Ivory Coast

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High5LogoWordsGod works in a mighty way as the High-5 Program is introduced to Francophone Africa at a gathering in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Breakthrough Partners Director of Children’s Ministry Training, Andrew Edmonds, and Breakthrough Partners Ivory Coast Director Koffi Tehua introduced the High-5 Character Values Curriculum to representatives from 12 churches from 5 denominations who, in turn, will take the training materials out to over 500 Sunday schools. Here are a couple of quotes from participants:

??????????????????????????????? “Next week I’m leading a training for 50 Sunday school teachers in the interior of Ivory Coast. I’m definitely going to share this material with them.”

“I’ve had an incredible burden for the kids in my church and community . . . Now I have a solution.”

For a full report from Andrew Edmonds and Koffi Tehua, click here.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support that make partnerships like this possible.

Gary Edmonds
President, Breakthrough Partners

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FeetI am sure we all resonate with the words of the prophet Isaiah “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News…”  However, in this world of so much political, economic, social and ideological unrest, the question of how we bring that Good News must be re-visited. Is a traditional missional approach based primarily on proclamation evangelism, still putting our best “foot” forward?  I think we need to take a hard look at how we can win the right to be heard in cultures with a spiritual ideology very different from our own.  What does it mean to develop long-term social credibility so that your proclamation will one day be welcomed and your thoughts and ideas embraced, because you have established the trusting relationships of the community at large?

In the remote, impoverished and civil war-torn region of Ouelle, Ivory Coast, one of our indigenous partners gathered 870 women from twenty-one different villages and began a savings and credit association. They were able to help each other with micro-loans and many small businesses began to flourish.  Through Dominique’s leadership these women developed a business plan to purchase, use, and maintain a grain mill which cut their manual labor of grinding grain from five hours down to five minutes per day.  With this dramatic increase in available time, these women can now sell excess flour, provide for their children’s medical needs, and begin a literacy program where 600 illiterate women and their children are now learning to read and write using the Bible as their textbook.

The astounding fact is that only 2% of these women were Christians when they first gathered.  63% were animists, and 35% were Muslim.  They came together because they all shared the same real physical needs, and this new community gave them very tangible ways to not only survive, but to learn and grow, and to seek the peace and prosperity of those around them.  They are all now reading and hearing the Good News on a daily basis and have experienced Christ, incarnationally through Dominique and the other believers whom they are now in relationship with.

As you consider your own ministry context, what would it look like to enter your target community in an incarnational way?  How beautiful are your feet to the community in which you are ministering?   What is your “lead foot”, and how are you winning the right to be heard?  This is obviously a long-term approach, and doesn’t make for impressive evangelism statistics, in the beginning…  However, I believe wholeheartedly that the eventual results will be immeasurably more than we can possibly imagine and the Kingdom of God will advance in ways that are truly transforming the entire community!  

Please feel free to respond to these weekly Breakthroughs in Missional Thinking, we need your voice in this ongoing dialogue about how the Christian Church engages in missions in this rapidly changing world and culture.

Blessings,
Mark Mielbrecht
Director of Global Leadership Development

Koffi praying at a church serviceJesus welcomed a group of followers up on a hillside, and he began to speak to them. One profound statement, “Blessed are the peacemakers. . .”

This last month, our leader and representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Koffi Tehua, was present in Washington D.C. with religious leaders representing Muslims, the Catholic Church and other major denominations. Koffi represented the Evangelical Protestants of the nation. The purpose of the meeting was to analyze the cause of the civil war that has kept the country divided for more than eight years. In hope, this group met to build relationships and create a plan to stop the killing and bring the people together to forge a democratically elected government. Read the document that emerged from this strategic meeting.

This past January, I asked Koffi what was the number one need of his nation. Immediately he wrote back, and in bold capital letters declared, “PEACE. Without peace we cannot raise families, educate our children, plant new churches, and develop our economy. Without peace we live in a constant state of tension, fear and conflict.” Koffi has asked me to thank all of you for the role that you play in seeking peace for the nation of Côte d’Ivoire.

To read more about Koffi and his work in Côte d’Ivoire, click here.

Gary Edmonds

As they love to say in Africa “God is good!”

CEDIDay3This week the local Breakthrough Partners Team, the organizers of the seminar on Christian Economic Development have been overwhelmed with the response.  There was an expectation of 150 participants from different regions of Ivory Coast and 11 other African nations.  However, there have been 207 men and women in attendance.

During the past two days we have visited some of the most sacrificial and gifted works of young Africans served by the Breakthrough Partners Ivory Coast Team that we have seen in the world.  Let me tell you of Dominique, a vibrant young Christian woman, who has established a savings and credit association for some 1,300 people.  This past year she worked with the pastor of the local church to see it have a roof for the church building and provide care for widows and orphans.  The result is that the church is growing dramatically, widows and orphans are brought out of a vulnerable and destitute state and the region is observing the creativity and love of Christ.

Thank you for walking with us to build leaders for rebuilding communities,

Yours truly, from Bingerville, Ivory Coast,

 Gary Edmonds

 [You may our work in the Ivory Coast through Breakthrough Partners by clicking here.]

This is the announcement we have received from Koffi in COTE D’IVOIRE – IVORY COAST of the arrival of Gary Edmonds with his wife Tricia and Kevin and Renee Napier.

BtPCI TeamKoffi shared the joy of having Breakthrough Partners with him in worship on Sunday. “Wonderful!” Koffi expressed thanks for gifts received and promised us further reports with pictures.

“I will send you a report every day.  Great thanks!”

If all the technology works between Africa and Edmonds, WA, we will be sharing the promised reports and pictures each day.

To follow us on FACEBOOK and read the updates, click here. Become a fan of Breakthrough Partners and send an invitation to all you friends. Great things are happening in Ivory Coast.

EdmondsNapiers2Please pray for us as we depart Friday, November 27 to the Ivory Coast.  In the 10 days that we are there, we will train people in Christian Economic Development and the dignity of womanhood.

Our objective is to move some 15,000 men, women and children out of vulnerable and destitute poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.  We will impart knowledge, skills, attitudes and relational connections to help them achieve this goal.  With God, this will happen in the year to come as the darkness is pushed back in the communities of these lovely people. 

 Thanks for standing with us as we build leaders to rebuild communities. 

Yours truly,

 Gary & Tricia Edmonds
Kevin and Renee Napiér