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More than Relief: Services for Youth

Driving to the basket at a Mission Arlington youth gym night.

Driving to the basket at a Mission Arlington youth gym night.

More than just a “relief” organization, Mission Arlington® invests in the children and youth of our community on a weekly basis. We recognize that providing emergency relief, such as food, clothing, household items, furniture, medical care, and emergency financial assistance, is so important. When a family has had a crisis of some kind, they need a little help to get them through the crisis.  We love being a conduit for our community, so that when you give, we can give it away – directly to the people who need it – and at no charge.

Yet, it is also important to walk besides our children and youth as they grow and learn to live in this world. Many of us growing up had someone special in our lives – a coach, a teacher, a mentor of some kind – who was there for us, when we needed advice, support, or just a shoulder to lean on.  The army of volunteer Bible study leaders for Mission Arlington® fulfill that same role for the students of our community.

In the same way, Mission Arlington® also provides ongoing supportive services to these same children and youth.  We host 7 camps each summer, children’s and basketball leagues, wrestling and soccer teams, and Bible study teachers who teach God’s Word each week – right where the students live.  We have Bible study leaders who teach God’s word in 349 locations across our community.

Twice a month, Mission Arlington® hosts “youth gym night.” Bible study leaders drive donated Mission Arlington® vehicles across the community to pick up the young people.  They gather in a central Arlington gym to play basketball for a few hours on a Friday night.  The exercise is good, of course, as they run up and down the gym, and the students learn how to work on teams.  All across the gym, you will see adults talking and laughing with the young people.  It is a lot of fun.

It is a beautiful sight.  Of course, with all events sponsored by the mission, it is absolutely free, and the students also listen to a Bible study sometime during the evening – a Bible study designed specifically for them.

We are so honored and humbled to be partners with you as we walk alongside, and share Christ’s love with the young people of our city.

Tonight is youth gym night again for Mission Arlington®.  If you think about it, somewhere between 6 and 9 tonight, say a prayer for our city’s youth.  God bless you for your faithful support.

Date Published: February 6, 2015

“It’s ten o’clock!” Will you join the circle?

Joining hands to pray - next to the carport - at Mission Arlington

Joining hands to pray – next to the carport – at Mission Arlington. Will you join us?

By Jim Burgin, staff writer

Some of you reading this post may be old enough to remember a popular question used as a public service announcement on television across much of North America during the late 1960s and into the 70s.  The question was, “It’s ten o’clock. Do you know where your children are?” When I was a teenager, I remember the local broadcasters asking this question just prior to the start of the late local news.

A few months back, one of Mission Arlington®’s congregations began asking its parishioners to pray for the church and for Mission Arlington® at 10:00 each morning. The image was beautiful. Even though everyone would be spread out across the city, metaphorically, everyone would be joining hands to pray. Various Mission Arlington® Bible studies began to join this ever growing circle, and then Tillie asked the Mission Arlington family to join in.

Today, we would like to ask each of you who already love and support Mission Arlington® to join hands with us – from wherever you are – at 10:00 a.m. central standard time.  Please pray that we would remain faithful to the Lord. Pray that we would hear His voice as He leads us day by day. Please pray for resources, so that there will always be enough food, furniture, and finances to help the people. Pray for more volunteers and Bible study leaders to join the team, so that His Word can be spread throughout our community.  Pray that our Lord will be lifted up and glorified through this place. Please pray however God leads you.

There was another song from my childhood which I remember. The refrain called for the “circle to be unbroken.”  It was a song about heaven, and a lot of fun to sing.  In this context, I wonder if we could create an ever-growing and unbroken circle of prayer for Mission Arlington.

We truly covet your prayers in these days?  When it’s ten o’clock, will you pray?  May this circle be unbroken.

Praise His Name.

Date Published: February 4, 2015

Looking back: Our Year in Review

homepageimage-4We tend to be a forward looking group of people, always thinking about what’s in front of us, or “what’s next.” At the same time, we appreciate the opportunity each year to look back at what the Lord has done, and to glorify Him for what he has done here.  Your faithful and generous support of our work has been a big part of the footprint for this past year.  We are truly grateful.

With the reporting of each individual event through the year, it is often easy to miss the big picture.  We believe, therefore, that it is important for us to communicate the big picture as clearly as possible.  Here are a few of the highlights.

Twenty (20) New Bible Studies started
Mission Arlington® has started and sponsored 329 Bible studies across our community for some time.  This year, the Lord helped us to push outward, starting twenty new Bible studies & congregations.  At the end of 2014, the total number of congregations supported by the mission is 349.  On Easter Sunday last year, 13,000 people attended one of those congregations.

