26 August 2016

New Wheels

     One of our Journey to Work Program graduates just receive some new wheels!  God truly is taking care of Yusufu!
     He shared with me that he recently got a job downtown, and his shifts end very late at night.  As he rides back to Open Door Mission on his bike, drunk people often throw beer bottles as well as insults at him.
     Now has safe passage to and from work, and a way to transport his young children.  This was what Yusufu was most excited about, as now he can take them to church with him!
      Praise God for His goodness!

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

25 August 2016

I Need Your Prayers

     We get the privilege here at Open Door Mission to stand back and watch God work in the lives of the people we serve.  I had one of those God moments with our Streets of Omaha volunteers today.  Their names are Heather and Lashawnda. 
     We pulled up to a corner lot where two individuals were sitting on the grass.  Lashawnda and Heather handed out bottles of water, packets of hygiene items, and sack lunches to these sweet folks.
     As I was walking back to the van, I heard a soft voice say, "I need your prayers."  I turned around and witnessed this beautiful sight: Lashawnda was praying over these two beautiful people.  Her powerful prayer asked for hope, love, protection, and God's guidance over them.  Tears rolled down everyone's face.
     As we said amen and hugged each other, the woman said, "I just knew today was the day that someone would come to care for us."  As we were getting in the van, one of the volunteers looked at me and said, "This right here is why I do this.  Everyone needs to know how much they are loved. Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us to these people today." 
     What an absolute blessing it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. 
Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

24 August 2016

Smile, You Work for Jesus!

     Recently in our Administration Building, the air conditioning on the fourth floor (where my office is located) went out.  It was a rough week!
     As I think back on our level of discomfort in dealing with the heat, I can't help but think of those we serve...those that live with no air-conditioning, struggling to make it by paycheck to paycheck ...or are roaming the streets with no refuge from the sun or the elements.
     Please say a special prayer for our friends in need. This week without air conditioning has definitely given me a deeper appreciation for the things we tend to take for granted.
     One of my coworkers pointed out that as I pass out pay stubs to my department, I have become notorious for saying, "Smile you work for Jesus."  But it's true!  I have friends around the world that can only afford short-term trips and so long to be in full-time ministry.  I know others that are state-side and volunteer all the time, but hate where they work. Neither get paid to be in full-time ministry, doing what we do. 
  I guess this week has been one of reminders to be grateful for all God has blessed me with, from air conditioning to working in full time ministry!  

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

23 August 2016

Missionaries Where We're Planted

I wonder what would happen if we all lifted our eyes and imagined as living intentionally exactly where we are.  What if we looked at where we are called to serve through the eyes of missionaries.  What if God has placed us exactly where we are, that we are sent people.  Sent to this world, not to stand in judgment of it, or be separate in our safe Christian confines, but be for it, to be representatives of Jesus, to bear the Good News wherever we go.  Who has God placed around you that you could love.  What can we do to show you are welcome with me, you are safe with me.  It could change the way we are able to share the Gospel in our generation.  --"Pulling the Thread" by Jen Hatmaker

     I was listening to this sermon last week, and it spoke to me in such a HUGE way.  What would it take for me to be more intentional on a daily basis?  We are placed and planted where we are for a purpose: to love and welcome people into the Kingdom!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.  For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.  And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.  So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.  --2 Corinthians 5:18-21

     We are Christ's ambassadors!  The definition of an ambassador is a respected official acting as a representative of a nation.  Verse 18 states that God has given us the task of reconciling people to Him, just as Christ reconciled the world to himself (verse 19).  So as Christ's ambassadors, using that definition, we act as representatives of God, sharing the Good News.  We are an acting official acting as a representative of Christ.  We speak for Christ when we plead with our lost brothers and sisters to turn to God, so that all could be made right with Him.  How the Lord loves all of His children!
     I pray this encourages you today, and that we may fully live in the calling the Lord has given us!  I pray we have testimonies we are able to share with each other on how God is moving at Open Door Mission, in us, through us, and through the people we serve.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

22 August 2016

At the Council Bluffs Outreach Center...Part 2

Continued from Friday, 8/19.

