21 April 2017

Impromptu Devotionals

     The other day I was walking from the Administration Building to the Timberlake Outreach Center.  When I entered the Receiving Area, I found a group of guys from the New Life Recovery Program standing outside in gorgeous spring sunshine.  They were circled around two of our staff members, Scott and Shawn.
     As edged a little closer to eavesdrop, I heard these men sharing from Galatians 5:13-17.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  –Galatians 5:13-17
     Scott and Shawn were willing to take time out of their busy work days to share encouraging truth with these men, to share wisdom God has granted them through their own experiences and trials.
     This is what I love about this place!  Thank you to all staff, volunteers, and donors who take the time to invest in our men, women, and children.

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

20 April 2017

Striving for Excellence

     Every day I get the opportunity to be an example at Open Door Mission by ministering to the men on campus.  Getting to know them and their story is such a blessing as this gives them a chance and an opportunity to open up, share their feelings, and, express what they want to accomplish while at the Mission.
     When I see them as we cross paths or when we have a face to face conversation, I see huge smiles or the tears of happiness as the men tell me how much they have grown in their faith.  I can tell they are finding what they have been searching for in their personal journey and just how much they feel loved and cared for by God.
     Watching the men strive for excellence in everything they do by putting their best foot forward is daily blessing.  What makes this extra meaningful is I teach a class for the men one day a week and lead morning devotions for the men one day a week.
     It doesn't stop there.  The program is a wonderful opportunity for men to get connected with God's word and how to make that positive change in their life that they have been longing for.  The New Life Recovery Program takes their journey with the Lord to the next level.  This program is a stepping stone for them to start being independent and back on track.
     Several of our men are looking forward to graduation which is this Saturday, April 22, at 10:00 a.m. at the Garland Thompson Men's Center, (2705 N 20th St E Omaha, NE).  Students graduate from the program when they have completed all requirements.  I see firsthand the positive changes in lives every day, and I know God is at the center of it all!  
     God is at work changing the lives of MANY men, women, and children at Open Door Mission!  I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful ministry. In Christ's Love, EVERYONE is SOMEONE!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

19 April 2017

Innovation and Competition

     As Gift in Kind Coordinator, I get to meet with many groups—ranging from businesses to churches to classes to Girl Scout troops to everything in between—who have decided to bless Open Door Mission with drives.
     I would like to share how a little ingenuity, compassion, and (of course) competition brings great blessing to Open Door Mission.  UBS Financial Services had total participation of their 40 employees in a team challenge that led to lots of fun and laughter.
     Team names were the No Namers, Comfort Collectors, Hot Buttered Leprechauns, and (the winners!) Gordo’s Do Gooders.  Together, UBS collected 7,763 personal care items for hungry and homeless men, women, and children at Open Door Mission!  They had to use chairs as carts as there was so much stuff.
     A big, “Thank you!” to UBS for their innovative way of supporting Open Door Mission!  How can your company, small group, class, or family make a difference?  Don’t be afraid to dream big and make it fun!

Click here for more information about drives.

Maggie Cope
Gift in Kind Coordinator

18 April 2017

LOOK...Part 2

     Annie F. Downs then discussed how there is a difference between having a personal relationship with Jesus and working for God in employment/vocation.  Sometimes from working in ministry we are too tired, too exhausted to spend time alone with God, just meditating on His word, reading the Bible, and hearing from Him.
     Sometimes it's easier for us to say, “I shared Bible verses, I shared the Gospel today, so I'm good.  I'm just too tired today God.”  Sometimes we wish we could hear from God, but just are too tired from the day to take any time to actually hear.
     What matters to God is that we spend time with Him.  We can come as we are, tired or fully energized, or in between.  Yes, we need to be obedient to do His will and for some that means full time ministry.  But if our relationship with God suffers, our ministry often suffers as well.
     Would you make it a priority to spend time with God and look for Him?  I don’t mean read just to get it done, but to actually look for God in scriptures, ask questions, study, and enjoy who He is.
     I have learned and will continue to learn that when I spend time alone with God, He shows up hugely in my ministry at Open Door Mission.  I don't seek out people, but God places people in my path and I share what He wants them to know.
     Would we be people who look for God in everything we do?  Would we LOOK for Him in our day to day life, in scripture, in what He does?  Would we be encouraged that if we have fallen short, that we can still come to God's feet?  Would we pray, "God help me look for You, help me see Your Word as living and active and I pray it would come alive in my life daily."
     God is so good because He is always looking for us, no matter where we are.  We matter, you and me because our God would leave the 99 just to find the 1.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

