Meet Our Board of Directors

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Kisongo Mbeleulu, Chief Executive Officer

Pastor Kisongo Mbeleulu has had a heart for the poor of Congo for 40 years. After graduating from seminary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), he served 10 years as a chaplain pastor for university students. He served for 4 years as coordinator of the peacemaking program in the Great Lakes region related to the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

In the USA, though many who escape the poverty zone of the DRC would focus on thriving in their new life in the land of plenty, Kisongo’s calling to Congo has not diminished but has been refined. He chose to study what makes communities flourish and earned a Masters degree in International development in 2015. In 2010 Kisongo began ALERT and regular ministry trips to DRC.

Kisongo has a passion to see the Congolese church grasp the revolutionary power of the Gospel as their ‘wisdom template’ for all aspects of life.

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Kristy White, Chief Operating Officer

Kristy White was born in Nigeria and raised in Kenya as a missionary kid until the age of ten. After returning to the states and finishing a Bachelors of Arts at Bethel University in Community Health she joined the Peace Corps and continued her love of learning languages and caring for others. In 2001 she began as a volunteer supporting Global Horizons with administrative tasks. In 2002 she began part time and grew with the organization from administrative assistant to finally the Program Director after 12 years of service. Also during this time she married a wonderful man and became a mom of 4 very different and vibrant daughters. In 2013 she took her whole family to see Daystar University in Kenya and share her love of Africa with her family.

Currently she supports a team of insurance agents at a local State Farm office in Minnetonka and is discovering a love of gardening.

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Gavin Knowles, Board Chair​

Gavin Knowles works in the banking industry as a financial analyst and has a degree in finance from the University of St. Thomas.  During his time at St. Thomas, Gavin developed a passion for microfinance as a way to serve underserved communities.  In 2022, Gavin married his wife Madelynn and they now reside in Minneapolis.  Gavin and Maddie also serve in their local church in a variety of ways.

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Philip Friesen, Board Member and Project Specialist

A life-long missionary with experience in Taiwan, Argentina, East Africa, and the Middle East, Philip has during the past 20 years devoted majority time in ministry with foreign scholars at the University of Minnesota. His greatest privilege during that time has been teaching Biblical content to atheists from China. He is a credential minister with the Central Plains Mennonite Conference, is married to Vu Thi Thien Kim Friesen, a foreign student from Vietnam when they met in 1972. In 2010 his book, The Old Testament Roots of Nonviolence was published by Wipf and Stock, and he also has authored many articles published in church periodicals.

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Erik Hyatt, Board Member and Project Specialist

Erik is the US/International Director for Creation Stewards International.  He has five years of missionary experience in South Asia with YWAM, HI, and has ministered in over 25 countries since then. Erik has over 30 years of pastoral experience in US churches as Associate Pastor of Youth, Young Adults, International Students, and Global Outreach. Before planting a multi-ethnic church in St. Paul MN, Erik was the Associate Pastor for Global Outreach at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis for 10 years under Senior Pastor John Piper. He’s passionate about mobilizing the church as entrusted stewards of the gospel and God's creation for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. Erik grew up in Los Angeles, CA and is the grandson of immigrants from Palestine and Yugoslavia. Erik has a B.A. from University of the Nations (Hawaii), an M.Div. from Western Seminary (Portland, OR), and a D.Miss from Fuller Seminary (California).  He’s been married to his beautiful wife, Charlotte, since 1993 and they have three beautiful daughters.