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

28 April 2016

A Personal Interview With Candace Gregory

     Recently, our own Candace Gregory was mentioned on an Open Door Mission volunteer’s blog!  Read the inside information Beaufield Berry-Fisher got from Candace:

     For over 60 years the Open Door Mission has been committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty.  They serve over 2,000 hot, nutritious meals every day. EVERY.  DAY.  Many of the people’s lives they change are veterans of the U.S. armed forces and survivors of abusive households.  The average age for a homeless child in America?  9 years old.
     I was invited to a Brunch and Learn at Open Door Mission a few weeks ago and came out with a very different perspective than I had going in.  Candace Gregory, the Mission President/CEO and fearless leader had ignited me.  She had absolutely broken my heart, filled it again and then set it on fire.  In a good way.  Hearing the FACTS about the nations homeless population and seeing her pure dedication and passion in doing the best work she can in OUR city-was tremendous.
     I looked over at my Mom and said, “I want THAT.”  Meaning, that illuminated drive and purpose she was sharing with all of us.  It was so palpable, I haven’t shaken it off.  I’ve absorbed part of her mission and have been working to spend some of my time and energy to do work for Open Door Mission and Lydia House as well (the Lydia House is the side of Open Door Mission that cares for women and children).  There are VERY many ways to donate and serve Open Door Mission, who takes no federal funding and operates from private donations.
     So it’s my pleasure to include Candace Gregory as my Woman Crush on this Wednesday.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?  My kids…..bahahaha….I actually do not require that much sleep so I am usually up and going at the crack of dawn.
What is your motto/mantra?  It is what it is….
Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life when it comes to what you do?  Next to Jesus, my parents have been the biggest influence on me and my life. Their faith, work ethic, and integrity.
What are your personal core values?  Faith, Trustworthy, Work Ethic, and Joy.
Why do you do what you do?  It’s my calling to serve others and I want to be obedient to God.
3 Things you can’t live without.  Dark Almond Chocolate milk, my kindle, and lobster.
What do you want people to know about your job?  It’s rewarding to see lives changed every day and to see God at work in people’s lives, but it’s overwhelming and discouraging at times, the amount of need that is going unmet.
 Who is your rock?  Next to God, my husband, Steve.
Working at a Non-Profit in Omaha is:  Awesome.
What is the biggest unfairness in your world?  Social Injustice
What is the biggest joy?  Several joys come to mind – Graduation day and hearing the inspirational stories of life change, volunteers that are faithful and serving, and the ocean.
Something you think but never say.  Seriously, are you out of your ever loving mind….
Quote that just “gets you.”  “If you cannot feed everyone, then feed one.”  --Mother Theresa
What is your theme song?  Overcomer by Mandisa
How can people be involved in your organization and why is it so important?  Open Door Mission could not do what they do without volunteers.  We love volunteers.  You are never too young or too old to make a difference.  Time changes lives.

To see the original blog post, please click here.

Beaufield Berry-Fisher
Open Door Mission Volunteer

27 April 2016

All Hard Work Brings a Profit

     Last week I met with one of the renters in the Permanent Supportive Housing building.  She has been looking for a job for quite some time, applying over and over.  She was telling me about her frustrations, but showing me that she is still continuing to apply.
     One application asked for three professional references, and she had troubles coming up with three.  We were brainstorming of solutions, but she felt discouraged.  I suggested that she go to her apartment, take a break, and come back to it later.  I encouraged her to not ruminate on it, but that maybe she would think of something later on. 
     She came back about 15 minutes later with the joy of the Lord in her eyes.  “I have to tell you what just happened,” she said.  “I was upstairs praying, saying, ‘Lord please help me know what to do.’  Then a few minutes later I got a call from Wal-Mart, a job I interviewed for last week, and they offered me the job!”  She was humbly praising the Lord!
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.  --Proverbs 14:23
     This job did not drop out of the sky for her, she applied for many positions, and has made a profit through all her hard work.  Praise God who loves to bless His children!  This is just one of many stories that happen at Open Door Mission on a daily basis.  What an encouragement it is to work here to know that God is here, alive and working every day in our community! 

