ELI has a dynamic team of full-time nationals and Americans working side-by-side. The organization believes that no one knows the needs of the community better than the people and leaders of the communities themselves. ELI seeks to work with leaders who practice selflessness rather than seeking power. They strive to develop and empower leaders to live lives that promote change in their communities.
ELI has responded to God’s call to ministry with the attitude of Abraham in Genesis 12. They believe that they are part of a mutually beneficial relationship in which both the organization and those being touched by its ministry are blessed by the hand of God. The American people and the American church have much to learn from the people of Africa. ELI is striving towards a cooperative attitude through every interaction and project.
The projects and programs of ELI, in contrast to handouts, may not provide quick and easy solutions, but the results are lasting and transferable. This method of ministry requires patience and perseverance in times of decision and development. ELI’s holistic work includes engaging in projects that address the spiritual, physical and economic sufferings faced by the people. They believe in the high value of empowering individuals and utilizing a variety of educational methods with an emphasis on ideas that can be demonstrated and transferred to others.
While ELI’s ministries target the spiritual, physical, relational and economic sufferings faced by the people, they operate with a deep understanding that these factors are intertwined. The organization hopes to make a lasting difference in Africa by meeting needs on all of these fronts.
As a Christian organization, ELI cares deeply about the spiritual condition of all people and works closely with evangelical leaders and churches in both the USA and the countries they serve. Their ultimate goal is to bring people into a closer relationship with God so that they might know and serve him. In response to this desire, they commit to focus on prayer, seeking God’s leading through the Holy Spirit. They also aim to structure programs that will help people recognize their importance in the eyes of God and equip them for deeper levels of worship and service.
Just as Jesus came into the world to live among the people, ELI wishes to enter every culture they are called to serve as a reflection of Christ’s humility. They aim to ensure that their personal culture, lifestyle and material possessions in no way hinder or distract themselves or the receivers from the message of God’s love and transforming power. It is ELI’s aim that the ideas and technologies they demonstrate be appropriate to the culture, environment and available resources in Africa so that they can be easily passed on from one person to another.
Being founded and rooted in the United States, each member of the ELI staff has a desire to see the church in the West transformed through partnership with churches around the world. As the mission statement affirms, the organization strives to motivate and involve others worldwide to invest their gifts and lives in God’s work across the globe. This change will be evidenced by deeper faith in Christ, greater love for people, decreased valuing of financial and material possessions, and an ever-growing personal drive to spread the news of God’s power and grace.