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Meet a Volunteer: Ed

Ed Burns family moved to the Bastrop area in October of 2015. Their first contact with Mission U-Too was when the youth from their church did an outreach at the Linden street location (Bastrop North) which coincided with a Mission U-Too service.

About 4 months later, Jonah Beyer, the Mission U-Too President, came and shared at Ed’s church the vision and how Mission U-Too works. “During that 4 months, I had been spending time considering where my outreach was – and I felt that Mission U-Too was what I needed to get out of my comfortable surroundings and make a difference,” Ed said.

He’s been serving with Mission U-Too for a about a year now. Along the way, his family started joining him.

Here is what Ed said about how Mission U-Too has impacted his family, “I love how the impact goes beyond a weekly impact. We regularly run into the people we have the privilege to serve at the grocery store or around town. It’s not food distribution – it’s reaching out to people and building a relationship with them. Sometimes it’s a conversation, and sometimes it’s the opportunity to pray with someone, and sometimes it’s even more… We’ve enjoyed sporting events where kids we’ve met through Mission U-Too compete or we’ve been invited to their birthday parties. And that doesn’t even include how dear our friends who serve with us have become – extra members of our family.”

Come be a part of Mission U-Too and make a difference, not just in the community but for you personally. “Through Christ inside of each one of us, we can reach out and touch others, no matter how different they are from us. He can make a connection even though we are inadequate to do that ourselves,” Ed mentioned.

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Extra Help in the Summer

As some of you may already know this familiar face and some may not, this is Cyndi. She lives in Bastrop, Texas and sometimes serves with us at two of our sites.

During the summer the need of food is much greater for this single mom of 3 girls living at home. Cyndi’s girls get fed lunches at school and sometimes breakfast. Now that school is almost out and funds are limited, it gets harder to feed a full meal.

“I’m blessed by Mission U-Too and you guys always being there,” Cyndi recently said. “It’s comforting to know where our next meal will come from. There are weeks that I have to go to two or maybe three of your sites to be able to feed my family.”

Cyndi is one of many families that looks forward to a hot meal. With the summer months approaching and school coming to an end, Mission U-Too increases the amount of meals that are being served, while, many times, giving goes down during the summer months.

We are in need of more funds to be able to support more families, especially on a monthly basis. Can you help and commit to giving monthly and help us be sure to continue serving families like Cyndi’s?

And could you also be in prayer for Cyndi’s family? Cyndi just had her third brain surgery to relieve pressure build up in her spine and brain. She had complications with the surgery and is still on bed rest so she can fully heal. Mission U-Too volunteers have been taking hamburgers to her every Monday to help feed her and her family.

Thank you for making a difference.

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Meet A Volunteer: Larry

Larry White has been a resident of Bastrop since 2001. In Bastrop, Larry served on committees at churches and had gone on short term mission trips. Struggling with his walk in Christ he was searching for more.

On Halloween 2010, a local pastor friend encouraged Larry to visit a Mission U-Too site in Bastrop that we held at the Lumberyard. Larry was hungry physically and spiritually with little money and was looking for food and fellowship. Before his first encounter with Mission U- Too, Larry said, “I saw the free burger signs and was too prideful to come, until someone close to me recommended it.”

Not long after he came, he started serving with Mission U-Too during the 2011 fires. Shortly after that he had a massive heart attack. During his recovery Mission U-Too moved locations to Primera Baptist Church. Today Larry is the Site Coordinator for this location.

“I intended this to be short term mission, and I’m still serving. My end point of serving is when Jesus returns. Mission U-Too has changed my life! It has helped me be more serious about Christianity,” Larry said. Now he doesn’t deny his salvation and he’s growing through the ministry. “Mission U-Too is a part of who I am. It’s helped me become bolder and not scared to talk to people about Christ anymore. It’s not about me or being comfortable, it’s about what Christ wanted me to do.”

A verse that Larry relies on is “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

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Missed Opportunities and Second Chances

A mentor of mine once told me that it is important to document what you are feeling and to take a journal and write down what God is doing in your heart. And then saturate the experience in prayer as you walk alongside God and those with whom you are serving. Then share it. So I am going to share with you a story that has been penetrating in my heart for exactly one year..

A married couple with 4 children needed help. They searched for help in the community and they received some assistance, but was needing more. They heard about Mission U-Too through friends and my boss, at the time, came to me about their needs. They had lost their house in a fire because of an electrical issue with their dryer, right before Christmas in 2015. My heart was broken as how to help.

I journaled February 2016: “I am a servant of Christ, a child of the Most High who is to fulfill a commitment on this earth; to spread the gospel showing Christ love in different ways depending on situations and circumstances. Help was given to this family by providing a week in a hotel, Christmas presents, clothes, and groceries. However, I missed the opportunity to pray with them because I allowed the language barrier to build a wall.”

After help was given I felt my purpose and motive was not pleasing to God. I had the opportunity to pray! I had the opportunity to share the gospel with 6 people. I had the opportunity to be a light in the darkness, and I failed.

Have you ever felt like that?

The Rodriquez family moved in with family after their hotel voucher was over, and started building their house with their own hands. I kept in contact with the family through Facebook and would reach out to them every few months.

