We have always said, and we will say it again, that our community is one of the most generous and caring communities anywhere. We are so incredibly grateful for each of you who give your time, your resources, and your prayers to make a difference here – all the time – but especially in these days. When people in our community know of a need, they respond with energy, passion, and thoughtful support. There is a humble purity about these gifts too, because the people who provide them never seem to want any recognition for their gift. They want to make a difference, and not to call attention to themselves. It has always been this way.
Many have donated to us online, so that Mission Arlington® could purchase the needed food or supplies. Some order food and/or supplies from somewhere else, so that it can be shipped here by mail. Others in our community simply drive up, check in hand, to make sure people are cared for, often even when they don’t have that much extra for themselves. Most don’t get out of their cars, but their warmth and words of appreciation mean more than we can express.
Some families and are making sandwiches at home, then dropping them off here. Many of our community’s businesses are contributing finances or in-kind donation – from food to medical supplies, and more. Churches and church groups are stepping up to pray, to give, and to help. Multiple local restaurants are making extra food and dropping off, even when they are having to find creative ways for their own businesses to survive or thrive in these days.
Neighborhoods are getting into the act as well. Concerned people within various neighborhoods share the need, and people respond with food, hygiene items, and other needed resources. Then someone from the neighborhood drops by the Mission with a truck-load full of multiple items which people need. Knowing the need for volunteers, several are stepping up, taking food to senior citizens, and to others who, for various reasons, aren’t able to make it to our place, along with many other tasks.
One local non-profit got volunteers together in multiple locations and built hundreds of nutritious snack packs (pictured above), so that we could get that food to families with students across our community. When these teams dropped off the food, their smiles told the story. There is such joy in working together to help others.
We watch in amazement at all this, so honored and humbled by the sincere and passionate generosity of this community. Sometimes, tears of gratitude come, and at other times, we quietly express out thanks to God for the expressions of love we see here every day. We are grateful for the privilege of being here to represent God’s love and yours in these days. With the old hymn, it seems that “we have no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”
Thank you so much.
This article was originally published over 4 years ago, and it is an encouragement and/or a reminder that we can be a people of prayer during this difficult season in our country
Jack Longgrear was a man of prayer. His faith was his priority in life, and God used this faith in beautiful ways to provide for his family, to care for his friends, and to touch a community.
Jack passed away just before Thanksgiving, on November 17th, in 2015. Jack’s wife and kingdom partner for sixty-eight (68) years, Imogene, preceded him in death by just a few months. Just before Jack passed away, many noticed the presence of a smile, as he anticipated going home – to see Imogene, of course, but more importantly, his Lord. It was that kind of peace and joy that touched so many people across the years of Jack’s life. There was a transparency about him, so that one could almost look through him to see Christ.
As Mission Arlington® heads towards its 30th anniversary this August, we recall our beginnings of more than 3 decades ago. Because Jack and Imogene were authentic and practicing people of prayer, God placed them into the life of Bob and Tillie as they prayed about starting what would become Mission Arlington®. There were many prayer meetings in the home of this faithful couple. In the living room of their lovely home, the Longgrears’ would pray for Tillie, and for God’s leadership in this new endeavor. These prayer meetings went on for months, and they formed the path and the language of our work in and our heart for this community.
Ministry was a big part of Jack’s life. He spent time with his family members weekly teaching various ones the Bible, and he took great care to write letters of encouragement to those of us in ministry here at the mission. Jack and Imogene put their faith into practice, becoming the team leaders of an apartment congregation in central Arlington. Jack pastored that congregation for more than two decades. His signature opening declaration each and every Sunday was “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Jack meant it, and everyone felt it.
Jack and Imogene served on the Mission Metroplex® Board of Directors for more than 25 years. The January before Jack’s death (2015), that board started the year with a prayer retreat (as is its usual custom). Each member of the team read a book entitled “Drawing the Circle,” a book about prayer written by pastor Mark Batterson. Jack shared at that prayer retreat how, even in his 90’s, he was intending to grow in his prayer life. He was “drawing circles” in his home around people he cared about and for the mission and ministry of Mission Arlington.®
Everyone who heard his testimony that evening was touched by Jack’s confession. It is possible that we have had no greater prayer warrior on our behalf than this precious man. We treasured his friendship, and we miss him much, but we are grateful for the foundations which were laid early on, and for all of those who are taking Jack’s place in the “circle of love” around this place.
As our country, our county, and our community undergo the difficult days of the Corona Virus, may we remember Jack’s example. May the Lord find each of us as faithful as we serve Him in these days. We are grateful for you.
This past December, a man fleeing Arlington police officers crashed his pickup truck into a pole, subsequently flipping that truck into an Kroger parking lot in Arlington. The crash totaled the only vehicle of Kroger employee Tim Smith whose SUV was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Smith and his wife Brittney have five children, and this was their only car.
Concerned about this family, the good people in the Victim’s Assistance department of the Arlington PD contacted Mission Arlington® to see if we could assist in providing this family a car. Because of the generosity of our community, through the years, people provide automobiles to us, so that we can help out someone who is in a difficult circumstance.
