As told by Reese Alton
Today the work crew started off by responding to a need of a tent setup. As we arrived, the tent was much larger than any of us imagined. We began by setting up giant poles and staking them into the ground. This was an on going process for about 2 hours as we had to meet the cities strict safety protocols. During the afternoon, we had the job to pick up furniture from a retirement home and a house in Fort Worth. At the retirement home, we were scheduled to pick up a few cabinets and nightstands. As Mr. Alton got in the building, an elderly man was waiting by the door. He overheard Mr. Alton talking to the attendant about picking up some furniture. He immediately offered to donate a couch to the cause. It was amazing to see God work through the actions of a generous senior adult who was just overhearing the conversation. The last house we went to pick up furniture was a mess. There was garbage everywhere although the stuff being donated was great. You could tell this lady was having some struggles she wanted to talk about. She began to tell Kat and Elise about her husband’s recent passing and her struggles. Kat and Elise prayed with her for a few minutes and gave her words of encouragement to help strengthen her. This was how the work crew spent our Thursday. I can’t wait for one last day to finish strong!
As told by Kylee Downs
Today started off with our morning devotional at Mission Arlington. We sang some songs and heard a message by Matt, a man who works at Mission Arlington. We then headed over to Regency Oaks where we began our first VBS for the day. About 30 minutes in, a mom came and brought her 1 year old to her other daughter who was 8, so she could go hangout with her friends. This prevented her from being able to do the games and crafts, so I went and held her for the rest of the time. She was so sweet and loved to snuggle. We left and went to eat our lunches at the Starbucks to be able to cool down before we headed to our afternoon devotional back at Mission Arlington. We then headed to our second VBS site. There I hung out with my buddy who’s been with me since the beginning of the week, Tarraya. I also talked to a boy who was light headed and couldn’t play the game. We figured out he and his brothers only get 2 meals a day. If this week has shown me anything, it is to be humble. This family only gets 2 meals a day when I never have to worry about getting 3 meals a day. This 8 year old was given responsibility over her baby sister while her mom chose to make poor decisions. These families were beyond excited when we gave them our T-shirt’s from the youth from events in the past even if they were still size XL. Several children have talked about having to attend or a friend having to attend summer school when it’s so uncommon for an elementary aged kid to fail their grade. There are 10-15 people living in these tiny apartments. Just 3 hours up the road there is this different lifestyle that many of us can’t imagine. After the VBS we headed straight to Torchy’s and enjoyed a nice dinner. We headed back to the church and showered then went to Braum’s and got some ice cream. Overall it was a great day serving. I’m excited to finish the week and hopefully have really intentional conversations with the kids at the apartments.
As told by Corinne Dundas
Today the work team picked up furniture at Mission Arlington to take to the apartments that we were assigned to. At our first stop God was already showing us his plan and made us all realize that were we just pieces to a much bigger puzzle. When we pulled in there was a cop in the parking lot. After talking to him we figured out he was there moving in a lady that had been a victim of human trafficking. He was shocked at how amazing it was that we were pulling in with furniture and there to help right when there was a need for it. We were able to get the lady connected with Mission Arlington and she will be receiving food from them. This was an extremely eye opening experience for us. We have been organizing boxes and diapers and our human reaction has been limited. This experience showed us all that the work we are doing is really impacting families and that we are truly making a difference. At our second stop we had another chance to see what God had in store for us by connecting with the people we interacted with there. We were almost through unloading all the furniture that we had and we only had two tables left to unload. One lady wanted one of the table, but had to go move her furniture around to accommodate the table in her home and promised to be back in ten minutes. Even though the lady did not show up for the table, a five year old boy was hanging out with us outside and the guys on our team started a football game with him. This little boy named Total was tackling them and had the biggest smile on his face the whole time. Having 6 teenage boys completely focused on loving him, was an experience he had probably never had before. We were also able to give several little boys cold water. God really does work in mysterious ways. If it wasn’t for the lady never coming back for the table, that we thought was the main purpose of our visit, then we never would have been able to share God’s love with Total and possibly change his life.
