Christophe Mbonyingabo,
BTP Partner,
is in the Seattle area.
Born in 1974 to Rwandese parents in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Christophe was the first of seven children. At age twelve, he quit school to help his parents survive the difficulties of living in exile. In the violence following the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 which killed about one million people, Christophe lost his father and several other family members. Returning to Rwanda in 1995, he was shaken by the effects of the genocide, and after hearing many of the shocking stories, he became Christian in 1998. In Rwanda he continued his studies and earned a college degree. With a bright financial future ahead, Christophe couldn’t forget the atrocities and wounds that his nation had endured. God compelled him to begin a ministry of reconciliation and forgiveness, CARSA,* to promote the healing process for those left behind. In addition, to ensure that the next generation of Rwandans will live a different future, he has begun the nationwide High-5 Initiative to bring biblical character values to children, helping them to choose peace and hope over war and despair. Christophe lives in Kigali with his wife Diane and four children.
Open Dialogue on the Healing of a Nation
 with Christophe Mbonyingabo of Rwanda

You are invited to interact with Christophe in an intimate setting and to learn about Rwanda’s past, present and future. Come and be inspired by God’s work in and through this courageous young man.

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014         4:00 pm to 5:30pm
Campbell Nelson Nissan/Volkswagen  24329 Hwy 99, Edmonds, WA 98026

Monday, Feb. 24, 2014          3:00pm to 4:30pm
One Accord  1018 Market Street   Kirkland, WA 98033

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014          3:00pm to 4:30pm
Bickford Ford  3100 Bickford Ave, Snohomish, WA 98290

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014        6:30pm to 8:00pm
Foundation for International Services, Inc.  505 – 5th Ave S, Ste. 101, Edmonds, WA 98020

Thank you to PinkaBella Cupcakes for providing the refreshments for these gatherings

Call (425) 775-3362 for more information

* CARSA – Christian Action for Reconciliation & Social Assistance, a Rwandan Christian non-profit organization, was created to promote healing, forgiveness and reconciliation around the world. It also seeks to address the social needs of the families and communities it serves, fostering cooperation and collaboration with other institutions working for these same causes.

Last week, we introduced Breakthrough’s Young Peacebuilders Initiative (YPI) and its director, Dr. Michael McGill. To read that post, click here. This week, we will continue to explore the work of YPI by looking at their growing initiative.

Burundi YPI Leaders

Burundi YPI Leaders

Most people try to address problems in the developing world by identifying a perceived solution and then implementing their structured curriculum in an attempt to fix it.

However, that is not how the Young Peacebuilders Initiative (YPI) works. McGill starts with vision. He encourages local leaders to imagine their future nation if their children were nurtured with peacebuilding passion and skill rather than raised with violence modeled as a default response to conflict. Dr. McGill then challenges them to join with others in making that more peaceful future a reality and reminds them that the vast majority of contemporary conflicts occur in nations with very young populations like theirs.

If local leaders are committed to pursuing the vision of building more durable peace through nurturing young peacebuilders, he helps them to identify the unique obstacles to achieving their vision and to create and implement their own contextualized YPI plan. Although it can be more time consuming, YPI and Breakthrough Partners strongly believe that this model of local ownership brings about more sustainable and effective change. This longer yet promising process brings about more durable peace in communities worldwide where cycles of violence often continue for generations.

McGill is currently implementing this strategy in Burundi and Rwanda and exploring expansion into Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda. He has also been contacted by groups in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Ecuador who are interested in replicating YPI’s model of equipping children as peacebuilders who will become their community’s greatest asset for a more peaceful future. Leaders from around the world are coming September 28th to a YPI training in Uganda to how to start a YPI process in a new country. Learn more here.

Take YPI in Burundi, for example. Through visits with multiple churches, government, business and NGO leaders, Michael identified a group of leaders who grabbed hold of the vision for engaging large numbers of young peacebuilders. These leaders committed to working together to identify and implement a plan to equip their children and youth as peacebuilders. Since working to gather the resources for an initial national YPI consultation in June 2013, they have proudly claimed ownership for the YPI process. Now, through 50 trainers, 2,000 teachers in Burundi will be taught how to implement a local, contextualized plan to train children as peacemakers. From a small group of leaders who grabbed hold of YPI’s vision for a peaceful future, 100,000 young people will be engaged and trained to make choices that build peaceful communities. And YPIB is just getting started!

As God continues to work in the hearts of African leaders to prompt them to say, “Now is the time!” YPI will continue to help these leaders identify and move towards the vision of that is important to them.

