblical values and transform lives through the power of the Gospel. Plus, giving online means your gift can be put to work even faster to reach church leaders with practical workshops and encouragement.