17 April 2017

LOOK...Part 1

     A couple of weeks ago I was able to hear Annie F. Downs, one of my favorite Christian authors, speak at Lifegate Church’s Brave Event (a women’s conference).
     She discussed the word LOOK in the Bible, explaining that it is an active word meaning attempting to find, seek. 
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.  Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  –Psalm 34:4-5
LOOK--Here we see that looking changes us.  When we LOOK to the Lord for help, will be radiant with joy.  It will change us internally and physically as it says no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized Him as He was breaking the bread.  And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” He said.  But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!  “Why are you frightened?” He asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?  Look at My hands. Look at My feet. You can see that it’s really Me. Touch Me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”  As He spoke, He showed them His hands and His feet.  –Luke 24:36-39
LOOK--Jesus is telling them to get active about believing that I am what I am.  Look for Jesus to be the savior that you needed.  He always shows up because He knows we are always looking!
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”  –Matthew 18:12-14
LOOK--Jesus looks for us.  He is looking for you!  He would forsake the 99 just for the 1.  We all matter!
To be continued Tuesday 4/18.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

13 April 2017

What Easter's All About

     This weekend we will celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead!
"Christ suffered for your sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit."  --1 Peter 3:18
     In this time leading up to Easter, please remember to pray for the homeless - that God would grab a hold of their hearts and bring them home. He loves them - every single man, woman, and child - enough to send His Son to die for them. Pray that more people than ever would find salvation in Jesus!

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

12 April 2017

Celebrate Recovery

     I take a group of guys to Celebrate Recovery at Sojourn Church in Council Bluffs on Thursday evenings.  One of the guys who comes is named Caleb.  He has been in and out of Open Door Mission’s programs a couple of times, but his addiction still had a hold of him.  This time it seems different, though.
     Last Thursday we had a good meeting, and on the way back we were talking about assurance of salvation.  Caleb had a number of things he knew he needed to get right with people.  I shared he did not have to clean up his life before he can have assurance with God.
     “Come by faith, just as you are,” I said.
     I shared the Gospel with Caleb right there in my truck, and he prayed to accept Christ.  Hallelujah!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

11 April 2017

The Next Best Right Step

     I would like to lift up in praise that out of our most recent group of WorkNet students, three students have full-time employment, one has part-time employment, two are continuing their education with a direct path to employment, and one plans to volunteer and improve their physical health.
     There are a few remaining members of this class seeking employment and direction for the next best right step on their path.  So please lift them up in prayer for God's providence and guidance in their search.

Daniel Anderson
WorkNet/Vocational Director

10 April 2017

The Blessing of a Car

     My name is Angela and I recently graduated from the New Life Recovery Program.  A week after graduation, the van I owned blew up and I had to sell it for scrap.
     I had put a lot of wear and tear on my van by giving rides to women and children at the Lydia House to and from doctor appointments, stores, and etc.  I wouldn’t change that for the word.  I love the families that I’ve met here and cherish the wonderful relationship I’ve had with them.
     Currently, I’m working a full time as a cashier in Council Bluffs, and it has been difficult getting to work without a car.  My goal is to return to school and finish my cosmetology license, but that wouldn’t be possible without my own vehicle.
     Then, last week, I was blessed with a car!  There were tears in my eyes as they handed me the keys to this blessing of a car.  I just want to say, “Thank you!” for all Open Door Mission and the Lydia House does!  You have put so many smiles on so many faces since I’ve been here.  What a blessing.

New Life Recovery Program Graduate

07 April 2017

Update on Jane Doe

     I have an update on Jane Doe!  A couple of days ago, she came to Open Door Mission for lunch.  Sarah and I were able to talk with her, and she told us that she wanted to stay at the Mission.  Jane was clearly very hungry and even got seconds of her meal.  We gave her many smiles and hugs to help her feel welcome here.
     When I asked her what happened at the hospital, she danced around the question.  I know that staff members took her to the hospital, but I asked her if she had stayed.  She lowered her head and said, “No.”
     Jane has many bruises on her face and neck.  Her voice is still very quiet and she has difficultly speaking.  She said I could go back to work as she finished eating and that she would let me know when she was ready to get checked into the Lydia House.  A couple of minutes later, I watched her go out the back door to catch the shuttle for downtown.
     Please pray for Jane.  She is seeking and knows she is safe at Open Door Mission.  She is afraid of the unknown however, and fear of the unknown is a tool used by Satan.  Pray that she feels the presence of our Lord working around her so she can find her way back to a place at the Lydia House.

