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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: 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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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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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.

Paula’s Life-Changing Transformation

Paula’s life has not been easy. She’s struggled with alcoholism, spending time in prison, serious health issues, abusive relationships, and being estranged from many people in her family. All of these challenges made her feel isolated and depressed, and she truly believed the lie that she was not worth anything.

After her first meal at one of our Mission U-Too sites that all changed. Check out the video above to hear Paula tell her story.

Because of the help from friends like you, this past year Mission U-Too was able to serve thousands of people like Paula a hot meal and share the love of Christ across Central Texas. And we hope to reach even more next year. Will you consider helping to feed the need by giving generously to Mission U-Too today?

For Paula, Mission U-Too is much more than a burger, it’s about seeing the life-changing transformation because of the love of Christ.

 

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“Now I know why I came”

“I shouldn’t have come,” Nancy said. “Why?” I asked. “Because I’m embarrassed others need it more than me, I should go.” I walked around the picnic table to sit down with her and asked her to please stay. She looked at me in the eyes and said, “Thank you for having me.”

Nancy is a 55 year-old single woman who resides in Smithville, TX. She lives in an efficiency apartment and is on housing assistance. Nancy heard about Mission U-Too from her neighbors who attend regularly, but it took her 4 months to join us. She recently started coming because her grandson is staying with her for the summer, and they were both hungry. For physical food and spiritual food.

“I have a fixed income and can barely feed myself. I now have my grandson with me who needs to eat more than I do.” Nancy and her grandson took home three burgers and three hotdogs each and some extra food for the week since she wasn’t sure when their next meal would be other than the free lunch for the children of the community.

When asked how we can pray for her she broke down in tears and started crying. “Now I know why I came. I have been needing prayer but have no one to turn to.” Divorced and living by herself, Nancy dwells on the past. She has never been able to talk about her divorce because of shame and people judging her. She said, “I’m tired of hypocrites and getting hurt. I need more positive people in my life.”

Now knowing that Mission U-Too is at the Smithville location every Thursday rain or shine, Nancy found a new place where she can come and be herself and feel loved and accepted just the way she is. Building relationships and tearing walls down one by one, we now have a new friendship. Confused, Nancy asked why we were doing this. “Because Jesus told us to. We’re to love you and care for you just like Jesus loves us and cares for us,” I said. She smiled.

Nancy’s story through Mission U-Too is not finished yet!

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Meet a Volunteer: Molly

Molly serves every week at our Giddings location. Here is her story about the impact her life has had from building relationships through Mission U-Too.

Serving at Mission U-Too has been one of the best things to happen to me since moving to Texas almost 2 years ago. I remember so clearly the first night I was able to go, I ended up playing with all the kids that were there, chasing them around and laughing with them, giving them hugs and loving them. My heart had been aching for “little people” time and interaction, and God was so faithful to bring it at just the right time.

As I continued serving the people of Giddings, God began to stir my heart for them in a way I didn’t expect. So many of them were searching, I could see it in their eyes and the conversations I would have. Most of our prayer times at the end would leave me in tears because of stories I heard or just a desire for the people of my city to know the love of God through Jesus.

This past year I started going to Mission U-Too more frequently, being able to build relationships with the people there. God gave me opportunities to pray for people, love on the kids and even bring my guitar and play and sing while our guests came through the line.

Meet a Volunteer: Molly

In October of 2015, I met the Garcia family, a mom with four kids. They would come and get food and then go home, but eventually the three oldest kids would come and jump on the line to help serve while the mom would sit on the side with her 1 year-old son and just watch.

She was beautiful and her little boy was so precious. I felt an instant love for all of them and as I began talking with the mother, my heart swelled even more. She only spoke Spanish, but by the grace of God, I was able to hold conversations with her and sometimes her kids jumped in to help translate.

Meet a Volunteer: Molly

Meeting the Garcia family was a divine appointment. She immediately invited me to her home and I was able to go and visit and spend an afternoon with them, and have some of the most delicious food! Their life is not easy, but the strength God has given to them is astounding. They are so faithful to come and serve every Sunday, and now even the mother serves on the line! It’s so beautiful to see how God has put us together. He has loved me through them and I am so grateful for their friendship.

Serving at Mission U-Too Giddings has given me new eyes and perspective to see people through the lens of Jesus. God has broken my heart for the people of my community and has provided an avenue for me to take action and love them. I am forever grateful to be a part of this ministry. To God be the glory.

A Personal Conviction from serving in Grand Saline

By Christy Beyer, Mission U-Too Volunteer Program Manager

“Search Me, O God, and know my heart” ~Psalms 139:23
Lord I pray for those who read this that their hearts are changed and convicted.

One Saturday afternoon I went to the Grand Saline Mission U-Too site to bring support and a helping hand. Through my conviction I wasn’t a helping hand. I sat at the picnic table with a boot on my foot and listened to stories of people who live in the Housing Authority area, where Mission U-Too volunteers gather to serve their community physically and spiritually.

Before we arrived at the site we had visited with site coordinators, LaRoy and Jessie. We shared a meal together and enjoyed fellowship. LaRoy and Jessie live in Terrell, Texas which is 45 minutes from Grand Saline where they serve. Picture this friends, they drive 45 minutes on a Saturday afternoon to their church to pick up supplies and tables and then over to the site where they set up and they repeat it all over again and again every week. They are committed!

A Personal Conviction from serving in Grand Saline | Mission U-Too

As I sat back and watched LaRoy and Jessie serve the community and the love they have for making Christ known in an impoverished area, something tugged at my heart. I, Christy, have been a believer and walking out my faith for 10+ years and still struggle to be bold enough in my faith to make Christ known in all the sites that I am a part of. And being the wife of Mission U-Too President, Jonah Beyer, I visit A LOT of sites!

Jesus began to search my heart and slowly started revealing some of my flaws as I sat there to fellowship. A lady whose name is disclosed said to me, “I’m not a believer, but I know there’s something more than I know and it’s bigger than what I can imagine.” I asked her, “how do you know that?” She responded, “you guys wouldn’t be out here in the 100 degree weather loving on each person with a caring smile if there wasn’t.” Then I told her it was Jesus. And she said, “I knew you were going to say that.” I then began to share a small piece of my testimony. She told me thanks for sharing and got up and left the table. She scurried on her way without me sharing the heart of what we do and why we do what we do.

Conviction folks! Did I miss the only opportunity that I had? I’m praying not. But my biggest prayer is that the seed was planted through LaRoy and I was a vessel and now God will finish it! I am a nobody, but a daughter of Jesus Christ. I’m not perfect! And I will walk in humility.

Through conversations with Jessie and LaRoy I learned that Jessie grew up believing he was a nobody. He was told that by his mother who abandoned him at a young age and then was raised by his grandparents. Jessie found hope in Jesus as a grown man and believes he is still a nobody, but knows he’s the son of The King. And Jessie also knows that God is growing Him and allowing Him to be a somebody through Him and he’s being raised up with a ministry that he can now share his story with.

And LaRoy was married to an abusive husband and because of her baby boy she knew it was time to leave. She was brought up in an addictive family and became an addict herself. But she surrendered her life to Christ in 1995, and was delivered from her personal addictions in 2007. And now she’s being raised up in a church she can call home, and through Mission U-Too where her and Jessie can serve together as a married couple and reach people for Christ.

Wow! My heart is full. Thank you Jesus for convicting me. And always loving me through my errors and flaws and allowing me to be a vessel and a seed planter. Mission U-Too Grand Saline has opened my heart completely for the gospel. Just because I wasn’t a physical help, it only means that I was a spiritual help to those that I came in contact with.