Several times over the years, Michelle has come to visit Mission Arlington® for a week at a time with her church. Her group did Rainbow Express® and work projects, and in doing so, made a real difference in the lives of people in Arlington. Michelle, however, desired to make a bigger investment. This fall, she committed to move to Arlington for a semester. It was an important leap of faith.
Everyday, Michelle works in the food pantry, helps sort donations under the car port, and teaches at an After School program each day. In the food pantry, she loves to chat one-on-one with the people. Under the carport, she is blessed when she sees all the donations coming in and the way God uses those donations. She enjoys teaching at the After School programs the most and loves to see the children learn and grow in Christ. One of the reasons she wanted to come back was to see how God changes people over months rather than a week. Because of her availability, she is involved at four different Bible Study sites.
At one site last week, while Michelle was teaching the Bible lesson, one 10-year-old girl raised her hand and asked, “This story is about a fake guy, right?” Michelle assured her that the stories they were telling were true. The girl asked amazed, “So, the stuff about the cross is all real?” What an opportunity to share the truth with a group of children.
Across Arlington, Mission Arlington workers find families who have not heard about Jesus. How wonderful that God would send someone like Michelle, who has a real desire for people to know, so that more people can hear the truth of what God did to save the world.
More Bible Study and After School workers are needed right now. People are asking for someone to come share Christ in their neighborhoods, but the workers are few. If God is calling you to volunteer, please come by or call to see how you can help today.
Originally published in November 2015. Michelle still works with the mission today.
Seventeen years ago, Jerry was attending a small church in Hurst when a group, visiting from another state and volunteering for Mission Arlington®, came to do Rainbow Express at a nearby apartment. He had heard of Mission Arlington® before, but this was his first experience working with it first hand.
Jerry remembered a quote from Henry Blackaby, “Find out where God is at work, and join Him there.” So, when Jerry retired two years later and landed in Arlington, he stopped by the Mission office to see if there was any handy-man or carpentry work to do. Carpentry had always been an occasional hobby, and he says, “If it supports the ministry, I’m happy to do it.”
Tillie put him to work right away, three days per week. Jerry works on almost anything and had learn much in his time here. He says, “Plumbing is the one thing I told Tillie I don’t do, but now I do it.”
Jerry also teaches the “Young at Heart” senior adult class at Grace Street Fellowship. The class grew so large they had to divide. Instead of finding a teacher from an outside source, one of his attendees teaches the other Sunday school class and also leads an apartment Bible study during the week. Jerry loves to see his class stay active about sharing their faith.
Jerry also does a yearly outreach in Peru sharing the gospel with people who are receiving medical care. It’s a blessing to hear about how lives are being changed because of the work in Peru, at Grace Street, and around Arlington because Jerry followed God’s call to go where He is working.
Do you have a special skill you’d like to use to further God’s work? Please contact Mission Arlington® at 817-277-6620 to see how your skills might meet people’s needs.
Originally published March 20th, 2016. Jerry still serves at Grace Street Fellowship, and the Mission. He and his team leave for Peru this week. Please keep them in your prayers.
Children are important to Mission Arlington®. One young woman who has been part of the family, almost since birth, is 11-year-old Deshawndra. Her mom, Debra, has been a driver for Mission Arlington® for many years, making sure children in crisis get to school. Often, Deshawndra rides along with her, helping load and unload the bus. Deshawndra says, “It’s fun. I like it because it’s fun helping other people.”
Deshawndra has enough extra-curricular activities to make up another full-time job. She plays tennis, sings, draws, plays the violin, and reads. She’s in many clubs at her school. Recently, Deshawndra won a school-wide award for an essay about the role of fathers in education. Her favorite activity is tennis. She wants to be a teacher someday.
She has a great example of a teacher at her Mission Arlington® Bible Study. On Sundays, Deshawndra and her mother attend church at their apartment complex in north Arlington. Pastor Bob and his team teach the Bible to any residents who want to attend. Deshawndra and Debra both say that Bob makes the Bible relatable, telling the truth about God and also about how it affects their day-to-day lives.
It’s a joy to see Deshawndra is growing up to be a person who loves people and loves God. We are glad that God brought Debra to the Mission all those years ago with Deshawndra at her side.
Hang around the Mission for a while and you’ll start to notice the staff and volunteers act like family. In fact, some of the staff members are family and happy to work for God’s kingdom together.
