Our work at APBAid wouldn't have been better or done smoothly had it not been for Dr. Les Fussell. We have accomplished much because of the exemplary leadership, passion and commitment of Dr Les Fussell in the areas - peace-building and capacity enhancement, sustainable community development and serving people and communities affected by disasters. Les provided us with guidance and direction following our strategic plan and annual plan of action. He was always there when we needed help regarding our work; we could always send him email any time which he responded to promptly. We were able to enhance our capacities, developed our potentials and learned much from the opportunities given to us through trainings, exposures, representations and serving as resource persons. He helped equip us for the task assigned to us. His recognition and appreciation of our work, his kind words and gestures of support are motivation and inspiration to us to never grow weary of doing work that brings impact and positive change to the lives of the people and conventions that APBAid serves.
We are so thankful for his life, his contribution to our lives besides APBAid and that even in times of difficulties Dr. Les Fussell supported us. We are so blessed to have worked with such a person who by his own life taught us to "act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God."
"I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints." (Philem. 4)
Aftermath of the Great Asian Tsunami in 2004, I was introduced to the ministry of Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (APBF) by first joining as a relief assessment team to the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. Later that year I met Dr. Les Fussell, who was then the Chair of APBAid (That is 2005). I have precious memories of him as a caring and sensitive leader who took great care to the needs of whoever worked with him, encouraging even to the minuscule details. APBAid Development Consultations, dozens of relief works and were all possible through his leadership. I thank God for Dr. Les Fussell, for the leadership he provided to the success of APBAid from 2002 when he joined as Chair of APBAid and the friendship, mentorship he gave to me for over 14 years.
Shalom, Les and Robyn Fussell!
~Rev. Kabi Gangmei~
If my memory serves me right, Dr. Les Fussell, or Ues as we know him, was elected as Chairman of the Relief and Development Committee of the Asian Baptist Federation at the Manila Congress in 2002. Under his leadership the committee was renamed Asia Pacific Baptist Aid ( APBAid), together with the renaming of the ABF to APBF in 2007. Les was brought in when he was the General Director of the Australian Baptist World Aid, later renamed Transform Aid International (TAI). I remember meeting Les ma y years before he came into the APBF, he was pastoring a church in Austr lia, and he and his wife was the guardian of a student from Nagaland, staing at their home. I also heard of Les being a former missionary both in In ia and Africa, given his Agriculture background. All of this background lent to his passion to see wholistic development and response being carried out by the churches. This made him a very active and hands-on Chairmen of the APBAid committee, ably supported/ partnered by Rev. Kabi Gangmei who was also himself from that back ground as an evangelical development orker through the years even prior to joining the APBF/APBAid.
I remember the voluminous compendium/ program e books Les would bring out for the various Development conferences that APBF/APBAid organised in several countries of the region. He believed in having a clear objective and follow up mechanisms in place before and after conferences etc. Les chaired the APBAid when APBF oversaw some of the largest Baptist responses to natural calamities in our region viz. the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December, 2004, the Cyclone Nargis of Myanmar of May, 2008), and the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of March, 2011 etc.
Les was a very systematic man, and so became t e pointmen to help with organisational charts or putting systems in place, vi . Rules and regulations, Guidelines for the various committees and even reviewing the APBF Consitution etc. Les also shouldered the responsioility of being Treasurer of the APBF. He was a no-nonsense workhorse, with a great servant heart and spirit, mostly seen in casual work dress and a laptop in tow, and rarely sporting a necktie or coat. When something needed to be done, Les would often put his hands up to volunteer! His spirit of sacrifice attracted trust and confidence from organisations and church groups, so much that his presence brought much stability to the APBF, including financial stability. He was a true pillar of strength for the APBF. I was truly privileged to have him in my committees during my tenure as General Secretary. APBF is truly grateful to Les for his good and sacrificial service ! We will miss Les and his skills and his laughter ! But I know Les will be a blessing wherever he goes! To my knowledge Les was also a good father, as he would give time for his wife and children, and write me about being so many weeks and even months at times on the road, driving in the Australian outbacks witH his wife or visiting his children and grandchildren in Canada. Offcourse, we would be amiss if we did not mention our thanks to Les's sweet and faitmful wife Robyn, for her support to APBF and in sharing Les with APBF. This is what comes to mind when I think of our dear friend Les.