Gwinnett County, GA
Dear Ministry Partners,
I want to share with you about a player in our program named Jose. Jose is a U16 player and a born leader. He loves to serve and we have had the opportunity to equip that. We had to make a recent video about UPPER90 and interviewed Jose for it. We asked him what UPPER90 has meant to him and what are some things that he has learned. I was encouraged by his responses. They were as follows:
- "UPPER90 has allowed me to have a better understanding of WHY God has sent his son Jesus to earth to die for our sins."
- "I have learned to not let what others think of me to define who I am."
- "I have grown in my soccer skills and to lead my teammates as well."
Thank you for your partnership in the ministry. In doing so we are able to impact the lives of kids like Jose.
- Prayers for all the kids and their families as we are halfway through our Mentorship Academy Program
- Pray for Jose and that he grows in his relationship with Christ and that it becomes real to him
- Wisdom and discernment as the ministry grows and to do so in a healthy manner
- God provided volunteers for the current season to be able to serve our kids well this season
Dear Ministry Partners,
I pray that you have had a great summer. We have already started our Fall Mentorship Academy Program here in Atlanta. The kids are in school and practice has started. Click here to read about our busy summer.
Dear Ministry Partners,
I wanted to share with you a quick story of a WIN for us this season. I am highlighting one of our mentor coaches and his relationship with the kids in the community he serves in. Juan coaches with us and has been for multiple years now. He mainly works with our partner Path United who has an after school program to help kids with their homework. With all that being said, there is a lot of overlap that Juan gets with the kids he also coaches in the same community.
Over the Easter weekend he took the opportunity to watch The Passion of the Christ with a few of the middle schools boys he coaches and serves. I ended watching the same movie over the weekend and was reminded how it put the crucifixion into perspective. We talk about it at every practice but to actually see a portrayal of what happened really makes you think. At UPPER90 we want Christ and the Gospel messaged proclaimed in what we do. I so greatly appreciate Juan taking the time to share this with the few boys that came. Please be praying for them that Christ would even use a movie to soften and change their hearts.
- Kids and families in the communities we serve
- Summer programs
- Honduras trips scheduled for the summer
- God continues to use UPPER90 to serve the community and open up doors to grow.
Dear Ministry Partners,
We are starting the Spring season next week with the first games scheduled for March 12th. It has been full throttle since getting back from winter break to prepare for the season. We are excited for what God has in store for us this season. We pray that Jesus' name is proclaimed in all that we do and share.
We have all of our communities engaged and we are seeing growth as more people get out. It is exciting to see more kids back in the program. Our ESL classes are also back in session as we serve not just the kids but the families as well.
Something that has excited me as the practices have started is seeing more of our older kids get involved. They are helping coach some of the younger aged teams. We desire to develop leaders and pour into those that want to grow. I have seen this in multiple communities but I see it happening first hand in our Lawrenceville location. There are a few kids that another coach and I desire to pour into. These kids are coming to the practice on a different day for the 6-9 year olds. This is a BIG WIN for us as these kids learn to serve and develop as men and women.
- Volunteers in coaches and referees for the season
- Healthy growth of the ministry and soccer program
- Kids and families hearts to hear the Gospel message this season
- We are grateful to PCA for allowing us to use their fields again for practices and games
An update from Brittany Vallejo, wife of Tyler's boss Jorge:
Hi everyone! I know it's been a while since I've updated so I wanted to take a minute to share what is going on in my neck of the woods. While my full time vocation currently is homeschooling our four children, every now and then God gives me the opportunity to come alongside some of the female athletes, or players' wives or girlfriends and I get to share life with them. Often times this looks like grabbing a coffee or sending a text saying I'm praying for them, but sometimes I am blessed to share my story with them and dig a little deeper into theirs.
Most recently I met with the wife of one of the pro players my husband mentors and was able to listen to some of the struggles and challenges she is facing. With her husband being an international player, she is facing some incredible push back in her allowances to stay in the country with him and their one year old daughter. Covid has shut down the embassy in her country, forcing her to be deported until further notice, potentially separating their family for an indefinite period of time. As a wife and mother, I can only imagine how worrying this must be.
I was able to pray with her and for her, as she is taking steps toward her faith, discovering all who God is and the enormity of His love and care for her. She is discovering what it looks like to have a personal relationship with Jesus, instead of one based on rules and good deeds. She walked away from our conversation telling her husband it was the best talk she's ever had with someone!
What a privilege it is to have God use me in this way, because, to be honest, sometimes being a stay at home mom seems a bit mundane. It is easy to get caught up in the laundry, dishes, referee, chauffeur and soccer mom status and sometimes it's really hard to see how God is using my story of brokenness for His glory. But as I sat across from this young wife and mother, I could see a seed being sown in her heart. I could see that my wisdom that came from experiences, and mistakes, and even the mundane tasks of being a mom were showing her the love of God. I pray that someday as she grows and matures, SHE will be sitting across from a young mom, telling her just how much Jesus cares about her too.