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

06 April 2017

The Power of a Testimony

     This weekend, we had a memorial service for Gary, one of our guests who passed away suddenly.  Afterwards, one of the guys in the New Life Recovery Program came up to talk to me.  He said he did not usually get emotional at funerals, but there was something special about what he heard that day.
     He talked about wanting to get closer to God.  The more we talked, the clearer it became that this man was basing his closeness to God on what he needed to do rather than putting his faith, hope, and trust in what Jesus did for him.
     I shared four simple things with him: God is a holy God, man is wholly full of sin, one day we will all be judged, and that Jesus bore our judgement on the cross.  We discussed these things and he understood what I was saying.  He decided to put his faith, hope, and trust in the work of Jesus Christ.  After we prayed, he knew that he has eternal life in Christ!  There was a genuine smile on his face that wasn't there before. 
     Praise God that for using used the testimony and memorial of Gary to bring someone into the Kingdom of His dear Son! 

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

05 April 2017


     I am constantly blown away by the generosity of our volunteers and donors!  Last week, students from Wahoo Middle School came to volunteer.  They helped make sandwiches and sack lunches for our Streets of Omaha ministry during the morning food prep time!  Aside from volunteering, they also stayed for a tour of our campus AND donated 234lbs of cereal and breakfast items!
     A big thank you Wahoo Middle School and to all Open Door Mission volunteers!  If you’d like to volunteer during the Food Prep time, Walk Ins are Welcome!  Click here to learn more.

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

04 April 2017

Jane Doe

Some of the Free Health & Healing Clinic's wonderful volunteers.
     The Lord knows her real name, but Jane Doe is the only name she would give when she came into the Free Health & Healing Clinic last week.  She had been severely beaten twice in two days and had finally gotten away from her abuser.
     When Jane saw the volunteer doctor in the clinic, he advised her to go directly to ER as she has several broken bones.  One of her broken bones was on the leg she limped on to come into the clinic.  She also had a partially crushed voice box and was barely able to speak.
     I was able to get Jane a sack lunch and drink while we waited for the van to be pulled around.  A male and female staff took Jane to the hospital, and on the way the female staff, Sarah, shared her story of salvation.
     As they were helping Jane out of the vehicle, she thanked Sarah for sharing her story and said it gave her hope.  Sarah held Jane’s hand and encouraged her.  It is no coincidence that Sarah rode along to the hospital.  Seeds were planted in Jane’s heart and we know that she is in our Father’s loving care.  I do hope she comes back to see us. 
     Please pray for this precious soul.  I don't know how she knew to come to Open Door Mission’s clinic, but I am praising God that she did.  He is the one that guided her steps.

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

03 April 2017

The Miracle Baby

     Would you join me in lifting up my 2911 client, Nya, up in prayer as she is going to be induced for labor on Wednesday?  Her story is so special!  Her last pregnancy was very rough.  When she gave birth, she lost too much blood and the doctors had to break the arms of the baby to get him out.
     Because of this, when she found out she was pregnant again, her doctor told her she needed to get an abortion.  She was told that the baby would not live to full term and that Nya herself would most likely die.
     The doctor said she was too weak to carry this baby and scheduled an abortion date for her in September.  She didn't want to go, but her husband talked her into it.  In the parking lot of the hospital last September, Nya refused to go inside for the abortion.  
     She prayed over a new list of doctors and picked a lady at another hospital.  When Nya finished telling the new OB her story, the doctor shared that she herself believes in Christ and prayed for Nya!  This lady told her that God can see things that doctors aren't even smart enough to see themselves, so Nya was wise to listen to God in her decision.
     The baby boy in her belly has reached six pounds, is active and kicking, and is very healthy!  The doctors have Nya taking extra iron so she will be as strong as possible for the procedure.  She is going in for a c-section as that is the smartest way for her to give birth with her high risk pregnancy.
     The couple has chosen the Sudanese name for the baby of Chudiar, which means "don't worry."  This is such a testimony of the miracles God has up His sleeves!
     Another praise is that Nya was in need of a crib.  After searching around the Timberlake Outreach Center this afternoon, I found one in good condition!  God truly sees every need and He has been with Nya through all of this.  Thank you for your prayers.

Kristin Boll
Community Case Worker

31 March 2017

Homeless No More

     This past weekend, my son and I drove a young father of four staying at the Lydia House down to the bus line.  It was misting, cold, and windy.  Despite this weather, the man was cheerful, and shared that he had just rented a home.
     He and his family have been living at the Lydia House for eight months.  He is a cook out west, but does not have a car.  Every work day he walks downtown to ride the bus to work, works his shift, rides the bus back downtown, and walks back to the Lydia House.  What dedication.
     This family is on their way to being homeless no more, thanks to so many that GIVE to Open Door Mission and Lydia House.

Candace Gregory

30 March 2017

Salvation at Midnight

     A man named Sean was trying to meet with me all evening. That night, however, I was doing intakes at our Men’s Emergency Center and it was busy.  At about ten minutes to midnight, we were finally able to get together for a discipleship meeting.
     Sean was raised in the church, but did not know if he had eternal life.  I shared the truth of the Gospel with him and asked, "Is there any reason you wouldn't ask Jesus in your heart right now?’”  Sean saw he missed the mark with God.
     He saw the truth of Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23. He saw the hope of John 3:16 and I John 5:12-13.  We prayed together and Sean asked God to forgive him through Christs' work on the cross.  Hallelujah!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

29 March 2017

Super Hero Day

     The Children and Youth Director and I have been working with a volunteer named Dustin to bring Super Hero Day to the Lydia House!  This awesome group dressed up as super heroes and brought donuts, games, and coloring sheets for the kids to enjoy.  Each member of the group played with the kids and allowed each child pick out three comic books to keep as their own!  What a fun time this was!

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

28 March 2017

It's the Little Things

     I work in the Maintenance Department and get to meet many of the men, women, and children that have come to Open Door Mission for one reason or another.  As I go about doing the repairs across campus, I’m reminded of the little things we all take for granted.  I get big thanks when I fix a clogged sink, or get a washer or dryer running again. 
     I also get a chance to talk with the guests here.  I hear how they are here because of an abusive relationship or they had just been released from jail and being here was terms of their release.  I see how small accomplishments are huge to them.  Getting a GED, graduating from one of the programs here, or even just getting promoted to the next level are all important steps. 
     Please keep our guests in your prayers as they are “the least of these.”

Gregory Crocker
Maintenance Department

27 March 2017

A Greater Impact Together

     I wanted to give a shout out to John Michael, our Homeless Prevention Manager at the South Omaha campus!  Every day, he is intentional about building a great relationship with our guests and our donors.
     One example is his relationship with Saving Grace, a perishable food rescue group.  Due to their generosity, South Omaha is stocked well in order to be a blessing for our shoppers!  With the right partnerships in our community, we can collectively make an even bigger impact for the hungry, homeless, and near homeless.

Joshua Smith
Gift In Kind Director

24 March 2017

The Gift of Vision

     First Monday of every month, Dr. Matthew Taylor comes to Open Door Mission’s Free Health & Healing Clinic and to see guests in need of glasses.  Once he has given them their diagnosis, we contact an organization in Iowa for a free glasses voucher. 
     This week I heard an extra special story about Dr. Taylor’s visit with a guest from the Lydia House.

I would just like to say thank you so much. I did not realize just how blind I was getting and how much I was missing out on seeing.  It's wonderful knowing that I will be able to see once again.  This wouldn't be possible for me without the Free Health & Healing Clinic and the generosity of Dr. Taylor.  I feel very blessed.  Thank You Again.  –Angela

     Praise God for the partnerships we have in the clinic to assist our guests in something a beautiful as seeing the new spring in bloom with clear vision!

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

23 March 2017

The Panhandler's Plan

     Sometimes God’s plans are different from your own.  One evening a little while ago, my plan was to rest.  I’ve been getting over the flu, but the process is slow.  While my wife was at her appointment, my plan was to rest in the car until she had finished, and then go home and rest.
     On our way to the doctor’s office, we saw a panhandler and I knew God had a different plan.  After I dropped my wife off, I returned to our friend on the side of the street.
     Ricky is his name.  He is just back in Omaha after leaving four years ago.  He has a couple of light coats on in the bitter cold and a pair of sneakers that are too small.  I gave him a care bag that my church’s small group had made, which contains an Open Door Mission Compassion Card.  These cards let panhandlers know where they can get free food, shelter, and care.
If you would like free Compassion Cards to hand
out to panhandlers, please call Candace Gregory
at 402-422-1111.
     He began talking with me.  I told him all about Open Door Mission and every service we have to offer.  I suggested calling for a van to pick him up so he could get new shoes and a heavy coat, use the phone, and put his stuff in a locker so it would be safe.
     He almost said yes.  He kept saying, "I don't want to agree and then change my mind."  He had his own plan.
     Please pray for Ricky.  As my wife and I drove home later, I passed by Ricky’s corner to see he had left.  Although I wasn’t able to convince Ricky to come to the Mission, I did follow God’s nudging to be kind, give him helpful things, and let him know that Jesus cares.  We will see if one day Ricky alters his plan and comes to get help at Open Door Mission.
     I hope I don't have to wait until heaven to find out what happened to Ricky.  If I do though, I am okay with it because God is good and I can trust in Him!

Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director

22 March 2017

A Lenten Devotional...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday, 3/21.

     Usually when I get tired and worn out, it is because I'm focused on my works and actions rather than on Jesus!  The days when I’m too overwhelmed to keep working for God’s glory are when my priorities are out of whack.  If I am working for God's glory but do not have God's presence, what good is it?  Then I am like the Pharisee.  If on the outside I am doing my job, but my inside is not full of Jesus, then what good am I truly?
     The beauty of the Gospel is that we can come as we are to King Jesus.  We can come and fully surrender our ways to Him.  We can say, “Lord, let me be in Your presence.  Do a work inside of me so I can minister for You on the outside.”  We can ask to be humbled in order to submit to His authority.  We can repent of our hypocritical ways and Jesus ALWAYS is faithful to clean our insides and make us brand new.  When we do this, we are able with His Spirit to minister knowing that we are being made into Christ's image more and more every day!   I Love this prayer from Ann Voskamp:
Ann Voskamp is an influential Christian author and speaker.
By Grace, today I will fast from social media because unplugging tunes me to God.  Today I will be more focused on Good News than any other news.  We repent of having more time for Facebook than we do for Face in Your Book, for more closely following our social media streams instead of thirsting for Living Water and closely following You.  -Ann Voskamp
     Let's not be people who keep plugging away even though our inside is in need of refreshing that only Jesus can bring.  Let's be people who thirst for Living Water that satisfies and do not just get filled with temporary satisfaction.  Let's be people that come to the Lord when we know our inside needs Him desperately and let's let Him transform us to be more like Jesus every day.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

21 March 2017

A Lenten Devotional...Part 1

Lent is a season of prayer and fasting for the 40 days before Easter.
     During this time of Lent, I have been reading a special devotional every day in order to prepare my heart for Easter.  My prayer is that I would be able to grasp more fully what Jesus did for me.  A recent reading included Jesus’ words in Matthew:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”  —Matthew 23:23-26
     This morning I awoke already feeling weary and worn out (it's only Tuesday, by the way...) and I thought, “Lord, I really need to meet with you during my lunch break to get a fresh perspective.”  Reading this really convicted me.  I don't like to admit it but I can often relate to the Pharisee.

To be continued on Wednesday, 3/22.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

20 March 2017

Spa Day

     Last week, a group from the Veteran’s Association (or VA) came and provided a spa day for our Lydia House ladies in one of  our life-changing programs.  It was AMAZING!  The VA provided professional messages, hair wash/cut/color, make up, nails, new professional clothing, lunch, resume and interview advice, and fantastic fellowship!  Every one of these ladies was so encouraged by today!
     One woman shared with me that before her addiction took over, she never left the house without her makeup done and her hair curled.  As her addiction grew though, it took that from her and she has not worn make up or curled her hair in a very long time.  She had both done today and was nearly in tears trying to tell me how much it meant to her!
     THEN, as a bonus, a Bible study group from Westside Church put together little blessing bags for the ladies.  They ended up making exactly enough to give one to each of our program guests!
     Today I am thanking God for so many amazing blessings He poured out on these fantastic women!  And I am also so grateful for the volunteers and donors in our community who care enough about our guests to show them just how valued and beautiful they are.

Vickie Gregorio
Lydia House Director

17 March 2017

Seeing the Symptoms

     Two weeks ago, a gentleman came into the clinic looking for a knee brace.  I was concerned about the symptoms he shared with me, so I asked if he could hang around and speak with the doctor that was coming in later that day.
     Our volunteer, Dr. Agner, spoke with this man was also concerned about his symptoms, so helped him make an appointment at an office to get some tests done.  The man did this, had many tests, and was diagnosed with a tumor growing in his stomach.  
     Because this tumor was discovered now, this man’s doctors have worked out a treatment plan that will allow him to see his grandchildren graduate!  What a blessing to have such knowledgeable volunteer doctors that can see stomach cancer from a sprained knee visit.  Praise God!

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

16 March 2017

Double Salvation

Our bunkhouse is open to men seeking safe shelter.
    Last week, God was surely moving in big ways at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center!  He touched two men’s lives as I spoke with them, and two men accepted Christ the same day!
     The first salvation came as I was doing Case Management with a young man named Kent.  While we talked, I was able to share the Gospel with him.  He prayed and asked Christ to be his Savior.
     Just before that, Pat, our Director of Men’s Ministry, had just walked into the office for a quick hello.  I shared with him that Kent and I were discussing the Gospel, and then Pat left the office.  I'm sure that as Pat walked away, he sent up a quick prayer to God for my conversation.  How wonderful to do ministry together!
     Later that day, I had the privilege of leading another man to Christ.  Meeting with these guys in the Emergency Shelter is an awesome privilege.  They are needy and Christ is there to meet their need.  Please pray for these two men as they begin their new life in Christ.  And pray that the other men in our shelters would be open to hearing the Good News as well.