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

26 April 2016

KFC is Making a Difference!

     Korah, Teresa, and the entire team at KBP's Maple Street KFC Restaurant in Omaha are making a difference in the local community.  The team has raised over $1,200 in 8 days for Open Door Mission, a Gospel Rescue Mission dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty. 
     Each day, Open Door Mission's campus offers 816 safe, shelter beds to homeless men, women and children and serves over 2,000 hot, nutritious meals.
     Thank you, Team Omaha, for pitching in to help a wonderful charity!
     Click here to learn how to join in KFC's fundraising through the month of April!

KBP Foods
Open Door Mission Partner

25 April 2016

Shout Out From the Learning Center

     A huge shout-out to Open Door Mission’s IT man Travis for all his work in updating the Learning Center computers!  These computers are used by the Mission’s guests to work on resumes, search for jobs, finish their GEDs, complete homework for one of our life-changing programs, and so much more.
     These men and women are so grateful!  Thanks so much, Travis!  What a blessing it is to work on a team that truly is the Body of Christ.  We each have a role, and we work best together!

Anna Razamozova
Learning Center Director

22 April 2016


     I was encouraged by this sermon, “Chosen” by Louie Giglio, and wanted to share some of it with you.
"Some may ask, ‘If God knows everything why should I preach the gospel or go to Nepal...God’s got it.  He's in charge.  The reason is God gave us this place in the world to be an extension of God’s heart of grace and mercy to the whole world.  For we are Gods workmanship--Ephesians 2:10. God invited us to be in the story for this opportunity.  For we are created for good works so we could walk in them.
God created us in the story and gave us this amazing opportunity.  We lift up Jesus and live lives of purpose.  We walk in validation but don't wait for the moment to give us validation!"
     I pray that we may walk FULLY in our calling to the Lord Jesus Christ.  God invited us in.  He didn't say, “Well, I guess you are here…”  Instead, He said, “I have called you to be an extension of my heart to show grace and mercy to the whole world!”
     We lift up Jesus in everything we do and we walk in the validation we already have: that we have been Chosen by God to do good works.  We don't wait for someone to say it, or a moment to prove it, as God has already given that to us.  We can walk in victory of who and Whose we are!
     I am thankful to work for a place where we put ministry first in all we do, and where I work alongside such Godly people who love Jesus!  May we continue to walk boldly and share the Gospel with others who don't know Jesus.  May we lift up Jesus in word, action, and everything we do.  May we walk in the calling the Lord has given us!  That is my prayer for us today and every day! 

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

21 April 2016

I'm So Thankful!

     I want to take this opportunity to express how grateful I am to work in Open Door Mission’s Lydia House!
     While working at the Lydia House, I’ve grown immensely.  I know that God isn’t just here with the guests and those in the program, but He’s also here with the staff and volunteers.  I've seen guests grow, change, and develop into a better people, but never did I imagine when I first came on staff that God would work through me in the same way.
     The Lord has helped me grow and develop so much because of each and every person I have interacted with.  Thanks to all of you!  I never guessed I'd be so blessed upon being here, and I truly know that God works in us, through us, and through the guests for us every single day we are here.
     Daily, each person at the Lydia House impacts me in ways you may never know.  I just want to fully express my appreciation for each and every one of you for the ways you've touched my heart and my life.  I cherish each day at Open Door Mission. 
     Each staff member at the Mission is incredibly important. They come into work every day not looking for a thank you, but to do God's work and to help those in need. I am so grateful for all the things you do, those I have met and those I have not. I have seen the impact of what each of you are doing on a daily basis in each guest here.
     Please join me in continuing to pray for each staff member, the Mission as a whole, and all the programs here. 

