14 April 2014

God's Not Dead

If you have not seen this movie then I would encourage you to go see it. I have been at Open Door Mission for 14 years now. I am so thankful that everyday I can see God's hand at work.

One of the things I get to teach class to our program men once a week. Recently we were talking about Prayer in class. It was awesome to hear men that I have known for a while say to me "I can talk to God anytime I want to." To hear the joy in their voices talk about having a relationship with a Living God, knowing He hears them and is always there for him blesses my heart.

It reminds me of a Hymn that we always would sing in Church growing up. "He Lives" The first verse and chorus goes like

"I serve a risen Savior, 
 He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living, Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy; I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart."

It totally reminded me that We do serve a risen Savior and God is not Dead He is Alive!





09 April 2014

Share an Easter Meal


You can make this Easter season a truly happy one for thousands of hungry and homeless men, women and children throughout our community...
Fill a grocery bag with non perishable food times and take it to one of the participating drop-off locations. These items will be used to provide HOPE for lasting change because at Open Door Mission Hope Beings with a Meal.


01 April 2014

This is NO JOKE.... We have an urgent need


Easter is just two and a half weeks away and Open Door Mission is wanting to provide every homeless adult with an Easter Care Kit and we need YOUR help. 

There are 2 ways that you can help. If you like to go shopping, you can put together care kits for the adults and bring them down to Open Door Mission by Thursday, April 17th. You can also go to Amazon and shop from the convince of your home. Just ship those items to Open Door Mission and we can assemble the kits for you.

Women's Care Kit: Pantyhose, Razor, Shaving Cream, Deodorant, Chocolate Bunny
Men's Care Kit: Washcloth, Razor, Shaving Cream, Deodorant, Chocolate Bunny.

Would you consider providing homeless adults with an Easter Care Kit? Open Door Mission is in need of 68 women's and 133 men's Easter Care Kits. For more information please contact Maggie Cope at 402-829-1554. 

25 March 2014

Be A Blessing This Easter

We know that most children can't wait until Easter. All those chocolate bunnies, eggs, and all the other goodies.. But what about adults, especially homeless adults.

This Easter Open Door Mission would like to be able to provide every man and women a little care kit and are looking for volunteers to make 175 women's and 150 men's care kits.

Women's Care Kit: pantyhose/knee highs, deodorant, razor, shaving cream and don't forget the chocolate bunny!

Men's Care Kit: wash cloth, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, and a chocolate bunny!

If you would like to participate in being a blessing this Easter please contact Maggie today at 402-829-1554 or you can e-mail her mcope@opendoormission.org.

24 March 2014

Volunteers Making a Difference

Low income families and individuals can come once every 30 days to the Timberlake Outreach Center to receive services but this past Saturday Open Door Mission hosted Super Duper Giveaway for the community.

We know the need is great in our community as we saw over 900 families participate in the give away. That is just over 3,800 individuals who were able to receive, gently used clothing, furniture, household items, toiletries, diapers, and best of all a food pantry. All of this thanks to the generosity of the community who donated everything we give away.

Families and individuals were lined up before 8:00 am even
though the doors  didn't open until just before 10:00 am
Over 200 volunteers graciously gave up part of their Saturday to help Open Door Mission bless the many families that came through the doors of the Timberlake Outreach Center. They helped pass out diapers, food pantries, sorted and hung up clothing, and even helped carry items to individuals cars. Thank you for giving up your day to make a difference right here in our community.

Volunteer waiting for orientation to begin and then be places
in different  areas at the Timberlake Outreach Center
Open Door Mission doesn't need volunteers just on special days. Everyday there are volunteer opportunities that are available on our Campus. Opportunities like preparing and serving a meal, sorting clothing and other household items, answering phones, helping stuff mail, and even reading to our children at the Lydia House. There is always something for volunteers to do. Best of all, Open Door Mission is a family friendly place to volunteer so no matter how young or how old you are, we have a spot for you.

Please visit our website at www.opendoormission.org and click on the volunteer button to sign up for your orientation and tour today.

17 February 2014

Bringing Hope on Valentine's Day


 Valentines Day is a time of Love and showing people that you can. Homeless men, women and children on Open Door Mission Campus were able to experience that same love this Valentines Day.  Thank you to all the volunteers that made decorations, valentines, cards, and to Bakers for donating 400 Roses to make the homeless men, women and children feel special.
St. Bernadette Girl Scout Troop 44578 made
these  "owl-dorable" valentines for our
guests at the Hearts of Hope Banque
Volunteers passed out valentines
and Roses that were donated by
Bakers at Twin Creek








14 January 2014

Assisting the near homeless in our community...thank you.


Today was our first day being open after a major water line broke at the Timberlake Outreach Center.  The water damage was severe enough that we had to close the Timberlake Outreach Center for almost a week.  The closing was so we could clean up the water and damage it had done, make repairs and restock some of the areas.  We still have some remodeling to complete in the offices, cubical and chapel area.  But enough repairs have been completed to enable us to open for business today.  And what a busy day we had serving our near homeless in the community with food, clothing, household items, diapers, and furniture.   We helped over 200 families today and stretched their income by receiving our services free.  