Greg Johnston
Case Manager/Intake Coordinator

15 March 2017

Girl Scout Cookies!

     Children of homelessness don’t often have the opportunities that children of more affluent families have.  My children were blessed to be involved in scouting (Boys & Girls) and now my grandchildren, nieces, nephews and very special “adopted grandchildren” are involved too.
     When I heard that there was a Girl Scout Troop at Open Door Mission's Lydia House, I was thrilled to know that these very special girls would be able to enjoy all the fun and learning of Girl Scouts along with a sense of belonging to something bigger homelessness.

     Then I saw the newscast of their selling ability on the UNO campus!  The girls were great, organized, worked as a team, were polite, and sold cookies.  I knew I had to support them.  I let my friends know I had “connections” and could get Girl Scout Cookies for them, without them tramping all over town.  Of course, I bought a couple boxes of certain Girl Scout Cookies that I love.
     These girls need all the love, prayers, and encouragement we can give them so they can flourish.  Now I have to go find out if there are any cookies left…to fill my office cookie tin! 

Maggie Cope
Gift in Kind Coordinator

14 March 2017

Another Man in Blue

     Rejoice with us that Open Door Mission volunteer August was sworn in as a new Police Officer!  He is an invaluable volunteer as he helps at our special events as a Spanish and Arabic translator.
     Please pray for August and his family during this transition.  He has a huge heart for those we serve, so we are grateful to have an advocate in uniform.  It takes great courage to serve our city in this way!

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

13 March 2017

International Women's Day

     In honor of International Women’s Day last week, I wanted to share one of my favorite Bible stories of women friendship.
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth.  At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.  Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?  When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.  You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”   – Luke 1:39-45
     What a beautiful friendship between women these verses describe.  It shows how we are to be in community with one another as women.  And here’s a quote from one of my favorite books on women discipleship that references this friendship:
When the Holy Spirit in one woman recognizes the Holy Spirit in another woman safe places become sacred places.  —“Giddy Up Eunice” by Sophie Hudson
     We all need each other as women in the body of Christ!  I pray you have women in your life that you are in community with and that imitates Mary and Elizabeth's sweet, deep, friendship focused on the Lord!
     I also pray that you would know you are loved, chosen, and valued as a woman of God!  Thank a woman in your life that has inspired you, that has discipled you, or that you disciple and let them know they are important in your life.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

10 March 2017

Salvation at Chapel!

     It was my privilege to share at chapel earlier this week.  For the past week or so I have had a certain passage weighing heavily on my heart, so I wanted to share it with our guests.
Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.  Live in peace with each other.  And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.   –1 Thessalonians 5:13-14
     God guided me to expand on these verses.  Afterwards, I spoke with a young man who is staying in our Men’s Emergency Center.  His name is Alan.  During the service, the Lord opened Alan’s eyes to see his need, and as we prayed together Alan accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior.
     Alan knows now that he is forgiven and has eternal life.  Praise our Savior!

Greg Johnston
Case Manager/Intake Coordinator

09 March 2017

Mr. Country

     “Mr. Country” is what we call him.  This is a man with great wisdom, strength, and gentleness in his eyes.  Mr. Country is a man we serve through our Streets of Omaha program.  We can usually find him close to a local church, passed out from a day of drinking.  The other day though, we had a much different encounter with Mr. Country.
     He was walking tall and sober-minded, with clean clothes on and a fresh smile across his face.  He greeted us with a hug.  I was surprised that he even knew who I was, given that we had only ever spoken while he was under the influence.  But he looked into my eyes and said, "Thank you for caring for me when I couldn't care for myself.  Thank you for taking time to show me love when I didn't love myself.  Today I got an apartment.  Today I am sober--two weeks sober, as a matter of fact!" 
     With great joy, my volunteer team and I talked with Mr. Country about his decision to stay sober and told him that God has a plan for him.  As we watched him walk away, we were reassured of one thing and that is that God sees all of us.  He hears us, knows our struggles, and He rejoices with us when we get it right.
     God is walking along side Mr. Country.  The Streets of Omaha volunteer team, including myself, is glad they got to be a part of his story!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

08 March 2017

Big Time Change

     My name is Francisco and in February 2016 I graduated from the New Life Recovery Program offered by Open Door Mission.
     I am so thankful to this place for so many blessings they provided and for saving my life.  I’m thankful that they support people who are battling addictions and help them to find their own way to survive through Christ.  I found Jesus in my journey and am eternally thankful for the staff who introduced me to the real Christianity.  My life has changed big time, and I have come a long way since first arriving at Open Door Mission.
     I’m looking forward to continuing attending recovery meetings, helping my fellow brothers in Christ stand strong, seeing my kids more, and moving up in my company.
     I just wanted to thank everyone at Open Door Mission who gave me this opportunity for new life and to all the staff who made this change possible.

