2013 has seen a lot of wonderful happenings. Here are some of the highlights.
ECLEA is born!
Community Church-Appleton is part of Converge Great Lakes. ECLEA was present at CGL’s annual meeting in the Fall. Brenda Hernday, the head of CGL’s Short Term Ministries Initiative, likes what ECLEA is doing, wants to become more actively involved, and is planning her first trip to East Africa for April 2014. I have also spoken with CGL pastors who want to explore the possibility of partnering with ECLEA.
Conferences and TOTs
I believe my personal impact will be maximized by spending more time teaching smaller groups of pastor-teachers (TOTs) who can then teach their own people and other church leaders, instead of concentrating on teaching at larger church-leader conferences. I still teach at conferences where my presence is requested and valuable. However, even though I travel to East Africa five times a year, I can only be in relatively few places. Thus, equipping indigenous teachers who have the ability and desire to teach others is my priority.
In 2013 I led the following TOTs: Burundi: 1-Biblical Stewardship; 1-First Timothy. Kenya: 3-Biblical Theology; 2-Forgiveness & Reconciliation; 1-Biblical Interpretation; 1 Biblical Stewardship. Rwanda: 1-Expository Preaching. Tanzania: 2-Biblical Theology; 2-Expository Preaching.
In 2013 I taught at the following church-leader conferences: Burundi: 3-First Timothy; 1-Biblical Stewardship. Kenya: 1-First Timothy. Tanzania: 3-First Timothy; 1-Biblical Stewardship. Uganda: 1-Biblical Stewardship.
This year’s mix of conferences and TOTs reflects my priority, as it is weighted toward TOTs. Even at the conferences, however, I make sure that 2 or 3 Africans teach with me. This year’s activities also reflect the fact that ECLEA has established itself in many places in East Africa. Because of this, I am able to introduce other courses that build upon what we have already done instead of concentrating solely on our “core” courses of First Timothy and Biblical Stewardship.
All-African conferences and TOTs
ECLEA takes its name seriously: we truly want to “equip” East African church leaders so that they can teach their own people—and other church leaders—the excellent material that we provide in their own languages and cultural context. If ECLEA is to have a long-term impact, it cannot ultimately depend on me, or Dr. Cummings, or any Westerner. Rather, the Africans will have to “own” and transmit our vision and teachings.
That we are succeeding in this is shown by the fact that the number of all-African church-leader conferences and TOTs more than doubled over the number of all-African conferences and TOTs in 2012! In 2013 there were 80-85 all-African conferences and TOTs in Kenya and 25-30 all-African conferences and TOTs in Tanzania. Additionally, ECLEA-trained teachers even led conferences in Democratic Republic of Congo. ECLEA helps to financially facilitate these all-African conferences and TOTs.
Frank Cummings continues to travel regularly to East Africa teaching biblical counseling. He has now developed an advanced counseling course to complement his basic course. And, consistent with ECLEA’s vision of equipping the East African church leaders, East Africans are now beginning to teach the basic course to other African church leaders!
An important part of ECLEA’s long-term impact is getting our material translated into the major East African languages. This is an ongoing project, but several Kiswahili (the most widespread East African language) translations will be completed soon. Additionally, efforts are underway to translate into Kinyarwanda and Kirundi (the major languages of Rwanda and Burundi), the major tribal languages of Uganda and Kenya, and French (which is spoken in Rwanda, Burundi, and Democratic Republic of Congo).
I could use help in proofing the translations. You don’t have to know the language, because I am proofing for format. This is a very important task, and it needs to be done before we place the translations online and distribute them to our East African partners and friends. If you would like to help with this important ministry, please contact me!
ECLEA now has leadership committees/structures/organizations in each of the countries of the East African Community. In Burundi we have partnered with an indigenous ministry, Rema Ministries, to work with us and teach our material. As the local ECLEA organizations develop and grow our impact will increase. This is an important part of the process of the East Africans “owning” this vision and ministry. Further, our goal is that our committees be interdenominational, inter-tribal, and include both genders: we want ECLEA to model both sound biblical teaching and Christian community.
|JMM and ECLEA-Kenya Coordinators|
As an American, I always tend to want things to be done “now” (if not “yesterday”), as opposed to what we say in Africa: “slowly by slowly.” ECLEA is still developing, but we have laid a good foundation.
One significant “growing pain,” however, is this: because the importance of what we do is recognized by the East African church leaders themselves, the demand for and tremendous expansion of all-African conferences and TOTs has exceeded our financial ability to meet the demand. We are working closely with theECLEA-East Africa committees to bring the cost of conferences and TOTs down and to increase the African share of the cost so that we can help facilitate more and more. We are making progress in those regards, but even so there have been some planned all-African conferences and TOTs that we simply were not able to facilitate because of lack of funding.
This underscores how much we depend on you—who want to make a long-term, significant impact in the lives, churches, and communities of East Africa. Please consider partnering with ECLEA financially. Dr. Cummings and I welcomethe opportunity to speak at your church or to interested groups of individuals.
Tax-deductible donations can be made through ECLEA’s website via credit card or PayPal. Brenda Haase (920-732-5523; firstname.lastname@example.org) can give you the necessary information to enable you to establish automatic fund transfers from your bank account to ECLEA. Or you can send checks, payable to ECLEA, to me at 714 S. Summit St., Appleton, WI 54914. And please remember: 100% of your donated funds go to the work of the ministry; nothing is raked off for my personal support.
Those of you who regularly pray for me and for this ministry: I thank you! I need and appreciate your prayers. I have seen the results of prayer when I am in East Africa. This ministry would not succeed without you and without your prayers.
God bless you, Jonathan Menn