     Seventeen of our homeless guests this week alone came in for a change of clothes because everything they had was stolen. 
     We had four families this week that have three or even four generations coming to the Outreach Center monthly for food and supplies.  
     This week, three women of various ages came in.  Although they weren’t related, they had much in common.  Each walked in with their heads down, sharing tear-filled stories of how they never thought they would be coming to ask for help.  Loss of relationships and jobs have put them in a place of hopelessness. 
     This is just a snippet of the stories we hear daily.  We offer help and direction.  We share our faith in Jesus.  And at the end of our busy day, we fall on our knees on their behalf.  Then, with a heart of thankfulness, we praise Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ever imagine through His very life that is within each of His faithful children.
     Please pray for Council Bluffs. God has brought LIGHT in this dark place through the work of Open Door Mission. As we link arm in arm through faith and prayer, I believe that we will see lives changed and hope restored.

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

19 August 2016

At the Council Bluffs Outreach Center...Part 1

     I want to share what a week looks like here at the Council Bluffs Family Outreach/Donation Center. 
     Today, fifteen of our guests live on the streets or in shelter nearby.  As a daily average, one out of every three guests that come in are homeless.
     A few days ago, two women in their thirties came in, and explained that they have been living behind dumpsters for the past four weeks.  They hadn't showered in weeks.  Shelters are not for them because, as they said, "Meth is our best friend."
     A 32-year-old woman relocated to Council Bluffs due to domestic violence.  She has eight kids (three still in diapers) and one on the way. They live in a shelter, and she said all her family bridges have been burnt. 
     A 33-year-old woman has five children, and her boyfriend had recently beaten her up, sending her to the hospital.  She and her five kids have been homeless for months.  They have lived in hotels, with friends and family, and now are living for the next week with the last family member that will help.  Staying at Open Door Mission isn’t an option, because she cannot leave the state of Iowa.  On top of this all, she now knows that there is another child on the way.

To be continued on Monday, 8/22.

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

18 August 2016

Can I Give You a Water?

     "Excuse me sir, can I give you a water?"
     That’s how the conversation started for a volunteer and one of our homeless friends on the streets.  It didn't stop there though.  This man invited us to sit down and have conversation with him.  He talked to us about his life, politics, and how he loved nature.  Apparently he had grown up on a farm, so he really loved being outside.
     I looked over at one of our volunteers, and I could tell she was holding back her tears.  As the conversation came to an end, the man stood up and gave us a hand shake and thanked us for taking the time to visit with him.
     We walked back to the van and on the way our volunteer hugged me, saying, "This experience is one of the best I have ever had."  That day she not only made a difference to the gentlemen we had chatted with, but he made a difference in her life. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

15 August 2016

Walking With Jesus

When I’m back on my feet again
I’ll walk proud down this Fort street again;
I’ll remember that I always win
When I’m back on my feet again

And not going to cry no more
And I’m not going to get high, no more
I remember who I’m living for…..
Jesus Christ, my Lord

Open Door Mission Guest

12 August 2016

No More Taking Things for Granted

     As a volunteer at Open Door Mission, I found myself being very humbled.  I realized that there is so much that I take for granted every day.
     On an average day, I come home from my great job, greet my family in a heated or cooled house, eat a delicious warm dinner, and sip on something to drink. I do all of these things without a single thought about those who only have a shady tree or a freeway over pass to call home, those without food or water.
     So when I heard about Open Door Mission’s urgent need for bottled water, I challenged my truck club Diesel Mafia, Nebraska chapter to donate and help out.  We proudly collected 75 cases of water, and I know this water could be a life-saving drink for someone in need.
     I will continue to do as much as I can to help, and do my best to not forget what I learned during my time at Open Door Mission.

Ron Brazau
Open Door Mission Volunteer

11 August 2016

Back to School Physicals

     What an amazing day we had today at Back to School Physical Day at Open Door Mission last week!  Thanks to the many medical professionals from our community who volunteered their services.
     We had a very successful turnout, and now all Open Door Mission’s children are ready to head back to school healthy and happy.  Thank you to all those who came out and volunteered!  Check out the action in the photos below.

