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.

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.

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?

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.

Saying Goodbye is Never Forever | Mission U-Too  Saying Goodbye is Never Forever | Mission U-Too

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.

Doug Byrom has been a resident of Smithville, Texas for 15 years. He’s been serving with Mission U-Too for almost a year and because of his busy work schedule working in the oil industry he wasn’t able to serve outside of his church. He said “I would show up Sunday’s and do my thing, but I was wanting more.”

He heard about Mission U-Too from Larry White, the site coordinator at the Bastrop South site. Larry was grocery shopping for the weekly meal at Mission U-Too and Doug was behind Larry in the check out line. He asked Larry why he had so many burgers and buns and asked when the cookout was. It was a great opportunity for Larry to share with Doug the meaning behind the “cookout.” Doug mentioned that Mission U-Too has been the outlet he’s been looking for. He’s been wanting to get out into his community of 15 years, as he knew so little about the people of his community. He said “I used to be one of those who stayed inside the church building, and now I’m not.”

It’s people like Doug who catch the mission and vision of Mission U-Too and have a desire and a heart to impact his community. He’s interested in starting new sites and shares with his church about Mission U-Too to help unite the body.

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Meet Rebecca.

Rebecca has been volunteering with Mission U-Too since 2010. She started helping serve each week, then became the Bastrop Site Coordinator, and now she serves on staff as the Area Manager. Rebecca has been a huge part of Mission U-Too and we are so thankful for the countless hours she dedicates to helping lead and give to our communities. So many lives have been impacted through her.

Check out this Q&A with Rebecca as she shares a little about her experience volunteering with Mission U-Too. Read more

 

Meet DeAnnah.

She is the Site Coordinator for our newest community in Grand Saline, Texas. DeAnnah first heard about Mission U-Too from Tom Slavin from our Kingsland community when he was teaching Bible studies at the local prison. Yes, she was one of the students in his class.

DeAnnah’s story is one of second chances and God continuing to draw her close to Him. You definitely will want to watch this video and hear her story.

Our Grand Saline community has been meeting since April 2015. They serve Sunday afternoon at the Round-Up Roller Rink. Click here for more information or if you’d like to get involved with this community.