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

24 June 2016

Special Moment From God

     Some days  I feel overwhelmed and tired, but I have noticed that the days when I feel that way are when God has a special moment in store for me.
     A couple of months ago, I was speaking with a lady who comes frequently to the Timberlake Outreach Center.  During one of her visits, I noticed that she looked like she had been crying.  So I asked what was wrong, and she explained that her mother had found cancerous lumps in her breast.  We prayed together that day, and honestly I forgot all about it.  But God DID NOT!
     Last week, this same lady visited the Timberlake Outreach Center and told me that her mother is healed--cancer free! Glory to God!  May this story encourage you today, and may you know that God is always on the move.
O Lord, God of our ancestors, You alone are the God Who is in heaven.  You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against You!  --2 Chronicles 20:6

Evelyn Valdez
Timberlake Outreach Center Receptionist

23 June 2016

Thank you Deloitte!

     Last week we had 140 volunteers from Deloitte on campus from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  It was an amazing and productive day, despite the oppressive heat.  These volunteers came in ready to work and willing to do whatever was asked of them.

      Some projects they completed include:
Making 1,504 food pantry boxes
Priming and painting the toy area at the Timberlake Outreach Center
Sorting donations at the Receiving Area
Putting down mulch
Soring miscellaneous canned food, to be used for food pantry boxes
Sorting, organizing, and shelving donations at the Timberlake Outreach Center
Cleaning and moving lockers at the Lydia House
Sharing about budgeting and financing with students in the life-changing programs
Helping with mock interviews with WorkNet students
Spending time with our veterans on campus
Washing, vacuuming, and cleaning Open Door Mission vehicles
Handing out 30 cases of water they had donated on Water Patrol
Making sack lunches and sandwiches
Serving Eileen's Cookies they had donated as a lunch time dessert

     All of the above things were possible because we have GREAT staff that worked alongside the Volunteer Department and shined for Jesus today!  The best thing we did today was to Be Jesus, so others can See Jesus, so others can KNOW JESUS!   
     Please pray that the volunteers who don't know Jesus will want to, and those that do will be encouraged!

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

22 June 2016

Exercise Your Faith...Part 2

Continued from yesterday’s (6/21) post…

     The Lord revealed to me that my perspective on this situation was me-centered, focused on what was comfortable helpful for me.  And God asked me, “Are you really LOVING this family?  How have I called you to love?  What does my love look like?”
     How God has called us to love others?
Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails…  --1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Charles Spurgeon was a British Baptist preacher in the 1800s.
     This verse spoke to me about what loving others looks like.  God doesn’t call us to love others just once, but for as long as life lasts.   This is an eternal focus.  We love others because of eternity, because God’s heart is to see everyone in eternity.  
     "No faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity.  Tested faith brings experience.  You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials.  And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.”  --Charles Spurgeon
     My circumstances have not changed, but my faith has grown.  To be a witness to others we need to die to ourselves daily.   We can choose to be dull in our spirituality, or to let God do a work in us and increase our faith.  Just like Jesus paid the price for our sin, we must daily die to ourselves to be ALIVE in Christ.  We must forgo the old to become NEW in Christ.
     Be encouraged that with faith and endurance, we will walk strong in God’s promises for our lives and for the guests at Open Door Mission.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

21 June 2016

Exercise Your Faith...Part 1

     Last week I was looking for encouragement in working with a difficult family at the Permanent Supportive Housing building.  I would go into a meeting with the family not already feeling discouraged, and then give and give, leaving totally empty at the end.  But through it all, I knew God was with me, and each day as I drove home exhausted, my prayer was, “God grow my faith.”  
Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.  Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.  –Hebrews 6:11-12
     The truth is that faith needs to be exercised to grow and flourished.  If a muscle or limb is not exercised and used for a while, it shrivels and loses strength.  The same is true of faith—with trials and testing, it will be strengthened.  So in circumstances such as these, I can choose to either exercise my faith and be strong in the Lord, or not exercise it and become spiritually dull and indifferent.
     Jesus never promises that if you have a lot of faith life will be easy, or that faith only requires staying in your comfort zone.  Rather, faith is trusting in God’s promises, no matter what the circumstances.

