While Tommy was attending Grace Street Church in Arlington many years ago, he felt the call to minister at Mission Arlington®, but says, “I knew I could not be there like I was.” At the time, Tommy struggled with a serious drinking problem. During this time, he met with his pastors and Tillie Burgin. Tillie challenged him to stop drinking and get his life back together. That night, he went home and did not drink, but he didn’t sleep either.
While the struggle continued, Tommy sought out people from his past and made amends where needed. After visiting with the last person on his list, Tommy says God took the urge to drink away. Although he had tried several 12-step programs, he says he had always joined the program at someone else’s urging and found no long term success. But this time, God truly transformed his life, and Tommy says, “Tillie was instrumental in my sobriety.”
Shortly after, Tommy began dating Noeleen, and they were married within 3 months. Now, 15 years later, Tommy and Noeleen work full-time at Mission Arlington®. At Grace Street Church, he is a maintenance man, audio-visual expert, praise team member, Sunday School teacher, and more. During the day at Mission Arlington®, he is a truck driver, picking up and delivering donations.
The time in the truck is not wasted by any means. Tommy calls his truck the “mobile tabernacle” where he can share his faith with the people who ride along with him. Often, if Tommy finds himself talking with one who has had a similar experience, the rider is more likely to listen because of Tommy’s past problems and how God is obviously at work in his life today.
We thank God for Tommy and for the path that led him here. His life is a true testimony to God’s power.
Noeleen first visited Mission Arlington® in 1999 on a date. Her new boyfriend invited her to his church, Grace Street Fellowship, a ministry of Mission Arlington®, which was meeting in a school at the time. She immediately fell in love with the people, eventually fell in love with and married the boyfriend, and they both still work at the church to this day.
A few years later, driving to her job at an auto parts store, Noeleen heard God say, “I am with you.” She immediately felt the need to go talk with Tillie about working full time at Mission Arlington®. The next weekend, they visited and Tillie explained that there were no positions available, but they would wait and see what God would do. Within 15 minutes, another staff member gave her two week’s notice, and Noeleen had a new job.
If a truck has ever visited your home to pick up a donation, Noeleen prayed for you. In addition to teaching and ministering at Grace Street, she works in dispatch where she lays out the pickups every morning and prays for the donors, drivers, and trucks. She says everyday is a miracle, because at the beginning of the day, there are only two drivers that she is sure will come because they are on the staff. “God has to bring the people, and you don’t know who is going to come” she says. Everyone else that comes is a volunteer, and there is no guarantee that any one person will come.
Even so, by 7:00 every night, the donations have been picked up, furniture has been delivered to people who need it, and it’s all thanks to God.
Noeleen also enjoys the moments she has with the volunteer drivers as they are on their way in and out of her office. There is not always time to talk at length about Christ, but little by little, Noeleen is building trust with the drivers, greeting them with a smile. She says when the volunteers have questions about her faith, she is always ready to with a response. People know her faith is sincere.
We are grateful that the Lord brought Noeleen our way.
Mission Arlington®’s Bob Mann Medical Clinic turns 25 this year. The growth from it’s early days has been tremendous.
In November 1990, the clinic was opened just three hours per week: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:15-1:15. Twelve doctors rotated volunteering during their lunch hours to treat patients for free. Primarily treating pneumonia and infections, the clinic caught people who needed urgent care, but could not afford to visit an urgent care center. In the first three months, the clinic saw about 100 people. People received much needed care, but resources were limited.
Today, the clinic is constantly bustling with activity and averaging 180 patients per week. Some doctors still come for one hour per week, but others have devoted one whole day per week to volunteering. Because so many doctors are willing and able to come, patients are seen Monday-Friday. The clinic provides physical therapy, diabetes maintenance, a variety of specialists, and a prescription drug program to help people with on-going medical needs. The resources available have expanded exponentially, and now local hospitals can even occasionally perform free surgeries.
One “motto” among the Mission Arlington® leadership is not to say “no” when someone wants to help, so the first time a doctor offered to volunteer on a Tuesday night, the clinic expanded it’s care to Tuesday nights. When someone called and asked if the clinic needed an EKG machine, the answer was, “of course!” The EKG machine has been used countless times to save lives and reassure many who come with troubling symptoms.
Yesenia, who visited the clinic recently, had this to say about her care, “I never knew there was a place where not only can you get help for any sickness, or a broken leg, in my case, but you can also find people who believe in God and his miracles.” She explained that when she first met the clinic’s orthopedic surgeon, he encouraged her to have faith and trust in Jesus. While Yesenia had already accepted Christ and was baptized last year, she says his words helped her remember the good things God has done for her. She says, “That’s why I’m thankful for Mission Arlington in everything that they do from their clinics, to doctors, to nurses, to the staff for being there for people who need them the most.”
By saying “Yes” and being willing to go wherever God leads, the clinic has grown in ways no one expected and only God could have designed. People are getting the care they need, being reached for Christ, and God’s not done yet. The clinic is always in need of additional medical professionals, supplies, and equipment. If you would like more information on how you can join in the work, please call today. 817-277-6620.