Hearts are being changed and eyes are being opened through raw and honest conversations around coffee. These stories and many more like it, are only possible because of the faithful and consistent prayers and support of friends like you. And for that I am truly grateful.
We have started our summer camps and are 3 weeks in. It has been exciting to see the Lord moving through the summer curriculum He led us to use. Throughout the 5 days of camp, we are able to teach the kids on the following:
- Made in the Image of God through the story of Creation
- The Decisions we make have consequences both positive and negative through the Fall of Man story
- Friendship through the story of Jonathan and David
- Responsibility through the story of Esther
- Salvation because of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ
With 3 weeks of camp completed, there have been encouraging stories that keep me going. I want to share with you one of those so that you can see the fruit of your partnership. We started the summer in Clarkston, GA. Filled with many refugees from all over the world it is a diverse place to be. We have been there for a few years now but have only served the older kids. Now with a foundation, we would like to see a younger team of kids aged 7-9 years old. Camp this summer was a perfect opportunity to form those relationships.
It was so encouraging to me that we were able to share about Jesus to these kids that come from mostly Muslim backgrounds. They know about Jesus as a prophet. To share about creation and key Old Testament stories is joyous. Not only that but the questions they asked and attention they seemed to give, was really something. Please be praying for these kids. If we can pour into them at an early age, and pray that God does the rest, I believe there can be saving of souls for Christ.
We finished our spring season of soccer and are looking forward to the summer as we begin camps. Praise God for his provision and protection as we were able to complete the season healthy and strong. We topped off the season with celebrations in each community to serve the families with a meal. I am grateful for the partners that supported the ministry to make these events happen.
We now look ahead to the summer and are grateful to go back to our weekly camp schedule. This allows us to continue to serve all of our locations throughout the Metro-Atlanta area. Please be praying for our summer as we deepen relationships with kids and their families. Pray for changed hearts for Christ! With restrictions loosening, more families are reconnecting with us again to get involved with our program. I'm grateful to God for the impact we have made that these families see the value in coming back. I pray that the kids and these families see nothing but the forgiveness, grace, and love of Christ through us. To Him be the glory.
We are off to another start in the spring season of our Mentorship Academy Program. 2 weeks have already passed by and the season seems like it is passing by quickly. We are giving more opportunity to invest into the lives of our older kids to develop in their leadership and to empower them. We have multiple U19 players (16-18 years old) serving on Saturday's as referees or coaches besides getting their time to play. This is a huge win for us as we pour into the kids of our program to develop leaders.
Also, I felt the Lord urging me to focus more on discipleship this season. This means, putting the extra effort to have 1-on-1 time with a few players or coaches to pour into. The Lord has provided multiple opportunities that I am discerning to pursue. Two with players and one with a coach. I pray that I can clearly share the Gospel message with them or help them grow more mature in their faith. Prayers that God will change their hearts and draw them to Himself. Please be praying for these opportunities. It is in God's hands but I want to be obedient.
- For the Players and coaches that I will be discipling and mentoring
- The families that we serve and for life change in Christ
- More volunteers in coaches and referees so that we can serve our kids with excellence to have greater impact.
We finished off 2020 with year-end celebrations in our communities. We offered dinner to our families to serve them with a meal and some fellowship. We reviewed our Bible lessons from the season and had an opportunity to share the gospel message. As a ministry we had a year-end campaign with a goal to raise $60,000 as an organization by December 31, 2020. Praise God for his gracious favor and providence, as we were able to meet our goal! 2020 was a challenging year but we look forward to seeing what God has in store for 2021. We will begin our programs again starting in February. We are looking forward to reconnecting with the families and our kids.
- Safety and health in the current season
- The ability to proceed with our spring season as we continue to serve our families and share Christ with them
- I pray to have 1-2 kids this year that I can mentor and disciple.
Southern Gwinnett, GA
Hello friends! It has officially been one year since I have been here in Gwinnett. If you don't know already I am the Young Life area director in Southern Gwinnett. Currently that includes Brookwood, Parkview, and the middle schools in their clusters. We currently have leaders at the two high schools. It has been so lifegiving to come back this year and know kids, parents, teachers/admin and friends in the community. It feels like we are growing and becoming a part of the fabric of this beautiful community. I am so very grateful to see what the Lord has done in just one year. We currently have 7 volunteer leaders who are investing in the lives of kids and the school. They are amazing God fearing men and women. Pray for their walks with the Lord and that God would encourage them in their ministry.
Where we would like to grow is to have 5 more leaders and then get to a better place to start ministry at the middle schools. Another one of our goals is to raise 50,000 dollars this year. We have our Annual Fundraising Banquet October 4th and our hope is to raise a good amount of support there and build deeper connections and expand our network. My hope one day is to have sustainable and healthy ministry without me in our area! I would love for our area to own it and make it their own.
You can be praying for:
- Banquet: that the main focus would be to glorify God and tell of all that He is doing
- Kids to be deeply known
- For my mental health. I struggle a lot with carrying a weight that is not mine to carry. And it shows up in different ways.