More than 7,000 children attended Rainbow Express over Spring Break, an average of 1,764 every day. 212 children and youth accepted Christ, including a few who came with their team.
The phrase “boots on the ground” is attributed to General Volney F. Warner who gave the phrase new meaning around 1980 in reference to the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The phrase indicates ground forces who are actually fighting in a war or conflict as opposed to other military action created from a distance, such as the Pentagon “think tanks” or air force strikes from the sky.
Through these weeks of Spring Break and on into the summer, teams of people from across Texas and around our country are landing in this community to share the good news of Christ. As we’ve watched a sea of buses/vans arrive in our city this past week (over 1,600 students), “boots on the ground” is one image that seemed relevant. Instead of a battle, however, this large team of people had landed here to share God’s love
One of Mission Arlington®’s twin values is “taking church to the people.” Instead of waiting, or hoping, that people will come from their homes into our church buildings, we’ve believed from the beginning the believers should leave their places of comfort and take the Lord’s love into each and every home across our city. That’s what has happened here this week.
Of course, these teams are following the marching orders given to all Christians, from the Lord himself – to go into all the world making disciples (Matthew 28: 18-20). These student groups come to lead Rainbow Express®, our version of a backyard Bible club. Children have fun, enjoying snacks, crafts, active games, music (including some silly songs), snacks, and a Bible story.
Each Rainbow Express® lasts for a couple of hours over four days. We are so grateful for each and every volunteer who leaves their comfort zone to move throughout this community to share God’s love. In a very real sense, you are the “boots on the ground,” in God’s army, to spread His love and peace in this community – one life at a time. We love the privilege we have of serving alongside you each and every day. Many more weeks ahead.
It’s Spring Break at Mission Arlington®
Spring at Mission Arlington® means the start of Rainbow Express®. If you haven’t heard of Rainbow Express® before, it is our name for a “backyard Bible club. ” Student groups come from around the nation to help, and it is always so much fun.
1,600 students will arrive
here to lead these events in 93 different locations . Several groups are already here this week – serving here each morningand leading Rainbow Express® every afternoon.
What is Rainbow Express?
Each event lasts around two hours, and happens over a four-day span of time in each location. Fun songs, outdoor activities, crafts, and Bible stories make up the experience. Plus, there is a lot
of individual love and attention given to each child.
Where do these student groups stay?
Some of the teams coming into town stay in local hotels, of course, but many of the 65 different groups who come need a place to stay. In order to make it easier for churches to bring their students, we will house them in as many of our facilities as we possibly can. Staying in a Mission Arlington® location basically means that each student will have a clean and safe place to stay where everyone sleeps on the floor. They will have access to restrooms, showers, and a small kitchen. We provide these facilities free of charge, and they are spartan.
How you can help
The best and most important service you can offer us through this week, Spring Break, and the weeks to come is to pray. Please pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit, for the right connections to be made between church youth groups and individual children & youth in the community. Pray for safety in travel, and above all, please pray that there will be no distractions from the message of the gospel of Christ. We are praying specifically for people to be saved. May our Lord be glorified through it all.
We are grateful for you!
If you have followed us for very long at all, you will know that we express appreciation often for those who give and volunteer, and also for those of you who pray for us.
We publish “prayer circles” each week, a kind of guide for collective prayers, and we have asked that people “pray without ceasing” on the one hand, but also that those of us who pray could metaphorically join hands each morning at 10:00.
We have a beautiful sense of the covering provided for this place, because people pray. We are truly grateful.
On the last Thursday of each month, the Mission Arlington® family gathers to pray. Last night, we watched taped testimony from a worshipper at Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York who had reached the heights of success in the world of fashion, but lost it all through an addiction to drugs. It was the power of prayer in this man’s life which saved his life, and connected him to Christ. It was a direct reminder of prayer’s power, and that we should never give up on any one. No one is beyond the reach of God’s love.
Tillie Burgin, our Director, spoke to the team last night, reminding us that most Christians believe in prayer. However, she wondered “how many know intuitively and practically prayer’s power?” ? Our prayer time together was significant and strong. We prayed for the Bible studies we lead throughout our city. We prayed for each other personally, and we prayed for revival to come to our city, beginning with us.
In the Old Testament, after Job suffered so much, he demanded an audience with God multiple times (Job 10:2; 13:3; 13:22-24; 19:7), God shows up and answers Job. When the Lord finishes, Job says “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. (42:5).
We are writing today specifically to say “Thank you for your faithful prayers on our behalf,” and to request that you continue. Our heart’s desire is that God find us faithful and in tune with His will for our lives personally and for the Mission collectively. May God move in and through each of us to make a difference in our homes, our neighborhoods, our city, our country, and our world.
We are grateful for your support.
Mission Arlington®’s children’s basketball leagues begin tomorrow, and continue each Saturday in February from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
In 2016, seventy (70) children played ball with us over four different Saturdays, adding up to a total attendance for the month of more than 400.
Bible study leaders drive mission vans out across our community to pick up children early on Saturday morning. The Bible study groups form the teams, and through the years, they have enjoyed playing half court games against each other.
A couple of years ago, Jerry McCullough, former Superintendent of the Arlington ISD, and currently a Bible study teacher and team leader at one of our apartment congregations, took the lead. The Lord led Dr. McCullough to enlist skilled volunteers from across the community, along with the Bible study teams, who would give their time and talent to coach the children.
When the leagues begin tomorrow, these volunteer coaches will lead a miniature basketball camp, teaching children the fundamentals of the game. These future basketball stars will learn how to dribble, pass, work on a team, all along getting great exercise and positive feedback from the coaches and their Bible study leaders.
Please pray with us as we gather the children through Saturdays in February. We are always thankful for your faithful support.
We live in a day where biblical literacy is on the decline. In fact, some consider the rate of illiteracy so alarming, they refer to it as an epidemic. From working in apartment ministry through the years, we have seen too that many people who are new to faith, or close to beginning their faith journey, simply haven’t had much interaction with or awareness of the biblical message.
Bible Olympics has been a part of Mission Arlington’s repertoire for as far back as any of us can remember. It is our effort, as the book of Proverb contends, to “train up a child” in the way that they should go. The Olympic efforts of Mission Arlington® are designed to teach the children God’s word in creative and fun ways.
This annual event uses creative games, crafts, and loving mentors to educate children about biblical organization and content. The point, however, isn’t Bible trivia, but introducing students to Christ, and to the transforming power of God’s word.
With free food and transportation, we are looking forward to a great day. We are grateful for your constant, faithful support. Thank you, and all glory to God.
As the new year begins, many new commitments are made. Among those new directions for many is a commitment to “time in the gym,” working out and taking care of our bodies. The Mission Arlington® family loves the new year. Everything we enjoyed in the previous year comes around again. One commitment we enjoy throughout each year is an event we call “Gym Night.”
Gym Nights happen on Friday evenings twice a month through much of the year. Children and youth, on separate nights, enjoy time in the gym – playing basketball, games of all kinds, and hearing a short Bible study designed specifically for them.
Last year hundreds of young people participated in these free events. They enjoy the night out, the physical activity, the time with their Bible study leaders, and they develop better relationships with their peers and also with the Lord.
We are so grateful for the privilege we have of sharing our lives with and investing in these energetic and strong young people. While we know how much fun these kids have, the truth is that we who get to be with them on these Friday nights are immensely blessed by the privilege. There is a lot of teamwork, laughter, and love that happens on these nights.
Thank you so much for the privilege we have of serving alongside of you in this community. Your faithful, generous prayers, help, and financial support play such a big part in all we do.
If you are looking for us tonight, we’ll be in the gym. That’s our commitment, and we’re sticking to it.
You are invited to help others on this special day of service dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King reminded us that: “Everybody can be great . . . because anybody can serve.”
We certainly agree. Mission Arlington® will be open on Monday, January 16th, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We welcome walk ups and/or teams. Join others who will be here all day long – sorting clothes, food, household items and furniture.
If you are serving with the Arlington MLK Day of Service, arrive by 9:00 a.m. to the Mission Metroplex building at 400 W. South St. We are honored to host this amazing group of people who will serve all over our community. Look for the friendly volunteers all around who will help you park and find the right spot. From there you will be divided up in multiple places to serve around the Metroplex, including Mission Arlington®.
Toni Kincaid, long-time chair of the Arlington MLK service day says that the “best way to honor Dr. King is through service and volunteering. We agree. You will work hard, but have fun, and feel rewarded when you end, because it is always more blessed to give than to receive.
Why not “make it a day on, and not a day off? It is going to be a great day.
We look forward to seeing you here!
Stephen Covey authored The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People which sold over 25 million copies. One of the principals Covey taught, is that successful people “keep the main thing the main thing.” Others have pointed out that what is true of people is also true of families, businesses, and more.
At Mission Arlington®, through 2016, we have attempted to do just that. Many people were touched by the ministry here last year:
- Through the Holidays:
- 3,000 Children attended the Fall Festival;
- 6,083 families and 25,869 people received Thanksgiving food, and
- 30,010 children (7,282 families) received Christmas gifts. 4,000 children received bikes, and 11,67 people made spiritual decisions, including 303 who accepted Christ;
- Easter activities ministered to 5,875 people.
- Nearly 40,000 families received personal & spiritual care through emergency assistance (food, clothes, household items, furniture, and financial assistance with rent and utilities). In other words, nearly 150,000 people received care through our front room.
- Health Care: 1) Dental Clinic: 3,176 people treated, $968,192 of free care; 2) Nearly 9,000 office visits(8,976) received $1,182,340 worth of free medical care;
- Bible Studies in 349 locations with thousands in attendance each week;
- Children and Youth: 28,668 attended Rainbow Express in 401 locations over the Spring and Summer. 420 youth attended two rallies designed specifically for them at Easter and for a back to school event. Baseball, Basketball, and Wrestling form the three Sport’s leagues we sponsor with a total attendance of more than 2,000 this past year.
In the midst of all the ministry, we remember the difference between helping someone in a moment of need, and sharing with them the Love of God which changes a heart for a lifetime. We also remember every single day that we have been supported by a strong and faithful community of people who give, pray, and help so that others less fortunate can find comfort and practical help. We are grateful for you.
Thank you for walking with us through the transition from the 30th to our 31st year. To God be the glory.
Mission Arlington® turned thirty years old on August 1st of this year. This has been another strong year for the ministry, primarily because the community which surrounds us continues to pray, to help, and to give as they have for three decades. We are grateful.
We are also grateful for our friends at the City of Arlington who put together this video about us a while back. It is 2:08 seconds long. In this video, Tillie Burgin, our Executive Director, takes a rare moment to look back at how far the Lord has brought this ministry over the last thirty years.
If you haven’t seen this before, we hope you enjoy it. If you’ve already watched it, then we hope it blesses you again as you hear Tillie’s heart for the Lord and for this city.
When you google “CHRISTMAS WARMTH,” you receive a list of websites around the country reporting temperatures which are too warm for the season. The warmth we’ve experienced at Mission Arlington®, however, has nothing to do with the weather. Rather, it refers to the way the people’s hearts have been impacted here.
Volunteers were touched: Hundreds of energetic and caring volunteers were here every day through the Christmas season. Teams of people worked diligently to get gifts in place for the opening day of our Christmas Store. From opening to close, volunteers served in the Store helping shoppers find gifts for their children. One dad returned in tears to speak with a staff member. His question: “Why is it that I feel I am more blessed than the people needing help?” His heart had been touched by the experience.
You gave compassionately: It takes thousands and thousands of toys to provide for a community like this, and you made it happen. You dug deep, giving sacrificially, filling up the toy store again and again, yet you made it look effortless. Only warm and kind-hearted people have this kind of spirit.
The joy of giving back: This year, many of our donors stopped to tell us that they had been recipients of gifts from the store many years before, and now they were here to give back. More than once, their eyes moistened with tears when they shared that news. One man had two tragedies in his family over a three year period many years ago. The Mission had stepped in to help his family “back then,” but now he was here – for the second year in a row – helping others to be ok. You could hear the emotion in his voice as he explained why he wouldn’t “give anywhere else.”
A passion for people: When people don’t care, we often describe them as “cold-hearted.” It is easy enough to care for family and friends, but not for people we don’t know. Yet, this community shows up in force to care for people in need, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because, as one mother said: “it warms my children’s hearts” when they serve.
The radiant face of a child: On Christmas morning, the reports of warm glows on the faces of children is a direct reflection of a community’s passion to care. It’s a smile which adults recall even years later.
The Love of the Father: We pray that all of this reflects the passion of our heavenly Father who loved the world so much that he gave His only son – so that all who believe in Him can have eternal life. This passion also flows from a Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who left his heavenly throne to be born in a manger and ultimately pay the debt of our sin on the cross. May His passion for people always be ours.