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

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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

Kenya, May-June 2021

May 24, 2021
The beginning of this, my first trip to Kenya since 2019, has been most rewarding. Of course, travel now always seems to present interesting wrinkles. Although I had my PCR test in compliance with Kenya's rules, they still made me take a rapid test at the airport in Nairobi. The swab seemed to travel all the way to the back of my skull. I was going to say that they found nothing, but let me just say that the test, unsurprisingly, was negative.

I came to Karatina for the first graduating class of 49 students (most of them existing pastors, including bishops) from Nairobi Pentecostal Bible College which had incorporated ECLEA's materials into the curriculum. Prior to the graduation ceremony on Saturday, I had the opportunity to go through the book of James for two days with the graduating class. What a great, intelligent, and engaged group of women and men!

The graduation ceremony itself was wonderful. It lasted about 4 hours. Hundreds of people were in the audience. The Member of Parliament for this constituency was present and addressed us. I was asked to preach the graduation sermon. The entire proceeding was live streamed on the newly-created ECLEA-Kenya Facebook page. If you would like to view it, the link is: https://fb.watch/5EoKRCTHUZ/ (I believe it will also be put on YouTube). All thanks to ECLEA-Kenya's new national coordinator, Bishop Barnabas Mpekethi, for forming the ECCLEA-NPBC Karatina study center, being the main lecturer there, and organizing the graduation ceremony!

Afterwards, I attended two graduation parties, for Pastor Camelina and Reverend Ephraim, both working pastors who are past the the "normal" school age. What a testimony to their commitment and the impact ECLEA is now having in Kenya (and elsewhere in EAST Africa).

I also met with some of ECLEA-Kenya's top leaders, which was very helpful. New ECLEA-NPBC study centers are being planned. I can't tell you how excited I am to see these things happening and hear the testimonies of how ECLEA's courses are playing deep foundations which are resulting in healthy churches and transformed lives.

In large part this is all due to YOU: your prayer and financial support. I thank you and the East Africans thank you. I now head to several other places in Kenya.

June 2, 2021
I will be sending you a report of the very fruitful conferences we held in different parts of Kenya following the graduation. Now, however, I must relate two unfortunate turns of events that happened toward the end of this trip.

First, last weekend I contracted food poisoning (as did Bishop Barnabas). I believe it was from the chicken we ate at the retreat center we stayed at in Nairobi. The result has been feeling tired and run down, low grade head and body ache, nausea, and the inability to eat very much and hold it down. This also has meant I need to know where the bathrooms are, as not infrequently I have go there upon very short notice. (I know it's not pleasant to talk about these things, but that's the way it is.)

Last Sunday I was scheduled to preach in Ernest Mwilitsa's church. When I got there, I felt so cold, I had to switch to my long-sleeved shirt. I felt so tired and drained that I asked him if there was someplace to lie down. He has a bed in a back room, so I lay down there for about a half hour before he got me to preach. I started preaching, but about 2 minutes into the sermon I fainted or passed out and fell to the floor (probably because of dehydration). Evidently, as I was falling my hand stuck the corner of the glass-topped lectern and broke it. He took me back to the bed, where I slept for two hours. He and his wife then brought me some excellent juice and an orange. Interestingly, I've lost my taste for almost all food and drink, except for juice and fruit. I'm much better now, but not back to 100%, and still cannot choke down much food.

I also had my covid PCR test on Sunday. The result came back NOT diagnostic of covid, but two markers were positive of something consistent (but not diagnostic) of covid or of something else. Even though the test was not diagnostic of covid, because the lab report used the word "positive," they wouldn't let me into the airport terminal. Consequently, I went to Nairobi West Hospital and got a new covid test and spent the night in a hotel in Nairobi. I am awaiting the results as I write this. If the result is anything other than a straight negative, I will have to stay here a few more days and repeat the process.

This is very frustrating, but that is the situation. Occupational hazard, I guess. God willing, I'll be able to get home soon, but it may not be for awhile. Thank you for your prayers.

June 12, 2021
Made it home. When I sent my last report a week-and-a-half ago about my illness, I had no idea that was just the beginning. I told my daughter at the time, "If there is a Limbo, I'm in it." In fact, I left Limbo far behind; I didn't enter hell (which is being forsaken by God and is outer darkness) but approached its outskirts. I do not think I have ever been as sick in my entire life as I was the last 4 days in Nairobi. I lost 12 pounds in a week. The airplane people thought I looked so bad that they wanted to give me a wheelchair (which I declined). Now I am able to start eating a little something and have started getting better. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. And thank you, Nancy, without whom I cannot imagine how life would even exist for me.

