A new sound system funded by the Rotorua Trust is helping Darren and Michelle Brown turn around the lives of an increasing number of families in the Fordlands community.
Darren and Michelle lead the Oasis Fordlands Christian Ministry, which is supported by the Fenton Community Christian Trust.
For the past two years Oasis Fordlands has been instrumental in helping to raise the hopes and aspirations of the community, one of the most economically deprived in Rotorua.
The Rotorua Trust provided $2,000 for the purchase of a speaker system, two microphones, mic stands, and a carry bag. The equipment will be used for youth activities, events in Fordlands and programmes Oasis Fordlands provides to the community.
“We are about raising the hopes and aspirations of people,” says Darren. “We cater to the physical, spiritual and social needs of families in Fordlands.” His role is particularly special as he lived in Fordlands as a teenager 30 years ago.
“I was involved with youth gangs and going nowhere in life until I had a change of direction and became a Christian. Thirty years later I am now back in Fordlands but this time as part of the solution and not the problem. So it’s been a bit of a turn around for me but it’s good to give back to the community.”
Darren and Michelle say they see changed lives adding that it’s all about empowering families and encouraging them to make wise choices in life, which in turn leads to better opportunities and a better future for themselves and their children.
Oasis Fordlands has been operating out of the Fordlands Community House and also provides a community church service at the Sunset Primary School.
They teach singing to children at the Sunset Primary school each Friday afternoon, and another school has expressed interest to have them working with families but they are finding themselves having to prioritise their community involvement.
“We’ve been there two years now, building relationships with people, getting to know families. It does have its challenges, but it’s rewarding when you see people making smart choices and lives changing for the better.
After starting out with two people who needed help, Darren and Michelle are now welcomed into many homes in the Fordlands community.
For more information contact: Ministers Darren & Michelle Brown, phone 0211362862, website: oasisfordlands.org.nz