01 September 2015

Ladle of Love

     Thank you to the women at the Lydia House from the New Life Recovery Program for painting pictures that will decorate the walls for our upcoming Ladle of Love Festival.  We’ve been working on many different types of artwork for a few weeks now, and it is such a blessing to watch these women express their creativity.  These pieces truly are beautiful.
     Save the date for Sunday, October 18th, when you can come to see their beautiful artwork showcased all throughout the Garland Thompson Men's Center (2705 North 20th Street East, Omaha, NE).  And while you’re there, taste delicious soups and breads prepared by area Chefs, vote for your favorite “soup of the day,” and enjoy live Cajun-style music by the Prairie Gators.  Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
     Reserve your spot at the Ladle of Love Festival today! 

Celeste Norman
Events Coordinator

31 August 2015

This Moment is Yours

Sometimes the simplest of words, such as these from a
volunteer at All Nations Omaha Church college group
are exactly what people need to hear.
     When someone talks to you about something difficult in their life or something they are struggling with, usually we want to be able to give them an answer.  Sometimes I really want to be able to tell someone how to fix their situation, or say things to make them feel better.  However, I cannot do that; I don’t know any person that can.
     The thing is, people don’t always want to hear the answer.  It’s their journey to walk along, and maybe what they need at this moment is to pause and have someone listen.  Take the time to just listen to someone, get to know them as an individual.  The wonderful support that comes when someone deeply listens to you without judgment or correction can be very therapeutic.
     I’ve seen Christ open hearts as I simply listen in this way to guests at the Lydia House.  The other day I was helping a guest get some clothes, as she only had what she was wearing.  She told me she had just gotten out of jail, had nothing, and was trying to turn her life around.  I listened to her story as she told me about trying to get her daughter back.  She told me, “You can only fall if you allow yourself to fall, and I’m not allowing myself to fall anymore.”
     We continued to talk, and she apologized for bothering me with all of this.  I told her that I live in the moment, right now this moment was hers, it was not a bother at all, and that I was blessed to hear her story.
     I still do not know where those words came from, and I truly believe that after pausing to listen to this woman, God was able to help me say exactly what she needed to hear.  Holding back tears she said, “That’s nice to hear, because no one has said that to me in a long time.”

Tyler Johnson
Family Support Worker

28 August 2015

Beloved Bible Teacher

     They call her Miss Paulyne.
     At 91 years old, Paulyne Campbell is a combination of grace and iron will — and without apologies. 
Anyone attending her Bible class at Open Door Mission’s Lydia House will join hands in the prayer circle (including all visitors) because it is, after all, time to give thanks.
     And that is part of Campbell’s message: Have a grateful heart and a head filled with the Bible.  With that as your guide, you can persevere in life and in the grace of God.
     This month, she celebrates 18 years of volunteering as a Bible teacher at Open Door Mission.  In a moment of reminiscing, Miss Paulyne says her favorite story from all these years is when one of her students called her the meanest teacher she had ever had.
     She tells the story with a gentle chuckle. It was graduation day at the Mission, all graduates dressed in their caps and gowns. One woman rose and asked for “Miss Paulyne” to stand.
     “She said I was the meanest teacher she had ever had, but that she learned more from me than she had ever learned from anyone else,” Campbell recalls. “It was funny, but it was true.”
     “We don’t need to guess who we are, and whose we are,” Campbell said, citing this as her reason for being demanding.  As it turns out, her firm encouragement was worthwhile; the woman from this story later went on to open her own shelter for homeless women.
     Many other students from her class speak of Miss Paulyne with respect and affection.
     “She’s amazing, I’ve learned a lot from her,” said Makayla, who has been at the Lydia House for five months.  Secord said Campbell communicates by delivering a message of self-respect.
     “This is the way I want to live my life from now on,” Secord said.  “I hope to get a job where I can help kids who have been through what my kids have been through.”
     Campbell’s life is full of service work.  She cares for her sister, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to volunteering at Open Door Mission, Miss Paulyne is active at Pilgrim Baptist Church, editing quarterly study books for the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention.
     “Her life story shows how a strong faith allows you to keep rising,” said Reverend Cedric L. Perkins of Pilgrim Baptist.  Miss Paulyne, he said, is as quick with a kind word as she is with her expectations.
     “She has a caring heart and spirit ... she gives words of encouragement through notes and emails,” Perkins said.
     When Miss Paulyne first came to the Mission in July 1998, she knew was supposed to be a Bible teacher.
     “People need to know the word of God, that’s part of my purpose for being here. (At Open Door Mission) I can reach more people than anywhere else,” Campbell said.  “…Each time I go, it’s a rewarding experience because I love people, I love to help.  This is the best way that I can do that.”
     Open Door Mission is a Gospel Rescue Mission, meaning anyone can seek shelter there, but also available are recovery and life-skills programs offered for lasting change.  Members of these programs take a variety of classes, including faith-based classes, such as Campbell’s Bible study.  In line with the Mission’s vision, Campbell’s students memorize the books and verses of the Bible as well as its stories.
     Steve Frazee, Senior Program Director at Open Door Mission, said there’s a vision behind this old-school approach.  “(Miss Paulyne’s) big focus is on having people know how to navigate through the Bible,” Frazee said.  “It’s a road map, and it will help them figure out other things.”
     Clearly, Miss Paulyne is running straight into every opportunity to serve, and her fuel is her faith.
     “Each person has to do what he or she or can do to help someone walk the path of righteousness,” she said. “We can only do that by trying to be an example.”