Tyler Johnson
Family Support Worker

20 April 2016

Discovering God's Purpose

     "I did not know what a luxury it was to have a good job, until I lost mine."
     Roxie’s story is one about America’s struggling economy.  It’s one of a hardworking single mother.  But Roxie’s story is also one of hope.
     For 16 years, Roxie held an office job in California that paid the bills, provided insurance, and had flexible hours for her to take care of her family.  Then one day, the company downsized their staff, cutting Roxie’s position.
    Having some money for emergencies, Roxie was able to provide for her family for a while; submitting as many applications as she could.  Although she picked up jobs here and there, a year and a half produced no full time jobs.
     Eventually the savings and the 401k ran out, and Roxie and her family were evicted from their apartment.  So the family of four moved into a friend’s house.  “This home was nice at first, but eventually became less welcoming,” said Roxie.
     One day, the host family told Roxie that she had to move her family out.  
     Roxie decided to sell everything and move out to Omaha, NE, closer to family for support and new opportunities.
     After landing in Omaha, the family took a taxi directly to the Lydia House.  During this short ride Roxie prayed, “It’s all on You, God.”  She knew that her Lord would provide for and protect them.
     The doors of the Lydia House were so welcoming.  God opened up the exact number of sleeping mats on the floor in the Overflow Section that Roxie and her family needed.
     “The staff said, ‘Sit here, relax.  You’re safe.’”
     Today, Roxie and her family have their own family unit at the Lydia House, and things are looking brighter than ever.  Roxie graduated from the career assessment and development program, known as WorkNet, at the Lydia House.  She now has a full time job and so does her oldest daughter.
     God has been Roxie’s rock through this whole process.  He has always been there.  She is thankful that He always kept their family together and that they never spent a night on the streets.
     Her relationships with other families in the Lydia House truly have changed her as well.  “We’re all human, we’re all on the same level…I’ve learned that women going through recovery are strong and compassionate.  They get that strength from each other and from the Lord…Here is a safe place for them.”
     Click here for more stories of HOPE.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

18 March 2016

Congrats are in Order

     I want to take this moment to congratulate a recent WorkNet graduate Chris for getting hired recently at a pizza restaurant!
     Congrats also to current WorkNet student Kari for getting hired last week at a sandwich shop.  Kari actually set a WorkNet record, at least since I became the Director, by getting hired on just the third day of class!  What an inspiration this is for her fellow WorkNet students!
     More congrats are in order to Jeremiah for getting hired at a gas station.  We also have some graduates and students with upcoming interviews, or who are waiting to hear back from employers.  Please keep them all in your prayers, and praise be to God for His blessings!

Gerry Ford
WorkNet Director

17 March 2016

True Tradition of St. Patrick

     Today is St. Patrick’s Day!  A day of leprechauns, green clothes, four leaf clovers, and pinches (for those not wearing green).  It can also be a day of green beer and drunkenness for many, an excuse to drink in access.
     The true purpose of St. Patrick’s Day is to commemorate the death of Christian missionary, St. Patrick.  Born Maewyn Succat, St. Patrick was kidnapped by a band of pirates from his native and of Britain at the age of 16.  After six years of slavery, he escaped to what is modern day France.  There he devoted his life to the Lord as a Monk, taking the name of Patricus or Patrick.
     Following the Lord’s call, Patrick traveled to Ireland as a missionary to the island’s tribes.  His personality and love for the people helped to abolish their pagan rites and bring people to the Lord—having a greater impact than any before him.
     The three-leafed clover was St. Patrick’s metaphor to explain the concept of the Trinity (three in one—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  His faith brought Christianity to the Irish, and brought fame to his name.
     So what if today, instead of indulging, we look to St. Patrick’s example?  He reached out to the friendless, those who had never accepted to Gospel.  He cared for them, cared about their salvation, and reached out.  Let us too, reach out to those who are less fortunate, to our neediest neighbors.  And in so doing, carry on the true tradition of St. Patrick.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

16 March 2016

Joining Together for the Homeless

     Look what Don and his group of volunteers are making at Pacific Springs.  They have all decided to join as a team to make mats out of plastic bags for those living on the streets.  Some people are collecting the plastic bags, others are making plarn, and still others are crocheting.  They are all working together to make a difference for the homeless, giving them a bit of comfort and HOPE.
     What a great reminder that we are stronger together!  And our efforts are multiplied when we join as a team.  Thank you, Pacific Springs!