Kate Fischer
Free Health & Healing Clinic Director

10 August 2016

Prepared for Where We're Going

     A couple of mornings ago, a young lady was dropping off some clothes at the Timberlake Outreach Center.  I handed her a receipt enclosure and envelope, letting her know that we give everything away free so any financial donation is appreciated.  She stopped me, explaining that she used to live in the Permanent Supportive Housing building and had received help from the Timberlake Outreach Center many times.
     About a year ago she took the Financial Peace course with our Permanent Supportive Housing Director, and that course drastically changed her life.  She learned so much about financial stability and responsibility, and was able to move out into her own home using these principals.
     I love seeing how we helped repair someone from where they were and prepared them for where they are going!  Praise God for getting to see lives changed!

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

09 August 2016

Press On

     Do you ever feel as though you have hit the end of your road?  Maybe unfortunate things have been happening in your life, and it seems like the trials never end.  Maybe you are experiencing some things you know the Lord wants to stretch you with.
     I know that this has been me lately.  To be completely honest, there have been moments when I wanted to just give up.  But then at church this past Sunday, I was reminded of my purpose through the follow Bible verse.  I was reminded that it’s during those hard times that we have to keep pushing on.  
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 3:14
     I wanted to encourage all Open Door Mission friends this week: don't lose sight of what your purpose is.  When things get difficult, press into Jesus and press onward for the kingdom!  Maybe that sounds a little cheesy, but it’s true.  If you were placed here at the Mission, as a volunteer, donor, staff member, or friend, it means God has a plan for you to help accomplish His work!  Don't lose sight of your purpose!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

08 August 2016

Accept the Invite...Part 2

Continued from Friday, 8/5/2016.

When we accept life's invitation, it's contagious too.  Other people will watch us and start seeing life as something more amazing, more whimsical than before.  When you show up, people (the type that don't think they're invited) start seeing invitations everywhere as thick as colorful fall leaves.  They don't think about their pain or weakness any longer.  Instead, they think about how incredible a big life really is and how powerful the one who is throwing the banquet is too.  –"Love Does" by Bob Goff
     This was so good!  Every day we are blessed to be given an invitation to live life fully and point others to Jesus BY living fully.  What if we viewed the invitation to live fully every day as important as, for example, getting an invitation to the White House or to meet your favorite celebrity or to get a paid trip to a beautiful beach?  What if we viewed our life every day like this?
     Let's be people who accept life's invitation to walk with Jesus, a life where love takes action.  Let's have faith that others who feel unworthy and uninvited will see they have an invite too, just by seeing our acceptance of the invitation to live a full life.  I believe that they will see they are loved and cherished by us and by Jesus when we begin to live fully!
     Will you accept the invitation that God is calling you, to live a full life today?

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

05 August 2016

Accept the Invite...Part 1

     There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time.  I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement in the Lord, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.
     It doesn’t come in an envelope.  It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen.  It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day.  Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live. 
     A couple of things happen when we accept Jesus' invitation to participate with Him in life.  Obstacles that seem insurmountable suddenly aren't.  Impediments that we believe disqualify us suddenly don't.
     When we show up to participate with Jesus in the big life, we're participating with the very being Who made life in the first place.  He gently asks us how we are and invites us to get better together with Him.

To be continued on Monday, 8/8/2016.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

04 August 2016

What an Angel

     One of our wonderful volunteers, Angel comes in consistently to play with our kids aged three to five years’ old in the Bright Space.  It is a pleasure to watch her interact with the children, and her love for them is so evident in her words and actions.
     This picture is the perfect example of what I’m talking about.  The girls wanted to braid her beautiful hair, and she obliged.  Thank you, Angel, for being a light in the Bright Space!  We at Open Door Mission truly are blessed with the best volunteers!

Rachel Fisher
Children & Youth Director

03 August 2016

Project Blessing

     There are two ladies who are making a difference in such a fun way, and I wanted to tell you about them.  These amazing ladies buy donuts for half price, pay for the boxes with their own money, and then donate them to the local shelters! 
     Their names are Deb and Diane, and each time they bring eight to ten boxes filled with three to four dozen yummy donuts almost every week.  And we’re talking huge, delicious, gourmet donuts!
     They call themselves Project blessing, and what a blessing they are!  Thank you, Deb and Diane, for caring for hungry and homeless men, women, and children.

