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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   
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

JANUARY 2021: First trip to East Africa this year!

I have finished my first trip of the year to East Africa, spending two weeks along the coast of Tanzania. We began with the book of Revelation in Kibamba, near Dar es Salaam, with 18 participants. This was completely new for all of them. Those who had previously studied the book had been taught a very different view. By the end of the course, however, I think they saw how relevant (and challenging) the book is for the church today.

We then went through the book of James with 25 participants in Goba, again near Dar. James is very practical and goes to the heart of what real saving faith looks like.


Lunch in Goba

The participants obviously "got it." On the second day, one woman said that a person had come to her house the night before, having to go to the hospital. The woman thought of what true religion is in God's eyes (Jas 1:27) and that "faith without works is dead" (James 2) and ended up spending the entire night with the person at the hospital!

A man said that he was a Masaai and had always been taught that the Masaai were the best, and nothing should be done for people of other tribes. Now he sees how wrong that is and how it is contrary to the gospel itself.

The gospel is, indeed, life-changing. I'm glad to be able to bring this life-transforming message to these dear people in this vital part of the world.

We finished with two conferences: Christianity and Islam in Tanga with 24 participants and Galatians in Kibaha with 15 participants. Both went well. We had previously taught Christianity and Islam in Tanga. The participants this time were different, except for one participant (Lazaro) who wanted to learn the material again. I'm glad Lazaro came, because he has led a number of Muslims to faith in Christ, and he taught much of the session on bridging the divide between Islam and the gospel.


The Tanga group (Joram and Lazaro are the two men front row, center)

Several of the participants said that, before this course, they had thought that even touching a copy of the Qur'an was a sin; but now they want to get a copy themselves in order to read it and use it in talking with Muslims about Jesus. One of the participants was a former Muslim and another has access to New Testaments printed in both Arabic and Swahili, which can help in presenting the gospel when they are given to Muslims. I hope the group will stay in touch with each other. Much good fruit can come from this group.

The group presented me with a beautiful wooden plaque that says, "You ECLEA are the light of the world East Africa (Matthew 5:14)." I am very touched and am keeping it displayed in my office here at home.


Receiving the beautiful plaque

Galatians helped, I think, to dispel at least some of the legalism that characterizes much of the church in East Africa. Further, seeing the implications of the gospel can make a big difference in the way people "do church."


Just outside our hotel in Kibaha

Most countries now require that one have a negative PCR covid test within 72 hours of travel (and you need it to even be allowed on the airplane). The Netherlands (KLM's hub) now also requires an antigen test done within 4 hours of travel. As a result, KLM threatened to cancel all of its international flights (the government now says that flight crews do not need the antigen test [but passengers still do]). I got my PCR test done on Thursday for the Saturday night flight out of Dar es Salaam. The lab said that I should receive the results on Friday. I spoke with KLM twice to confirm that the flight was not cancelled. They also said that, since antigen tests are not done in Tanzania, I didn't need one.

The situation then got complicated. I didn't receive the PCR test results on Friday, or Saturday morning or even as of the time we ended the Kibaha conference Saturday afternoon. Then at 4:00PM on Saturday I was notified by KLM that my flight had been cancelled and I had been rebooked on Turkish Airways to leave at 4:00AM Sunday and fly home via Istanbul. By 6:00PM I still didn't have the PCR test results. We decided to go to the national lab in Dar es Salaam personally. Joram and I were in the lab for over an hour talking with someone about getting the results. It turns out that the lab in Dar had not even received my test sample until that morning. Eventually that night they gave me the result and I was able to make it home all right. (Interestingly, the airlines now require that all passengers wear masks throughout the flight; I pointed out that every single person in the plane had just been tested and had been certified to NOT have covid--so requiring anyone to wear a mask was absurd. They agreed with me, but "those are the rules.")