Clark and Steven are brothers who spent several years of their childhood around the Mission. They have been to college and had a few jobs over the years, but now both of them work at Mission Arlington® full time, although in very different roles.
Clark spends his days making sure the facilities and vehicles of Mission Arlington® are functioning well. This “behind the scenes” work means he visits with plumbers, mechanics, and repairmen that do not have contact with Mission Arlington in other ways.
Clark says his favorite thing about working at the Mission is the people. “It’s fun because I get to work with a different set of people. There’s a plumber that was helping us once. He had a lot of questions. We were working on some major plumbing problems. He just kept talking and talking. For about 3 hours we talked about scripture and his problems. We’ve kept up through the years. He’s going to church; he’s saved now. It’s things you wouldn’t expect while you’re fixing a waterline under a building.”
On his brother, Clark says, “Steven has a very different skill set than I have, and he’s vital to what we do. He’s a great guy.”
Steven recently graduated with a BFA in 2-Dimensional Art. He likes working at the Mission because “not only are we friends, we are family. One big family.” He uses his artistic skill designing t-shirts and brochures, but also coordinates Mission Arlington’s backyard Bible Club, Rainbow Express. During Spring Break, more than 7,000 children attended and 212 people accepted Christ. Read more about Rainbow Express here.
On working with Clark, Steven says, “He’s one of the nicest people I have met. It’s been a joy not only to grow up with him at home, but to work alongside him everyday.”
We are glad God led these brothers to spend their days at Mission Arlington® sharing God’s Word and equipping his people to share love across the city.
Fifteen years ago, Lucy was a stay-at-home mom with four kids, no car, and a husband who was always working or out with his friends. So when a neighbor invited her to a Mission Arlington® Bible Study in her community, she went the same week.
She quickly found that the two workers there, Adrian and Adela, talked about the same Jesus that she had accepted as a child in Mexico. Lucy had heard the couple could help with food, so when her son’s birthday came with nothing in her pantry, she told Adela. Adela said, “I’ll come back with everything you need – just invite me to the party.” And that’s exactly what happened.
After Lucy moved, she found herself at another community with a Mission Arlington® After School program. She sent her children for help with their math. That winter, the worker, Matt, asked if she needed help for Christmas. More than a decade later, Lucy still lights up talking about it. A few days before Christmas, a group of kids showed up with armloads of gifts.“I can’t forget this thing. We had a tree with nothing underneath, and it was like a rain of presents.”
Lucy’s foundation in the Word of God has seen her through many trials. Her husband has changed. He prays, he’s home at night, and he stopped drinking. Her younger children are still in school, applying for jobs, and doing well. One of her boys had a rough adolescence, but is now married with two beautiful children and a good job. It breaks Lucy’s heart to know one of her children is in jail, but she prays for him and still trusts God to change his life. Lucy smiles, “I have problems, but I’m still happy. Jesus made me strong.”
Recently, Lucy was looking for a church to attend and spotted one on her daily drive down Fielder Road. Under the church name, she read, “Mission Arlington®.” She remembered other churches she had attended taught the Word of God, but Mission Arlington® was there when she had nothing. She knew she belonged, so she joined the church. Now she hears the Word of God, and feels connected to a encouraging group of people.
Looking back, Lucy says, “I understand now that God is using me. I don’t have enough time to say thank you.”
This article was originally published 1 year ago, and it is an encouragement and/or a reminder at the beginning of a new year to be a people of prayer
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, last year. 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. This past January, that board (as it always does) started the year with a prayer retreat. 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 90s, 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. May the Lord find each of us as faithful as we serve Him in these days.
Sayaka traveled from Japan to Texas to attend school. She was only planning on getting an engineering degree, but in January 2016, Sayaka found Christ.
She writes, “Last year on the day before school started, I was so afraid, and I did not have any hope. I was so lonely, but now I’m different. God has given me courage and changed me and taught me a lot.”
Sayaka was assigned to Mission Arlington® this past summer. She fell right into place with the Mission family and was a joy to be around. “I don’t have family in America. I feel lonely sometimes. But whenever I come here, I feel so welcome. It’s like my family.”
June through August, Sayaka did Summer Program and Lunch program every day plus field trips with her children from her Bible Study with Ms. Emily. One boy in particular had a difficult home life. There was only one parent at home and many children. The boy was always waiting for Sayaka and Emily when they arrived at the apartments. Sayaka said this child had a hard time behaving, but he actually accepted Christ before the summer ended.