Learn more about YPI here, or listen to Michael discuss his vision here. Or, follow them on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates!

Nine months ago, Breakthrough’s partner Michael McGill, PhD moved his family to Kampala, Uganda. Their goal? Be near the center of the youngest and most conflicted region of the world in order to further the work of the Young Peacebuilders Initiative.

YPI Burundi Conference

2013 YPI Burundi Conference

Armed with the knowledge that impoverished countries with young populations are more prone to conflict, Dr. McGill and YPI work to prevent or stop cycles of violence. By viewing children and youth as an asset, YPI works to equip, nurture and give skills to young people so that they may become peacebuilding participants in their society. The YPI peacebuilding skills and passion offers children and youth an alternative to the decades of corruption, destruction and exploitation they have viewed in their countries.

Take “Billy” for example. Billy lives in Burundi in a community well known to military fascists active in his border region. Billy’s community has been a part of YPI training, so both at school and at church, he has received peacebuilding training. He has learned to be a civic participant in his community and has even served on a local child peacebuilding board. When Billy was 14, the rebel soldiers first knocked on his door to recruit him. However, Billy knew he had other options. He was set on a different path than the military groups and so were the other youth in his community. Through peacebuilding training, YPI strives to teach and provide alternatives to cycles of violence in countries worldwide. Young people play a vital role in a country’s future of violence or peace, and because children younger than 14 are still developing their moral framework, YPI focuses toward children under 14.

As a researcher who recently completed his PhD in intercultural studies with a child peacebuilding focus, McGill is driven by a desire to measure the impact of investing in child peacemakers instead of focusing on armed intervention as the primary answer to conflict. For this reason, each YPI partnership is paired with a local university so that peacebuilding indicators may be closely tracked to show the peacebuilding impact of YPI education and training on the community. By gaining evidence of the impact of mobilizing young peacebuilders, Breakthrough and YPI hope to catalyze replication of the YPI process worldwide.

Stay tuned as we explore what the YPI process looks like on the ground in Burundi!

Learn more about YPI here, or listen to Michael discuss his vision here. Then follow them on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates!


Julius Muwanguzi of Uganda

When people think of a coach, sporting games with red-faced men frantically waving arms and shouting instructions is usually what comes to mind.

Mark Mielbrecht’s coaching couldn’t be more different.

Two years ago, Mark and three others at Breakthrough Partners signed up to become certified coaches through Creative Results Management. The coaching method they learned is unique. “It’s a client-led agenda,” Mark said. “They say what they want to work on; I’m helping them achieve the goals they set for themselves.” Mark explained that it is future-focused, while counseling is often focused on the past. “We like to recognize the effects of the past, but ultimately believe that God created us as unique and gifted individuals. We have to trust the Holy Spirit to enable us to fulfill our God-given purpose.” In order to do so, Mark’s coaching focuses on a person’s desire to set goals, overcome barriers and willingness to choose to move in a positive direction in order to meet one’s potential.

Mark recently coached Breakthrough’s friend Pastor Julius of Uganda. His church had planted corn to feed the village and provide for schoolchildren, but the crop was destroyed when a neighbor allowed his cows to graze on the plot. Julius was faced with a dilemma. He wanted to show love to his neighbor but had the reality of a destroyed crop that could no longer feed the village. He struggled with whether to turn the other cheek or seek restitution to meet the needs of the village. Through Mark’s coaching, Julius decided that he should meet with the elected village council to ask for their input regarding a solution and support. They in turn spoke with the neighbor about his negligence. “I never told Julius what to do. All I did as a coach was help him discover his solution to the present problem. That’s the beautiful thing.” Mark’s coaching with Julius helped prevent a conflict between a pastor and his community and helped give recognized authority to the recently elected governing body of the village.

Mark and the other Breakthrough coaches are well on their way to logging the necessary hours for their coaching certification. As they do so, they will continue to play an important role in helping clients decide the best action-steps to self-created solutions and effective change.

Hear through the words of our partner, David Adrianoff, of the incredible spread of the gospel in Mongolia over the past 20 years.  

In 1993 when David moved to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, food was limited, the power and heat would shut off unexpectedly and the water was unreliable. And there were only 200 Christians in the whole country. Last month, when David returned for the twentieth anniversary celebration of Joint Christian Services (JCS) International, Ulaanbaatar was modern, full of traffic and bursting with skyscrapers. And there were an estimated 80-100,000 Christians. 

David and Bazarsad at the 20th anniversary celebration of JCS International.

Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is home to nearly half of the country’s 3 million citizens, while the other half live isolated in rural provincial centers. David, the first executive director of JCS, started the consortium of development and church planting agencies in January of ’93 along with six other board members. In the following five years, JCS witnessed and assisted as the gospel spread throughout Mongolia, forming believers into churches, and bringing the total number of Christians in 1997 to 10,000. 

“The church in Mongolia is absolutely exciting,” said David. “It’s governed by itself, not led by outsiders. It’s very unified even though it is so small.” One of the most amazing aspects of the church in Mongolia has been its powerful focus on evangelism. It currently sends missionaries to China, Tibet, Russia, Afghanistan, and many other countries. However, this growing church still faces challenges at home. In a landmass twice the size of Texas with very low population, the church has struggled with how to reach those in rural areas with discipleship and training. Furthermore, those who do come to the capital to learn and train often do not want to return to the rural countryside to lead and pass on their training.

Despite these challenges, the church in Mongolia is strong and united. In a country that has leapt towards modernism and is embracing the changes of globalization, the church has successfully grown, adapted and flourished as well. Please join us in praying for the continued work of JCS and the church in Mongolia to continue to spread the gospel.

This week, we will be hearing from Emilio Cabrera. Emilio studies at Seattle Pacific University and is a first generation immigrant from Mexico. Emilio is a former intern with Breakthrough Partners, and gladly shared with us his insight on the South Seattle community. 

Working as an intern with Los Amigos de Breakthrough Partners was a beautiful and empowering experience. As an intern I would go on Tuesdays and Thursdays to meet with Pastor Keith Tungseth and Silvia Huaynoca. We would meet and talk about the different issues concerning the Latino and immigrant community in the greater Seattle area. In particular, this community faces is housing segregation in South Seattle. We would drive together to South Seattle to see firsthand and experience how we could empower the Latino community and build leaders within this population. Housing segregation and relocation is common for immigrants and especially Latinos in South Seattle. Hence, advocating and making people aware of this issue is an important first step if we truly hope to act and see changes that will benefit both the one helping and the one who is in a difficult situation.

A specific way that I helped advocate for the Latino community was joining in with different church leaders to hear them talk and share their different goals and programs within their specific churches targeting Latino youth and the immigrant population. My personal opinion and insight, as a first generation immigrant from Mexico, was asked and listened to. These church leaders wanted to hear from a brother who has faced similar issues as the people in their congregations in order to identify and connect better with them. The work of reconciliation is not just one way of doing things, from me to you, but is a mutual cycle of learning from one another in order to collaborate and work together. Ministry in this way is a continuous cycle where God is truly the one guiding the direction and movement of each of us.

 I shared with the pastors the story of my connection with Kenny, a white homeless man that I had met my freshman year of college in the streets of downtown Seattle. We sat on the sidewalk and exchanged stories about our lives, and we both prayed for each other. A couple of months later, I found Kenny again in Redmond. He didn’t remember me, but the opportunity to talk and listen from him was given to me again. Ministry works in the same way. We do not have to assume that we are at one spectrum of the reconciliation process. We do not assume that we are bringing peace and order to peoples’ lives, but we accept that God is meeting us there when we engage in conversations and intentional relationships with the other, with someone different from us. 

Hence, identification is essential in working together to build leaders in communities and reconcilers of all nations. But in order to truly know how to do this, we must have a representative of both sides of the picture. We must have one person advocating and sharing their heart from each side of the wall. Diversity within leadership is essential and vital for this work to truly happen. Then, when we are together in this walk, we can both pray for God to shows us the way to go forward and direct our hearts to work together with a same goal and vision in mind. Interning with Breakthrough Partners showed me a lot in this work of leadership building and reconciliation. Most importantly, I learned I have a voice, that each one of us has a voice, and it plays an important role in how we work to move forward together.

Breakthrough Partners is committed to working both globally and in our local community. One of our partners, Keith Tungseth, is on the board of the South Park Information and Resource Center. Breakthrough works with SPIARC to provide English lessons to the community. For more information on SPIARC and their programs, visit their profile here

Last week, we introduced our partner ministry in Rwanda, Hope For Life, and one of its co-founders, Hilliary Anderson. Read that post here. This week, we’ll look deeper into the radical transforming work God is doing in the boys’ home.

