Beyond the Horizon

Follow this link to find the latest edition of the bulletin that a team and i produce featuring the work of Fusion in the developing world. In it we take a closer look at Trenchtown, Jamaica, bringing communities together for peace in Nigeria and supporting mums in Athens. These are just some of the creative things teams are doing to sustain the work across the globe.

enjoy!

http://fusionyac.org/beyondthehorizon/BTHSpring2013Email.pdf

 

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Innovation Lights up the Streets of Athens

Philemon and Babis, are two leaders of Fusion Hellas (Fusion Greece) AKA Street Lights. They shared some of the projects that have emerged as a creative response to the needs around them, bringing hope to their city and country. We are all familiar with the socio-economic, political crisis in which Greece finds itself; so how does a team of young adults with families to support, continue to serve, respond and expand their mission activity with no big sponsors and no salaries to take home?

For the Street Lights leadership, the question is actually much bigger than that. Greece is at 70% unemployment with 3000 people losing their jobs each day. Finding a creative response to this need is crucial if the hope that Street Lights purport to bring is to be credible and tangible to their fellow Athenians and nationals.

Philemon explains “We wanted to use creativity to raise funds, we were looking for ways to support people and give them an income: we needed to turn creative in order to survive! And at the same time, creative work helps people to connect to our Creator-God.”

The result? Two income generating social enterprises and a third one in its pilot phase.

The Loved Projects: this is the most established enterprise. Its vision is to take communication to another level, helping clients articulate their narrative with clarity. The Loved Projects team, Philemon Armenis, Eirini Milaki, and Theodore Kritikos develop promotional materials for clients using print, video and web media; in the process they mentor their clients in communication. The income generated currently supports two Fusion Hellas youth workers. There’s another significant outcome from the project, it provides a space where young people can be trained by the team in design and film editing, which gives them a better chance for their future. “Two of our people have recently gone on to get jobs in the film industry! We are addressing a real need. This is the biggest excitement! It’s like we were made for this moment!” You can find out more by visiting www.lovedprojects.com

Street Store:  is the brain child of Babis who we met last time, (AKA Charalampos Tsakiris). Through this project young people can take a creative idea, refine the design, produce and sell their product on line at www.streetstore.gr . “The street store has really helped to build morale! It’s amazing! You walk down the stairs, leaving a street of closed down stores, down to the basement where it’s vibrant. People tell me that they can ‘breathe’ in there. It’s a hub; a place where people can learn.” The goal is simply to connect and communicate with young people and give them the experience of generating income; a percentage of which goes to fund the philanthropic work of Fusion Hellas and the rest they take home for themselves. (The Philanthropy team is operational throughout the winter months, when they move through the streets of Athens on cold nights distributing clothes and blankets to the homeless.)

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The third enterprise in its pilot phase still, is the PC service. The team, led by Alexandros Siozos, have the capacity to do professional upgrades on computers and see this as yet another way to train young people, serve clients, including other teams in the Fusion movement, and generate income to further fuel the growing work of Street Lights. We wish them all the best in this and all their exciting income generating social enterprises.

 

Dreams behind the faces behind the work:

Koko Lamkang, Fusion’s South Asia coordinator introduces the rest of the team in Delhi who help make everything happen. Most of the team have at least one university degree and speak more than three languages!

Khular Thamthung has been with Fusion since 2009. He has worked as the Hostel manager for Fusion and now is the Team leader in Delhi, he is originally from Manipur. Khular hopes that, “all people of India will know personally who Jesus Christ is and what he has done for them; that they might accept Him as their personal saviour. Secondly, I hope India experiences a cultural change which brings harmony and justice to every Indian. Finally, my hope is that all Indian citizens will learn to care for each other.”

Koko was also born in Manipur, he says, “I grew up with warmth and love thanks to the small community where we lived.” After a year training with Fusion in Australia in 2009, he is now working towards a diploma in Youth and Community Work (Christian) with Fusion. Previously team-leader for Fusion Delhi, he has recently accepted the position of Co-ordinator for South Asia. “My dream is to see India as a nation where the worth and dignity of a human life will not be determined by caste, place of birth or religion. The India I want is a nation where justice, mercy and compassion are shared values. It is an absolute joy to see how much God has grown and built up the Fusion Delhi team.”

