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Loving people through the storms

Keri DeCay, international business French junior and UTA Ambassador and hurricane Katrina survivor expresses appreciation for Mission Arlington.

Keri DeCay, international business French junior and UTA Ambassador and hurricane Katrina survivor expresses appreciation for Mission Arlington.

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, changing the course of so many people’s lives.  Mission Arlington® was honored and humbled to join other non-profit communities, churches, and city agencies, to provide assistance to those whose lives had been tragically propelled into our community.

In addition to playing our part in collecting and distributing the items which people would need, and joining the medical community to provide medical and dental care for those who had been displaced and bused into Arlington, we were also able to open and maintain two shelters to house, sleep, feed, and transport the Louisiana families who so desperately needed support.

Those of us who were here at the time will never forget the outpouring of love, generosity, and sacrifice which came day after day from this community.  You gave of what you had, out of your abundance, and you gave out of what you didn’t have, your own basic necessities.  Our community came together as never before, and treated our neighbors as if they were family.  It was a time which we will never forget.

This week, a student from UTA who was displaced and affected by this storm personally, wrote of her experiences now a decade later.  Her name is Keri DeCay, and she was 10 years old when Katrina hit her hometown.  Today, she is an international business French junior, and a UTA ambassador.  In a article published by the Shorthorn, Ms. DeCay says that she is grateful for the support she received from Mission Arlington®, and that she loves to volunteer here when she can. It shows each of us once again how people who receive help are often the very ones who give so much more to help others.  We see that beautiful circle over and over again here.

We are grateful for the kind words published by Ms. DeCay about our work, and we wanted you to hear how much your generosity and sacrifice helps real people in need.  Thanks to each of you who keep on giving, so that someone else can have what they need to survive and thrive.  The same community who gave so much ten years ago, still provides support here, day in and day out.

We are humbled, amazed, and inspired by your generosity. Thank you.


Read Ms. Dekay’s insightful, and challenging article in the Shorthorn here!


Date Published: September 7, 2015

Precious Cargo – Taking students to school

Home sweet home. Returning after a day at school.

Home sweet home. Returning after a day at school. Students and families appreciate Mission Arlington transportation. Many students are transported to and from school every day.

Mission Arlington® coordinates with the Arlington Independent School District to transport students to school in neighborhoods where those students are too close for the school bus to pick them up, but also far enough away that the students would have to cross busy and dangerous intersections in order to arrive safely at school.

Twice a day, five days each week, Mission Arlington® drivers pick up and deliver students from their home to the schools, and then back again. This provides help to working families who otherwise would have to let their children walk to school.   As you can see from the picture of happy children above, being a part of this ministry is quite a blessing.

The mission also takes the children of AISD teenagers to childcare, so that the mother can stay in school, complete her education, and build a better life for themselves over time. Something as simple as transportation makes a huge difference.

Through the summer, the transportation ministry slows down a bit, but when school starts again in the Fall, as it has now, it ramps up in a big way.  We are grateful for the individuals and organizations that donated the buses and vans which the mission uses for this work, and for the volunteer drivers along the way who help us to provide a fun and loving experience for the students.

We are grateful for the multiple ways that each of you support our work. It is precious cargo, indeed. Thank you.

For a short (3 minute), but strong video of our transportation ministry published a few years ago, click here.

Date Published: August 28, 2015

Youth Rally Draws Crowd

Mission Arlington youth prepare to go back to school, worshiping the Lord together.

Mission Arlington youth prepare to go back to school, worshiping the Lord together. Tillie Burgin walks through the group, speaking to the students.

At the end of each summer, Mission Arlington® hosts a rally for youth, students who are going into the 7th through the 12th grades. Three hundred (300) students and sponsors attended this event. Though you can’t see it in this picture, the student population filled up most of the church, going to the back of the sanctuary.

Student ministry is an important part of our work each year.  The mission family hosts basketball leagues, gym nights, youth camps, and special medical and dental care for youth each year. Youth are obviously a part of the families helped every day through our front room, and a major part of the Bible studies in 349 locations which happen each week.

Students on the bus, coming in to the youth rally.

Students on the bus, coming in to the youth rally.

The students listened to a short worship video, and then heard a message from Chris, one of the Bible study leaders and pastors in a mission congregation which meets on the East side of Arlington.  As Chris spoke with and to the students, he asked them to consider what was important in their earthly friendships.  For example, “would you be friends with someone where the relationship was only one-sided?” he asked.  What if your friendship at school was with someone who didn’t want to talk with you, but always needed something from you.  The students caught on quickly, and knew that Chris was speaking about their relationship to the Lord.