This story has been adapted from Omaha World-Herald Staff Writer Nancy Gaarder’s story.  To view the full story, click here.

27 August 2015

Doing the Dishes

     Recently during a service at Reality Church, I was convicted by Pastor Lance Burch's message.  It also reminded me of our volunteers and donors at Open Door Mission.  In his message, Pastor Burch referred to Matthew 20:28:
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
     This verse encourages me to be more selfless and to live a life centered on serving Christ.  He continued to talk about how small efforts lead a pattern for our lives and can be a real game changer in our community.  It is all about making yourself available, seeking God for direction, and being an instrument.  He continued with this thought, quoting P.J. O'Rourke who said: 
"Everybody wants to save the world, but nobody wants to help mom with the dishes."
     I love seeing transformed lives happen at Open Door Mission.  I believe that wouldn't be possible without all the people "helping us with the dishes" (both figuratively and literally).  When a person donates to or comes to volunteer at Open Door Mission, he or she is serving Christ and making a lifelong impact, because there are no small roles in this ministry.
     I'm appreciative of this message.  Instead of focusing on changing the world, I want to "wash the dishes" and be available when God calls me. 
     Thanks to all the volunteers and donors who are making an impact at Open Door Mission.  If you are looking to get involved I would really encourage it.  There are so many ways you can help.  Find your niche and make an impact!

Lindsay Wyant
Leasing Specialist

26 August 2015

Going Back to School

     I can’t believe school is already back in session!  Time flies when you’re having fun; especially during summer.  However, I do fondly remember those days of shopping for school supplies and preparing for all the upcoming activities like school dances, sporting events, recitals, and etc.  There was so much excitement surrounding going back to school.
     When I was a child, I never once thought about all of the time and resources that went into getting my siblings and me prepared to start the new school year.  The lists of needed items seemed to never end: backpack, notebooks for each class, pencils, pens, art supplies, and clothes.  While shopping for these items, the bill can multiply quickly, especially for families with more than one child preparing for school.
     At Open Door Mission, we serve impoverished and homeless men, women and children, for whom preparing for school is impossible.  But Open Door Mission also knows that a vital key to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty is education.  So we make sure each child is fully equipped with whatever they may need for school.  This is accomplished through the generosity of donors in our community!
     It’s not too late to contribute to our Back to School supply needs!  Click here to view our Amazon Wish List.

Alexandria Ewing
Director of Community Relations

25 August 2015

The Mission Goes Green

     My name is Joshua, and I am the Gift In Kind Director at Open Door Mission.  Basically, I oversee any donated items that are dropped off or picked up, ensuring that they are used for greatest possible good!
     Our area deals with a lot of donations, both big and small, so we get a lot of left over cardboard, plastic, paper, and etc.  This provided us with the opportunity to look into more advanced recycling.  Since beginning new recycling procedures, Open Door Mission has saved thousands of dollars in waste costs, even making money by selling our items to recycling companies.
     This has been really exciting to see, but please remember: this is just a drop in the bucket financially when you look at the total cost it takes for us to continue providing the free services that we currently are blessed to offer.  But every part helps!  Open Door Mission’s recycling program is still in its infancy, and we are continually trying to figure out how to recycle better, faster, smarter, more efficiently. 
     We feel that is our responsibility to be the best stewards of everything is entrusted to us by our donors.  From new socks and underwear to used pots and pans, each box of donations is used with good stewardship in mind.  We ask the Father to continue to bless us and those we serve as we try to be as responsible as we can with all the wonderful items entrusted to us!
To view our urgent needs list, click here!

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

24 August 2015

How do you Serve?

