Our Christmas Store opened to the public today. Hundreds of families came through the store, receiving love, encouragement, and lots of gifts for their family.
A Generous and Kind Community
We have been preparing all-year-long for this day. You have given throughout the year to make today possible, and you have done it in extraordinary ways. For example, young children across our community have given their toys, so that other children could be blessed. Parents have purchased one gift for their children, then doubled down on another gift to bless someone else’s child. Companies have parties and various gatherings, but instead of Christmas gifts for each other, they choose to supply gifts for children in need. Churches, civic groups, and corporations gather toys, so that children will be blessed. It’s a story that has as many renditions as there are people, each one beautiful in its own right and worth re-telling.
The Difference You Make
We wish that each of you could see the smiles on the faces of parents as they exit the store, arms filled with wrapped gifts for their children. The smiles, the Christmas greetings, and the expressions of gratitude sounded throughout the halls of the store today, and it was extraordinary to experience. We know that the acclamation expressed to us, was intended for you. We hope you know it too. All of us working together can make a difference in the lives of ordinary, but very real people at the very point of their need. We are grateful to be one part of such a generous community.
You may be surprised to know that we have adults who come by from time to time who remember the days when they were children – in families experiencing a momentary hardship where everyone knew Christmas would be scarce. Then the gifts showed up around their tree, because someone they didn’t know gave to make a difference. Years later, those stories still bring tears to the eyes of those children – now grown men and women. The beautiful thing too is how often it creates in them a desire to give back, or to pay it forward.
The Road Ahead
The Christmas Store will open again on Monday, December 10th. It stays open every day through December 22nd, excluding Sundays, always from 10 to 6. Christmas gifts and toys are always needed, and volunteers too. If you and your family want to come, please come on in whenever you are available. You don’t need an appointment. If you are bringing a group, we welcome you too, anytime you are able to serve. Give us a call, or drop us a note, and we’ll get your team on our schedule.
Please keep us in your prayers through the days ahead. We are grateful for your support!
Thanksgiving brings us together. All across our nation, families come home, gather around the table. Our differences become smaller than what unites us, and we often recognize, even when times are tough, how blessed we are.
Thanksgiving at Mission Arlington® is as much a spirit as it is an event. We see in one place, and in one morning, what we experience all year long – from a community which gives more than it receives simply to bless someone else in need.
Perhaps some of us have been there when times were tough, and the price of a turkey was too much for the family to afford. Many know what it is like to wish someone had cared for them in their moment of need. We hear it every Thanksgiving from some one – “I used to be the one receiving this meal. Now, I am here to give back.” They want to make sure that others never have to be hungry and alone on Thanksgiving morning, so they drive from all across the DFW Metroplex, give their time, spend their own money to purchase the food.
Others have been blessed all along, and haven’t necessarily known a need like this, but they bring their children to serve, because on this special holiday, the parents want their children to know how blessed they really are. Perhaps the children don’t have every toy and technological tool that they want, or the newest clothes, but they have more than they need. As they deliver the Thanksgiving meals with their families, the children experience the rich blessing of service to others and love for all without a need to know the details. “Thanks for letting us bring our children” is a refrain heard often, among the crowd.
For many, this day at Mission Arlington® has become a family tradition. They meet other family, or they come with a team, and they have been serving in the Thanksgiving line for 10 or 15 years in a row. They will often say to us “Do you remember when?” and mention some detail of a Thanksgiving day gone by. Years ago, a few volunteers got up at 3:00 a.m. to make coffee for the Thanksgiving Day volunteers. The year before had been cold and wet, and they wanted people to have a hot cup of coffee to drink. It took most of the night to make 5,000 cups of coffee. That particular Thanksgiving morning was very warm, and people had already stopped to purchase their coffee on the way in. We did give away a lot of coffee on that day, but we also had quite a bit left. We still smile about those days.
The laughter and love which spills over all across the city is extraordinary to experience. If you would like to be part of it, please join us. We start at 8:00 a.m. It may be one of the best Thanksgiving day experiences of your life. All glory to God.
See here for more details.
We hope you enjoy this 3:20 second video of the Fall Festival from another year.
Fall means Fall Festivals at Mission Arlington®, and we are so excited. No one can say exactly when our Fall Festival began, because it didn’t begin as one big event like it is today, but as several smaller events across our community led by individual Mission Arlington® Bible studies and Congregations.
Until several years ago, the scattered and smaller events made more sense. As the number of individual events grew, along with the attendance at those events, it seemed best to create one large Festival located centrally in Arlington. And that is just what we did. Take a few minutes to view the video above, and you’ll get a sense of how much fun this event is for every one.
Now, we have almost 3 thousand children (with their families) attend each year. Though it isn’t required, many of the children dress in creative and colorful (not scary) costumes. Parents get to spend an afternoon with their children in the outdoors, away from the TV and other forms of technological entertainment. This is one of the most FUN events of the year.
Here are the details for this year’s festival:
When: Saturday, October 27th, from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.;
Where: 1514 Cherry Lane, near the intersection of Fielder & Pioneer Drive (303);
What: Food, Carnival Games, Bouncy Houses, Fire Trucks, and a giant Hay Ride; The children play carnival games (bowling, fishing, miniature golf, bean-bag toss, face painting, and so much more), and win fun prizes. There are two sets of bouncy houses outside which require some climbing and sliding ability. They hay ride may be the most popular attraction at the Festival each year. Children load into a wagon filled with seats made of hay bales, and they are carried twice around a huge field in a trailer pulled along by giant tractors. At the end of the day, as long as their isn’t an active fire anywhere else, the children get to meet firefighters and tour their truck.
How Much? Everything we do is FREE.
How You Can Help
- Individually Wrapped Bags of Candy are needed. Please bring the candy to the Mission offices anytime up to the start of the Festival on the 27th.
- Volunteers are needed to help with carnival booths, serve food, staff the bouncy houses, and to set up or clean up. If you (and/or your team) want to volunteer, give us a call at 817-277-6620, and we’ll get you set up.
Last year, nearly 3,000 children (with their families) enjoyed this event, most of them dressed in creative and colorful costumes. Come join us, won’t you?
North Texas Giving Day
The North Texas Giving Day happens again on Thursday, September 20th. This is a special day for participating Non-Profits in the DFW region, and it is powered by the good people at the Communities Foundation of Texas. Mission Arlington® / Mission Metroplex® has been pleased to participate in this experience for the last several years.
How Does it Work?
The 2018 “Day of Giving” happens over an 18 hour window, between 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 20th. When you contribute to us through the North Texas Giving Day LINK, the Communities Foundation of Texas will add to your gift, multiplying its impact. This means that your gift goes farther than it would with a direct contribution here.
If you are going to be “out of pocket” for some reason on September 20th, you can schedule your donation in advance through the same LINK.
Your Gift Will Go Farther & Make A Difference
- Our administrative overhead continues to be at 2.3 percent. This means that almost 98 cents of every dollar ministers directly to people in need.
- Between 500 – 600 people a day come through our front doors for help six days each week. We provide emergency services for families in crisis, including food, clothes, furniture, and emergency financial assistance. Our medical and dental clinics treat hundreds of people each month, and we do a great deal of work with children & youth all year long.
- You can discover more about our services , our “hours of operation,” and/or our contact information at the corresponding links.
Grateful for You
Your gifts on this day through the past few years have been an encouragement to us, and also have made a significant difference in the lives of the people we serve every day. We are grateful for you.
9,000 students have received supplies so far.
You provide what students need.
We are so amazed by your constant generosity. So many individuals and teams collected school supplies, bringing in exactly what we needed day by day. Others sent funds to purchase supplies. Still others found creative ways to give. It has been so much fun to see the joy on your face as you drop by, school supplies in hand.
We are always so encouraged and blessed by your generosity, and we wish that every one of you could see the smiles on the children as they receive the supplies. By the time school began this Fall, we had provided more supplies to more than 9,000 students, and that number continues to grow.
We flex to meet those needs.
For various reasons families aren’t able to sign up for their supplies by the time that school begins. Many families have parents who are determined to purchase the supplies for their children instead of receiving them from us.
Other families have just lost their job or experienced a hospitalization of some kind which puts them behind in providing the resources they need for their children’s education. When something does fall through (as it could for any of us,) the Mission family is so glad we can be here to help, and do do it with the kind of encouragement and support that any of us would want for ourselves or for people we care about. We will update you as the final numbers come in.
We get to do it together!
We love the privilege of doing what we do here every day, and we especially love walking this journey with you! Thank you so much!
Our hearts are filled with gratitude today, as the Mission Arlington® family celebrates its 32nd birthday and begins its 33rd year. Birthed in prayer, and launched through the heart and vision of a faithful church, the ministry is still going strong into its fourth decade. Tillie Burgin, our Executive Director, has been here since the beginning. On this special day, we want you to know how grateful we are for you, and we want to thank you for the donation of three wonderful gifts:
We have furniture, household items, school supplies, (and so much more), because you gave it first. No one in our community should ever have to be hungry, for example, because you keep our food pantries full. We have always known that we are a reflection of the generous and faithful community who surrounds us, because the resources for every service we provide comes directly from you. The great news which follows is that all of our services are free. Because you give it, we can give it away.
