Easter week is a busy one for the Mission Arlington® family, but each activity and every event has such meaning for us, that we wish we could linger here longer before moving on. There is a sacredness about each moment, and important possibilities inherent in each event, which we want to savor. You can find these events listed in multiple places across our network, but here is a brief listing:
- EASTER STORE – Wednesday & Thursday, April 17th & 18th, from 10 to 6 both days. Spring clothes and Easter baskets, plus a few extras are provided for families in need. Every family who comes through hears the biblical story behind Easter and is given an opportunity to respond;
- MAUNDY THURSDAY YOUTH SERVICE – Thursday Night, April 18th, 6:30 p.m. This special service for youth is designed for the youth who attend our weekly Bible studies and congregations, but it is open to any who are led to come. Call us at 817-277-6620 for more information.
- GOOD FRIDAY SERVICES – Several of our Bible studies and congregations are hosting services which call us to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. Please call for more information if you are interested in attending.
- “WORLD’S LARGEST’ EASTER EGG HUNT – From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20th, in central Arlington at 1514 Cherry Drive, near the Southeast corner of 303 and Fielder Rd, across from the Kroger. Bouncy houses, free food, and a huge Easter egg hunt, plus the opportunity for everyone to hear the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, this event is free and open to the public.
- EASTER SUNDAY MORNING SERVICES – The Mission Arlington® family consists in part of 354 Bible studies and congregations across our community. Each of them will be having special Easter celebration services this Sunday morning. Please call us at 817-277-6620 for times and locations if you are interested in attending.
We are now twenty years past 9-1-1 in our country. Many of remember in vivid and emotional detail the horrors of that day, but there are many young people who are coming of age now who only know the story as it has been related to them by others. We know it is important to remember certain moments in time.
This Easter week is Holy for so many, because it is one way we remember the sacrifices made on our behalf. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” The heavenly Father sent His only son to pay our debt through his death on a cross. On Easter Sunday, Christ rolled away the stone which sealed his tomb, defeating death once and for all for any who will open their hearts to a personal relationship with Him. Click HERE to learn more, or give us a call.
We hope you will join us in some of these events where you can, and may each of you have a blessed Easter.
When you give to any organization, you know that a certain percent of what you give supports the administrative group who “get the ministry done.” Staff needs to be paid, utilities need to stay on, and the ministry team needs a place from which to operate. This is healthy and good.
Over time, however, in some organizations, administrative costs rise to the point that a significant percentage of the gift supports a ministry’s overhead, but doesn’t reach the intended target – a person in need. At Mission Arlington®, we hold closely two things every day: 1) You give sacrificially, and 2) You give for a purpose – to help people in need.
Watching the Pennies “Like a Hawk”
Because of this, the team at Mission Arlington® watches administrative expenses carefully – some would say “like a hawk,” so that more and more of your resources get to the people who need it. We use volunteers wherever possible instead of paid staff, and donated equipment instead of purchased supplies. Our team watches every penny closely, so that less is spent on staff administration needs and more for the people coming through our front doors.
We also collaborate with multiple charity watchdogs, an independent accounting firm (with an annual audit) and a board of Directors who prayerfully watches over our work. (You can click here for more details.) Because transparency and accountability are important, we also publish the results of our work annually and routinely.
Low Costs, but High Support
We have just received the annual report from our auditors, and we are pleased to report that our administrative costs for 2018 were at 1.7 percent. This means that more than “98 cents of every dollar” you give directly ministers to people in need.
We are so grateful for the constant support of this community, among the most generous in the nation. You are making a difference in the lives of real people every day. We are both humbled and honored by your support. Thank you!
Children love Rainbow Express®. Moms and dads love Rainbow Express®, and so do we. Stop by any Rainbow Express® event (at 91 locations across our community through Spring Break), and you will see children running, laughing, and huge smiles all around.
Of course, the Rainbow Express® experience is fun – with outdoor running games (duck-duck goose, “mother may I,” and so much more), cute and classy crafts, silly songs (with plenty of movement for the young people to express themselves exuberantly), and lots of personal attention from the students in church youth groups who come here from all across the nation.
Rainbow Express® also contains a Bible story embedded at the core of each days activities. As these children enjoy the creativity, the crafts, and the fun, they are also hearing and seeing tangible expressions of God’s love – through God’s Word, and from the people around them demonstrating that love in multiple ways. Hearing of God’s love for the first time, or having it reaffirmed again is so fulfilling for our community’s children who take the message to heart.
