CU Women's Soccer - Damou Haiti Mission Trip

As I type this on the plane from Port Au Prince Haiti to Atlanta Georgia quite frankly I am overwhelmed. A little bit because our flight was delayed (it could be tight in catching our connecting flight to Grand Rapids), but mostly overwhelmed with joy from our recent trip to Haiti with the Cornerstone Women’s Soccer team.

 Cornerstone University Women's Soccer -FSI- Damou Haiti Mission Trip August 2018

Cornerstone University Women's Soccer -FSI- Damou Haiti Mission Trip August 2018

 VBS FUN with Mya, Erica and Madissen

VBS FUN with Mya, Erica and Madissen

 Coach Strawser runs the Thursday VBS soccer tourney.

Coach Strawser runs the Thursday VBS soccer tourney.

For starters, our team was amazing. This was a challenging trip to organize due to the nature of our team being scattered throughout the country during the summer, only to arrive on campus at Cornerstone less than 24 hours before our flight! We met and packed late into the night and then left for the airport at 3am. Once we landed in Haiti, the challenge really began... We were hit by a massive rainstorm as we loaded the vans and ended up in a traffic jam just outside of downtown Port Au Prince, causing our team to stay in vans for hours--stretching a three hour drive to nearly nine hours.  Quite frankly it was miserable conditions. That night once we arrived, the spirit of the group was still amazing. I knew then we were in for a great week.

 Meghan and Savannah present a Gospel ball to their new Haitian Friend.

Meghan and Savannah present a Gospel ball to their new Haitian Friend.

 Maya - Playing soccer at VBS with students

Maya - Playing soccer at VBS with students

Their willingness to be patient, adapt with change, support one another, embrace the mission and the Haitian people was genuine and inspiring. The growth our team made throughout the week both individually and collectively was powerful. Each night we shared and had a devotion led by 2002 CU Women’s Soccer alum Megan Willink. She really challenged and touched the girls in many ways. Our team led VBS activities each day, played soccer with the locals both at the church and at the stadium (which was a first for our Haitian friends). They visited the various aspects of the mission, toured the village of Cyvadier, ate dinner at the beach and went diving in the beautiful natural springs of Bassin Bleu in the mountains above Jacmel. But no doubt, what touched me the most is how they embraced the youth and the workers of Damou Mission. Our team truly showed the hands and feet of Jesus in service, as well as in the love and compassion of Jesus through relationships! Especially towards our missionaries, the Eugene family. On the last night we took time for the Haitians to share with us words of encouragement. It was touching and such a blessing to hear them encourage us.  Then we reciprocated back praise to them. Many of the Haitian workers were in tears not wanting our team to leave and touched by their words. I am excited for the continued opportunity of discipleship with this soccer team. I am also excited to see how this trip impacts their season on and off the field. God is at work in all of them and challenging them all in many ways! We have many talking about a return trip, child sponsorship, internships, and mission fundraising. Not to mention the discipleship and spiritual growth taking place among the team.

 Soccer Stadium - Jacmel Haiti

Soccer Stadium - Jacmel Haiti

Another major blessing to me was just seeing the health of the Damou Mission and the leadership of the Eugene’s. As someone who began traveling to Damou in 1998 when the founder, Tina Isenhower, was still building the mission house and other aspects of the school, it was great to see now twenty years later that many of the children she first poured into back then are now in leadership and are passionate for giving back and serving Christ in their community! Many students have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, and nurses throughout Haiti and we had the chance to meet a few of them. Others have remained in the community to work at the school and church! Many adults I recognized from when they were 11 and 12. And yes, every time we would talk with them, they would give thanks to Miss Tina! Especially Loubens, one of Tina’s first children to work with who is now one of the mission directors.

 Worship at Damou Mission House Balcony. 

Worship at Damou Mission House Balcony. 

Kaylee - Sharing her testimony at VBS

Yes this mission has seen hard times...earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, government overthrows, and so many other challenges locally, but today Damou is flourishing again and the Gospel is going forward in the village of Cyvadier. A medical clinic will be set up this fall with the lead Doctor, Dr. Wilbert, a Damou graduate. A church is being planted in the mountain area, a vision Tina started years ago. Loubens is leading the youth of the church through intentional discipleship as well as helping Jessica as co-director in various other aspects of the mission. Jessica continues to help manage the school, run the young women’s program and carry on the legacy of her Aunt!  And let's not make light of the fact that they just hosted a group of thirty in their home for a week flawlessly!

