Jonathan Menn, ECLEA Director
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!
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 email@example.com.
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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