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

02 August 2016

Hitting Home

     How great it was to start my morning last week at Sam's Club in Papillion to speak at a staff meeting.  To my surprise, while introducing me, the manager broke down in tears.  He shared that one of his associates last month had asked him for a ride to the park after work, revealing that he was homeless.
     The manager personally brought him to Open Door Mission instead.  Isn't God AMAZING?!  The other staff members were shocked to know that anyone that they could have worked with was actually homeless, especially in a more affluent part of town.  To think that we get to play a small part in this is such an honor and privilege.
     As he shared, the manager mentioned how impressed he was with the level of respect and dignity the staff members had treated our new guest with.  This man has since raised enough money for a bus ticket to Texas to stay with his sister.  The manager said for the first time in a long time, he personally dropped to his knees in prayer and praise as he counted his blessings.
     Thank you for being Jesus, so others can see Jesus, so that they may KNOW Jesus.

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

01 August 2016

Not Just a Sandwich

     We have volunteers here at Open Door Mission who are excited about our Streets of Omaha ministry.  From making sandwiches and sack lunches to handing them out to folks on the streets, people are wanting to get involved!  The story I want to share with you today is about a volunteer and her experience on the streets.
     Margaret has been coming to the Mission every Tuesday for the past four months to make sack lunches.  She is always talking with other volunteers about how much she enjoys volunteering here, and how she feels as though she is being blessed through serving others.  Margaret decided that she not only wanted to make lunches, but that she would like the opportunity to come out in the van to hand them out as well.  She spent the afternoon laughing, praying, crying, and sharing the love of Jesus with people.
     My favorite part of the afternoon was when a woman named Bridget asked Margaret and two other volunteers to pray for her.  After the prayer, Bridget started to cry.  Margaret hugged her and allowed Bridget to rest in her embrace.
     On the way back to the Mission, Margaret said, “Jessica, I never knew that the lunches I was making in the morning brought so much joy to people.  I just thought I was making lunches…I guess I didn’t realize I was giving HOPE and love.”
     For Margaret, volunteering at Open Door Mission has showed her that in EVERYTHING we do, our purpose is to show people that Jesus is the answer.  For He uses simple things, like sack lunches, to change people’s lives.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

29 July 2016

Powerful Lyrics

     There are so many good Christian songs with powerful lyrics available to listen to nowadays.  Sometimes I find myself tuning out the words, but it’s worthwhile to actually listen to these songs once in a while.  To pause and let the words wash over you.
     We sang this one in church a couple of weeks ago, but it has stuck with me.  It brought me back to a simple, basic thought.  I encourage you to read the lyrics, and let their truth sink in.

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
Everything to God in prayer.

Janet Henderson

28 July 2016

Lemonade Stand

     These girls are Ellie and Layla.  They heard about Open Door Mission’s urgent need for bottled water during the hottest days of the year, and decided to make a difference.
     So with a little help, they built a lemonade stand to raise money.  All money raised was used to buy bottled water for Open Door Mission, which funded 30 cases of water!  Way to Beat the Heat!
     This shows how each person can help the hungry and homeless in his or her community, no matter how young!  Thank you, Ellie and Layla, for reminding us of this!

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

27 July 2016

What am I Passionate About?...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 7/26.

     We need each other.  We can't get through this life alone.  Sometimes we believe the lie that we don’t need others, but the truth is that we need to spur on one another toward love!  God made us for each other.  Yes, it's messy.  It's not perfect.  But it's so beautiful and filled of GRACE and MERCY.  That points us to Jesus every time.
     I am reminded of Paul and his attitude:
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! –Acts 28:30-31
     I love Paul's boldness and perseverance.  I want to be like Paul, pointing others to Jesus every chance I get.  We don't proclaim the Kingdom of God to others to get glory.  We win others to Christ, so God gets all the glory.  Our actions, attitude, character, and words show the world that although we live in the world, but we are not of the world!  Because when God gets the glory, we see hearts changed, beating only for Jesus!
     I am encouraged, through the sadness and brokenness, that we can change the world just by pointing others to our passion for Jesus!  We can be/are the light! 