Christ shared a verse in Matthew with them, which reminded them that religion, and good works would not get them into heaven, but only a personal friendship/relationship with Jesus Christ.

Afterwards, the students received pizza, and gathered in their Bible study groups with individual leaders to discuss what they heard. The discussion was lively and involved. Each student took the opportunity to think about what was important in their own friendships, and then to evaluate their relationships with God.  A few youth groups left the rally to do a “lock-in” or to spend time at their Bible study leader’s home, and more.

We are so grateful for the privilege we have of walking alongside and serving with the youth in our community. We are grateful to you for your constant, loving support.

Date Published: August 22, 2015

Partners on Mission – DBU Students at Mission Arlington

DBU students arrive on campus, ready to work.

DBU students arrive on campus, ready to work.

Every year, Dallas Baptist University (DBU) hosts a “student welcome and transition” week, called “SWAT.”  This week-long event “opens the door to a new life at DBU for incoming first year and transfer students.”  This event is a long standing tradition at the school, and it happens the week before fall classes begin each year.

Hard working young people, with a sweet enthusiasm for the ministry of Mission Arlington.

Hard working young people, with a sweet enthusiasm for the ministry of Mission Arlington.

In this week, incoming students receive the “training they need to lay a solid foundation socially, intellectually, physically, and spiritually in order to be prepared for their college experience. They also find the opportunity to make “instant connections with other students,” and to form “lifelong friendships,” as they become “comfortable with their new college home.”

Block parties, special games days called “follies”, and pool parties form much of the fun. On the Friday of this week, the University sponsors what they call a “landmark service day,” sending the students out into the community to support non-profit organizations like ours. Their heart is to impact their community for Christ, and to introduce the students to service learning, and integrated part of the University’s Christ-centered education.   Three hundred (300) students will serve in and through Mission Arlington today.

DBU students brought an energetic and enthusiastic spirit to every task. Here, a student helps us get food ready for the pantry.

DBU students brought an energetic and enthusiastic spirit to every task. Here, a student helps us get food ready for the pantry.

As a part of our work, these students will help us love on children and youth in multiple apartment communities, places where Mission Arlington® has established work. They will share the love of Christ with everyone – with words and actions.  Plenty of smiles and hugs will be the order of the day.  They will also lift the load for us here at our main campus – moving food into locations, building and placing new shelves for the food pantry, receiving and organizing donations, helping to deliver school supplies, and so much more. The things they will do in one day – with 300 college students – are the kinds of things that it would take us “forever” to do on our own. We are so truly blessed and grateful.

For Dallas Baptist University, this day is more than just an event to help the students feel useful and comfortable as they transition to a new place.  Service learning, for this University, is a way of life, an integral part of their mission, a hope that as their students experience the world now, it will affect not just their heads, but also their hearts, so that long after University life has ended, “making a difference” in the world will be simply a matter of course.  We stand with them towards that end.  It is also the heart of the Mission Arlington® family.

We are grateful for each and every one of you who pray for us, give here, and lend your time, to help us reach our community for Christ.  Thanks to you, and all glory to God!

Date Published: August 21, 2015

A Clear Vision: free eye exams and glasses for young people

Teen Dental Vision Day 2015 With United Concordia and Texas Rangers Spencer Patton and Chris Gimenez

Vision Day 2015 at Mission Arlington®‘s Medical Clinic with Visionworks.  Here, a technician screens 17 year old Alberto to see what the next best steps should be.

In partnership with Visionworks and six local optometrists, and just in time for the start of school, 91 children and youth had their vision tested at our medical clinic this past Saturday, August 15th.  As it turns out, 80 percent those screened needed new glasses.

According to experts in the field, and to our own common sense, having a young person’s eyes and vision examined by an optometrist early in their visual development is best. It is important for parents not to wait until their children have visual problems, because correction after this point becomes more difficult. It is important, therefore, for children to have their eyes examined routinely and early.

However, when working people struggle to “get by” or to “make ends meet,” it is too easy for people to wait until a problem with vision evidences itself in the child. Correcting the concern at this point is typically much more difficult and costly.

The Mission Arlington® family and the community of providers working with us step in at this point, so that families can take care of their children’s eyes in a way that doesn’t disrupt the family’s stability.  We are grateful that we have the privilege of working with so many talented, generous, and engaging people (like those mentioned above) who see the problem and lend a hand to help out.

