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.
Merry Christmas from the Mission Arlington® Family
Christmas mornings mean so much to families. Traditions vary around the world, and in every home. Gathering with family, the giving of gifts, and for children, a special sense of love, laughter, and fun. In seasons of life where a job has been lost, or a health crisis knocks us off our feet, or when the unexpected (or unthinkable) happens, Christmas struggles become real.
Notes, phone calls, and personal inquiries about Christmas come in every day, and the situations are both genuine and heart-wrenching. Adults aren’t concerned about themselves, but for their children, and the tears are evident and real. While we know we cannot meet every need, we are grateful for the privilege we have every day of saying “Yes, we can help!”
We can do that because you make it possible. To date, you have provided gifts to 11,795 children through our Christmas Store. What we see – as parents listen to the Christmas Story, as they pick gifts for their children (all at no charge), as their gifts are wrapped, and as they carry their gifts to the car – is true JOY. The smiles and the laughter do tell the tale, and we are so blessed.
Thank you for all you do to make this possible. All glory to God.
As the weather turns colder in North Texas, and now with the Thanksgiving season behind us, the Mission Arlington® family turns its heart toward the Christmas season. This coming Saturday, December 10th, our free Christmas Store will open again to the public, and it will stay open every day (excluding Sundays) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through December 23rd.
Volunteers have been working all year long to get the store ready to go for this Saturday. Our community has been giving toys and bikes since December 26th of last year, and currently gifts are coming in every single day. What joy there will be for children under the Christmas tree this year.
Today, something extraordinarily beautiful happened. A local company donated 150 artificial trees out back. At the same time, more than 100 Christmas live Christmas trees arrived out front. What was so wonderful is that, within moments, most of those trees were on their way to people’s homes. God had supplied the need at just the right time. Groups have been coming through all day long. We finished late Monday evening with a local girl scout troop who had collected and dropped off a huge load of Christmas gifts.
One amazing part of the store involves the re-telling of the Christmas Story from Luke 2. Last year, in response to that story, 368 adults began a journey with Christ, and another 743 people requested for someone to follow up with them about what they had heard.
Please pray with us about opening day – not just that we will have enough toys and bikes for the children, and that no child will have to wake up on Christmas morning without toys under the tree, but that all would know of our Lord’s great love.
One lady came into the Mission this afternoon, in tears, because of difficult, very tough, circumstances in her own life. As we responded – not just with financial support, food, clothes, and more, but with personal care, the exclaimed “Thank you, Jesus!” on her way out. We agree.
Last year, more than 30 thousand (30,514) children received gifts, including 4,000 brand new bikes. Altogether, more than 7 thousand (7,351) families received gifts.
What was the end result? More than 6,000 volunteers delivered Thanksgiving food to 6,083 families representing 25,869 people.
One year ago, the Mission Arlington® team began getting ready for Thanksgiving day. As food donations came in throughout the year, we identified and separated out Thanksgiving food and set it aside.
As summer turned into Fall, Thanksgiving donations from the community began to trickle in – turkeys and Thanksgiving food. We never cease to be amazed at the generosity and the support of this community. When our Fall Festival finished at the end of October, our thoughts and efforts turned in earnest toward Thanksgiving Day. Individuals, families, and teams of all kinds collected food, then brought it to us. Those same teams, along with many others helped us to sort the food and build more than 5,000 boxes for delivery.
On Thanksgiving morning the day was cool and clear. Early in the day, our team arrived early to move the trucks into place for the day. By 5:00 a.m., the rest of the staff arrived to finish the preparations. By 7:30, when volunteers began arriving, we were ready.
More than 6,000 volunteers drove into downtown Arlington on a crisp, beautiful Thanksgiving morning. The energy and enthusiasm of the people – young and old, newcomers, and some who had been doing this for years – was palpable. Laughter was in the air. Tillie spoke to the group, then led those close enough to hear in a prayer of Thanksgiving for the day.
What was the end result? More than 6,000 volunteers delivered Thanksgiving food to 6,083 families representing 25,869 people.