Medical Ministries Continue to Grow
The number of professional volunteers who support our dental and medical clinics is such a blessing. This past year, our dental clinic treated 1,434 patients who were treated in the clinic 4,961 times. The clinic performed 1.4+ million dollars worth of free dental care. The medical clinic treated 8,591 patients and provided 1.3+ million dollars worth of free health care and more than 729 thousand dollars worth of free prescriptions. Diabetes was the number one concern treated, followed closely by hypertension.  This year was the first year of the new diabetes education and prevention programs installed in partnership with UTA. The goal is to help people discover ways that they can prevent diabetes in their own life.

Emergency Assistance Stabilizes Some
Mission Arlington’s “front room” is our first line of defense for helping people in need. Working people, in a moment of crisis due to a job loss, a health crisis, or an unexpected, broken relationship brings them to our front doors.  This year, Mission Arlington® provided assistance to 42,739 families, representing 152,344 people.  Obviously, this is still a huge number, but it represents a slight drop in need over last year, hopefully an indication that people’s lives are doing a little bit better. We are truly grateful.

Rainbow Express® Continues to Expand
Rainbow Express® is Mission Arlington®’s version of a back-yard Bible club. Crafts, snacks, music, games, crafts, and Bible stories form the fun.  In 2014, we hosted Rainbow Express in 492 locations. 39,638 children and youth attended at least one of these fun-filled, Bible-centered events.  That’s a lot of children, and we were so blessed.

Volunteer Teams Continue to Lend Support at Mission Arlington®
Schools, civic clubs, churches, businesses, individuals, families, and other non profit groups all sent people here to volunteer with us in 2014.  Altogether, nearly 1,500 teams (1,492) came to support our work in the community.  This represents nearly 42,000 people (41,859).   We hope and pray that, as a faith-based organization, we will always be Spirit-led.  At the same time, we are also volunteer driven.  On average, 2,500 volunteers each week help Mission Arlington accomplish its goals. 

Administrative Costs Continue to be Low
Mission Arlington® is governed by the Lord, under the supervision of a Board of Directors. The organization is audited annually by a well-respected, local team of auditors, and we also voluntarily partner with various charity watch organizations.  Our administrative overhead for 2013 was 3 percent. This means that 97 cents of every dollar given goes directly in ministry to people in need.  We will report our 2014 numbers as soon as our audit is completed once again in early 2015.

New Prayer Initiative Began in 2014
Mission Arlington®, we have said continuously, runs on the prayers of the people. In 2014, we began asking people to join us in prayer, no matter where they are, at 10:00 a.m. every morning.  This effort began in one of our mission congregations, and has now spread mission-wide.  The Mission Arlington® family covets your prayers for us, and for our work here.  If you haven’t joined in on this beautiful effort, we invite you to begin this year.

Furniture Ministry Continues to Grow
Our furniture ministry is a big part of what we do. Our community continues to give so generously from what they have.  Beds, couches, kitchen tables and chairs, dressers, refrigerators, washers & dryers, and so much more, come into our place every day.  One of our great privileges is to receive what you give, then turn right around and give it away. Mission Arlington® always gives, and never sells any thing we receive.  In 2014 we gave furniture to 10,417 people. 

Holiday Ministries Continue to Bless Thousands of People
In 2014, Mission Arlington® delivered Thanksgiving food to 5,743 families (23,404 people).  You gave the turkeys and the Thanksgiving food.  Six thousand of you showed up to help us deliver that food.  We enjoyed the amazing privilege of being the ones in the middle.  Christmas was a special time as well. Through our “adopt a family,” “angel tree,” programs, and our Christmas Store, 7,522 families (32,246 children) received Christmas gifts.  Because of your generosity, we were also able to give away 4,000 bikes.

Ministries with Children and Youth Stay Strong
Many people know that we help with emergency assistance at our main campus, but not everyone knows how much happens here to support the children and youth in our community. For example, 4,182 children (with their parents) came to our giant Easter Egg hunt last Spring.  Mission Arlington® hosted 7 summer camps for young children through older youth. 1,162 children and youth attended these free camps.  One of the most exciting new ventures we began in 2014 was a wrestling league.  Every Tuesday and Thursday nights, wrestling coaches teach young boys to wrestle, while teaching them God’s word.  Dozens of young students participated in this free wrestling league.  It is beautiful to watch God use these ministries with young people.

