Saturday, July 6, 2013

ECLEA: Return from East Africa

 Tanga, TZ Biblical Theology TOT
 Area in Mombasa, KE where TOT was held
Ernest Mwilitsa leading Kiswahili Biblical Stewardship TOT

Two days ago I returned from East Africa, after a (too) short visit with our son David in Tempe, AZ. David is working on his PhD in biomedical technology. While we were in AZ Nancy and I missed the very hot weather but still got to enjoy temperatures above 110 degrees. That contrasted with what things were like in Arusha, TZ when I began my trip. Arusha had been colder than Wisconsin (temps only in the lower 60s during the day), and I had to ask for an extra blanket at night!

Tanga, TZ
Tanga is on the coast of TZ between Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, KE. It is home to Joram Ibrahim, ECLEA's TZ secretary. In Tanga about a dozen church leaders participated in a Biblical Theology TOT. Biblical Theology is foundational in that we discuss the overall biblical storyline, look at a major theme that runs through the Bible (i.e., God's dwelling with mankind as typified by Eden, the Tabernacle, the Temple, Ezekiel's vision of a new temple, and the New Jerusalem), and consider how Christ and the church fulfill everything that ancient Israel and the Old Testament were pointing to (e.g., they are the fulfillment of the nation itself and all of its institutions such as the temple, the feasts, the sacrificial system, the priesthood, the law, and the sabbath). This always proves to be an eye-opening course. It helps the pastors see how the whole Bible fits together and enables them to preach more effectively, especially from the OT.

Mombasa, KE
 I concluded the trip in Mombasa with my friend Ernest Mwilitsa, one of ECLEA's KE national executive committee members. Ernest and I led a Biblical Stewardship TOT for about 18 participants, divided into an English-speaking group which I led and a Kiswahili-speaking group which Ernest led. Both groups had lively discussions on many aspects of how Christianity applies to all areas of life (environment, mind, time, body, relationships, money & possessions, and the church). This course is designed to help people see the positive life-and-culture-changing nature of real faith and to help church leaders overcome the great "sacred-secular divide" that seems to have infected many churches. By God's grace, as courses like this begin to be applied, we are starting to see important life-changes.

Home and work
I am now scheduled to be home until the end of August, when I hope to leave for Uganda and Burundi. During that time I have to learn how to work on and add updates to ECLEA's new website (I have lots of photos, videos, sermons, and other material I would like to upload, but only know enough about computers and websites to be dangerous). I also will be proofing translations and must begin in earnest to start plotting out and working on the next ECLEA book I intend to write, namely, Christianity and Islam.

I hope that your summer is going well and that Nancy and I will be able to see many of you. Your continued prayer for this ministry and tax-deductible financial support are very much appreciated and are making a real difference in a hugely important area of the world.

God bless you, Jonathan