As many of you left for the day, you called out “Thanks for the blessing,” hardly recognizing your own role in the efforts to bless others. Again and again, you affirmed the truth that we are more blessed when we give than when we receive.
As we closed the doors on the day and headed out to our own Thanksgiving meals, the image was strong – of families all across our community sitting around their kitchen tables, enjoying Thanksgiving with their own family, and giving thanks to God. All the glory belongs to Him.
We are thankful for the privilege of serving this community alongside each of you. We hope your own Thanksgiving was truly blessed.
We are grateful for our partnership with the City of Arlington and the video they produce each year for this Thanksgiving Season.
Thanksgiving Day isn’t that far away, and the Mission Arlington® family is getting ready. The community continues to drive through every hour of every day- routinely dropping off turkeys and Thanksgiving food. We are so grateful. The turkeys are being placed into freezers for a few more days, and the Thanksgiving food is being separated and placed on shelves. From these shelves of food, we are in the continual process of building Thanksgiving boxes. These boxes have everything in them that a family would want to eat with their turkey on Thanksgiving morning. These boxes are being stacked in various locations across our campus downtown, so that we can easily place them in your vehicles on Thanksgiving morning.
Bible study leaders and other volunteers have been out across the community knocking on
doors, responding to calls, and making sure that we do everything possible to connect with people who need a Thanksgiving meal. We don’t want to miss one person. Organizations with kitchens are helping us precook Thanksgiving food, prepared in advance, for individuals and families who don’t have a stove or the ability to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving morning.
Volunteers of all kinds from across our community are making their way here to lend a hand. They come early, and they come late, but they come faithfully – whether it is individuals, families, or teams of people from civic organizations, businesses, churches, or schools. Some are very young, and they come with their families. Others are past retirement age, but want to give back. Our community is so tenderly focused on helping others that the excitement and energy around Mission Arlington® is not only palpable, but it feels great! This past Saturday, 867 people (children, teens, college students, and adults) came with their team to get us ready for Thanksgiving morning. Many individuals and families were here too in addition to the teams. We were able to get so much done, and the wonderful support is continuing each day as Thanksgiving gets closer.
Individuals, volunteers, and teams are calling every day, letting us know that they will be here on Thanksgiving Day to help. Again, we are grateful. Last year, it took 6,000 volunteers to help us feed 6,000 families (25,000+) people. From the volume of requests, it looks like the Lord will help us provide food to as many families and more on this coming Thanksgiving Day. We are hopeful that we will have your strong support on Thanksgiving morning.
These are amazing days of preparation at Mission Arlington®. We are so very grateful for you.
Mission Arlington’s Fall Festival was once again a tremendous success. More than 3,000 children (including their families) were transported by Mission Arlington® Fall Festival volunteers, or walked there from the surrounding neighborhoods to a great day of fun.
Anywhere you walked throughout the day, you could hear children laughing. You could see parents smiling. You could see volunteers, like the firefighters who bring their truck every year, enjoying the children – who in turn – were enjoying the firetruck and the firefighters.
Tall, short, big, and little bouncy houses were everywhere. Kids were climbing, sliding, and bouncing. The hotdogs, chips, and cold water “hit the spot,” and the carnival games (including prizes) were the epitome of indoor fun. Children got their faces painted, caught fish on a string, rolled bowling balls, and threw bean bags through cut out holes brightly painted boards. It was so much fun for everyone.
Bible study leaders brought their children in vans and big buses. The Dan Dipert Travel donated the buses, and came from all over the city just to enjoy driving the children from home to the Festival and back.
Thanks to each parent who brought their children, and to every volunteer who gave their time. Thanks to each of you who give to Mission Arlington® so that funds existed to rent the bouncy houses. Thank you to Grace Street Fellowship for co-hosting the event, and for every church that brought their youth to serve and every group who brought their teams to help.
One child was overheard telling his parent that “this was the best thing we’ve ever done!” We think so too!
