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Is the process of refinement ever easy? This and more in our first newsletter for 2017!
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Hi <<First Name>>!
Welcome to Fusion Youth and Community UK's
 Monthly Update for February 2017!

In our first update for 2017 Ashley Yates reflects on her time spent as an intern with us in 2016, we share snippets from our work in Reading and Preston and we begin a new series aimed at resourcing you in mission. We hope you enjoy the read!

A Time of Trial & Treasure

Reflections on a Journey of Internship with Fusion Y&C UK 
In December 2016, as Ashley Yates prepared to return to her home in the US, we asked her to write down some of her thoughts and reflections on her time spent as a GEM (Greater Europe Mission) Intern on placement with Fusion in Reading, Berkshire. Ashley's journey was significant, particularly as someone with an emerging sense of calling into future full time mission. Her reflections were both encouraging to us and a testimony to God's grace. We hope you are blessed by Ashley's words.
"For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined."
Psalm 66:10

Ashley began by sharing how her ideas of what mission would be like were challenged…

 “Oh my stars... I honestly came here with very different expectations than what greeted me. From living arrangements, to what I’d actually be doing and having to learn the differences in church here.”
 

On what her internship experience has taught her…

 “That I am/was not here for myself, I’m here for Christ and Christ alone. Every single day was a sacrifice on my part because things are different than I expected/asked for... But I got up, and I decided that He called me here. He asked me to take the step of faith and so I did and I’ve also learned that adaptation is key. But ultimately, God always provides me with what I need/the strength to continue each and every day, and that is a beautiful thing.”
 

On learning to Trust God…

 “I like to joke with the team that I despise the word “trust” because that’s been the biggest thing God has been teaching me this past year. To learn to trust Him, and not just say it, but really, deep down believe it. To know that He has absolutely everything under control and I simply need to trust Him. Learning to trust fully in God hasn’t been the easiest for me (i.e. I’m stubborn and like things my way), but it’s also been the most rewarding journey that I’ve ever been on. I know I’m not all the way there, and honestly, I hope I never get to a point where I tell myself I’ve got this down, because when I do, that’s when I forget to rely full on God’s promises and begin to put my trust in myself...and that’s not what my life is about.”
 

On what she’s appreciated about being a part of the Fusion team…

 “I’ve always appreciated how you each all have each other’s backs. Each and every one of the team looks out for each other. So in one sense it’s like a family. A family who may not always agree with each other, but at the end of the day, you’d do whatever you possibly could if one of you were in need of anything. And that’s a beautiful thing to witness and get to be a part of.”
 

And finally, the story that sums up Ashley’s journey…

 “During the Pilgrimage, we were walking to Holy Island through the freezing cold water and mud. I came to a point where the path I’d been following was interrupted by loads of sea grass. I stopped and looked around. I could have taken a detour around it but decided to go through it.
About ⅓ of the way, I realised that this was going to be much harder than I anticipated. The grass wasn’t soft, but hard & digging into my feet; instead of the mud being harder, it was squishier and much, much deeper. I found myself constantly almost knee deep in slippery mud fighting to stay upright.
So I stopped. And I looked around me. I could backtrack and then go around, I could try and cut across to the other side, or I could keep going. I chose to keep going and it was rough...it was far from easy & there were many times I almost fell. But I kept going, bit by bit I pushed through all the while continually asking God where to put my feet next.
At the end, when I finally made it through, I realised, walking that path was a perfect example of my time here in the UK and the journey God has had me on. It hasn’t been easy, it’s been downright difficult at times. I’ve found myself wanting to give up and go back to the safety of what I’ve known before, but I kept going. And at the end, I was able to make it through...but it wasn’t by my strength alone, but through Christ. He has shown me where to walk, He has told me which way to follow Him and when I trust in Him, I’m able to make it.

It was a priviledge to support Ashley on her journey with God in 2016. She was a valued contributor to Fusion's local work in Reading. Ashley is currently working out her next steps and is seeking employment within a mission agency setting. We are certain God goes with her!
To find out more about Internship opportunities with Fusion Y&C UK, please get in touch by emailing or calling our
National office on 0118 931 4747.

Updates from the work in January and February ...

Our latest 12 week Foundations course is well underway in Reading. We are trialing a new way of delivering the course; with two participants joining us from Witham, via multi-media sharing platform 'Zoom'. As it is working well we wonder, maybe one day it will be you joining us over 'Zoom' from the comfort of your own home!
The Reading team are enjoying participating in the "family lunches" program at local high school, John Madejski Academy, this term. Volunteers from our friends at Learn4Life and other community groups eat lunch at tables with Yr 7 students, providing positive role models as we get to know Whitley's young people. 
Our second Youth Leader's Conference was encouraging and equipping to those who came. As one participant reflected YLC was "a time and place to reflect upon our youth practice- with helpful thinking and great people to discuss with." The Reading Team deeply enjoy being able to encourage and bless local youth workers.
Andy and his faithful team of volunteers in Preston continue to provide a safe and enjoyable space for young people in Preston to enjoy fun and games at the Youth Cafe. It is run out of St Matthew's Mission on Tuesday nights. The youth discipleship program, Talk 'N Tucker continues on Thursday evenings.   
NEW Resourcing You 
In this series each month will feature a designated topic, with follow up segments expanding on the theme to be posted every Friday of the following month (via Fusion's facebook page and website). We hope these short segments will provide helpful food for thought to encourage you in your own mission setting.  
This Month's Topic is...

A Values Based Culture


Above: A street party community event in Croydon, London.

What is 'culture'?

"The Oxford Dictionaries website defines culture in a number of ways, the second definition being ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society’ .
In other words, culture is basically ‘the way we do things around here’ and it influences our behaviour and choices because it is based on what is important to us (i.e. the things we value).

If you have traveled into a different culture, you probably noticed that the people of that culture share different ideas, customs and social behaviour to yours. When we enter a different culture we quickly observe there are certain ways of doing things and relating to one another which are widely accepted and certain things which won’t be accepted at all. Often out of respect, or in an effort to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb, we adapt our behaviour to suit the culture. When we enter a multicultural society, it is much harder to discern what is or is not acceptable behaviour, because we will pick up different messages from the different sub-cultures we experience.

Different people groups in your community have cultural differences as well. For example, a young street-wise person walking into a conservative church will have a cross-cultural experience. 

Now consider your outreach program (or church, school, office or home). It too will have its own culture. That culture will either reflect the values your team choose to role model, promote and uphold or it will reflect behaviour and values from outside influences, brought in by those who attend your program."

Excerpt taken from
Fusion Y&C UK's "Underpinning Knowledge for Youth Outreach Programs" training booklet.

Important News for This Summer:

Fusion Y&C UK's British Pilgrimge of Hope
will now be known as

Fusion Y&C UK's
Summer Mission Intensive
A Transformative Pilgrimage Experience 

Week 1: Reading, 24th-30th July 2017
Week 2: Preston, 2nd-8th August 2017
To find out more click here
We hope you have enjoyed reading Ashley's reflections, news from the work and our 'resourcing you' segment on culture!

As the cold weather continues here, we pray that you will be continuously warmed by fresh joy in Christ's love!

Kind Regards,

Skye Leon
on behalf of Fusion Youth and Community UK
Copyright © 2017 Shift Youth + Community, All rights reserved.


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