I am next planning on going to Kenya in early April. Thank you for your prayers and support. You are making an important difference in East Africa. God bless you, Jonathan

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Jonathan Menn, ECLEA Director
Jonathan Menn

ECLEA 2020 YEAR-END REPORT
2020 has been an eventful year for ECLEA. Various East African government shutdowns and restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic affected our ability to travel as often as we would have liked. Nevertheless, our work—both from the American side and indigenously by the East Africans—continued almost unabated. We even pioneered new territory (Frank’s teaching trip to Alexandria, Egypt). Further, the travel restrictions gave me the opportunity to do video lectures for virtually all of our books and courses, which probably would not have been able to be done otherwise. Here are some of the year’s highlights:

Jonathan’s work in East Africa
Because of the Covid situation, I was only able to make two trips to East Africa this year. In January-February I taught the book of Revelation to approximately 30 interested church leaders for 3 1/2 days in Bujumbura (Burundi's capital). Most of Revelation—it’s message, structure, purpose, theology, etc.—was completely new to the students. Nevertheless, they appeared to follow the discussion. This was confirmed in that days 2-4 all began with about 1+ hours of Q&A. Most of the questions were right on point, indicating that they were tracking and understanding what I was saying. I then went up-country to Cankuzo and attended the graduation of the first group of students who had completed all 14 of ECLEA's courses! Forty students began the program 3 1/2 years ago and 28 students completed the entire course (homework and all). I then travelled to Tanzania where I taught Christianity & Islam to approximately 30 students in Arusha and again in Babati.

In July and August, I returned to Tanzania and was accompanied by Jacob Boldig. We taught The Church: Its Nature, Mission, and Purpose in Arusha. Attendance increased from about 30 the first day to almost 50! We then taught the book of James in Babati to 37 participants, and concluded the trip in Mwanza, where we taught Christianity & Islam to 60 participants.

Frank Cummings’ work in East Africa
Frank reports: I made one trip to Kenya in January 2020, but FOUR different locations: hermeneutics in Webuye; counseling in Murang’a, Mombasa, and Mtwapa. For the most part, 25-30 students, in each locale.  

Also, in October, taught a DMin class in Alexandria, Egypt. This is the first time any of ECLEA materials were translated into Arabic. 18 students. Had a wonderful time.

Paul and Rosemary Nelsen’s work in East Africa
Paul came alongside Jonathan this year in an increased capacity since his retirement as a medical doctor. Paul has the gift of organization and has created a monthly newsletter on mail chimp. If anyone knows of others that would like to receive this please let Jonathan or Paul know. He has also initiated and organized the production of two recent videos. They are 90 seconds and 12 minutes long and give a glimpse of the purposes and some of the people who participate in the ministry of Equipping Church Leaders East Africa. Paul will continue to come alongside ECLEA to aid with his administrative skills in the future.

Further, Paul and Rosemary were able to travel to Kenya in November. Both Paul and Rosemary preached in different churches, and Paul gave a teaching on “Taking your Biblical Text to a sermon.” Rosemary taught Bible Literacy: Old and New Testament Overview to Bishop Justus’ Christ Alive Ministries in Misiku, near Webuye; 47 people attended and were appreciative. She taught the same course in Kegogi, Kisii territory; 61 attended the first session, but the number increased to 79 by the time she reached the third session! One pastor even asked if we could start a Bible College.