We are grateful for staff and volunteers who have diligently worked to get us up and running again.  Without our faithful volunteers we would not be able to serve the community in the capacity we do each month. 

We give thanks to God for allowing us once again to serve people who are in extreme crisis, the near homeless, and our working poor.   And we give thanks to all our donors who give their gently used goods to us so we might give them to people in our community.   Thank you for partnering with us to help prevent homelessness one family at a time.

Blessing to you and yours,

Judy Collins, Timberlake Outreach Center Director, Open Door Mission

08 January 2014

Counting my blessings.


As we enter into 2014 this would be great time to take inventory and count our blessings.  Growing up there was a song we sang in our church that goes “Count your blessings name them one by one.  Count your blessings see what God has done.”  Being on staff here at Open Door Mission reminds me each day of how good I have it in life, and how many wonderful blessings God has bestowed upon me.  I have a family who loves me, a place to live, food on my table, gas for my car, and friendships that I treasure. 

One of the greatest blessings I have is being able to see how God works through people in our community to help meet the many needs and bring blessings to the hungry, homeless and near homeless we serve each day.  I had the opportunity to coordinate Open Door Mission’s Adopt-A-Family/Homeless Individual Christmas gift program this past Christmas and saw first-hand beautiful acts of kindness that made Christmas a little brighter for those who have so little.     What a blessing this was to those who received these gifts.   So many were touched just knowing that people in the community – complete strangers -- would care about them at Christmas time. 

As we enter into 2014 I encourage all of us to think of ways we can bless others.  I know for a fact that giving is one of the greatest blessings I can receive.   May your 2014 be blessed beyond imagination! 
 
Celeste Norman
Special Events Coordinator, Open Door Mission

07 January 2014

Thankful heart.


This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for love, friendship, memories, and inspiration.  Although the day-to-day often obscures the many blessings we have, this year more than any other, I am grateful for the life lessons and daily affirmations that helped me learn and grow.  I am surrounded by an amazing community here at ODM, one that sustains me personally, intellectually, and spiritually.  I am blessed with the love of family that supports and loves me unconditionally.  Thank you for the laughter, love and understanding that helps get me through the days that we’re working together. Thanks for holding me accountable and making sure I don’t disappoint, and being forgiving when I do.  

President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  The holiday season invites all of us to take a moment for self-reflection, to take inventory of our actions relative to our Christian beliefs and recommit ourselves to working towards achieving positive change in the world.  This holiday season, let us be the agents of change that God wants to see.
Russell Jansen, Rebuilding Lives Center, Open Door Mission.

06 January 2014

Opportunity to encourage!

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
~Hebrews 10:24-25
 
I had a guest that came to me talking about her problems and she was really struggling.  While in Omaha she has experienced prejudice due to the color of her skin.  She and her family come from one of the most violent cities in the United States.  Many of their family members have been gunned down.  When her and her husband arrived in Omaha, they got jobs right away and started looking for housing.  They are very motivated.  Through all of that, she has gotten discouraged due to most of her family members still living in that violent city and just worrying about them. 
I have helped her get set up with community resources, but something was still missing.  The family has accepted Christ into their lives, but through the busyness of everything else they neglected to get involved in a church.  I told her about how I believe that you need community and God created community to support and love us.  I told her how her family needs a church, the body of Christ.  I gave her some numbers to different churches and she remembered when they lived in Omaha a few years ago and went to a church that they fell in love with.  I helped her find that number.  When she left my office she was so excited to call different churches and get connected back into finding a home church.  Her whole demeanor changed, and not because of me, but because God gave her HOPE. 
Here are Open Door Mission, Jesus is constantly working giving families hope and encouragement everyday.  So glad that I serve a God that desires that true transformation and spiritual growth for all people.  So blessed to work for Open Door Mission, where we bring the message of HOPE to all people!
 
Trudy Woodward, Case Manager Lydia House,
Open Door Mission

03 January 2014

My part in sowing love.



It is compassion that heals us.  It is compassion that moves us.  When God deals with our hearts in this area we are never the same.  Compassion is what brought me to work at Open Door Mission.  It is the simple fact that I know so many of the guest we serve have never had a real friend.  Have never even felt the touch of a mother or father that truly loved them and wanted them.  For if that were the case...they wouldn't be here.  Now that may not be the case in ever scenario, but I would venture to say it is a large part of our population here at Open Door Mission.

In my "perfect world" I would want every family/single person to be adopted by a loving family.  To be taught what love feels like. To be shown what forgiveness feels like.  To have the room to fail and the strength to pick themselves up because they know they have a strong safety net to catch them should they fall again.  Until then I will do my part in sowing love.  In accepting everyone for who they are in this moment.  And to offer a smile of friendship.  To offer a peaceful place that surpasses all understanding. 