I am excited to make you aware of two specific projects we will be working with in the very near future with Damou Mission. One is possible internships with students from Cornerstone.  The second you can join in with us now! We are attempting to raise approximately $5500.00 specifically for solar power at the mission house. The total cost is around $9500.00 but they already have $4000.00 raised. Going solar would allow them to get off the grid and save them about $1000.00 dollars a month in diesel for their generators, and the $250-300 per month bill to the government for their 3-5 hours of electricity they receive. You can donate directly to this by going to the donate FSI-Wallace button on the homepage of our website or by going to https://donorbox.org/friendship-sports-international. Fill out your information and there is a drop down menu where you can designate to Damou Mission Solar Power Project. Checks can be sent to the address shared below. If you write a check, please ad a paper note in the envelope if you want the money to go towards the Damou solar power project.

 

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Last fall we began our FSI ministry here in Grand Rapids focused on providing discipleship, service and missions opportunities for the students of Cornerstone University and it has even expanded into neighboring high schools.  To all of you who have helped us make this a reality I want to say “thank you”! I hope you can see your investment at work for the kingdom both in the lives of the students we lead in Grand Rapids, and on the mission trips we are and will be taking!  More Detroit trips and return trips to Haiti and Guatemala are all being planned for this upcoming year.  Please pray to continue/begin the support of Friendship Sports in Grand Rapids! Your support helps us with travel, materials,  food, and more as we invest in the lives of those we are working with! 

We now have an account set up here in Grand Rapids. All donations can be made by mail to Friendship Sports International, 2310 Rothbury Court NE, Grand Rapids MI 49505, or online at www.Friendshipsports.net home page. Just click on the Donate-FSI-Wallace button.

If you would like to see the highlights from our recent trip in Haiti check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FriendshipSortsInternational/

If you are interested in being a part of future trips to Detroit, Haiti or some of our other possibilities let us know via email at fsiwallace@gmail.com.

Thanks again for partnering with us at FSI,

Matt

https://www.friendshipsports.net/wallace/

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Summer - Upcoming Projects for 2018-19 school year

As I type this blog, in just less than one month I will be on a plane that has just landed in Port Au Prince Haiti with the Women’s Soccer team from Cornerstone U. We will be traveling to Damou Mission just outside of Jacmel Haiti, a place that is near and dear to my heart. Our team will be serving in a variety of ways, from soccer camp to VBS bible lessons, to home visits, women’s programs and more. I am so excited to be able to introduce this team to the mission of Damou and the people there!  I was able to have a great meeting with Jessica Eugene, one of the Damou Haiti Directors this week, to plan out the trip and hear about all the exciting happenings going on at Damou. I have been working closely with Cornerstone campus ministry, the soccer coach and specifically the team captains who dreamed up this trip, to plan and develop this trip to go and serve the people in Haiti to kick off their fall season!. There are future international trips not finalized yet, but in the works for the fall, January (possible teacher education students) and next spring/summer with other teams and student groups. I will share more details on these as they take form.

Along with international trips, plans are underway to continue trips to MACC Development Mission in Detroit’s 48214 section. It is amazing to see the work being done there by such a selfless team of individuals that are striving for unity through the Gospel in their neighborhood! We are excited to partner with them this upcoming year in sports and housing ministry (and whatever other needs arise) in this coming school year as we develop a variety of college student teams to go and learn discipleship through service.

To do such trips above, the key and focus is local discipleship within the college community! We are continuing to expand our discipleship opportunities on the Campus of Cornerstone, and we are expanding to Grand Valley State University students as well. We have also taking students from NorthPointe Christian High School and look to expand are impact there. We will be starting a Bible study/micro church at Cornerstone this fall and leading leaders to do the same at Grand Valley.

Thank you so much for all of you who have prayed for us, came and joined us at times on Detroit trips, and provided funds to enable us to do this ministry. We couldn’t do this or think to expand it without the support.  We currently have raised near $5000 and our goal is $10,000 per year to cover all costs. Support can be mailed or done online and you can find all that information right here on our website, www.FriendshipSports.net/Wallace.  