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! The importance of this was made clear this year, since we Americans faced travel restrictions. In 2020, despite government restrictions, our East African ECLEA teams kept moving forward as much as possible:
     Burundi: Rema Ministries (ECLEA’s teaching partner in Burundi) has now established 6 teaching centers around the country; they teach for 5 days in a row, giving assignments and conducting follow-up. Due to unrest related to elections and coronavirus, they put a hold on teachings from March-May. Beginning in June they caught up and taught approximately 27 sessions among the six centers.
     Kenya: Kenya has 12 regions for ECLEA training; 72 all-African ECLEA conferences and follow-ups were scheduled. In March I received an email from one of our Kenyan leaders that “I hope you are aware of our bad situation our nation is going through. All gatherings have been banned including churches. It’s serious. Remember us. ECLEA meetings will continue but not as scheduled.” The Kenyans were able to readjust and conduct most of the scheduled trainings.
     Rwanda: The situation in Rwanda was similar to that in Kenya. In Jan-March 10 training sessions and 2 follow-ups took place. Then the country, including churches, was locked down. In the last quarter of the year, however, another 10 trainings were scheduled.
     Tanzania: Tanzania is the one East African country that did not lock itself down. Consequently, ECLEA-Tanzania teams taught 121 all-African conferences and follow-up sessions.
     Uganda: Uganda likewise endured a severe lock-down beginning in the second quarter of the year. Before that, all 53 scheduled training sessions were completed. After the restrictions were eased, Steven Sempala, ECLEA-Uganda’s national coordinator, emailed that “we have managed to create 18 new centers due to the high demand for training in these areas.” Approximately 75 additional trainings were completed after the lock-down.

Reports from the all-African training conferences are available on the ECLEA website (www.eclea.net) by clicking on the flags of the different countries, and reports of my conferences are on the “News & Blog” page of the website (http://www.eclea.net/news.html).

The impact of ECLEA
ECLEA’s vision and goal is: “Deep Foundations=>Healthy Churches=>Transformed Lives.” Here are some reports I have received this year concerning the impact ECLEA is having:
     Fred Nyende (Uganda): I have been reading and listening to your audios on Biblical Theology as well as the book on The Church: Its Nature, Mission, and Purpose. I have found answers to issues that had dogged me for a long time! Indeed thank you so much. I am much more grounded and rooted in the faith than ever before!
     Bishop Barnabas Mpekethi (Kenya): We are not the way you found us when you first visited our Country Kenya. I am proud that I am a product of your teachings. Have been able to reach the learned and the unlearned. God gave me grace to share the word of God and lead prayers in meeting where the Deputy President of our Country was the guest of honour. Afterwards he invited me to his official residence at Karen (Nairobi City) and we exchanged ideas on how we will advance the Kingdom of God in the days to come. God bless ECLEA.
     Nicodemus Shanga (Kenya): Am so thankful for this Biblical Literacy course, I found it so helpful to me and the congregation. Thanks so much.
     Jeremiah Motomoto (Tanzania): I went through the OT course. It is amazing to have these materials. In a short time of my reading I have discovered many things. Thank you a lot my friend. I will use this to teach my people.

Other ECLEA happenings
In addition to our multiple church leader training conferences all over East Africa, ECLEA has a number of other projects to increase our lasting impact and effectiveness. These include:

     Video lectures. As a result of the Covid shutdowns, Bishop Barnabas in Kenya requested that I do video lectures of Christianity & Islam and Biblical Stewardship for remote classes at Nairobi Pentecostal Bible College he was leading. This inspired me to do video lectures for all of our books except Biblical Counseling. Rosemary Nelsen taught the Biblical Literacy course she developed at her church and had those lectures videoed. Each lecture is only about 30 minutes in length, so they are very “user friendly.” All of our video lectures are on the “ECLEA Courses & Resources” page of the website: http://www.eclea.net/courses.html and are also on the ECLEA YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpN8YUjt8zpi9iKfcuozxJw.

     ECLEA books: In 2020 our ECLEA book on Galatians was finalized. One of our Kenyan regional coordinators found the “discussion questions” in that book very helpful, so I added discussion questions to our book on James. Additionally, a revised version of our book on Christianity & Islam was completed. All of our books are on the “ECLEA Courses & Resources” page of the website: http://www.eclea.net/courses.html.

     ECLEA book translations. Translations of several of our books also were completed in 2020. These include the KISWAHILI translations of the revised Christianity & Islam (including the condensed version), Galatians, Biblical Eschatology, Biblical Counseling, and Revelation; the KIRUDI translation of Galatians; the KINYARWANDA translation of Biblical Interpretation; and, for the first time, the ARABIC translation of Biblical Counseling. Other translations are in process. All of our translations are on the “ECLEA Courses & Resources” page of the website: http://www.eclea.net/courses.html.

