Tamara had never been to a church before she met Linda. As an adult, living on South Collins, she was not doing right, but the neighborhood Bible Study leader, Linda, always responded to her kindly, delivering food each Monday, inviting her to Bible Study. Tamara felt confused, wondering how Linda could be so kind knowing how Tamara was living.
After some time of receiving food from the church, Linda asked Tamara something that still influences her to this day. Tamara remembers, Linda said lovingly, “Why do you always come with your hand out? Why don’t you come and serve? Service is such a blessing.” Tamara was still not 100% committed to God, but she knew Linda was right. The next week, Tamara started helping at the food giveaway.
Linda continued to support Tamara. She helped her find a job at UPS and drove her to work each day until Tamara made a friend at work who could drive her. Linda talked about loving the Lord, and although Tamara says, “Those words fell on deaf ears with me,” she could see that Linda, and other Mission Arlington workers who delivered furniture and visited her, were loving and kind.
Later, when Tamara lost her apartment, a friend allowed her to stay with her for a few weeks, with the understanding that Tamara had to attend church and get a job as soon as possible. One morning, Tamara heard a voice tell her to get dressed and go to a specific office for a job. She did get dressed, went to two other places first, with no results. Finally, she went to the suggested office and was hired on the spot. That night she fell to her knees and said, “Now, I know there is a God.” That night, God changed Tamara’s life.
Remembering those words that Linda said, “Why don’t you come and serve?” Tamara lives a life of service. She knows she was saved because of loving people who gave and volunteered, and she wants others to have an opportunity to know Christ. She sings on the worship team, cleans the church after luncheons, and donates clothes. Another great blessing that she wants to share with others is free haircuts. When she was young, her family paid for her to go cosmetology school, so she “It’s my service back to God.” She keeps her bag of scissors and clippers with her at all times in case someone needs her.
Mostly, Tamara is deeply grateful, “I’m thankful for a loving church that Tillie has formed and brought together out of loving the Lord.”
In 1994, James was pastoring a church 20 minutes away from Mission Arlington®, but he meet Tillie Burgin at a conference far away in south Texas. Tillie was the speaker, and everything she said touched James’ heart so profoundly, he began to respond from the back row, “Amen!” Afterwards, they realized they were practically neighbors. A ministerial connection, and a friendship, was born.
James wanted others to avoid the mistakes he had made when he began preaching and caring for people in the Woodhaven area of Fort Worth. His church gave away food and clothes to the surrounding neighborhood, so he felt at home at Mission Arlington® where he found people with the same heart.
The years have taken James across Fort Worth, into different ministerial roles, through medical issues, and past an amputated foot. For a year he literally had to be off his feet, but during his time of illness, the Lord showed him that he needed to get back to the people, back to serving on the ground. He says, “I do not want to punch my clock out of here and not be significant, not make a difference. Not by numbers but by impact.”
About a year ago, James found himself driving through Arlington, hurting, around 4:00 on a Sunday, which has been the time of the Mission Arlington® Worker’s meeting every week since 1986. He knew where to find his family. James slipped in the back of the meeting, crying, into open arms. After the meeting, Tillie told him to come visit during the week.
Since then, James has been as active as he can at Mission Arlington®. Despite continuing health concerns, he says he has to keep reaching out, ministering directly to the people. “I’m too old just to do church. I’m too old just to preach three points and a poem. I don’t want to leave without fulfilling God’s mission for my life.
“There are other places I could be, other things I could do. But I don’t think there’s any place I would be more significant, any place I would be more loved, any place I would be more appreciated, or any place that I care more about.”
Tan came to volunteer at Mission Arlington® earlier this year. Her sister, Bea, had been volunteering for years, and they started to pray together that Tan would find a job. In October, a position opened up for Downtown Litter Patrol. Now, you can see Tan three days per week, cleaning up the streets all around Downtown Arlington, representing Mission Arlington/Mission Metroplex®.
Her orange work vest has the Mission Arlington® logo, so she says she gets stopped all the time by people asking where the Mission is, whether it’s a volunteer, donor, or someone in need. The business owners offer her water on warm days. She is an excellent representative for God because she always has a smile and is always willing to help.
Tan also helps at an afterschool program in the afternoons, helping children with homework and sharing God’s love with them. During the two weeks before Christmas, Tan is also in the Christmas Store, helping people shop for free toys for their children.
Tan says, “I love it. I do. I am blessed to be involved.” And she is a blessing to others.
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.
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.