This afternoon, we met with the Victim’s Assistance team and with Ms. Smith to provide her with a car for their family. Watching her face light up, and then seeing this mom of five drive off in her newly donated car brought smiles to everyone within sight.
We hope it does to you too. We are grateful for you.
[Editor’s Note: Allison Sodek is a college student who volunteered with Mission Arlington® over her Christmas Break. She served with a team of students deployed by Go Now missions. This is her story, originally published here.]
Over Christmas break, I served as a Go Now missionary at Mission Arlington. God used me in miraculous ways on the mission field, which included Him using my spiritual gifts of compassion and evangelism.
On the mission field, I was able to bring three people to faith through sharing God’s word and the Gospel. In the Bible, Jesus always meets their needs before sharing the Gospel with them. And that was my goal the entire time on the mission field. And God taught me how to be more compassionate towards people and how to bring people to faith through the use of the salvation prayer.
Here are the stories of the three people I brought to faith:
A woman came into the mission needing various things. I shared with her the Gospel and she seemed to understand it very well and to be very receptive. She explained to me that she wanted to be baptized again, dive into the Bible more and recommit herself to God. In a sense, she wanted to be reborn. I led her through prayer and connected her with Mrs. Tillie, the executive director of Mission Arlington. It was really exciting to see how other godly people planted that seed in her heart to come to me and confess that she wanted a relationship with God and to be reborn and put me in the place to lead her through it.
A Hispanic woman came into the mission. She spoke fairly good English. She needed various things. After filling out the forms with her to get the things she needed, I asked a question to gauge where she was spiritually. I could tell by the way she answered that she didn’t really know what I was talking about. I then asked her if I could share the Gospel with her. She said “yes!” I shared the Gospel with her through the use of the Three Circles model. She was very intrigued by it and never took her eyes off of me and the paper I was using to explain the Gospel. After I was done, I asked her if she wanted a relationship with God. I asked her a few times to make sure she was genuine about the decision. She kept on saying “Yes!” I then explained to her that I’ll lead you through prayer, but you also have to repeat after me because in the Bible it says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” I led her through prayer and got her connected with an apartment church and gave her a Bible that she could read on her own.
There was an African American man who came into the mission. He was a student at UTA. He came needing clothes, food and furniture. He was very open with me. He told me that he wanted to recommit his life to God. I led him through prayer and got him connected with an apartment church and gave him a Bible.
Allison Sodek is a Go Now missionary who served in Arlington over Christmas break.
Starting over feels good. 2019 has come to a close, and a new year lies before us with all its possibilities.
We are excited about the new year, and we love walking this journey with you. Your faithful support encourages us, and it makes a difference in the lives of real people in need. We love passing along what you provide, and treating people with dignity and respect in the process.
We love knowing that whatever the new year brings, we will walk through it together with one of the most generous and caring communities anywhere. In the middle of our 34th year, we’ve never been more grateful. We are also humbled by the privilege we have of serving the Lord in this community. As we share frequently,
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.
Our testimony is that “God has been faithful.” We see his heart at work here in so many ways. Sometimes that brings tears of joy, and at other times, smiles & laughter. We are humbled and honored to serve Him in this place, for His people.
Last week, a Rainbow covered our offices after a full Saturday, and we couldn’t help but stop to praise God for his faithfulness. We know that whatever comes our way in this new year, His promises are true, and His presence will go with us.
We love the promise of a new year. Today is the first day of a new start. We love it, and we love walking this journey with you. From the heart of our family to yours, Happy New Year!
There are so many treasures discovered during the Christmas Season at Mission Arlington®:
The volume of gifts which our community gives is treasure enough, but the specific gifts are, in and of themselves, a kind of treasure. From huge stuffed animals to footballs, to dolls, bikes, and so much more, our “Christmas Store” was filled to overflowing with brand new gifts. Each gift was purchased for the purpose of blessing a child. These gifts brought special joy to children across our community on Christmas morning – a true treasure to see. We are so grateful for each person who made these gifts possible.
People who Provided Gifts
The provision of enough gifts to provide for nearly 33,000 children is an extraordinary thing to experience. Gifts came from individuals, families, civic clubs, schools, small businesses, and corporations. Gifts came as part of a group project, or just from someone with a heart to give. Children were actually a big part of the gift-giving again this year. One young lady made something special, then sold it over the internet and used the proceeds to provide gifts for children in need. Other children participated in school drives, or gave up their birthday celebrations in lieu of gifts. We get to watch all of this happen.
Children who Received the Gifts
Ordinary people need help every now and then, including people from all walks of life. Over the past couple of weeks, more than 7,000 families came through our Christmas Store, and they have been among the most gracious and kind people we have met. What a privilege it has been to be there when they receive the gifts. One lady wrote: “Y’all blessed me soo many times when we were struggling so bad. I am forever grateful. Thank you.”
It took more than 7,000 volunteers over a two week time-span to make the Christmas Store work. Volunteers came from all across North Texas, and from all walks of life. Some were young, and some were “more seasoned.” Some came on their days off, and others came in a group from their place of employment. Volunteers came with energy, and with a heart to care for and to serve others in need – truly a treasure.