If you are specifically interested in helping with the Haiti Trip, you can specify that on the donate page. We are also in need of items to take and leave per the missions request. These items are,

~ Large check in suitcases

~ towels (wash clothes, hand towels and bath towels)

~4 shower heads

~Peanut butter

~Gatorade

~twin sheets

~ jump ropes

 

There will be collections at the Arcadia Christian Church in Indiana, and here at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids if you would like to donate. Indiana Donations are being set up by Jessica Eugene, and you can contact Brian Grinstead at bkgrinstead@yahoo.com with questions.

Please pray for us this month as we prepare for the trip. Pray for Haiti. The recent political unrest and rioting create such a challenge for so many. Pray for peace and stability in the days ahead and for those we will serve in Jacmel to see Jesus through us!

Facebook users: We will be posting one Facebook throughout the trip if you are interested in following:

https://www.facebook.com/FriendshipSportsInternational/

Blessings,

Matt

Shining Like Stars

What an awesome day of service I experienced this past Saturday.  It was amazing on at least two clear fronts. First, I witnessed Philippians 2:14-16 lived out on that day. Second, I was able to see the kickoff of MACC Sports spring soccer program which provides over 125 kids the chance at an excellent soccer experience wrapped in the love and message of Jesus who without them would likely not have such an opportunity.

 The FSI team comprised of Men's & Women's Cornerstone Soccer Players

The FSI team comprised of Men's & Women's Cornerstone Soccer Players

 

I pulled up in the van near Miller Hall at 5:40 on Cornerstone’s campus wondering if anyone would come. I was reflecting on myself as a college student, wondering if I had this opportunity, would I have gotten up and came?  By 6:00 am the van was packed with members of Cornerstone’s mens and womens soccer teams eager to eat donuts and journey two hours to Detroit to serve. This was the Saturday before final exams and there was a lot going on around campus that weekend. A lot of reasons not to go that would have been valid!  Not one complaint, not one grouch in the bunch! We arrived at 8:10ish. For the next two hours they put up tents, put together soccer goals, set up cones, set up a soccer store and a concession stand, and they placed dozens of signs around the park... and yes they prayed over it all. All of this on a cool 35 degree overcast Detroit morning. The best part was the joy in which they served throughout! They even let me join in on a soccer game with them called “world cup”-- but we will not talk about how that went!  Then came the kids and the community from all corners of Pingree Park. Our team jumped right in, loving kids, loving parents, working the soccer stations, the concession stand, the store and more, followed by the tear down and storage process. I heard at least two conversations during this time that were amazing. One conversation I heard while I was cranking out hot dogs at the concession. I listened to one of our soccer girls serve a local mom with amazing grace and maturity as they conversed about soccer, church, faith and their community for nearly an hour. I saw smiles on kids faces as they played soccer with members of the team, as they got new shin guards, cleats and soccer balls to take and use.  Simply put, this group shined like stars without arguing and complaining, and they are from a generation that in many cases is getting a very bad rap. Instead of that, I was inspired. The joy they exuded in their service was contagious all around that day, and I am proud to say I was a part of this team. And I have no doubt they were able to energize the already amazing MACC Sports team that does this day in and day out.

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I am also so encouraged and challenged every time I go to the Mack Ave community! They are so intentional. They really understand missional living and being a part of a community! The unity they display in a world today that wants us to believe is unattainable is so encouraging. It's a unity deeped in the Gospel of Christ. The leaders and workers there refuse to led the world define who they are going to be as a community. These kids are coming out  for the next several weeks not just to get good soccer skills, but also to be loved and to hear the message of Jesus and how it impacts the lives of the coaches, leaders and the kids themselves. Needless to say, even though it was an overcast day in Detroit, there were a lot of shining stars in the 48214, and I only hope our groups will continue to encourage them in what they are doing in their community.


 

Pray for our Student Leaders:

We have only been here truly connecting since December. I am so encouraged and energized with all the students that have partnered with us, and with the discipleship opportunities that lie ahead! I am asking you to pray specifically at this post for three student leaders I have gotten to know well in a short time.

Pray for Brennan, a sophomore this year, a member of the men's soccer team and chapel worship band who is a education major and ministry minor. Brennan is working in a homeless ministry this summer in Los Angeles, California.

Owen, who just finished is freshman year, also a men's soccer player who is really seeking God's direction for his life in ministry through sports and has become a leader in our ministry opportunities here.  

Lastly pray for Alyssa,  a senior captain on the women’s soccer team this coming fall who has been working with me to set up the women’s soccer trip to Haiti this summer!  Alyssa is also a very missions minded education major who will be student teaching next spring in Africa.

