Greetings from Grand Rapids! A lot has transpired since we joined Friendship Sports a year ago. We can't thank you enough for supporting our ministry this past year financially and/or in prayer. We are grateful to Jim King, Director of FSI, not only for his invitation but also for his support this past year in what God is doing here. We are honored to be working with FSI and its 25 year history of discipleship through missions. Our family has adjusted well! Matt works in Teacher Education at Cornerstone, along with the FSI Ministry. Alissa has a job as a Physical Therapist in the schools here in Grand Rapids. Gabe and Elijah are doing great things in high school. Josiah has flourished in the elementary school—it has been amazing how his experience there has grown him academically and socially! While our entire family is here in Grand Rapids, Noah is involved in college life and attends a church with his friends and teammates. The rest of us have connected with a local church in downtown Grand Rapids and are involved in a microchurch group that supports families with adopted children. God has definitely been at work in our family this past year and has been in our midst through every step of the journey.
The ministry through Friendship Sports has taken off faster than we ever expected. What started with one student building a trip to Detroit has now blossomed a great deal. This past October we completed our 7th trip to Mack Community Church and MACC Development with students, with an 8th planned for December. There has been a lot of discipleship opportunities and learning developed from these trips. We continue to offer a variety of mission trips and are excited to grow support for our ministry partners like Damou Mission, Hands of Grace and Mack Community Church in Detroit. Alongside these trips come great opportunities for discipleship with the students we are working with here.
Currently we have begun working with three specific students seeking ministry internships with some of our missions partners, and two other additional students for mentorship. One particular student I have been working with has started a ministry on campus that has really taken off, and others are working on student athlete ministry opportunities.
There is no doubt the relationship made with the women’s soccer coach and team has opened numerous other doors. Our trip to Haiti was amazing on a lot of levels. It enabled me to re-connect with the Damou Mission that has been important to our family for over 20 years, and that relationship/partnership is growing. We look forward to future trips back there and hope that through FSI we can help to energize the next generation of what God is doing through Damou. The students came back from the trip forever changed. This greatly affected their team chemistry through soccer. It has been an honor to stay connected with many of them in a variety of ways for discipleship and ministry projects. Together with many of them we led the spiritual emphasis week during chapel at NorthPointe Christian Middle School. We worked together to develop four consecutive chapel services where we shared about our trip, weaving in personal testimonies and devotional challenges. Many of them have joined in partnership with Damou to sponsor children, and together we are bringing the Eugene family to Grand Rapids for a week in December to help them make more connections here in West Michigan. One of the team members is working with me to pray and discuss the potential to do a ministry internship with Damou in Haiti. Others desire to return on future trips. Here is the press release that Cornerstone put out on the soccer trip to Haiti where you can read about personal testimonies from team members on the Haiti trip. Click Here
While working on campus we have made many connections and friendships with other coaches. Some coaches and other non sports groups have expressed interest in working with FSI for missions and discipleship in the near future.
Haiti isn’t the only international trip happening. Alissa has a trip in the works to Guatemala in April with a small group of Physical Therapists from our church, and potentially some prePT/OT students from Cornerstone. While this trip is just in the beginning stages we look forward to offering more trips to support the Harrold’s and Hands of Grace Ministry in the future.
Working in Detroit at MACC Sports Ministry with members of the CU Mens and Women’s Soccer Team
As you can see through FSI, there has been a lot going on with much more in the works. We hope that you will prayerfully consider partnering with us again in the upcoming year. What is the money for? The funds that we are able to raise truly make these ministry opportunities happen. This provides us funds for transportation, food and lodging at MACC Development (if needed) for the groups when we go to Detroit. The funds have helped us establish a presence on the campus of Cornerstone and NorthPointe Christian Middle/High School. Funds help supplement our cost as well in travel to trips both internationally and locally so we don’t burden the students financially. A small percentage of the giving does help support the overall function of Friendship Sports. Here is what we have planned for the remaining of this school year:
More monthly trips to Detroit with a variety of student groups and sports teams from Cornerstone and NorthPointe. (2 planned for Jan.)
Discipleship with the NorthPointe basketball program, and other opportunities to partner with NorthPointe in Christian discipleship.
Weekly discipleship group meeting on Cornerstone’s Campus
Support and guidance with students on ministry internships with Detroit MACC AVE and Damou
Prayerfully planning potential Haiti or Honduras trip(s) with other CU teams and church groups around West Michigan
Hosting The Eugene Family here in Grand Rapids “Missionaries at Damou Mission in Haiti” Dec 6-12
Prayerfully planning the physical therapy group trip to Guatemala with Hands of Grace in April
What does partnering with us look like? This past year we raised almost $5500 directly for the FSI ministry, not including money raised by students on the Haiti trip or specialized fundraisers for Damou Mission. This year we are hoping to raise the goal to $ 8000 for ministry expenses as opportunities expand. The money raised helps us with food, housing, transportation and supplies to ministry in our various areas. We are looking for support and partnership in the following areas:
Partners in prayer who will pray for us-- that God will use us to do His will and make an impact on the Cornerstone campus, especially the student athletes as well as the other students we work with, and the missions organizations we partner with.
We are looking for individuals or families willing to partner with us at $25, $50, $100, etc. per month through monthly giving or a one time a year gift.
We are also hoping to partner with a handful of churches or individuals, both to be involved directly in this ministry which can mean joining us on trips, and to help in the financial support.
You can donate by going to https://donorbox.org/friendship-sports-international or click on the donate button on the FSI website homepage found at the bottom of the letter. You can set up your online donation a variety of ways. It would help us greatly to budget if you can fill out your donation plans on the form at this link: Click Here.
Should you desire to mail a check, make it out to Friendship Sports and send it to 2310 Rothbury Ct NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. All donations are now sent directly here to Grand Rapids as we have a local FSI account here to make things easier. Please mail in the final page of this newsletter with your check.
To learn more about what has been going on at FSI, our missions partners and to follow the progress of our ministry, visit our website at https://www.friendshipsports.net/ or feel free to reach out to us directly at any time at FSIWallace@gmail.com.
Walking in pursuit of Him,
Matt & Alissa Wallace
Wallace Ministry Support for Friendship Sports International Grand Rapids Michigan
Please Note: FSI is a 501c3 organization and all donations will be processed as tax-deductible unless specified otherwise. Please do not put our names anywhere on the check per IRS rules. Instead, put our names on the return envelopes as ℅ Matt Wallace so that when the FSI office receives your gift check they will know to put the donation into our account.
Send check to FSI in envelope addressed to our office: 2310 Rothbury Ct Grand Rapids MI 49505
or give online with a credit card: https://donorbox.org/friendship-sports-international