20 January 2017

God at Work...Part 2

Continued from Thursday, January 19.

     Open Door Mission’s Head Chef, Brian, had also started ministering to Heather when she came to volunteer.  He would share of how God changed his life.  She always rolled her eyes at him, and would saying something like, "You and Jessie—geez!"
     This all changed when she came out in the Streets of Omaha van one day.  What she saw that day completely changed her perspective on life.  God did something in her that day.
Our kitchen volunteers are the best!  Would you consider coming
down to prep food or serve a meal for hungry and homeless
men, women, and children?
     We met a woman who talked about her life on the street and how she knew only God could change her.  I prayed for the woman and as we were getting back in the van, the woman gave Heather a hug.  On our way back to the Mission, Heather asked me if my invite to church still stood.  “OF COURSE!” I said.  The Lord was breaking down those walls!
     The next day heather came in and I was playing a worship song on my phone.  She smiled and said, "Is that what it’s like?"  When I asked her what she meant she said, "Is that what knowing Jesus is like?  Peace and joy and stuff?”
     “Yes!” I replied.  I knew God was tugging on her heartstrings.  
     Later that day as Heather was working with Brian, she told him how glad she was to be at the Mission and that she felt something happening in her heart.
     The very next day she said, “Jessica, you know…um…I have been thinking…Maybe I need to learn more about this Jesus stuff.“  What a blessing it was for us to hear those words!  Brian has been praying for Heather non-stop this week, ministering to her and showing her what the presence of Jesus looks like.  Not by his words, necessarily but by his actions. 
     This just goes to show that not just our guests, but also our volunteers are seeing Jesus at Open Door Mission.  As staff, volunteers, and donors who know the Lord, it is so important that the love of Christ shines through us because that is how non-believers see Jesus's love.  Our actions and attitudes need to reflect the love and change that Christ has made in our lives so that people living in the dark can see the light!
     How are your attitudes and actions showing Christ to others?  I encourage you to think about that today.  I know I will!  Thank God for His work in Heather’s live, and for the many others He is bringing to Himself through Open Door Mission! 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

19 January 2017

God at Work...Part 1

Our volunteers are essential for feeding the hundreds of hungry
men, women, and children that come to Open Door Mission
each day for a nutritious meal.
     Open Door Mission is a place where people from every walk of life can come and feel the love of Jesus.
     “Jessica, you know…um…I have been thinking…Maybe I need to learn more about this Jesus stuff," said Heather.  She has been volunteering at the Mission for little over a year.  At only 18, her rebellious attitude and poor choice has led her to having to live in youth facilities, jail, and now independent living.
     I met Heather’s mother Laura first, when Laura lost her job last year and began volunteering in the kitchen every other day.  Laura helped make sack lunches and however else she could in the kitchen.
     During this time, Laura shared with me that her daughter Heather was in a local youth facility.  She was under a lot of stress and felt as though she was losing her daughter to the world.  We prayed for Heather and I asked Laura to bring her here to volunteer so I could meet her.  Heather fell in love with volunteering, and began coming pretty frequently.  I was able to begin a mentoring type of relationship with her.
     Then six months ago, Heather ran away from home, and when she was brought back her mother decided the best thing for Heather was to give her completely to God, so she did.  Heather was arrested for truancy, and went to jail.  But God wasn’t finished with her yet, and she came back to volunteer again a few weeks ago.  In the past, she was very shut off to Jesus, and didn't even like when I told her that He loves her and died for her.  She would just say, "Oh Jessie, there you go again with the God talk."

To be continued Friday, January 20.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

18 January 2017

Happy Meal Surprise

     At the Lydia House, I’m blessed to see donors drop in with gifts for our guests day by day.  Recently a family brought in a fun surprise that I hadn’t seen before!  Clint and Laurie with their four kids bought and donated 44 McDonald’s Happy Meals for the children at the Lydia House!  We had some very HAPPY kids for sure! 