 

It is truly a privilege to work with these three and so many others others like them as we journey together living out who God has called us to be!  It is such a blessing to work at a University that cares for far more than just a degree track! Thank you for your continued prayers and support in our ministry through FSI at Cornerstone and the Grand Rapids community.

 

Serving in HIm, 

Matt

 

Philippians 2:14-16

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

 

Digging Trenches

God is at work in West Michigan! It has been a crazy spring... and not just the weather. God is beginning to open doors of opportunity through FSI here in Grand Rapids in a big way. We have taken two student groups to Detroit two different weekends, with a third coming up on April 28th. We will take a group of Cornerstone students, along with some men and women soccer players, to help MACC Development kick off the outreach soccer league through MACC Sports.  It is an exciting opportunity to serve a community striving to share the love of Jesus to those in margins, and seek unity under the banner of Jesus. To me what is amazing about this weekend trip is that finals are the following week, yet these students are committed to working on the opportunity to serve! We are also working with NorthPointe Christian School Athletics to develop a short term trip this summer at MACC Development. A small group of Freshman basketball players, as well as the Athletic Director, went to Detroit on the March trip.

 

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Maybe the biggest news of the month that is extremely exciting is that we will partner with the Cornerstone Women’s Soccer team for a trip to Damou Christian Mission in Jacmel, Haiti in early August. The soccer team will arrive on campus and a day later will kick off their season by leaving Grand Rapids for Haiti. I have enjoyed getting to know and work with Coach Strawser, the Women's Soccer coach, as well as the entire Cornerstone University Athletic Department and Student Development. The desire to help students develop a strong Christ centered worldview and provide global opportunities is amazing! Cornerstone began working with FSI this year with open arms to both seek to provide global outreach opportunities for the students and discipleship. We are excited to introduce Haiti for the first time to the vast majority of the team.

 

While in Haiti, the team will serve in a variety of ways. During our time in Haiti we’ll be immersed in the Haitian culture, gaining valuable exposure to and experience with the significant challenges and unique opportunities that Haiti has to offer. We will spend much of our time in the local village of Cyvadier serving the Damou Christian Mission.  A good bit of our time will be spent at the school providing soccer camps, and leading the 100+ kids who participate in devotions and prayer. On Tuesday we will assist with a rapidly growing feeding program for mothers and their children. Through the week we will be helping the school prepare for the start of the school year which begins right after we leave. We will be visiting homes of some students, organizing supplies and participating in the local church of Cyvadier. Opportunities will arise to go to the market, hike to Bassin Bleu together, along with some very important team bonding. As many of you know, Haiti (while already in poverty) was devastated even more in 2010 by a massive earthquake. We will strive to carry the loving message of Jesus with us as we arrive to serve in whatever capacity we can and hopefully encourage all the workers of Damou while we are there. We desire to share with the team the story of what God has been doing there and help them discover personally and corporately how they can respond and serve as advocates for the specific needs of the people of Haiti when we return to the States.

This week I challenged the team with a devotion found in 2 Kings 3:16-19. Sometimes it simply rains when we need it. Sometimes, such as in this passage and story, God promised water but only when trenches were dug. He would then fill the trenches with the needed water for the armies and their animals. Often we want God to not just fill the trenches for us but dig them as well.  Sports teams such as soccer work countless hours at drills, strength and conditioning, skills and strategy all so that they are ready for the game. Those times of work our like digging the trenches. God doesn’t need us to do His digging, but He often wants us to show trust. There are countless examples of this all throughout the Bible. It was awesome to read and hear from the team as they began to commit. They are coming with open hearts and minds wanting to see God work in an through them however that fleshes out. As this team begins to prepare for the trip learning what it means to prepare and dig, we invite you to dig with us. How you ask?

Pray:

  • For the April 28th Detroit trip

  • For hearts and minds of the CU Women’s Soccer team as they prepare. For the opportunity to open doors of discipleship in their lives.

  • For the fundraising of each student/athlete as they raise approximately $1400 per person

  • For Damou Mission, its leaders Jessica and Lubens, as they prepare for the team and for all the needs of the mission there

  • For all the planning and preparation that goes into this trip

  • For discipleship of the team before, during and after the trip

 

Give:

  • If you are interested in giving to FSI see our donation page for online giving options, or  you can mail donations.