People across the globe pray for Mission Arlington®; daily, but no one has been praying for the work here longer than Jack and Imogene plus the small group that gathered in their house weekly to pray about the seed that God had planted in Tillie Burgin’s heart.
Jack remembers Tillie coming and asking them to pray about doing missions in Arlington, although they weren’t exactly sure where it would lead or what it would look like, they knew they needed to pray, down on their faces – and they did for two years until God revealed his will.
Shortly after Mission Arlington began, volunteers reached out to local apartment complexes to teach God’s word. For 22 years, Jack and Imogene led a weekly Bible study in a community near their house. Once per year, the Bible Study team would hold a three-day revival on site with food, songs, and a sermon. During their two decades, they saw small children learn about God, be baptized, and grow to serve God as adults.
Jack is now 91 years old. He says his life was changed when he heard this true story about a group of missionaries in Japan that planned to lead country-wide revival services. Some pastors from the United States planned to come support them, but as the travel date arrived, the Korean War intensified leading most of the state-side pastors to back out. The missionaries, who had spent years in Japan, sometimes in unsafe conditions, wondered why the pastors would not come. The missionaries asked, “Is it that you think we are expendable, and you are not?”
Upon hearing this story, Jack told God, “Whether I want to be expendable or not, Jesus came to the cross, and I’m expendable for you.” From that day on, Jack has sought to let God use him completely. God is eternal, and humans are temporary, so why wouldn’t one dedicate his earthly life to furthering God’s eternal will? Whatever God has asked of them, Jack and Imogene have tried to follow, no matter the cost.
They have wanted to, and still want to, live in a way that shows their lives are being totally used for the living God.
By 3:55 on Wednesday afternoon, a handful of children have gathered at the playground of their east side apartment complex. By 4:15, it’s swarming. Some kids carrying backpacks of homework, some chasing little brothers and sisters. Ms. Hattie and her team have arrived ready to play, tutor and share the gospel.
UTA volunteers start a game of kickball in an empty field next door, while another volunteer reads through a math assignment with a young boy. Ms. Hattie greets the children that are still arriving and invites them to play or study.
One frustrated mom comes with her daughter, school folder in hand. They pass the folder to Ms. Hattie. The little girl shakes her head at the science assignment inside. Ms. Hattie leads them over to a park bench and works with them both to understand the plant life cycle.
The mom says it’s her first time coming to “after school.” They just recently moved in, but they already knew where to come for help.
By 5:00, the kickball game has run its course. The kids are tired, and homework is done. Everyone gathers on blue blankets to hear a Bible Story about Jesus death and resurrection. It takes a while to get through the lesson, but the kids listen attentively.
In the beginning, Ms. Hattie wasn’t sure how God would work out all the details so she could serve full-time at Mission Arlington®. She had a job, a house, two pets, and plenty of bills. She had been volunteering twice a week, but she felt like God wanted her to do more. When she went to visit with Tillie, she expressed her concerns about housing, pets, and everything. They prayed and gave the concerns to God.
In the end, Hattie gave her employer two weeks notice and told her neighbor that she would be putting her house on the market. Within the week, her neighbor told her to not put up that “for sale” sign because he wanted to buy the house. The profits from the sale were enough to pay off her loans.
By the time she began her first day at Mission Arlington®, God had provided a free, pet-friendly place to live. One by one, God had removed any potential worry and Ms. Hattie could focus on the things that really matter: teaching children and showing their families the love of Christ.
Jerry had been retired for a year when a note came asking if he would like to come teach Bible Study for Mission Arlington®. After a few months of prayerful consideration, he began at an East side community. Jerry now works with the adults and teens on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
A month later, he came by the office to visit and began volunteering in the “Front Room” where people come for assistance with bills, groceries, housewares, and more. Many recognize him from teaching the Story during the Christmas Store, and tend to trust Jerry and let him pray for their families. They feel like they already know him.
Currently, he is leading Saturday basketball leagues. Up to 70 children and youth have come each week to play and pray. Children are able to play basketball in a safe, Christian environment. When one child reacted in anger and threw down the ball, Jerry and the other adults were available to intervene in a loving way. With one week left, that has been the only discipline issue they encountered.
Jerry wears many hats at Mission Arlington, and the community, but one thing he finds of utmost importance is the Sunday Bible Study that began it all. In the past year, the adult Bible Study has gone from zero to active. The youth class is so strong, some of his high school students volunteered at the basketball leagues.
He says, “There are lots of agencies who do (benevolent assistance), but not a lot that go out to the apartments and build relationships…being out there with them on a regular basis.” Because of the consistent presence, of Jerry and the Bible Study team, people know where to come for prayer when they are in crisis. People grow in Christ and discipleship happens.
We are grateful for Jerry, and all those like him who lend a hand here at Mission Arlington®.
Morgan moved here in 2012 intending to earn her Master’s degree at a local university. While she was preparing to start, she worked at Mission Arlington®, attracted to the work the Lord was doing there.
Somehow, parts her school application were misplaced, pushing her plans back an entire year. Then in 2013, when she had the opportunity to apply again, she declined. God made it clear; she needed to stay at the Mission.
Morgan knew at a young age that God wanted her working with children. Her childhood was spent making children’s Bible lesson plans with her aunt. Morgan finds she can use her gifts freely at Mission Arlington where she teaches at two west Arlington apartment complexes and helps prepare supplies for Rainbow Express, Mission Arlington®’s Backyard Bible Club.
Children’s lives are changed when they learn about the love of God. This can be a door to reach the whole family. In particular, one little girl who started attending Morgan’s Bible Study last year started off with a tough exterior, but as time went by, she became much sweeter.
Morgan remembers the day that the little girl’s mom came to Bible Study for the first time, her hand holding tight to a coloring sheet that said “Jesus Loves Me.” Morgan stepped up to ask how she could help. The mom replied, “I don’t know what you are teaching my daughter.” Morgan answered, “Well, we teach her about Jesus.” The mom continued, “I don’t know much about Jesus, but I know that my little girl was mean and now she’s nice. And she wasn’t loving and now she’s loving. I don’t know much about this Jesus, but I want to know more.”
We praise God for these opportunities. And we praise him for forgotten paperwork that led Morgan here to stay.
While Spain cheers for their soccer team, “Real Madrid,” Mission Arlington cheers for their soccer team, “Real Fuller.”
Fuller Street Church started as an apartment Bible Study on Fuller Street in North Arlington more than fifteen years ago. First, they met in the living room of one apartment, then moved to the clubhouse, and now they worship in a converted house about a block from the original apartment complex. The original pastors were Mission Arlington® staff members but now a family that found Christ through the Bible Study is leading the church.
God’s love shines out of the church building every Sunday and Wednesday. The people also gather during the week for food distribution, prayer, and cooking classes. The community knows where they can go to fellowship and experience God.
Last year, we published a story about the beginning of a soccer team that Fuller Street Church started to keep the young men involved. After months of weekly practice, “Real Fuller” started playing real soccer games this month. They signed up to be in a league that will play 10 games against other neighborhood teams at no cost to the players’ families.
The coach, Jesus, and “Team Mom,” Leslie, really love the children. They see the boys at least four days per week: practice day, game day, and two church days. And it’s not only soccer skills they are teaching. The kids learn about God’s love in practical ways. If Jesus or Leslie find that the children’s families are lacking food, clothing, school supplies, or anything, they can fill that need through the generous donations that come to Mission Arlington.
Would you join us in praying for this church as they continue to meet the needs of their community? God is using them to bring light and change lives.
Tookie was a child in 1997 when her cousins invited her to church. She walked to her apartment clubhouse and remembers a tall, red-headed woman with a one-year-old on her hip taught her about Jesus.
That red-headed woman still teaches every Sunday, and now Tookie is, too.
Childhood led her in and out of different churches. She had her first child when she was still fairly young. But Tookie knows God never left her. A few years ago, her aunt asked her to substitute teach for her for one Sunday. Tookie says, “I never would have thought that I would be teaching…but I love seeing how everything falls into place. I love to see how God works.”
Every day of the week, Tookie is teaching in one of three community Bible Studies. In one neighborhood, a homeowner offered to let Mission Arlington® do Bible Study in her front yard while she was at work. Tookie lived nearby and offered to start teaching the Bible to her neighbors.
Once per week, that church meets in the front lawn. When it’s cold, they still meet. They just sit a little closer together. When it’s raining, they still meet. They just move to the porch. Nothing can stop the people from learning about God.
Tookie is eager to find ways to meet people’s spiritual needs. She teaches all ages, but really wants the preteen crowd to know God.
“Seeing how lost I was at that age I feel like preteens are the ones who really need to be reached.” She just began a new preteen Bible Study and eleven people have come, including two teens that she had never met before.
Is it beautiful to see lives being changed through this one life that God would not let go.
We’ve just finished the Christmas season at Mission Arlington®. How beautiful it was to see the outpouring of love as the community gave toys and gifts to make someone else’s Christmas special.
On a Saturday in December, Emily, a Bible Study leader in central Arlington, took a group of volunteers and a truckload of bicycles to deliver in the apartment complex where she minsters. Emily knocked on a few doors so people could come pick put the right sized bikes for their children. It didn’t take long until families were coming to the clubhouse from all around to see the bikes.
One young girl, Brisa, came to the clubhouse to see the bicycles. Brisa has been attending the After School program for years but has recently been more involved and learned all her memory verses this year. Emily encouraged her to pick out whichever bicycle she wanted.
“What about my sister?” she replied.
Emily assured her that her sister could get a bike, too.
The girl insisted that she find a bike for her sister first.
With her sister’s bike safely put away, Emily offered to help Brisa find the right bike for her.
“But, what about my other sister?” Brisa asked.
Emily teared up a bit, and they both searched until she found the perfect bike for her three-year-old sister.
With her younger two siblings taken care of, Brisa finally felt comfortable getting a bike for herself. All the volunteers within earshot helped search and made sure Brisa got the perfect bike.
What a blessing to see God’s love in the selfless actions of a young girl. Thank you to everyone who gave and who continue to give in this new year. Your donations are making a difference across this city, one life at a time