Shelly McCullough
Family Support Supervisor

13 January 2017

The Good Life

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  –Psalm 118:24

     A lot of us are waiting, hoping, praying for something.  We sometimes start to believe the lie that when we get the thing we are praying for, that is when we will experience "the good life" the Lord has for us.
     Annie Downs says, "No matter where you are on the spectrum of how you feel about God, He already knows how He feels about you, and He loves you.  I’m waiting, I’m believing, I’m hoping but I’m not believing for something better than this.  Keep wanting and desiring the things God put in you, because God put those things in you.  But this is the good life for you and me.  And I’m telling you, you will have a different life if you believe this is the good life.  Will you believe that this is the day that the Lord has acted on your behalf?"
     Psalm 118 says that this is the day the Lord has made.  So this day is good.  Often we go through life saying, "I'm just waiting for a day in the future."  But today, right now, is from the Lord!  We can choose to be a grump and have a horrible attitude, we can choose to go through the motions, or we can choose to say, “YES LORD!  You made today and I'm going to rejoice in it.  Whatever you have for me today, I will do it for your glory!” 
     Let us not be people who only can quote bible verses or only go by the title of "Christians."  Instead, let's be people who live out the Gospel every day.  Let's be people who can rejoice in what the Lord has placed in front of us this second, this minute, this hour, and not secretly wish we were somewhere else.  Let's be people who can rejoice in this day, that today is the good life.  And let us be people who believe in word and action that Jesus is all we need to truly experience the good life the Lord has for us!!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

12 January 2017

River City Six - Mike Johnson

     Open Door Mission’s own Mike Johnson, Chief Financial Officer, was recently featured as one of Strictly Business’ River City Six.  Read his spotlight profile below.

     Open Door Mission (www.opendoormission.org) is a Gospel Rescue Mission founded in 1954 committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty.  Each day, Open Door Mission’s campus offers 816 safe, shelter beds to homeless men, women and children, serves over 2,000 hot, nutritious meals and provides preventive measures to more than 275 people living in poverty.  Mike Johnson is Open Door Mission’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

How did you get started in the organization?
I was looking for something that would match my skill set with the opportunity to help others in a meaningful way.  Most opportunities required a move to one of the coasts.  After praying for several months, an opportunity at Open Door Mission appeared on a job board.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Having to lay people off.  In the corporate world, profits are what matter and some companies sacrifice talented, good people to meet a number.

What has been your most important achievement professionally?
I sat for and passed the CPA examination on my first try after being out of college for eight years.  This opened some doors for me to progress to where I am now.

Tell us a little about your family.
I am married with three daughters.  All three live in Omaha; two are married. W e currently have three wonderful grandchildren.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Following Jesus Christ wholeheartedly requires many sacrifices and faith to trust completely in God’s provision.  Stepping into full-time ministry at Open Door Mission is the current step of faith in which I am engaged.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Being outside, hiking, kayaking, and playing with the grandkids.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I enjoy cooking and make really good runzas.

What are you the most proud of?
Our team at Open Door Mission.  I know firsthand the sacrifices people go through to work here.  They selflessly give of their time, talent and treasure to help those who need help and direction in this world.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Never quit; do the best you can.  Only when you quit do you really fail.  Everything else is a learning experience.

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
Faithful.

If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
Forest ranger or trail guide.  I love our national parks and the wilderness in general.

What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
I love sharing the Word of God with men going through our programs at Open Door Mission.  I love to see their hearts come alive and their lives begin to change into something new.

What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.

What is your favorite movie?
The Last of the Mohicans or The Patriot.

What is your favorite TV show?
Currently it’s The Selection.  Those in our Armed Forces deserve all our thanks for the sacrifices they make for our country.

What is your favorite local restaurant?
I enjoy Bonefish Grill for dine in, and for pizza it’s La Casa Pizzaria.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?
Via email at mjohnson@opendoormission.org or visit our website at www.opendoormission.org.

This article has been re-posted from Strictly Business.  To view its original site, please click here.