Thank you to all those who have already partnered with us as we have began this journey in Grand Rapids!

Blessings,

Matt

Attempting to live in the Foolishness of God

We live in very polarizing times. All you have to do is just read or watch a little bit of news or follow social media and you see it. The other day, I purposely kept flipping between a couple networks airing the same issue on tv but you almost wouldn’t know it. Their focus, stance, etc. were so vastly different from one another. We have focused a lot here on campus the past month on the topic of diversity and it has stirred all kinds of emotions.  We are polarized on a lot of things, politics, social issues, race, and history just to name a few. There are so many opinions flying around and so many attempts at answers by so-called wise experts, and a lot of anger and blame thrown around as well. Many are focused on the symptoms, the outward issues and do not address the root of the problem, sin.

This past weekend we took some college students to Mack Avenue Community Church and Development in Detroit. We were there to serve but also to learn, absorb and take back and that we did!  This is a community that was almost totally destroyed by the division of racism, poverty and hate over the past several decades, and the devastation is clearly seen in neighborhoods and buildings all around. As we toured the 41824, those in the group were clearly shocked and moved at what we saw. What is amazing however is how things are changing because of the spirit of people in Mack Ave Community Church and Development. When you meet those like Charles and Ashley, just to name two, you don’t see division, you see the spirit of unity. Make no mistake, this community is diverse. There are those struggling in poverty and those who are not. There are different races and cultural backgrounds, but there is a real culture of unity rising out of the MACC culture. Its authentic! It is genuine! It is contagious and it's clearly rooted in Jesus. As you learn about the community deep down, you see that at their core, the Gospel shines out in the way they treat each other, in the way that they treat everyone in the 41824 through their ministry.  

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The Commons

Coffee Shop/Laundry Mat and gathering place on Mack Ave Detroit Michigan

When Jesus was on the earth, believe it or not, He chose quite a diverse group to invest in, live with and do ministry. At first glance you don’t see it because they are all Israeli people, however if you go deeper into who they are you see clearly.  In His core group you  will find a right winged zealot who comes from a group wanting to overthrow Rome, a tax collector seen by most as a leftist jewish sellout, and a handful of galilean fisherman, among others, who have some diversity in faith, education and even one who was all about the money. And that doesn’t count the men and women who were on the fringe of this core group working, supporting and learning right alongside them.  Not only did He bring these guys together, but sent them off together as well to change the world around them and the whole world forever. He chose a group that could only find unity if He was at the center of their movement, if His voice was louder than theirs, if His ways were the ways they were all trusting in and conforming to, not the ways of man. Then and only then, could unity be found!  He showed them the true enemy, sin, which separates us from God, and He literally lived out through His death and resurrection the answer of how to be what the book of Romans calls “an overcomer”. And even when He ascended to heaven He wasn’t gone, but He empowered them by the Holy Spirit He sent to dwell in them so they could march on, and that same spirit is available to us!

 

In the ministry at Detroit,  they are a month away from the opening of the “The Commons” on Mack Avenue: a coffee shop/laundromat. A outdoor community is also planned with seating, gardening and a stage. A safe place. A common ground.  A place to find community. A place to build relationships. A place to see Jesus with skin through those who will be serving in ministry there.  While some may see it as a foolish attempt in neighborhood God sees it as a place that has the potential to flip that community upside down.

 

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Laundry Mat inside The Commons

When the commons was being developed and the community was engaged on what are the needs a the top of the list was a laundry mat. 

How do we deal with such polorazing times? Yes, I am interested in politics. Yes, I have opinions,  and yes, I care about the social issues, yet at the root  we must recognize the sin problem and then recognize the solutions are not from the wise of this world. Seeking a greater wisdom many deem foolish. 1 Corinthians 1:24-27 says “ but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” We need more of Him and less of us. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

 

We will continue monthly to journey to Detroit with students and allow God to show His strength through our weakness!. Our calling through FSI is two fold: to disciple those that we are leading into Detroit.To help them to learn we are all missionaries each and every day and allow these trips to stoke a passion in them to serve God. To help them find God's dream, not their own. To help them sift through the noise of the culture of today and clearly hear the word of God. We also want to  make a positive impact for Christ in the places we travel to. We ask God to take us in our weakness and foolishness and show Himself through us!

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MACC Sports 

Winter Basketball League

 

How can you help?

 

  • Next trip to Detroit is the weekend of March 17.

