To break the cycle of poverty, we must embrace the will to navigate Upstream

Our Story

UPstream International is a global Christian non-profit organization that works to bring people together to challenge poverty in creative ways. We believe that in every community, there are individuals who have untapped potential to make their community a better place but lack the necessities (training, structures, financial resources, etc.) to further their work. We partner with them, building relationships that bridge economic, cultural and religious divides, and empower them to lead. It is our dream to further break the cycle of dependence and build bridges for indigenous leaders to rise up and help equip the people around them. In each of us is a deep-seeded need to feel that we are making a difference and that our life counts for something outside of ourselves.

Being a part of someone’s survival, someone’s empowerment, and making someone else’s dreams a reality is something that's value is innumerable.

We all have a curiosity about our purpose and how it relates to the world around us and beyond. For those who have the desire to be a part of positive change in the world, we ask you to act and provide you an outlet to do so.

2012

UPstream was founded

1298

Lives have been helped

Christian

Christian non-profit organization

Who We Are.

Upstream was created out of Joe Rigelsky, Founder, experiencing first-hand the magnitude of someone empowering him to be all that he was created to be. There was a leadership potential that was unmet until people gave him the opportunity to explore his God-given capabilities and give him chances to grow in character, skills and ability. All around the globe there are people who possess the unique abilities to combat unique challenges. Upstream was birthed out of the desire to pay the kindness shown to Joe forward and empower people by using creative ways to beat the difficulties they face in their lives and communities.

Joe Rigelsky

Upstream Founder

Joe is husband to his wife of sixteen years, Sami, and father to their 8 amazing children ages 6-16. He is a father figure to many who call him “dad” around the globe. Joe enjoys fishing, hunting & snowboarding. His favorite food is corned beef & cabbage and he has a weakness for butter pecan ice cream. Joe came to know Jesus in a profound way at age 20. This transformed his way of thinking and paved the way to live a life of service to others. Joe spent years in sales/business prior to full time ministry. He has served as executive director of an at-risk youth center, a youth and family pastor, and is the visionary behind Upstream International. His life experiences have helped to shape him into a deeply caring, empathetic and passionate man.

Sami Rigelsky

Upstream Founder

Sami is the loving wife of sixteen years to Joe. She feels infinitely blessed to be mom to their 8 beautiful children age six-sixteen. She enjoys writing, photography & late night talks with friends. Her favorite thing to eat is movie theater nachos and she is a sucker for Skittles left sitting in the car in the warm Haitian sun. Sami knew who Jesus was from a young age. When she was 19 she began the journey of knowing Him in a deeply personal way that would impact the entire course of her life. Sami is a fierce momma bear who fights for the needs of children and families across the globe. She is passionate about being a voice for the voiceless and bringing hope to the hopeless. Sami loves supporting Joe in any capacity he & Upstream needs, all while pursuing her personal dreams and goals for family, life and ministry.

Missionaries

Upstream International missionaries can’t do what they do without people joining them in prayer and financial support. Thank you for being a part of changing lives with your partnership with Upstream missionaries!


Our Partners

Guy Morelus - Haiti

Guy was born in Port Au Prince, Haiti into a large Christian family. His father died when he was very young, and he was raised by his mother for many years in Cité Soleil, Haiti. He has fond memories of school, soccer, kite flying and ocean visits on the weekends. He was an avid and talented dancer in his community, and received much admiration for his Michael Jackson like skills. Guy spent a few years as a young man in the States, and then went back to his community in Haiti because of God’s call on his life. Guy lives in Port Au Prince, Haiti. He has seven children and a beautiful wife named Dania. Upon arriving back in Haiti, Guy had a vision that he was to start a school, so he did. He has been serving that school for more than 15 years as the founder and administrator. Guy is passionate about seeing young people educated in Haiti. His motivation is to serve his nation, community and neighbors the way he believes Jesus has asked. Guy believes through the Gospel of Christ, education, leadership and wisdom that Haiti will move forward as a country. Guys is determined to make a difference and encourage others to work toward a brighter future for the children of Haiti.

