Mission Arlington | Mission Metroplex

Stories

Matt and Alison

Matt and Alison at their wedding

Hunger and financial strains do not have a specific time or date on the calendar or even a style. It could be your neighbor, the elderly couple you sit next to in church, a child sitting next to your child in the classroom, a family impacted by a sudden tragedy, a single ‘dressed to the nines’ individual who was recently laid off and is out looking for a new job, or a veteran who has served our country. Sometimes individuals are having to choose between picking up their medication at the pharmacy or eating that night.

Matt moved to Arlington in the summer of 2014 to attend law school.  At that time, his church introduced him to Mission Arlington®.  Matt loved the work of Mission Arlington® and volunteered though the years at Thanksgiving and Christmas events.

When Matt met his wife Alison they began volunteering together at the Mission.  Each of them came from personal circumstances which weren’t always ideal, and it created in them a desire to serve others.  Matt says  –  “If we could give back just a small percentage of the showers of blessings we have encountered, then that is what we are striving to do.” In their efforts to bless others, they have discovered too that they “are the ones who are blessed through it all at the end of the day.”

Today, Matt owns & manages two businesses in Arlington: 1) Legal Insurance Agency and 2) the Aulsbrook Law Firm.  Matt encourages the staff on both teams to volunteer with Mission Arlington®.  While Alison works in these businesses as well, she also works for another company  which encourages their employees to volunteer. Alison is their team leader for  Arlington and has enjoyed working alongside fellow employees at the Mission.  Alison is often the one who makes the introduction to the ministries and events of Mission Arlington®.   These teams learn about the hunger rates and needs that Mission Arlington® strives to tackle daily, and they make such a difference here.

Hunger and financial strains do not have a specific time or date on the calendar or even a style. It could be your neighbor, the elderly couple you sit next to in church, a child sitting next to your child in the classroom, a family impacted by a sudden tragedy, a single ‘dressed to the nines’ individual who was recently laid off and is out looking for a new job, or a veteran who has served our country. Sometimes individuals are having to choose between picking up their medication at the pharmacy or eating that night.

In 2018, Matt and Alison also helped to launch an ongoing event that serves Mission Arlington®.  The event titled “Feed the City” happens monthly through TangoTab.  It is an effort to fight hunger and provide meals to those who otherwise might not be able to afford them. On the first Saturday of the month at 8:30am, Matt and Alison host their monthly Feed the City Event where volunteers bring food items to make sandwiches, package chips, and healthy snacks. Mission Arlington® picks up these meals and immediately distributes to families in need.

The Mission Arlington® family is so grateful for people like Alison and Matt for using their talents to make a difference here.

Tony and Stan

Psalms 36:5
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.

God has always shown his faithfulness by allowing Mission Arlington® to partner with local businesses to ensure that people’s needs are met. One example of this is, long-time friends of the Mission, Tony and Stan.

More than 20 years ago, Tony became aware of Mission Arlington® when his children were engaged volunteering. Around 2000, Tony and Stan, business partners, decided to contribute to Mission Arlington corporately. After much prayer, and meeting with Ms. Tillie, they decided to contribute towards the annual Thanksgiving meal giveaway, and have continued to do so each year since.

They saw the great need and wanted to help. Stan says “We can’t do what they are doing, but we can do this. God gave us a part.”

In fact, as they networked with other businesses, several other companies have begun contributing along with Tony and Stan. Tony says, “Those folks, on an annual basis, contribute to Thanksgiving. It’s humbling. I don’t have to ask twice. They call me and say, ‘Isn’t it time to order turkeys?’” God prompts them to give generously so people can have what they need. In 2018, 6,324 families received turkeys thanks to God’s provision.

These kind men have given in other creative ways as well. When Mission Arlington has needed a little extra space, Trailer Leasing Solutions has donated trailers for temporary storage. A few years ago, the men donated a large amount of office furniture. They helped load it at their office and then followed Mission Arlington’s truck back to help unload. The first thing unloaded was a refrigerator. Tony remembers, “Immediately it was headed out to a woman who had called that morning because her fridge had gone out. I don’t think it ever hit the pavement. It makes it easy to want to partner up with Mission Arlington®.”

We are so grateful to God for connecting Mission Arlington® with people who want to prayerfully give their first fruits to help others. Stan sums up the heart of giving in this, “It’s not what you give. It’s how you give it. Giving is an act of worship.”

Teamwork and Prayer

Mission Arlington® is a God-driven organization. Each volunteer and staff member does their best to see how we can help each life find what they need and draw closer to God. Often, it takes teamwork from many parts of the body to help meet the needs of one life.

This past year, a phone volunteer named Kelly answered the phone to hear a woman in distress. Through tears, the woman asked if someone could pray for her. The volunteer panicked for a moment, looking for a staff member who could pray over the phone, but quickly realized, “It’s me. I need to do this.” Kelly took about 10 minutes praying with this woman and listening to her story.

In the course of conversation, Kelly realized the caller lived in Dallas, not Arlington. But what made her think to call Mission Arlington®? The caller explained, “I used to live in Arlington, and you guys helped me once.”

Just because someone was nice to her, she felt Jesus’ love, and knew she could call for prayer.

After the call, Mission Arlington® staff was able to give the woman’s phone number to the Dallas police department, who arrived within minutes to check on this young woman in person and help her with much needed resources.

We are so grateful for sensitive volunteers and important partnerships across this Metroplex that ensure needs are meet – physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional needs – so that people can be right with God.

A Gift which Keeps on Giving


For Christmas Store hours and more information, click here.


Christmas is around the Corner

Christmas is around the corner, but here at Mission Arlington®, we have been preparing for Christmas all year! December 8th is the first day of our annual Christmas Store where parents choose free gifts for their children.

We are decorating the store, stocking the shelves, and praying daily for the lives that will enter the building and be blessed. Families don’t only receive gifts; they also hear the Christmas Story read from Luke chapter 2. More than 30,000 children were helped last year.

Here is a note from one special mother who wants to reconnect this holiday:

“I would like to share with you how I am so grateful with Mission Arlington. A few years ago, my family and I were struggling through a financial crisis. My husband and I had literally nothing to offer our 3 children that year ( then ages 9, 7, and 3.)

We wanted to make it special for them, but we didn’t know how – until we came across the Christmas Store the Mission had to offer.  I know I will forever be grateful for the gifts given to our children that year.

This year, it would be such a great honor for me to be a part of that special giving and love that was once shared with me. It would be such an honor for me to volunteer for the Christmas Store this year.   

I would like to know, if perhaps, there is a possibility I could volunteer and what I need to do in order to participate.”

A Memorable, Life-Changing Experience

The Christmas Store is a memorable experience for people who give and those who receive. We are grateful to God for the way he provides toys, volunteers, and resources so people can be blessed and, in turn, bless others.

James Brown

James Brown-web

In 1994, James was pastoring a church 20 minutes away from Mission Arlington®, but he meet Tillie Burgin at a conference far away in south Texas. Tillie was the speaker, and everything she said touched James’ heart so profoundly, he began to respond from the back row, “Amen!” Afterwards, they realized they were practically neighbors. A ministerial connection, and a friendship, was born.

James wanted others to avoid the mistakes he had made when he began preaching and caring for people in the Woodhaven area of Fort Worth. His church gave away food and clothes to the surrounding neighborhood, so he felt at home at Mission Arlington® where he found people with the same heart.

The years have taken James across Fort Worth, into different ministerial roles, through medical issues, and past an amputated foot. For a year he literally had to be off his feet, but during his time of illness, the Lord showed him that he needed to get back to the people, back to serving on the ground. He says, “I do not want to punch my clock out of here and not be significant, not make a difference. Not by numbers but by impact.”

About a year ago, James found himself driving through Arlington, hurting, around 4:00 on a Sunday, which has been the time of the Mission Arlington® Worker’s meeting every week since 1986. He knew where to find his family. James slipped in the back of the meeting, crying, into open arms. After the meeting, Tillie told him to come visit during the week.

Since then, James has been as active as he can at Mission Arlington®. Despite continuing health concerns, he says he has to keep reaching out, ministering directly to the people. “I’m too old just to do church. I’m too old just to preach three points and a poem. I don’t want to leave without fulfilling God’s mission for my life.

“There are other places I could be, other things I could do. But I don’t think there’s any place I would be more significant, any place I would be more loved, any place I would be more appreciated, or any place that I care more about.”