  • Pray for us as we grow our discipleship group here in Grand Rapids.

  • Pray for the Mack Ave community as they prepare to open The Commons and for their daily missional living in their community.

  • Join us in a future trip to Detroit or beyond.

  • Financially support our ministry through FSI as we use that money for ministry with our students.

 

Attempting to live in the foolishness of God,

 

The Wallace’s

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No audition needed to serve God...

A tv show Alissa and I like to watch from time to time is The Voice. Alissa likes to follow the artists through the entire show, but for me I really only like the first round when the singer is attempting to get the judges (Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and other famous singers) to push their buttons during a blind audition. If you have never seen it, an amatuer is on stage singing while four judges, with their backs turned, listen in. If they like them and think they can develop them towards greatness they will push a button, causing their chair to spin and light up letting the singer know they are wanted. For some, a chair never turns. For others, it's all four. Sometimes it’s just one. It's quite the cat and mouse game for the judges. They often then begin immediately arguing on who the singer should pick, who turned their chair first, which judge would be the best coach, etc! But, it is hard to watch when no chair turns. No sounds, no lights, just the resounding silence of “you’re not good enough” or “you are not chosen”.


Working on a college campus can feel similar. I see college students so trying to win the approval of their professors, parents, their peers, even God. We often place people on  these chairs in our minds hoping for someone to turn around and say “yes, you will make it, you will be a great teacher someday”. “Yes, you will be a great nurse, or social worker, or friend or athlete”, or “yes, I want to date you”. The truth is, insecurity haunts us all from time to time and we seek the approval of others to try and pull us out of it. Another truth is that the one whose vote counts the most has already turned His chair, long ago and we often don’t see it. I am no different. Being new here, at times I struggle to want my co-workers, family, and students to turn their chair and hit the buzzer when I think they should about me. Don’t we all?

Jeremiah the prophet was a young man chosen by God and was equipped to deal with the biggest of challenges. If you think the politics and culture of our day is crazy, read the book of Jeremiah! During some of the darkest times of Israel's existence, Jeremiah was called by God to preach the message of repentance to the nation. Unfortunately, few to none listened and he spent most of his life alone, in isolation and persecution. It is what many might see as a real waste of time and talent.

In the book of Jeremiah chapter 1 we read that God tells Jeremiah he was chosen even before he was ever conceived. Jeremiah felt inadequate but he is again reminded by the Lord that He would be with him through trials...  What does this tell us? Jeremiah did nothing for God's approval. The Lord turned His chair and hit His buzzer long before Jeremiah’s audition of life. While Jeremiah faced great rejection by those around him, he would never feel rejected by God!

This past weekend we had the chance to see a few modern day Jeremiah’s! People like Leon, Ezekiel, Eric and Sara (just to name a few) who are leaders at Mack Avenue Community Church and Mission in Detroit, Michigan. This ministry is not easy! They don’t have luxuries most American churches have. They live in a culture struggling for unity, struggling for hope and identity, yet they march on each day to the approval God and His calling on their lives. We saw the fruits of what God is doing there in just a short time. God is working in their community with the Gospel through sports, jobs, tutoring, legal help and a relational, authentic church. Fruits that come from those who seek the approval of God, not man!

In his book, “Crash the Chatterbox”, Steven Furtick says “...before you ever breathed a breath, before you even had the opportunity to show off or screw up, God declared,

I want you!

You’re Mine!

I’ve chosen you!

You belong to Me!.

You no longer have to live up to anything. Instead, you are now empowered to live out of an awareness of divine acceptance.”

I believe God wants this for all of us! We believe God has brought our family here to Grand Rapids to help disciple more Jeremiah’s through missions. This generation of millennials have so much to offer! I see so many potential Jeremiah's. So many Eric and Sara’s. When I look at my boys at home,  I see the same.  Through our ministry I hope and pray God will use us to speak life into those in our path.  We pray we too will have the faith of Jeremiah to trust God to use us here His way. As we continue to develop ministry here and put together future mission trips to Detroit and beyond we pray for the Jeremiah’s we will be working with. We pray He will use us as a vessel so they see God's approval on their lives and we help empower them towards an eternal purpose.

 

In His service,

 

The Wallace family

 

FSI happenings and prayer needs here in Michigan:

 

  • We are extremely thankful for those who have partnered with us so far financially. We have a ways to go to reach our goal but we are off to a good start.