     Do you ever think about how you look at and act toward people who are different from you?  Is it possible that when treating someone like they do not belong to our type of people, that we are judging them?  I know this to be true first-hand because I am guilty of doing this.  I used to go out of my way to avoid those Jesus calls my neighbors, making not so nice comments about those in poverty and volunteering to help those in addiction just to make myself feel better.
     Then God allowed me lose everything of value to me: family, friends, home, belongings, and financial security.  Then I lost my job.  I had volunteered before at Open Door Mission, so I applied for a job there, thinking I could stay for at least a year. But thankfully, God had a greater plan.  That one year has turned into all most fifteen years of great blessings and joy serving my Lord and the hungry and homeless.
     I love my job not because I can do good things, but because God has shown me a great truth: we are all created in His image.  There is no social ladder in God’s eyes.  God calls us to love unconditionally, meaning totally and with no reservations, judgment, or fear.  During this journey, I have been inspired by many words of Mother Teresa, as my love for God and the people I serve has grown deeper.  I long to serve with a non-judgmental, servant’s heart, because that is how God loves us.
     Here are some of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes:
“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”
“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”
“I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.
     I hope you will come to volunteer at Open Door Mission.  Come to serve God in a loving way.  Come to experience the joy seeing others being blessed.  Come to have your life and heart changed!


Sign up to volunteer today!

Maggie Cope
Community Relations Coordinator

21 August 2015

God's Kingdom is Made up Of...

     How many rolls of toilet paper does it take to serve over 1,000 people at Open Door Mission in one day?  In one week?  In one month?  More than we have on our shelves!  Last week we began the call for our friends to help us stock our shelves with toilet paper, and the response blessed our hearts!
     Kudos to all who helped meet this urgent need for toilet paper, especially to these little helpers, Henry and Jax.  We are so grateful that they responded to the call at such a young age!  Matthew 19:13-15 certainly comes to mind:
One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that He would lay hands on them and pray over them.  The disciples shooed them off.  But Jesus intervened:  “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me.  God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.”
     Bless them!  It's not too late to help.  We go through hundreds of rolls each week.  Thank you in advance!
Click here to see more urgent needs.

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

20 August 2015

Words From a Graduate

     I received this letter from a graduate of Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program, and was so encouraged by his words.  Let me share his story, one of a life transformed.

     Hello Candace,
     My name is Jonah, and I just recently graduated from Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program.  I walked into the Mission last December, and will be forever grateful to all staff here.  The past eight months have been amazing.
     I have met you face to face once , at the 60 Years of Blessings Auction and Dinner.  I walked up to the table in front and you showed me to an open seat at a table with a family of five.  That night, I am proud to say that I shared my story with them.  I told them about being lost in the darkness of this world, and that Open Door Mission took me in off the streets and helped me rebuild my life through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.  For we live by believing and not by seeing.  -2 Corinthians 5:6-7
     That’s from my New Life Recovery Bible, given to me by Pastor Dave.  I see the light and I will always follow it on the narrow path to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
     I enjoyed listening to your commercial on 100.7 every morning at 7:50 am., right before devotions start.  Keep up the good work; men, women, and children need the Mission and God loves you and all your staff abundantly.  God bless your family and take good care.
     I start full time work Monday, and will be renting a room in the Rebuilding Lives Center.

     Praise God to hear these encouraging words and a story of lasting change!  What a blessing to be used by the Lord in this ministry.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

19 August 2015

God.Men.Mountains.Legacies.

     God. Men. Mountains. Legacies.
     Another staff member and I took ten men from the Rebuilding Lives Center to the wilds of Colorado.  We went to commune with God, rest in nature, enjoy fellowship, and maybe even wrestle a grizzly bear!  It was absolutely inspiring and uplifting.
     Our goal was the Peak Challenge, an annual opportunity when men across the country seek to experience God in a way that would resonate deep within their souls.  We were challenged physically by hiking 14,000 foot beaks, biking, and rafting.  We engaged in a spiritual battle, more aware than ever before that eternity is at stake.
     All 12 of us, the 12 tribes, were able to add a stone to the cairn.  This was in remembrance of God’s faithfulness.
So Joshua…said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan.  Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.  In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord…These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”  --Joshua 4:4-7
     God was at the forefront for all the men there!  Not all of us made it to the top of the mountain, but that is another story.  Thanks for letting me be a part of this epic adventure, and play a part in these men’s lives.

Click here to learn more about the Peak Challenge.

Gary Struebing

Elkhorn Donation Center

18 August 2015

A Heart to Serve

The Timberlake Outreach Center is one of many programs at Open
Door Mission that would not run without the help of faithful
volunteers.We have Walk Ins Welcome opportunities on:
Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.- 8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.,
Saturday 1-5 p.m., and Sunday 1-3 p.m.  Drop by today!
     As a Volunteer Coordinator at Open Door Mission, I get to work with a variety of amazing people from different backgrounds and lifestyles.  One of the volunteers that I have the privilege of working with every week is Mike.  Mike started volunteering around the beginning of the year, and has been consistent ever since.  He not only wants to help with tasks we have prepared for him, but also wants to learn about our processes at the Mission and get good at them.  From organizing bread donations in the Timberlake Outreach Center, to sorting through trash to find recyclable metal, Mike will do it all. 
     His heart to serve and help has grown in the last couple months.  He has started letting his coworkers and neighbors know that he volunteers every Monday, and that he will gladly take with him anything they wish to donate!  He doesn’t just want to get the job done, but wants it to be excellent.  Some Mondays he is so eager to serve, that he wants to stay later than our closing time, or he shows up 30 minutes to an hour early.  Mike is a volunteer that is making a difference for the people of our community, and most of them have never seen him.