In addition to the “built-in” fun of the Rainbow Express® there is the additional blessing for the children of just having something to do during the week of Spring Break. If it is true, as the old saying goes, that “idle minds are the devil’s workshop,” then the Rainbow Express® experience gives the children something productive and fun to be involved with, and may help keep them from the trouble which often stems from being bored. The exercise from the outdoor games, and the interaction with other children and adults is a blessing to everyone involved.
We love seeing the smiles on the faces of the 7,127 children who attended a Spring Break Rainbow Express® over the last 3 weeks. We loved seeing the smiles on the faces of parents as their children were blessed in multiple ways, and we love the way we felt as we shared God’s love with children across our community. Over the past 3 weeks, 178 young people have given their heart to Christ.
We are so thankful for your constant support.
Mission Arlington’s commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-STAR RATING from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the 13th consecutive time Mission Arlington® has earn this distinction.
Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology.
These Accountability & Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders. On June 1, 2016, this important charity watchdog upgraded its methodology for rating each charity’s’ financial health with enhancements that further substantiates the financial health of their designated four star charities.
Mission Arlington’s 4-star rating demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support the work here.
We want to express our gratitude to every person and team who pray, volunteer, and give to make a difference here. We are so grateful for the privilege we have of working with this community.
Spring Break begins this week, so you will see some extra “Spring in our Step” these days. There are several reasons for the excitement: 1) School is out next week, so the young people are certainly happy about that; 2) the weather is moving toward Spring-like temperatures, away from the winter cold; 3) and the “spring cleaning” happening throughout the community means more people drop by with gifts for people in need. It makes our day when you drop by, and we do smile more when – day by day – we see hard working families receive what they need to be OK.
Probably the biggest reason for the extra hustle and bustle around here, however, is the start of Rainbow Express® Hundreds of students in multiple groups are coming to lead Rainbow Express®, our version of a back-yard Bible club. We have been preparing, planning, and praying for months, and teams begin arriving today. These young people are giving up their Spring Break week to serve here, and we love serving alongside them and their leaders.
Last year, more than 25 thousand (25,961) children and youth attended Rainbow Express®, and we had the privilege of supporting these 4-day events in nearly 400 locations, and 748 young people accepted Christ. It’s no wonder we’re excited.
We kick off this season with a huge outdoor worship service in the center of downtown Arlington. It is a beautiful sight to see so many people worshiping the Lord, then moving out through the community to make a difference in his name.
It puts a spring in our step.
Students in our community have the opportunity to participate in Mission Arlington’s basketball leagues every Saturday in February and March, and it is so much fun. Bible study leaders pick up a van or bus at our downtown offices on Saturday morning, then gather students from their homes and bring them to play in our basketball leagues. More than 50 young people join in each week.
Historically, organizations have produced various reports and surveys about the connection between sports and the health of students. Of course, the physical exercise is good for the health of children and teens, but there are other benefits as well.
For example, students learn how to win and/or to lose in a safe environment. They learn what it means to play on a team – to pass the ball instead of taking the shot. Some believe, of course, that the discipline and dedication it takes to play sports also impacts other areas of life later on.
An additional benefit is that students learn and practice the basic skills of the game which give them a head start for sports participation in other arenas later in life. Each year, our volunteer head coach explains dribbling, passing, and other terms the students will need as they grow in their knowledge of the game.
The Mission Arlington® Difference
On a Mission Arlington® league, the students always have fun. Observers will see a lot of smiles and laughter throughout the practices. Also, each session begins and concludes with prayer, and biblical devotions are incorporated into each practice.
The heart of our work with children and youth isn’t the hope that these students will be leading the league in later years, but that each one knows how much God loves them, and they are important to the Lord, and to us.
Our Saturday competitions are exercises in fun and constant encouragement. You can see instruction taking place in the context of phrases like “Well done” and “Good job!” We are so grateful for each volunteer coach and every Bible study leader who give their Saturdays to make a difference in the lives of students.
Please keep these events in your prayers through February and March. We are grateful for you.
“First Mondays” are an important day for the Mission Arlington® family. For many people, of course, “First Monday” refers to Canton, Texas, and their famous trading zone which happens on the first Monday of each month. It means something completely different here.
