26 June 2017

The Heart of Jesus

     As I looked down at his feet, I saw blisters and cuts, and my heart immediately felt heavy.  That heaviness soon became lighter, when one of the volunteers bent over to put a pair of sandals on this young man’s feet.  I felt tears fall down my face because in this moment I was witnessing the true heart of Jesus.  All I could do was stand there in complete awe.
     As this young man took a sack lunch from Open Door Mission’s Streets of Omaha volunteers, he was receiving much more than a sandwich.  He was being shown how much Jesus loves him!
     We prayed with him and hugged him good bye.  As we drove away, he had a smile on his face.  I believe that he truly saw the heart that Jesus has for him that day.
     On the Streets of Omaha team, we witness these precious moments every day.  How?  One sack lunch at a time.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

23 June 2017

Double the Salvation

     Last week, I was passing out medications to our guests, and it seemed like time was barely moving.  After an hour, one of my fellow staff members brought his son who is in the New Life Recovery Program into the Garland Thompson Men’s Center Medication Room to introduce him to me.
     As I spoke with his son, I could see that he looked somewhat forlorn.  We talked and I shared the hope of Christ with him.  I am glad it took me so long to hand out medications that night because I was where I needed to be to have that encounter.  This young man told me knew that he wanted what his dad has, which is salvation through Christ.  He accepted the message of the Gospel and prayed right there to be forgiven and receive Christ as his Savior!  Please pray for this new believer to grow in faith, and to finish the program strong.
     A couple of days later, we did not have a team come in to lead chapel, so I volunteered to preach.  One thing to know about me is that I'll preach at a drop of a hat and I'll drop my hat to preach!
When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them.
--Matthew 9:36a
     I shared out of Matthew 9:35-38.  It's the passage about Jesus seeing the multitude in their desperate need and needing to have a Shepherd.  By God's grace, He enabled me to preach a clear Gospel.
     One of the men in our emergency services named Tom came up to me after the service and wanted prayer.  The cool thing is that one of our other men who is the New Life Recovery Program came up and asked Tom, "Do you know for sure that you have Jesus in heart as your Savior?”  Tom did not.  The three of us talked about that a little more, and then I asked Tom if he wanted to pray and accept Christ as his Savior.  He did, confessed his sins, and turned away from following false gods.
     Salvation again tonight!  Pray for Tom to grow in his relationship with Christ.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

22 June 2017

Mission Update

     It seems like a lot of days at Open Door Mission don’t quite go as planned.  But I am grateful that when unforeseen ministry opportunities present themselves, we have leaders on staff that are willing to step up.
     Earlier this week, Open Door Mission was able to serve 30 seniors in low income housing that were affected by last weekend’s tornadoes.  They had lost everything in their fridge and freezers, and were unable to afford to refill them.  A couple of our staff members and volunteers were able to be a blessing to these men and women.  God is so good to supply all our needs – even those we didn’t plan for!
     The Timberlake Outreach Center’s renovations are moving along quickly, and the improvements look great already!  Please pray for the team that is working so hard to finish everything.
     Well, that’s a quick update into what’s happening at Open Door Mission!  We are so grateful for your prayers and support.




Candace Gregory
President/CEO

21 June 2017

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurriedness

     I wanted to share some thoughts that Candace shared with the Open Door Mission staff at our last staff meeting.  These really impacted me, and that I have been meditating on them the last couple days.  Candace called us to be hospitable to ALL people in our ministry here at Open Door Mission.
     I’m blessed to be able to lead morning devotions for the men at Open Door Mission, and I recently talked about this verse:

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  –Romans 12:4-8

     God has given each believer spiritual gifts to use—to minister, teach, equip, laugh, cry, show mercy, etc.  I have been convicted about how easy it is for me to get wrapped up in the day to day things of my job, at times forgetting that God has placed me here for ministry. May we not get too wrapped up in our tasks that we are unable to take time to pray, talk, cry, laugh, and minister to ALL the people God puts in our lives.  May we always be willing to share WHY Jesus is amazing and worth having a saving relationship with.  
     I’m also able to teach a class in our New Life Recovery Program, and the session I recently taught was about eliminating stress in our lives.  Our textbook calls Christians to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives, saying that hurriedness and godliness are incompatible.  Hurriedness and relationships are incompatible.  Hurriedness and prayer are incompatible.  Hurriedness and the Holy Spirit are incompatible.
     Realizing these truths about hurriedness, I would like to share six ways we can eliminate stress in our lives so we can show Jesus, and be Jesus so people can know Jesus.