And So Much More!
So much more happened here this year than we can put into one blog post like this.  Please take a look at our 2014 Annual Report to get an overview of the year.  Or, you can take a look at the reports from the past decade if you like. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or if there is any way that we can be supportive to you.

We are grateful to you for all your help this past year.  We are grateful for the privilege we have of walking together through 2015. You make a difference here. Thank you.

To God be the glory!

Date Published: January 25, 2015

Bible Olympics Runs the Race

Student play a game which helps them learn a particular scripture verse at Mission Arlington Bible Olympics

Student play a game which helps them learn a particular scripture verse at Mission Arlington Bible Olympics

Two students participate in a Bible drill, looking up particular scriptures as fast as they can

Two students participate in a Bible drill, looking up particular scriptures as fast as they can.

Mission Arlington® has been hosting Bible Olympics for a number of years, and today’s event was likely one of our best.  Bible study leaders arrived early at the mission to pick up vans, then drove all across our community to get the children who were eagerly waiting for the day. Permission slips in hand, these excited young people loaded into buses headed for a day of events which were a fun way to help them learn God’s word.  Bible Olympics started at 10:00 a.m. this morning.

Students were divided into teams upon arrival. After an opening assembly, these teams headed to different parts of the central Arlington facility to play games, run races, and to enjoy friendly competition in ways that would help them know the Bible better.

The children also watched a film about the Bible, and enjoyed a free meal along the way. Hot dogs and chips always taste good at a Mission Arlington® event.  Two hundred thirty one (231) children attended today’s event, along with another 49 adults, making it a very special day.  We are especially grateful for children’s ministry of Lake Arlington Baptist Church for all of the wonderful volunteer help they sent today and for the Church on Rush Creek who came last night to help us set up.

We love the privilege of working with the children and youth of our community, and we are so grateful for your  constant, generous support.  We know, without a doubt, that these gospel efforts are something that we are all doing together.  Your prayers, and gifts of love are making a difference here.

Date Published: January 25, 2015

The community comes together to serve and help!

Student group from UTA helps out at Mission Arlington.

Student group from UTA helps out at Mission Arlington.

Hundreds of volunteers, young and old, made Martin Luther King Jr. Day very special at Mission Arlington yesterday.  Church groups brought their youth; the Boys and Girls clubs of Arlington brought their children, and more than 200 students and other volunteers from the University of Texas at Arlington flowed into Mission Arlington® all day long.  The energy and excitement was amazing to watch, and we were able to get so much work done that helps people in need.

It was also fun to watch lines of cars driving in and through our place, dropping off clothing (childrens, winter clothing, etc.), couches, household items and more.  People were so excited to have the privilege of blessing someone else with the items they were giving away.

We are so honored and humbled to be a part of this generous community.  When you give it, we get to give it away.  It is so wonderful to have the privilege of doing it together.  Martin Luther King Jr. day was just another way that we can come together to help people in our community who need just a little help to be ok.

We are ever grateful for your support.

Date Published: January 20, 2015

A Day On – instead of a Day Off

Volunteers sort clothes with big smiles on MLK day last year.

Volunteers sort clothes with big smiles on MLK day last year.

The City of Arlington and the University of Texas at Arlington have been hosting events all weekend to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his leadership in our country.

Toni Kincaid, the MLK “day of service” chairman for UTA’s events, reminds people that Dr. King was “big on service,” especially “service to others.”  Kincaid is excited about the number of volunteers who will gather at UTA Monday morning, on this national holiday which celebrates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mission Arlington® is honored and humbled to be a recipient of the hard work and beautiful hearts of so many volunteers on this special day.  In addition to the UTA volunteers, many other churches and civic organizations will be gathering at Mission Arlington® today to serve the community – in order to meet the needs of those who are currently in a moment of crisis.

We are always excited about this important day.  It is fun to watch the community come together to help others be ok.

If you haven’t planned ahead your day just yet, please come on down.  Mission Arlington® always needs volunteers, and your help would be such a blessing.

Thank you for being the kind and generous community that you are.  We are blessed to walk this journey with you.

Date Published: January 19, 2015

Pennies from Nichols

Lamar High School band welcomes Nichols Jr. High at a huge Pep Rally.

Lamar High School band welcomes Nichols Jr. High students at a huge Pep Rally, kicking off the Souperbowl of Caring for North Texas.

Nichols Jr. High’s student council, along with Principal Julie Harcrow and her team, led the efforts to collect money to give through Mission Arlington®, so that people in need could have something to eat.

The students collected move than $1,500 worth of pennies, and gave the check to Mission Arlington® who will use the donation to provide food for  hungry people.  That’s a lot of pennies!  It will also provide a lot of food.

Food insecurity is a real problem in or own communities, something which the staff of Mission Arlington®, sees every day.  More than 200 families a day (about 600 people) come through our front doors for help. These are ordinary people who are experiencing a momnt in time where one family member has lost a job, or has had a health crisis of some kind.

The check was given to Mission Arlington®, at the opening Kickoff of Souperbowl of Caring in a pep rally at Lamar High School.  Lamar hosted the Nichols students, and kicked off the event with their marching band (pictured above).

AISD superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos attended the event, along with Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson, who spoke to the crowd, and other dignitaries and officials from the community.

The Mission Arlington family would like to give a “shout out” to each and every Nichols Jr. High student for this special gift for the people.  Around Mission Arlington, we are already calling this gift “pennies from heaven.”   We are grateful for our continued partnership with the students, faculty, an admnistration of Nichols, Lamar, and with so many similar teams in the Arlington school system.

Thanks to each of you who give, pray, and volunteer here at Mission Arlington, so that people experiencing a moment of crisis can find the “hand up” that they need.

We are humbled and honored to be a part of this community.

Date Published: January 18, 2015

Children at Play

Many know that Mission Arlington responds to emergency needs in people’s lives every day.  Hundreds of people every day come to our downtown location for help with food, clothes, household items, furniture, and emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities, and more.  Not everyone knows that much of Mission Arlington®’s work actually happens away from our downtown location, but instead, all across the city.  Over the past 28+ years, 349 Bible studies and congregations have been formed which meet weekly all across our community.   Volunteer Bible study leaders from this group provide a host of activities for the children and youth that live in these communities.

One of those activities is Mission Arlington® gym nights. On Friday, January 9th, we held our first gym night for youth, and 90 students from multiple Mission Arlington® Bible studies participated.  Last night, Friday, January 16th, we held our first gym night of the year for children, and 249 children came to enjoy the evening.

Bible study leaders come to the mission offices early on Friday afternoon to get a van, then transport the students from home to the Mission Arlington® gym in central Arlington.  The children run, play, laugh, and have a great time.  Adult leaders spend the time playing with and listening to these children.  Spending time with them is such a great gift.

Some of the children who don’t enjoy playing basketball go to another room filled with card tables and all kinds of table games that they can enjoy.  Before the children head home, they get to hear a creative lesson from the Bible designed to help them know more about the Lord and His Word.

The Mission Arlington® family “loves to love” children.  We are so grateful for the privilege of serving our Lord in this community. One of our greatest privileges is getting to do what we do alongside you.  Your support, and your gifts of time, money, and service make such a difference here. To God be the glory!

Date Published: January 17, 2015

Wrestling with Mission Arlington

Mission Arlington student (in red) wrestling at our first tournament in early January

Mission Arlington student (in red) wrestling at our first tournament in early January

Back in the Fall, Mission Arlington began a wrestling program for childen and youth from our Bible study congregations.  This would give the students plenty of exercise every Tuesday and Thursday evenings, along with teaching team building, and spiritual development.  Bible readings and devotional times are a part of each team practice.

This past weekend, more than twenty (20) students participated in the team’s first wrestling tournament. The students did very well, and all had a good time.

The Mission Arlington family is so grateful for the opportunity we have to work with these students. We are thankful for the volunteers who give their time, energy, and (often) their own resources to provide this kind of time and positive influence for these students.

We are also so thankful for each of you and for the way you give of your time and resources to help us walk along with young people in our community.

May our Lord bless each and every one of you.

Date Published: January 16, 2015

Gym Nights

Young people having a good time

A high school student gets ready to drive to the basket at a Mission Arlington Youth Gym Night

Mission Arlington® hosts basketball nights for children and youth each month, and it is such a blessing.  Two Friday nights each month, Bible study leaders gather children with youth from across our community to play basketball, to develop relationships, and to share God’s love with each student. The children (through 6th grade) gather on one Friday night, and the youth (through 12th grade) gather on another.

This past Friday night, more than ninety (90) junior high and high school students gathered to play basketball in a gym in central Arlington.  The students learned teamwork, exerted quite a bit of physical activity, (until they were tired by the end,) gathered in small groups throughout the evening to hear a devotional from God’s Word, and overall just had fun. We are grateful.

Children’s and youth programs, i.e. personal attention to these age groups is an important part of the work that Mission Arlington® does, day in and day out.

We are grateful for the constant, generous, and faithful support of this community as we work to share God’s love each and every day.

Thank you so much!

Date Published: January 14, 2015
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