Normally the announcement that an organization is being audited spells trouble. It means that irregularities have been spotted by someone, so that now an investigation is underway to discover the truth about the organization in question. For most of us, the concept or thought of an IRS investigation causes concern enough to keep us up at night.
At Mission Arlington®, however, accountability is part and parcel of our daily routine. On the one hand, we sustain a deep conviction that every gift is provided sacrificially, and so for us, those gifts are sacred . On the other hand, in conjunction with established procedures, a long-tenured team, and our auditors, every day, we watch closely what has been entrusted to us for people in need. Monthly reports are made to a local team of people who both support and watch what we do. We welcome and treasure this accountability.
In addition, we voluntarily partner with charity watchdog organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and Guidestar. We are in good standing with each of these accountability/transparency groups. We provide an accessible and public page for you review each evaluation and we link to each of these accountability partners on every page of our website.
Finally, as with every strong and healthy non-profit we partner with a well-respected, local team of auditors who inspect our work every year. At our monthly board meeting this Tuesday night, the report was presented from these auditors giving us a “clean bill of health” for our work through 2015. We wanted you to know as well. You can read their report here.
Our first commitment is to Christ, which calls us to a walk of integrity and a humble dedication to accountability. Our second commitment is to you, to be the kind of organization you can trust with the sacrificial gift of what you have worked hard to earn.
In our 30th year, as our birthday nears this August, we find ourselves grateful for the privilege we have of walking this journey with you – through the years, yes, but also day-by-day. Thank you for your willingness to provide support, and to give of your time and resources here. We are grateful, and we “praise His name!” Thank you.
It is such a simple concept – going where people are. That’s what Mission Arlington® does. Early on, the call was clear: “If people aren’t going to come to the traditional church, for whatever reason, we were to take the church to them.” Nearly thirty (30) years ago now, led by Tillie, and a core of volunteers, the Mission began teaching God’s word each Sunday in apartment clubhouses across town. Today, we are doing that in 349 locations.
Along the way, Rainbow Express® became one way that we could minister to the children in the apartments. Youth groups from across the country picked up the pace, and they began to lead these four-day events throughout the community. Rainbow Express® is our version of a “back-yard Bible club, involving songs, crafts, games, and the teaching of God’s Word. Over time this part of our work, prompted and led by the Lord, has grown to be a huge part of what we do every Spring and Fall.
Spring Break constitutes the “first wave” of Rainbow Express® each year. Student groups from across Texas and around the country arrive in our city concurrently with the Spring Breaks of the local colleges and independent school districts. During this week, student groups lead Rainbow Express® in the morning and in the afternoon. Around the country, Spring Break weeks don’t always coincide with local schedules, so for several weeks in the Spring, student groups come to lead Rainbow Express® even when our own schools are in session. For those weeks, the groups help Mission Arlington® in the mornings, but lead these fun Bible clubs in the afternoons when school is out. Lots of hugs, smiles, and love for children make up the “every day” of each experience. Many young people learn more about Christ, or meet him for the first time.
We are pleased to report that – for this Spring, nearly 10,000 (9,869) children attended Rainbow Express, and 287 people accepted Christ. Nearly 1,400 (1,381) students from 55 youth groups came to town from nine (9) states and twenty-one Texas cities. Students came from as far away as Michigan, and Midland. Many of these young people grew in their understanding of Missions and went home with increased commitment to reach their own cities for Christ.
We are grateful to God for the way He has put all of this together. It is important to us to keep all that we do submitted to Him. Through faithful reporting we want to keep you in touch with what happens here, so that you can pray in informed ways, and so that you will know how much we desire to be accountable and transparent to all who pray, give, and help here on a monthly basis.
Rainbow Express is about to start again. Yesterday, we published our May-June Curriculum here. Please keep us in your prayers as round two begins. May the Lord use us to communicate his great love in practical ways, and may many more come to know him personally.
Thank you so much for all your support.
Volunteers make a huge difference.
Volunteers are an important part of Mission Arlington®‘s work here every day. No matter the age or background, and no matter how much time a person has to give, whether a little or a lot, we value the partnerships with people. Without their help, our ministry wouldn’t get done.