     1. Eliminate Hurry in our lives
     2. Downsize Expectations
     3. Learn the art of saying "no" kindly
     4. Admit mistakes and imperfections
     5. Laugh more
     6. Take care of yourself-get enough rest, balanced meals, stay active (exercise)

     I hope this was encouraging for you!  We are all imperfect, working towards a deeper relationship with our Lord.

Brian Springer
Hospitality Director

20 June 2017

Ever Heard of the Summer Time Blues?

     Have you ever experienced the winter blues?  When most of us think about extreme weather conditions, we think of icy roads, subzero temperatures, and winter weather.  Studies now are showing evidence that serious depression with a seasonal onset occurs in the winter as well.  Did you know the same depression occurs in the summer months too?
     High environmental temperatures during summer months can be just as dangerous to your body, even deadly!  Some people find heat, sunlight, and humidity to be quite agitating.  Heat has long been linked with spikes in violence and violent behaviors.
     Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to escape extreme summer temperatures in air conditioning or with a fan.  Now imagine enduring the elements a Midwestern summer throws at you while living on the street, homeless.
     Approximately 31% of all weather related deaths are due to heat related fatalities.  Heatstroke is predictable and preventable!  Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.  The hot and thirsty homeless are desperate for water! The low income families in the Heartland are desperate for boxed fans; some relief from the heat as well as not everyone has air conditioning.
     Open Door Mission wants to help our neighbors Beat the Heat this summer!  In order to do this, we need your partnership!  Donate bottled water and fans to any of our Outreach locations.

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

19 June 2017

Blessing Bags

     Often while you're out and about, traveling down busy roads, you may see a homeless person at an intersection.  Usually they have a backpack filled with their belongings and a cardboard sign saying, "Help Needed."  Many thoughts may go through your head such as, "What should I do?"  You may just keep moving and ignore having ever seen them.
     The simple way to show the love of Jesus for that person is to supply them with a Blessing Bag.  Put your creativity into action by making some bags for those in need.  You could include a bottled water, snack food, deodorant, toothpaste, and etc.  The possibilities are endless in creating something with a personal touch.
     These Blessing Bags can let someone know that there is HOPE for their life and inspire.  YOU can be that difference TODAY by using your creativity to put together Blessing Bags.  Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus and showing love to those who are less fortunate!  Now when you see someone at an intersection, you'll be prepared to make a difference.

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

16 June 2017

Microwave Message

     Each Sunday morning I get the opportunity to share a “Microwave Message” with the men in our Emergency Shelter.  This is a quick message, quick and to the point, with a lot of time for discussion, questions, and prayer.  Here’s one of my recent lessons to give you an inside look at what these devotional times are like.

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.”
“Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me.
Anyone who is not against us is for us.
If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.  –Mark 9:38-41

- What incident did John tell Jesus about?
- Was the man doing evil or good?
- Why did Jesus’ disciples tell the man to stop?
- What attitude was behind the disciples’ command to the man?
- How did Jesus answer John?
- What two principles did Jesus give to back up leaving the man alone?
- What people will experience a reward from God?
- Can God operate outside our group?
- Why do we fall in to the subtle lie that because God is with us, He can’t be with someone else?

     Please pray for the men in our Emergency Shelter, that God would move in their hearts, that they would receive hope for lasting change, and that they would take the next best right step towards getting their lives back on track.

Jim Settle
Men’s Support Worker

15 June 2017

Encouragement for a Hard Week

     Maybe you’re like me and this week has already been a hard one.  Here is some encouragement from Paul, and I pray that it will encourage you as it has encouraged me!

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.  –Philippians 1:9-11

     Andy Stanley says, "God’s not trying to make you a better behave-er.  He’s trying to make you a better lover of people.  The essence of Christian maturity is when a person can love
Andy Stanley is a Christian motivational speaker and pastor.
another person that is difficult to love.  That is when a person is making progress.  It’s what God is doing in me that eventually comes out of me; it’s inside out.  One of the signs of maturity and emotional health is when you can see the person how God sees them and you begin to respond as God would respond."

     Paul’s prayer for us is that we would not be okay with just staying the same.  His prayer is that our love would overflow more and that we would continue to grow throughout the years.
     This growth and love is not based on circumstances.  It’s based on God working in our life.  What a joy it is to know that through the bad circumstances and good ones, God is working to complete us just the same.  And that through the bad circumstances, God brings His goodness out in huge ways! 
     Life is not about checking off all the boxes of going to church, small group, and prayer meetings, although those are all wonderful things.  It’s bigger than what we do, and is about the inward transformation of what God is doing in us!
     Our Christian faith is best seen in how we treat and love others around us.  That’s when you see the inside out transformation!  When we see people how God sees them, how our faith grows hugely!  Our purpose in life is to magnify God in all we do.
     I pray we would believe this, and that we would pray this for our own lives.  I pray we would be people that pray big prayers and believe God for HUGE things.  I pray that we would be people whose love is overflowing more and more each day!
     May we have open hearts and be humble people to let God transform us into who He wants us to be.  I pray we would be people that are bold with our faith.  That we don’t hesitate to show people the glory of life with Jesus and the full life He brings us every single day!
     And I pray that through this, God would help you will be a better, mother, wife, father, husband, daughter, son, employee, and/or friend!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

14 June 2017

When Work is a Privilege, Not A Chore

    Why do I continue to work at the Lydia House?  Even when times get hard?  Because to me, when I am at the Lydia House, it isn't "work.”  Not ever!  I am blessed that God assigned me to serve Him there, and through Him I try to serve each Lydia House guest with love.  My position is not a chore, but a privilege. 
     People ask me all the time why I'm so happy all the time.  I tell them it's the joy of the Lord gushing out of me.  And that opens wide the door of opportunity to tell them what God has done for me and that He wants to do the same for them. 
     I used to be an alcoholic, drug addict, incarcerated, was severely abused, lived at the Lydia House, graduated the New Life Recovery Program, and relapsed after years of sobriety.  But by God’s grace, I have been clean and sober over nine years now!
     When I share this with Lydia House guests, it’s difficult for them to believe it, but it gives them hope!  That's the hope they can daily have in Jesus!  My love for God, my story, and His joy in me has been a great witnessing tool, and I'm blessed to share it with others! 
     So when I come to work at the Lydia House, I come excited, ready, and expecting God to use me mightily for His glory!  I'm not ashamed of Jesus, His Word, or being on fire for Him!  I thank Him that my mess is His message. 
     Meet our guests exactly where they are and see them through the eyes of Christ and watch God work!

Lisa
Family Support Worker

13 June 2017

The Promise of God's Plan

     Attending Open Door Mission's last Graduation ceremony was so uplifting to me.  Hearing the testimonies and watching the graduates speak with their heads held high is a blessing in so many ways.  My thoughts went directly to, "We are ALL growing in God's Love.”
     Many men and women in the program are excited to fulfill their dreams and get their lives back on track.  This is the promise of God's plan for their lives!  God makes all things new with a fresh start, and lets them know that they have a purpose and a future.
     I am encouraged to see the growth throughout each journey, and to see where God has had a hand in it all.  The clean slate, fresh start, endless blessings, and God's love are all a part of how the power of Jesus CAN change lives!
     Be sure to attend our next Graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 24 at 10:00 a.m.!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

12 June 2017

A Moment of Unity

     “Ms. Jessica,” he shouted.  As I turned around, I was greeted by a resident of the North Omaha community.  With a smile on his face, he started helping us hand out sack lunches to other individuals in the community.
     I saw a joy in his eyes and I asked him why he wanted to help us today.  He smiled and said, "I  have been on the receiving end before Ms. Jessica.  I have been hungry.  I have been lonely.  And Open door mission was there for me!  It is my time to help in any way I can."
     His statement and his willingness to assist us touched me deeply.  Before we piled in the van to leave, this man began to lead us all in a prayer.  As he began, we could hear people down the block yelling, “Wait!  Wait!  We want to pray too!”  Several individuals ran to join our prayer circle.
     Today, a man was able to give back what was once given to him.  People were fed, prayed for, and loved on.  For at least a moment today, there was unity, peace, love, and prayer on this North Omaha block.  People from different walks of life, different ages, and different races came together.
     May this moment of unity grow and across the Streets of Omaha as we continue to spread the love of Jesus, one sack lunch at a time.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

09 June 2017

Amazing Grace!


     Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!  Las week I was doing case management with a man named Jason.  He knew about Jesus, having been raised in a religious atmosphere.  Yet he did not know for sure if he had eternal life.
     We visited for a while and I was able to share the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to him.  We came to the point where I asked him, "Is there any reason you wouldn't want to pray and ask God to forgive you and receive Christ into your heart?”
     He said, "There is not."
     So we prayed and Jason came into assurance of his salvation.  Hallelujah!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

08 June 2017

Gifts in Kind

     Have you ever donated clothing, housewares, or some form of a non-monetary gift to Open Door Mission? Do you wonder what happens to your donated items? Gifts in Kind (GIK) are any donations that are not financial gifts. They empower the homeless and near-homeless to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
     ALL working and useable GIK donations Open Door Mission receives are given FREE OF CHARGE to people in need. Did you know that even the items that are not in good condition are recycled? For example, Open Door Mission also accepts clothing with buttons missing, tears, stains, rips, and etc. which will be recycled.
     The ability to give back to our community, to help end the cycle to homeless and poverty, is an ongoing process. Our needs include but are not limited to food (canned fruit, soup, meat, spaghetti sauce, and boxed meals), clothing for men, women, and children, household items (dishes, pots and pans, small appliances, and lamps), furniture, appliances, linens (bedding, blankets, and towels), as well as personal care items (deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, razors, and shaving cream). Staff members will even welcome you at our Donation/Outreach Centers and do all the lifting, so you will not have to even get out of your vehicle.
     Gifts in Kind are stored in our one of our four Donation/Outreach Centers. Our neighbors are allowed to come to one of our Centers to “shop” for free once every 30 days for everything besides furniture. Our neighbors can receive free furniture once every six months due to our limited access to those items. These resources help our neighbors with some of their financial burdens so they can use that money to pay bills and remain in their own homes.  Together we can end the cycle!
     Everyone in need coming through our door receives help if the resources are available. That is why it is so vital for our neighbors in the community to continue donating their no longer needed items that are still in good and usable condition. 
     God has a plan for each and every person. Will you help further His Kingdom by giving your time, talent, or treasures to support Open Door Mission break the cycle of homelessness and poverty? Find out how YOU can shine the light of Christ at www.opendoormission.org.

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

07 June 2017

President/CEO's Prayer List

Amanda was just recently baptized by Open Door
Mission's Discipleship Counselor, Angela. Praise God!
     It has been a busy three weeks at Open Door Mission with the KFAB 1110 Kids to Kamp Radiothon, Omaha Gives, representing Open Door Mission at the National Association of Gospel Rescue Missions’ Conference, and Mission Possible 5k/10k.
     God is so good through all of this!  We have had 18 professions of faith, numerous re-dedications, 40 Bibles given out, and 1 baptism – and that’s just what I know about!
     Would you join me by adding these things to your prayer list?  Open Door Mission depends on prayer partners like you!

  1.  Pray for the Summer of Hope campaign.
  2. Pray that those experiencing homelessness will seek refuge at Open Door Mission.
  3. Pray for the June renovations of the Timberlake Outreach Center.

     And let me leave you with five thoughts from legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden (whose biography I just finished):

  1. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” 
  2. “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”
  3. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” 
  4. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”
  5. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” 

     Thank you for your support!

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

06 June 2017

Mother-Daughter Team

     These two ladies are a fantastic mother and daughter team!  The first Sunday of every month the come to volunteer at the Lydia House, and what a blessing they are!
     They help with medications, make medication files, dispose of old medications, and are always willing to do anything else that needs to be done.  It is wonderful to know they’ll be here to help one Sunday a month.
     Do you want to be a volunteer?  Consider signing up for a consistent time to come and serve.  You never know the relationships you’ll be able to build and the lives you’ll be able to change until you get started.  So click here to sign up today! 

Shelly McCullough
Family Support Worker

05 June 2017

Love in Action

     When one of our shoppers at the Timberlake Outreach Center first came, she was having problems with one of her eyes.  It was very infected and she was afraid of losing it.  The woman told me she had an upcoming appointment with an eye doctor, so I asked if I could pray for her.
     She agreed, so we prayed and as we prayed, she felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and started to cry.  God gave her a word that she will be healed.  He said that He was going to heal her through the doctor’s hands and medicine.
     Then last week, she came in to visit and share her testimony of what God did in her life.  Her eye is healing, and it already looks completely better!
     The woman share with me how very grateful she is that staff members and volunteers at the Timberlake Outreach Center take our time to listen beyond what our eyes can see.  It was wonderful to see her giving glory to God.
     Every day as we go about our lives, let’s be ready to listen to the Holy Spirit to go beyond what we can see.  Let’s live out our purpose of being servants of God by sharing His love.

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.   Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  –Romans 12:9-13

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

02 June 2017

The Boy With A Compassionate Heart


     Last year I had the privilege of leading a youth group from Kansas on street outreach. A boy named Parker had encounter after encounter with the people we serve on the streets. On this hot summer afternoon, Parker's view of homelessness and poverty changed. He grew a love for the people that we serve.
     As Parker and his youth group prepared to leave after the day of serving, I thanked them and I knew they were walking away with a new perspective.
     One year later, this same group from Kansas (including Parker) came back to the Mission to serve! Parker's mom came with him this time and she told me that Parker had been so blessed last time he was here. When he went back home last year and had to pick a project for Eagle Scouts, he chose to raise items for Open Door Mission.
     Parker stood outside Walmart, church, Scouts, and even sent letters to family members asking for donations. Parker and his family raised over $1,200 in which he took to the store and purchased sunscreen, water, lotion, soap, and other urgent needs.
     When I asked Parker why he chose to do this he said that he had been impacted by serving and he wanted to make a change.
     Every day, Streets of Omaha volunteers are making a difference in the lives of the people we serve, one sack lunch at a time. And often we find the we serve make a difference in the lives of those serving as well.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

01 June 2017

Building a Friendship

     I have the opportunity to connect with the men at Open Door Mission every day.  Hearing their testimonies and sharing our stories is something I look forward to most at work. Most of the time, I just love sitting down with the men and listening to what's on their hearts and minds.
     For the men and women at the Mission, making the decision to join the program is the start of building a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Joining the program means a road of hard work and dedication.  Hearing my friends have joined always brings a huge smile to my face, and I am so happy they made that choice to make a difference in their lives.  Better times are ahead.
     My friend Doug is in the New Life Recovery Program, working hard to achieve his goals, and it shows.  He is very much appreciated and respected by the other men, and he shows true commitment in every area of his personal journey.  Recently he was voted for "Above and Beyond" by program staff for all his accomplishments and for having what it takes to be a leader.  He also advanced to the next level for the Journey to Work Program. 
     Doug is a follower of Jesus Christ and he is on track to graduate soon. I am very proud of Doug because he knows what it takes and what he wants. We talk almost every day and check in on how each other are doing.  It's a friendship that we grow in Christ more and more each day. 

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

31 May 2017

Getting My Life Back On Track

     My name is Crystal, and I have been at the Lydia House since last June.  Since then, I have completed and graduated from the Journey to Work Program, and the change in me is huge.
     Not only have I been sober for months, but I am working full time, going to college full time, and am raising a beautiful 11-month-old baby girl on my own.  This wouldn’t be possible without the skills I’ve learned from Open Door Mission staff and volunteers.  Thank you for helping me get my life back on track!

Crystal
Open Door Mission Graduate

30 May 2017

Making Mission Possible a Possibility

     Can you walk? If so, you can run! If you can hit a few “This Weekend Only” or “Biggest Sale of the Year” sales in an hour this weekend, then you can run or walk a 5K! Open Door Mission’s and Runza’s Mission Possible 5K/10K is coming up on Sunday, June 4! 
     Still hesitant? Let me paint a picture for you. Here’s your chance to make a difference! Maybe you need a difference in your workout regimen that has become dull and boring. Or maybe you are just starting a workout routine? Running and walking are great for increasing endurance, sculpting strong lean muscles and torching major calories! 
     But the difference you’ll be making extends much farther beyond a new hot body. Did you know that there are approximately 12,500 5K races across the country every single year? And guess what else? The majority of these races are attached to a specific charity or notable cause. Amazing right? Be a part of this movement!
     Speaking of movements, did you know that an average wolf pack (yes, the four legged animal) consists of 12 wolves? Why? Because they are smart! Rolling solo is not only boring, but it also makes you a huge target for predators. Here I think of “predators” as excuses for not running a 5K. So get your “pack” together! Accountability is everything when it comes to achieving a goal. Just imagine the bonding experience you can have with your friends and family while training for and running Mission Possible 5K/10K! 
     Think about it: how often do you get the chance to break a sweat, achieve a personal goal, and feed hungry men, women, and children in our community all at the same time? So make it bigger than a race, than you, or than me and truly make a difference in our community!

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

26 May 2017

From Graduation to Full Time Employment

     I graduated from the New Life Recovery Program in September of 2016.  Upon graduation, I was able to land a steady 38 to 48 hour per week career at an area packing company.  As a Finishing Inspector, I make sure packaging for the food and product cartons is suitable for consumers.  It’s rewarding to have full time employment. 
     If it weren’t for Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program, I would not have gotten this job and been able to pay off my child support.  I was also able to have my driving privileges recertified and officially gotten my driver’s license.  
     Thank you, Open Door Mission!

Justin
Open Door Mission Graduate

25 May 2017

Today I Will Make A Difference

     Today as I woke from my slumber, I stumbled into the bathroom to continue my everyday morning ritual and my eyes were awakened by the things I sometimes take for granted. I am blessed with the basic necessities in life….safe shelter, a warm bed, a hot shower, a toothbrush,  clean clothes, and shoes on my feet. I am fortunate to have reliable transportation so I can get to my job at Open Door Mission. 
     I had a career prior to choosing to work at Open Door Mission, but something inside me was pulling me to give back to the people who are hurting and less fortunate. It was something I could not ignore, no matter how much I tried. I was content with my current position, but I just could not shake that feeling from my heart. I was volunteering one evening a week at a local homeless shelter, but this ache was real. It was God calling me.
     Imagine life without a home. Imagine life without basic necessities. Imagine your children.  Imagine living outside in the rain and cold. Imagine not knowing where your next meal will come from or when you will get a chance to eat again.  I felt called to help these people.
     You know you are living a Godly life when you say yes to God when He calls you to do something, especially if you don’t have a clue how it will all go down. I believe Gospel living is very much like running a marathon. You can train, plan, eat well, give all your blood, sweat, and tears, and still feel like throwing up when the gun goes off. You can stumble and even fall down a few times. But whatever your delightfully impossible call from Him may be, you can bet that God is going to meet you every step of the way. Crossing the finish line is worth it all. 
     Every day I come to Open Door Mission, I pledge to myself that I Will Make a Difference TODAY!

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

24 May 2017

Omaha Gives!

     Today is Omaha Gives, the 24-hour charitable holiday!

     Who does your $10.00 gift support today?


The Hungry.


Your Neighbors.


Veterans.


Domestic Violence Survivors.


Those Recovering.




Those Who've Experienced Lasting Change.

     How can you make a difference?


Be a donor.  Make your $10.00 gift today at http://www.opendoormission.org/news-and-events/omaha-gives/.


Be an advocate. Share about Open Door Mission and Omaha Gives today!



Be a volunteer. Come down for our record-breaking food pantry party today!  Visit http://www.opendoormission.org/o-g-pantry-party/ for more details.

     Thank you for your support!  Be sure to follow us today for updates.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

23 May 2017

I Began to Dream Again...Part 2

Continued from Monday, May 22.

     My short term goal is to finish my Bachelor’s degree in English.  I dropped out my senior year when my substance abuse began to fully take hold.  This degree will open up many more opportunities, and it is a crucial step towards another compounding ambition. 
     I dream of acceptance into the Peace Corps to be an English as a Second Language teacher.  The Peace Corps is improving the world.  I wish to be a part of this global edification.  The skills I learn overseas will not only positively impact others, but they will also help me grow into the man I hope to become – a man that will one day get his accredited teaching degree and touch the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of youth.  By imparting knowledge and wisdom to these students, and by filling them with love and hope, I will be relaying the same message the New Life Recovery Program gave me.
     I have already made great strides to achieving these endeavors.  I recently gained employment with a local company that provides a wonderful benefits package.  In fact, they offer employees $25,000 over four years for college tuition!  I have also filled out the FAFSA and applied for a Vocational Rehabilitation Scholarship.
     All things considered, the financial aspect of finishing college may be completely alleviated.  I am elated that this allows for less financial stress and more room to learn and grow as a student and employee. 
     I would not have gotten this job without my life change at Open Door Mission.  The Mission staff led me back to God and helped me adopt a new attitude: No matter how I feel I will get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.  It is a new dawn.  It is a new day.  It is a new life for me, and I am feeling hopeful for the future. 

