Summer 2019 FSI Ministry Update

Like most families, it has been a busy summer filled with work and play. Through our FSI ministry we have had some challenges and great opportunities this summer to continue to grow into two of our core goals: to train and disciple young potential leaders for God’s kingdom, and continue to connect many with our amazing missionary partners both in the states and abroad.

We care deeply about connecting those we work with to our missionary friends. We believe so much in the work of the Harrolds in Guatemala (Hands of Grace), The Eugenes in Haiti (Damou Mission), our FSI partners in Honduras (Point, LaVenta Church, Camp Monte and the Humuya Inn) and Mack Avenue Community Church and MACC Development in the lower east side of Detroit. When we take groups we want to be an encouragement and positive impact on our missionary friends, building short and long term connections for them with those we take with us on our trips.  Trips to these places help and inspire us to live out 1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

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First this summer, Alissa led a small group to Guatemala in mid June. This was challenging to try to put together. We were originally scheduled for April,  but our ministry partners ( the Harrolds) had to come to the states to tend to Holly’s medical needs. Praise God for how He continues to meet their needs and Holly is doing much better!  We were able to reschedule in June and they traveled with Doug through their region doing ministry through Physical Therapy. The students from Cornerstone that she took, along with our son Gabe,  are all studying to be Physical Therapists, so Alissa had the opportunity to mentor them spiritually and within their profession. It is so awesome when you can line up your talents and passions to serve God in amazing ways. They were able to give Hands of Grace and the other ministries they visited tangible advice to help children and adults they serve who have disabilities. We hope to grow this trip with other PT students in the future to Guatemala to introduce others to the amazing work of Hands of Grace, and to provide opportunities for students to see how God can use their skills to further His love and Kingdom! Luke 14:12-14  “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

We also began plans in April for a Cornerstone Men’s Soccer team trip to Haiti. With the unrest at the time in Haiti, we moved the trip to Honduras, however logistics of planning a trip during the final weeks of school was challenging for the team organizationally. This trip has been moved to December when their season is complete,  and I will share more details as we begin planning early fall. We are so excited to get a trip to Honduras soon! 

In July, I led a trip to MACC Development  for a ministry focused basketball camp. I was honored to have the Huckaby family come along to work the camp and share their expertise and passion for serving others through basketball.  MACC has such an awesome ministry going and it truly is a place where when you go, you see God using his people to change a city through intentional neighborhood ministry. Is was an extremely hot weekend but we had a blast. A highlight for me was one of our Cornerstone students, Daishaun Hardnett from Detroit, who came to work with me for his second mission trip to MACC. I am excited to be working with him this year on campus!  He grew up near MACC and I had him share his testimony at the camp. This is what he had to say afterwards: 

“I know how it feels being an inner city kid. I know how it feels when ya ain't got food to eat every night. I know how it feels to lose ya brothers to violence and hate. I know how it feels when everybody's influencing you to do what the world think is OK or COOL. I know the feeling going to school hoping nobody gon' talk about ya. I know the feeling of fighting inner battles so that no one finds out and embarrass you. I know the feeling of feeling trapped in a system that's made against you. I was exposed to alotta crazy shh growing up. It's unbelievable what our youth is exposed to at such a young age... Sex, drugs, violence, etc.. you name it! This ain't even all of it. Enough with that though Ima stop there because it ain't even bout me - IT'S WAY BIGGER .. I want to shout out a few professors from @cornerstoneu MACC Development @Friendship Sports International [and others] and their willingness to help make a change in the city I grew up in. It means that much more when it's in Detroit! I got the opportunity to lead thru sports (multiple times) and share my story, and give hope. It still hurts to know that there's only so much I can do. The CRAZIEST part of this whole thing is that I didn't even ask to be part of this. I was reached out to!! God knows I love basketball. God knows I love kids... And HERE is where He sent me! I really appreciated this humbling opportunity, and it was a success! *MAY THE LIGHT OF GOD IN ME BE GREATER THAN THE LIGHT ON ME 

#TGBTG To God Be The Glory. #Grateful #Humbled #OurYouthMatter#JustAKidFromDetroit #GodIsAtWork @ Detroit, Michigan

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This is such a big part of why we feel God called us to this ministry here in Grand Rapids. I absolutely love working in discipleship with so many of these students.  We want to disciple young leaders through service! Each time we take a trip we have the awesome opportunity to reflect and grow with those we meet. One big answer to prayer is that we are so excited about our new church, Relevant Church Grand Rapids, which we recently joined. Finding a church home after what we had in Indiana has been a big challenge. We are so excited to be a part of this authentic, amazing community where we see God a work and feel He can use us to make an impact with this community here in Grand Rapids, and connect those we work with to our church!

For those who support us, we can’t thank you enough!  We covet your prayers and financial support for the ministry. God is continuing to teach us new things and to see just how big the need is worldwide for His message of love and hope! 

Upcoming FSI trips/events for the Fall (dates, times and more details will be available by Labor Day):

  • MACC Development Basketball Camp

  • Mack Ave Community Church Fall Festival project

  • Haiti Trip in October

  • Honduras Trip in December

  • Mentorships and Bible study on the Campus of Cornerstone beginning  in September

  • FSI Special Needs Soccer Camp here in Grand Rapids (Jan/Feb)

  • Continue to work with Jessi Langmeyer for Spring Semester Internship with Damou Mission Haiti

If you are ever interested in joining one of our  trips, let me know or fill out the following form by clicking here. For financial support, click here. These trips and ministry opportunities could not be done without your support! 


Matt