Frankie was born in predominantly Christian Nagaland in north east India. With a strong commitment to his home state, his desire is, “to see India free from poverty, a place with equality for all, and a place where people can live in safety.” He has been with Fusion full-time since 2009.  Frankie finds encouragement when Australians visit for pilgrimage. “It’s great, I look forward to those friendships growing as together we make a real difference in the lives of all the people in India regardless of their religion, ethnic group, caste or financial status.”

Jerome and Girija were married in 2010; Jerome comes from Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, South India. Jerome worked for 5 years as a pastor of a church in a slum area of South India. At festivals he enjoys dressing up as a clown and balloon sculpting. “This is a wonderful way to meet the children and their families.” He also is part of the Kids Club team.“I really enjoy leading the kids in a game we call ‘Fire in the mountain’ which reinforces the community value of helping each other. When you come to India, perhaps I can teach you this loud, but enjoyable game!”

Shel-Ngam Tholung, has been with Fusion since 2008. He enjoys festivals – “It warms my heart to see people coming together in friendship and co-operation, it transcends normal cultural barriers of financial status, caste or religion.” His vision for India is, “to see genuine love among all people”, and he adds, “I have dedicated my life to God for that purpose.”

Pankaj from Delhi who came to faith as a result of festivals, Ali from Nagaland and Henry from Delhi are all part of the Delhi team.

The work in India extends beyond Delhi with teams in Imphal and Hyderbadad.

In the capital of the eastern state of Manipur, Imphal, work began 2 years ago with Open Crowd Festivals from which developed weekly Kids Clubs. Moses from Imphal is a long-term Friend of Fusion who works with a number of Christian organizations in Imphal, where he helped set up a kids club. The state is about 30% Christians but suffers periodic insecurity from insurgents fighting for independence from India. A number of our Delhi team come from this State and have a strong attachment with it.

Hyderabad is the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The Fusion team there is led by Dayakar who is the adopted son of missionaries in the city. He was part of the Fusion Delhi team for two years before heading back to his home city where he now lives with his wife and daughter. His gifts as a networker with pastors of local churches, his very gentle nature and great sense of humour have been key to slowly building the work.

 

 

Indonesian Hospitality

Good Food, Good Coffee and a Good Room.

Over the last year I have been busy producing Beyond the Horizon, a magazine that comes out three times a year and show cases the work of Fusion teams in the two thirds world.  I thought I would share some of the articles from previous issues with you. I trust you will enjoy them!

Rose  is based in Perth, Australia and is part of the team that supports and mentors the Fusion Indonesia team.  We caught up with her to find out what the Indonesians are up  to, and how they are raising  their own finances, whilst carrying out their day to day mission.

Fusion Indonesia have a guest house in Denpasar, Bali. The vision is for it to be a place where people can get an authentic introduction to the culture, for it to be welcoming and to have the Fusion office visible so that guests can see clearly that they are supporting mission.

It’s in a great location, just 45 minutes from the airport, but off the usual tourist track. There’s a café just over the road where you can get a good meal for 2 dollars and a taxi-rank round the corner.

Fusion Geraldton (Australia) have sponsored the furniture for the guest house. “We could have guests tomorrow, we have identified a local manager (but we are still getting our website bookings system up and running!) In fact we are currently talking to a Church who need somewhere clean, cheap and friendly to stay when they visit the area!”

The second enterprise the team is working on is offering a tutorial service for school students. “We’ve done a lot of work on this and have already put brochures together and canvassed parents who want their children tutored. There are six subjects we feel we can offer including Cantonese, Mandarin, Maths and English.”

“The third venture that we are looking at is a way of supporting local farmers in one of the Islands. We want to help them to export their coffee to places like Australia. We want to set up links with Churches, mission organisations and fair trade groups. We really want to see a farmers’ co-operative established as well, which would ensure a fair deal for the coffee growers. This venture still has a few kinks to be ironed out, but it has a lot of potential!”

Already these projects are making a difference to the team and the work in the area, forming a key part of their strategy to fulfil their mission of reaching out to the community around them. They have been a helpful focus around which to build the team. There is always plenty for new volunteers to do which means they quickly see the contribution they are making.  Other important spin offs include the start of some informal youth work: “We have a fairly consistent internet connection in the garage and so the place has become an informal internet café where the local youth gather. This in turn strengthens the kids’ club which it is hoped the enterprises will support.”

Finally “We’d love it if people could promote or come and stay in the guesthouse! And, get ready to enjoy and promote some absolutely knock-out, full-bodied, and great-tasting coffee!”.