DON ROGERS – FOUNDER & INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR
Don Rogers is the founder and International Director of ELI, which began in Kenya and has now expanded to the neighboring countries of Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. Don’s short-term trip to Tanzania in 1989 was the first of many that eventually led to the founding of ELI in 1994. He pioneered the work by developing relationships with key national Christian leaders, working with them to establish Skills for Life Training Centers, Christian schools, children’s homes and health ministries. The strategy for empowerment integrates Biblical teaching with dynamic ideas and skills that help the poor address the challenges oppressing their lives spiritually, physically and economically. Don serves with his family, both in East Africa and the United States, dividing time according to the needs of the ministry. Kenya is a “home base,” and Don travels to Tanzania, DR Congo and South Sudan as needed and also enjoys researching with our African leaders and applying new appropriate technologies and business ideas. Amy loves ministering to the women in the village, and our boys relish the adventure of living in the “great outdoors.” Don and Amy invest strategic blocks of time in the U.S., sharing the vision of ELI with individuals and groups in order to expand the growing network of supporting partners and churches. Working with the staff in our Upland, California office and helping to equip short-term teams traveling to Africa is also part of their ministry. Don graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a B.A. in Religion with minors in Psychology and Christian Education. Don received his M.A. from Asbury Theological Seminary with a focus on Cross-Cultural Missions. Prior to ELI, Don served with Youth For Christ in Southern California, as well as in the church as youth and senior pastor. He is an ordained minister with the Free Methodist Church.
On the “GIFT INFORMATION” section select “Staff” and then “Don and Amy Rogers”. Thank you!
YAKOBO YASINI – DIRECTOR, ELI TANZANIA
Yakobo Yasini is a diligent and passionate servant of God in Tanzania. God has used Yakobo to build relationships with countless people throughout the country. He is the catalyst that connects people with trainings and opens the doors for visiting teachers and strategists to come and facilitate the farmer field trainings. Yakobo and an agricultural assistant who work together to train and follow-up on past students, pastors, and farmers trained throughout the year. He also maintains the Training Center based in Kalemela, Tanzania (Near Bunda).
ANDREW BELKO – WATER WELLS
Andrew has been serving with ELI full-time overseas since 2013 in both Kenya and Tanzania. He first became involved on a short-term trip. Currently his passion is to develop sustainable well drilling teams that honor God in Tanzania.
SAMUEL TEIMUGE – DIRECTOR, ELI KENYA
Samuel Teimuge is married to Rhoda and is a master communicator and catalyst. God used Samuel to help start ELI in Kenya and to establish the Ukweli Training and Development Center in Ilula, where Skills For Life are taught with passion in the classroom as well as in the demonstration farm. Samuel and the Ukweli team are not restricted to the center alone – in fact, you will often find them in villages throughout Kenya carrying out surveys, holding open-air campaigns, planting trees, starting businesses, helping rehabilitate alcoholics and proclaiming the message of God’s love for their nation and the world.
JOHN BUSIENEI – CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER, KENYA
John Busienei is married to Veronica. John and Veronica felt a strong calling to the ELI ministry and began their work as the Directors of the Kipkaren Children’s Home. In 2016, “Bush” transitioned into the role of Chief Operations Officer for ELI Kenya. He is a liaison of communication between the Kenya and USA Boards. He also helps coordinate with all staff who work in our two Children’s Homes, two training centers, extension schools, Anti-Alcohol program, and Children’s ministry.
THE MOIBEN FAMILY – DIRECTORS, KIPKAREN CHILDREN’S HOME
Ezekiel and Noella have served in the Kipkaren ELI Children’s Home since it was founded in 2006. On the entry gate it is written, “Bringing the Fatherhood of God to the Fatherless.”
THE RONO FAMILY – DIRECTORS, ILULA CHILDREN’S HOME
Laban and Angelina Rono live in Eldoret, Kenya and have served as Directors of the Ilula Children’s Home since it was established in 2005.
PETER MARU – DIRECTOR, KIPKAREN TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Pastor Peter was married to his wife, Ruth, in 1998, and they are blessed with three children: Abel, Faith and Vivian. God led Peter to ELI in 1996, and he began to work casual jobs for the organization. In 1998, he was hired as a full-time gardener. In 2000, he felt a strong calling to go to Bible college to become a pastor. In 2005, he came back to Kipkaren and began pastoring a small church in his community and serving as the spiritual director for ELI. In 2008, Peter became the director for the entire ELI ministry in Kipkaren. He oversees the staff, the trainings and all aspects of the ministry. His dream is to see God equip people here the way God wants, to see people empowered and to thrive physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually.
Some say that Isaac Ruto is 6-foot, 12 inches tall! Isaac’s skills for training people reach even higher than his stature. He is a key ELI trainer, effectively reaching and teaching over 1,000 needy farmers in Tanzania and is expanding this same dynamic strategy of field farmer training in Kenya. This young family man has a passion to reach his own people with life-giving skills. “There is a calling on my life. I want to be used of God to see suffering people helped, especially the small-scale farmers. This is where I am seeing the greatest successes and family transformations. There are many paths one could take in life, but for me, helping others in this way is the most fulfilling, and I want to continue until people, communities and countries are changed.”
WENDY LUDOVICI TWYCROSS – PROJECT MANAGER, BUSINESS FOR LIFE
Wendy began her ministry with ELI in Tanzania in 1994. As an ethnomusicologist Wendy uses her skills to promote indigenous worship by facilitating songwriting workshops with local musicians. She also uses her background and experience in youth ministry to empower youth leaders to encourage and train young people to become followers of Jesus. In addition, Wendy has a deep concern for the poor and recognizes the need for economic empowerment. Her current focus is managing The Business For Life Project, which provides hands-on business training for poor and unemployed people and facilitates the process of them starting up their own small businesses. Wendy is married to Peter Twycross, and they are based in Nairobi, Kenya.
KALONDJI MUKENYA – DIRECTOR, ELI DR CONGO
Kalondji Mukenya works in a key position to help oversee ELI DR Congo. His main role is working as the “school promoter” in close collaboration with our staff at the school, as well as with parents in the community and with students. Kalondji was first trained in agronomy and has worked as a school teacher, high school principal, an evangelist and a pastor. He brings a great deal of experience and connection to the ministry. As a neighbor to the school and an active leader in the community, he brings a new dynamic to the work. As school promoter, he keeps hours at the school as well as meeting regularly with teachers, administration, the parents’ committee and conducting chapel for students.
God has used David Mutombo to help with the general operations of ELI DR Congo. Here is the important work of putting together budgets and contracts, management of personnel and maintaining good relations with the government. David holds a degree in labor management, has worked as a labor consultant for three years and also worked as a university professor and a public work inspector. David is married and has recently become a father for the first time.
ELI SOUTH SUDAN
ELI helped establish the Duk Mayen Primary School in 2005 which is overseen by a dynamic group of South Sudanese teachers.
ANGELA VINCENT – U.S. OPERATIONS MANAGER
Angela’s passion for missions started her sophomore year of high school, when she felt God calling her specifically to reach the world for his Kingdom. She has served in many countries, including India, Thailand, Japan, Kenya and Mexico. She was introduced to ELI through a friend while attending Azusa Pacific University. She and her husband traveled to Kenya in August 2008, where they were deeply moved by the impact ELI has in truly empowering people. Having lived on the mission field, she felt it was important to work for an organization that stood for something greater. Angela began working with ELI in September 2010. While living stateside, she has the honor of keeping ELI’s staff refreshed, organized and focused to better serve our family and friends in Africa.
DIANA COOMBS – VULNERABLE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM MANAGER
Life is an adventure when God is in control. After graduating from Pepperdine University and wearing multiple hats in a ramen noodle company for two years (yes, ramen noodles), Diana found herself longing to make a difference in the workplace. Giving up control of her life and trusting God’s plans, she found herself as the Child Sponsorship Coordinator for ELI in 2008. This position was more than she could have asked for or imagined. It was in line with her dream to be a bridge between the rich and the poor and work with the Body of Christ to see God’s Kingdom advanced. Diana manages sponsorships on the USA side for all 1,000+ orphans and students throughout our established Children’s Homes and schools in Kenya, South Sudan and DR Congo. She feels like a proud momma every time she talks about the children in ELI’s care.
JIM CAYA – DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION
Jim has engaged business within ministry contexts for over eight years. He has experience in five continents with his most notable contributions being in South East Asia and East Africa. Whether it be in social enterprise, organization development, or investment analysis, Jim’s desire has been to see leaders developed to strengthen the Kingdom. Most recently Jim spent the last couple of years living in Kenya helping to provide organizational sustainability to ELI through business ventures. As the Director of International Implementation he looks forward to helping the organization refine and strengthen its strategic approach to poverty alleviation and discipleship.
LORI EATON – SHORT TERM MINISTRY COORDINATOR
Lori is thrilled to be working for ELI as the Short-Term Ministry Coordinator and believes that God began her journey to this place many years ago. She went on her first short-term mission trip to Tanzania while attending Azusa Pacific University when Don Rogers was just at the beginning stages of founding ELI. This trip ignited her passion for missions as well as for the people of Africa. She has had the privilege of returning to East Africa several times since then and has only grown in her love for the people and desire to see them be empowered economically and spiritually. Lori has many years of experience working for a nonprofit organization, combined with many years in the education field. She is blessed to be able to use her skills to help coordinate and train teams and interns who, like herself, will have their lives forever changed by what God will do while they are serving in Africa.
SARAH O’CONNOR – CHILD SPONSORSHIP/OFFICE ASSISTANT
When Sarah prayed for direction into the life God wanted for her, He answered! Sarah came to know about ELI through volunteering at Hillside Community Church. She graduated from Concordia University in Irvine, CA with a degree in Psychology and Studio Art. She feels blessed to be able to use her skills to help empower people around the world, and connect people through Christ. She is looking forward to starting her journey into the mission field with ELI, and she cannot wait to see what God will do through her. Sarah serves as the link between our sponsors and children in Africa.