Our Initial Approach
Many years ago, a patient could gain access to our dental clinic any given day on a “first-come/”first serve” basis. Yet, the need was so great, that many people waited all day without getting in to see one of our volunteer dentists. People were understandably frustrated, and we were too.
Our Second Attempt
At that point, we decided to take another approach. Anyone who fit the parameters of our care who needed to see a dentist could sign up at any time when they came through our “front room.” The need for dental care was so great, unfortunately, that those “front room” appointments began to be a year to 18 months, and sometimes even two years out. We found ourselves saying to adults experiencing dental pain that they could see our dentist, but not for a long time. We were doing our best, but it didn’t feel good to anyone.
At 8:30 a.m., on the first Monday of every month, potential patients of the dental clinic can call our dental hot line number (817-860-4474). We take as many new patients as possible each month. We have nearly 60 dentists who volunteer with us each year at varying levels of frequency. In 2018, we treated more than 1,300 patients over 3,600 times, so we have a strong and active clinic. Even so, the number of people trying to get through on those First Mondays is way more than the number of slots we have available.
As you pray for the Mission, would you remember to pray for the Lord to prompt more volunteer dentists to come and serve. The family of dentists in and around our community who provide support are amazing, generous, and dedicated. They work long hours in their own profession, then donate their time and skill to help the lest fortunate through our clinic. With each new volunteer, however, we are able to help so many more people. Please join us in asking the Lord for more dentists, hygienists, and other volunteers.
Spread the Word
If you are a dentist with some potential extra time coming up, please give us a call. Debbie M. at 817-704-6141 can help get you connected. If you know someone you think would be a great help to the people here, please spread the word about our clinic. You never know how the Lord can use your voice to make a difference.
We are grateful for the privilege we have of serving with each of you in this community.
The Arlington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration reaches its 30th year of “building harmony,” and “celebrating diversity” in our community. After a weekend of celebration filled with noted speakers, special tributes, student scholarships, Step competitions, mixtures of poetry, jazz, and so much more, volunteers come together in a “Day of Service” on Monday to serve throughout their community.
Instead of a day off, our community is encouraged to make it a “day on,” serving others to make a difference across our community. The Mission Arlington®/Mission Metroplex® family is thrilled to be one service partner among many on this day.
Volunteers can join the opening ceremonies for the day, which includes a continental breakfast and t-shirts for the first 300 people to arrive, by arriving at 400 W. South Street at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, January 21st. The Arlington Martin Luther King, Jr. team will sign you in, and get you your assignments and tools for the day. For more information about this weekend, check out the official website here.
Mission Arlington® will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. If you aren’t able to make it by 9:00, but can come earlier or later, then please come on down to serve. Come by yourself, bring a friend, or come with your team. There is so much that you can do to help others in need throughout this community. Come ready to work hard, and to have the most fun ever.
We look forward to seeing you here.
A new year is just around the corner. Where did the old one go? Life seems to move more quickly than ever. We are so grateful for our partnership with you through each turn, and for the confidence we have of walking this journey together as the new year unfolds. We want to invite you to join us in a couple of ventures as we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019.
“Praying In” the New Year
The Mission Arlington® family has a tradition for New Year’s eve. After a full day of receiving donations from one of the most generous communities we know about, we finish about 6 p.m., an hour earlier than normal. At 7:00, we gather to worship and pray. We sing the songs of our heart for fifteen minutes or so, and then we pray silently. We don’t have a long devotional or a message. We simply pray. The service is open-ended, so that people leave when they are finished praying. The room empties over time, and we quietly finish the new year together. We don’t stay up late, because we will be back in the office early on January 1st, ready to serve and to help.
We would be honored if you would join us on New Year’s Eve, but even if you can’t be with us physically, we invite you to stop wherever you are to pray for God to be honored through our work, and for people to receive the care they need as we go throughout 2019.
Praying “in the New Year”
We also invite you to pray with us and for the work each day of 2019. Strategies and hard work are important, of course, and it is important to do what we do as best we can. But if that is all we do, then our work won’t have the impact it should, because it will be dependent upon our own strength and resources.
