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!
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.
Originally published January 9th, 2019.
Whitney first came to Mission Arlington® at age 8 when her mom started working in the childcare. She and her brother grew up going to Mission Arlington® Bible Studies, doing Rainbow Express over the summer, and Whitney started teaching at an east Arlington complex when she was 12 years old.
After she graduated from high school, Whitney married and moved to North Carolina. After a time, Whitney knew the marriage was not healthy. Her husband had left the faith. Whitney felt God telling her to come home to Texas, but, worried about what people might say or think, she stayed in North Carolina. “My mom was telling me, ‘Come home, it doesn’t matter, just come home.’ and all it took was Tillie calling me saying, ‘Come home. We miss you.’” Whitney says she started crying and knew she had a place back in Texas where people would love her unconditionally.
When she came back, Whitney stopped by the Mission to bring her mom lunch, and Tillie chatted with her. Tillie told her that another Bible Study leader had just left and that she really needed Whitney to fill in the gap.
So for two years, Whitney has lived and done church at an apartment community. The first year, she says, was very difficult. Someone broke into the church apartment once per month.
But one day, an older woman came to Bible Study, the first adult that had attended since Whitney arrived. At first, the woman was upset, struggling, and embarrassed to share, until finally the woman blurted out, “I’m going through a really bad divorce and I need prayer…I know you’re so young, you can’t relate.” Whitney said, “I really hadn’t gotten to share that with anyone. That opened the door, and I had to say something.” They set up a regular time to pray together and ministered to each other that way.
From that moment, Whitney told God, “Okay – I know this is all you. This is totally where I need to be.”
Since then, Whitney met her new husband and has a brand new life. She works in the food pantry daily, sorting and preparing food for all the people that come each day. Her daughters are a part of Mission Arlington, too, working alongside their mom. Through a few tears, Whitney says, “For my daughters, I wish this could be a family tradition because of how much it blesses me.”
God brought Whitney home, and Mission Arlington® is stronger, people are coming to Christ, because she followed him.
[Originally published October 9th, 2016.]
[Editors Note: The text below was taken directly from the program for Commencement from Dallas Baptist University on the occasion of Graduation Services for DBU on August 9th, 2019. On that day, the University bestowed on Bob Burgin an honorary doctorate.]
“Missionary, educator, administrator, and pastor, Bob Burgin shines as an outstanding example of Christian leadership, faith in God, and service to others. Known for his kind and caring disposition, Bob is beloved by students, colleagues, and congregants. His missionary heart for the lost and needy around the world and for those in his own community of Arlington reflects the character of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Bob Burgin grew up in Jewett, Texas, in Leon County. He met his wife, Tillie, at Arlington State College (now UTA), and the two were married in 1956 at Arlington’s First Baptist Church. They both graduated with degrees in education and went on to complete master’s degrees from North Texas State in Denton (now UNT).
Bob started teaching math at Carter Junior High in 1960, but after he and Tillie had their two sons, Jim and Rick, the Burgins felt called to the mission field to serve as Southern Baptist missionaries at Korea Baptist College and Korea Christian Academy. When they returned to Arlington in the 1970s, Bob became assistant principal of Hutcheson Junior High for one year, Gunn Junior High for four years, and Nichols Junior High for three years before becoming Nichols’ principal in 1982. In 1989, he was appointed as principal of Arlington High until his retirement from AISD.
Bob jointed the Dallas Baptist University faculty in 1999 as Associate Dean, Director of Secondary Education, and Assistant Professor in the College of Education. Professor Burgin is admired by his students for his kind demeanor and his genuine care for their educational success. He was honored as an Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in 2007-8 and was selected by his colleagues to serve for a term as President of Faculty Council.
When the Burgins returned from Korea, they also felt a burden for their city and started praying for ways to live missionally right where they were. This birthed a long season of prayer, seven years to be exact, that involved several home prayer teams across the city. First Baptist Church of Arlington also joined the Burgins in their call and appointed Tillie as their minister of missions in 1986. From there, the Burgins had a vision to start Bible studies in apartments in the Arlington community, and after only three months they were already serving 300 people.
This ministry later grew and developed into what is now Mission Arlington®. In its 33rd year of service, this Christ-centered, award winning non-profit ministry provides free health and dental care, counseling services, household donations, and a clothing and food bank for the needy of Arlington. It also hosts Bible clubs and summer camps for children, and coordinates over 350 home church Bible studies across the city each week with thousands in attendance, taking the church to the people in obedience to the Great Commission. Bob assists Tillie, who serves as the Directo of Mission Arlington®, and for over 20 years, he has pastored the apartment church that is now Parkview Church. Burgin Elementary School in Arlington was established in honor of the impact the Burgins have made on the city.
Professor Burgin continues to teach education courses at DBU as an adjunct professor while partnering with his wife in the ongoing work of Mission Arlington®. He and Tillie have been married for 63 years. Their two sons, Rick and Jim, are each married with children and have been actively involved in ministry with their parents at Mission Arlington.”
When Jim Monroe retired twenty years ago, he contacted Tillie about volunteer opportunities. He said, “I’m available.” And that’s all it took.
In the beginning, he held several posts, from furniture delivery, to teaching a Bible Study, to sorting clothes. He was available just like he said he would be. In the end, he started helping in Mission Arlington’s® Front Room, where people come to ask for assistance with food, clothing, financial assistance, and other needs. In spite of how emotional it can be, he took to it immediately. He says, “It meant something to me, because of the people we were seeing. Not as a big group, but one-on-one.”
His current role is to be at the front desk whenever he is here, helping answer questions and directing people in need. He sometimes helps facilitate financial assistance, calling the utility companies to pledge support, etc. The needs are great. He points out that although Mission Arlington® is in the middle of signing up people for school supplies, people are already asking for Thanksgiving and Christmas help.
His favorite thing is helping people one-on-one. He likes helping people problem solve. He says some people find themselves in need because of an emergency, a death in the family or loss of job, and some need help and aren’t sure how they got to this point. Jim finds joy in helping people problem solve: teaching them to save money, showing them life-skills, like how to budget. He says, “You see light bulbs come on. When they came in, they didn’t see how it could be done.” The work in hard, but joy comes from the Lord. “It’s somber, heartbreaking but satisfying. It’s good, all the time. And nothing surpasses that kind of joy.”
Recently, in conjunction with Jim’s birthday, the Mission Arlington® staff and volunteers celebrated Jim’s twentieth-year volunteering anniversary. We are grateful for this long-term commitment and the way Jim cares for the people.
The Front Room assisted, on average, 160 families per day in 2018. This takes a large team of volunteers, and we need you. If you feel called to help counsel and pray with people in need, please call 817-277-6620 or stop by to see how you can help.
“I wouldn’t recommend it…But I wouldn’t give up what I learned from it.“
That’s how Patti describes the relapse she went through a few years ago. After 19 years clean and sober, she found herself blacked out near the doors of Mission Arlington®.
She says Tillie and another staff member helped Patti back to her house and invited her to Bible Study the next Wednesday. Patti knew she wouldn’t remember the invitation, so she scribbled on a post it note immediately “Wednesday Bible Study, 7:30, Ms. Tillie” and she stuck it to a post outside her apartment.
On the next Wednesday night, Tillie came to pick Patti up. Eventually, Patti started volunteering at Mission Arlington. She remembers, “The empty hours on my days off from work were spent with godly people doing His work. The more time I spent away from the alcohol and in the presence of God, the less I needed the bottle.“
Soon, she found her way to Celebrate Recovery, a Christ centered recovery group at Grace Street Fellowship.
In her 20’s, she had gone through a 12 step program with Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous and counts that as an important learning experience. But the second time, with Celebrate Recovery, she says, is so different. While AA was about what she was doing by herself to be sober, with CR, it’s about relying on God and getting as close to him as humanly possible.
Several years ago, Patti asked God to “Remove all barriers, anything between him and I.” Since then, God has been answering that prayer, one painful thing at a time. Now she says with a grin, “That was a prayer and a half. Don’t ever, ever, ever pray for something like that unless you are really prepared.“ Today, Patti works full time with Mission Arlington®
Patti used to be prideful about her recovery, but now she boasts in Jesus Christ as her Lord. Instead of putting faith in the time she has clean, she puts her faith in God. We celebrate with her for how God has changed her life.
(Originally Published in April 2014.)
In 2008, Jean was enjoying her retirement from the Arlington school district until her mother passed away in March. By that June, she realized she needed to do something to keep herself occupied, so she visited with Tillie. “I knew I needed to get busy. I needed to do something so I would quit feeling sorry for myself.” Tillie introduced her to the medical clinic, and Jean began to work with Andrea, the nurse practitioner and one of Jean’s former students. Jean never left.
Jean does not have a medical background, but her skills as an administrator come in handy with the day-to-day clinic operations. She keeps excellent records, schedules appointments, and countless other necessary duties. Her favorite part of the job, though, is helping patients get reasonably-priced or free medications.
As the cost of prescriptions rise, Jean helps patients navigate pharmaceutical companies’ discount programs. She helps the doctors find the most accessible, most effective way to get patients the medications they need. She often stays late to fill out forms, make phone calls, and communicate with patients, but because she sees how much it helps the clinic’s visitors, she knows it’s worth every minute. “I feel it’s very important that they get their medications. There’s a real obligation in doing that because people need to be cared for in a timely manner.”
Every patient that visits the clinic gets to see God’s love through the time that Jean pours into them. We are grateful for her love and care for the people.
(Originally published February 2017)
SJ Stovall was born in Lufkin, Texas in September of 1925. His parents couldn’t decide on a given name for their son, so they wrote his father’s initials – “SJ” – on his birth certificate as a temporary solution. What was temporary, however, became permanent, when the parents didn’t change the birth certificate, or his name. In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, SJ said that he guessed he was thirteen before he “realized that SJ – my father’s initials – didn’t stand for anything.” When SJ would tell that story to many of us around “Mission Arlington®,” he would always have a “twinkle in his eye,” and a broad smile. He loved to tell that story, especially when people asked him (often repeatedly) what those initials stood for.
While it is true, according to SJ, that his initials “didn’t stand for anything,” nothing could have been further from the truth when it came to the man that he was, and the way that he lived his life. A dedicated public servant, SJ served as both a city councilman, and Mayor of Arlington, investing more than two decades of his life to serve his community effectively. In addition to his work with the City of Arlington, SJ was on the board of trustees for Arlington Memorial hospital, and also, the President of the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
He was also a dedicated man of faith. A long time member of and leader in First Baptist Church, Arlington, the Burgins and Stovalls became friends along the way. Together, they celebrated Christmas Eve, birthdays, and other events through the years. The Burgin brothers, both on staff at Mission Arlington®, and Jean Cagle, Director of the Allan Saxe Dental Clinic, remember those annual gatherings fondly. It was natural, therefore, under God’s leadership, for Mayor Stovall to become the founder and the chair of Mission Metroplex, Inc. which was formed to support and under-gird the work of Mission Arlington® in 1990. He served in that role for close to two decades. Under his leadership, the work of Mission Arlington/Mission Metroplex grew significantly.
Because of SJ’s relationship with the Lord, he had a winsome way about him. He always made it a point to provide encouragement to the staff of Mission Arlington®. He especially admired the student interns, called “Summer Missionaries,” young people from 16-23 years of age, who gave their summers free of charge to serve the Lord at the mission. Because of that, SJ, or “the mayor,” as he was often called, created an annual breakfast to honor the missionaries. SJ would purchase the food, and on July 4th each year, the missionaries, staff, and other board members would enjoy the fresh fair provided, the fellowship, and then afterwards, a full-fledged parade. The numbers swelled over time to include many from one of Mission Arlington’s 349 congregations.