A Healthy, Wholesome Experience for Children
Last year, 3,000 children attended the festival. Moms & dads bring them, and though it isn’t required, many of them are dressed in bright and creative costumes. It is so much fun to see.
The event is both indoors and out, and the kids do a lot of walking, so the event has a physical fitness component built right in. The food is good, the prizes unending, and the bouncy houses and hay rides are lots of fun. Think about it. With a few thousand children, enjoying time with their parents, all for free – the smiles you will see are everywhere. It is so much fun.
Preparation is Underway
The fences are going up, and the grounds are being cleared of twigs and leaves. Vans and buses have been donated and drivers enlisted, “giant bouncy houses” ordered, and and over 3,000 bags of candy have been sacked – with more on the way. Invitations are out, far and wide, and initial indications are that the Fall Festival happening this Saturday (October 29th) from noon to 4 will be well attended. It is a wonderfully fun “alternative to Halloween” event, and it is free.
A Free Event
Sometimes it is difficult to believe, because we all know the old adage “Nothing is free!” Yet this event is – from the bouncy houses to the hay rides, to the carnival giveaways to the candy, there is “no charge” for anyone who wants to attend. Every service Mission Arlington® provides is “free of charge,” and this event isn’t any different.
What are the details?
The Fall Festival happens this Saturday morning, October 29th, from noon to 4 p.m. behind Grace Street Fellowship, located at 1516 W. Pioneer Pkwy. The event is open to the public and free. If you or your team would like to volunteer at this event, call us at 817-277-6620, or drop us a note here. Mission Arlington® continues to accept individually wrapped bags of candy through October 31st.
Please keep this event in your prayers this weekend.
We are grateful for your support.
The Fall Festival is free, and it is great fun for families!
Mission Arlington’s annual Fall Festival is around the corner. This is a free event designed as a family-friendly alternative to Halloween-oriented activities. We are working on the set-up now, but it all comes together on Saturday, October 29th, from Noon to 4:00 p.m.
The event is free, and open to the community. Children come with their families. Mission Arlington® Bible study leaders will pick up and transport their children to and from the event (permission slips required). Many children wear costumes and many don’t. Either way is great with us, and whether in fun costumes or normal clothing, CHILDREN ALWAYS HAVE FUN! No scary costumes, please.
Children who attend this event will enjoy bouncy houses, a hay ride, a huge carnival filled with prizes, and a hot lunch cooked and served by Mission Arlington® volunteers.
We need volunteers!
- Individuals, families, and/or teams are needed as volunteers for this event;
- Times to help: You can help between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The actual festival happens from noon to 4 p.m., but we also need help for set-up and clean up.
- Volunteer areas: Volunteers assist in many different areas throughout the day – from carnival booths, to serving food, to hay rides, and so much more.
- Please call Jim at 817-704-6143 if you or your team would like to volunteer.
We need candy, please!
Every child who attends will receive a free bag of candy. We are currently collecting individually wrapped bags of candy for this event. Please drop the candy by the Mission Offices anytime up through Saturday, October 29th, and we will take it to the festival for the kids.
This carnival is truly a lot of fun. Last year nearly 3,000 children with their families join in. We are looking forward to another great carnival this year. Please keep this event in your prayers.
For more information about the festival, click here!
Baseball is a gift to children and youth in our community who might otherwise not have an opportunity to play.
In addition to exercise, and the development of athletic skills, being on a sports team promotes teamwork, good sportsmanship, and helps the children to develop interpersonal skills which will benefit them for much longer than the event itself.
Beginning today, Saturday, October 1st, and lasting through the next four Saturdays, starting at 10:00 a.m., Mission Arlington’s Hunter’s Field will be active again.
Volunteer coaches will take the field with a children and youth from our Bible studies. They will learn the “ins and outs” of baseball, learn more about the Lord, and best of all, they will have a good time.
At each academy in the short time this field has been open, at least one or two of the children ask their Bible study leader if someone from the Texas Rangers will be coming to watch them. 🙂
Baseball is a lot of fun. We are grateful for each person and every group who helped to make it possible.