11 January 2017

New Year, New Life


     On New Year’s Day, five men from our life-changing programs came forward to be baptized at church.  Please pray for them by name, and share in this celebration!  What a perfect way to start the new year!

Matthew
Arlin
Leonard
Scott
Jason

Pat McKernan
Garland Thompson Men’s Center Director

10 January 2017

Winter Break Fun

     Thank you to our Children and Youth Director, Rachel, for calling me over to the Lydia House last week to see the coolest fort ever.  I am not sure who was more excited: the kids or Rachel.  But it was a fun sight to see, nonetheless.  I am thinking Rachel needs an assistant to help with kids and I am putting in my application now!

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director




09 January 2017

What Do You Do?

My family and I love our job and all the people when are able to
meet because of it!
     I stopped into several buildings on campus today, and a theme seemed to resonate.  It may be a different year, but one thing I know, that I know, that I know is still the same—God is in control.
     While I was at the Garland Thompson Men's Center to greet media, I got to see two of our New Life Recovery Program students share their testimony for Channel 7, giving God the glory for the lasting change they’ve experienced in their lives.  Their uncut testimonies were so good that everyone listening got chills.
     Then, as I stopped by our kitchen to say hi, I saw one of our Board members serving our guests dinner.  He's been on the Board for years, but still humbly served with a giddy smile like it was his first time.
     My phone buzzed, and I received this message from a graduate as I was leaving for the night.

"Victoria!!!!  It's happening.  Our baby girl should be here by tomorrow.  Please tell me you are still teaching at Lydia House?!  Your class helped save my life. If it wasn't for Lydia House, I know I'd be in the ground.  Now we are close to bringing home a new life.  God is AMAZING!  Thank you for everything."

     It's 2017, and God's grace is still sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).  He knows our needs for timing, budgeting, staffing, etc. He has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11).  He is Sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:12).  He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we could ever ask hope or think (Ephesians 3:20).
     Here's to another day of Mission life, where when people ask, “What do you do,” you reply with, “What needs to get done?”  We may not get to check the boxes off of our to-do list every day, but we are part of God's plan.  We are planting seeds into the fertile ground of this campus, and seeing God change lives every day for His harvest and all eternity.
     So all in all, that was a pretty awesome day.

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

06 January 2017

New Year's Prayer

     Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2017!  Here is my prayer for you all.

May God: 
ALWAYS BE FIRST in your life.
Sit on the throne of your heart.
Be your FIRST LOVE, always.


     I am also praying blessings, provision, protection, wisdom, guidance and God's DIVINE PEACE to flood your soul as we enter 2017.     May I say that I am blessed and honored to serve the Lord alongside all of you – every staff member, donor, volunteer, and friend of the Mission.  What a blessing it is to watch miracles of God’s faithfulness unfold every day!

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge.  With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.  –Proverbs 3:5-6

Lisa Freeto
Overnight Support Worker

05 January 2017

God Lead You, God Feed You...

     Another year of great promise for the Kingdom has begun.  Remember during these first days of 2017 that the Word of the Lord will not return void!
     This will be a year of change for me, personally, as I have another high school senior leaving the nest.  He is looking at the next chapter of his life with soaring optimism.  I can’t wait to see where God takes him.  Onward and upward!
     Unlike past years, I have decided to not have a word of the year.  This is very different for me.  Instead, my 2017 prayer for myself, my family, and all friends, staff, donors, and volunteers of Open Door Mission is borrowed from the writings of another.

“God lead you; God feed you; God seed you; God weed you; God speed you.”  In the powerful words of Oswald Chambers, “Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with him.”

     I hope this resonates with you now and throughout 2017.  Here are a couple of other thoughts to ponder for the new year:

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above little things.” - John Burroughs

“Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.” - William Shakespeare

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” - Benjamin Franklin

“Don’t judge me by my past. I don’t live there anymore.” - Petteri Tarkkonen

“God promises a light unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future.” - Max Lucado

“Jesus Christ lived obscurely for much of His life and yet billions now follow Him - I am one of them.” - Queen Elizabeth II

     May 2017 be blessed!

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

03 January 2017

Blessing Upon Blessing

     In the days leading up to Christmas, Open Door Mission was blessed by generous donations from all around.  Here are a couple of highlights:
     The men from the Omaha Fire Department donated toys for the children at the Lydia House!
     Project Harmony dropped off 30 dolls and 8 boxes of action figures for our children!  What a blessing!
      Immanuel Village came by to donate toys and other urgent needs for those at Open Door Mission.
     Mark and Bonnie dropped off DOZENS of children's books for the kids.  They will certainly love them!
     Melissa dropped off many items for the men, including wallets, socks, and other hygiene items.
    Omaha Public Schools donated 22 boxes of clothes, toiletries, hats, gloves, toys, and food!
     Let’s send out a sincere thank you to each of these groups and individuals for thinking of the hungry and homeless men, women, and children during this holiday season.  And thank you to everyone else who donated or came down to volunteer!  You made the holidays a little brighter for the hungry and homeless.

Lydia House and Men’s Center Staff






30 December 2016

Kingdom Building Ministry

During the Holidays, I am able to spend more time than usual with
our donors, volunteers, and friends of the Mission.  What a blessing!
     Just a couple of days ago, we celebrated the great gift of the Christ child once again.  In the midst of it all—getting together with family, giving and receiving gifts, the festive dinner, and the reflective warmth that Christmas always invokes –I pray that we were all able to take time to express our deep appreciation to the Father for His life-changing gift.
     As Norman Vincent Peale once put it, “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
     My husband Steve and our children join me in expressing our genuine thanks for your party in Open Door Mission's Kingdom Building ministry as a staff member, donor, volunteer, or friend.  And we want to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year! 
     “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,” said Charles Dickens.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

29 December 2016

Little Addy

     Little Addy started her own drive this holiday season to raise money to buy hats and gloves for homeless men, women, and children.  She raised over $1,150.00 and purchased over a 1000 sets of hats and gloves!
     Be sure to never underestimate a person because of their age—Addy was able to make a huge difference for people she has never even met because of her passion and compassion.

Darryl Price
Day House Supervisor

28 December 2016

BINGO!

     Last week we had our monthly BINGO night at the Permanent Supportive Housing Building.  It was an extra special family night as the theme was Christmas!  The number of people who came to play and have fun together was wonderful, and the community is a blessing to our hearts.  We have fun building this community at the Permanent Supportive Housing Building, taking a moment during the craziness of the season to spend together.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

27 December 2016

GED Achievement!

     Please join me in congratulating Justin on obtaining his GED! He started the Journey to Work Program in August and completed his GED last week, right before Christmas.  He now plans to go to college to study mechanics after he graduates the Journey to Work Program.  God is good—praise Him for opportunities!

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

23 December 2016

Generous Donors

     During the Christmas season, myself along with other staff members get the opportunity to visit our donors in person, deliver a tin of cookies baked by our Lydia House women, and let them know how much they are appreciated.
     Talking with my fellow staff members, we all agreed that this opportunity is our favorite part of the season.  All of us were touched by the homes we were able to visit, the warm conversations we had, and the loving hugs we received.
     What inspires us the most is visiting donors who live in humble conditions –not all are in huge mansions.  These people are giving sacrificially, and what a blessing it is to change lives alongside them!  I believe that meeting these donors is a huge testimony to all of us, and affirms the scripture of the widow’s mite:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.  Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” –Mark 12:41-44

     Merry Christmas!  May you all be blessed for your generosity!

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

22 December 2016

Star Wars Blessing

     Friends of Open Door Mission, Constance and her husband, have collected Star Wars figures throughout their marriage.  But last week, they donated every figure to Open Door Mission so they can be given as Christmas gifts to teenage boys.  What a special moment!




Cynthia Mier
Receptionist

21 December 2016

On National Radio


     On the way home last week, a 20 year old girl from Bellevue, NE named Amber had called in to the radio station KLOVE with some cool news.  She said the she and her friend go door to door caroling in their neighborhood every year, asking for canned good donations.
     Here’s the kicker – they donate these canned goods to OPEN DOOR MISSION!  It was awesome to hear the Mission mentioned on a national radio station!  And what a blessing to hear yet another way our donors think of us during the holidays.

Sonya Holland
Accountant

20 December 2016

A Gift From Their Own Tree

     These two little girls, Calista and Lillian, were with their mom at Christ Community Church’s Christmas concert last weekend.  There they heard a presentation about Open Door Mission and our urgent needs for Project Santa.
     They wanted to help, but instead of going out and buying toys, they each chose a gift that had already been wrapped and put under their tree for Christmas.  That means these girls each gave one of their own presents so two other kids could have a great Christmas.  Now THAT is the spirit of Christmas!

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

16 December 2016

Project Santa is MONDAY

Thank you to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
employees and hundreds of other toy sorting
volunteers who made Project Santa possible!
     Thank you to everyone that helped out with the Project Santa sign up day a couple weekends ago!  It was an amazing day!  Everything went smoothly, and that is because of all our dedicated staff members and volunteers!  We signed up thousands of kids to receive toys for Christmas day, and now that day is on Monday!
     We’ve had hundreds of volunteers on campus, and out in Elkhorn, Council Bluffs, and South Omaha, all helping us get ready for the big day!
     Thank you to all who have helped sorting and bagging toys as well as loving our guests and clients.  You are making a difference in the lives of people on mission field in our own community!
     On Monday, Project Santa day, will be such a blessing to many families as well as staff and volunteers.  Please pray with us that it goes just as smoothly as our sign up day, and against any snow, ice, or adverse conditions!

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

15 December 2016

Making Someone Feel Special


     Working at the Timberlake Outreach Center, I often get to speak with people bringing in donations for the poor and needy in our community.  Last week, one little boy just melted my heart with his donation.
     Four year old Connor came with his mom to bring some personal care product packs he had made, saying he just wanted to make someone feel special this Christmas.  Each one included Kleenex, hand sanitizer, lotion, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand wipes, Vaseline, raisins, a candy bar, 10 quarters, a first aid kit, and was wrapped in a pair of socks.
     He had a big smile on his face, and I know God was smiling too. 

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

14 December 2016

More Than a Statistic

     As it gets colder, Open Door Mission sees an increase in people seeking shelter.  These people just trying to get warm, fed, and rested.  Some may think that during these bitter cold days, everyone that lives on the streets comes in for shelter.  However, this is just not true—we come in contact with people every day during our Streets of Omaha program that are still living out in the cold.
     "I don't expect you to understand or even to accept me, but you are here and you do,” said one man that we serve on the streets.  “I am amazed."
     He had been sitting under the interstate bridge all afternoon.  He was hungry and alone.  We talked with him, gave him a few sack lunches and bottles of water, and then simply spent time getting to know him.  As we got up to walk back to the van he said, "Thank you.  Thank you for taking the time to just let me be a person." 
      Today He felt less like statistic or an addiction, He felt the way he deserves to feel and that is like a person who God calls his child. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

13 December 2016

Tell the Kids, and the Parents Follow

This is Reagan Elementary, another school making a difference
in their community!  They collected over 248 pounds of food to
feed the hungry and homeless this Holiday Season!
     I had a last minute speaking engagement at a third grader class yesterday, and what a blessing it was!
     They are collecting diapers for the 94.1 Diaper Drive this weekend, and are having a competition between classrooms.  They were so excited about their drive that they couldn't tell me enough about things they and their families have done for those in need.  I also was asked a million questions about everything at Open Door Mission.
     The teacher told me that the week before she had invited her kids to ask their parents to bring them to volunteer with her that Saturday.  Much to her surprise, she had six kids and their parents come!  Tell the kids and the parents will follow!
     If only all adults could have their enthusiasm!!  I do believe God speaks volumes through the innocence of children.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.  –Matthew 19:14