God used Sayaka this summer to reach people for Christ and she grew closer to Christ herself. She recently shared this on her Facebook page, “One of the things I learned this summer is God is always taking care of His children in many different ways. He always prepares people around me. I’m not alone anymore. Whenever I need to start new things, I always remember that God is with me and He is my hope. Thank God!”
Francesca grew up in church. She went every week as a child, but always felt confused about who God was. That changed about 5 years ago when a team from Mission Arlington® started a mid-week Bible Study at her apartment complex.
Paty, her teacher, told her about what it means to follow Christ and Francesca accepted him. Paty said it was important for Francesca’s family to be more involved in church, so they started going to church with Paty on Sundays, as well as the weekly Bible Study.
In time, Francesca and her husband saw real changes in their children’s lives. “Before we had many struggles with food, with money. We were in very bad shape. But now, we are better. God gives us everything we need. We ask where it comes from, and the answer is ‘God.’”
Francesca says they have the same jobs and the same amount of money as before, so the difference they feel could be in the attitude they have now. She admits she used to worry all the time, but now says, “I know God is with me. It’s better. We don’t worry about tomorrow.”
Their home is filled with thanks to God. Francesca says. “It’s beautiful to know Christ. Every night I thank him. Every morning, I thank him.” Her kids thanks God, too, for good days at school, at work, for everything. If they ever miss a week at church, the children remind her, and insist that they don’t miss the next week.
Now, the family is all giving back and leading their own Bible Study during the week. This month, they’ve been busy knocking on all the doors in the community, asking who needs a turkey and inviting people to church. They don’t want anyone to miss Thanksgiving or an opportunity to hear about God.
Michelle and her dad, Mark, took a general household donation to Mission Arlington® back in 2011. Michelle was impressed that they needed to give more. They brainstormed and decided baby food would be the best thing to collect. Shortly thereafter, Michelle and Mark returned with 1,000 jars of baby food. This was the start of a year-long relationship of giving.
About a year later, Mark passed away suddenly from an undiagnosed arteriovenous malformation. The family was devastated but found hope in that Mark had accepted Christ 3 days before his death.
Michelle’s mother remarried sometime later, and as a new family, they started looking for a new church. Michelle’s stepfather found Grace Street Fellowship and after the first visit they knew it was the church for them. Michelle says that, while they found people at other churches kind and welcoming, at Grace Street, the members were truly friendly, immediately getting to know them and genuinely interested in their lives. Michelle says, “They love you for who you are.”
In 2013, Michelle really gave her life over to God. Since then, she’s been a light in her school. “I share Christ in every way I can. The students come with me for advice. I share my testimony with them and say, ‘Maybe you should talk to God and then talk to me again.’”
Her youth group leader, Nicole, says it best: “Michelle is both an inspiration and a joy to be around. She has a passion for the Lord and his people that is contagious. I have had the honor of seeing God use Michelle in beautiful ways. Whether it be ministering to her friends at school and church, sharing the love of God with a child at Rainbow Express, or faithfully cleaning a mess when no one else will, Michelle is a wonderful example of being the hands and feet of Christ.”
We thank God for Michelle and are glad that she and her family found their way to live and serve in the Mission Arlington® family.
Four years ago when Marie Lise left her home in Burkina Faso to study finance in East Texas, she had no way of knowing the plans God had. This summer has been a little different for her.
“I wanted to do God’s work and spread the gospel,” she says. So she applied with Go Now Missions. She was assigned to Mission Arlington® as a summer missionary and has been a blessing to everyone she has encountered.
She worked primarily with Ms. Marne, Ms. Bea, and Ms. Tan in East Arlington. Her favorite part has been “working with the kids, getting to know them personally, and giving them a little bit of the love the God gave us, and helping them know God more.”
The population Marie Lise worked with in Arlington includes many Muslim people. She did her best to teach them about Jesus. “They are really sweet, really open to listen.” She says that they didn’t accept Jesus at first because that’s not what they have been taught, but, the more we share, the more they understand.
Unfortunately, Marie Lise is leaving now, off to find a job since she has now graduated. We are sad to see her go. But Marne and her team are still here to continue giving away the love that God gave us. We pray for the children and adults that still need to hear and come to a personal understanding of God’s great love.
Would you like to volunteer at a Mission Arlington® Bible Study? There are communities waiting to hear the gospel, asking someone to come. Please call us at 817-277-6620 and let us know that you’re ready to help.