November 2008

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My heart was overjoyed as I read an email from Jacob, one of our partners in Rwanda, written from a conference hall in Goma, Congo. With artillery fire in the background, he taught a Vision Conference to 50 pastors who “were so excited about the training they received about how to wholistically develop their community. Even though each day was filled with tension due to the advancing threat, the men and women attending wouldn’t leave until the last minute and hungrily received all the materials we shared with them.” God protected the attendees in the midst of rebel attacks and blessed them. As one elderly pastor said, “We can’t liberate our people from dependency and poverty without learning these materials.”

Breakthrough Partners works with courageous and godly leaders who are facing hardships that most of us cannot comprehend. Gas prices have soared to $8 per gallon in Rwanda. Food prices have skyrocketed and availability is scarce. People who ate one meal per day now eat one meal every three days. The result – churches are swamped with cries for help.

We are walking daily with leaders like Jacob to give them encouragement, skills, resources and tools to rebuild lives and devastated communities in the most challenging of circumstances. These leaders need to be strengthened to actually break the poverty cycle, genocide ideology, moral corruption and animistic beliefs. They need wisdom to bring sustain-able biblical solutions to change their nations. This is the work of Breakthrough Partners.

Gary Edmonds

I recently returned from meetings in Thailand focusing on history of the church in Laos. God has truly done some amazing things in that country. Laos still faces difficult times, with some sisters and brothers in Christ facing persecution, yet God is at work. It strengthens our faith when we recall how God has directly intervened in the past.

For example, Christ’s church in southern Laos grew among the rejects of society. A strong church grew up among the population with leprosy. Because of their disease they settled in villages which had been set up for others with the dreaded disease. Missionaries treated them there and allowed them to experience the love of Jesus Christ.

Another group, the “Phi Pop,” was accused of being possessed by evil spirits. Sometimes spirit possession did occur; at other times individuals or families were simply accused by rivals. Just the accusation forced them to leave the village. They set up their own “Phi Pop” villages. People here were particularly receptive to the message of Jesus Christ. In fact, for the average lowland Lao in southern Laos, Christianity became known as the “Phi Pop religion.” Whereas so much of our outreach efforts focus on people with means, Jesus still targets the rejects of society. As one person has said, “If the church will go after the people no one wants, it will end up with the people everyone wants.” A strong foundation was laid for a vital church still growing in Laos today.

Dave Andrianoff