Sign up to volunteer today!

Elijah Akkerman
Volunteer Coordinator

17 August 2015

Businesses Bless the Mission

     As the Business Relations Coordinator, I have the pleasure of coordinating fun drives, speaking engagements, tours, volunteer events, fundraisers, and many other different ways a business could partner with Open Door Mission!  I'm so blessed to be able to work with all the amazing business partners to make a difference in our community.
     This picture is just a snapshot of the many wonderful business and individuals I get to work with on a daily basis.
     If your business or organization would like to make a difference too, please contact me at mhannor@opendoormission.org.

Mimi Hannor
Business Relations Coordinator

14 August 2015

An Interview With Sue King

I sat down with Ms. Sue King in her Administration Building office.  She works on the fourth floor, also known as the “Penthouse,” and her office window shows a bright, sunny day outside.  Her corkboard is covered with pictures of her family along with important work-related details.  Each question was answered with good humor and deliberate thought.

BK:  How long have you worked at Open Door Mission?
SK:  I started in February, 2010, so around five and a half years.

BK:  What different positions have you held?
SK:  I began as a receptionist, and did that for about a year.  Then I moved upstairs to the Development Department and have been there ever since.

BK:  How would you describe what you do?
SK:  My job encompasses the mechanics of entry and processing of donations to Open Door Mission.

BK:  What is your favorite thing that Open Door Mission does?
SK:  I really love that we are a Gospel Rescue Mission, where the people we serve are introduced to the Word.  We have Bible studies available and groups who come in to enhance our guests’ spiritual lives.  And I just love that churches partner with us to give our people rides to church.  How cool is that?

BK:  Can you describe any moment at Open Door Mission that has inspired or impacted you?
SK:  When I first started as a receptionist, I was so impressed by this woman at the Lydia House.  She came and told me one day about receiving a Bible from her estranged daughter, and she was so excited.  I was struck by her excitement both for the contact with her daughter, and to be able to join a Bible study with her new Bible.  It was something I had never considered, because I have never been estranged from my kids, and I have always had a Bible.  But for this woman, she was equally thrilled about both her daughter and her Bible.  I thought it was neat to see someone so moved by the gift of a Bible.

BK:  What has changed at Open Door Mission since you began working here?
SK:  Of course there are the new buildings: Lydia House, Garland Thompson Men’s Center, and Permanent Supportive Housing.  All are amazing buildings.  But also the numbers of volunteers we see and Gift in Kind donations we receive are out of sight.  The new thing that I’m really excited about is the opportunity for people to live in the Rebuilding Lives Center and Permanent Supportive Housing apartments.  It’s just so awesome to offer people the chance to be independent and pay their own rent.  This way they get to be proud of where they came from, where they are now, and even have goals for where they’re going.

BK:  Where do you see Open Door Mission going in the future?
SK:  I think we will keep growing so that we can offer more programs to prepare people for re-entry into society.  That’s one of Open Door Mission’s goals with our guests, is to help them learn how to live outside of the Mission, clean and sober and with confidence.  However we grow, the next steps will be focused around providing better opportunities, and around sharing the Gospel more effectively.

Interviewee:  Sue King
Development Associate

13 August 2015

Stranded in the Stall

     Uh oh...Open Door Mission needs YOUR help to restock our shelves with toilet paper.  With 816 safe shelter beds provided on campus for men, women, and children, toilet paper is a hot commodity.  And this week, the Mission opened its last package of toilet paper.
     Needless to say, this is NOT an item we want to run out of.  Please consider dropping off your donations to the main campus at 2107 East Locust Street or to our Elkhorn Donation/Outreach Center located at 1620 North 203rd Street Elkhorn, NE.
     Because no one likes to be stranded in the stall, waiting to air dry.  Help your neediest neighbors out!

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

12 August 2015

The Possibilities of a Blank Page

     I love working in Development at Open Door Mission.  One of my favorite things about my job is taking a blank screen or piece of paper and adding color, text, and images to make a creative or informative document.  There is nothing more satisfying than communicating the Mission’s needs in an effective and inspirational way.
     Unfortunately, I don’t feel the same way about writing.  That is not one of my strong points, but I know that God created other people who love to write.  Painting a convicting and engaging story comes naturally for many other people.  So I have learned to work like the Body of Christ, and request that they use their gifts to help strengthen mine.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  –Romans 12:4-6a
     Open Door Mission is always looking for volunteers with a passion for writing and would use their talent to help us write stories of hope, letters, and other written materials.  If you are interested in becoming a volunteer writer contact Open Door Mission’s Volunteer Department at volunteer@opendoormission.org.

