“Bible Olympics,” a wonderfully anticipated tradition for Mission Arlington®, happens every spring. This three-hour event combines creative, semi-competitive games which provide a fun way for children to learn more about the Bible.
More than 250 elementary-aged children, and some youth too, were picked up by their Bible study leaders and transported to central Arlington to participate in the activities of the day. Those of us who were able to observe noticed how much fun the children were having – running, laughing, smiling, all the while learning more about God’s Word. Before they go home, the children will enjoy a good lunch too.
Various games included “thread the hula hoop,” balloon toss, two obstacle courses – one involving a tunnel the children crawled through, and another requiring the children to jump over a couple of kneeling sponsors. The puppet show was a big hit, as were the many other
It feels good to spend time with these young people on a Saturday morning, sharing God’s Word. Bible study leaders, many of them volunteers themselves, knew the name of every child there – calling them by name, encouraging them, having one-on-one time, and joining in with the games whenever possible. There were hugs and happy faces all around.
Especially meaningful this morning was listening to these young people repeating various scriptures in unison, or in competition with each other. They committed some scripture to memory as well, and repeated together scriptures that many of them already knew. Scripture teaches us that God’s Word never returns empty, but accomplishes everything for which the Lord intends it. Pray with us that the seeds planted today will flourish in the lives of these children as they grow.
We thank God today for Bible study leaders who work full time jobs all week long who then take their weekend to love children and to extend His Kingdom. We thank the Lord for those who over time donated various vehicles, so that we could transport the children today. We thank the Lord for those who give, so that we had the ability to fill those cars and vans with fuel. Thank you for praying for us at 10:00 a.m every day, and at other times during the day, so that our work will stay purely about Him, and so that we can keep extending deeper into this community with the love of Christ.
We are grateful for the privilege we have of serving alongside each of you as we support the people of this community in our 30th year. To God be the glory, great things he has done!
The popular Coca-cola slogan was created in the 1930’s as a way of encouraging people to drink the well-liked beverage all-year round and not just in the warmer months. This successful trademark certainly sold more coke, but it has also been used through the years as a metaphor for politics, economics, entertainment, and multiple other venues.
On this national holiday, the slogan seems to be a good way to think about getting out to make a difference. Here at Mission Arlington® we accept as basic the biblical principle that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It isn’t just that we believe it intellectually, but that we see it every day in practice, as we experience it ourselves. We see the joy that people have as they get out of their comfort zones, and work hard to help someone else. Instead of being spent, it fills people up. There is just something beautiful and meaningful about doing something that provides authentic help to someone else, then not caring who gets the credit. That sentiment describes this beautifully generous community perfectly.
The Mission Arlington® family has the privilege of partnering again today with Toni Kincaid and her team at the Arlington Martin Luther King (MLK) Four Day Celebration Committee with their 2016 Day of Service. In honor of Dr. King., hundreds of volunteers from this community will partner with non-profits across the North Texas area to “make a difference.” We are pleased to be one of the partners for this community wide effort today. In addition, students from Dallas Baptist University will be here to serve, along with church groups, students from various local schools, individual families, and volunteers. It is going to be a great day.
If you would like to come and help today, you don’t need an appointment. We’re here until 7:00 p.m. this evening, and there is plenty for you to do. Come join us, won’t you? We pray it will be the “pause that refreshes,” but not just for you, but for all those who will receive the practical support your help provides. Working together, perhaps someone else’s load will be a little lighter.
We are grateful for you. We look forward to working with you today.
As the winter weather touches the North Texas area, or whenever temperatures drop, or the wet, cold weather is headed our way, people need warm things to wear. Warm clothing is sometimes something that people take for granted, but not in this generous community. You give generously every day here, so that others less fortunate can have what they need to stay warm.
Many of you have had old, warm coats in your closet which you have personally dropped by Mission Arlington®. Families and neighborhoods have collected coats for us, or purchased new coats and sweaters for us to give away. Several companies have gone to the effort of purchasing pallet loads of blankets, sending them here in large trucks.
One company dropped off 1,850 blankets this week, and we’ve been busy ever since handing them out. Volunteers are here from all across North Texas today (see the picture above), braving the cold, giving of themselves and of their time to make a difference for someone else. It is a beautiful sight.
So, if someone tries to get you to stay inside or out of the cold, let them know that you “really can’t stay,” despite their protests, because you need to get to Mission Arlington®. 🙂
You’ll be glad you did, and we’ll be here waiting for you. Thank you!
If you have been around us for very long, no doubt you will have heard Tillie share her conviction that Mission Arlington® “runs on the prayers of the people.” This isn’t just her conviction, but it is the commitment of all those who serve here.