With all of our hearts, we believe that our work is fueled by prayer. Mission Arlington belongs to the Lord. The following paragraph describes the Spirit of our work well:
Mission Arlington® belongs to God. This isn’t our story, but His. He had plans in place for this Ministry and for all who work here long before it happened. He started this mission, sustains us moment by moment, and He holds our future in His hands.
As we talk about who we are it is with sincere humility, a sense of dependency and a commitment to the leadership of His Spirit within us.
You can read the full expression of the above paragraph here.
You can pray for us “in the New Year” anyway that works best for you. For one possible pattern, we suggest that people stop whereever they are at 10:00 every morning – a pause – to pray for God’s work here. In this way, we can symbolically hold hands across our community, and indeed, around the world, to pray for the Mission.
We provide suggestions about ways to pray which you can receive by joining our prayer network. You can find instructions here.
We are grateful for you.
Thank you so much for walking this journey with us. We love you, and we love serving in and with this community to care for people in need. We do pray for you as you let us know your needs. We are grateful for you, and we are excited about walking together through the months ahead.
The Need is Great and Real
Perhaps we have all been there at one point or another in our lives – when the job ended in November, or unexpected expenses made Christmas money difficult. Maybe you remember what it is like to tell your children that there won’t be much Christmas this year, or like one mom said to her children – “Santa’s sleigh doesn’t extend this far.”
If you have found yourself at that difficult spot at one point or another in your life, then you will understand the heart of Mission Arlington.® We know that you do understand, because you have provided Christmas toys, trees and bikes in an unprecedented way. Day after day, you have given, so that our community’s children will have something under their tree. We wish you could see the tears of relief and joy that roll down the cheeks of moms and dads whose children will have Christmas because you gave.
The Christmas Story
Meeting the needs of our community’s families is important to us, but there is another reason that we do Christmas like we do. We want as many as possible to know the story of Christmas encapsulated in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ as it was described in the Gospel narratives of Matthew and Luke. Christmas gifts will last for a season, but a relationship with Christ will last eternally. It is for this reason that you will hear Tillie say that the Mission Arlington® family “celebrates Christmas 365 days a year.” Truly, every day is another day to share God’s love as we care for people in authentic ways.
- The Christmas Store is a place where parents choose free gifts for their children. It started small over 30 years ago, but has grown to be a large endeavor to provide Christmas gifts for families in need. Last year, 33,700 children received Christmas toys, bikes, trees, and an assortment of other gifts. Though the numbers aren’t tabulated yet, it looks like this year’s store may have made our biggest impact yet. Thank you.
- Adopt a Family – In addition to our Christmas Store, we connect donors with families in need. Donors tell us how many children they would like to provide for, and Mission Arlington® connects these families with their gifts. Often, the donors get to meet the families in a sweet moment of celebration. This year’s adopt a family program was as large as ever.
- Bicycle donations – We have a team of people who take old bikes and repair them, providing new parts, until the bike is nearly new. These restored bikes are provided to children and teenagers throughout the Christmas season. The Bikes for Mission Arlington® team collected more bikes than ever before this year. Individuals, families, and other teams also brought bikes. We believe we may have given out more brand new bikes this year than at any other time.
- Angel Trees – Sometimes individuals and/or groups want to provide for a certain number of children or groups of children. The Mission family will then provide the names, ages, and Christmas wish lists for these individual children and connect the two groups together.
- Christmas Parties – Companies, civic groups, corporations, student groups and more will throw a Christmas party for Mission Arlington® children. Usually, this involves a dinner, a gift exchange of some kind, and the appearance of Santa Claus. The children who receive are always so blessed, not just by the gifts, but by the heart and the spirit of the team who gives to make a difference.
The apostle Paul points us to a statement Jesus made which still rings true today – “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:38). The interesting truth is that the people who give aren’t necessarily rich themselves, giving out of an abundant overflow of stuff they wouldn’t need or use anyway. In fact, most people who gave to help others this season gave from their heart, out of genuine love, and often sacrificially. Yet, as we saw the tears fall, and the smiles grow large, we knew that the givers themselves were truly being blessed.
A Merry Christmas
If caring for others makes Christmas Merry, then truly this will be a Merry Christmas all across our community this year. Thank you so much for loving the Lord and loving people like you do. On Christmas morning, as you open the gifts around your tree, and celebrate with your families, please know that you’ve made a difference here. Children who would not have had a Christmas any other way are opening their gifts too. That is truly a gift of love.
From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas