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Meet A Volunteer: Brandon

Brandon Phifer has been leading the Justin site since 2016, but has been a part of Mission U-Too almost since it’s beginning. Check out his story to learn about his heart and vision for Mission U-Too in the Denton area.


Years ago my closest friends started serving burgers and hot dogs in Bastrop, TX under the name Mission U-Too. When they originally started I participated at only a small level, but I was so grateful for their heart’s desire to make much of Jesus. I helped when I could, but mostly observed from a distance. The consistency of meeting weekly prepared them in ways they could not have expected. It was not long after they started that a fire devastated the area and destroyed hundreds of homes, which included at least 20 families from my home church. The work they did, that I had the joy of participating in, to care for the displaced families, first responders, and anyone else in need was tremendous and the city began to recognize their faithful and compassionate hearts.

I moved away from the area a couple years later, but Mission U-Too continued to grow and I kept in close contact with my friends. They started multiple sites and made disaster relief an important function of what they do. Although I didn’t live nearby any of the locations to serve regularly, I was able to take my son and join them in Moore, OK after a tornado wrecked the lives of so many people. This trip only served to increase my ever growing desire to be part of this ministry. While I had aspirations to start a site in the North Texas area, I had very young children and was at the beginning of a new career. I simply felt the timing was not right.

A couple years passed and Mission U-Too was still on my mind. I thought about the importance of leading my kids into a mission-minded lifestyle. I view my career as a mission field where I can seek to point people to Jesus, but my kids don’t get to see that. My wife and I became more and more convinced that we MUST get them involved in mission so they don’t grow up viewing the Christian life as something you do only on Sunday and Wednesday. We considered many nonprofits, but with a baby, a toddler, and a young boy, most of these seemed a bit impractical.

My wife and I continued to pray for wisdom about how our whole family could be on mission together. I found myself specifically being called to Mission U-Too, but asked God to solidify that I was hearing him correctly by putting it on my wife’s heart as well. My wife already has a great desire to serve the Lord and longed to get the kids on mission too, but if Mission U-Too was the route we should take then I wanted her to hear from God, without my influence, so we could be on the same page.

A short time later my wife approached me and said, “Let’s start a Mission U-Too!” That green light was all I needed and I began to plan and organize and prepare. We immediately began praying that God would stir people’s hearts to want to be involved. There is no question in my mind that Mission U-Too is a good thing to do, but I wanted God to call people to it in ways I could not possibly get the credit for. Over the next ten months God began to bring things together. My wife suggested a location that she felt was great, a park in the center of town. The city manager was excited about the idea and granted approval. I decided to put together a six week study to lead at my church that would encourage people to a missional lifestyle. I did not push Mission U-Too in this class, but offered it as an outlet to put to practice what we had been studying if they felt God calling them to it. I had lunch with many people and presented the vision of Mission U-too to my church life group. After all of this, a training was put together and 20 people showed up to a Friday night and Saturday training session! God was answering our prayer of putting the ministry on people’s hearts and calling them to be involved!

We launched our site in November 2016 and it has been a huge blessing. My children love serving and will often leave the playground to come ask how they can help. One of my boys really doesn’t understand why we cannot do it every single day and the other boy has shed tears when he can’t make it. The joy seen in the eyes of the volunteers is so exciting because just as much as I value feeding those in need, I have a great desire to see the Church, the body of Christ, on mission in the communities God has placed us in. As Christians we must show the love of Christ in words AND actions. We have faced some cold nights and it gets dark while we serve, but there is always a family that comes that really benefits and the smiles on the faces of volunteers never seem to fade.

We serve an awesome God who is already doing wonderful things in Justin, TX…in my family, in my Christian friends, and in the community. God is so incredibly good!

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New Site in Justin, TX

We are excited to announce the launch of our new site in Justin, TX!

This is extra exciting because not only is this a new site, but it’s a start of a new area. Developing the Denton area has been in the works for a number of years. We have been praying about the area; more specifically praying with the leader for the possibility of developing a new area.

Brandon has been a friend and instrumental over the years in helping us think through and walking out the heart of this ministry. Brandon has answered the call that God has burdened his heart with in helping us continue to grow this ministry.

As we begin to develop this area we ask that you would join us in prayer. Pray for our leaders that they would follow God in their word and actions. Pray for our volunteers that they would show the unconditional love of Jesus. Pray for those we serve that their hearts would be open to hearing and receiving the Gospel message and they would feel the love of Christ through our actions.

If you are in the Denton area we would love for you to stop by and say hi or jump in and help out. All our welcome, you are welcome. We serve Thursday 5:30-6:30 at Justin City Park. Learn more about our Justin site here.

Pray With Us: Sharing Christ’s Love

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
‭‭~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a‬

When we think of February we think about love. There’s no greater love than our Savior. What does it mean that God is love? Love is an attribute of God. Love is a core aspect of God’s character, His Person. All of God’s attributes are in perfect harmony. Everything God does is loving, just as everything He does is just and right. God is the perfect example of true love.