Every day in Kigali, 24 boys and their caregivers gather together to read devotions and pray. It sounds simple enough, but each of these boys was formerly living on the streets of Kigali. “It’s been amazing to see them transform from rebellious, rough street kids to be on fire for the Lord,” remarked Hilliary Anderson, the co-founder of Hope For Life. Even more amazing are the Saturday devotions, which are led by boys themselves. “It’s really cool to hear from them what God is doing in their lives,” said Hilliary.

The spiritual transformation of the boys living at HFL is only the beginning of the radical changes taking place. Since taking in 12 street youth in 2008, HFL has grown to house 24 boys and has reintegrated 12 boys back into their homes and families. After reintegration, HFL continues to support them, growing their number of beneficiaries to an astounding 96 people. The breadth of HFL’s ministry is a result of its commitment to creating a holistic program that addresses the root of the problem, why kids go to the street. It was this commitment that directed the ministry’s focus to be the families as well as the boys. HFL has also launched a local street kids program that allows homeless youth a chance to relax, wash their clothes, receive a warm meal, take English lessons, participate in devotions, and be counseled by the HFL staff.

With 24 energetic boys running around, it takes a full team to care for them. HFL has been blessed to see God working to transform the staff almost as much as the boys themselves. “We’ve been investing into our staff spiritually, through devotions and Bible training, so they can help disciple the boys,” explained Hilliary. She has been helping the staff come together despite their differences. “I want them to focus on bringing unity to the tribal tensions they hold. Sometimes they dislike or distrust each other because of the tribe they are from, and we want them to put their identity in Christ, not tribal identity, so Christ can transcend every area of life.” 

What’s next for this incredibly blessed ministry? With God’s direction and guidance, Hilliary hopes someday to replicate what they are doing elsewhere, once they have the financial means and feel a call to a second location. In the meantime, God’s blessing and guidance is evident in the way their ministry is flourishing. Pray that God’s transforming grace will continue to work in the hearts of the boys and staff at Hope For Life.

To learn more about Hope for Life ministry, visit their website here. To donate funds to further the way HFL has been a blessing to street youth and Rwandan families click here.

In 2008, Hilliary Anderson and Megan Swanson were in Rwanda, completing an internship at a church in Kigali with Breakthrough Partners. One day when they were walking home, a five-year-old malnourished street boy came up to them. Hilliary and Megan gave him a loaf of bread, and were soon swarmed with hungry street boys who eagerly shared in the meager loaf. Amazed at the reality in front of them, the two college students supplied the boys with food, clothes, soccer balls, and spent hours with them for the remainder of their time in Rwanda. As they neared the end of their trip, Megan and Hilliary were able to procure financial sponsors for the boys, and found a woman from the local church who promised to watch over them. 

One month after their return to the United States, Megan and Hilliary were distressed to hear that the eleven boys had been arrested simply for being on the streets, and wouldn’t be released until they had a home to move to. Knowing that God was asking them to faithfully make a place for the street boys, Megan, Hilliary and Chantal, a Rwandan woman, set about raising funds and making preparations. In March of 2009, Hope for Life opened in a home with a full time caregiver for 12 boys. Since then, the ministry has continued to thrive and grow. Twenty-four boys are living in the home, and 12 boys have been reconciled to and reintegrated into their families, while continuing to receive support from HFL. Because HFL is dedicated to treating the root causes of poverty, not merely the symptoms, often the boys’ families receive sponsorship in the form of school fees, land purchases, skills trainings, and more.

Hilliary, now the Executive Director of Hope for Life, continues to raise funds in the US for the ministry, while Rwandan staff runs much of the daily operations in Kigali. HFL’s goal is to see these former street children who have been abused and neglected, be reconciled with their families and reintegrated into society, being equipped with the skills to lead a successful life and the opportunity to make a difference in their communities. A visionary, Hilliary has great plans for investing in the boys’ futures. In particular, she would love to see the boys’ education broaden to include vocational training beyond schooling, in order to prepare them for stable careers.

While most businessmen pursue success and upward mobility, Hilliary seeks the opposite. One day, she would love to transfer the position of Executive Director to a Rwandan staff member in order to fully give the work of Rwanda back to the people of Rwanda.


To learn more about Hope for Life ministry, visit their website here. To donate funds to further the way HFL has been a blessing to street youth and Rwandan families click here.

After attending the 2013 Breakthrough Partners Network Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Christophe Mbonyingabo shares his reflections on the experience. Christophe left the conference with the goal of uniting individuals together through building trusting relationships to create sustainable, lasting partnerships. Additionally, Christophe now plans to mobilize resources to initiate change from the inside, using what God has blessed their community with, rather than relying on external sources of change.

See his response here:

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