Valerie Ridpath
Heartland Hands Coordinator

09 December 2016

Lasting Change

     Once I a while, I receive lovely, encouraging notes from the men, women, and children whose lives have been changed by Open Door Mission.  Here is a nice note that I wanted to share with you:
     My name is Tom, and firstly I would like to thank the Open Door Mission for everything that they have provided me with in my life so far.  I can never truly express my gratitude for everything that has been extended to me spiritually, physically, and mentally.  I now have a full time job and soon will be a full time college student.  I am so grateful for Open Door Mission, the amazing opportunities they have given me, and for the program I was able to graduate from.
     To God be the glory for this man’s lasting change!  Join me in praying for him and every other man and woman in our programs, that God would bless and protect them.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

08 December 2016

Gracious Words

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  –Proverbs 16:24

"And to say gracious words is brave.  To speak life into someone else takes courage.  Whether you are correcting in love, standing up for the voiceless, praying for the sick, or praising and loving others, your words are changing the atmosphere.
Don't be afraid.  Be brave.  Say the things that will speak truth and heal.  Hold your tongue in anger or fear--those are the times when a coward speaks.  But when the moment comes to say the gracious thing that will make a heart forever?  Say it.  Speak love, and watch as beautiful things come to life."  –Annie Downs, "Let's All Be Brave"

     I read this recently during my morning devotions, and this Proverb stuck out to me.  Gracious words.  What does it mean to have someone speak a gracious word over my life?  It is a rare gift indeed when someone chooses gracious words.
     Gracious means showing God's divine grace, which is kind, compassionate, and merciful.  When situations are hard, how much easier is it to react in frustration, anger, blame?  It is so much easier!  But it takes more courage to speak love to others. 
     When we hear a gracious word spoken to us we feel validated, accepted, and sometimes it's just what we need to heal us to further move forward.  Words can have death and life in our lives.  What we speak can change the trajectory of someone's life forever.  We never know unless we take that brave step and decide to encourage, not tear down. 
     I pray that we stop and think what we say and that we will be more gracious, especially during the Christmas season.  Then it would truly be a season of blessing!
     Instead of getting burned out thinking all the extra tasks we have to do this time of year, may we thank the Lord for giving us the chance to show God's grace to the community we serve.  Let’s pause and be gracious to one another and speak life to each other, our guests, our families, and our friends.  Even when our backs are pushed against the wall, would we choose to be gracious!
     I believe that our gracious words can point others to Jesus.  I believe that this Christmas, words can be used to bring beautiful things to life, to change stories, and to break chains forever!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

07 December 2016

Stop by and say, "Hi!"

     Brian decided to come by the Timberlake Outreach Center’s Receiving Area and say hi to the team.  It's always a pleasure to have Brian and his moral support around, but he may need to work on figuring out how to drive through our drop off area.  This is NOT correct!
     Be sure to bring your donations or our urgently needed items to any of our four conveniently-located Family Donation & Outreach Centers (Timberlake, Council Bluffs, Elkhorn, and South Omaha) this Christmas!  You’ll always be greeted by a friendly face and hopefully get a little joy out of our goofiness.

Scott McDowell
Receiving

06 December 2016

New Member of the Kingdom


     I would like to introduce a new member to the Kingdom of God! This is Alexis and her family.  She came to Council Bluffs Family Donation & Outreach Center six weeks ago.  We met and she told me at the time that she was a week clean from meth, determined to stay sober so she could get her daughter back home.
     Ever since that week, she has returned weekly to the Outreach Center just to talk.  Last Thursday, Alexis finally realized how much God loves her and is there for her, and on Sunday she attended church and was baptized!
     Please pray for Alexis as she starts this journey with Jesus.  She has the greatest weapon in her now to help fight this external enemy of drug addiction!
     To God be all the glory!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

05 December 2016

#UNselfie

     Last week for #GivingTuesday, Open Door Mission friend Larry joined the #Unselfie movement!  He volunteered for over 10 years and was such a bright light at the Mission to volunteers, staff, donors, and guests all the same.  He stopped by my office for hugs as it was his last day teaching.
     Larry is leaving behind a legacy of making a difference at Open Door Mission, and we will miss him dearly!
     Were you able to give back on #GivingTuesday?  If not, make sure to mark your calendars for next year and take your #Unselfie so you can inspire HOPE for lasting change.  Maybe what’s in store for you is to be the next Larry?

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

02 December 2016

Into the Holidays

     I just wanted you all to know I appreciate each and every one of you!
     My heart is overjoyed through this Holiday season and every day, really.  Being able to see the other side of Open Door Mission brings me to tears sometimes.  I am so thankful that God has blessed me in my position here at the Mission.
     I have the ability to meet/greet the generous donors, volunteers, staff, and guests as they come through our doors.  I get to talk with people both in person and on the phone.  God knows my heart and has given me more love for each of these people that I interact with than I could ever have imagined.
    I am joyful to share the hope I have with others.  I have been made new in Christ.  He is my Author, my Creator, my Protector, and my Father.  
     As we go through this Holiday season I am reminded of how each person’s struggles and hardships are so different.  Please be in prayer with me for all of the programmers and people who are coming in seeking shelter from brokenness.  I pray that God comes into their lives and removes all the thresholds of evil.  
     Thank you in advance and have a blessed day!

Cynthia Mier
Receptionist

01 December 2016

Faithfulness in the Small Things

     A couple of days ago I had the most wonderful morning, and I wanted to share it with you.  It started with a really good devotional in the morning which talked about faithfulness in the small things.  
If we were to take our cues from Scripture, focusing on the relationship between the Father and the Son, we could make the case that God receives love through obedience.  Succinctly stated, “Christ emptied himself in order to be filled up with obedience.”
     And then as I was driving to work, admiring the beautiful pink clouds as the sun rose, I saw one of our Open Door Mission trucks on the road.  I looked up at the driver, and there was Peter with a big old smile, waving at me.
     It's the little things in life that make me happy, and I am grateful to God for all my blessings. 
     Praying today that God will show you some amazing blessings in your life. 

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

30 November 2016

I Work at Open Door Mission!

     I wanted to share this picture and cute story with you! 
     Recently, my daughter took my name tag, put it on, and said, "Mom, look!  I work at the Open Door Mission!"
     I said, "Oh you do? What do people do at Open Door Mission?"
     She replied, "Well, mostly they eat soup, but they help people too!"  She attended Ladle of Love with me! 
     I got to thinking, and this really reminded me that, more than anything, children watch what we do.  How blessed are we that our children get to watch us do God's work EVERY SINGLE DAY! 

Michelle Therkildsen
Development Associate

29 November 2016

Safe Shelter for the Holidays...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 11/28.

     “They have so many wonderful programs for the kids, from the Tutoring Lab to the Bright Space with more toys than I’ve ever seen,” said Kemesha.  “Our favorite is the Book Nook, though.  We’re able to read a new book together every night, and that’s such a blessing.”
Kemesha is slowly getting back on to her feet, despite complications from an illness.  She started working at a call center and saved her money to purchase her own vehicle.
     Through everything, Kemesha knows the Lord has been with her and her children.  She has turned her eyes back to the Lord, and can see the difference in her life.  “Once we were seeking the Lord faithfully, everything started falling into place,” she said.

     Kemesha is a woman of great strength, and her perspective on life has change throughout this journey.  “As long as we’re able to eat, take showers, and be together…I feel like we’re blessed,” she said.
     And for the first time in a while, Kemesha is looking forward to the Holidays without anxiety or stress.  Thanks to wonderful programs such as Adopt A Guest, she knows her children will feel loved as they open presents hand-picked for them on Christmas day.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

28 November 2016

Safe Shelter for the Holidays...Part 1

     Life for Kemesha can be busy and overwhelming, with a full house and a baby on the way.  But she is grateful to have found safe shelter at Open Door Mission for her and her family.
Kemesha recalls growing up really fast.  She remembers her family being homeless as a child, but felt her father provided for them the best he could.  Life hit hard when she became a teenage mom at age 15.
     “I grew up pretty fast,” said Kemesha.  Since then, Kemesha has experienced one hardship after another.
     “The kids and I lived in a house with no electricity and barely any water,” she said.  She even recalls walking to the nearest store to warm up food for her children.
     Kemesha decided to move to Omaha when her neighborhood became too unsafe.  Loved ones and friends were being shot around her.  Kemesha's brother lives in Omaha, so it seemed like the best option for getting away from the violence.
     When the family first came to Open Door Mission, they had to stay in the Lydia House Overflow Area for a couple of weeks before a room opened up.  It was a brand new experience, but her children felt at home right away.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/29.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

23 November 2016

Sharing Our Heart

     Currently, Open Door Mission still has many homeless and needy men, women, and children who have not been sponsored under our Adopt A Guest Program.  I pray that the Lord would open donors’ hearts to see what He is doing, and they would humble
themselves to see what God would have them give! 
     My prayer is that as Open Door Mission staff, volunteers, and friends, we would be outspoken in our church communities and small groups, sharing what AWESOME things God is doing at Open Door Mission!  And when they see our enthusiasm and ask questions, that we would help them get involved in our Mission!
     My small group volunteers in the kitchen once a month and is going to Adopt a Guest this Christmas.  It may look small, but what if all of us connected with the Mission shared our HEART with the people closest to us and invited them in to be a part of what God is doing here?  It would have huge impact!
     I know that volunteering once a month it has been a blessing to my small group as much as it has been to our guests.  We need to be people that encourage others to get out of their seats and live out the Gospel!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

22 November 2016

'Tis the Season

Here I am at the KFAB Radiothon with Boyd Dingman, who helped
donate towards our match money for the day!
     The month of November has been amazing so far!  We had the Salute to the Red, White and Blue, ceremony honoring Veterans.  We’ve had volunteer groups helping to make Fixin food boxes for Drumsticks on Wheels event this past Saturday.
     And ‘tis the season of Project Santa boxes being set up throughout the community for drop offs.  The Christmas Bell tree is going up at the BOOMER station at Midtown Crossing.  It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. All that’s missing is some white stuff and cold temperatures to really make it feel like the Holidays.
     All of this craziness can get overwhelming, but it also leads me to reflect on how many times God has said to me, “Just listen to My voice and word, and have faith!”  He tells me that so frequently because He knows I need to hear it!  So join me in taking comfort in knowing that God knows the needs of HIS Open Door Mission.


And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 4:19

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

21 November 2016

We Will Run To YOU

These volunteers helped make sack lunches for our Streets of
Omaha program.  What a blessing!
     Volunteer Michael jumped out of the van and ran a sack lunch to a man he saw sitting under a bridge.  He was out volunteering for Open Door Mission’s Streets of Omaha program.
     "I am very grateful for you,” said the man.  “A lot of people don't pay attention to me, or they run the other way when they see me."
     Our Volunteer Michael told him, “We will run TO YOU every time."
     The man's face lit up with joy.
      The sad reality is, the people that we serve are used to people running away from them, not looking them in the eyes.  Some even get called horrible names.  In our ministry, we don't know everyone's situation or story, but we do know that people need love.  Our Streets of Omaha volunteers look forward to sharing that love each and every day.
     Some of our volunteers such as Mike volunteer all day, making lunches in the morning and then handing them out in the afternoon.  Lives of people on the streets as well as our volunteers’ lives are being changed here at Open Door Mission.  We would love you to be a part of that

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

18 November 2016

Socktober


     Recently we received a generous donation of new pairs of socks at Open Door Mission’s Elkhorn Outreach & Donation Center!
     Carter and Delaney Richardson initiated a SOCKTOBER sock drive through their school at North Bend Central and throughout their local community to collect a total of 850 pairs of socks for the homeless.
     What a blessing!

Jesse Pauly
Elkhorn Donation & Outreach Center