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

26 July 2016

What am I Passionate About?...Part 1

     After I finished my workout this past weekend, I was getting ready to leave when one of the gym employees said, "Miss!  Miss!  Wait!"  He ran over to give me a free seven-day pass to invite a friend in hopes that the friend would join the gym as well.
     His excitement and passion about me inviting someone and possibly joining the gym was infectious.
     As I walked out of the gym, I couldn’t help but think, “Am I this passionate about Christ?  About sharing how amazing Christ is in hopes of winning more to the Kingdom?”
     The truth is that at times I could be better about boldly sharing my faith with others.  It then brings the question, what is my passion?  Is it the Lord Jesus Christ?  We are all passionate about something, and it comes out in what we tell people in conversations.  Do we bring up the latest movie released, the newest restaurant, or what Jesus has been doing in our lives?  God’s will is not that we keep our faith secret and private!
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  –Hebrews 10:24-25

     To be continued tomorrow, 7/27.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

25 July 2016

Angels From God

     "You are such a blessing to us who find ourselves living on the streets,”  said a man who was sitting on the corner of a building.  He had nothing but the clothes on his back and an empty cup.  “You are like angels sent from God to look over us."
     We were able to give this sweet man some lunches, bottled water, hygiene items, and a pair of shoes that we had in the van.  He smiled with gratitude and allowed one of our volunteers to pray with him.
     You see, to us it may be just a few items in a bag, a cold water, and a smile.  But to the people on the streets that we serve, these items are much more than that.  To this gentleman, it was a sign from God that he is loved and cherished. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

22 July 2016

Jesus is...

     As I work full time in ministry, here is what I am reminded of about Jesus:

Jesus is know as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53)
Jesus is known for his calmness (Mark 4:38)
Jesus is known for his compassion (John 8:11)
Jesus invites people into his family (Matthew 12:49)
Jesus is gentle (Mark 10:16)
Jesus is loving (John 13:34)
Jesus is empowering (Matthew 28:18)
Jesus is emotionally invested in his calling (Luke 22:44)
Jesus is forgiving (Luke 23:34)

     We are called to be like JESUS, so that others can see JESUS, so that others will know JESUS!  Because we are promised that we will be like Him (John 14:20).     I hope you revel in your journey! 

Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director

21 July 2016

Whose You Are

     Recently I found this quote by one of my favorite authors, Lysa TerKeurst.  She says, "Each day, let God whisper into your heart the truth of who you are - and Whose you are.  Filter the opinions of others through the reality that just because they think it, doesn't make it true.  Be brave enough to accept the negative feedback as a possible call to action, BUT not a definition of your identity.”
     There is no shortage of prayer requests at Open Door Mission this week.  The heat, the health of several friends, the state of unrest and violence in our country and world…the list is long.
     But the list of praises is equally valuable.  We are grateful for a successful Christmas In July event, baptisms, available water and boxed fans to give out, and so much more.
     So may we focus on the truth, aim to grow, and never stop praying.

Candace Gregory

20 July 2016

Watering the Seed

     Last week I met Bob at the Council Bluffs Family Outreach/Donation Center.  He lives at another shelter in Council Bluffs.  He has no family connections, and was just diagnosed with stage four bone cancer and given only five months to live.  Chemotherapy is not an option.
     Open Door Mission family, will you please pray for Bob?  He allowed me to pray for him after he shared his story, and I shared about God’s love and plan for his eternity.  Through tears, he told me, “I never knew He loved me like that.”
     Not ready to receive Jesus yet, Bob left with a seed planted in his heart.  I know our prayers can water that seed so that the appointed time will come, and someone will lead him into the Kingdom.  Let’s join together in agreement!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

19 July 2016

Christmas in July

     God is SO GOOD to us at Open Door Mission!  This past week, we had several issues with our website this week, making it difficult for volunteers to sign up for our Christmas in July event this last Saturday.  But we were able to plug the need on social media and on KFAB, which was such a blessing.
     After all of that, we ended up with close to 300 volunteers!  The members of the community who came were blessed with lots of items for their homes along, some awesome and warm letterman jackets, and so much more.
     And of course behind the scenes of this big event were many faithful and hardworking staff members.  It takes so much coordinating and teamwork to have a successful event like this, and we would not have pulled it off without many staff members’ leadership and diligence.
     So THANK YOU to the following departments: Receiving Area, Timberlake Outreach Center, Kitchen/Hospitality, Program, Leadership, Volunteer, Development, and IT!  I just wanted to say that God is amazing and puts people right where He wants them.  I am thankful to be a part of the Open Door Mission team and all that is happening here!