To be continued tomorrow…

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

20 June 2016

Crossing the Finish Line

      A couple of weeks ago, Open Door Mission held our annual Mission Possible 5k/10k, and we were blessed to have several staff members participate!  One staff member in particular blew me away: Dave ran the 10k, almost beating another staff member.  What makes this so amazing is that Dave has not run for over 30 years!  He just ran along happily praising God the whole way.  Way to go Dave!
     I was inspired by ALL the staff that ran, walked, and jogged to support Open Door Mission.  It was amazing to see them go across the finish line: Dave, Greg, Erica, Vicki, Lindsay, Pat, Steve, Mike, and Lobuwar (who actually won his age category!).
     Also I want to send a special thanks to Candace, Jason, Maggie, Rachel, Alexandria, and Josh for all their help in making this event a success!  Can’t wait to see you all out there next year.

Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director

17 June 2016

True Salvation

     A gentleman in the Journey to Work Program came into my office last week to deal with some consequences of his actions, and we began to talk about the Lord.  This man grew up knowing about Jesus, even believing that he had died for our sins, but his life wasn’t one of pursuing the Lord.
     So I referenced the verse in James that states even the demons believe in Jesus, and he was dumbfounded.  He said that he never heard that before.  I shared with him what it really means to believe and follow Jesus, sharing scriptures with him, and he gave his life to Christ right then and there!
     This is why I love my job. 

Jacob Carr
Case Manager

16 June 2016

Double the Volunteers!

     I am so encouraged today! 
     We have a regular volunteer at the Permanent Supportive Housing building, and she loves volunteering here.  Recently she shared her love for volunteering with a friend, and that person went to Volunteer Orientation.  Now she is wanting to come once a week to volunteer!
     Praise God!  One dependable volunteer brought ANOTHER person who now has turned into another dependable volunteer, so now we have double what we had before!  And what’s even more exciting is that both volunteers are Christians!
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  –Ephesians 2:10
     Let's continue to do good works for God's glory.  Open Door Mission has a special place in my heart, and in the hearts of many others.  It’s always wonderful to watch God capture His people’s hearts for the Mission.
     Let's continue to share the Good News of what God is doing with our friends/family/new friends we meet!  God gets all the glory!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

15 June 2016

It Just Takes an Invitation

     A couple of weeks ago we had our annual Faith Leaders’ Summit Luncheon, where church leaders and ministry workers from the area gathered to discuss an important issue in ministry today—mental health.
     While at the event, I bumped into Ms. Laura Jean who had first invited me to volunteer at Open Door Mission.  I was trying to place exactly when that was, and she asked how long ago my son was born.  She reminded me that she had knit a baby blanket for my son soon after, because he had just been born.  My son turned ten in April!
     Sometimes it just takes an invitation.  This woman’s invitation turned into me stepping into God’s plan for my life.  Ten years later, you can still find me serving Him at the Mission!
     Who can you invite to volunteer?

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

14 June 2016

Great Guys to Serve With

     It was a blessing to serve at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center over the Memorial Day weekend with the homeless men in our Life-Changing Recovery Programs and those in our Emergency Services.
     Being a holiday, we were a little short of volunteers.  But these guys jumped right in, happily willing to help volunteer and make over 16 trays of sandwiches for sack lunches.  It was their time off to rest, and they still did this joyfully.
     The kitchen was running low on sack lunches for the long weekend, and these men saw the need for all the incoming homeless men who would need a sack lunch.  These are great guys to serve with. 

Darryl Price
Day House Supervisor

13 June 2016

Loved by Those She Sees...And Those She Doesn't

     Several months ago, we sent out a card to our donors with a picture of Laura, and a quick testimony quote.  It says, “When I walked in, I was crying.  The staff made sure I got a bed and something to eat, and I surrendered that day.  I knew the moment I walked in that God had brought me here.”