It is one thing to give your things, and quite another to give of yourself. We are so amazed at the way that hundreds of volunteers each week make their way downtown to lift the load. Some of you help us organize the provisions we receive, not always an easy task. Others use their time to care directly for people – in our health clinics, front room, sports arenas, Bible studies, and more. We recognize both the sacrifice it takes and the generous spirit behind your presence with us, and we are grateful. Beyond helping the people we serve together, you are an encouragement to us. That is no small gift.
We believe that this ministry belongs to the Lord. Our role is to follow His lead, and to share His love throughout our community in whatever way that we can. Your prayers on our behalf encourage us, and remind us to lean into Him for direction and strength. It is the one gift you can give from any time and place, and which will always be needed and appropriated in the work here. We truly value and appreciate the way you cover us in prayer every day. Thank you.
We are asked this question from time to time. Our goal is to support the families in our community who are at a point of need, and to treat each person with dignity and respect. We want to share authentically the good news of God’s love as far and wide as we can, and to be consistent and humble as we share. We look forward with enthusiasm to walking this journey alongside you into the future. We are grateful for where we’ve been, and we are excited about the days and months ahead. Thank you so much for your support!
2018 Summer Camps are Happening Now!
July is always an exciting month for Mission Arlington®. Summer camps have returned, and they are so much fun. These free day camps give children and youth a chance to learn about the Lord in fun and exciting ways.
A Camp for All Ages
We know that children and youth are shaped in different ways throughout their childhood, and that is why our camps are specifically designed for different age groups. “Kiddie Camps,” which happen on Tuesday nights in July, are hosted for children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Children’s Camp, designed for students in 4th-6th grades, happens on the first two weekends of July, while Youth Camps for 7th-12th graders are held on the last two Saturdays of July.
Free and Fun
These camps are a lot of fun. From outdoor games, to eccentric songs, Mission Arlington® Summer Camps are filled with activities designed to teach God’s Word and foster the youth’s personal relationships with God in new and innovative ways. Our good friends from Camp Thurman provide our camps with fun ropes courses, swimming pools, and beautiful scenery.
It is important to note that our camps are free for all children and youth who participate. Transportation to and from the camp is provided for everyone who needs it. Hardworking parents will be comforted in knowing that their children are having fun learning about the Word of God, at no additional cost to their families.
We are grateful for your support.
We are so grateful for the volunteers and other members of the community who put in countless hours of work and give in various ways. We are especially grateful for all that you do. We humbly request that our friends and family do one more thing. We ask that you pray. Pray for our volunteers, teachers, the students, and everyone else involved.
Pray for the continued success of our Summer Camps so that the youth participating will not only cultivate their own relationships with God, but also be witnesses to others in their schools, homes and communities. We are thankful for you.
School Supplies Help Students Succeed
A new school year means new supplies, and another chance for all of us to provide for the children & youth in our community. Mission Arlington® has the privilege to be your partner again in collecting & distributing what you provide to an anticipated 10,000+ AISD students. We want you to know that your support always means so much to families in our community. In fact, as Tillie often points out, parents are “so thrilled” when they see Mission Arlington® volunteers knocking on their door with exactly what their children need to start school.
Not only do these provisions help students to succeed academically, but it encourages them personally in more ways than we could possibly understand. The tears of joy we see, and the hugs we receive, are intended for you. We are constantly amazed by the way you give to help people you don’t know, to bless the children & youth of our community. Thank you!
Ways You Can Provide Support
With your support, we provided school supplies in 2017 to more than 10,000 students, nearly a thousand students more than the year before. The need looks to be just as great in 2018, and we are starting with less. Your help to provide these supplies for students is so appreciated and makes a difference in the lives of real people. Here is some information we hope will make it easier for you when you give:
- School Supply List – We have worked with the wonderful staff at Aisd to come up with the list of supplies needed for every grade level. Volunteers will take the supplies you provide and organize them into the appropriate age groupings;
- Printable Supply List – Click this link if you want to print the list of school supplies to take with you or to distribute to various teams of people who are helping you collect the supplies;
- Drop Off Supplies – After you have purchased supplies, please drop them off at our main offices downtown. We will add what you provide to the supply provided by others to be organized and distributed by the end of the summer;
- Donate Online – Given the busyness and pace of modern life, it may be easier for you to donate online. Click on the link, then choose the “school supply” option under “categories and funds.” 100 percent of your donation will be used to purchase school supplies.
- Volunteering – We are receiving & organizing these supplies starting now through the end of August. Distribution of the supplies will begin prior to the start of school in mid to late August. Anytime you are available, just come on down, and we’ll get you to work. If you would like to bring your team, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll get you on the schedule. We love the passion we see in you as you give your time and energy to help our community’s students.
We are grateful for you!
We have been serving alongside this generous community for more than three decades. We’ll turn 32 this August 1st. One of our great joys has been to work alongside of you to care for people in a moment of need throughout our community. Thank you for the many ways you give, lend a hand, and pray, so that our Lord will be pleased and the people cared for. We absolutely love what we do, and we love doing it with you. Come see us when you can.
For more of the heart behind this, you might enjoy watching this 55 second interview with Tillie from 2016.
The dictionary definition of revival suggests “an improvement in the strength or condition of something.” Synonyms include words like “resurgence, rallying, upturn,” and more. Revivalism has a long and beautiful history in the church, generally viewed as an “increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or society, with a local, national or global effect.” The Mission Arlington® family of congregations also has a long history of encouraging spiritual renewal through revival services historically held in June, but now spread across the summer.
A Tent in the Center of Town
Through much of our history, these services were called “tent revivals,” because the bulk of those services were held outside and under a tent. A large, carnival-like red & white tent had been donated along the way, and that tent was moved around the city for multiple day services each June. Putting up the tent included sledge hammers and large metal stakes, plus a large set of stackpoles upon which the tent rested, including one huge one which held up the center. Taking down the tent, folding it in just the right way, and getting it back onto the truck in one piece was also a part of the fun. Everyone was allowed the privilege of tent duty. As the years passed, and as some staff teams grew a little older, this rite of passage was passed along to the younger generations. We knew revival season was underway each June when we began our collective Sunday afternoon worship with Sara Groves’ classic appropriately titled “Tent in the Center of Town.”
Growth and Change
For various reasons, most (but not all) of our revival services are held indoors these days. For many years, our revival services were centralized into sections of town – North, South, East, West, etc. As the number of Bible studies and congregations grew, however, and as each individual Bible study reached more people, we moved away from the more centralized geographic approach. Revival services are still held in various geographic locations across the city, so that multiple congregations can attend in one location. However, many of our congregations are hosting their own services now. These tend to be more localized, smaller, and inside, but they also make the service more accessible to those living
near the event itself. This year, from late May through mid-July, our congregations will sponsor and support 18 different sets of revival services. Generally each event lasts two to three days. We provide food and a place to gather people, then a special worship service and separate age appropriate experiences designed for the children.
Prayer for Renewal
With each revival service this year, as with every year, we are seeing positive responses. Some find Christ for the very first time, and begin a new faith journey with him. Others respond to the messages by renewing their commitment to Christ, a spiritual homecoming of sorts. For many believers who attend, it becomes a time of refreshment, encouragement, and renewal in their already strong walk with the Lord. We are a little more than half-way through a beautiful revival season.
Would you pray with us as these services continue? Should you want to join a service, check out our schedule, so that you can find one near you. Or, just give us a call at 817-277-6620, and we’ll get you connected. We are so honored to serve our community alongside each of you. Thank you so much for your prayers, your time, and your gifts. You encourage and bless us every day, all along the way. Thank you!
Hundreds of student groups are coming into town this summer to lead Rainbow Express.®
In fact, we started this week with First Baptist Church of Ninnekah, OK. Fifteen (15) students arrived Sunday afternoon and headed home last night.
Oklahoma baptists would be proud of these hard-working teenagers. Early each morning, they joined in a variety of jobs around the Mission (sorting clothes, moving food, lifting furniture into trucks), then spent each afternoon sharing God’s Word with songs, games, crafts, and puppets through Rainbow Express.® Even in the burgeoning heat of early summer in May, these students never complained. The JOY they had in the work, impacted all those they encountered.
Prayer undergirds this important work, and love provides the motivation. Churches set aside resources, and parents pray while their students load into church vans and travel to another state to serve the Lord. Youth ministers receive the large body of material weeks ahead of time, and students devote a few hours each week in preparation for the trip, learning four days worth of Bible stories, activities, songs, crafts, and games. When the students arrive, we know already that they could have stayed home, instead of spending their free time like this. They chose to leave the comforts of home for a week to live in spartan accommodations with their youth group, to work long days under the hot Texas sun, so that they could express God’s love in practical ways. Many here were inspired by their loving sacrifice.
Eternity hangs in the balance. Last year, more than 27,000 children attended a Rainbow Express® event in 404 locations, and 977 of them accepted Christ. These events are a lot of fun. We know, because the children & youth of our community shoot out of their homes as soon as the Rainbow Express® team arrives. Even after an hour and a half of activity, many don’t want to stay instead of going home. Rainbow Express is designed for children & youth, and it is truly fun. However, it is also more than that.
The intersection of families from our community, and student groups from across the US, and the teaching of God’s Word fills hearts with HOPE. We are grateful for the privilege we have of sharing God’s love, and spreading His word throughout our community this summer. Come join us, won’t you? Please keep us in your prayers. We are excited about the months ahead.