  • Upcoming meetings with Mack Avenue Community Church leadership for needs and possible upcoming spring trips to Detroit are in the works.

  • Meetings with Baseball and Womens Soccer in the new year for potential overseas trips in the 2018-19 school year.

  • Prayer for possible mission trips with NorthPointe Christian School.

  • Matt is meeting with a group of students soon to begin a Bible study.

  • JIm and Jenny King will be coming in April, we pray for opportunities to develop deeper partnerships while they visit.

  • Matt will be going with Jim to Honduras to help lead a trip and learn about leading future sports trips there.

 

Again our goal is to disciple college students and help them find their role in the church. This generation of believers are tomorrow's church leaders and they are faced with a crazy world to steer through.  Students at a Christian college often come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are very open to spiritual growth. We desire to build relationships with students, and mentor and lead as we strive to challenge them to develop a Scripture based Christian worldview and a heart for missions.

A Time to Treasure

Often the call of God can be uncomfortable, challenging and hectic at times. Our family has been through a lot of changes in the past 8 weeks as we seek to follow God and where He is leading us. Adjusting to new jobs, a new home, the boys a new school, and all that comes with moving to a new state can at times have your head spinning a bit. We have had lot of work to do on our house. Visiting a new church, and developing relationships in a place where no one really knows us is also a challenge we are not used to. It reminds me of Luke chapter 2 and the journey of Mary and Joseph-- and while our journey to Michigan is no comparison to theirs, the story has had some new meaning to us this season. I am sure during Mary and Joseph's calling, some didn’t understand, even scratched their head. There definitely were moments of questioning, moments of inadequacy, and just simply moments where they were not sure where to go or what to do next. Those things I get. What I don’t relate to is a virgin birth, a visit from angels, dealing with a first century census challenge, the journey on a donkey and settling in for the birth of the Messiah in a barn/cave because no one had room for them to bring the Him into the world. Not to mention a visit from several complete strangers and a host of angels all underneath a blazing star once he was born (WOW!). The responsibility of caring for and raising the Messiah of the world had to be overwhelming, but with all of that we see Mary had peace.  

There are two verses that really strike me from Luke's account of the birth of the Messiah in chapter 2. Verse 19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She did what? Later in the chapter after they had moved away to Egypt to escape the wrath of a jealous human king, and then went back to Jerusalem for the holidays, in the crowds of people they couldn’t find Jesus. While He was at the temple talking with leaders and priests they were searching frantically. After all that, again verse 51b says, “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”

Wow! How in the chaos, pressure and change was she able to find time to ponder, to treasure. But isn't that an important part of walking with God? Reflecting and treasuring our chance to be in a relationship with Him is vital!  John 1:14 reminds us that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” He is with us in all of our chaos, whether self inflicted or simply on the path of our journey. And no matter how busy, or how challenging things get, we all must find time to stop and ponder/treasure the blessings He gives. During this time of year many feel lonely, stressed and may even feel like they can’t find Jesus. But remember what  He shared with His parents, “why are you searching, don’t you know I must be in my Father's house?”  In the Scriptures He reminds us often He is with His Father on our behalf, providing grace and truth for us through His spirit. As I ponder this season, our family has so many things to treasure and be thankful for, from friends and family back in Indiana to all the new blessings happening here in Michigan! We look forward to a new year, and a chance to journey with the “God of peace” and see what He has in store. The opportunity for ministry before us is tremendous!  It's my prayer that we will take time to treasure each other, all He is and all He is doing.

 

In His service,

 

The Wallace family


 

FSI Happenings, Goals and Prayer needs here in Michigan:

 

  • We are extremely thankful for those who have partnered with us so far financially. We have a ways to go to reach our goal but we are off to a good start.

  • We have made good connections here in Grand Rapids for future ministry opportunities with students!

  • Connecting with Mack Avenue Mission in Detroit to discuss trips with Cornerstone students in the spring.

  • Meetings with Baseball and Womens Soccer in the new year for potential overseas trips in the 2018-19 school year.

  • Matt is meeting with a group of students in January to begin a Bible Study.

 

Again our goal is to disciple college students and help them find their role in the church. This generation of believers are tomorrow's church leaders and they are faced with a crazy world to steer through.  Students at a Christian college often come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are very open to spiritual growth. We desire to build relationships with students, and mentor and lead as we strive to challenge them to develop a Scripture based Christian worldview and a heart for missions.