Ruthie Mwebaza - Uganda

Ruthie’s early childhood was fun and filled with joy. She comes from a Christian family of seven and was born in Bugoba, Uganda. When Ruthie was 6 years old her mother & brother passed away due to lack of medical resources & complications during his birth. Soon after, Ruthie’s ailing father was unable to care for his children. The family was split up and her siblings were sent to different orphanages. Her father passed away in 2005. In Bugoba life was simple for Ruthie. She remembers only having to worry about if the mangoes and crops would grow. She didn’t want to starve like people in other villages she heard about. After moving to Good Shepherd’s Fold orphanage things changed in many ways. She learned English and grew deep spiritual roots there, too. She always dreamt that the people back in her village would have what she had access to in her orphanage. Ruthie graduated high school and went on to University to study business. She had dreamt of teaching math after growing up with her father teaching her numbers underneath their tree. When her father passed away when she was young, her dream shifted to becoming a nurse because of the lack of care in their village. But, God had different plans and revealed to her that he wanted her to pursue a business degree to help develop her hometown village of Bugoba. Ruthie’s deepest heart’s desire is to see Bugoba have access to education, medical care, & to know about how Jesus has impacted her life. She is passionate about the little village she came from.

Allan Jumba - Kenya

Allan Jumba was born into a Christian family in the Mbururu Village of Kenya. His mother was a woman of deep faith who shared her faith with her children. She would read them Bible stories and pray with them frequently. When Allan was ten years old his father passed away. Due to circumstances in his young life, at the age of 11 he went to live at Ligusa Children’s home. He would stay there and receive love, hope, education and passion for his future. Beginning in his adolescents he knew his life would be dedicated to orphans, widows and the less fortunate in his community. Allan and his wife Lydia (a teacher) now reside in Eldoret, Kenya. He lives his life trying to pay forward what was given to him growing up. Allan’s life experiences have led him to the place where his focus is on peace, love & unity for the people he encounters. Allan is someone that fights for the poor and needy and sacrifices in many ways to give children a place to grow spiritually, feel nurtured and loved, and to care for them by meeting their basic needs.

Emmanuel Nsubuga - Uganda

Emmanuel Nsubuga was born to a Muslim father and a fourteen-year-old mother in Uganda, Africa. Because of his mother’s age, Emmanuel was sent to live with his grandmother. She passed away when he was two so he was moved to an orphanage. Because of various reasons he was bounced around to many different orphanages. When he was eight years old, Emmanuel found himself in a Christian Orphanage where he decided to give his life to Christ. He was given his new name, Emmanuel Nsubuga to replace his traditional Muslim name. Emmanuel is 24 years old and is a student at Kampala University pursing a degree in Development studies. He hopes to use his degree to further his work with the non-profit organization he started called Rise Outreach. Because of the way that Emmanuel grew up he is passionate about brining hope, family and love to children in his community.

Daniel Dimanch - Haiti

Daniel was born September 14, 1962 in Jeremie, Haiti into a Christian family. As a boy, he attended Adventiste Primary school. He went on to secondary school at College Andrew Malefic. From a young age, he knew that he would work in full-time ministry. Daniel married the love of his life in 1994. Together they have two children. 1994 was a big year because it’s also the year that Daniel and his new bride started Caped Haiti. Caped is a non-profit organization registered in Haiti. Daniel and his wife raise 28 children together at the Caped Children’s Home they began together. He has a heart for children, and for pastoring as well.

Nillion Lamartineire - Haiti

Nillion was born in 1966 in Bainet, Haiti. In 1976 he moved with his family to Port Au Prince where he has spent his entire youth & adult life. He accepted Christ as his Savior in 1986 in a church led by a pastor he greatly respected and looked up to. Because of the discipleship he received as, Nillion wanted to give the same to others. He has a heart for evangelism and discipleship. Nillion is married with two children. He has dreams for his life work to impact as many people as possible.