New Life Recovery Program Graduate

07 March 2017

Simple Act of Kindness

     I wanted to share a picture and a story that demonstrates how an act of kindness can really make someone’s day!
     A normal day for me consists of chasing three amazing and wild little girls to the car in the morning.  Last week, the snow and ice was heavy on my car one morning.  This day was also not the usual fun and crazy day.  My daughter's grandma had passed away a few days earlier, and my sweet seven-year-old girl’s emotions were all over the place as she grieved.  This made for a somewhat difficult start to the day.  At this point, I had gotten little to no sleep the last few days, was overly stressed and emotional, and seeing the snow outside my window was just too much.  I broke into tears.
    My coworker Mark had no idea of what was going on in my life that morning.  He did, however, let God lead him in this amazing act of kindness.  I walked out to my car to begin scraping, and Mark was already outside, scrapping off the ice and brushing off the snow.  He didn’t do this because he had to or because it’s a part of his job, but because God called him to do it!  He looked around at me and simply smiled and gave me a hug.
     This is the body of Christ in action!  A team member stepped out of his own schedule to help me out.  Because of Mark, on this very difficult morning, I didn’t have to stand in the cold or struggle to get my kids to sit in the car while I scrapped my car.
     This meant a lot to me and brings tears to my eyes when I think about it!  Thank you, Mark, for your kindness.  I am so grateful to be a part of a staff that feels like a family.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

06 March 2017

An Ongoing Partnership

     I had the privilege of speaking with the Nebraska Wesleyan nursing students several days ago, and it was a wonderful time.
     The nursing students’ instructor, Laura, invited me to speak with the class about Open Door Mission and our Free Health & Healing Clinic.  Soon the whole class will be coming down to the Mission for their clinical rotations.  They will assist our guests by taking their blood pressure, testing their blood sugar levels, assessing any illnesses/wounds they might have, and help the volunteer doctors who come to our clinic.
     This partnership has been ongoing for a while, and these students are always such a blessing to us.  It was an honor to go meet the new class and to share with them about what goes on at Open Door Mission and what a blessing they will be.  Thank You to Laura and Nebraska Wesleyan University for all you do!

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

03 March 2017

Above and Beyond

Be sure to stop by the conveniently-located
Elkhorn Outreach Center!
     The Kitchen Director at Saint Wenceslaus School called me to say she really appreciated the interaction she had with our staff member, Greg, at the Elkhorn Family Outreach/Donation Center.   When she stopped by to drop off bread, Greg was able to pray with her about her recent knee surgery.  She was very thankful for the service that didn't make her get out of the car as well!  Way to go Greg, for serving our donors as Christ would!  Knowing Greg, this isn't anything out of the ordinary for him.  This is just who he is.
     I could send an email like this about each of my staff members as they are all doing things to go above and beyond each week.  I love watching true servants hearts in action!  Nothing is more inspirational to me.

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

02 March 2017

Abide in Me...Part 2

Continued from Wednesday, 3/1.

     What Jesus asks us is that we remain in him.  The Greek word for remain is meno which means abide, continue, dwell, remain.  This command is quite counter-culture to our instant culture.  What Jesus calls us to isn’t something you try for five minutes and then move on.  It requires us to slow down, take a deep breath, and dwell, abide, wait.  When I am remaining in Jesus throughout the day, I can see the fruit—abundantly more fruit that I could ask for.  When I rush through life, I don’t see the same results.  
     Lysa Terkeurst says, “Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race.  He’s into the slower rhythms of life, like abiding, delighting, and dwelling—all words that require us to trust Him with our place and our pace.”
     What would it look like for us to trust God in our place and our pace?  What would it look like to ask Jesus into every part of our life?  You may ask yourself, “How do I bear fruit?  I go to church, do devotional time.”  But for abundant fruit, you must remain in Him.  Are you remaining in Jesus day after day or are you rushing to get everything done?  Are you slowing down your pace, truly listening to the message at church and applying it to your life?  Are you spending your devotional time remaining in Jesus, truly hearing from him or are simply doing it to check something off your to do list?
     When we slow down and ask God if He would speak to us, is when we see God show up!
     The Good News of the Gospel is that we can come to Jesus how we are.  Even if we know we have been moving through life way too quickly, we can come to Jesus and ask Him to slow us down.  We can devote spending more time in His presence.  We can come to Jesus just how we are and know that He will provide for us!  We can know that we are purpose-driven people who are intended to bear fruit.  This is how we show that we are Jesus’ disciples to the world.
     Would we be people that is not just satisfied with being your average Christian, but instead be people who are known by our fruit?  When others ask what satisfies us, would we be able to answer Jesus?  Would our life not be reflected by rushing but instead by quieting ourselves in the Lord’s presence?