     One of our donors sent this letter in response.
     In honor of people like Laura and so many others that your organization has helped throughout the years, I wanted to include an extra gift this month to say thank you.
     I have been using this as a bookmark for a C.S. Lewis book I have been reading, which reminds me to pray for Laura every day.  I hope she’s doing well!
     God bless.
     P.S.  If you are still in contact with Laura, tell her that she is loved by those she sees and those she doesn’t also.

     What a blessing to know that our community supports us not only with volunteer hours, monetary donations, and gift in kind donations, but also with prayers.  We are covered in prayer, and that means more than anything else!

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

10 June 2016

Multiple Miracles

     Last week at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center, a man came into my office to get his medication.  We talked a little about his pain issues.  He began to share his story with me, and God opened a door for me to share the Gospel message!  I shared the "truth that sets us free," he prayed, and he asked Jesus into his life.  He has been forgiven!
     I came to work tired, but still was willing to listen to God’s calling.  Later than night I was able to pray with another man after chapel.  God blessed me because I was faithful.
     In our pre-shift meeting that day, I told my co-workers that I love coming to Open Door Mission each day because I get to see miracles.  There were multiple miracles beheld tonight! 

Greg Johnston
Intake/Case Manager

09 June 2016

A Smile From Receiving

     You know I have been working at Open Door Mission for too long when I didn't even pause when I saw my coworker Joe taking a little joy ride.  I didn’t even think that it might be out of the ordinary and just walked right by him!  But one of our other coworkers, Steve, snapped a quick picture.  So enjoy a smile from the Receiving Area at the Timberlake Outreach Center!
     I also wanted to remind you all to bring your donations to any of our four Family Outreach/Donation Centers!  We are now located in South Omaha, Elkhorn, Council Bluffs, and (of course) at our Main Campus.  So as you’re cleaning out your closets this summer vacation, be sure to think of homeless and working poor men, women, and children who could benefit from your donation!
     Maybe you’ll even get to see another of Joe’s tricks when you drop off the donations.

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

08 June 2016

Pain Into Something Beautiful

     This is Amy and Robbie and their daughters Delaney and Mackenzie.  Their son Finnegan was stillborn, and every year on his birthday they have a party to celebrate him.  Any toys they receive for Finnegan, they donate to homeless children at the Lydia House. 
     When I met this family last week, each member was so excited to give.  They are a huge blessing to me and to the homeless women and families at the Lydia House! 
     God bless them for turning their pain into something beautiful to help others.

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

07 June 2016

Breaking Chains, Breaking Records

     I work over at the South Omaha Family Outreach/Donation Center, and I wanted to share an amazing little statistic from our faraway shores. 
     Last month, our wonderful Development team sent out a postcard talking about all our Outreach Centers in the Metro Area.  Even though we now have four locations, to be more accessible to the working poor and needy, many still do not know about the Outreach Centers closest to them.
     As a result of this added awareness, our location blew away our previous record for the most clients in a single week.  Before, the record was 89 clients from the week before Christmas, which is always a busy time as many parents searching for gifts and toys for their kids.
     The week after the postcard was sent out, a pretty average week of the year, we served 110 families!  And yes, you're right: in this same week we also hit triple digits for the first time ever! Praise God!
     Thank you so much for all your prayers and support these past several months!  It has been exciting to see the ways that God is allowing us to impact people's lives in South Omaha.  And it’s a blessing to work as a team with the Open Door Mission staff to serve more people than ever before!

John Michael Den Hartog
Homeless Prevention Manager

06 June 2016

Back in Japan...

     Sometimes we receive encouraging notes in the mail, and this one was so lovely that I wanted to share it with you.

     God bless your hard work.
     I was born during WWII in Japan.
     My parents worked very hard to put food on our table.  Most people did not have much of anything.
     After the War ended, America helped people in Japan a lot.  I didn’t have many toys, but one sock doll that came from America.  It was the only toy that ever had my name on it.  I didn’t have much of anything to keep me warm during the winter or on rainy days.  Every winter, I got frost bite on my toes and fingers.  And during the summer, the heat was unbearable without a fan.  But at least we had a roof over our heads!
     So I often think about the homeless people in winter time and summer time.
     I often thank our God for what He provides.  We don’t have much money, but enough to make ends meet.
     I don’t donate much, but at least our small donation will do some good, will feed a few people.
     Thank you for your work.