Just a few days before Christmas in 2016 I was told by a local Pastor that the Rodriquez’s home was almost finished. I know some of you can relate to losing your home in a fire and the devastation of losing everything and having to rebuild your life again. I then reached out again and asked what I could do to help. Diana, the mother, sent me a list of items that they needed and I started praying through the list.

Within a few days God sent His deliverer. A Bastrop family wanted to bless a family during Christmas, so I mentioned the Rodriquez family and their needs. It was a MATCH! Gifts were given from a local Pastor…pillows, towels and a microwave. Plus money for a washer and dryer, curtains and other household items were given. I gathered all the things and went to visit the family.

I pulled up to their little trailer size home with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath and a kitchen. No living space and they were content, blessed and satisfied with the work that was put into their tiny home. Emotions were expressed by her and I. We cried together, laughed together, and we PRAYED together. I knew just enough Spanglish for her to understand. That was my opportunity friends! I shared the gospel with her and the heart behind Mission U-Too. I spent 3 hours with her unpacking her new gifts and talking, while Jordan, my son, played outside with the children.

God presents opportunities. Sometimes we miss the opportunity and sometimes we don’t. Don’t miss the opportunity that Christ has for you. I almost did, but with His great planning, my journaling, and pursuing the Great Commission, I had another opportunity that God trusted me with. Diana is a believer. Her husband is also a believer, and a few of her children are as well.

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” I was blessed abundantly and the Rodriquez family, because of OUR commitment to Christ.

You can do the same. Choosing a service opportunity can be daunting, but if you think about it, you have passions that will help drive this decision. God has blessed you with gifts that will lead your decision and will encourage you along the way. Trust in your passions, gifts and, most of all, God. And He will lead you to an experience that will change your life.

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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.

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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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Meet a Volunteer: Josh

Did you know that Mission U-Too allows children to come and serve? We have families ask us if they are able to bring their children to serve at our sites or during a disaster relief trip. The answer is YES! We have found that in order to reach the children in the neighborhoods, it’s best to have someone their own age they can relate too.

Hungry little children run around their communities night and day. Some don’t know when their next meal is coming. We have children that ask for a burger for every day of the week, so they have something to eat at home. We are blessed to be a ministry that can fill children’s bellies and to teach them Christ’s love. At some of our locations, the children are the only ones from their families that come and get food to take back home. Eventually the families will join their children once trust is built and consistency is proven.

MEET A VOLUNTEER: JOSH	| Mission U-Too

Josh Farquhar is 11 years old and has been serving with Mission U-Too for 4 years. He heard about Mission U-Too through his mom and from their local church. His sister Hannah heard about Mission U-Too from a classmate who wore a Mission U-Too t-shirt to school almost every day. Now Josh says that his sister’s classmate is his best friend.

Josh has been learning how to put others first and himself last. Just like what Jesus did for us. Jesus had to prove to so many in order for them to trust in Him, He had to live a selfless life and serve those before himself, and then sacrificed his life for us. Teaching children like Josh to be more and more like Jesus is necessary in today’s world.

A great story that Josh has about Mission U-Too is at the Bastrop North site where his family served consistently: “We pulled up Sunday afternoon and there were girls and moms in the street yelling and cussing each other out. We almost had to call the cops until my mom broke it up. She started talking to the girls and then their moms until everyone was calmed down. After a couple years we haven’t seen any of that because of our impact in their lives. That’s important because that shows us that spreading the word of God and meeting the need physically and spiritually is important.”

He also said “The difference now is that it is totally different than before and I can’t believe our impact in their lives is so powerful. I use to feel very uncomfortable and I chose to never leave my parents side because I was so scared of my surroundings and now I am not scared to talk to people or meet kids. I even get on the mic and read scripture.”

Mission U-Too has helped Josh figure out his future. He said “I want to go all around the world and be a Pastor and preach at different churches.”

Children like Josh are going to be our next leaders. Why not get them involved by serving others and teaching them that everyone is loved by Jesus?

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Saying Goodbye is Never Forever

Saying goodbye is sometimes hard, especially when you’ve been in ministry together and doing life for a few years. However, saying goodbye is never forever and we’re excited for a new adventure for our friends!

Lee and Shirley have been volunteering with Mission U-Too for five years. They helped start and lead two sites until other people were able to step up and lead, and then they trained those new leaders. Now it’s time to celebrate all they have done within Mission U-Too and their life.

Saying Goodbye is Never Forever | Mission U-Too

They love the Lord with all their heart and they are obedient to His Word in making disciples and being the hands and feet of Jesus. Now Jesus is calling them to a new journey. As they leave the Bastrop area and head to Austin they are leaving a legacy behind. The people of Bastrop will greatly miss them, especially the lives they impacted through Mission U-Too.

Lee is fighting prostate cancer and skin cancer and Shirley who has many different health issue, dementia being one, are moving closer to family members who can help take care of them. They served the Lord with open hearts and now it’s time for them to be served.

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Thank you Lee and Shirley for being the hands and feet of Christ and feeding people physically and spiritually with Mission U-Too. They prayed for others and honored every relationship they came upon by cooking and serving a burger. We are thankful for their service and obedience to the Lord to serve our community, they truly changed lives.