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

01 March 2017

Abiding in Christ...Part 1

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”  –John 15:1-8

     In this parable Jesus is the vine, God our Father is the gardener, and we are the branches.  God desires to cut off dead branches that produce no fruit and prune areas of fruitfulness to make us even more fruitful
      The key part that sticks out to me in this passage is when Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”  I look back at the past year and can see where God used me in huge ways and moved mightily in areas where I know if I had been acting on my own strength, the results would not have been the same.  Constantly I need to be asking myself, “Is Jesus in this, or is this solely on Trudy?”
     The world likes to tell us we can still get everything we want by throwing Jesus out of the equation.  Our world has tried to replace Jesus with the “instant culture."  There is instant social media, instant electronics, instant phone call/text message, instant food, instant shopping, instant housing searches, instant everything.  What this shows me is that our world is just crying out for Jesus.  Instant does not satisfy, instant does not fix.  We can get sucked into the “instant” world without even knowing it.  Our world, the people who do not know the Lord are looking and seeking for something to fill them.  So they try fad after fad, always looking to what’s next.  Participating in these fads is not bad, but be sure to do a heart check of if Jesus or these fads are the Lord of your life.

To be continued Thursday, 3/2.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

28 February 2017

Grateful for Safe, Warm Shelter...Part 2

Continued from Monday, 2/27

     A pastor brought Mark to a church service, and he soon accepted Jesus Christ into his life.  Having only been to church twice as a kid, the Gospel was brand new to him, and was very welcome Good News!  Even with Christ by his side, Mark continued to struggle with his addictions.
     “Every now and then I would get sober, but my addictions always led me back to the streets,” said Mark.
     Mark overdosed twice within a couple of months, and the doctors considered it a suicide attempt.  So he was brought to Omaha in an ambulance and stayed in the hospital for seven days.
     He heard about Open Door Mission and decided to seek shelter there this past October.  After encouragement from the Men's Director, Mark joined the New Life Recovery Program, and his life has been changed ever since.
     “The classes, teaching, volunteers, and staff in the program are constantly bringing it all back to Jesus,” said Mark.  “And I’m finding out that Jesus is real.  Because of Him, I’m not alone anymore.”
     Mark is looking forward to graduating in a few months, and is excited to see where God will take him afterwards.  For now though, he is grateful for the safe, warm shelter at Open Door Mission.
     “Sleeping outside in the cold, I had to worry a lot about survival,” Mark said.  “I don’t have the worries no more.  I’m warm, I have clothes, I have food, and I’m working towards bettering myself.  I have goals.”

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

27 February 2017

Grateful for Safe, Warm Shelter...Part 1

     As the weather grew colder this year, Mark finally did not have to worry about staying warm outside.  After years of living on the streets, through summer and the bitter cold of winter, Mark has found HOPE for lasting change.
     Mark had a rough childhood, growing up in eastern Iowa.  At age 12, Mark bent to peer pressure and began drinking and smoking marijuana.
     This addiction grew to include meth, and Mark found himself in and out of prison.  Mark's troubles progressed and when his relationship with his son's mother dissolved, he really hit rock bottom.
     “I became so depressed, and just gave up on life,” he said.  “That’s when I first began to experience homelessness.”
     With nowhere to go, Mark began living on the streets in a tent city by the river.  He and five other people lived in makeshift shelters pieced together with items from dumpsters.  Mark’s “home” was made out of pallets and nails.  Years passed, each with bitterly cold winters, but Mark continued to feed his addictions.
     “The coldest I remember it being was -15°,” Mark said.  “When it’s that cold, there’s no getting warm anymore.  You just layer up with what you have, and run for town first thing in the morning.  The only way to sleep is to drink until you pass out.  It’s a hard, hard life.”

To be continued Tuesday, 2/28

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator