Monday, February 10, 2014

ECLEA: Return from East Africa

I just returned yesterday from East Africa. Here are the highlights since my previous post:

Burundi-Rema Ministries TOT
My first week in Burundi was spent doing a 1 Timothy TOT for the Rema Ministries staff (which is serving as ECLEA's committee in Burundi). Overseer Peter Barihzigo of the MINEVAM denomination was also present throughout. We spent four days together. The discussion was spirited, sometimes evolving into animated discussion in Kirundi among the participants. I always consider that a good thing. This was in preparation for our leading a 1 Timothy conference for the 50 Burundi MINEVAM pastors.
Rema Ministries staff
Gatumba-1 Timothy conference

Frederic Harerimana, Francois Nitunga, and I spent 3 1/2 days teaching 1 Timothy to the 50 MINEVAM pastors of Burundi. Last Fall we had done a Biblical Stewardship conference for the same group. I began this conference by asking participants what they had done about stewardship since several months had elapsed since that conference. Many testimonies were given: several talked of planting trees; one talked of teaching basic health practices; another said that he had established a finance committee. One pastor had been sent out to plant a new church. He said that the stewardship teaching served as the foundation as he began the church; it also gave him a greater sense of respect for his fellow leaders and his congregants. One pastor told us that, at the time of the stewardship conference, he had had diabetes. As a result of the "stewardship of the body" portion of the conference, he decreased his consumption of soda and stopped taking sugar with his tea. His doctor recently confirmed that he no longer has diabetes!
One pastor testifying about effects of stewardship conference
The conference itself went very well. Because we spent 3 1/2 days, not the 2 1/2 we usually use, we had time for 3 small group discussion sessions and plenty of Q&A. Comments to me and my fellow teachers confirmed that this conference was eye-opening. Not one of the pastors had ever either studied or preached a series of sermons through an entire book of the Bible, section-by-section from beginning to end as we did. The participants were clearly challenged in a number of areas. Overseer Barihzigo was present throughout and challenged the pastors to apply what they had learned. Frederic also received many invitations to preach at the pastors' churches. I am confident that, over time, we will see some real progress in the MINEVAM denomination as a result of our work with these pastors.
Frederic teaching at MINEVAM 1 Timothy conference
MINEVAM participants

Rema Ministries has a very good theological library consisting of maybe 1000 volumes or more. It was in rather a state of disorganization, however. Rema director Felibien Ndintore gave me the green light to reorganize it, a job I was very happy to do. I spent about 1 1/2 days getting the library reorganized in a logical order and all the shelves labeled. We also discussed a couple of ways to keep the books in a reasonable order. I hope this helps both Rema and the outsiders who sometimes use the library.

Next stop: Kenya 

I will be home until the end of March, when I will head to Kenya. I hope to be able to get together with some of you while I am here. I already have a substantial list of ECLEA and personal matters on my to-do list for these next few weeks. Be sure to check out ECLEA's website ( it has several additions I added shortly before I had left for Rwanda and Burundi, and I will be adding new material while I am home now. So, with that, I must get to work!

God bless you, Jonathan

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