You can help too.  By volunteering a few hours a month you are saying that serving others is worth it.  That sharing of your time is important.  It's an example to so many who have lived without healthy examples.  To volunteer your time and to volunteer your smiles.  Our guests are so very thankful for all you do.  They are blown away by you.  In fact many times I have seen the look in their eyes as if saying, "I never knew people this nice existed."  For they come from the darkest and most broken places than most of us could ever imagine.  Please  visit our website http://www.opendoormission.org/volunteer and start your part in making a difference today.

Thank you!

Tami Hungerford, Open Door Mission.

02 January 2014

A Drop in the Bucket


 

By Kat Swartzfeger, Open Door Mission

Interactions with many of the sweet souls residing here at ODM reveal a common element found in our society today. It’s encouraged by microwaves and high-tech gadgets and other supposed time savers. It is preyed upon by marketers galore….

It is immediate gratification, or a lack of foresight. So many people have been struggling for so long just to make ends meet- or just plain survive- that they have no clue how to set goals, or even remotely be able to picture what they could do with their lives in a month’s time or longer.

It is a crucial part of healing, when we can establish reliable shelter, food, and clothing. Many times, people that should be on regular medication can get help with filling their prescriptions through community services that work with Open Door Mission. This helps to further stabilize individuals. When people feel safe and have a baseline of balance in their lives, they can start to look beyond the here-and-now.

I have had numerous conversations with women who feel like things are going nowhere- every day is a repeat of the day before. They feel like they aren’t learning skills, or they aren’t changing fast enough, or obtaining services/housing is just taking too long.

I like to point out that this season of shelter life is really a drop in the bucket. It is really a small blip on the timeline of their lives. This era at the mission is not a time to squander. It is a time to truly rebuild lives and dare to look beyond these doors to opportunities that are available for those who choose to persevere.

Scripture encourages us similarly in Romans 5:2b-4 (NIV), “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Would you consider praying for the men and women here at Open Door Mission right now- that they will develop this ability to set and plan goals? This ability that we often take for granted, is a huge asset for those seeking help to get their lives on a healthy path.

31 December 2013

The lighting of a fire!



In the Adult Learning Center I see a wide range of educational attainment and ability. We have people that can barely read at a 3rd grade level and then we also have people with a bachelor’s degree. At times, trying to meet the educational needs of such a wide range of abilities can feel a bit overwhelming. Recently I came across a quote that has helped put things in perspective for me.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire” William Butler Yeats

This couldn’t be truer for the adults in our learning center. The absolute best moments of my job happen when someone suddenly “gets it”. Sometimes it is a sudden understanding of fractions and other times it is simply a belief that “I can do this”! Regardless, a fire has been lit and that person feels just a little bit more empowered to accomplish their goals. I am so grateful to be a tiny part of the monumental changes that people make every day.
 
Vickie Gregorio, Learning Center Director, Open Door Mission.

27 December 2013

Providing Hope for the Homeless

One of my favorite things about working at the Open Door Mission is getting to know the staff. This past week while I was in my office responding to emails and getting caught up in all of the Christmas events, one of the staff members who works the overnight shift stopped by to say hello. We chatted for a while and she shared her incredible story with me. 


It happens often that I am reminded of the way God orchestrates our lives. He loves us all and knows us all so well that he would put time into planning the encounters we might have. If you were to look at all the staff at Open Door Mission, you'd see many different stories from all different walks of life. There are people of different ages and experiences with different talents.

What's amazing to me is that God can take all of these differences and make them into a great team of people with one goal: providing hope for the homeless and needy. No one's story is too messy or not messy enough. He's able to use all of us. As cheesy as that sounds, it's the truth. He's ready and willing to use anyone. 

Erica Julsen

18 December 2013

God is doing great things in the Garland Thompson’s Men Center.



 I had the privilege of working with a young man that found himself in a situation of homelessness, having no family or friends in Nebraska he felt alone and hopeless; but with prayer and encouragement things began to change for him. He said he just wanted to work, go to school, and get his own apartment. He said that he needed to be able to focus that in the past he had let his peers influence him and that affected his school grades.   He had come to the realization that roommates were not good for him. With a little guidance and lots of determination on his part he is now currently enrolled in college fulltime, he is working part-time, and he has moved into his own apartment.  This is just a sample of the great things God is doing in the lives of the men staying in the GTMC.  I am so grateful to everyone that has help to make positive changes in this young man’s life; everything that you have donated has helped to bring about his success.  Thank You!
 
Jeannette Blackstone, Resource Specialist
Garland Thompson’s Men Center, Open Door Mission
 

17 December 2013

God is a redeeming God.

It's funny how God uses you when you least expect.  While on my break I had the privilege of listening to a young woman share with another staff member what is going on in her life.  She had just started the New Life Recovery Program and was excited to grow in Christ but also had some very real struggles that she was working through.  I listened silently for about 15 minutes until I felt God tell me to speak up.  I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles and what I had learned.  Afterwards she thanked me for what I said. 

Later as I reflected on that conversation, all I could do was praise God.  God is truly a redeeming God.  He takes our suffering and struggles and redeems them, not only for us but for others.  In God's eyes, nothing is wasted and everything can be made new.

Please pray for perseverance and strength for all of our programmers who are daily choosing to pick the hard, narrow road over the easy, wide road.  
 
Rachel Fischer
Child and Youth Director
Open Door  Mission

16 December 2013

Generousity of Others

My name is Sarah Erwin, and I serve as the Heartland Hands Coordinator at Open Door Mission. This is my first Christmas season working here, and seeing the great need of others during the holidays has reminded me just how blessed I’ve been over the years. I have never wondered whether we would have a holiday meal of turkey and all the trimmings that year, because my family always did. I never spent a Christmas wondering if I would get a gift that year. I just knew that I would. It is amazing how I take these things for granted.
 
One thing that I absolutely love about the Christmas holiday is that, for a short time, most people focus on how they can give, rather than what they can get. I love seeing the generosity of others displayed; especially through the gifts of our donors at the Mission. They give gifts of time, gifts of finances, or by encouraging others to participate in drives to collect clothing for those in need. And this is how I know that these gifts are making a difference: I personally see the joy on our guests’ faces when they realize they’ll get a Christmas present this year, some of them for the first time in their lives. This alone could be life changing, but even more so because every gift is shared with the love of Christ and the message of His saving grace. That is what someone gives when they give at Open Door Mission. Material possessions can so easily be lost, but the gift of Christ lives on in our hearts forever. 
 
 
 
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,    and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 
Isaiah 9:6
 
Sarah Erwin
Heartland Hands Coordinator, Open Door Mission.

13 December 2013

It's the Little Things


It’s the Little Things

 

As I left for work this morning, I couldn’t help but count my blessings.  It’s the little things in life we so often take for granted…a safe bed, a warm shower, a roof over our heads, transportation, food…it doesn’t seem like much but to the homeless we serve, they are true luxuries.

 

Imagine life without a home.  Imagine living out in the brutal cold.  Imagine not knowing when you will have your next meal.

 

This is the reality so many men, women and children face.  But thanks to the kindness and generosity of our community, they can be rescued from these harsh conditions as they receive HOPE at Open Door Mission. 

 

Now a single mom can read her son a bed-time story as she tucks him into a bed, a veteran can enjoy a hot meal for the first time in days, a homeless man can shower, shave and seek employment….all the little things. 

 

Because you gave homeless men, women and children can experience the love of Christ and see his grace lived out every day.  Because you gave, they can enjoy all the little things that mean so much.

 

God BLESS you for caring,

 

Victoria Leuthold

Executive Assistant, Open Door Mission

12 December 2013

My Mission here at Open Door Mission

"Praise God from whom all blessing flow" and the blessing have been so great having the opportunity to be employed here at the Open Door Mission Ministries. My testimony is I've been seeking employment here since 2003 and finally was hire in January 2013. God's grace and mercy has allowed me to witness miracle's and play a small part in the recovery field addictions here. God's mighty acts of lovingkindness has enable me to encourage, influence and persuade others who suffer from alcoholism and other addictions. As humble as I know how to be I am ever so grateful, thankful and appreciative to be able to work side by side with other Christians and be a working creative vessel of honor to God and what he does through children of the most High God. My mission here is to exalt the Savior, and to edify the saints, to evangelized sinners and to elevate society and I try to always be mindful of this through my praise, worship and ministry as a soldier in the army of the Lord. I've have my marching orders. The steps of a good man is ordered by the Lord. Thank God for his faithfulness here at the Open Door Mission, it show's in my life and the life of all those who walk through these doors looking to serve and, also those seeking to be served.

Ronny Moore
Evening House Supervisor, Garland Thompson Men's Center, Open Door Mission

11 December 2013

God's Presence!

The best gift of all is…
“God’s PRESENCE”
Christmas is the Messiah’s light overcoming darkness
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2)
As we are in this Christmas season, a lot of people have no hope, joy or light of any kind in their life right now. They have no home, job, car… let alone any money to buy presents for their kids and families. For whatever reasons they come here to the Open Door Mission, I pray that the second they step through the doors, they feel nothing but the PRESENCE of God in this place. I know that Christ’s love abounds here and people who have been living in darkness can experience being in the presence of God and experiencing His grace, mercy and forgiveness by receiving Jesus into their hearts.
After all, isn’t that why we celebrate Christmas? To tell people about God who loves them so much, He gave His only son to die for them so they could have eternal life with Him someday?
The birth of Jesus, His death and resurrection has made it possible for all who believe in Him to NOT have to walk in darkness anymore, but can have true freedom in Christ, have full access to the presence of the Light of the World…Jesus Christ our Lord!!! Hallelujah!!!
Through all of the hustle and bustle during this time of year, please don’t forget to take some time every day in the sweet PRESENCE of God allowing him to fill you to overflowing so that you can be a LIGHT shining for Jesus during this most celebrated time of year!!!
Merry Christmas everyone!
Lisa
 

10 December 2013

Learning why you volunteer


Leading Volunteer Orientation three times a week provides me with the blessed opportunity of meeting a wide variety of volunteers.  As we tour the campus, my favorite question to ask individuals is, “Why do you want to volunteer?”  The answers vary greatly, and many of them are truly inspirational.

Just last night a woman shared with me about her grandmother’s stay at the Lydia House.  Open Door Mission helped her take care of her grandson, empowered her to receive her GED, and introduced her to Jesus Christ.  It is through His help that she has now been sober for six years.  The grandson, after receiving tutoring help, has been on the honor role ever since.  Now this woman wants to donate her time to Open Door Mission because she has seen, in her own family, the powerful work God is doing among our residents’ lives.  What a powerful testimony!

Beatrice Kruse
Volunteer and Partner Administrative Assistant

05 December 2013

We can do anything through him! :D


 
The book of Philippians Chapter 4; Paul talks about how he wanted to make peace between two people and how he lived and still praised God for everything he had done because it was done with a purpose/reason. He also talks about some of the things that he had gone through and regardless of anything that he was still that same unstoppable leader.
 Paul was a man of his Word. He walked and practiced what he preached. Even in rotten times he was still able to maintain his faith and that same passionate fire for Jesus. He was able to teach his followers and challenge them to still maintain that same relationship with God. He told them to put to practice what he had taught them to empower them to do those things.

Paul was one of those leaders who were unstoppable. With a positive attitude, Paul had the mind to make it. With a mind and heart like that is why he so rightly stated, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Even though Paul was encountered with a lot of suffering and persecution he demonstrated a state of heart and mind that made him God’s kind of leader. Anyone who adopts a similar attitude and heart becomes a similar unstoppable kind of leader.

I am currently serving at the Lydia House as a Family Support Worker. Sometimes it gets tough. Dealing with people isn’t as easy as it looks. You want the best for them and want them to make good choices that all you can be to them is a leader. Some people have gone through suffering and rejections. It gives us a chance to be like Paul where we can and will become this type of leader for those who need it; to be that example to those who have a hard time in what they are doing. We can be that reason and hope for them to continue and to teach them what is right and to be that leader of excellence and example of awesomess in them. Will it be hard? Yes. Is it going to be easy? No. But one thing that is true is that we are never alone. Sometimes our insecurities they try to hold us back, but note one thing and know it, you're made for more.

Paul did so; he was going through some hardcore suffering and problems and was able to be of testimony to his followers and teaching them as well. If you think you can't or it’s too hard or whatever the excuse is? DON'T because YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS YOU! =)

 

Gennesis

Lydia House – Family Support Worker, Open Door Mission

03 December 2013

A Sense of Belonging

 
 
As a Christian, my knowing that I belong to Christ is strengthened as I read His words to his disciples as he was leaving them,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:1-2
 
These words comfort me, for I know that Christ is preparing my place in heaven because I have accepted Him as my savior.  I can only imagine what that day will be like, but I smile as I think about it as when my Grandmother made preparations for my holiday visits.  The warmth I knew as she welcomed and loved on me is priceless and especially during the holidays, when my heart longs for those times.  But, Christ’s words may seem hollow and meaningless if a person does not have a relationship with Him and it can be hard to understand and accept God’s love and plans, if a person has not experienced kindness and love by another in there life.  Sadly, this is the situation of most that we serve at Open Door Mission.  They come without a sense of belonging or welcomed by anyone in the world.
 
The joy of ministry in the Housing Department is that amongst the paper work, audits, and deadlines of my days, my number one responsibility is to be welcoming.  It is a great day to see a smile when a person comes into my office burdened with the insecurity of homelessness and they leave knowing that we have been preparing a place for them.  Great to know that my co-workers and Open Door Mission volunteers will continue to show acts of kindness in the days ahead.  My prayer is that through these acts of love, our guest’s hearts will start to heal and that they, too, will come to accept Jesus as their Savior.  That His words of promise will no longer sound hollow, but will bring a guest comfort and an assurance that they belong in Christ’s kingdom. 
 
Thank you for being a part of Open Door Mission, sharing your love to many!
Ronda Nelson.  Housing Department.  

02 December 2013

Why I came to Open Door Mission, and why I choose to stay.

Back in 2011 God laid it on my heart to inquire again about the Open Door Mission.  I had thought about in 2009 and I never went through with it.  Because you see at the time I was working as a nurse, I wasn’t sure leaving the nursing field was a bright idea.  But God (as you may already know)  had other plans for me.  God immediately opened the door when I reached out to the only friend I knew at the time that had Open Door Mission connections.  I was hired within a week. 

Two years later I am still here, and while I have changed departments, my love for those we serve and the reason I am still here has never changed.  I believe in the God of second chances.  I believe that God is the reason lives are changed. I believe that His will is being done here on our campus.  I believe in our leadership and that they are also here to further the Kingdom.  And I believe that our foundation and why we do what we do is firmly rooted in the work of King Jesus, the Most High God.

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8

7”But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

    whose confidence is in him.

8 They will be like a tree planted by the water

    that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

    its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

    and never fails to bear fruit.”

 

Tami Hungerford, Public Relations Assistant

Open Door Mission.

27 November 2013

Prayer Power


 

“Prayer is important.” As my experience in full time ministry expands, I am more and more aware of this truth.  It isn’t a plattituted the pastor says to get people to do another action. It is an essential component to the progress of the Kingdom of God.

We as servants and workers of the harvest cannot make it without we ourselves doing this. We have to have that lifeline in place to the Father of the Heavenly Lights. We can only survive for a short time with our breaths (prayers) held in before we collapse, passed out. Without our communication with The Mighty Counselor we become fatigued and exhausted and our “cup” runs dry. We NEED our communication with our father.

We as servants and workers of the harvest cannot thrive without having this done for us as well. Intercession and uplifting is essential to our “body” being strong. The head cares what happens to the foot and vice versa, because without one another there would be death and great pain. Same is true in our everyday lives. God pushes us to pray for our brethren, and we are compelled to call out to God for others. We see struggles and want to be sure to cast the concerns to the courts of the most high that his mighty hand would be at work.

So as I move forward in life and ministry, prayer becomes more paramount. I hope that you too see this in the Word and begin to dive in to the communication with God. He texts too! I have found writing out prayers is very focusing as well, as it forces one to slow down and be engulfed in what you are doing even more. I now understand the saying, and now say it “I covet your prayers.” As do we all here at Open Door Mission. Be it the guests we serve, the volunteers that help, or the staff that labor, the covering you can provide is…. Important (to say the least).
 
 
Taylor Clinch
Permanent Supportive Housing Director, Open Door Mission

26 November 2013

YOU...make the difference

This is a very busy time of the year at Open Door Mission. More men, women and families are seeking help to feed their families, provide safe shelter and even find gifts for their loved ones.


I have the opportunity to see the generosity of our donors and volunteers as the Development Department processes each donation and every volunteer hour that is given. Without YOU, Open Door Mission could not help all the men, women and children that come through our doors.

I just want to say, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your generosity in helping those we serve.
 
Linda Gunderson
Development Supervisor, Open Door Mission.

22 November 2013

14 years later, why I choose to work at Open Door Mission.


Hi, my name is John Lindsey, and I provide mental health and recovery services – therapy and recovery classes with men and women in our life changing programs – the practical outworking of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is my fourteenth year.

I often kid the students in my relapse prevention class, that they are human, even though they have worked long and hard at earning the moniker of being an addict or alcoholic.  Addressing addiction and recovery requires having an accurate understanding of addiction so we practice recovery appropriately.  If addiction is merely about doing a substance or activity in a compulsive way, then recovery is stopping those patterns.  But if addiction has hijacked our whole way of living life, then recovery must address every area of life. 

In my first description of addiction and recovery, abstinence is the goal – doing whatever it takes to not use or engage in a compulsive activity.  As important as this is to start recovery, what the outcome we want and they want?  Let isn’t it “life change”?  That is what I find so exciting working at ODM, we address recovery in the context of eternal life – knowing the Father and His Son Jesus Christ; learning to experience life in all its fullness! How do we do this?  Through the instruction, reproving, correcting, and training of life skills, recovery skills, and spiritual disciplines. 

John Lindsey
Care Coordinator, Garland Thompson Men's Center
Open Door Mission

20 November 2013

Why I love the Holidays.


Things I am Thankful for….

I LOVE the holidays! For most people it means getting together with family and friends, eating amazing food and sharing in wonderful fellowship that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It also means sometimes losing sight of the real meaning behind it all. Here are the things I am thankful for….     

Gods Son - Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

God’s Love - Matthew 22:37
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 

God’s Forgiveness - Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Gods Promise - Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Amber Briggs
Receptionist, Open Door Mission

18 November 2013

Here for a reason.


My name is Shawntel Scaife and my mission began here at ODM for 1 year, but I am just getting started.  I started off on the overnight shift but soon moved over to our Woman and Family Crisis Center in which, I quickly grew to love. Our crisis center is usually the first stop our woman make when requesting services from the Open Door Mission. These individuals are usually sad, tired, depressed and hungry when they walk through our doors. I find myself praying, consoling, and often times crying with them.  My heart breaks for them especially the children so that is why I dedicate myself to trying to meet each and every one of our guests needs in a timely manner.  Many of my days are long and stressful but I still look forward to returning the next day to do it all over again. I know that God has put me here for a reason and I am living purposely in his will.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Shawntel Scaife
Women and Family Crisis Center/Lydia House, Family Support Worker, Open Door Mission

14 November 2013

Praise to our Father for the privelege to work here at Open Door Mission.

I am so grateful to be a part of the team here at the Open Door Mission. Today a young man came back after Church. He asked to have a private conversation. We went to my office and he shared how God spoke to him at church, with wet eyes. He has an estranged relationship with his dad and wants to make things better with him. We talked and one of the things I was able to share is how we have an estranged relationship with our Heavenly Father.


He shared that a couple of days ago something happened and God came into his life. I was able to share a clear gospel to him and he was able to say that in Jesus Christ he knew he has salvation. 

How exciting to be in the thick of things coming at us at a high rate of speed and God gives us those moments to minister to peoples hearts.  Praise God for the privilege to be here at the ODM.
 
Greg Johnston
Intake/Case Worker, Garland Thompson Men's Center, Open Door Mission.

12 November 2013

One Person At A Time


It had been a busy evening signing up our Open Door Mission guests for this year’s Adopt-A-Family program.  As I sat at the table with my laptop entering the clothing sizes, and wish lists of each person that came to my station, I observed a gentleman coming my way after waiting his turn in line.  His steps were a bit slow, and his head was shaking involuntarily due to some type of physical condition.  The expression on his face was pleasant as he gently smiled at me when we made eye contact.  As I started asking him his clothing sizes, he struggled to get the words out as he diligently focused on forming the words to answer my questions. 

 After gathering the initial information I needed, I then asked him to tell me 3 things other than clothing that he would like to put on his wish list.  I could tell that my question caught him off guard.   He thought hard and then finally said,  “All I need is a stocking cap….and some gloves.”   I told him that those items would be included in his clothing list, and then I gave him some suggestions of things he might want to put on the wish list.  I mentioned a wallet, which perked him up a bit as he slowly pulled out his wallet and told me that the wallet he had was 11 years old.  I added a wallet to his wish list.  I then asked him for another item to add to his list.  It was at this point that tears started streaming down his face and he said, “I have never had anybody ever ask me what I want for Christmas before.”  As I saw the sadness in his eyes, my eyes also filled with tears.  I hurt deeply for this man and realized just how much many of us take for granted.

 A Christmas list is so common place for most of us.  Just this morning I received a text from my adult son asking me if his dad and I knew yet what we wanted for Christmas.  Yet, this man had never had anyone ask him this question before.  Before, that is, he came to Open Door Mission.  God allowed me the opportunity to have this man come to my sign-up station.  I believe God brings these “special” moments into our lives for a purpose.  When this man left my station I knew that my husband and I were going to adopt him for Christmas!   I think of him often.  I ask about him. I pray for him.  Now, I am looking forward to shopping for him and bringing him a smile when he opens his gifts on Christmas.

As you go through your day, watch for the opportunities God places before you.  We all can make a difference….one person at a time.
Celeste Norman
Special Events Coordinator, Open Door Mission

08 November 2013

See what's new at Open Door Mission...Community Garden and Aquaponics!

This is WOWT, Channel 6's report last evening.  Jason Green, Director of Operations, and his team built our latest project, check out the report on our 2013 garden and aquaponics.

"Over the summer, the Open Door Mission turned to gardening to help put food on the table. The winter menu might feature fish. The Mission serves approximately 2,100 hot meals for the needy every day. It’s a challenge keeping pace as the need grows and assistance programs diminish.
Last summer, the charity turned to the soil. Their first garden was productive, producing thousands of pounds of food but the growing-season is limited to a few months out of the year.
With a chill in the air, the creativity moved indoors. That’s where you’ll find the Aquaponic Hydroponic System. While tomatoes bask beneath lamps up above, tilapia swim in the waters below. The water provides a home for the fish and nourishment for the tomato plants.
Candace Gregory said, “Every little bit adds up to make a difference because we change lives one person at a time, and we believe hope begins with a meal.”
The Aquaponic Hydroponic System is also serving as a great educational tool for the kids.
The Mission hopes the tilapia will be big enough to eat in a few months."
Alex Hassel
WOWT, Channel 6 News

Click here to view the news clip
http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/Creativity-Puts-Food-on-Mission-Table-231043091.html

06 November 2013

It's the little things that make the difference.



 
How blessed we are by the faithful volunteers that come and shine their light here.  To walk down to our break room and see the bright smiley faces these volunteers is truly such a joy.  It is so encouraging to see and be reminded that people helping people is still ingrained in people.  BeNeca Ward, Author Of "3rd Generation Country, A Practical Guide To Raising Children With Great Values", puts it best, “One value that was sewn into the stitching of our character at a very early age had to do with our responsibility to help others....We were expected to be of assistance to our neighbors... “Being neighborly”... was synonymous with being kind, friendly, and helpful to our neighbors and something that we were encouraged to do on a regular basis through firsthand experience. It was a bit like mandatory community service.”
 
Rolling utensils for our guests to eat with may seem a waste of time for some, but to us here at Open Door Mission it is essential.  Thank you to the tenants of Pacific Springs Retirement Village for offering your time and smiles to help us.  For more volunteer opportunities please visit our website at http://www.opendoormission.org/volunteer
 
 
Tami Hungerford, Public Relations Assistant at Open Door Mission 


04 November 2013

God's ability to rise above our own worries

Ever met with all-consuming fear? Ever eyed anxiety in the face?
Recently, I did just that.
Day after day in serving at the Open Door Mission, I get to build relationships with wonderful people. Often the people we serve are stuck in unhealthy patterns. Some are just trying to cope in whatever way they know. Some are breaking the cycle of addiction or abuse and do well for a while, then seem to hit a rut, become overwhelmed, or meet a trigger that creates a setback. There are just so many potential setbacks.
I realized in speaking to one of our guests several early mornings in a row that her anxiety was causing God to be so very small in her life. When she was wringing her hands in worry and completely consumed with the details of her recovery and the steps required to get there, she was stripping God of His very able power in her life.
May we open the grip on our worries and lay them at the cross!
Kathy Swartzfeger
Overnight Support Worker

01 November 2013

T. A. W. G.

Time…Alone…With…God
 Time alone with God is the most precious gift we can give to the Lord…time that is not rushed, time that is not given out of a sense of duty…rather given from a heart that is so in love with Jesus….YOU CAN’T WAIT TO BE IN HIS PRESENCE and lavish your love on Him!!!
God has designed us to enjoy Him above all else. He wants to occupy every part of our heart and to be everything we would ever want or need. It’s in His presence your anxiety turns to peace…it’s in His presence that your fears turn to faith…it’s in His presence that God whispers in your ear, “I am all that you need.”
God deserves the BEST of your time! The enemy will do everything in his power to distract you…DON’T LET HIM!!! God is so faithful to us…He delights in our faithfulness to Him!
Give God your best…He’ll do the rest!!!
 In His Grip

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Matthew 6:33 

31 October 2013

Celebrating Birthday by Serving Others

As a volunteer coordinator, I get to meet some of the most interesting people. We've had volunteers from all over the world come just to serve the homeless in Omaha. Over the summer, I got the privilege of working with one group from Germany and another group from Hong Kong. We have international students from Creighton University come help us out regularly. There's also the many that come from all over Omaha, just to help hang clothes or serve a meal. With all the people I meet, it's hard to remember all of the names or what they do. Every so often though, I meet someone who is hard to forget.

About a month ago, I had a group of girls come in to volunteer on a Saturday afternoon during our time to prepare for dinner. Four girls who were so excited to do whatever we needed. As I asked them to chop carrots and help us pan up food for dinner, they told me about their day.

Two of these girls were celebrating their birthday, and chose to serve others with their time and resources that day. It didn’t just start and end by helping us at Open Door Mission. They had already stood outside at a gas station pumping gas for people, given blood, and donated food. When they were done helping us out, they were going to do even more.

How often do young adults decide to do something to bless others? In a world where children are almost raised with an attitude of entitlement and selfishness, it was so refreshing to meet four young ladies so excited to give back. It was a blessing to work alongside these ladies, as it is to work with all of our volunteers. I’m so appreciative to have such dedicated people helping us do what we do here. 


Erica Julsen

30 October 2013

Hospitality

This past weekend we celebrated with 21 Open Door Mission program graduates. In the midst of their comments on achievements, hopes and dreams, and bright futures, many expressed deep gratitude for the kindness and generosity shown to them while on their journey--- hospitality.

Hospitality goes beyond providing for basic needs.  It’s receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.  The heart of hospitality is service. It stems from gratitude for blessings that have been given and a desire to give and share those blessings with others.  It takes shape with kind words, respect, good conversation, attention to detail, a hug, personal time, and actions that go above and beyond the expected. Above all, it provides community.

Like our graduates, I am thankful for so many volunteers and staff who routinely provide kindness and generosity each and every day to our guests--- Five-Star hospitality.  

Rachel Gillespie
Senior Development Officer

23 October 2013

Blessed by the faithful support of our donors.

 
This past Sunday, Open Door Mission hosted a special event, the Ladle of Love Festival, in the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. I just started at Open Door Mission this August, so this was my first time working at the Ladle of Love Festival. Walking into the dining hall at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center, you were overwhelmed with the smells of 20 different amazing soups made by local chefs, who all generously provided their talents and time to make soup and serve it at this event. In the front, there was a beautiful display of artwork made by the women and children of the Lydia House. And last but not least, the Prairie Gators band filled the room with joyful Cajun music, putting a bounce in your step as you headed to the serving tables to get your soup.
 
As I served at the front, helping people get registered and signed up for door prizes, I was overwhelmed by the number of supporters that came out to show their love to Open Door Mission and our guests. From the many volunteers that came to do art projects with the children, serve soup, and bus tables, to the many donors who showed their support by bringing friends and family with them to the event; Ladle of Love would not have been a success without them. I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks to our supporters, and remind them that they are a vital part of our ministry.
 
Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
 
Thank you for loving our guests and for serving Jesus!
 
Sarah Erwin
Heartland Hands Coordinator