     School partnerships. Our ECLEA teaching books provide some of the most in-depth teaching available. One of our goals is to establish partnerships or agreements with existing East African theological schools whereby our materials become part of the schools’ curriculum. We already have an agreement in place with Nairobi Pentecostal Bible College. Our materials are also being used in RCPI Bible College and Seminary and Sifa Bible Institute in Kenya; Baptist Bible College, Bunda Bible College, and the Bible College affiliated with Universal Ministry of Africa in Tanzania; and New Geneva Christian Leadership Academy in Kenya and Rwanda. We are working to establish similar agreements with other recognized Bible and theological schools throughout East Africa.

     Egypt. A former colleague of mine in Equipping Pastors International spends most of his time working in northern Africa and the Middle East. This includes leading a seminary in Alexandria, Egypt. He is aware of the first-class nature of our ECLEA books and requested that both Frank Cummings and I come and teach at the seminary. I was not able to go, but in October Frank was able to teach Biblical Counseling at the Egyptian seminary!

Looking ahead
By God’s grace we will continue moving forward in all areas in 2021! Frank already has a trip with three conferences planned for January, with 85 people already signed-up. The rest of the ECLEA team likewise plans on returning to East Africa. Jonathan is working on the next ECLEA book (on Habakkuk), and additional translations are in the works. God has certainly answered our prayers. Very few others are doing what we are doing and not on the scale we are doing it.
You can make a difference
     Giving opportunities: 100% of donations goes to the work of the ministry. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Your financial support is paying great dividends. Tax-deductible giving can be done through the website (http://www.eclea.net/contact.html), automatic fund transfers can be arranged through your bank, or checks (payable to ECLEA) can be sent to the ECLEA office at 3701 N. Gillett St., Appleton, WI 54914.
     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 ccappleton@att.net.
     We value your input and suggestions: Let us know what you think! 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.

Thank you and God bless you,

Jonathan Menn (ECLEA Director)

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Paul and Rosemary Nelsen-ECLEA missionaries
  

November 19, 2020: Paul and Rosemary Nelsen November, 2020 mission trip in Kenya

The Nelsens see the great need in East Africa. They were gratified to see Biblical growth and good results. They realize that much ground work has been laid for them through Jonathan and Dr. Frank Cummings.

> Nov. 8: Paul preached in Bishop Ernest’s Alpha Missions church in Kawangare on Romans 4:11-5:12. The couple greeted the church and ate lunch with its pastor and elders.

> Nov. 10: Rosemary Nelsen taught The Bible Literacy: Old Testament Overview Part  1 to Bishop Justus’ Christ Alive Ministries in Miseku, near Webuye. 47 people attended and were appreciative.

> Nov. 11: Paul gave a teaching on "Taking your Biblical Text to a Sermon". Then Rosemary continued to teach Biblical Literacy Old Testament Part 2 followed by New Testament, Part 3. Again 47 people attended and expressed gratitude for the teachings of both Nelsens.

> Nov. 15: Both of the Nelsens preached at the opening of the new church, Gospel Believers Celebration Church in Nyamiobo 2 near Riragi Institute, led by Pastor George Oyaro. It is near Kegogi, in Kisii territory. The church service was attended by close to 400 people during the day. Paul challenged the people to come to the ECLEA teachings on Monday and Tuesday.

> Monday, Nov. 16: Rosemary taught the two Old Testament Biblical Literacy courses to 61 people. Again there was a good spirit and appreciation.


Rosemary teaching; David Brown is her translator

> Tuesday, Nov. 17: Paul taught “Taking a Biblical Text to a sermon” in the morning. Rosemary followed with her third Biblical Literacy Course in New Testament. This time we had 79 people attend. Again there was appreciation and a good spirit.

One pastor came to us after the morning presentation asking if we could please bring more teaching to this area and even start a Bible College.

There continues to be a hunger for the Word and how to apply it. ECLEA needs more teachers!

God blesss you, Paul and Rosemary Nelsen

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News Archive  
  

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