JoAnn Dodd
Annual Campaign Manager

11 August 2015

Inside the 2911 Program

     One of the most encouraging parts of managing the 2911 Program is the fact that I get to build a rapport with all my clients.  I can tell by their facial expressions when they walk into my office if they are having a good or bad day.  I especially like when they come into my off and say, “Dee you were right.”  After all, who doesn’t like to be right?  Just a little humor there. ;)
     My clients are getting to know me as well, and some can tell when I’m tired or having a really busy day, and they actually offer prayer or words of encouragement.  I thoroughly enjoy working with clients on their goals, helping them to de-escalate after a conflict or a trying day.  Each person is unique and incredible, and I love living life alongside them.
     Most of all, I love to see clients go after their goals.  I have one particular client who is a full-time student, mother, wife, and part-time accountant.  She is currently pursing becoming a police officer.  She was recently featured in a news segment called: “The Road to Blue.”  The segment featured women from all walks of life from Omaha who were getting ready for the fall’s application process and physical agility test.  I felt so much pride watching her doing self-defense moves and holding her own with an ex-cop.  She doesn’t let anything hold her back.
     Just today I sat in my office with a client and we spoke about how life can be an uphill battle dealing with addiction, poverty, abuse, etc. while trying to get to that next level.  We discovered the very thing that holds us back the most is FEAR.  In that moment, my client looked at a scripture I have posted on my wall that I have recited myself over and over in trying times:
My God did not give me the spirit of fear! God gave me the spirit of power! God gave me the spirit of love and God gave me the spirit of a sound mind!  --2 Timothy 1:7
     We looked at each other with tears in our eyes and though no words were said, the look of triumph was more than enough.

Diedra Williams
2911 Case Manager

10 August 2015

Enormous Generosity

Open Door Mission is blessed by our many volunteers
who donate their time to serve the hungry and homeless.
     Working at Open Door Mission is a blessing.  I am constantly amazed at and grateful for the enormous generosity of people giving of their time, money, and donations.  The interaction is such a benefit to our guests and our staff.  I am also in awe of the many, many things that Open Door Mission accomplishes with their resources of staff, volunteers, and contributions.  It truly enhances and changes the lives of many people and families.
     It reminds me of 1 Peter 4:7-10 (MSG):
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time.
     Come take a tour and see for yourself.  You will be blessed.

Click here to sign up for your tour today!

Janet Henderson
Accounting

07 August 2015

Spirit of Giving

These kids are truly excited to go back to school,
now with more confidence than ever!
“You can’t have a perfect day without doing something for someone who’ll never be able to repay you.”  — John Wooden
     Right now at Open Door Mission, it’s BACK TO SCHOOL time!
     I always stand amazed at how God uses His people in Omaha and the surrounding communities to bless the needs of our children here at the Lydia House.  And there has been an extra overflow of blessings now that it’s time for school to start again!
     Moms and dads at the Lydia House do not have the resources to buy school supplies and new clothes for their children each year.  But because of generous and kind people LIKE YOU who participated in Adopt-A-Student and bought everything these kiddos need to go back to school, moms and dads have one less burden to worry about.  What a blessing you are to these families by providing the huge blessing of school supplies and clothes to start another school year!
     These families will never be able to pay you back.  But I do know one thing for sure:
Thank you to all sponsors who adopted students!
And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, YOU were doing it to me.”  --Matthew 25:40
     I get to witness a true Spirit of giving during this time of year to so many children who would have to go without if not for your generosity!
     As staff, we all get to witness the kids’ excitement as recipients of your giving, and it truly blesses our hearts to see the love of God in action through YOU!


Lisa
Overnight Support Worker

06 August 2015

Fresh New Look

     This past Monday, helping hands arrived just in time for back to school preparations.
     Capitol School of Hair Design partnered with Open Door Mission to help more than 50 children and their families feel ready to return to school.  They provided them with free haircuts.
     Those behind the initiative say the goal is to help students go back to school with the confidence they need to succeed.
     Steve Frazee, Senior Program Director for Open Door Mission said, "For some of our folks who are working and getting ready to take that next step towards permanent housing, this is a way to save money.  For other folks it is an opportunity for them actually to get a haircut [after] just letting their hair go because [a haircut] is something of a luxury item for those folks."
     Students arrived by the busload and left with fresh, new looks along with a renewed confidence for tackling the classroom.

This blog post was adapted from WOWT’s story.  To view the full story, click here.