Volunteers come as individuals and in groups, and they come from all walks of life, such as corporate families, civic groups, church teams, students from every age group, and so many more. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
A flexible and fun family
When volunteers come through this place, they are already eager to serve, and ready to make a difference in someone’s life. Sometime the tasks are simple, but not necessarily fun – say taking donated clothes, putting them on hangars and getting them ready to give away. Sometime the tasks are more difficult, like loading couches into trucks for delivery to a home. Sometimes the need demands means that jobs start and stop and start again in a new direction.
Our observation over time is that people volunteering here 1) flex at a moment’s notice; 2) work hard at every task; 3) and appear to enjoy their assignments. Right around 2,500 volunteers serve here each week, and it is so much fun. In fact, working together often feels like family.
Surrounded by your Support
There probably isn’t much way that volunteers would know how often their service here is a direct answer to our prayers. Last week, when we needed to get quite a bit of work done – work that would have taken us a long time to accomplish – a group of 147 people showed up at our door. We knew in those moments that they had been sent by the Lord to help – in answer to our prayers.
This past week, we had a big group of students here from Bailey Jr. High, and a big group from the University of Texas at Arlington in conjunction with their “The Big Event” – and that’s just to name a few.
All of this is to say “thank you” for the way you give your time to serve here. We are open from 7 to 7 Monday through Saturday. You don’t need an appointment. Just drop in, and we’ll get you going. You’ll be glad you did, and so will we. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
How it Began
The Allan Saxe Dental Clinic began with a question: “What are you doing to help people with their dental needs?” The question was asked over 22 years ago by a kindergarten teacher who moonlighted in dental offices at night. The question was asked by Jean Cagle. The person she asked was Tillie Burgin. Tillie’s response? “Whatever you want to do.”
That conversation led to the start of Mission Arlington’s dental clinic. Jean Saxe became the dental clinic’s first and only director. Dr. Allan Saxe learned of the need and contributed the seed money to facilitate the start, and the Dr. Alan Saxe Dental Clinic was born. The start was humble enough – with one room and one chair, and few volunteers.
More than two decades later the dental clinic has 50+ dentists who contribute, along with a host of other medical assistants and volunteers who routinely contribute their time, skills, and care. Through the first two months of this year, the clinic has already treated 1,382 patients, worth about $193 thousand dollars of free care. To repeat, patients are treated at the Saxe clinic free of charge.
How the process works
When the dental clinic opened, the Mission Arlington® team was able to treat people on a “first come/first serve” basis. As the number of people needing help grew, this process became untenable. People were waiting all day for help, but weren’t able to get into the clinic. Frustration and disappointment were the inevitable result.
In an attempt to improve the process, we decided to make appointments for anyone who needed to see a dentist. People would make an appointment with us on any day that we were open to help people – meaning every day except Sunday. Before long the waiting lists were 18 months to 2 years out, clearly an inadequate solution. For people in pain, even a week can be a long wait.
Once more we shifted our process. Now, on the first Monday of every month, we open a voicemail box here at the mission. People can access that voicemail beginning at 8:30 a.m. We make as many appointments as we possibly can based upon the number of dentists available to volunteer that month, but the volume of calls exceeds by ten times or more the number of spots available. We do not like this system, but we simply don’t know how else to do it.
A Two-Tiered Approach
Once people make it through the process described above, then they become members of the Saxe Dental Clinic. The second time they need to see a dentist, they make an appointment with our dental office like any of us would do with our own dentists. In other words, this difficult process – often compared to “pulling teeth,” only happens once. After that, people can make appointments with a simple phone call.
The Need is Great
The mornings of our “First Mondays” are often difficult mornings at the mission. Because of the heavy volume, people get frustrated. When people get frustrated, and understandably so, they contact us to express that frustration. They, or someone they care about, such as a spouse or a child are often in physical pain, and our greatest desire is for each one to get the help that they need.
As you pray with us on the first Monday of every month, please pray for the people, and ask the Lord, if you would, to keep adding medical professionals to our mix. If one dentist gives a week’s worth of time, we can knock the equivalent of 3 months off people’s wait time.
We are Thankful for you!
We can be in this community day after day, because of our heavenly Father’s great love. We can also be here to care for the people because of the way this community continues to contribute financially, with their time, and with their prayers. We are so grateful for the privilege we have of walking together with you day after day. Please come see us when you can, and to God be the glory!
Thank you for your faithful, generous support! Easter Week is special by itself of course, all over the world. At Mission Arlington®, it is a focused time to share God’s love in so many ways – whether at an Easter Store, a youth-focused worship service, or an Easter egg hunt.
Here are some of the results from the events of last week:
- The Easter Store happened on the Tuesday and Thursday of Easter Week. 1,057 people heard the Easter story, then took advantage of this free bundle of Easter supplies for their family. Forty different people made spiritual decisions.
- On Maundy Thursday, 218 youth from Mission Arlington® Bible studies gathered to worship, to administer and take the Lord’s supper, and to hear a message of challenge from the scriptures; After the service, they split back into their groups, ate pizza, and talked over/ prayed about what they had heard.
- On Good Friday several Mission Arlington congregations held worship services focused on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Strong groups of people attended each of these Friday evening services.
- The “World’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt” happened on Saturday. 4,600 children (with families) enjoyed the fun. Wonderful volunteers were everywhere, and every person who attended the egg hunt was able to hear a presentation about the Good News of Easter.
- On Easter Sunday morning, volunteers spread out across our community to lead Bible studies in 349 different locations. People crowded into apartment club houses, mobile home parks, neighborhood homes to worship a risen savior. It was a beautiful and extraordinary day.
Communication with You
It is important to us that we provide a steady stream of communication about what happens in and through this ministry. We want God to get all the glory, and we want you to know the many ways your gifts of love and time make a difference here.
We are grateful for your constant support.
Student groups from Arkansas have been here all week, helping us fill Easter eggs with candy, along with various other work projects, but also leading Rainbow Express® each afternoon and evening. Through Rainbow Express this past week, forty different people accepted Christ.
The Easter Store
The Easter Store was especially fun and meaningful this year. Because you give, we are able to provide Easter baskets and Spring items each of the two days that this free store was open. Families came together to hear the message of Easter, beautifully shared, then they filled their bags with all of the Spring goodies inside. Altogether, 1,057 people were helped through our “Easter Store” over the two-day period.
Maundy Thursday Service
Maundy comes from a Latin word which means mandated, and it grows out of Jesus’ command on the Thursday evening of Holy week. Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples – his Last Supper. In their conversation, Jesus mandated a new command for the disciples to “love one another.” Mission Arlington gathered youth leaders last night, as they do every Maundy Thursday. They came with their Bible study leaders from all over our community to worship the Lord, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, and to spend time discussing in small groups what the evening had meant to them. 218 youth attended the service.
Good Friday Services
Tonight, in several locations, different Bible study groups will gather to worship the Lord on Good Friday, a somber day of remembrance of what Christ did for each of us on the cross.
“World’s Largest” Easter Egg Hunt
Tomorrow, if history holds true, about 5,000 children (with parents) will gather for our giant Easter Egg Hunt in the center of town. The Egg hunt is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1514 Cherry Dr., behind the Grace Street Fellowship congregation of Mission Arlington®. One hundred ten thousand eggs are stuffed, taped, and ready to go. We are so eager to see all of the kids coming our way.
Easter Sunday Morning
Easter Sunday morning, Mission Arlington’s congregations will gather in 349 locations, led by lay people, blue-jeans and banjos, worshipping a risen Lord. It is going to be a great day!
Thank you for your prayers and support for our work here. Praise His Name!
The Easter Store Opens Tomorrow.
Mission Arlington®’s Easter Store began as an extension of the Christmas Store concept. The thinking was “Easter is as important, if not more so, than Christmas,” so why not an Easter store to parallel what we do at Christmas? With that thought in mind, the Easter store began.”
Our Easter Store is free of charge and open to families who would like some Spring clothes, Easter baskets, and other items for their families and homes.
Easter Store Dates and Times
- The Easter Store opens from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 22nd and 23rd.
- The store is “free of charge,” and provides families with Easter baskets, Spring clothes, and other items;
- Everyone who comes will have the privilege of hearing the Easter story shared personally and creatively.
You are invited!
If you know families who could be blessed by this place for free Easter supplies, please let them know, and send them our way – or come yourself with family and friends. We look forward to seeing you here.
We want you to be connected and stay informed about what is happening here at Mission Arlington® on a regular basis. One good way to do that is through our daily updates, provided Monday through Friday each week.