We do pay attention to industry standards and “best practices” for non-profits. We know that these standards steer organizations like ours to ethical, accountable, and transparent approaches to this important work, and that this is a benefit not just to us and our supporters, but to our community. Towards that end, we voluntarily partner with charity watchdog organizations, such as “Charity Navigator,” the “Better Business Bureau,” and ECFA, a charity watchdog group which is designed specifically for faith-based non profits like ours.
Having said that, it is also and especially true, as we say here, that Mission Arlington® is more a “movement than a strategy, more a spirit than a structure, more like a family than an organization.” This place, and this work belong to the Lord, and so we believe that effectiveness in ministry come from being connected to Him.
It is for this reason that we are issuing a sincere “call for prayer” for the work here. Often, when an organization does this, it is a technique to communicate a need of some kind, but that is not our motive. We are not calling for prayer because of a crisis, but because this is the bread and butter of our daily work. If you drive through our place at 10:00 on any given morning, you will see the work stop momentarily, as we hold hands in a circle to pray.
We are asking for each and every one of you, to the fullest extent possible, to set a daily alarm for 10:00 a.m. every morning. Would you join us? This would be such a great gift for our work, and for each of us personally.
Pray as God leads, of course, but we especially ask that you
- pray for God’s provisions and
- pray for God’s protection.
- We ask that you talk with the Lord about more volunteers to lead our Bible studies, and/or to teach in our after-school programs, or doctors and dentists for the health clinics.
- We ask for prayer that our hearts will always be in tune with the Lord and with people as we serve here every day. We thank you so much for your willingness to do this. It surely is a great help to our work. We always want to have His heart for every person who comes through our doors.
If you already pray with us each morning, thank you. If you don’t, would you join the circle of those who pray? May this circle be unbroken.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “Follow-up” as something that “continues or completes a process or action.” That meaning resonates for us at Mission Arlington®, because follow-up is a critical component to every ministry we have. We don’t believe that our work is finished until we have followed up with people after they have come through our doors.
As we turned the corner into this new year, teams of volunteers have already made their way across our community to follow-up with the parents who came through our Christmas Store. We do report the numbers of people coming through our place as a way of quantifying or measuring our work, and we do this every year. However, as our Director, Tillie Burgin, constantly reminds us, she “never saw a number walk through the front door.”
People deserve to know that someone cares about them, and that they are not just a “number being processed through a system.” The heart of this sentiment flows from the Lord who reminded his followers that whatever they did “for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,” they did for Christ. We see in our front room volunteers this kind of heart. They listen to people’s needs, then connect them with needed resources, pray with them, and often enough, shed a few tears. People matter to us, no matter where they’ve come from, or what they are going through.
After someone comes in to see us in our front room with a wide variety of emergency assistance needs, we follow-up. Volunteers within Mission Arlington’s 349 Bible studies scattered across town make personal visits to homes. They “check up” on people to see” if they got everything they needed from the mission, and whether or not something else might be helpful to them. Invitations are extended to attend one of our Bible studies, so that people can have a “family of faith” surround them – not just for a moment in time, but into the future.
We are grateful for the privilege we have of serving our Lord in this wonderful community. We are so thankful for the myriad of ways you constantly follow-up with us. When we have been the recipients of such great support, how could we not pass along the same level of care for those in a moment of need.
Thank you for walking this journey with us in these days.
Mission Arlington® is “off and running” for the new year.
2016 has arrived, and we find ourselves grateful for the privilege we have of serving for another year in this community. We will turn 30 years-old this August, and we are excited about that.
Tillie Burgin, our Executive Director, has been here from the start, and she still leads us, under God, with passion for God and for people, a commitment to excellence in every area, and to loving all people. Tillie reminds the team here constantly that the most important word in John 3:16 is “whosoever,” because God’s love extends to everyone, so that there is “no one who should ever be left out.”
Our heart here is not just to “give out food and clothes,” but to treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve as people created by God. We are passionate about the privilege we have here every day of loving people and, by God’s grace and your support, providing authentic help. We can do this, because of your faithful support.
We are open today, already helping families in need, and looking forward to greeting you when you drop by. We will be here every day this year, 364 days, making sure we don’t miss the life of any person or family.
Your continued prayers, volunteer assistance, and financial support make such a big difference here. We are grateful for the privilege we have of walking this journey with you through this new year. Daily, we thank God for you. Surely, our Lord “makes all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
We are grateful.
The Lord sent a group of college students here for a week during the Christmas season. They were sent by an organization called Go Now Missions, a team that sends college students out to do mission work around the world. Nineteen of these young people landed here mid-December. They were extraordinary young Christian leaders who helped us with anything and everything happening here during the Christmas season – from our front room, to out back, to our Christmas Store. They were a blessing not only to us, but also to the many they served in our community.
Laura Cadena, a student at Angelo State University, shared her experiences with a news journal called The Baptist Standard. Laura worked in our child care at the Christmas Store, then in our front room helping people in need. She saw God working in miraculous ways, providing for people’s precise needs at just the right moments. Laura, along with those she was helping, was moved to tears.
You can read Laura’s full testimony here.
As we look back on this past twelve months, from the perspective of our perch at year’s end, Laura’s testimony is also our own. We see the way that our Lord has provided – not for us so much – but for the people who have specific needs coming through our front doors every day, and always at just the right time.
What we also know is that these resources come from and through you. Because you give, we can, in turn, give it away. As we enter this last day of 2015, as has been the case all week long, car after car is streaming through our drop-off out back. There seems to be such joy in people as they give, and beautifully, we receive the hugs and the smiles, and the gratitude. We are so humbled and blessed – as we have been all year long.
We are grateful for you, and the partnership we share as we respond to our community’s needs together. We know that God is our ultimate resource, but we also know deeply that he has used your generosity, and your sacrifices to help people get the hand up they need.
Thank you so much for your support – your prayers, volunteer help, and your financial gifts throughout this year. May God grant each of you, from our heart to yours, a . . .
“Happy New Year!”
The after Christmas clean up in many homes has started, as families have time to go through closets, or as new gifts take the place of the old. Instead of throwing out things not useful at home anymore, our community generously thinks of others, and how clothes, furniture, computers, and so much more, can be given to someone in need.
We love your heart, and we are so blessed as you drive through with donations. It isn’t just that you bring gifts to those in need, but that you do it with such enthusiasm and joy. Your investments here truly make a difference in the lives of real people. You especially encourage us. Thank you for your faithful generosity, and for your encouragement.
As you come in, we have extra volunteers outside, so that you can drive through as quickly as possible. Be patient, where you can, because many people at year’s end find there way to us to make their last minute, much-appreciated donations. We will also have people outside to write receipts in these days before the new year, so that you will not have to get out and go inside to get the receipt, as you typically would.
We say constantly that we can be here, because we live and work in a community that long ago learned the blessing of giving. Remember, when you give it, we give it away. We don’t sell anything at Mission Arlington, and every service is provided free of charge.
Our front room has been full this week with people in need. Thank you for the way you give, pray, and support our work with finances, so that more lives can be lifted in love.
We are ever grateful for you. We can’t wait to see you!
On this day after Christmas, we are pleased to share with you the results of your generous, faithful, and sacrificial support.
As most know, when you give to Mission Arlington®, you are actually giving through us to someone in need. Our administrative overhead is a low 2.8 percent. This means that when you give financial support, 97.2 percent of every dollar goes directly in ministry to people, and not towards the administrative needs of the organization.
On the other hand, when you donated various items, such as food, clothing, furniture, and/or Christmas gifts for children, 100 percent of each contribution goes directly to the people. You give it, and we give it away. It has long been our policy not to re-sell anything you give. Truly, we are twice blessed – once when you give, and again when we give it away.
For this reason, among others, we view ourselves as a simple reflection of our community. We can only give to others what you have first given to us. We believe that the strength of our work here comes from the Lord first, and then in and through your generosity. Individuals, families, civic groups, companies, corporations, churches, schools, and so many more, contributed Christmas gifts, bikes, food, and thousands of volunteer hours to make the holiday season so blessed for people in need. It was and is extraordinary to watch the outpouring of love coming from all directions.
Some of you adopted children through our “angel tree” process. Others adopted families, and still more gave in and through our Christmas Store. More than 7,000 of you showed up to help us give gifts away in our Christmas Store. Wow!
All in all, 7,351 families received help, representing 30,514 children. We were able to tell the Christmas Story in five different languages (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Sign, and Arabic), and 368 adults indicated their desire to begin a walk with Christ, and another 743 adults rededicated their lives to Christ, or told us that they wanted to know more about faith. Follow up begins with each family starting today.
We are so grateful for the privilege we have of serving with this community to help people in a moment of need. Your prayers, your help, and your financial support make a huge difference here. We wish we could express our thanks to each of you individually. As we pray for you this morning, our hope is that the Christ of Christmas has found his home in yours as well, and that your own Christmas moments were blessed, because you first helped someone else to be alright.
We are truly enjoying this season at year-end, and looking forward to the year ahead.
To God be the glory!
College students from across Texas and from all over North America are here this week and next, helping Mission Arlington in a variety of ways at Christmas.
Three hundred (301) College students from Shreveport Louisiana, Blue Mountain Mississippi, Campbellsville Kentucky Tyler and Wichita Falls, Texas, and Pryor, Oklahoma, among others have been here this week helping Mission Arlington® in our Christmas Store, collecting and delivering bikes, picking up and delivering furniture, sorting & separating food, helping people park, and so much more. Nineteen college students are here from all across Texas (pictured above), sent to provide leadership at Christmas time.
These young people could be spending their Christmas break in any number of ways, but they chose to spend their well-earned vacation time and school breaks serving at Mission Arlington.
We are so grateful.