05 August 2015

On Staff at Open Door Mission

Open Door Mission staff love serving together, and truly support one another.
     Although I haven't been on Open Door Mission’s staff for very long, I know without a doubt that God is moving here.  I am so grateful for the opportunity, and even encouragement, to pray with and for the people we serve.  How awesome is that?  I’ve never worked in an environment like this before, and it is such a blessing.
     Another thing I have noticed is that the other staff members truly appreciate each other’s jobs.  There is such an emphasis on being grateful for one another’s God-given gifts, which is so refreshing.
     I daily thank Jesus for the opportunity to serve full time here at Open Door Mission. 

Greg Quillen
Maintenance

04 August 2015

I am Not Who I Was

     It has been a year since God called me to start a new journey in my relationship with Him: to start working for Open Door Mission.  I have the privilege to serve at the Timberlake Outreach Center, where the Love of God is visible in every inch of this building.  I have been a witness God working through the lives of so many people that walk through our doors:
     Our Guests:  They are so thankful and grateful for the opportunity to come and get what need.
     Our Volunteers:  They come with a smile and ready to serve.
     Our Timberlake Outreach Center Team:  Coming together in fellowship in Christ with the only purpose of glorifying the Lord our God.
     Every day I come to serve, I know God has a new experience ready for me.  I just have to be ready to listen and let the Holy Spirit guide me.  Now I know that a smile, hug, or positive word can open hearts for people to receive the Gospel.  What an awesome responsibility!
     I am not who I was, because now I go home every day knowing I am blessed.  I see clearly what God has done for me and what He wants me to do: serve with my heart, give hope, and the greatest of all, share the love I have received from Him.  I found my purpose in life.  What about you?
Serve 
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  –Proverbs 19:21

Evelyn Valdez
Timberlake Outreach Center Reception

03 August 2015

Turning Himself In

     Greetings to all who have an interest in Open Door Mission!  I have had the privilege of being part of this helping ministry for almost 12 years.  During my time here, I have seen the Lord do for our guests some amazing and even miraculous things.  He also blesses us staff in abundant ways!
     For instance between 2008 and 2012, exactly during the recession, the Lord allowed us to build three brand new buildings!  I now work in one of these buildings, the Garland Thompson Men's Center, in discipleship.  Every day we see God touch the men, women, and children He directs into our care. 
     An example of this is the story of one gentleman who had trouble with various addictions.  He struggled to stay committed to our six-month New Life Recovery Program, and consequently left the Mission a couple of times.  He eventually saw the value in making a strong commitment, and was able to graduate.
     Immediately after graduation, he had to return to another state, to face charges for past crimes.  He was told he could be in prison for three-five years.  He said goodbye to his wife and children, and headed out, not knowing what faced him.  At the Mission he had learned, through the help of staff and Bible classes, how to be honest, trust the Lord, and obey the authority of the land.  So despite not knowing his fate, he knew he needed to turn himself in.
     The mercy of the Lord was shown to him, and after only 30 days in prison, he was set free!  He returned home to his family just in time for Christmas, and to a new full-time job.
     This is just one of God’s many stories of victory that staff, volunteers, and supporters, like you, have together witnessed.  Thank you all for what you do, in support and prayer, to enable all of us to help the many in need who come through our doors---like this man and his family.

Click here to view more stories of HOPE!

David Eischeid
Discipleship Counselor

31 July 2015

Fond Farewells

     When you work in full time ministry, your coworkers become like family.  That’s how it is among Open Door Mission staff.  This past week we had to say goodbye to two dear staff members as the Lord called them to a new adventure in His work.
     Greg has always been such a light and a blessing on Open Door Mission’s campus, to guests, staff, and volunteers alike.  Please pray for Greg as he transitions into a pastoral role, ministering to the homeless in Tekamah, NE.  Greg, thank you for sharing the Good News of Christ with the hurting and broken at Open Door Mission's Garland Thompson Men's Center for the past 2+ years!  You let the Lord work through you every day, and many lives are changed because of that.
     Betz has been with Open Door Mission’s Accounting Department for over ten years.  Those were years full of ministry, laughter, and hard work.  You will be missed!  But thankfully this isn't goodbye to Betz, but a, “See ya later!”  Thank you for your dedication!
     “There is no words to say how blessed I was that God lead to Open Door Mission ten years ago,” said Betz in farewell.  “I have been ministered to so much by the wonderful people I had the pleasure to work with.  Open Door Mission is under wonderful leadership with Candace, Richard, and Mike, and all the staff are inspirational.  I had the pleasure of training some wonderful people in the Accounting Department, and a lot of times when they trained me.  God bless you all!”

Beatrice Krause
Marketing Coordinator

30 July 2015

I Answered the Call. Will You?

     Every morning I wake up and feel refreshed.  Daily, I find joy in knowing that my efforts as Donor Relations Coordinator at Open Door Mission are helping to secure funding and items needed to support the men, women, and children we serve.
     The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  And I confidently say that I do!  I love serving in full time ministry at Open Door Mission.
     The first Saturday of every month, Open Door Mission hosts a Stuff-A-Truck event at two Dingman’s Collision Center locations (144th and L, and 84th and Lincoln in Papillion) from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Part of my job is to represent the Mission at the Papillion Stuff-A-Truck each month.  This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone and everyone in the community to give new life to their gently used donations like food, furniture, clothing, books, shoes, toys, and etc.  This event is so special because all of the items being collected will be given away freely in the name of Jesus and put into the hands of families and individuals in need.
     This is just one of the many outreach events that Open Door Mission hosts to serve the Heartland’s neediest neighbors.  I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to do God’s work full time at Open Door Mission.

Click here to learn about more events at Open Door Mission.

Alexandria Ewing
Donor Relations Coordinator

29 July 2015

Back to School

     It is almost time for Back to School for the children at Lydia House, as well as all children in the Omaha-metro area.  How are you and your family getting ready for the school year?  Is it the fun of getting a new backpack, lots of basic supplies, and some fun extra ones?  Are you buying new clothes (because last year’s are too small) and shoes?
     Or are you one of the thousands of families in the Heartland living in poverty or homeless, trying to figure out how to fit the required list of school supplies into your budget?
     The children at Lydia House are blessed to be adopted by many sponsors who ensure they are ready for the first day of school.  When someone adopts a student, he or she buys new clothes, shoes, backpacks, and supplies fitting their student’s favorite color and personality.  Receiving a brand new outfit helps a child feel special, and gives him or her a boost of confidence.  Donations of new backpacks and school supplies mean our children will start off just like all the other students, not standing out in a negative way.
     Education is a primary way out of homelessness and poverty, and it is important at Open Door Mission.  All the school-aged children remain in their schools, do homework, and can visit with Open Door Mission tutors to help them stay on track and even soar to new heights.  We are proud to say that a majority of our students are on their school honor rolls.
     Would you consider helping Open Door Mission continue to ensure all our students succeed by picking up a few extra school supplies to donate?  Maybe even some of the fun extra ones?  Make a difference in a child’s life now, to give them a future of HOPE.

For more information on our urgent Back to School supply needs, click here

Maggie Cope
Community Relations Coordinator

28 July 2015

Like a Box of Chocolates...

     Working at Open Door Mission's Garland Thompson Men's Center is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.
     During most of my shifts, there will be an unexpected knock on my office door.  When I open it, I will see a new gentleman, greet him, listen to his story, and answer his questions.  Then he will turn to look at my picture of Jesus holding up a broken man.  Sometimes the man asks, “Will he do that for me?”  Others say, “That is profound.”  Or I even hear, “That is pretty scary.”  Each man has many different questions.
     But now the door is open, so I ask, “Where are you with your faith right now?”  Many will say, “I do not know,” or “I do not trust anyone.”  I then share with them that Jesus can fix that lack of trust.  When asked if they would like to be able to trust again, some say, “I don’t know.  It has been this was for a very long time.”
     I let each man know that God loves him and wants him to feel peace in his mind and heart.  Some will ask me how to receive this peace.  I explain that the first step is to admit to yourself that you are a sinner.  Once there is that realization of sin and separation from God, I will direct him to further his acceptance of Jesus, correct his errors in his thinking, and change his way of life.  These next steps may involve introducing him to the New Life Recovery Program, or asking him to join us for chapel that night.
     There are other times when the man will refuse everything about the Lord.   In cases such as these, I help provide for any physical needs that he may have, such as food, clothing, shelter, and/or health issues.  I am probably one of the most fortunate staff members at Open Door Mission because I get to see these men grow and recover during their stay.  And I always have opportunities to revisit the topic about Jesus, praying the previously closed off men will be more reception once their basic needs have been met.

Diane Ward
Resource Case Manager

27 July 2015

Men on the Mountaintop

     The world needs men whose lives prove they are men, not by the world’s standards but by God's.  Biblical manhood is a matter of the heart, it is manifested and matured by commitment and obedience to the Word of God.  Real men are men of integrity, internal strength in Christ, and courage.  They are willing to do what is right and to stand for truth at all times and in all circumstances.
     This is what our upcoming trip to Colorado with the program men is all about.  It's about men from Open Door Mission becoming the men that God wants them to be.  It's about these guests being around staff who live their Christian lives daily, so they can learn from them how to do the same.
     My prayers are that the mountain top is only part of why we’re going to Colorado, and that the real reason for this trip is for these men to become the men that God has called us all to be.
     Please pray for God to do big things in the lives of these men, and that they would return forever changed.