Originally published in February of 2016.

Tori

Tori grew up at Mission Arlington®. She attended Grace Street Fellowship, a Mission congregation, and her mother has been involved in many capacities for all those years.

Last spring, Tori graduated from Arlington High School, and, after applying for work at a few places, she realized Mission Arlington® was the perfect fit. She started full time this past summer doing clerical work and Bible Studies every afternoon in Grand Prairie.

Toni, Tori’s partner in Grand Prairie, has nothing but praise for Tori and the good work God is doing in that city. Toni says, “I prayed for helpers, and God provided a young lady from among our own kids!  …She uses her energy, creativity, compassion and servant’s heart to work beside me in Grand Prairie! God exceeded my expectations when He called her to the ‘mission field next door.’”

Tori says, “I love teaching. That’s something I wanted to do regardless of where I was working.” She teaches on Sundays and helps plan crafts and activities for their weekly meetings. Toni is great at listening to Tori’s ideas, and they work together well.

Since coming to Mission Arlington® to work, Tori says she has learned to “put everything in God’s hands. After I did that…everything was much more peaceful.”

Tori will be leaving after our Fall Festival this year to join her mother in Oklahoma to help care for her ailing grandmother.  We have been so blessed to watch Tori grow into the beautiful young lady she has become, and into the maturing Christian servant of the Lord.  We will miss her, of course, but we are excited about this next part of her journey, and we look forward to her return.

{First published 1 year ago, October 29th, 2017. Edited and republished October 23rd, 2018.}

Ricardo and Jesus

Two brothers, sitting on the steps of the apartment where their Mission Arlington church meets each Sunday.

Two brothers, sitting on the steps of the apartment where their Mission Arlington church meets each Sunday.

As soon as Jesus could walk, he was volunteering for Mission Arlington®.  He would toddle around behind his Bible Study leader, Rebecca, and knock on the apartment doors to invite everyone to church.

Ricardo, Jesus’ older brother, has been attending Bible Study for years and, even though their family moved away from the apartments more than ten years ago, they still drive back every week because that’s their church.  They say they like the environment and love to learn about God.

Some may recognize these boys from previous Mission Arlington® publications. Rebecca always has her camera, so Jesus appeared in many newsletters as he grew up. Ricardo wrote an essay for school a few years ago about the work they do on Fridays, which was published as well. Read the essay here. Last year, Rebecca wrote a piece about Ricardo and his friend that was featured on this website. Find that article here.

Ricardo’s working on his college degree now, and says he uses the things he learns at church in his everyday life. “Everything I’ve learned, I’ve put in into my life.  There are things I’m still working on to change with the help of God.” And while at school, he shares his faith whenever he can.  His goal? He wants “to show people that their life can be full of hope.”

Jesus is in junior high, While this is difficult territory, Jesus says he has a plan. “Always keep going forward and make better choices. There is another way of life.”

Mission Arlington ® is so much more than clothes, food, and Sunday morning Bible Study.  Those things work together towards the overarching goal of investing in lives to further God’s kingdom.  Ricardo and Jesus are just two of many who are following Christ, and we praise God for the work he is doing in their lives today.

Originally published on February 1st, 2015.

Audrey

“It’s a blessing to see God work miracles every day” – Audrey.

Last fall, Audrey was working in Tulsa at a shelter that was soon to close. She was planning to return to family in New York when to someone casually mentioned Texas. And God said, “You are going to Texas.” Audrey says, “It was embedded in my mind. I couldn’t take my thoughts from it.”

Shortly thereafter, Audrey was in Arlington, Texas. She started volunteering at Mission Arlington and wondered if this was the reason God had whispered “Texas.” Tillie confirmed Audrey’s suspicion when she told Audrey she had a place for her. Since then, Audrey has been working in the front room, on the phones, in the food pantry, and doing Bible Study at a central Arlington apartment complex.

Every day, about 500 people come to the front room of Mission Arlington® looking for help with food, clothing, rent, utilities and other assistance. Audrey is glad to pray with the people and see how we can help. She remembers one woman came needing food, furniture, and had a prayer request. Audrey asked about the prayer request and the woman cried, telling about her entire situation. They prayed and talked for a long time. By the time the woman was left, Audrey says although we didn’t have every last physical thing she asked for, she received something else that God prepared for her, and the woman left in better shape than when she had come.

Recently, Audrey was restocking the food pantry and a request came for more vegetables. Audrey knew there were no more vegetables, but she went back to the stockroom to see if anything else had come in. At that moment, a man came in with a box of canned vegetables and asked where to put them. “Oh, great! We need those in the small pantry,” Audrey told him. He answered, “You don’t understand. “My truck is full of vegetables.”

The next day, a similar issue came up with Ramen noodles. Audrey had just given away the last package of noodles, a very popular item in the pantry, so she went to the stockroom to see what else was available. As she was walking by the donation area, a man pulled up and opened his trunk to reveal it was full of Ramen noodles. Audrey laughed, “Not just one pack, no, boxes and boxes of noodles.”

Audrey thinks about God’s provision in terms of Luke 5. The disciples have been fishing with no success, but when Jesus tells them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat, the nets break because they are so full of fish. Audrey explains, “Mission Arlington is a broken-net place. People come in a hopeless situation, but leave with nets so full, the nets are broken.”

Originally published in May of 2017.

Doris

When Tillie Burgin returned from Korea, a woman named Doris whom she did not know approached her saying, “I’ve been praying for you.” This began a decades-long friendship between the two women and their families.

Doris volunteered at Mission Arlington in countless ways from the beginning. From clerical work to cleaning the kitchen, she was always a familiar sight around the office. She also served on the Mission Metroplex Board of Directors.

The position most important to her, though, was the time she spent teaching the ladies’ Bible Study at South Street Church. She guided the women that she taught to follow God. They loved her so much, even when she was no longer well enough to teach the class, the women still asked about her and checked on her consistently.

Doris loved telling people about the Lord. She once found, while proofreading a Mission Arlington publication, someone had written the phrase, “a chance to tell people about Jesus.” She suggested a word change, explaining it was not by a lucky “chance,” but telling people about Jesus is always an “opportunity.” She took these opportunities seriously because of her deep love for her Savior. She wanted everyone to know him the way she knew him.

We are thankful to God for sending this beautiful woman to teach us all how to love the Lord and serve people well. Doris went to be with her Lord this spring. She now knows by sight what we only know by faith.

At her memorial service, one speaker asked everyone to stand who had been taught by Doris. Nearly one-fourth of the congregation stood to be counted as Doris‘ pupils. Almost all of these have gone on to teach their own classes, or lead their families or friends in the way of the Lord.

Doris‘ legacy, taking opportunities to spread the word of God, will make an impact for generations to come.

Dennis

When Dennis was five, he told his parents he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a missionary, someone who “goes around the world and tells people about Jesus.” Rather than just a cute passing phase, Dennis has kept this goal consistently through the last two years.

Recently, Dennis’ parents encouraged him over lunch. “You don’t have to wait to make an impact. You could make an impact now.” Dennis considered his favorite toy, Legos, saying, “Maybe I could be a Lego missionary.”

In Dennis’ own words, “We go around and tell the gospel to kids and help them to do legos and give them a toy to play with.”

And so Building Blocks 4 Kids was born. While Dennis recruited some friends from his church to help, his parents contacted Mission Arlington to see if there were any groups of children that would want to build Legos and hear the Gospel. Of course, that was easy to set up.

Two months later, at an apartment complex in North Arlington, Dennis and friends passed out Legos, sang worship songs, and told how God should be the architect of your life. If you follow God’s instructions, your life will look like what he has planned. They read Jeremiah 29:11, then they all built Legos together, following the Lego diagram.

Since then, Building Blocks 4 Kids has visited two more locations and six more are planned for the summer. The word is out: co-workers and friends are dropping off Lego donations with Dennis’ family. Through a connection with a missionary in Africa, Dennis will send sets of Legos overseas with the Bible Study translated into Swahili.

The mission of Building Blocks 4 Kids is spreading across Arlington and into the world. We’re so glad that God asked us to be a part of this fun gospel project.

There’s no reason to wait if God has put a call on your life to share the Gospel. How can you share Christ today?

Visit Building Blocks 4 Kids on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/buildingblocks4kids.org/

 

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