Pray for those around you. We are called to show Christ’s love. We live in a broken world. People are hurting and angry and always putting other people down and that’s because they’re putting themselves down. They don’t feel good about themselves. Lift them up and share Christ’s love.

Sharing Christ’s love can be hard to some. Especially to those who are broken and have no hope. Here’s a few ways you can share Christ’s love: Encourage, Be a Servant, Smile and Show Kindness.

Pray With Us: Hope in the Lord

“Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”
‭‭~ Psalm 31:23-24‬

So many times it feels like your simple perseverance in following Christ goes unnoticed. You quietly choose something in an act of obedience to the Lord, and you might feel alone in this decision or that the Lord doesn’t see this. Yet, this verse reminds us that He sees us and preserves those who are true to Him. The New Living Translation says, “the Lord protects those who are loyal to him.” We are protected, we are seen, we have hope.

As we kick off 2017, a year that is sure to bring a whirlwind of transition, let us take time to pray for strength and give praise for the hope we have in the Lord. Join us in praying for our leaders and those we serve this year. Below are some specific things we are praying over this month.

  • Pray for our country. With the inauguration of a new president last week, our country is not taking this new transition lightly. Our country is made up of people of all shapes and sizes, but the one thing that we all have in common is that we are loved by God (John 3:16). Pray for those hurting in our country, pray for unity and grace, pray that people would know they are loved.
  • Pray for our leaders. Regardless of who you voted for, our new president and the leaders in this country need your prayers. Mission U-Too staff and our volunteers also need your prayers as we lead those in our communities. Pray for pure hearts, gentleness, and wisdom for those that lead around you.
  • Pray for those in your communities. Your neighbor, the grocery store clerk, your best friend, those Mission U-Too serves. There are people hurting all around you. Take time to really see people and spend time praying for peace and that they would know and feel the nearness of God.

 

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Meet A Volunteer: Hannah

Hannah is a cheerful 14-year-old who has been serving with Mission U-Too at various locations since 2012. She heard about Mission U-Too from her mom, Christine, who had first heard about the ministry at a local community group. She has been serving with her family ever since.

Hannah’s family started serving for the Bastrop North site in 2014 on a regular basis. “When we first started serving at the Bastrop North site people would be outside fighting and it was scary. I was scared to attend the local feedings. However, when we continued over the months serving consistently trust was being built and less fights were happening.”

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She served in the Oklahoma tornado disaster relief trip. During the days of serving it had started raining and another threat of a tornado was coming through. People were devastated from the devastation they already experienced just a few days before. Mission U-Too still served those that were hungry. “Life changing experience,” she said. “Seeing people scramble for shelter and the fear that was on their face. It made me appreciate the things I have.”

A story about the tornado she remembers is hearing about two best friends who walked into the local high school together to get away from the tornado had died. The tornado destroyed half of the school. Being a high schooler herself she can’t imagine the devastation of losing her best friend.

“Mission U-Too has changed my outlook on homeless people. Before Mission U-Too I never paid attention to them. In my surroundings now I am more aware and not afraid to talk to them,” she said. “If we haven’t served with Mission U-Too I wouldn’t see the need around me. It has helped open my eyes to others needs instead of my own.”

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Blessed Abundantly

Marilyn is a single grandmother raising her four grandchildren: Alex, Brett, Amari and Kaylee. Struggling to make ends meet, her grandchildren started coming to Mission U-Too for a burger.

Quiet and meek they would sneak in the line and wait patiently for their time to be served. Not knowing a soul around them other than others in the community they would walk back home with their food in hand and eat with their grandmother.

Alex, the oldest of the four grandkids attends Bastrop High School and is on the track team. Breaking out of his shell he started finding HOPE and community at Mission U-Too. He began to serve and started building trust with those he was finding peace. “It’s just different,” Alex said in an interview. The ‘different’ Alex was feeling was the love he was experiencing from those who were pouring into him, Christ’s love. Alex’s siblings later followed behind to serve.

Marilyn was seeing positive change in the children. Once her grandchildren were able to find peace and comfort she started coming to be served as well. They even decided to dedicate their lives to Christ in their church and were baptized. Carol, a Mission U-Too volunteer, was invited to join the baptism.

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And then on a summer afternoon Marilyn and her grandchildren were in Houston trying to head back to Bastrop and their car broke down. She was able to get help and a ride back to Bastrop from family, but her car was not repairable. Left alone at home without a vehicle they all began to pray. Little did she know, a family who had just started serving with Mission U-Too had a car that they had been praying about for several months to be able to donate to someone in need.

Carol introduced Marilyn to the family and they found a perfect match. Marilyn was blessed with a car.

Marilyn said in an interview, “I have never met people who cared as much as your volunteers do. My family has been blessed abundantly and my faith is stronger.” And Alex followed with, “I am loved and I have a purpose in life that I never knew I had.” They ended with that Mission U-Too’s impact in the community has made it a better and safer place to live.

God is on the move within Mission U-Too. Actually, it’s not about the name or who we are, it’s about Jesus Christ and making disciples. He uses people within Mission U-Too to reach out with His love.

Pray With Us: The Reason for the Season

“And this is the testimony that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his son.”
‭‭~ 1 John 5:11‬

Jesus is the reason for the season! What a promise He has given us. God gave us His son Jesus. What a great time to rejoice in the Lord and to show His unconditional love this Christmas season.

Let us encourage you to set aside time during the busy holiday season to get into the Word and meditate on the reason for the season, Christ’s birth. And share His love with others. Bring people the joy that you have in your heart by serving others and sharing the gospel.

Romans 6:23 says “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What a great gift we have been given. I pray this Christmas season that you are reminded of what Christ has done for you.

For so many that we serve this time of year it can be quite difficult as they struggle to provide for their families, so I ask that you join me in praying that they would set aside the struggles of this world and focus on the gift of salvation.

Pray that we would go forth and proclaim the truth that needs to be heard and received by the lost.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Thank you for your prayers this holiday season! Merry Christmas!

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Serving Christmas Meals

Christmas time is here! The holiday season doesn’t stop Mission U-Too from serving every week. What a great way to spread Christmas cheer and to proclaim the gospel. One of the best ways to proclaim the gospel is through serving others in practical ways. We have two Mission U-Too locations serving on Christmas Day. We’d love for you to come join us and help serve those in need for the holidays and be a blessing to your community!

Mission U-Too Locations:

Giddings: 190 N Harris in Giddings from 5:00-6:00 pm. Set up starts at 4:00.
Bastrop North: 603 Linden St in Bastrop from 5:00-6:00 pm. Set up starts at 4:00.

 

“Though he was in the form of God he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”   ~Philippians 2:6-8

Be amazed at the ways Jesus has served his people. When you see Jesus serving you even to the point of death, you’ll be willing to serve others in radical ways.

Come be a part this year by serving in your community or join us by serving at one of the two listed locations. Have a blessed Christmas! We look forward to serving with you.

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Meet a Volunteer: Jane

Jane and Mike first started serving with Mission U-Too in November 2015. We first met them a month earlier when they stopped to get some food from our disaster relief team as they were nervously waiting out the Hidden Pines Fires in Smithville, TX where they lived.


Mike and I began serving with Mission U-Too November 2015. It was our first Sunday evening serving at the Bastrop North location that I noticed a young woman moving down the service line receiving her food and condiments. She maintained no eye contact whatsoever and in fact, had tears rolling down her face, staring downward as if she wished to remain invisible.

I watched as she progressed to the end of the line and took her food to sit alone, with her red plastic cup. I was moved by her obvious sadness and was very uncomfortable that she sat alone, head lowered. I broke away from the line and approached her and in a futile reflective statement I had learned from years of psychotherapy training, I recall saying, “I can see that you’re sad.” I asked her if I could pray with her and she nodded.

Regarding prayer as something intimate and private, I had never done anything like this before, which speaks to God’s stretching us beyond our felt comfort zone to empower us in anything that may be part of His plan.

Disheveled, a bone thin body worn from years of addiction and domestic violence, wearing flannel pajamas, her name was Paula. She revealed she was “dying”, she couldn’t stop drinking, telling of her body failing and succumbing to advanced alcoholism, and held up her cup in almost a question of ‘what are you going to do?’ as she told me it contained her vodka drink.

I listened as she talked and eventually we were joined by two other Mission U-Too ladies who prayed with us and accompanied us across the street where Paula resided to assist her, at her request, in pouring out her bottles of alcohol. She knew drinking was killing her and agreed to allow Mike and me to drive her to an AA meeting that evening. The meeting room was darkened by the time we arrived, so we took her with us to an ice cream shop where other Mission U-Too folks had gathered and once again she could feel acceptance and support from our group.

Weeks later our hearts smiled and our awe of God’s gracious intervention magnified as we watched Paula eventually come back across the street to step into the Mission U-Too service line to help prepare and serve meals for others. She grew in spirit and health in her recovery and was named as a line chief of the serving line, which she manages now with confidence and grace. As Mike and I experienced the calling to serve Mission U-Too after their ministering to us in a time of emotional distress, so Paula had come to serve the very ones among whom she had so many months ago been one of.

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#GivingTuesday

For the past 5 years, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been a day to take a break from all the shopping deals and holiday buzz and take time to support charitable organizations near and far.

This #GivingTuesday, we hope to take time to read through some of our stories and learn a little more about how Mission U-Too is making a difference in the lives of so many people in our communities. We also hope that you consider giving a gift so that we can continue to serve in these communities every week.

It’s easy to give today, simply click here to make a donation online.

You can also increase your giving impact by signing up for AmazonSmile. Many of the gifts you are planning to purchase this holiday season qualify for AmazonSmile and you can even use your current Amazon account.

Simply go to smile.amazon.com, select Mission U-Too as your default organization, and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to us. It is that simple!

We are so thankful for our generous donors, and appreciate your support this holiday season.