Sharing Social Innovations in Australia…Join the Changemaking Celebration!

In my last post I interviewed Ash Barker, an Australian living with his wife Anji, two Alpaca’s, three lizards, an assortment of other animals and some 30 people in the Newbigin House in Birmingham in the UK. In my interview, Ash shared the training school in where he plans to prepare a new generation of young people to become social entrepreneurs in some of the tougher neighborhoods in Birmingham.

Christine–my Ausie partner–and I are actually in Australia celebrating Christmas next week with her brothers and their families. When we first arrived we flew to Melbourne to get some time with our good friends Gary and Ev Heard.

On December 5, we met with a great group of young people from Surrender who specialize in equipping young people to be changemaking disciples of Jesus for these uncertain times. We had a great conversation over coffee and “bickies.”

Speaking of uncertain times, we were surprised to see a great couple, Jeff and Sherry Maddox and their son, who had just moved from the US to work with Urban Seed in Melbourne. Jeff is from Australia and Sherry is from the US and they said they couldn’t have chosen a better time to re-locate their family.

On December 6, I had the opportunity to speak about the good news of my new book at World Vision. Afterwards, we had coffee with Tim Costello and had a very engaging time talking about the changemaking God is doing through a new generation. Tim’s son, Elliott Costello, is on the front edge of this changemaking movement starting a group of millennial change makers in Melbourne called Y-Gap.

They have started a chain of restaurants from Kinfolk Cafe to Feast of Merit. They train young volunteers to operate these restaurants to free up the major part of the profits to be used to offer job training among the poor in Australia, Cambodia and Uganda. On the way out of Melbourne, Christine and I enjoyed an elegant lunch at the Feast of Merit and would strongly recommend it to those heading Down Under.

When we arrived back to Sydney we were fortunate to have Trevor Thomas, a good friend, and Tear Australia, host a book launch that was a very engaging time. One of the things that made it particularly impacting was to have Laura O’Reilly share about non-profit organization she started called Fighting Chance. It was created to enrich the lives of young adults with a disability in Australia.

Laura O Reilly was motivated by her struggles to enable her younger brother with cerebral palsy to find a job as an IT support person. In this interview she shares how she created a social enterprise called Jig Saw, which is a part of Fighting Chance, to enable other young people to become IT support people by creating public and private temp positions in IT support. Listen to Laura’s presentation. Share your response with us and tell us about the social enterprises you are seeking to launch.

Christine and I and our community at Mustard Seed House wish you a joyous Christmas and prayers for future of hope, particularly for those at the margins in our country and all over the world…especially the alarming record 65 million refugees in our world today.