Steven
Open Door Mission Guest

22 May 2017

I Began to Dream Again...Part 1

     Eight months ago my life began to take a drastically positive upswing.  At that time I was succumbing to an intense drug and alcohol addiction – spinning my wheels, going nowhere.  My family life was crumbling, and my outlook on the future was dim at best.  I became powerless to my vices and developed an out-of-control lifestyle.
     On August 22, 2016, this all began to change as I walked through the doors of the Open Door Mission and was accepted into the New Life Recovery Program.
     As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, my desire for a new way of life began to grow.  Small hopes soon began to spawn larger goals.  In the beginning these goals seemed insurmountable; my mindset was defeated, but not hopeless.  The Open Door Mission staff members helped me work through my issues and victim mentality.  Once I began to take ownership of my life’s problems, they began to lose their power over me.  Progress was made, goals were reached, and I began to dream again.
     All that I have gone through to get where I am today is actually a blessing in disguise.  My lows groomed me for living out my life’s true purpose.  I have lofty dreams these days – dreams full of passion, fueled by a desire to give back and to influence others as positively as I have been influenced.  These dreams will take time, dedication, and the help of God to come to fruition.  I am determined to make these dreams a reality.

To Be Continued Tuesday, May 23

Steven
Open Door Mission Guest

19 May 2017

Baby in One Hand, Homework in the Other

     Jessica obtained her GED!  She worked hard on it for the past seven months.  During this time, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Serenity, but continued to work towards her goal. Every day she would come to the Learning Center with have her baby in one hand, homework in the other, and a big friendly smile on her face (no matter how hard the math assignments got!).
     Her persistence, hard work, and positive attitude were contagious throughout.  So we are all so proud of Jessica as she celebrates this great achievement!  Her future plans are to enroll in college to obtain a Criminal Justice degree.

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

18 May 2017

Giving My Son The Home I Never Had

     “I was broken and torn apart,” said Kelly.  “One day I saw my brother had called me a ‘junkie’ on Facebook, and that opened my eyes.  Something needed to change.”
     Kelly never got the chance to be a child.  Her mother was addicted to drugs, her father absent and strict, which meant that she was vulnerable to abuse – emotional, mental, and physical.  At 15, Kelly was kicked out onto the street after a falling out with her mother.  The years of running the streets that followed are now a blur.
     “I dropped out of school, hung out in the park during the day, and couch surfed at night.  But whenever I couldn’t find a place to stay, I would sleep on a park bench.  It got so cold some nights.”
     Addiction to marijuana and meth overtook Kelly’s life as she had run ins with gangs and was in and out of jail.  Things began to change, though, when Kelly had her son.  He moved into Kelly’s brother’s custody by Child Protective Services, but Kelly had to get him back.
     After trying a couple of programs, Kelly finally gave the New Life Recovery Program at Open Door Mission her all.  The program was intimidating – especially the requirement to give up smoking – but she knew the Bible based material and the longer program structure were what she needed.
     Two weeks into her recovery, Kelly accepted Christ into her life, and she’s been changing to look more like Him every day since.  Three months into her recovery, Kelly got her son back.  “It was hard to learn how to parent a two-year-old, but the staff here really helped me…It was so good to be with my son again.”
     Today, Kelly is ten months sober.  She has her GED, graduated from the New Life Recovery Program, and has many job opportunities open to her.  Classes start at a local college soon, where Kelly will study certified electronic health records.
     “I spent nine months in the program,” said Kelly.  “That’s a lot.  But it was the time I needed to grow.  Without that time and structure, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
     Kelly has been saving her money to purchase a home for her and her son, and will be moving soon.  “I’m breaking the cycle here – it ends with me.  I don’t want to live the way I learned.  I’ve learned how to forgive and I’m proud to have achieved what my mom couldn’t.  I’m giving my son the home I never had.”
     Thank you for allowing homeless mothers like Kelly a chance to break the cycle of homelessness in their families as well as a fresh start as a mother.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

17 May 2017

Agape Love...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday, 5/16.

     When we truly study scripture, the words come alive.  Agape love is sacrificial love.  When we truly live this sacrificial love, that's where we meet Jesus in a real and tangible way.
This is agape in the Greek language.
     Now sacrificial love does not mean going around telling people "I'm sacrificing for you, so appreciate me."  No, it's something internally that you are aware of.  It's denying ourselves, taking up our crosses and following Jesus (Matthew 16:24).  When we truly experience this and walk this out, our heart changes and we start to see people the way Jesus sees people.  We are connected with God in such a real way. 
     The Good News of the Gospel is even if we've failed or fallen short, we can come humbly come to Jesus' feet and ask him to put people in our path He wants us to show His love to.  The Good News of the Gospel is it's never too late to be obedient to what God may be calling you to do!
     I encourage you to think about this: do you have a difficult person in your life that is hard to love?  If so, would you pray for them, ask God to humble yourself, and ask God for tangible ways to show you love them.  In turn, you will be showing Jesus to them!
     Would we be people who do not complain about people, but instead love them like Jesus loves us?  Would we be people that truly live out the Gospel every day and live out what sacrificial love looks like tangibly in our own lives?  I pray our hearts would be stretched wide and it would minister to us as well as the people we serve!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