The Christmas Story
The “reason for the season,” the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ at Christmas is the greatest treasure of the season. Mission Arlington’s Bible studies and congregations celebrated Advent, Christmas pageants, Christmas dinners, and candlelight services. In our Christmas Store, we shared Luke 2 in multiple languages, and 1225 people made a spiritual decision of some kind. 317 adults became Christ-followers – a treasure indeed.
We treasure walking this journey with you all year long, but especially at Christmas. We are grateful for you.
We hope you enjoy taking a look into our Christmas Store by viewing this short video above, published by our friends at the City of Arlington. Below are some cute stuffed animals on a shelf, provided by the Six Flags family for the children at Mission Arlington®. The Christmas Store stays open every day, excluding Sundays, from 10 to 6 through Saturday, December 21st. The store opens again on Monday, December 23rd, from 10 to noon. Please come see us.
If you come by Mission Arlington® enough, you will start to notice some of the staff members look very much like each other. It could be from the years of being together as most of the staff have been working side by side for decades. But in some cases, yes, your hunch is correct: they really are related.
Mariescha and Cassie’s parents began volunteering at Mission Arlington® when Cassie was 5 and before Mariescha was even born, so the sisters have a combined 60 years of ministry experience.
When Mariescha and Cassie were old enough to make a choice about where to spend their Sunday mornings, they started teaching in the apartment ministries. Mariescha still teaches where she started, at South Street Church, (now Parkview Fellowship), but she’s added several other ministry points in the past years.
Cassie ministers at an east Arlington apartment complex and makes home visits across the city, trying to connect people to a Bible Study near them. She also works alongside her husband Matt, and her family, at Heritage Church, a Mission Arlington congregation in central Arlington. As Cassie and Mariescha finished school, they both took on responsibilities within the Mission office, helping things to run smoothly behind the scenes so that other Bible Study leaders can reach out effectively.
“When you grow up actively ministering in the community, you don’t know what else to do on Sundays, or any weekday for that matter,” Cassie says. A few years ago, she had to spend a few months away for a medical concern and says it felt odd not teaching a Bible class somewhere.
Why did they stay? Mariescha says it best, “Mission Arlington® is both the safest and most challenging place I’ve ever been. Challenging because we live missionally, and the parts of you that aren’t surrendered to Christ don’t stay that way for long. Safest because you really are surrounded by a family that loves you as Jesus does.”
Originally Published September 2014.
A Successful Fall Festival
2,000 children (with their families) came to our Fall Festival this past Saturday, October 26th.
The Festival is so much fun. Children come dressed up in so many ways – some as animals, and others as characters from various movies, and so much more.
Volunteers bring such enthusiasm when they come too – whether it is cooking hot dogs, or loading kids onto the hay ride, driving a bus, or making sure the families get the food they need for the day.
The Fall Festival has been a part of the Mission Arlington® tradition for a long time. Various volunteers remember when the festival was located somewhere else, when it was smaller, or when something funny happened in year’s gone by. There is always a lot of laughter and love connected with this event.
Add a dash of cool weather like we had on Saturday, and it forms a perfect day.
As fun as all of this is – with the hay rides, bounce houses, good food, carnival prizes, and fellowship, what delights us most is the sense of God’s presence in and all around the place. Jesus taught his followers to have the heart of children, and to provide them with special care. We are so pleased that the Festival does exactly that.
Thank you so much!
We are so grateful for each of you who supported these efforts with your prayers, your time, and your gifts.
Central Bible Church did something bold and beautiful this past Sunday. Instead of “coming to church,” this beautiful congregation decided to “be the church.” After a sermon series by Pastor David Daniels called “Bridges,” the church “stepped out in faith to build Gospel connections with Mission Arlington Congregations. Central’ services were cancelled on Sunday morning, and over 1,100 people came out to serve with Mission Arlington’s Bible Studies and congregations. Another 300 came to our downtown campus to help sort food, clothes, household items, furniture, and so much more.
In each of Mission Arlington’s Bible study locations, Central volunteers knocked on doors all across the apartment communities. This was quite an effort in itself. They invited children, youth, and adults to join them in an outreach Bible study. People responded in a huge way to these personal invitations. Food, music, crafts, games, & Bible stories formed the core of the morning, plus lots of smiles, hugs, and loving connections. People heard about the Lord, and they saw God’s love up close through these church volunteers. What an incredible day!
Mission Arlington’s Bible study leaders were so excited about the morning when they reported what the Lord had accomplished through these wonderful teams of support from the church. God used these volunteers from Central to encourage the Mission Arlington® leaders who serve in these fields every week. We understand that the volunteers from Central were blessed as well. It was a beautiful day.
We want to express our gratitude to each volunteer who risked, getting outside of their comfort zones this past Sunday. We want to say a word of thanks to Bible study leaders who serve so faithfully week in and week out.
Please keep the Mission Arlington® family in your prayers. As Jesus said in Matthew 9, the fields are “white unto harvest, but the laborers are few.” We are so thankful this incredible day of love from this past Sunday. Please pray that more and more believers all across our community will venture out with us to “take church to the people.” A beautiful bridge indeed!