Candace Gregory

11 March 2016

You Are Not Disqualified

     Recently, I was meeting with a client during our weekly community interviews.  We were going over general rules and what it is like to live at the Lydia House.  As she asked her questions, she became intrigued when she learned how centered Open Door Mission is around Christ and God's word. 
     She asked, "So if I lived here would I be able to join a Bible study?"
     I responded by saying that of course we would love to see her do that. 
     She responded hesitantly, "Would I still be able to even though I have a disability?  I've been told I wouldn't be good at that since I have trouble learning and remembering."
     My heart instantly broke for her.  The shame she had in her voice as she explained her disability led me to so many emotions.
     I wish she could see herself as God sees her.  I wish she knew God's heart for the disabled.  I wish she knew how much God loves her, despite all the lies she believes about herself.  I wish she knew how He wrote the Gospel for her!  So many "wishes," but mainly my heart wanted her to know that she is not disqualified from knowing Christ and what he did for her.
     It led to a good conversation, and I prayed she would leave encouraged.
     Now flash forward to last week when this guest was moving into the Lydia House.  She stopped by my office, explaining that she was getting her stuffed moved in and quickly letting me know she still wanted to join a Bible study.  The gleam of hope that lit up her eyes was something I did not see the last time.  I was able to give her a Bible we had on hand.
     Today she talked with me again.  She said she got a list of different Bible studies she could join from her case manager.  I am thankful to work alongside godly people, thankful that I know her case manager will be guiding her patiently as she processes everything.
     I pray that this woman will see God intervening in her life, and that she will experience His love for her.  Will you join me in this prayer?

Lindsay Wyant
Leasing Specialist

10 March 2016

God's Vision for Community

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  –Romans 12:9-16a
     At Open Door Mission, we are BLESSED to all be followers of Jesus!  To me, this verse encapsulates all that we are able to do as staff at the Mission.
     We are able to share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  We are able to encourage and honor one another.  We are able to work with zeal towards being the best follower of Jesus and the best worker we can be.  We are able to devote our lives to prayer, assuring that God reigns in this place.  We are able to love sincerely.  We are able to practice joy in hope and patience in affliction.
     Know that these verses are my heart for all connected with Open Door Mission--staff, volunteers, donors, guests, and friends.  God has brought us all together as one community, and this is His vision for what community is to look like.  Please join me in praying this over Open Door Mission.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

09 March 2016

You're Hired!

     One of Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program students, Linda, was hired at a fast food restaurant last week!
     She is excited, but nervous about starting her position soon.  Please lift her up in prayer, asking that she will lean into the Lord when she feels anxiety or doubt creeping in.
     What a pleasure it is for us as staff to congratulate her and give her encouraging words!  This will be a great new chapter for her.  Progress like this in our guests’ lives is just the encouragement I need to continue investing and believing in our programs.
     I am positive that in the next few days, we will have more news of our guests being hired.  Praise God for His blessings and how He is working in these men and women's lives.  All the credit goes to Him!

Gerry Ford
Worknet Director

08 March 2016

Hope is Being Inspired

These are just a few of the many women whose lives
are being changed by safety, love, and encouragement
at Open Door Mission's Lydia House.
     I am not usually the one to share my experiences, but what happened last week is so encouraging that I have to share.
     I was meeting with a single woman applying for the Lydia House, and she shared a bit of her story with me as we filled out her application for a room (she was currently staying in our emergency shelter).  She expressed her deep love for Open Door Mission and everything we do for the community.
     This woman talked on and on about how she loves feeling SAFE, LOVED, and ENCOURAGED at the Mission!  Since coming to Open Door Mission, she has made so many awesome friends and has a deep trust in the Lydia House staff.  This is helping her feel like she can get back on her feet again—HOPE is being inspired.
     Let me shout out to the Lydia House staff for creating such a GREAT environment!  Thank you for caring for our guests unconditionally, as Christ would.

Adely Cooklin
Leasing Specialist

07 March 2016

GED Graduate

     Rejoice with us!  Your support not only provides basic needs like nutritious meals and safe shelter, but also inspires HOPE for lasting change!  All of Heather's hard work in the Learning Center paid off yesterday - YOU are looking at Open Door Mission's most recent GED graduate.  Opportunities lead to empowerment at Open Door Mission.
     Thank you, Heather, for allowing our team and volunteers to be encouraged by you!  She has worked very hard for this achievement, overcoming many challenges along the way, and it’ll be exciting to see what God has in store for her next.

Anna Razamozova
Learning Center Director

04 March 2016

Taking Turns to Volunteer

Open Door Mission is so grateful for our faithful kitchen
volunteers, who help us serve over 2,000 hot, nutritious
meals daily!
     After work last week, I decided to go over to the kitchen and spend time with some of our guests and volunteers.
     I met a girl from Utah named Halee who was volunteering.  As we were talking, she made this statement; "Coming to volunteer at Open Door Mission has really impacted my life, each time I look forward to coming to serve.  It has made me more thankful and has touched my heart." 
     Another volunteer told me, "It’s good to serve because it’s good to help others.  But it also warms our hearts." 
     The leader of this group said, "Our girls love serving at Open Door Mission so much that I always have to draw names for who can come." 
     WOW.  Now that’s pretty awesome!  These young ladies LOVE volunteering and serving at Open Door Mission so much that they have to take turns! That makes me super proud of the organization I am privileged to be a part of.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

03 March 2016

Starting a Fire

     This past weekend, one of my lovely coworkers invited me to a 320 Passion Conference for teens and young adults at Glad Tidings Church.  I brought two teens from my conservative Baptist church, and they left that night on fire for Jesus.  You could feel the presence of God in the church and in the people.
     I ran into Jenny who is one of our most faithful kitchen volunteers, and she had brought some men from Open Door Mission to the conference.  Jenny shared with me that a couple of these men went up and got saved!  Praise the Lord!  Jenny was crying with joy, and it was very touching to see.
     God is good, and I just had to share.

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

02 March 2016

God is Proud of Me

     One of our WorkNet Program graduates, Jason, recently accepted a job as Activity Manager at a senior center.  Jason feels God is calling him to work with people, making this a great opportunity for him!
     I spoke to him a little at lunch.  He had called me over to his table to tell me the good news, and he was so proud of himself.  This wasn’t toxic pride, but the glow of knowing God is proud of him.  Jason was proud because he was following his heart where he felt the Lord was leading him instead of chasing money or notoriety.
     It was very humbling to see his joy and hear his infectious speech.  It appears to me, that he continues to be changed daily.  I hope and pray that Jason continues on the awesome path that God is laying out before him.

Jennifer VanLaningham
Administrative Assistant

01 March 2016

The Story of Patrick...Part 2

     Patrick returned again, and this time he was belligerent.  He was muttering under his breath, and making all of us at the store nervous.  Also shopping in the Center was a woman and her children, so we did not feel comfortable with Patrick being around them.  My director took action, and with the help of a volunteer, compelled him to leave. He resisted, but eventually left.
     That was one of our moments since opening the Family Outreach Center.
     A couple of weeks ago, Patrick came in again.  He was looking for some dress clothes.  I was the only staff working at the time, which put me on guard, watching as he walked around the Center.  But then Patrick asked me for advice about what might match, and my heart softened.  He had picked a pair of pants, and I was able to help him find a nice shirt to go along with it.
     I asked Patrick what the suit was for, and he admitted that he had a court appearance the next day for possession of drugs.  He didn't know how he was even going to get to the courthouse.  As we talked further, Patrick apologized for his behavior the last time he had visited.  His humility opened the door for me to pray for him, for the whole situation. 
     Praise God for the way He changes hearts and minds.  Although this story doesn’t have a happy ending, I know there’s still more to come in Patrick’s story.  God is working on His heart.  Please don't forget to pray for Patrick, wherever he might be. 

John Michael Den Hartog
Homeless Prevention Manager

29 February 2016

The Story of Patrick...Part 1

     Let me tell you the story of a man.  His name is Patrick. 
     We met him in the first few weeks of opening Open Door Mission’s South Omaha Family Outreach Center.  At this point, we were still figuring out the best ways to run the center.  One day he came in and said he wanted a coat.  I was at the front and asked to see his ID.  He muttered his assent, but simply looked at the coats.  He asked another question: whether or not he had to pay for anything.  I responded that he didn't, but that he did need to fill out the paperwork and present his ID.  Again, I was ignored.  He started putting on a couple of the coats, one over the other, in layers.  Once more, I asked him for his ID and to fill out the papers.  And once more, he agreed but did nothing.  As he continued trying on coats, I went to take care of something on the other side of the Center, turned around, and saw him walking out the door.
     The next time he came in, I wasn't quite so lenient.  I told him that he needed to present his ID to get anything, and this time he agreed.  He pulled out his wallet, muttering an excuse for last time.  I learned his name was Patrick from his ID.  Though he gave us an address, it became quickly apparent that he was homeless.

John Michael Den Hartog
Homeless Prevention Manager

26 February 2016

Being Diligent

     It is such a pleasure serving the Lord at Open Door Mission, alongside all of my fellow staff members.  I have enjoyed every minute so far of pouring into the men and women in our WorkNet Program.  It is a true privilege to see God work miracle after miracle in the hearts and lives of so many people that have walked through our doors.   
     So I will continue praying fervently for the staff, donors, volunteers, and friends, as well as the unique people they serve and the issues they endure.  Most of the world has no idea...
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  –Ephesians 4:1-3

Tanya Franck
WorkNet Director

25 February 2016

Riverside Reflections

     I love, love, LOVE my job!  It is a privilege speaking to students, hopefully inspiring them to be more compassionate and caring.  These are reflections from Riverside High School students really touched my heart:

"The story that Maggie told us really hit home for me. Although I haven’t met the girl in the story, I felt like I did. Her life wasn’t the best, and she didn’t make great choices, but sometimes those choices were what she had to do, even though they weren’t the best choices."

"Our speaker from Open Door Mission, Maggie, really changed my perspective on homelessness.   Her stories shed light on stereotypes about homelessness; how people judge each other before they even get to know that person's story.  People have grown up or lived a different lifestyle from you and may not have had the same resources that you had.  Someone growing up in a middle to upper class family is not going to understand a family that is living in poverty, because they don’t have to live the same way. "

"Maggie from Open Door Mission brought up a lot of good points and changed a lot of our points of view about the homeless.  She helped us to realize that everyone has a story, and we can’t judge everyone based on their outward appearance.  The person she talked about looked like a slob, the state had taken away four out of her five children, and fed her infant soda.  While in reality she did not know any better.  She grew up that way; her mother taught her to do these things.  You can’t judge people by their outward appearances, and Maggie made that point clear when she spoke to the class."

"When Maggie from Open Door Mission came to speak to us, I didn't know what to expect.  When she started speaking, it was clear that she knows her stuff about homeless and poverty.  When she told us the story about that mom, you could tell how much Maggie loves what she does and she loves to help others.  I learned a lot about poverty from Maggie. It’s cool that she works for a great organization that helps many people every day."

Maggie Cope
Community Relations Coordinator