After the children & youth were screened this past Saturday, those who needed corrective lenses were given a voucher which was paid for by Visionworks and six local optometrist offices. The young people could go with their family to the eye doctor who in turn provided corrective lenses to each student free of charge.  Whenever Mission Arlington® is involved with people, there is never a charge to the people in need. That has been made possible by generous donors like these mentioned above, and it has been true since our beginning 29 years ago.

The health clinics which operate here every day take care of the physical needs of hundreds of people each month.  We are so thankful for the opportunity we had this past Saturday to provide health care to our community’s children and youth.

We are grateful for the privilege of this partnership with each of you who pray, give, and volunteer. We hope you can see how important this work is, and that you are making a difference here.

Date Published: August 20, 2015

“Watch your mouth!” Teen Dental day at Mission Arlington

Lots of hugs given out on this day

Anna, a Mission Arlington teenager, gets a hug from the Texas Rangers’ Mascot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “dental decay is the most common chronic disease in young people between ages five and 15.”  While younger children “typically attend dental appointments with their parents, teens have more control over their free time and may not choose to visit the dentist for regular checkups.”

As a result, many teenagers “don’t get the dental care they need,” or the “proper education to make smart decisions” regarding their oral health. (Read more here!)

For several years, two groups have come together to help Mission Arlington® address these concerns about the dental health of teens.  This past Saturday, the Texas Rangers  and United Concordia partnered with the Allan Saxe Dental Clinic, to make a difference.  As mentioned above, teenagers are generally the most under-served population with respect to dental care.  This past Saturday, Twenty-seven (27) teenagers received care, worth about $11,000 of free dentistry.

Professional Baseball players sign autographs at Mission Arlington.

Teen Dental Vision Day 2015 With United Concordia and Texas Rangers Spencer Patton and Chris Gimenez

A special thanks to Texas Rangers’ Spencer Patton and Chris Gimenez, and more than thirty (30) volunteers who gave their resources to make a difference with young people. It was a fun day.

Also, a special thanks to every dentist, hygienist, and all other volunteers in the Saxe Dental clinic, who give their time at Mission Arlington®.

Your support makes a difference in the lives of real people, and we are truly blessed because of your service.  Thanks also to each and every group, like the Texas Rangers, and United Concordia, who keep giving their time and resources here.

We are grateful for this community of volunteers who come together at Mission Arlington to make a difference in the lives of teenagers.

Click our Facebook link to see more pictures.

Date Published: August 19, 2015

School Supplies – A Community Comes Together

Mission Arlington's Heritage Congregation helps give out school supplies.

Mission Arlington’s Heritage Congregation helps give out school supplies.

This year, Mission Arlington® has already given school supplies to over 7,000 children already, and there are more to come. This doesn’t come together overnight. Many different groups of people work most of the summer to make sure the children go to school with pens, pencils, and everything they need for a successful year.

Early in the summer, the Mission Arlington® missionaries start gathering names and grades of the children in the communities where they minister. This involves much walking, door knocking, and meeting new families in the process.

At the same time, donors from all over the community gather supplies to give to Mission Arlington®. Community centers, churches, and businesses set up boxes as drop-off points. Some give financially, and a small group of volunteers goes to purchase supplies. Everyone watches out for the best sales to get the most from each donated dollar.

As the donations come in, different volunteers groups organize and group everything according to the lists supplied by the school district. They spend many hours filling paper bags given by grocery stores with what each grade needs.

When enough bags are ready, the Mission Arlington® missionaries come in to pick-up their orders. All others in the community who don’t live near a Bible Study site also come into the office to get what they need for their children.

This year, one Bible Study leader found himself alone delivering many sets of supplies to a central Arlington area. He needed some help, so he asked his Mission Arlington® Bible Study family to come help. On a Wednesday night, thirty people from that church went to deliver supplies. As they knocked on each door, they gave the bags of supplies, asked how they could pray for the families inside, and invited them to join them for Sunday church. They had just studied what it means to serve God, and this was the perfect opportunity to put it in action.

How great to see a church that began in a small apartment community years ago reaching out to help another apartment community. And all of this was possible because God prompted donors to give and volunteers to serve throughout the summer.

Please pray for the children; school begins in a few days. We want every child to have what they need physically and spiritually as they head back to the classroom.