Enough self-indulgence! Following the graduation ceremony in Karatina (which seems ages ago), the rest of the trip seemed to go at breakneck speed. We did the book of James in Webuye with about 20 participants, 1 Timothy in Eldoret and Nairobi (27 and 16 participants, respectively), a special session on Leadership in Nairobi with about 30 participants, and concluded with the book of James in Murang'a with about 55 participants.

      
                             Webuye                                                             Eldoret                                                            Murang'a

Each class seemed, challenged, engaged, and energized. The people all appeared to recognize how important these courses are and how they have a lot to do to teach their own people and other church leaders. My personal illness served to remind me that, ultimately, it is not about me at all. Rather, these leaders are the ones who will take ECLEA to the next level and will insure that deep foundations will be laid in Kenya, which will result in healthy churches and transformed lives.


David Njeru (Nairobi coordinator) and his family

I will now be home for awhile, both to heal and so that, God willing, the governmental power grabs and lockdowns will cease, thus enabling me to return to East Africa. For example, as I was leaving Kenya, the Ugandan government shut down its country, even though they have had only about 57,000 total cases, and only 400 deaths, in a nation of over 45 million people. The governmental responses are causing far more harm than covid ever has. Please hold East Africa up in your prayers.

God bless you all. Thank you again for thinking of me during a very difficult time. Jonathan

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Jonathan Menn, ECLEA Director
Jonathan Menn

Report on trip to Uganda, April 2021:

Traveling in the era of covid has its challenges. The test requirements for all the countries are different. For Uganda, you just need a covid test 5 days before departure. However, I was transiting through Amsterdam. Even to transit there, you need a pcr test within 72 hours of ARRIVAL. I thought the requirement was 72 hours before DEPARTURE, so my test was done slightly too early. Which meant I had to get a new test and take a later flight. Ugh!

Nevertheless, I made it to Uganda without other incident. Bishop Sempala picked me up in Kampala and we traveled to Buvuma Island in Lake Victoria, where I had never been before. We did the book of Galatians, an incredibly important book that goes to the heart of the gospel of God's grace. Much of this was new to the participants, but they saw the implications of the gospel and we had many good questions and comments. BTW, we started out with only 13 participants on day one, but that increased to 25 or more on days 2 and three, despite rain (which says something over here).

      
       Boats at Kiyingi on Lake Victoria                              Our venue in Buvuma                                   Sunset over the islands
                                                                               (Bsp. Sempala in background)

Some of the participants were impressed with how "everything we do is spiritual." One commented on the fact that how we take care of the land shows how we dishonor or honor God. Another talked about the fact that we should cook good and nutritious food, because our bodies are the "temple of the Holy Spirit."

Three of the participants had been raised as Muslims. One came to faith in Christ after his shaihk told him that they were all supposed to "pray for Muhammad." He realized, in essence, that "ïf I have to pray for Muhammad, then who is going to pray for me?" I pray that all of these church leaders will take back the things they learned to their respective churches and teach and apply the lessons from this wonderful book.

We concluded our trip at the West Lango Diocese of the Church of Uganda (Anglican), headed by Bishop Julius Ceaser Nina, my longtime friend and ECLEA's treasurer. I had not been to West Lango before. Recently-installed Bishop Nina is an active and visionary leader. I hope that ECLEA will continue to be involved in this dynamic diocese. We taught The Church: Its Nature, Mission, and Purpose to 30 interested and attentive archdeacons and priests. The bishop himself was present throughout.


Bishop Nina

One gratifying thing was that this group established a timetable and stuck to it. This was largely the work of Joseph Odongkara, who had been a barrister in England for 25 years, but then received a Master of Divinity and has now returned to his native Uganda. He has a remarkable story, and his great desire is to form a Christian Legal Aid firm to help the thousands of poor and marginalized people whose land is being stolen but who do not have the means to fight injustice in the courts. Please pray that this will come to fruition, God willing, this year.


Joseph Odongkara

Our plans that I get my covid test in Aduku (the town we were in) or in the city of Lira fell through because of no guarantee that I would get the results in time to fly home. So Joseph readjusted the schedule, moved the starting time up, cut lunch and break times, and pushed the closing time back, and we were able to finish the course in 2 days instead of 3. That kind of commitment suggests that more good things will be coming from West Lango!


The West Lango group

I got my test in Kampala, and the results were available the next morning. I am glad to be home, as I have several ECLEA translation and writing projects to get back to. I hope to return to West Lango later this year, perhaps to do Christianity & Islam.

Thank you again SO MUCH for your ongoing prayer and financial support. I appreciate both and assure you that you are making a tremendous difference in the lives of countless individuals, churches, and communities in what I consider to be the most spiritually significant region in the world.

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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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