     It’s powerful when the stories of homelessness and struggles during extreme weather of winter and summer become personal.  Thank you to all who support Open Door Mission.  The need is real, and it does not diminish.  Your friendship means so much to us.

Candace Gregory

03 June 2016

Praying Through the Years

     During break last week, I went downtown to run a couple of errands, and ended up near 13th & Howard.
     While out, I had the chance to meet with Ms. Nora, who told me story after story of how she's prayed for Open Door Mission throughout the years.
     The Mission used to be the view from her front desk, just across the street.  She shared with me encounters she had with homeless men, how she had helped them, and some she saw later in life doing quite well.
     "That was before the Mission helped all the women and children as well as men,” she said.  “I can't imagine.  I remember the bikers that would go all around downtown asking bakeries and restaurants for any food they can spare.  It does my heart good to see how far you've come... But heart breaking to see the great need."
     God bless Ms. Nora!

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

02 June 2016

Thirsting for More

     I am privileged to hit the Streets of Omaha each day, passing out sack lunches and bottled water to the needy and homeless on the streets.
     Last week on the streets we were so blessed to meet some amazing folks.  As the day progressed, one of our new volunteers expressed his desire for closeness with God.  He explained to me that the reason why he began volunteering at Open Door Mission, because he wanted to get closer to God.  He felt that by helping with Streets of Omaha he would.
     While we handed lunches to some of our friends on the street, this volunteer had a ray of light in his eyes.  He asked me question after question about God, the Bible, and how he could learn more.  He expressed his love for the hungry and homeless.  He expressed his desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  This young man is HUNGRY for the WORD OF GOD!
     I ask that you continue to pray for this dear volunteer as he walks in the ways of the Lord and continues to fill his thirst for God.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

01 June 2016

Doing a Good Work

     Hey Open Door Mission family—I wanted to share an ENCOURAGING moment today.
     Recently, one of my tenant’s visiting nurses was admiring all the papers on my door.  These papers range from announcements, to hours of available services on campus, and etc.  She saw the schedule for professional dentists that come to do dental work, postings of available job opportunities, the Health and Healing Clinic Calendar, and more! 
     After skimming them over, she said, “This is really awesome, all these things you guys do for the people that stay here.  You are definitely the top organization for all you do!”
     So take heart, no matter what your day looks like today.  We as staff, volunteers, donors, and friends are doing a good work!  And it takes us all to do this awesome work.  Glory to God! 
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.  –Matthew 5:14-16
     My prayer always is that at Open Door Mission, a Christian organization, we would rise above the rest to point everyone to Jesus the Hero of our story!  Our light is shining BRIGHT in this city!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

27 May 2016

Another Chance at Lasting Change...Part 2

     So he tried to be "smarter" about his drinking, but the problem was still growing.  One day seven years later, while driving home from work with an open beer in his cup holder, Eric got in a terrible accident.
     He crossed the freeway barrier and t-boned another car.  His car was completed totaled, but the others were okay and all Eric received was a busted lip.  When he came to, Eric’s first thought was, “Where’s my beer?”  It was time for a change.
     They took Eric to county jail where within two weeks he received divorce papers from his wife.  In a flash he had lost everything:  his wife, job, car, respect of his community.  Everything was taken away, and Eric realized he was doing something wrong.
     The judge sentenced Eric to 3-5 years for his DUIs, saying, “I’m sending you to get help.”  In prison Eric attended a substance abuse class, which is when he first let the Lord into his life.  Now that he was sober, he could think clearly about what matters most in life.  So when Eric was released on parole, he chose to move to Open Door Mission.
     It was there that he really let God take control.  Eric joined the Journey to Work Program, and really appreciates the honesty of the Bible-based program.  “It’s not easy, but you can be real here,” said Eric.  “Because everyone else will be real too.  The staff are really here to help, and they don’t let you fake your way through things.”
     Eric is set to end his parole in June and graduate in July.  He feels God is calling him to return to school to become an abuse counselor.  After his second chance, he is following God’s will to give back.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

26 May 2016

Another Chance for Lasting Change...Part 1

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.  "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  --Jeremiah 29:11

     When Eric saw these words written on the walls of Open Door Mission’s dining room, he literally said aloud, “Really?”  As he re-thought his life, it was undeniable that God did have a plan for him.  It was there in that dining room that Eric told the Lord, “Let’s go with Your way because my way has only lead to ground zero.”  He hasn’t looked back since.
     Eric grew up in Philadelphia, with a mother and an absent, abusive father.  As soon as he graduated high school, Eric joined the Military.  There he served for six years, working in Artillery with the big cannons.  This was a valuable experience, and Eric says it was a mistake to leave so early on.
     “The Military taught me a lot about getting along with people, about other races.  There’s only one color in the Army—green…It was also my first experience learning that there are good and bad people everywhere, no matter what country and what race.”
     After returning home to Pennsylvania, Eric soon moved to Omaha to visit a friend.  Although Eric was taking care of his responsibilities, he began drinking more and more.  That was when Eric received his first DUI, then his second a couple of years later.

Read the rest of Eric's story tomorrow...

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

25 May 2016

Power of a Testimony...Part 3

     Please read the rest of Shawn’s testimony.  He has some real nuggets of truth!

In summary, I have been doing great since I came to Open Door Mission, and I am very thankful for everything that they have done for me.  I have been here for five months, having come straight out of prison.  I believe strongly that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I am doing great on parole.  My parole officer actually likes me and is very proud that I am about to graduate the Journey to Work Program.
I have realized the things that are most important in my life now, and that is having God and my family present in my life.  I also want to be a good father and find the best employment opportunities to take care of my family.  I never want to sell myself short again.  I want to be the best I can be in every way possible.  I really hope that you know you have been a blessing in my life.  Thank you.

     What a story!  It truly is a blessing to know that his young man is reaching out to his family, with aspirations to positively impact their lives for the Lord.  God is good!

Candace Gregory

24 May 2016

Power of a Testimony...Part 2

     Yesterday, I shared a testimony a recent graduate had sent me.  Today, I’d like to share a testimony from someone currently in Open Door Mission’s Journey to Work Program.  May his story inspire you!

My name is Shawn and I am writing this letter to thank all staff, donors, and volunteers at Open Door Mission.  I am thankful for everything that the Mission has done thus far to help me rebuild my life, allowing me to continue to reconnect with my family.
I am currently employed party time, and am very lucky that my boss is willing to take me to and from work.  My brother is offering me another great job landscaping as soon as I have a car and license, and I would really like to pursue this.  Landscaping is something I really enjoy and am becoming very passionate about.
I have a father that lives about 40 minutes away.  I haven’t spent a lot of time with him throughout my life, but we are really starting to connect now.  I really value the relationship that we are building.  I take my son out to see his grandpa as much as I can.  My dad is in his sixties and really appreciates when I can come out on the weekends and help with some of the upkeep on his farm and properties.

     Read tomorrow to hear the rest of Shawn’s powerful testimony!

Candace Gregory

23 May 2016

Power of a Testimony...Part 1

     Every once in a while, I’ll get a note testifying to lasting change a man or woman has received through Open Door Mission.  These touch my heart, they keep me going.  I wanted to share this one with you.  It is a note of gratitude from a past graduate, named Kevin.

I am writing you as a graduate of the New Life Recovery Program.  I am grateful for everything Open Door Mission has provided me: a safe place to live free of drugs and alcohol.  Being at the Mission taught me to love God, that God loves me, and to love my fellow man.  I thank all staff, volunteers, and donors for this.
Recently I have gained part time employment, able to work 20 hours a week.  I have been offered other employment at two other companies, and I’m excited to see where God takes me.  My prayer is that I can continue my growth as a Christian man and be a productive member of society.
Thank you again for this incredible second chance, and God bless you all.

     What a blessing this testimony is!  Never hesitate to share the story of God’s moving in your life.