SJ Stovall passed away in July of 2010 at the age of 84. He lived his life well, and we continue to find inspiration from his dedication and his relationship with the Lord. Since that time, Mission Arlington® has continued the tradition of providing a treat for Summer Missionaries, and providing honor to these young people who have given of themselves so sacrificially here in our city. As we gather for breakfast this morning, many of us will remember SJ, and the difference he made.
Thank you, Mayor Stovall, and to God be the glory!
God is at work in East Arlington – specifically, using Regina and her church to visit and share the gospel with families across the area.
Regina has been visiting people in the area for years. Mostly, their visits have been to people who have come to Mission Arlington® for assistance. She says, often, people affirm that God ordained the visit. She says, “We show up in just the nick of time. People say all the time, ‘How did you know to come now? I was just saying I wish I had someone to pray with.’ Those are moments when know we are being used by God.”
Meeting people whose entire experience with church is attending a wedding or funeral, it’s thrilling to share the full truth of Christ with someone who has never heard.
Recently, the church has been focused on equipping the saints that have been attending to go and make visits themselves in the community. The leadership asked the congregation how they were feeling about visiting for the first time. Regina says, “What we heard was ‘It’s exciting, but I’m a little nervous, a little scared.’ But when we are confident in scripture, God will do what he set out to do.”
In addition to visiting three times per week, Regina holds an afterschool program for students from Sam Houston High School, leads a Bible Study at a nearby apartment complex, and a Wednesday night youth Bible Study for anyone in the area who may want to attend. On Saturdays, you can find her spending time with the teenagers. The teens are ready to visit, too. As many of them are bilingual, they will be place with monolingual church members to translate and share.
We are excited about the work God is doing across the city. Regina sums it up this way, “I’m a work in progress. Philippians says the work God has done with me, he will be faithful to bring to completion.”
Alex was building yachts in Italy when a friend introduced him to a real life in Christ. Alex began studying the Bible, soaking it in, when an acquaintance from his home country of Columbia caught his attention on social media. He sent her a friend request on a whim.
Irina, a lawyer in Columbia, had just ended a serious relationship with a man who had been unkind. She took a short trip with a friend to Europe to clear her head. While visiting Italy, she met Alex in person. Their friendship continued, and they were married shortly thereafter. Alex returned to Columbia, and they started their life together.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, God sent them to America. They moved here with no family, few connections.
Alex says he relates to Abraham being called to travel from the comfort of home and family to a new land. He wasn’t sure why God was asking them to leave, but they followed and found themselves in a new, difficult, blessed journey. He remembered how when Moses questioned God, God replied, “I AM.” This same God was telling them to move, so they moved.
While settling down in Arlington, they found themselves needing a little help. They visited the Mission. A woman named Lucy helped them and noticed they seemed so alone. After listening to their story, she invited them to church. They came the next Sunday and have scarcely missed a Sunday since.
At church, Alex and Irina found a solid place to study the Bible, to break bread with other believers, and to participate in outreach. Irina grew up in church, but says before she moved to America, she didn’t really understand what God and the church were about. But in the last few years, she has seen the church come together to pray for her when she’s in need and to meet physical needs as well. She remembers with a smile, “We needed a bed, and, who was it? Lucy’s son came in a truck and delivered us a bed.” Irina smiles again when she says, “And the dental clinic fixed my teeth. I’m not in pain anymore.”
The whole time, they have continued to give back and volunteer in their community as they are able. They invite people to church and are glad to share God’s word with their neighbors.
The stories of God’s provision and plan are more than will fit in this short space, but it is clear, Alex and Irina have found joy since God sent them here from across the globe.
Originally published March 5th, 2018.