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

18 July 2016

CHI Health Fair

     I want to send out a special, “Thank you!” to all of the CHI nurses and Healthcare Professionals who came this weekend to help put on the most fabulous health fair!  We had guests from all of Open Door Mission’s programs, as well as people from the community come in and take part in health fair.  They all received valuable information and training as to how to stay healthy and how to keep their children healthy!
     We could not have held this event without the wonderful team at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center helping to set up and take down.  So thank you to them as well!
     Before they headed out, CHI donated several cases of water, packs of new underwear, packs of new socks, and several blood sugar meters.  They are truly a blessing.

Kate Fischer
Free Health & Healing Clinic Director

15 July 2016

Dangerous Temperatures

     The heat waves that land in our area can be terrifying.  Some days by noon, it feels like 108 degrees outside, lasting well into the evening.  Other days it can reach 100 degrees by 10:00 a.m.
     My heart is heavy for the mentally ill and chemically addicted during these times.  This summer has been deadly to the homeless on the streets, already taking the lives of more than I can ever recall.  Pray for those lost souls.  I am grateful that our Men’s Ministry staff have been trained on how to help the dehydrated homeless found on the streets.  They have prepared for such times as these.
     I am also grateful for the air conditioning, bottled water, and cool showers we have available for all homeless men, women, and children who enter, seeking shelter from the heat.
     Remember this in all situations:
Be Jesus,
So others can see Jesus,
So others will want to KNOW Jesus!

Candace Gregory

14 July 2016

Started With a Sack Lunch and a Smile

     I know that the question, "What is happening in our Streets of Omaha Program?" has been in some of your minds.  So I would like to take this time to give you some Streets of Omaha Intel. 
     God is really doing some amazing things on the streets of Omaha.  I wanted to take this time to share one specific story with you, even though there are many more that I could share.
     It was a hot Omaha day and David, like many of our street friends, was hot, tired, and hungry.  We saw him sleeping on the sidewalk two weeks ago.  I was setting a bottle of water down next to his back pack and he opened his eyes and looked relieved!  The volunteer with me and I spoke with him for a while.
     David is not from Omaha, so he had never heard about the Mission before. I told him that he is more than welcome to come be our guest.  We told him about how important he was to God.  We gave him a lunch, some bottles of water, and the phone number for the Garland Thompson Men’s Center.  I told him to call us when he was ready to make the choice to find shelter, a hug, and a prayer.  We told him when and where Open Door Mission Shuttle Van stops several times a day.
     Just as we prayed, David made his way to the Mission’s doors a couple of days later.  To him, it wasn't just a lunch.  To David, coming to Open Door Mission was much, much more—it was a fresh start.  When I saw him that day, he came up to me and gave me a big hug. He thanked me for taking time to speak with him, asking that I pass along thanks to our volunteer.  I told him that it wasn't us, but God who sought him out, Who loves him so much more then he could ever imagine.
  David told me about how the Men’s Center staff welcomed him and treated him with kindness.  He said he felt listened to and cared for.  He looked happy, rested, and safe.
     This is just one story of what is happening in our Streets of Omaha Program.  God is moving in a mighty way here at the Mission!!
  To think that for David, lasting change all started with a sack lunch and a smile.  God is GOOD!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

13 July 2016

His Daughter

     When I pray every morning, I always ask God to help lead me to be a better wife, mother, and friend.  Lately though, I’ve been feeling as though I have plateaued in my walk with Christ.  It is as though I am at a standstill, so I started searching for answers by reading lots of books.  I’ve tried Girls with Swords and now I am on Lioness Arises.
     After reading last night, it hit me: I am not going to God with the right words.  Yes, it is very important to be a Godly mother, wife, and friend.  But above all of that, first and foremost, I am His daughter.  I had forgotten that, and it lead me to start thinking of what it means to be truly be a "daughter."
     A good daughter is loyal, unconditionally loving, a servant who honors His plan, and protected.  I have plateaued because I do what I think He wants me to do, and am not always listening to what His plan is.  It is very easy to forget that our lives should be all for Him.  Everything is to glorify Him.
     We all have struggles, we are all a mess, no matter how well put together we may seem on the surface.  Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it is not there.  That is why we have our testimonies, to remind others that yes, I have been there, done that, and I survived.  So will you, because you are His daughter or son, and He wants to protect you.

Corey Jordan
Development Associate

12 July 2016

Making a Difference

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
–Philippians 2:1-4
     At church on Sunday, my pastor preached about when Jesus was here, He left the world better than He found it.  It really convicted me and made me think, “Am I leaving the world better than I found it?  At work, at home, and in the community?  How can I do this better and follow in the footsteps of Jesus?  How can I serve others and humble myself more?”
     These are just some thoughts that have been in my mind recently.  It is important to be conscious of these questions, because making a difference like Jesus did doesn’t happen on accident.  It is the result of much care, attention, and intentionality.
     Open Door Mission is a special place as it's the only place I've worked where I have coworkers who genuinely want to serve each other.  What a blessing!  Let's continue to keep our eyes open to make this world better and better each day.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

08 July 2016

Sunday Morning Devos

     Every Sunday morning, I lead a devotional with the men in the Emergency Services at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center.  The guys are calling it my ten minute devotional because "it heats up fast!"  We usually have good attendance, good attention, and good responses.  Below is a sample of one of my recent devotions, focused on the story of Zacchaeus:

Luke 19:1-10
     Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.  There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. (Romans allowed him to add whatever fee he chose)
     He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short (we are all deficient in some way) to see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.  (INVENTIVE- made an effort.)
     When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. (HE KNOWS YOUR NAME!) “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” JESUS INITIATES RELATIONSHIP with us!
     Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.  But the people were displeased.  “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.  (JUDGMENT. JESUS LOVES ALL SINNERS, NOT JUST THE ONES YOU LIKE!)
     Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”   (WHY THIS CHANGE OF HEART?  REACTION TO GRACE, GOD’S GENEROSITY!)
     Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”  (HOW WAS Z. LOST? WHAT HAPPENED AT LUNCH WITH JESUS? WHO IS LOST?)


     This is just an example of the truth we share with our residents.  Pray that these Bible studies and words from the Lord would never fall on deaf ears, but rather convict, encourage, and transform these men’s hearts.

Jim Settle
Case Manager

07 July 2016

Tender to the Gospel

     During shift change a week or so ago at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center, I was informed of an argument between a husband and wife earlier in the day.
     So my coworker and I called the husband to the intake office to talk with him about it.  It did not take long to see this man was very tender for the Gospel.  His family’s stressful situation was the main root of their argument.
     I was able to share Romans 5:1-5 with him, and transitioned to his personal need to have Christ in his heart.  He admitted to knowing about Jesus, but not knowing Jesus in his heart.  We all prayed together, and this man left our conversation with assurance of his salvation and hope for his family!
     Please keep this man and his family in your prayers.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  –Romans 5:1-5

Greg Johnston
Intake/Case Manager

06 July 2016

I Have to Let You do It

     I was privileged to watch something amazing happen.  God is on the move.  One of my tenants has been wavering in his faith.  He has gone from not ever wanting to go to church to considering it.
     Recently I asked him, “Would you be willing to go to church if you have transportation?”  He replied, “Let me think about it and I'll get back to you.”
     A couple of days later, this tenant went to the grocery store and returned saying, “I have to tell you something amazing that happened!  I was getting ready to pay my groceries with my food stamp card, but the cashier told me there was no money on it.  I started to pull out my credit card to pay for the groceries when the lady behind me said, ‘Sir, I would like to pay for your groceries.’  ‘I have to let you do it,’ I said.  Afterwards, I asked if I could give her a hug and she agreed.”
     After he had finished telling this story, I asked, “Do you think this is God seeking you out?”  He said, “Yes, I think it was from God.  What is so amazing is that God knew exactly where I would be at that time.  It's so amazing! “
     Here is someone whose heart was turned away to the point of refusing to talk about Jesus.  Now, he is literally praising the Lord!  God works, prayer works.  At times we see baby steps only, but let's praise God for the baby steps too!
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.  –Isaiah 61:1
     We are placed here for a purpose and that is to share the GOSPEL.  Let's live that out in our words and actions.  God is on the move for eternity.  Let's proclaim the good news to the poor!  Be encouraged, friends!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

05 July 2016

Balloon Release

     I teach a class for the Lydia House women in the New Life Recovery Program.  Recently we did an object lesson, where the ladies wrote things they wanted to make peace with on little sheets of paper.  These papers were stuffed inside lots of balloons, which we blew up, and then released in the wind.
     We said the Serenity Prayer as they were released.  Praying that this symbolic gesture will grant peace to many of these women.

Tina Murray
Case Manager

01 July 2016

Praises From the Warehouse

     For those who may not know, Open Door Mission has a large warehouse to store canned food, food pantry boxes, blankets, and other supplies until they are needed.  Party of my job is to ensure we have accurate inventory in the warehouse, so that we know what our urgent needs are (currently it’s water!).
     So I, being a nerd, prayed for a tablet to be donated that we could use to help streamline the warehouse inventory process.
     The Lord's timing is so good in all circumstances!  Shortly after the IT Department was able to figure out how to get WiFi in the steel trap called the warehouse, we received the donation of a brand new (older model) tablet.  Despite its age, we were able to upload our program, and my staff is currently using it to update the inventory!
     By streamlining this process, we save on time and resources, both of which can be put to better use.  Not to mention, our inventory is more accurate than ever, helping us be better stewards of all Open Door Mission’s supplies.  What a blessing!

Joshua Smith
Gift In Kind Director

30 June 2016

What a Treasure!

     The other day, an old guest stopped by the Garland Thompson Men’s Center to visit.  He handed me an old LP record album that he had come across at a garage sale.  The cover shows it was made from the music at Open Door Mission’s tenth anniversary banquet, which would’ve been over 50 years ago!
     This is truly a treasure for our archives.  It is also a wonderful reminder of the legacy that we at Open Door Mission get to be a part of.  The legacy of God’s work in the lives of homeless men, women, and children for over 60 years!

Pat McKernan
Garland Thompson Men’s Center Director

29 June 2016

Cooling Down

     Jesus loves you.  Today those words are a cool breeze in this intense heat.
     This week I have had some extra time and location requirements for work.  I have had to do some things that I don't enjoy.  My car is on its last legs, requiring the heater be on at all times so it won’t overheat.  And please don't get me started on responsibilities of a parent.  
     The truth is that all of these things make me grumpy, and my reactions are not always as calm and loving as I want them to be.  I really have a blessed life and a cool place to work.  Our guests and tenants have a cool place to rest at Open Door Mission.  But the heat has the tendency of bringing out the worst in all of us, shortening tempers and erasing patience.
     Today the Lord brought me the reminder to be aware of how I feel, react, give directions, and apologize for those moments when the heat and life gets the better of you.
     We are only human, but we are also adopted into the most wonderful family.  We have the honor of representing that family.
     So if frustration gets the better of you, talk to Jesus who will cool you off.  Make sure your temperature gauge is where it should be.  Because especially in this heat, our work is only increasing with men, women, and children seeking cool shelter.
     Thank you all for the part you play is the saving work of Jesus.  Thank you for being examples for me.  Thank you for being leaders in the family of God.  Thank you for working together to change the world, one life at a time.

Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director

28 June 2016

Emerging a Better Man

     John has had his share of problems in our New Life Recovery Program.  Already, he has had to face his anger issues, addictions, and poor communication skills.  After facing so many obstacles, many people would have given up and left, but not John.
     Instead, he took his consequences like a man, admitting that he was wrong and emerging a better man for the trial.  John shared with me early on that he thought he would never be able to have a career.  But because he stuck around, he now has a career in the plumbing field.
     He thoroughly enjoys his work, beaming with pride whenever he talks about it.  Even the dirty parts of the job can’t diminish his enthusiasm for the job.  John's perseverance has paid off in more ways than one—John is now nothing like the John that came here months ago.

Russell Janssen
Case Manager

27 June 2016

The Water Fight

     Last week on a blazing hot day, I asked the Maintenance Department if they had things to use for a water fight.  It was the perfect day to do one.
     In no time at all, they gave us everything we needed and more!  A special shout out to these guys for the hoses, access to the water, the sprinkler, and the sprayer.  It was a success!
     Check out how much fun our Lydia House kids (and their parents too!) had during the water fight.

Rachel Fisher
Children & Youth Director