Candace Gregory

20 May 2016

God Bless This Marriage

     Recent graduate Dean has been with his significant other for twelve years.  We talked in case management about honoring God, and one day I posed this question to him: "When are you going to marry her and make it right in the eyes of God?”
     Apparently God used our conversation to bring conviction, and a desire to make Dean’s relationship right.  He saved up, bought an engagement ring, and before his graduation they were united in marriage.
     My prayer is that God may bless this marriage, and the steps Dean took to honor Him.

Russell Janssen
Case Manager

19 May 2016

The Lovely Ladies of the Lydia House

     Just a quick update on our Mother’s Day celebration last week!  It was an awesome morning with so many friends.  For me, it is always an honor to share from God's Word, and I shared on God's love for us.  I also ministered in music with two of my mum’s favorite songs, She Loved and Handful of Weeds.
     God is so good!  More than twelve ladies asked for prayer for strength to live for the Lord and to say NO to Satan's temptations.  Eight ladies accepted Christ as their Savior!  Please pray for our lovely ladies of Lydia House, that they will seek God for HE has the best for us.  Let them not settle for Satan's sloppy seconds in life.
     Thank you for all of your prayers!

Candace Gregory

18 May 2016

Working as a Team

     Last week, I was overwhelmed by how much the Open Door Mission family works as a team.
     78 sixth grade students, their three teachers, and four parents came to see Open Door Mission.  Thanks to Travis in the IT Department, they were able to watch a video about the Mission in the chapel.  Thanks to the Hospitality Department, they had a lunch that many declared as being “the best.”
     These are children from a school that is considered high risk, inner city.  One young man told me, “Thank you, I haven’t been this full of food in a long time.”  The teachers said that for many of the children, it was like a holiday meal for them.
     Thanks to the men who stayed after their meal to talk to, engage with, and smile at the kids, they felt so welcomed.  I am especially grateful for Johnathan who drew pictures for the kids.  He also took time to talk one-on-three with some boys that needed to hear about the importance of education.
     Thanks to Rachel who spoke to the kids at Lydia House, they were able to understand some hard facts about being a homeless kid.  And thanks to Alexandria, who helped me split the kids into two groups, we were able to give them a whirlwind tour before the buses came.
     So many of the kids talked about how Open Door Mission wasn’t what they thought it was going to be.  Some children asked if it was really true that you didn’t have to live at the Mission to get clothes or food (all the bread impressed them).  Many asked how old they had to be to volunteer or would it be okay to tell other people about us.
     It was only because of so many people coming together that these kids’ eyes were opened to the truth at Open Door Mission.  These are the people I am privileged to interact with regularly, but only because all of you work hard every day changing lives.  Thank you!

Maggie Cope
Community Relations Coordinator

17 May 2016

KFAB Kids to Kamp Radiothon!

     Today is the KFAB Kids to Kamp Radiothon from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.!  So, tune into 1110 AM or www.kfab.com to hear heartwarming updates of our homeless children's plans for summer.
     Thanks to you, these darling sweethearts are going to Kids to Kamp. You can make a difference TODAY!  For only $49.00, a homeless child can go fishing, swimming, do arts and crafts, feel God's love, and so much more this summer.
     We have at least 72 homeless children waiting to be sponsored for a week of Kamp, so please call 402-898-4673 or visit www.kfab.com today!  Listen for match money throughout the day, which would DOUBLE your gift!  So $49.00 for one homeless child to go to Kids to Kamp is really two.
     Please pray that we match every dollar so our Lydia House children can have an awesome summer.  God bless!

Candace Gregory

13 May 2016

On the Streets...Part 2

     Then Tabitha said, "Jessica, I used to be the one eating off of vans delivering food, and now God is using me to bring hope to people that have been where I have been.”
     I could see tears forming in her eyes and she became silent (if you know Tabitha, silence from her is a rare thing).  God was speaking to her heart at that moment.  You could tell at that moment God was showing her how much he loves her!
     I stopped the van, grabbed their hands, and we prayed.  We thanked God for His grace, His love, His acceptance of us, His love for us, and for changing us with his Love!  We thanked Him for the opportunity to be His hands and feet. 
     Today I was blessed!  Blessed to experience not only people on the streets lives being touched, but to see the lives of two women here at the Lydia house whose lives are being transformed.  Hope for lasting change!
     These women were shown that God uses our mess for greatness, if we let Him.  God transforms the willing and He will continue to work in these two ladies’ lives because with willing hearts they pleaded today, "God use us."  WOW! 
     As we got out of the van at the end of the day, they hugged me and said, “We are willing to help whenever you need someone!”  On top of all of these blessings, I got to see their servants’ hearts!  Thank you, Jesus, for Your out pouring of LOVE!
     I hope this blesses all of you as much as it has blessed me!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

12 May 2016

On the Streets...Part 1

     I wanted to share a God-sized story with you all in hopes that it will bless you as it did me!
     Without a doubt I know that Leanne and Tabitha were hand-picked by God to go on Streets of Omaha today.  Not only did these ladies completely shine the love of Jesus to everyone they encountered, but they felt the presence of the Lord in their lives through this experience.
     Leanne happened to be from the area we delivered lunches to, and she told me how she felt that God had brought her here today to remind her of all He has done in her life.  She said, "I was arrested right here."  And God was moving as a man in that same area she had pointed to flagged us down to ask for a sack lunch.  I should mention that in all the months that I have done Streets of Omaha, I have never seen anyone outside this building or even walking down this street!  This meant so much to Leanne.  She saw the mess she once was in, and then felt the presence of God changing her.  As she handed the man his sack lunch, he smiled and said, “God be with you.” 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

11 May 2016

Be Ready for What You Ask God For

     This morning as we opened the Council Bluffs Outreach/Donation Center, Phil and I were asking our Father for people to encourage and give hope to.  Shortly after this prayer, we saw Him at work.
     A young man was waiting at our front door so we invited him in.  Right behind him stood two other young men.  I asked the first man what we could assist him with, and he said he wants to get off the streets and have his life back.  I asked him if he knew about Open Door Mission, and then the two other men stepped into our conversation.  They had both been part of the recovery programs at the Mission and spoke about what a great place it was.  Both men explained that they were now sober and had gotten their lives back through the help of Open Door Mission. They told him it would be the best decision he could ever make.  They also warned that the program won’t be easy, but it’s worth it!
     He is now being picked up by our van to start fresh in Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program.
     Pray for Jeff as he is weary and tired but ready to have his relationship with God back on track and his life on a new path to freedom.  Isn't God AMAZING ?  He hears our prayers!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

10 May 2016

8.5 Miles in the Rain

     I was following up with a gentleman that leads Chapel monthly, and his e-mail response warmed my heart.  Praise God for faithful volunteers that partner with us to Change Lives--all for the Glory of God!

     Dear Amy: Greetings in the Lord,
     Thanks for the follow-up.  We had a very nice chapel service.  About seven people came to pray with our prayer coworkers at the end of service.  One of them asked to be baptized, so I referred him to Glad Tidings Church where a baptism service was being held that next Sunday.
     He rode his bike early in the morning (8.5 miles in rain), arrived by 8 a.m., attended a baptismal class with the pastors there, and was baptized at around 10 a.m.  He plans to keep coming every Sunday, and even join a small group. Praise the Lord!!!

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

09 May 2016

Best Kind of Report

     There is nothing better for me than to hear these kind of reports from the community.
 A bonus is when a radio personality gets treated so well by a staff member that they talk about Open Door Mission, our ministry, and how awesome our team is during their radio show all day!  WAHOO—this shout out is for Jesse!

Hey Candace!  I wanted you to know that I dropped off 82 pounds of girls’ clothes, board games, and linens yesterday at the Elkhorn Outreach/Donation Center.  I have to tell you that the staff member there, Jesse, was AWESOME!  I pulled up at 5:33 p.m. and I figured it was closed, but then the door opened and Jesse came out to greet me with his big wagon.   He was so pleasant and friendly.
Then all of the sudden you see like three or four more cars coming up to the door.  He said, "Soooo...did y'all meet at the gas station and decide to come today?"  Hilarious!  He was so pleasant and so appreciative of all of our donations.  Great guy!  Thought I'd let you know.

     I am thanking God for the staff members He has blessed us with, especially for Jesse!  Thank you to all of you for being Christ to our donors, volunteers, and guests.

Candace Gregory

05 May 2016

Lifting up my Prayers

     I wanted to share a snippet of my prayer life with you all.  In the evening, I pray for Open Door Mission staff, guests, donors, volunteers, and friends.  I start the morning that way, too!
     I pray for our Graduation Ceremonies, that they reflect the power and healing of God's work at Open Door Mission.  May HE be glorified as testimonies are shared.
     I pray for even the smallest of details that Open Door Mission staff take care of, from AV to thank you letters, to peeling potatoes.
     I pray for each of the students in our life-changing programs, that God will give them comfort, peace, and strength to continue through until Graduation.
     I pray for any who come to Open Door Mission (guests, donors, and volunteers alike) that may not know Christ as their Savior, that their eyes and ears would be opened, and that their hearts may be softened to acknowledge the need for Jesus in their lives.

Candace Gregory

04 May 2016

Middle Years Programme

     My niece Bailey has come several times to volunteer at Open Door Mission.  She chose to focus on Open Door Mission for her International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) Personal Project at Millard North High School, and I wanted to share it with you all.
     The purpose was to inform people about the Mission through her art.  She also created a PowerPoint as part of this project.  I am so proud of her, and it was such an honor to know that volunteering at Open Door Mission inspired her to tell others about this ministry to our community.  

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

03 May 2016

Changing Lives

     God is changing LIVES!
     When our guests at Open Door Mission walk through our doors, the words I hear them use to describe themselves are, “Hurting…broken…abandoned…lonely… lost…burdened…forgotten…”
     But, when our program graduates walk across the stage in cap and gown at graduation, they are Loved!  Cherished!  Free!  Found!  Accomplished!  Determined!
     Our guests at Open Door Mission find hope and faith in Christ! I know we as staff are all proud of our graduates for their dedication and perseverance.  And I am blessed to be able to hear the testimonies of these changed lives and shake the hands of the graduates.  I know I am forever changed because of them!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

02 May 2016

Free of Charge!

     Often students in our life-changing programs share with me that they have tried other recovery programs and failed.  Sometimes they did not have the insurance or the cash to qualify for a recovery program.
     Praise God that Open Door Mission provides an incredibly successful, residential, Bible-based, 12 Step recovery program for our guests FREE OF CHARGE because of so many faithful supporters in the community.  People come to Open Door Mission because they are hungry for food, BUT they are Hungry for New Life, too!
     Thank you to all who allow these programs to exist—from donors to volunteers to staff to, of course, our Lord.  It’s exciting to see each day what God is doing in the lives of these men, women, and children.

Candace Gregory

29 April 2016

Families Reunited Through God's Love

     Recently this was shared on our Facebook wall, and I’d like to share it with you too:

My sister is a recent graduate of your WorkNet program. Before she came to Open Door Mission, I had been counseled to write her off as dead.  After learning what drug addiction does in most cases, I thought that was going to be the advice I must follow.  I figured my sister was gone, that the drugs had become who she was, and that wasn't anyone I knew or, frankly, anyone I wanted to know or to expose my kids to.
So, from a distance, I did the only thing I knew to do--I prayed!  I prayed for her life, soul, and safety. God answered my prayers through the staff at your organization!  You put your faith in my sister, teaching her how to put faith in Jesus, and eventually in herself!  Thank you for not only saving my sister's life, but for saving her Soul
She has given her life to our Lord and after being able to spend five days with her during her graduation week I can say, it is a blessing to have my sister back! It had been six long years since I had last seen her, and with tears in my eyes, I can honestly say that you are the best thing that could have ever happened to her!   There could never be enough money in the world to compensate you for what you do in so many peoples’ lives each day!  Thank you for doing the Lord’s work.  God Bless each and every one of you!

     This supportive sister actually sat in on our WorkNet class the day before our last graduation, and I was able to see the joy and relief in her eyes as she talked about her sister and how far she had come.  It is a blessing to be able to witness families being reunited through recovery and God's love!  I felt honored to share that moment, share some laughs, and see the Lord's work being done!

Gerry Ford
WorkNet Director