16 May 2017

Agape Love...Part 1

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  --Matthew 22:35-40
     The great commandment is to love God and love others.  Hearing this sounds like a huge undertaking.  How do I love God and love others?  Maybe you are thinking, I love God, but loving others is really hard.  Or maybe you think, this is for people who are good at this, but I'm not…
     This is the great commandment, and it applies to more than just those who work in full-time ministry like we do at Open Door Mission.  This is the great commandment for all believers. 
     The Greek word for love in these verses is agape.  Jo Saxton sheds some light in a
Jo Saxton is a pastor, Christian author, and speaker.
sermon about what this agape love means.

"What does your love say about you?  It’s easy to love people who are like you.  Love-agape is sacrificial love.  What does your sacrificial love look like?  It’s more than baby-sitting.  Sacrificial love costs you.  It may cost you to make friends who are the lost, lonely, least and lonely, is that your example?  It may be someone you disagree with politically.  Can you disagree without being disagreeable or do we have to fight it out with hashtags on Facebook?  What does our love look like?  Cornel West says justice is what love looks like in public.  What does your love look like to the people you disagree with, people you don’t like, people with whom you don’t want to spend time, and people who occupy your time?  Sometimes the thing the Lord is inviting us to will stretch us into more.  You will find your heart will become bigger than it expected.”

To be continued Wednesday, May 17.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

15 May 2017

Grateful for Open Door Mission

     I would like to thank Open Door Mission for allowing me to heal and grow as a man, father, and child of our Most High God.  I now have the privilege to be part of a church plant in a North Omaha community where I will be able to establish and nurture significant relationships. 
     Through the grace of God, I was recently offered a position with a painting company.  And I was recently given a car through the Chariots of Hope program at Open Door Mission, which will help me get to and from work.  Though I currently receive Social Security Disability, it is my goal to phase into complete and full self-sufficiency.  I can only do this through the full and active grace of the Holy Spirit which dwells within me. 
     Thanks to Open Door Mission, my relationship with my young son is growing and I am able to see him more often.  I hope to model a Christlike life for my son – we all know children are our future.  I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve received at Open Door Mission.

David
Open Door Mission Guest

12 May 2017

I Have Become a Better Man


     My name is Justin, and I graduated the Journey to Work Program this past February.  I first came to Open Door Mission from prison.  Last July, I was paroled here and joined the Journey to Work Program right away.  I was in the program for seven months before I graduated.
     During those months, I received my GED and found a full time job.  Now I am working, going to doctors’ appointments, and visiting my two young sons whenever possible.
     I thank the Lord every day for putting Open Door Mission in my life.  By going through this program, I have become a better man. 

Justin
Open Door Mission Graduate

11 May 2017

Different Facets of the Gospel

     Something I’ve noticed throughout my years as a Christian is that the more times and ways the Gospel is presented to me, the more clearly I see the different facets of the story.  Just like a diamond.  And depending on what is happening in my life at the time, different parts of God’s character mean more to me.  So don’t grow weary in continuing to share the Gospel!
     Every bit of love, kindness, forgiveness, and grace we bless others with is a like a drop of living water to replace of that "stinky water” of sin.  When ministry gets hard, we can remind ourselves that, "I'm sacrificing for you so you will appreciate/LOVE the Heavenly Father who has transformed me with His love so I can love you.”  Let us beware of the attitude of deserving praise for our service.  
     We are the earthly hands and feet and HEART of Jesus.

Sonya Holland
Accountant

10 May 2017

Confidence Boost

     A little while ago, two of our New Life Recovery Program/Work Net students Dal and Kelly went to Authentic You for haircut and makeover!  Both are trying to find the next best steps towards achieving their long term goals.  So the makeovers were a huge encouragement.  With this boost of confidence, they are ready to face any interview!  Check out their transformations below:




Daniel Anderson
Work Net/Vocational Director