Would you like to know how many children attended Rainbow Express yesterday, or how many children accepted Christ this week? Would you like to know which events are coming next? Or, perhaps, you are looking for the most updated information, so that you will know how best to pray with and for us?
The “daily update” section of our website is just the place for you. Updated most mornings before 9:00 a.m., this page communicates the hand-written note from our director, Tillie Burgin, which she writes on a “white board” in the common area of our offices downtown. We transcribe these notes and publish them for your viewing online.
While Tillie’s note was originally created primarily for those who work here and the volunteers who lead and serve in various parts of the ministry, we’ve noticed that the readership is much wider. We’ve discovered that people all over the world join with us each day by reading the daily notes from Tillie. In case you hadn’t discovered this section of our website, we wanted you to know about it too. We hope and pray that this “daily note” is informative, and gives you a boost for your day too.
We are so grateful for the constant, faithful prayer support of this incredible community. Like these in the picture above who have circled to pray for us at 10:00 one Saturday morning, your gifts make such a difference here.
In case you don’t know, or haven’t heard, Rainbow Express® is Mission Arlington’s version of a back-yard Bible club. Crafts, snacks, games, music, and Bible stories form the foundation of this work with children and youth.
Around the country, Spring break happens at different times. Student groups, on their Spring Break Mission trips, arrive in Arlington from March 1st through mid-April. The second week of March was the kickoff of our Rainbow Express® season, and we are so excited.
Eleven (11) church youth groups are here this week, working in the rain, with such great spirits. These teams have come from cities across Texas, East and West, and from two different states. One group, a Bible college, came all the way from Michigan. Students are growing closer to the Lord through their service, and they are growing closer to each other as they serve.
These student groups, consisting of over 200 people, work here around the Mission every morning through mid-afternoon. When the final bell rings for school in the afternoon, these groups are waiting in seventeen (17) locations around town to lead Rainbow Express. Through the first three days of this week, and average of 359 children and youth have attended each day, about 21 at each site. Twenty-seven (27) have accepted Christ so far.
If you know us well, then you know that we don’t do any marketing. We don’t send out flyers asking these groups to come. We trust the Lord’s prompting of individual hearts, and He sends them our way. When the groups come, most stay in our facilities, or in the facilities of churches across town – churches who partner with us, so that more people in our city can be reached.
We appreciate so much your prayers and your financial support of our work, and we are so grateful for the way you volunteer, giving your time to make a difference here.
Please keep praying as we go through these Spring Break weeks. Next week, teams from multiple states across the country and cities throughout Texas will be here, leading Rainbow Express in 74 different locations. Then, we move into the Easter season after that.
We are truly grateful for you and for your support.
Children’s Basketball Leagues Conclude – Youth basketball is next!
For four weeks through the month of February each year – every Saturday morning – Mission Arlington®‘s buses would roll throughout the neighborhoods picking up excited kids – for a morning of basketball.
It was one way that Bible study leaders in our apartment congregations across the community could spend more time with each child. Building these relationships are so important. It was also a way that these children – about 70 first through sixth graders each week – could get good exercise, and to learn a little more about the game of basketball.
Teamwork was an important part of the coaching process, led by all volunteer teams. These young students were given the opportunity to dribble and pass the basketball around at the same time they were taking the ball to the hoop. Coaches made sure that the experience was fun for everyone.
These leagues were also designed to encourage competition without being competitive. The children worked hard to win their individual games, but by the end of each Saturday morning, all of them were winners. As the children left for home each Saturday, it wasn’t evident to observers who the winners were, but it was obvious that no one was a loser.
As you can see from the pictures, every child received a free t-shirt. These leagues were provided to the community by Mission Arlington®, staffed by volunteers, and free-of-charge for every child. The mantra of our day is that “nothing’s free,” but that simply isn’t true here. Every service we offer is always free. We can do this, because of your faithful support here.
Perhaps the best part of each Saturday morning has been the devotionals, straight from Scripture. Every Saturday morning, the children heard God’s Word, a devotional thought, a moment of interaction, and then a prayer to start the day.
These Saturday morning basketball leagues have simply been extraordinary. What a blessing it is to love and serve the children of our community, and to work alongside each of you who pray, volunteer, and provide financial support for our work.
Our youth basketball leagues begin this coming Saturday.