Years ago, God fashioned a friendship that has stayed strong and is now an important part of Mission Arlington®.
Denny met Tillie Burgin when they both worked for the Arlington Independent School District in the early 80’s. A mutual friend suggested that they all meet for breakfast weekly, and that’s what all three of them did for years. Eventually, the meeting moved to Tillie’s office at Mission Arlington®. The friend moved away, but to this day, Denny and Tillie still meet together once per week to pray.
Over time, Denny and his wife Candy joined the Mission Metroplex® board, and about 15 years ago, Denny became the board chairman. Around that time, Denny also left the AISD to work at Dallas Baptist University where he still serves as the provost and is now an honorary alumnus.
Denny wanted to be a part of Mission Arlington® because the gospel is the backbone of everything the ministry does. He says, “The thing that made me want to be involved then, and makes me still want to be involved today, is that this ministry stays focused on Jesus Christ, serving people, helping them, and trying to draw them to Christ. It’s not focused on buildings or getting recognition. It is just focused on the gospel.”
Denny and Candy do far more than attend meetings. They pray for Mission Arlington® daily and volunteer at every special event. You’ll see them directing traffic and guiding families through the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Fall Festival. They dispatch volunteers to deliver turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. They stock and wrap presents at the Christmas Store. We are thankful that God brought them to be an integral part of the work at Mission Arlington®.
In the early 90s, a man showed up at Mission Arlington® to help out. He had been living on the streets, and had not been in contact with his family for some time. He kept coming to help and eventually, he was asked to stay. While Mission Arlington® did not and does not have a “shelter,” when Jeff came all those years ago, there was a spare room available, and that became his new house. Mission Arlington® became his new home.
Jeff has had a variety of jobs in the more than 20 years he has been part of Mission Arlington®. He has driven trucks, picked up and delivered donations, locked up the property at night, cut the grass, and had countless other responsibilities.
Several years ago, someone donated a large rectangular container to Mission Arlington®. It had an opened top and a cross on the side. No one was exactly sure what it was made for, but, at the time, there was quite a bit of paint that needed a home. So the container was used to store gallons of paint until a visitor noticed the box and pointed out that it was made to be a portable baptistry.
The staff moved the paint to a cabinet and put the baptistry on a trailer. Now whenever one of the apartment churches has a person to baptize, Jeff is the one who fills the baptistry and drives it to the church. Of all the jobs he’s had, Jeff says, “I like helping people be baptized for the Lord the best.”
In addition to finding a place to stay and a new family when Jeff came to Mission Arlington®, he was also able to reconnect with the family that raised him. They attended the church across the street from the Mission office and were glad to find that Jeff was safe. Jeff was happy to find them again, too, but most of all, Jeff says, “I found God.”
The threat of rain couldn’t stop thousands of volunteers from waking up early on Thanksgiving day to deliver meals. For many, passing out turkeys at Mission Arlington® is a tradition they refuse to miss.
Keith from Compass Church in Colleyville invites his whole family to come volunteer before they head home to watch the Cowboy game and eat their half-time dinner. Any out-of-town family comes along with them, which means this year, people from as far away as California were serving families in Arlington. Keith’s family has been coming for four years, and Keith says they hope to come for 40 more. He says, “It’s good to do a little bit to help everyone else.”
Omar brought his group from Phi Beta Sigma just like he has every year for the past 5 years. He says even in a storm, they still would have come. “We’re committed. We are glad to help and give back to the community. We love to be a part.”
Rachel’s family from the Church on Rush Creek also came to help so their children could see how faith and service go hand-in-hand. She and her husband say, “We want our kids to experience being the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Thank you to all of you who were the hands and feet of Jesus this year. We praise God for bringing together the donations and volunteers to serve the people of the Metroplex.
“J” spent years moving across the country and lived several places within Arlington until God finally planted him firmly in the Mission Arlington® family. With each move he seemed to end up in an apartment community that had a Mission Arlington® Bible Study. He was a faithful attendee at each location and did his part to invite people to join the group.
Eventually, “J” moved to a location just a few blocks from Mission Arlington’s® main office This allowed him to start visiting Mission Arlington® each day. His previous jobs have been working in warehouses and trucks, so today, he works in the furniture warehouse. “J” coordinates the trucks of furniture that come and go and makes sure people get what they need.
“J” also now teaches in the area where he lives. He diligently studies the Bible each week to get new insights and teach the people what God wants them to know. “J” says throughout his spiritual journey, he has learned to be more patient.
We are grateful that God does change us and allows us to be part of his work. And we are grateful that God allowed “J” to be a part of the team at Mission Arlington®.
If you would like to volunteer in anyway, please contact us at 817-277-6620. We would be happy to talk with you to find where your talents and the people’s needs intersect.
Several times over the years, Michelle has come to visit Mission Arlington® for a week at a time with her church. Her group did Rainbow Express® and work projects, and in doing so, made a real difference in the lives of people in Arlington. Michelle, however, desired to make a bigger investment. This fall, she committed to move to Arlington for a semester. It was an important leap of faith.
Everyday, Michelle works in the food pantry, helps sort donations under the car port, and teaches at an After School program each day. In the food pantry, she loves to chat one-on-one with the people. Under the carport, she is blessed when she sees all the donations coming in and the way God uses those donations. She enjoys teaching at the After School programs the most and loves to see the children learn and grow in Christ. One of the reasons she wanted to come back was to see how God changes people over months rather than a week. Because of her availability, she is involved at four different Bible Study sites.
At one site last week, while Michelle was teaching the Bible lesson, one 10-year-old girl raised her hand and asked, “This story is about a fake guy, right?” Michelle assured her that the stories they were telling were true. The girl asked amazed, “So, the stuff about the cross is all real?” What an opportunity to share the truth with a group of children.
Across Arlington, Mission Arlington workers find families who have not heard about Jesus. How wonderful that God would send someone like Michelle, who has a real desire for people to know, so that more people can hear the truth of what God did to save the world.
More Bible Study and After School workers are needed right now. People are asking for someone to come share Christ in their neighborhoods, but the workers are few. If God is calling you to volunteer, please come by or call to see how you can help today.
In 2005, after Roselia gave her life to the Lord, she began to pray that God would show her a church where she could learn and serve. Shortly after this, she moved into an apartment complex with a Mission Arlington® Bible Study and began attending. She started to learn and grow. One day, someone had left a few bags of trash in the apartment where the church met. The leaders asked for volunteers to take the trash out. Roselia says her first thought was, “That is not my trash.” But she heard the Lord say, “If you want to serve me, get that trash and take it out.” She realized that day that serving the Lord and serving others go hand in hand.
Ten years later, Roselia is leading a church near Mission Arlington®. The church is growing. They have about 100 members, but more importantly, Roselia says, the people are growing spiritually. They jump into the scriptures and invite others to the church. Many weeks, when Roselia is introducing visitors, she will see people that she’s never seen before, and another member will raise their hand and say, “We invited them. They are with us.”
Several church members have come to through Mission Arlington®’s front room. One woman came to Mission Arlington for help in the middle of a crisis. Roselia visited with her and the woman accepted Christ, but she never came to church. Roselia invited her to church each time they saw each other with no results. One time, the woman came back to Mission Arlington® for help, and it seemed like she was trying to avoid Roselia. Roselia sought her out too see what was wrong. After talking, the woman admitted that she wanted to come to church, but she felt awkward because she was raised in a different type of church. Roselia assured her that she was invited no matter what her background was. Now, the woman and her family have been attending the church for 4 years, her whole family has been baptized, and they are very active in the church community.
Roselia is learning to lean more on the Lord. He is the one who will bring the people, and not her. She doesn’t want to be the one who is leading the people. She wants the Holy Spirit to lead and be in charge of everything. She thinks this is one reason that people are enjoying church because the Holy Spirit is in charge.
She says she has learned, “We don’t have the ability or the power. Without the Lord, we are useless.”
3,000 attend the Fall Festival, setting a new record
Our Fall Festival, this past Saturday – on Halloween – was a big success, because of the way that so many of you prayed, helped, and gave to make the day meaningful for about 3,000 children (including their parents). This is a record attendance, made all the more remarkable, because no one was exactly sure, despite the best intentions and predictions of our local weather forecasters, if or when the rain would stop. After a hard rain on Friday night and into Saturday morning, and mist for much of the morning on Saturday, no one was sure what kind of crowds would get out in the weather to attend the festival. However, when the rain stopped right as the festival began, the crowds began to come, setting our record attendance. It was an incredible day.
The day started early with Bible study leaders picking up vans and buses, headed out to knock on doors in multiple locations across the community. Many other drivers, volunteers from the community, also started early, helping to drive many of these vehicles, so that the Bible study leaders could focus on their children.
The children loaded up on these vans, and unloaded in central Arlington where another set of volunteers had been setting up all morning, waiting on the kids to come. In addition to these Mission Arlington® children, this event was open to the public as well. Families from across the community made their way to the festival to enjoy the event. Every part of it was free.
You can see from the pictures included here how much fun the children and their families had. Free food, giant obstacle courses, a hay ride, giant bouncy houses, a huge gym full of carnival games (with prizes), and a bag of candy on the way out – formed the fun for the day. In and through all of it, children were provided with a safe place to have great fun, and families had a place where they could bless their children without any charge to them.Our heart and our hope in this was that our community would see the Lord through all the fun and the love that shaped the carnival into what it was.
We want you to know how grateful we are for your investment in us, and in our ministry. We know that we could not have had a successful festival like this without so many people praying for the event and for us. So many people gave of their time – to drive busses, to manage the carnivals, serve the food, and to make a difference with the kids. By coming together like this, we were able to make a difference in the life of children and their families. As thankful as we are, we hope that each of you were truly blessed as you served.
We are grateful to God for the privilege we have of serving Him in this community each and every day.
To God be the glory!
Mission Arlington® hosts a Fall Festival every year on the Saturday prior to Halloween, except for this year, when Halloween falls on a Saturday. We will host our festival this year on Saturday, October 31st – from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The festival is free, and designed as an alternative to Halloween, a safe, family-friendly place for children from our Bible studies. The festival is also open to the public.
Children attending the festival will enjoy a fresh-cooked meal, served around picnic tables in a beautiful shaded area outdoors. Many of the children come dressed up in all kinds of costumes. Obstacle courses and tractor-driven hay rides seem to be one of the favorite attractions. It has the feel of being out on an open range, as the tractor and hay-filled trailer circles around what once was a family-owned farm in the center of our city. As much as the children appreciate this ride, the youth and adults seem to enjoy it as much or more. Smiles, laughter, and hugs around the hay make this an exhilarating and special event.
Large, specially-designed “bouncy houses” form the foundation of the next station. It is invigorating to see how much fun young people can have on these bouncing bundles of energy, throwing kids up into the air, and sliding them down chutes to the ground. Multiple “bouncy houses” make up this section, filled with the smiles and laughter of children having great fun. It’s good exercise too.
The next station is a giant carnival, pictured above. The carnival has multiple booths with various games, such as “go fish,” bowling, cake walks, and so much more. When the children finish with each booth, they are given tickets which they can trade in for prizes. These prizes are donated to the mission, so that we have creative and substantive items to hand out to the kids. All of it is free, of course, and designed to bless the children and their families. Because of the generosity of this community, we always have plenty to give away. The atmosphere of the carnival is perhaps as much fun as the carnival itself. People mill around, talk with each other, enjoy their children, and have time to enjoy the company of other adults. It is a great time.
The final station, placed at the exit, is almost like a candy store. For weeks prior to the event, a generous community of people collected individually wrapped bags of candy and brought it to Mission Arlington®. Leading up to the festival, various individuals and groups have been putting the candy into bags, getting ready for the big day.
The Fall Festival is one of our favorite events each year – children, families, laughter, and good clean fun. We love loving the children, and being part of such a safe and fun community event. Thank you for all you do to support our work here, making these events possible. We are a grateful people. #blessed.
You can still donate candy at our downtown location up through October 31st. If you (or your group) are interested in volunteering, please call 817-704-6143, and we’ll get you set up.
Many years ago a growing apartment church in central Arlington was losing its pastor. He was moving out of town. Tillie asked her husband Bob if he could substitute for a little while until someone else could come lead the church.
Twenty years later, Bob Burgin is still the pastor. He says, “I have seen growth over the years, and the fellowship just gets sweeter and sweeter.”
Bob has lived a life full of service. He has not only served as pastor at South Street/Parkview Church all these years. He also taught, led, and has been honored at Dallas Baptist University. He was a successful principal at both Arlington High School and Nichols Junior High in Arlington, and earlier taught math in public school.
Before that he shared Christ in Korea and served in the military. It was this military service in Korea which led the Burgins to serve as missionaries for more than a decade, and ultimately to the start of Mission Arlington®. Anytime Bob is at Mission Arlington®, he is bringing dinner for the staff, setting up chairs or cleaning up after the weekly workers’ meeting. Service all around.
As far as the congregation at Parkview, they have only good things to say about Pastor Bob. One says, “He is a good pastor and a gentleman.” Another comments on how well he teaches. It obvious by the way the Sunday School teachers love the people under his direction, Bob is leading by example.
It’s a blessing from God that Bob is part of the Mission family. His life is a story of God’s love and service for others.
Tillie and Bob will have been married for 59 years this month. Together, they have lived a life of faithfulness to the Lord, and it has made a difference.
Ceaser came in June 2015 to serve as a summer missionary through the organization Go Now Missions to share the love and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He stayed all summer, worked long days, and, a week later, wrote this about his time here:
“It’s been a week since I came home from Mission Arlington®… This place was unbelievable, and I had never seen anything like it in all my life. Mission Arlington® broke me down physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually. It was a humbling experience and a huge blessing for my relationship with Christ.
The people I met over the summer impacted me in many different ways, and I really appreciate all the love they’ve shown me. At Mission Arlington® I had the privilege of serving God in ways that I wasn’t really expecting. I got to do things like organizing and cleaning rooms, consolidating boxes full of things, and making sure things were always where they needed to be. Although, sometimes, I was pulled aside to do projects, like move around 50 lb. bags of rice and beans, or run wire through a blazing hot attic, I spent most of my time working hard at the furniture warehouse. I worked with people like J, Barbara, Noeleen, and Tommy, who have all worked there for years and taught me so much in the little time I was there. Working in the warehouse consisted of moving around donated furniture and giving it to families who needed it. We would constantly load and unload trucks. Mission Arlington® does so much for the people that I can’t really all post here because it’s too much stuff to type. I would just suggest you go and volunteer yourself so you could experience it all.
Each day I would work at the warehouse, then I would leave for about 2 hours and go to two different apartment complexes. I would go on Tuesdays and Thursdays to one apartment complex with Ms. Marla and Mekayla in Fort Worth and do summer program with the kids. Summer Program is a Bible lesson and a snack. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays I would go to an apartment complex in Arlington with and do summer program with there.
Every week we would teach the children something different, and, even though they tested our patience a lot of the time, we loved the kids. In July we took the kids to Camp Thurman where they could swim, play, and zipline. Camp was great because it was a time where we could reach out to the kids, be their friends, and let them know that we weren’t just their teachers. So many young lives were impacted when we shared the gospel and the love of Christ this summer through things like camp, summer programs, Rainbow Express, and carnivals.
I witnessed a few salvations and heard of many more. I was constantly hearing of how God was moving throughout the city of Arlington and the Metroplex because of everything the Mission did. I’m glad I was able to be a part of it, and I really hope I’ll be able to go back one day if God allows.
Mission Arlington® is such a great place. I felt like every week I found out something new about what they do for the community, because they really do so much, and it’s beautiful. They provide people with food, clothes, furniture, at no cost, and it’s all because of the message of the cross and what Christ did for us. It was incredible to see that they truly live out the verse Matthew 10:8 “Freely you have received: Freely give” which also coincidentally happened to be the verse on our Go Now shirts. Along with freely giving out what they have received as donations, they also freely give the gospel to the people, which is much more valuable.
I just wanted to share a part of what I did this summer in Arlington, and if you want to know more just let me know.”
Around 37 young men and women gave up their summers to be the hands and feet of Jesus this year. Many have similar stories of lives changed. Thanks to God for sending them and for the way he works in this Metroplex.