Russell Janssen
GTMC Case Manager

24 July 2015

Salvation is Here

     After teaching a class today for our Program men, I had the privilege to talk to a man named Brian who did not know Christ as his Savior.  He knew he did not have eternal life.  After presenting the Gospel (the good news of salvation through the shed blood of Christ), Brian prayed and received new life!  He proclaimed his new faith and assurance.  Hallelujah!
     Please pray for Brian as he plans to leave the state soon for a job.  I gave him my phone number, encouraging him to call me every week for support and accountability.  Pray he does this.  Also pray that Brian finds a Bible-believing Church to attend, develop good accountability relationships with godly men, be mentored in the faith, and grow in the Lord.  Pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit in his life.

Greg Johnston
Men’s Intake Worker

23 July 2015

Pay it Forward

     This is my friend Clyde.  He always has an encouraging word and smile.  It is a blessing to say that Clyde is no longer homeless, but he still takes time to stop by the Garland Thompson Men's Center, volunteer in the kitchen, and say, “Hi.”  His is a story of hope that inspired lasting change.
     All who know Clyde say he is one of God’s miracles, is a blessing, and the most positive part of their day.  We have nothing but love for him, and are so grateful to see him paying it forward.
     Thanks for your support.  Click here to watch more Stories of Hope.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

22 July 2015

My Grandpa, Speaking Truth

…We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.
…So the next generation would know (truth) … and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.  –Psalm 78:4-7
     When I was in high school, my family moved to Omaha, meaning I finally had the chance to get to know my grandpa.  It was a struggle because he was very quiet, and I really only saw him at family dinners with the rest of the crowd.  One thing I did know was that he volunteered at Open Door Mission, almost daily.
Thank you to Kaylee Hallgren and her grandparents,
Rich and Sue Hallgren, for serving a meal together.
     One day he called to ask me if I would help him at the Mission.  I jumped at the chance to spend time with him one-on-one, and agreed.  Soon we had a routine and I volunteered with him often.  Back then, the Mission was downtown and staff and volunteers truly “served” in difficult conditions.
     As I look back on this time, I realize my grandpa never lectured me, never told me what to do, and never told me how to be a Christian.  But he taught me truth.  I learned faith and faithfulness from the adults I volunteered with.  I learned about how God answers prayer.  I learned to love and care.  I learned the joy that comes from giving.
     Now I work full-time for Open Door Mission, and I love seeing kids who come to volunteer with their families, church groups, etc.  I’m excited knowing that these kiddos will one day become the donors, volunteers, and employees that will allow Open Door Mission (now 60 years old) to continue to serve those in need.
     Do you have a child you want to influence?  Sign up to volunteer today, and speak truth.

Rachel Gillespie
Major Gift Officer

21 July 2015

Watching Them Succeed

    I have been a Case Manager at the Lydia House since January 2015.  During these past seven months, I have found that one of the best parts of my job is seeing the growth in each guest, and watching them succeed.  One of my guests recently found her own apartment.  She shared with me that during her whole 37 years of life, she has never had her own place, making this a first for her.  I was shocked when she shared that, but statements like hers help me to remain humble and always serve my guests as best as I can.  I carry the understanding that every guest here at the Lydia House has a unique background.
     One of my favorite verses that I feel can relate to almost any guest here at the Lydia House is Romans 12:12:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
     This inspires hope that tomorrow is a new day.  Although they will always ride the waves in the sea of life, if they remain constant in prayer they can trust that everything happens in God’s timing.  Which it truly does! 

Danielle Howard
Case Manager

20 July 2015

Brand New Car

     Lindsay Wetzel walked through the Open Door Mission parking lot Tuesday with her daughter, Frankie, by her side.  As the two rounded a corner their faces lit up with smiles at the surprise waiting for them.
     A red Hyundai SUV was parked in the middle of the lot.  Wetzel saw the black and silver bow on the hood and knew the vehicle was a gift for her.
     “You'll never know what it means and how thankful I am that there are such wonderful people that will do something for someone they don't even know,” Wetzel said holding back tears.
     The vehicle is a symbol of a smooth future after a bumpy past for Wetzel.  She spent the past 14 months working the 12 steps of recovery as a member of the New Life Recovery Program at the Open Door Mission.
     “I came here, pretty much a broken, lost mess,” Wetzel said.  “And, Jesus and everyone here at the mission have been wonderful in helping me find myself in Christ, and just giving me life and a future and hope.”
     She has recently gotten a job and says the SUV will allow her to get to work without having to bow to public transportation schedules.  She also looks forward to being able to take her daughter to and from school and other activities.
     The gift comes as a donation from Chariots for Hope—a non-profit that donates cars to individuals rebuilding their lives after life-changing events.
     “It's worth every sweat, every dollar we put into this. All the time, we put into it...to see the faces, appreciation, and see a big challenge, barrier, has been removed,” Hurt said.

This blog post was adapted from KMTV’s Kelly Bartnick’s story.  To view the full story, click here.