As told by Amie Walling
This past week helping with VBS in Mission Arlington has taught me a lot. It’s taught me many spiritual things and some things unrelated to our spiritual journeys. I’ve become very humbled by the kids and families we’ve encountered. I’ve realized how much I have, and how much God has provided for me and my family. Seeing the kid’s faces light up every time we show up with our fun games, Bible stories, and candy is extremely humbling and brightens my day. Kids can teach us a lot, and often we don’t realize this. Kids can teach us how to be grateful and have fun in simple ways. They can teach us how to love unconditionally and forgive quickly. All this I’ve learned this past week. I’ve always had a passion for kids and teaching, but this week God made it even more clear to me that my future includes kids, Jesus, and happiness :).
I have also had a realization about the power of prayer this week. Of course my whole life I’ve been taught that prayer is powerful. That words are powerful. That God is powerful, and the only way to grow your relationship with him is through talking, like any normal friend. Recently, I’ve lost touch with God, and I’ve forgotten how to speak to him. In fact, speaking to someone who doesn’t physically respond feels unnatural to me. However, today during our first VBS group, I noticed a kid named Jay, who suddenly started acting very sad and didn’t want to participate in any activities. I pulled him aside and attempted to ask him what was wrong. Tears started streaming down his face, and at this point I could feel God tugging on my heart. I saw an opening to share the good news, and I took it. The boy was unwilling to discuss why he was crying, so I told him that he could talk to God if he didn’t want to talk to me or anyone else. I asked him if he’s ever talked to God before, and he said no. I then asked him if he wanted to talk to God, and he nodded yes.
I began to pray for him and we talked for a while. I’ve never really done anything like that before, mostly because I’ve always felt that I don’t have enough knowledge or experience in Christianity, but I realized that you don’t always have to know everything to know how to help someone. You don’t have to know everything to share the good news, because even a small amount of good news (referring to the Gospel) can go a long way and can reach deep into someone’s heart. I saw Jay change from gloomy and sad to excited and gleeful shortly after my prayer for him. I formed a relationship with this boy and he became very comfortable around me, all because I took the time to pray for him. In a way, I feel that God provided Jay with what he needed and what he was looking for, and also hopefully answered my prayer for him. I feel that God touched his heart today, but even if it didn’t, knowing that someone is praying for you touches your heart in a different way. It lets you know there’s someone out there who cares enough about you to want to help you, heal your brokenness, and love you. Prayer is equivalent to action and words, because people can see the love of Christ that shines through you when you pray for them. They can see how much you care for them, because God cares for everyone, and that in itself is extremely powerful. The love of God combined with the love of the people and the power and worship that fills the room is why I enjoy mission trips so much. 🙂
As told by Avery Hill
Today was my second day doing the work crew for Mission Arlington. So far this experience has been life changing. This morning, we were led to a big room with no air conditioning and boxes of diapers stacked to the ceiling. I’m not kidding – there were thousands of boxes of diapers. We were told to organize all of them by size and make it easy to access each size. This made me realize that the people getting these diapers are not able to afford a pack from the store. Buying something this simple for me is something that I don’t even have to think about. After this, Mission Arlington had a ton of donations of flavored water and popcorn. We were told to go out and deliver this stuff to assigned neighborhoods. One of the neighborhoods that we went to was a trailer park. It was really sad to see the tiny little trailers that people live in. The people we delivered to were so happy to receive a pack of flavored water and a box of popcorn. It was really cool to see their huge smiles when we showed up at their door. I know that God has put me in the work crew for a reason and I can’t wait to see what I will experience the rest of the week!
As told by Colleen Dundas
Today was our second day of leading the Rainbow Express VBS. Even over just two days this trip, like always, has been a humbling experience. Every morning that we’ve been here the kids have shown up on time and even early and they are so eager to start our activities for the day. Seeing where and how these kids live is truly awe inspiring. They all seem to know each other because of how tightly knit the community is here. These children find something we’d take for granted, like $0.99 bubbles, to be the coolest thing they’ve ever seen. Watching then reminds me of something we talked about a few months ago at Collide Impact Weekend. We had a speaker from an organization called Field of Dreams Uganda. That organization helps fund schools and soccer teams in Uganda. Someone asked the speaker, “Would you ever bring the kids home with you to give them a better life?” She replied “No.” Her reasoning was this… She won’t take the kids out because they know joy. Not the “joy” we experience when we get an iPad for Christmas. I’m talking about true immense joy. A type of joy that comes from the smallest, realest things. The type of joy I have see in the VBS kids this week. This pure joy is so amazing to witness it is undeniably a thing from God. I can’t wait to see what else God has planned for us this week. Thanks for reading
As told by Raegan Butler
My group visited two different apartment buildings and set up a free VBS where kids of any ages can come play games, make crafts, sing songs, and hear story’s from the Bible. At each apartment, we invited kids to join us. Most of the kids were so thrilled about joining us! We had some kids who didn’t want to participate in activities, but we did our best to get them to open up and have fun. FBG brought over extra t-shirts from collide events to give to the children at VBS . The kids were overjoyed about getting new shirts. They each grabbed 3-5 shirts for them and their families. It is so impacting seeing kids so excited about getting something we take for granted everyday. Today was truly amazing and I can’t wait for the rest of the week.
As told by Roxy Odiorne
Day 2 has come to an end, and we are both weary and joyful after a successful day serving the community of Arlington! We started the day by heading to Mission Arlington headquarters for our morning devotional time. There, we grouped with churches from across the country to worship and engage in Bible study. It came as a surprise to me to see churches from Arkansas, Missouri, and other places around the U.S., but it was really amazing to see just how great the outreach Mission Arlington has. After worship, we gathered our supplies and set out for our projects. As I am on one of the VBS teams, we were off to an apartment complex. When we arrived, we had to walk all around the complex, knocking on doors to ask kids to come. The group of kids we gathered was small, with only 5 who decided to come. Nevertheless, we launched into our array of games, songs, puppets, and Bible stories to love on these 5 kids and share the Gospel in doing so. Though it was chaotic, the morning was successful, and all the kids enjoyed themselves and promised to come back tomorrow! After taking the kids back home, we collected our things and set off for lunch. After eating, we had another afternoon devotional at Mission Arlington full of worship, and set off for round 2 at a new complex. Our group was feeling a bit discouraged at the smallness of the size of our group in the first VBS, and said a prayer for more children in the next. Well, God answered in abundance-we had 60 children in our second! While the mass crowd was full of chaos, it was great to share laughter and the Lord with so many littles, and so awe-inspiring to see the way our great God answers so faithfully. Several memories were made and meaningful conversations were held, and we are expecting just as big a crowd (if not bigger tomorrow)! Exhausted and dehydrated, we made a Sonic run after ending the VBS to cool off. What made an ordinary trip really extraordinary was a girl named Asian who I talked with while waiting for our orders. It was really cool to chat with her, but even more to share why we were here and my faith with her. It was a special moment the Lord placed in my day. From there we headed to dinner, where everybody split up between a multitude of restaurants before coming back to the church for share time, meetings, and free time before bed. Day 2 has been exhausting and hot, but utterly so fulfilling and full of the Lord’s presence. Bring on Day 3!!!
As told by Katryna Patterson
Today was awesome! We did some amazing work here in Arlington and I can’t wait to see what the week holds! I am a part of the work group, and one of the few girls who decided to do it. Going into it I was really nervous that they would put us girls on an “easy” job that wouldn’t take much effort on our part. We girls started by sorting through a clothes closet there on site at Mission Arlington and through hearing the conversations of the people there, I learned that many of them had traveled from a good deal away to get these clothes; whether they were taking public transportation, driving, or walking they made it an effort to come and get these used items that (in my opinion) weren’t the greatest quality. It made me realize how blessed I am to have name brand clothes and new items in my closet. As the day progressed, we were moved back with the boys who had been moving furniture. We traveled all around the Metroplex area and met people who were donating their furniture. I was elated when I saw their reactions to teens coming out and spending a week serving. It shocked me that although it seems second nature to us in Georgetown to serve, the adults we encountered saw it as an anomaly. We spent the remainder of our day organizing and moving furniture and toys, and then came back to the church for a cleanup time. We then went and got some food and I was able to see my parents and tell them about my day. I cannot wait for all that we have in store for this week. Please be praying for safe travels and good health for this week!