Date Published: August 18, 2015

Children’s Health: A place at Mary’s Table

Mary'sTable2015-1The Mission Arlington® family, as you may know, loves to provide for children.  The children are always so open, receptive, and a lot of fun.  This past Saturday, in partnership with the Baptist Center for Global Concerns, twenty-seven (27) children spent a morning learning about healthy lifestyles.  Surely, as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

At Mary’s Table, the young students (1st through 6th grade) learned

  1. the biblical perspective on health, and how God wanted them to take care of their bodies.
  2. They were taught the difference between healthy and unhealthy snacks, and then they made some creative, tasty, but healthy snacks to enjoy while they were there.
  3. Finally, they heard from a dental hygienist about what it means to take care of their teeth.  Each student received toothbrushes along with other hygiene items.

The children were led by staff and volunteers from the Baptist Center, and also by the Smiles team from Warren Dentistry in Fort Worth.  These adults had an affinity for children,  and they were able to teach them in a way that was both instructive and fun. Afterwards, one parent wrote that her fifth grade daughter had a “wonderful experience and learned a lot,” and that she had not stopped talking about her fun time there.”

Mission Arlington® values and appreciates the wonderful supportive partnerships of so many individuals, and teams of people who love God, and who love people in such practical ways.

Our prayer is that the seeds which were planted this past Saturday will blossom for years to come.

Thank you for your constant support of our work.

Date Published: August 17, 2015

Beautiful partnerships

First grouping of KCBI volunteers gathers at Mission Arlington to start the day of service

First grouping of KCBI volunteers gathers at Mission Arlington to start the day of service

The Mission Arlington® family is so honored to serve our community, and we have been doing so for 29 years, but we don’t do it alone.  So many people and groups of people walk alongside of us, lifting the burden and carrying the mission forward.  These past few weeks have been especially privileged to partner with various groups who help us accomplish our mission.

This past Saturday, for example, KCBI (90.9 FM radio) broadcast that their “summer of service” activities would be held at Mission Arlington®.  The radio station invested its time, energy, and resources to pre-register people, and to organize the volunteers in a way that matched their giftedness with a specific project or task that they wanted to accomplish.  Mission Arlington® simply received the volunteers and put them to work. Hundreds of volunteers came to help.

Many other partnerships form the foundations of our volunteer work here.  For example, through this summer, we have partnered with Student Life, Mission 58, Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru), and Texas Baptists‘ Campamento, all who have sent hundreds of students here for a day, or for several days to serve the community.  As the Fall semester starts, Dallas Baptist University will be sending 300 students to serve for a day, as a part of their welcome week, and UTA students are here constantly lending a hand. Go Now missions and the student ministry of the Mississippi Baptist Convention sent us beautiful student interns who spent the summer with us.

Add to this the number of local partnerships with churches, civic groups, businesses, schools, and so many others who walk this journey with us, and you will understand why we feel so blessed, supported, and protected. All of this is just the way that our Lord has put this together.  Many people walk working together to help a community get the help it needs, and to share together the great message of the gospel.

As the Mission Arlington family prays together each day, we always begin with Thanksgiving and grateful hearts for partners like you who give, pray, and help here each and every day. To God be the glory!

 

 

Date Published: August 10, 2015

School supplies needed

Students are already receiving school supplies from Mission Arlington. We are expecting to care for more than 9,000 students again this year.

Students are already receiving school supplies from Mission Arlington. We are expecting to care for more than 9,000 students again this year.

We are grateful for the effort and the sacrifices being made all across our community to make sure that the students in Arlington ISD have what they need to begin the academic year.

Young student receives school supplies and a back pack from Mission Arlington.

Young student receives school supplies and a back pack from Mission Arlington.

Your generosity never ceases to amaze us, and we are grateful. Thank you for all that you do to help us help these young people.

School supplies are “flying out the door” now as they are being personally delivered across our community. For Mission Arlington®, school supplies are more than a “hit and miss” proposition.  We value the opportunity we have to walk along-side students and their families all year long.

Pictured above and to the left are students who have already received their supplies from us for the coming school year.  We are so honored and humbled to share with them what has come from you. You give it, and we give it away. Truly, we are twice-blessed.  We hope these pictures assist you in seeing that there are real students – boys and girls – with good families – behind the numbers we report.  They are just in a moment of need, and because of you, we can help.

Your support would especially be appreciated in these days to help us have what we need for the 9,000+ students coming to our front door  We expect to give out more supplies than ever before, and it takes all of us working together to provide what our community needs. The following items are especially needed right now.

black and blue pens
colored pencils
markers
glue bottles
glue sticks
wide notebook paper
wide spirals
pencil boxes
composition books

Thank you so much for helping us have the supplies we need to give to our community’s students.

Date Published: August 7, 2015

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