09 December 2016

Lasting Change

     Once I a while, I receive lovely, encouraging notes from the men, women, and children whose lives have been changed by Open Door Mission.  Here is a nice note that I wanted to share with you:
     My name is Tom, and firstly I would like to thank the Open Door Mission for everything that they have provided me with in my life so far.  I can never truly express my gratitude for everything that has been extended to me spiritually, physically, and mentally.  I now have a full time job and soon will be a full time college student.  I am so grateful for Open Door Mission, the amazing opportunities they have given me, and for the program I was able to graduate from.
     To God be the glory for this man’s lasting change!  Join me in praying for him and every other man and woman in our programs, that God would bless and protect them.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

08 December 2016

Gracious Words

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  –Proverbs 16:24

"And to say gracious words is brave.  To speak life into someone else takes courage.  Whether you are correcting in love, standing up for the voiceless, praying for the sick, or praising and loving others, your words are changing the atmosphere.
Don't be afraid.  Be brave.  Say the things that will speak truth and heal.  Hold your tongue in anger or fear--those are the times when a coward speaks.  But when the moment comes to say the gracious thing that will make a heart forever?  Say it.  Speak love, and watch as beautiful things come to life."  –Annie Downs, "Let's All Be Brave"

     I read this recently during my morning devotions, and this Proverb stuck out to me.  Gracious words.  What does it mean to have someone speak a gracious word over my life?  It is a rare gift indeed when someone chooses gracious words.
     Gracious means showing God's divine grace, which is kind, compassionate, and merciful.  When situations are hard, how much easier is it to react in frustration, anger, blame?  It is so much easier!  But it takes more courage to speak love to others. 
     When we hear a gracious word spoken to us we feel validated, accepted, and sometimes it's just what we need to heal us to further move forward.  Words can have death and life in our lives.  What we speak can change the trajectory of someone's life forever.  We never know unless we take that brave step and decide to encourage, not tear down. 
     I pray that we stop and think what we say and that we will be more gracious, especially during the Christmas season.  Then it would truly be a season of blessing!
     Instead of getting burned out thinking all the extra tasks we have to do this time of year, may we thank the Lord for giving us the chance to show God's grace to the community we serve.  Let’s pause and be gracious to one another and speak life to each other, our guests, our families, and our friends.  Even when our backs are pushed against the wall, would we choose to be gracious!
     I believe that our gracious words can point others to Jesus.  I believe that this Christmas, words can be used to bring beautiful things to life, to change stories, and to break chains forever!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

07 December 2016

Stop by and say, "Hi!"

     Brian decided to come by the Timberlake Outreach Center’s Receiving Area and say hi to the team.  It's always a pleasure to have Brian and his moral support around, but he may need to work on figuring out how to drive through our drop off area.  This is NOT correct!
     Be sure to bring your donations or our urgently needed items to any of our four conveniently-located Family Donation & Outreach Centers (Timberlake, Council Bluffs, Elkhorn, and South Omaha) this Christmas!  You’ll always be greeted by a friendly face and hopefully get a little joy out of our goofiness.

Scott McDowell
Receiving

06 December 2016

New Member of the Kingdom


     I would like to introduce a new member to the Kingdom of God! This is Alexis and her family.  She came to Council Bluffs Family Donation & Outreach Center six weeks ago.  We met and she told me at the time that she was a week clean from meth, determined to stay sober so she could get her daughter back home.
     Ever since that week, she has returned weekly to the Outreach Center just to talk.  Last Thursday, Alexis finally realized how much God loves her and is there for her, and on Sunday she attended church and was baptized!
     Please pray for Alexis as she starts this journey with Jesus.  She has the greatest weapon in her now to help fight this external enemy of drug addiction!
     To God be all the glory!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

05 December 2016

#UNselfie

     Last week for #GivingTuesday, Open Door Mission friend Larry joined the #Unselfie movement!  He volunteered for over 10 years and was such a bright light at the Mission to volunteers, staff, donors, and guests all the same.  He stopped by my office for hugs as it was his last day teaching.
     Larry is leaving behind a legacy of making a difference at Open Door Mission, and we will miss him dearly!
     Were you able to give back on #GivingTuesday?  If not, make sure to mark your calendars for next year and take your #Unselfie so you can inspire HOPE for lasting change.  Maybe what’s in store for you is to be the next Larry?

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

02 December 2016

Into the Holidays

     I just wanted you all to know I appreciate each and every one of you!
     My heart is overjoyed through this Holiday season and every day, really.  Being able to see the other side of Open Door Mission brings me to tears sometimes.  I am so thankful that God has blessed me in my position here at the Mission.
     I have the ability to meet/greet the generous donors, volunteers, staff, and guests as they come through our doors.  I get to talk with people both in person and on the phone.  God knows my heart and has given me more love for each of these people that I interact with than I could ever have imagined.
    I am joyful to share the hope I have with others.  I have been made new in Christ.  He is my Author, my Creator, my Protector, and my Father.  
     As we go through this Holiday season I am reminded of how each person’s struggles and hardships are so different.  Please be in prayer with me for all of the programmers and people who are coming in seeking shelter from brokenness.  I pray that God comes into their lives and removes all the thresholds of evil.  
     Thank you in advance and have a blessed day!

Cynthia Mier
Receptionist

01 December 2016

Faithfulness in the Small Things

     A couple of days ago I had the most wonderful morning, and I wanted to share it with you.  It started with a really good devotional in the morning which talked about faithfulness in the small things.  
If we were to take our cues from Scripture, focusing on the relationship between the Father and the Son, we could make the case that God receives love through obedience.  Succinctly stated, “Christ emptied himself in order to be filled up with obedience.”
     And then as I was driving to work, admiring the beautiful pink clouds as the sun rose, I saw one of our Open Door Mission trucks on the road.  I looked up at the driver, and there was Peter with a big old smile, waving at me.
     It's the little things in life that make me happy, and I am grateful to God for all my blessings. 
     Praying today that God will show you some amazing blessings in your life. 

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

30 November 2016

I Work at Open Door Mission!

     I wanted to share this picture and cute story with you! 
     Recently, my daughter took my name tag, put it on, and said, "Mom, look!  I work at the Open Door Mission!"
     I said, "Oh you do? What do people do at Open Door Mission?"
     She replied, "Well, mostly they eat soup, but they help people too!"  She attended Ladle of Love with me! 
     I got to thinking, and this really reminded me that, more than anything, children watch what we do.  How blessed are we that our children get to watch us do God's work EVERY SINGLE DAY! 

Michelle Therkildsen
Development Associate

29 November 2016

Safe Shelter for the Holidays...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 11/28.

     “They have so many wonderful programs for the kids, from the Tutoring Lab to the Bright Space with more toys than I’ve ever seen,” said Kemesha.  “Our favorite is the Book Nook, though.  We’re able to read a new book together every night, and that’s such a blessing.”
Kemesha is slowly getting back on to her feet, despite complications from an illness.  She started working at a call center and saved her money to purchase her own vehicle.
     Through everything, Kemesha knows the Lord has been with her and her children.  She has turned her eyes back to the Lord, and can see the difference in her life.  “Once we were seeking the Lord faithfully, everything started falling into place,” she said.

     Kemesha is a woman of great strength, and her perspective on life has change throughout this journey.  “As long as we’re able to eat, take showers, and be together…I feel like we’re blessed,” she said.
     And for the first time in a while, Kemesha is looking forward to the Holidays without anxiety or stress.  Thanks to wonderful programs such as Adopt A Guest, she knows her children will feel loved as they open presents hand-picked for them on Christmas day.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

28 November 2016

Safe Shelter for the Holidays...Part 1

     Life for Kemesha can be busy and overwhelming, with a full house and a baby on the way.  But she is grateful to have found safe shelter at Open Door Mission for her and her family.
Kemesha recalls growing up really fast.  She remembers her family being homeless as a child, but felt her father provided for them the best he could.  Life hit hard when she became a teenage mom at age 15.
     “I grew up pretty fast,” said Kemesha.  Since then, Kemesha has experienced one hardship after another.
     “The kids and I lived in a house with no electricity and barely any water,” she said.  She even recalls walking to the nearest store to warm up food for her children.
     Kemesha decided to move to Omaha when her neighborhood became too unsafe.  Loved ones and friends were being shot around her.  Kemesha's brother lives in Omaha, so it seemed like the best option for getting away from the violence.
     When the family first came to Open Door Mission, they had to stay in the Lydia House Overflow Area for a couple of weeks before a room opened up.  It was a brand new experience, but her children felt at home right away.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/29.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

23 November 2016

Sharing Our Heart

     Currently, Open Door Mission still has many homeless and needy men, women, and children who have not been sponsored under our Adopt A Guest Program.  I pray that the Lord would open donors’ hearts to see what He is doing, and they would humble
themselves to see what God would have them give! 
     My prayer is that as Open Door Mission staff, volunteers, and friends, we would be outspoken in our church communities and small groups, sharing what AWESOME things God is doing at Open Door Mission!  And when they see our enthusiasm and ask questions, that we would help them get involved in our Mission!
     My small group volunteers in the kitchen once a month and is going to Adopt a Guest this Christmas.  It may look small, but what if all of us connected with the Mission shared our HEART with the people closest to us and invited them in to be a part of what God is doing here?  It would have huge impact!
     I know that volunteering once a month it has been a blessing to my small group as much as it has been to our guests.  We need to be people that encourage others to get out of their seats and live out the Gospel!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

22 November 2016

'Tis the Season

Here I am at the KFAB Radiothon with Boyd Dingman, who helped
donate towards our match money for the day!
     The month of November has been amazing so far!  We had the Salute to the Red, White and Blue, ceremony honoring Veterans.  We’ve had volunteer groups helping to make Fixin food boxes for Drumsticks on Wheels event this past Saturday.
     And ‘tis the season of Project Santa boxes being set up throughout the community for drop offs.  The Christmas Bell tree is going up at the BOOMER station at Midtown Crossing.  It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. All that’s missing is some white stuff and cold temperatures to really make it feel like the Holidays.
     All of this craziness can get overwhelming, but it also leads me to reflect on how many times God has said to me, “Just listen to My voice and word, and have faith!”  He tells me that so frequently because He knows I need to hear it!  So join me in taking comfort in knowing that God knows the needs of HIS Open Door Mission.


And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 4:19

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

21 November 2016

We Will Run To YOU

These volunteers helped make sack lunches for our Streets of
Omaha program.  What a blessing!
     Volunteer Michael jumped out of the van and ran a sack lunch to a man he saw sitting under a bridge.  He was out volunteering for Open Door Mission’s Streets of Omaha program.
     "I am very grateful for you,” said the man.  “A lot of people don't pay attention to me, or they run the other way when they see me."
     Our Volunteer Michael told him, “We will run TO YOU every time."
     The man's face lit up with joy.
      The sad reality is, the people that we serve are used to people running away from them, not looking them in the eyes.  Some even get called horrible names.  In our ministry, we don't know everyone's situation or story, but we do know that people need love.  Our Streets of Omaha volunteers look forward to sharing that love each and every day.
     Some of our volunteers such as Mike volunteer all day, making lunches in the morning and then handing them out in the afternoon.  Lives of people on the streets as well as our volunteers’ lives are being changed here at Open Door Mission.  We would love you to be a part of that

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

18 November 2016

Socktober


     Recently we received a generous donation of new pairs of socks at Open Door Mission’s Elkhorn Outreach & Donation Center!
     Carter and Delaney Richardson initiated a SOCKTOBER sock drive through their school at North Bend Central and throughout their local community to collect a total of 850 pairs of socks for the homeless.
     What a blessing!

Jesse Pauly
Elkhorn Donation & Outreach Center

17 November 2016

Salute to the Red, White, and Blue...Part 2

     The event was to celebrate Veterans, but it truly was more than that.  This is true about all of Open Door Mission events.  We are creating community on our campus because without it, life change fizzles.
     We are the body of Christ.  We are a vine and Jesus is our source.  We are to lift each other up and share each other's burdens.  We are the gathered and members.  We are brothers and sisters. We are a city on a hill.
     Please remember just how important you are.  People notice when you celebrate them, and they also notice when you are not there.  Our guests and your fellow staff appreciate seeing you go the extra mile, whether you are a volunteer, donor, staff member, or friend of the Mission.
     We are all co-laborers in Christ.  Each of us has our limits and our needs.  Our lives intersect here at Open Door Mission for a reason.  The Lord calls me and you to live a life of worship and love in a world that so desperately needs both.  He calls me and you to remember a people who are trying to forget and whom most have forgotten.
     Take time to help others be a part of community so they can experience lasting life change through the power of Holy Spirit and the aid of Christ’s community.
     These thoughts occurred to me after our service had ended, while I watched folks interacting with our Salute to Red, White, and Blue speaker.  I saw joy in many people's face.  I saw appreciation of the message they had heard.
     One of our homeless veteran guests shared with me that he wished he had gone forward to be recognized, but could not see why a homele

ss guy should receive honor.  This man is a perfect example of someone who needs to be a part of community.

Steve Frazee
Senior Programs Director

16 November 2016

Salute to the Red, White, and Blue...Part 1

     Last week we hosted the Salute to the Red, White, and Blue event to honor homeless veterans.  It was such a wonderful event!
     Sometimes we incorrectly assume that all people will enjoy and accept recognition.  During our service honoring veterans, I know of at least five men in the audience who served, but could not muster the nerve to come before the gathering to be recognized.  Please keep this in mind and go out of your way to thank any veteran you come in contact with.
     In that same mindset, I was reminded of something else that night.  I am at peace at Open Door Mission.  I am comfortable with all of the things that I do and even with the new tasks assigned to me.  It was not always this way, though.  Not too long ago, I did struggle with anxiety related to my work at the Mission, but the Lord brought peace.
     Having come out of that anxiety, I always need to remember to seek out those who are not at ease, and to encourage and build bridges for others.  I should never assume my feeling are yours.
     Thank you all for serving our true Commander and Chief (God our Father, Lord Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit) and those He loves in a manner that brings a smile to His face and grows His kingdom.

To be continue tomorrow, 11/17.

Steve Frazee
Senior Programs Director

15 November 2016

Contagious Joy

     In a world of uncontrollable circumstances we are only in control of one thing: that is our attitude.  We can choose to let unfortunate circumstances take our joy OR we can rise above it and hold on to what is ours to have. 
      This was never clearer to me than the moment I met a woman named K on one of our recent Streets of Omaha outings.  K was full of pain, rejection, and felt so alone.  But the day we met on the streets, and she decided to come to Open Door Mission.  K has had a lot of pain in her heart from years of neglect and abuse, but she held onto one thing and that was her joy!
     She told one of the Streets of Omaha volunteers that her joy comes from Jesus.  K has been at Open Door Mission's Lydia House for a few months now, and her joy is very contagious!  She commented to me one day, "I never thought my anxiety would allow me to be in a place full of people, but I know I am supposed to be here because Jesus replaced my anxiety with more JOY!" 
    The day we met her was definitely a divine appointment.  God has a plan for K and He used the Streets of Omaha Team as a part of that plan.  He placed us exactly where we needed to be, exactly when we needed to be there.  He did this to show his beloved daughter how important she is and to show her how much He loves her!
     God wants to use us all, as long as we allow Him to!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

14 November 2016

HOPE Begins With a Meal...Part 2

Continued from Thursday, 11/10.

     God gave Robert a vision of what his future could look like in two different scenarios.  “One was very dark, but the higher road was full of light,” said Robert.  “God lead me to the higher road.”
     Finally ready to make a change, Robert’s friend dropped him off at Open Door Mission, where he joined the Veterans First Program.  It all started with a hot, nutritious meal in Open Door Mission's cafeteria.  That first meal inspired HOPE for lasting change in Robert.  At first the program was scary; having to confront real obstacles and issues in his life, but eventually the Lord granted Robert freedom.
     “I realized that when I go, the things I have won’t come with me,” Robert said.  “What matters is my relationship with Jesus.”  Robert has truly submitted his life to God.
     At graduation, Robert received a pin that states, “Courageous.”  This inspired Robert to be a better father and grandfather.  He used to be absent, but reconciled and now visits his family (including five grandkids) regularly.
     Currently, Robert is employed full time, is active in the community, and maintains his home.  As a former chef, Robert knows the difference a meal can make.  This is especially true at Open Door Mission as HOPE begins with a meal.  Thank you for your support in providing HOPE for the hungry.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

10 November 2016

HOPE Begins with a Meal...Part 1

     Robert spent over twenty years serving his country in the Army National Guard.  But now he is learning to serve his Lord and Savior.
     Throughout his life, Robert has kept to himself.  As a child, he grew up under the care of his grandparents.  His mother was very young when he was born, and his father was completely out of the picture.  “I grew up in front of a TV set,” described Robert.
     He kept to himself through high school, but shortly after graduating he joined something bigger than himself.  Robert was recruited to the Army National Guard.
     For the first year, Robert performed administrative duties, then was transferred to being a cook.  He started with no experience or knowledge, but soon learned how to provide good meals for hundreds of men.  Robert served his country diligently and proudly, not giving up even on the hardest of days.
     What began as a way to make money grew into a place for Robert to belong.  “I enjoyed being in the service and holding responsibility for my country.”
     However when Robert retired from the Army National Guard, life was not as you’d expect for someone who had faithfully served for over twenty years.  Losing sight of who he was, Robert began drinking heavily which compiled with other circumstances lead to him hitting rock bottom.

To be continued Monday, 11/14.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

09 November 2016

Happy Birthday to Open Door Mission!


     Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday Open Door Mission!  The month of November marks another year of blessings at Open Door Mission.  And may God continue to bless this ministry more than humanly possible to conceive, so that we may continue changing lives for eternity.  Birthday Blessings all around us.
     Here is to another 61 + years of God's work at Open Door Mission, full of lives being transformed by the renewing of the heart and mind!

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

08 November 2016

Learning About Generosity...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 11/7.

     First of all, they help homeless people who suffer in different ways.  Some women and children are affected by domestic violence, and some single adults are suffering from substance abuse and addiction.  So, those people need a safe place to stay, especially during the winter time when they suffer from extreme cold weather.  When they go to Open Door Mission’s shelter, they find a safe place to sleep.
     In addition, Open Door Mission helps people who are hungry.  They provide three meals a day.  They also give food to people who live in poverty.  Through the generosity of Open Door Mission, those people can solve their problem of insufficient food and save money for utilities.
     Finally, the most important thing that the organization does is changing homeless people’s lives by providing education.  They inspire them to attend the job training and life changing programs.  In the impact, those people graduated from school and they find a better job and life.
     The organization asks for a donation from each person who is fortunate enough to have money who can donate it.  So, when you give a gift as a small amount of money to them, you are helping people who need safe shelter, nutritious meals, and education to change their life.  Perhaps you can help to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

     I hope this warmed your heart like it did mine!  Thank you so much to all donors, volunteers, and friends of Open Door Mission!

Kaylene Powell
Open Door Mission Volunteer

07 November 2016

Learning About Generosity...Part 1

     This is a final copy of an essay written by one of my Burmese ESL students this past spring.  She gave me her permission to share it.  We were discussing charity and generosity in class, and my students had to write a five paragraph essay about how a small amount of money can still make a big difference.
     This is her final draft, on the topic she chose for herself (as they all did).  I thought you would be moved in the reading of it.  I was so proud of her progress that term!
     Press on and know that your labor is not in vain.

     Although I can’t help people whenever I want to, I still always want to help people as much as I can.  Last December, I got mail asking people to donate money to Open Door Mission.  Through the letter, we could give $20, $20, or $50.  Also, they listed their website.  So I went online and saw all of their activities.  Then I knew it:  though we donated a small amount of money to Open Door Mission, I was still helping homeless men, women, and children receive shelter beds, nutritious meals, and education to change their life.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/8.

Kaylene Powell
Open Door Mission Volunteer

04 November 2016

Run With Endurance...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 11/3.

     Jesus calls us to keep our eyes fixed on him!  He calls us to continue the race with endurance and to do it with joy!  Jesus was able to see the big picture: salvation and saved souls!  We are not always able to see the big picture, but that is where faith comes in.  We need to believe that God is good and we need to be obedient to His calling no matter what.  We should not say, "Let’s make a deal: if I do this, I will get this."  Instead we should say, “I have faith that you will come through, Lord!”  The joy of what we get to do every day is to share in Christ's love with others.  What a great God we have that would allow us to be a part of it!  There is truly nothing better.
     Open Door Mission family, I pray would you read this and be encouraged and energized for the rest of your day.  Would you, with joy, say this is not a regular day, but a wonderful day!  And our circumstances won't determine our attitude, but Jesus and the joy that we get to join in on this wonderful ministry opportunity every day will!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

03 November 2016

Run With Endurance...Part 1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  –Hebrews 12:1-2
    Last week I read this study during my lunch break, and I wanted to share it with my Open Door Mission family:
     We are to run with endurance the race that is set before us, and we do this by looking to Jesus, who endured the cross and faithfully provided salvation to those who believe (Romans 10:9).  Why did He do this?  For the joy that was set before Him.  The joy of accomplishing His Father’s will and restoring man’s relationship with God.  In the midst of Jesus’ suffering, He had perspective.  He was able to see the big picture—that His sufferings would lead to redemption.  This perspective, this joy, this hope helped Him to be faithful.
     When we face challenges, when we get tired, may we remember what joy it is to share Christ’s love with others—to watch His mercy, grace, and redemption bring hope to the hopeless and save the lost.  –IF:Gathering Discipleship Study
     When I read this, I had already had a day where I needed a good Word from the Lord to press on!  This really gave me encouragement to keep going, to dig deeper on what God is calling me to.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/4.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

02 November 2016

Encouraged by God's Work

     Working in the Development Department, people often share fun stories and notes with me, which is such a blessing.  Sharing what the Lord is doing at Open Door Mission is my job, and I love it!  My prayer is that even when things seem tough, staff, donors, volunteers, and friends of the Mission will be encouraged by these stories of HOPE by knowing that God is on the move!  He is at work, and we get to be a part of it.
     Below is a card that was shared with me.  I don’t know the specifics behind it, but the sweet note inside is sure to lift spirits.  Please read it and be encouraged!


Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

01 November 2016

It's That Time of Year Again...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 10/31.

     Almost every woman wrote on their sheet that they are grateful for their children, families, and other loved ones.  But EVERY piece of paper mentioned the Lydia House Staff in some capacity.  Here are a few that truly blessed my soul:

> "I am thankful for a sober, safe place to stay."
> "I am thankful for the staff and how understanding and caring they are."
> "The staff here are amazing angels that put themselves last to make this a better place, they are loving and they shine for Jesus."
> "I am thankful to live here, I am thankful to have women staff that treat me with respect."
> "I am thankful God gave me the Lydia House to be my safe haven."

     Lastly, I played the song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey.  It has been a blessing to me lately (click here to check it out).

No matter what you are going through,
Remember yesterday's a closing door,
You don't live there anymore.
Say good bye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again!

God is always good and He is always there! 

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

31 October 2016

It's That Time of Year Again...Part 1

     Like most people, the holidays are my favorite time of the year!  Next week in the Lydia House we will once again put our "What are you thankful for?" box at the front desk.  Guests can put what they are grateful for in the box, and as staff we get to read these snippets and be inspired by the level of gratitude in our ladies!
     This morning I was talking to some of our Lydia House ladies, and the conversation turned to a discussion about the condition of our hearts.  I brought up this verse:
Above all else, Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  –Proverbs 4:23
     I told them that this does not mean to close off from other people, but to be aware of what we take in and who we allow to have our hearts.
     They talked in depth about what was in their heart, both good and bad.  I shared things that I myself have kept buried inside for years.  We all shed our fair amount of tears and when we were almost done I asked them to get a jump on this Thankful season and write down what they are grateful for.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/1.

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

28 October 2016

Wheels for Hope

     Did you know that Open Door Mission accepts donated vehicles?  When someone donates a vehicle, that person is providing a huge blessing for an Open Door Mission program graduate and their family!
     These photos are of two wonderful and hardworking ladies who recently received some wheels!  What a blessing!

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

27 October 2016

A Psalm A Day


     I have been reading a Psalm a day, along with my regular devotions, for several weeks now. Today, I was in Chapter 77 where the author wonders if God is still merciful and loving.  He even questions whether God is as compassionate as He once believed Him to be.  The author is in complete anguish, confused about why he is going through his trials.  Doubt is creeping in, and he wonders if God is changing.
     But then the Lord reminds him of the previous miracles and good works that He has done in this man’s life.  God lifts the author out of his doubt.
     So how can I apply this to my life today?  I am battling a cold, which turned into strep throat, and that turned into bronchitis.  God convicted me that I was burning the candle at both ends.  History always repeats itself when I get run down emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I need to trust God that HE has it under control—EVERYTHING.  I need to trust others whom God has entrusted, too.  Trust in God the one who promises to give us life abundantly.  Who is your trust in, today?
     As we go into the busy Holiday Season, do not let Satan distract you from the opportunity to share the Gospel with others.  BE Jesus, so others can SEE Jesus and want to KNOW Jesus.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

26 October 2016

Microwave Message

     One of our Men’s Emergency Center staff members, Jim, does a wonderful job of connecting with the homeless men who come through the Mission’s doors.  He shares a wonderful, unintimidating "Microwave Message" devotional with these guys.
     In only 15 minutes, he shares a passage, asks questions, and invites questions.  By the end of those 15 minutes, these men are connecting the Word, Jim, and each other.
     Jim embodies what our ultimate goal at Open Door Mission is: Be Jesus, so people can See Jesus, so people can Know Jesus.

Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director

25 October 2016

And the Gold Ladle Goes To...

   
 This past weekend we had our Annual Ladle of Love event, and I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make it such a success!
     Alexandria and Rick helped to coordinate pickups, Josh and Scott helped haul tables, Pat and his team helped prepare the Dining Room, men and women in our programs helped bus tables, and the kitchen staff helped make sure all the soups were hot and ready to eat.  That’s not all!  I’m grateful for all staff that attended our event on their day off with their families!
     We had a record-breaking 27 soups from very generous chefs across the area.  The competition for the bronze, silver, and gold Ladle of Love Awards was fierce!
     If you were unable to attend this year, be sure not to miss this fun afternoon next year!

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

24 October 2016

HOPE for Lasting Change

     I had a gentleman come to the Men’s Emergency Center tonight who is originally from Council Bluffs.  He has quite a story of emotional abuse, and admitted that he had recently quit taking care of himself.  At that time did not want to live due to his home situation which was leaving him feeling worthless.
     It's always amazing to see how God can lead someone to the right place and right person at just the right time.  As he continued his story, the man talked about how he had visited the Council Bluffs Family Outreach/Donation Center, and that one particular staff member there was so kind to him.  He was amazed to be treated kindly, to receive free clothes and food, and to be treated like a person who matters.
     This encounter gave him the courage to come to Open Door Mission’s main campus, seeking lasting change.  At this time he, is considering joining the New Life Recovery Program to gain skills for getting out of and staying away from his current self-destructive lifestyle.  Please pray that he chooses to stay and that the Lord continues to work on his heart!

Daniel Jones
Intake Coordinator/Case Manager

21 October 2016

Mindy C. and her GED


     Please join me in congratulating Mindy for obtaining her GED!  She has worked hard on it since starting the New Life Recovery Program in February.  After months of preparation and studying, she took the last three tests (back to back, yesterday and today) and passed them all with amazing scores!
     Mindy was in the most recent Graduation Ceremony, with a GED certificate in one hand and a New Life Recovery Program certificate in the other!  Please keep her in your prayers for God's continued guidance in her life.  Thank you!

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

20 October 2016

Seeing More Clearly

     Dr. Matthew Taylor from Ideal Eye Care in Council Bluffs has been volunteering at Open Door Mission’s Free Health & Healing Clinic.  He works with our guests to help them see more clearly, and boy is it a blessing!  Dr. Taylor does an eye exam and gives them the prescription for their glasses.  Then, Prevent Blindness works with our guests to help them get their glasses.  It's a great partnership that helps our guests see clearer so they can SEE clearer. 
     Oh, and a side note: a couple of weeks ago, after spending the morning in the clinic, Dr. Taylor dashed out to the golf course for the A United Golf Tournament! What a guy!

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Free Health & Healing Clinic Director



19 October 2016

The Strength God Provides...Part 2

     We should also ask while serving, “Do I serve with the strength God provides?”  For if we serve out of our own strength, we will grow tired and weary, eventually burning out.  But if we serve with the strength God provides, we will be rejuvenated, refreshed, and pouring over with the love of Christ. 
     The overall theme I have learned is that living for the Lord requires a stance of humility.  I can say these verses, but if my heart is prideful, I am not apt to listen.  Conversely, if I humble myself and say, “Okay God: I humble myself because you know better,” then I will see God show up every time.
     My prayer is that in this approaching busy holiday season at Open Door Mission, our words be the words of God.  That we would make time and room for God!  That we would stop and praise the Lord, even if we have a to-do list a mile long.  That we would serve in God's strength.  That we would humble ourselves and say, “Lord, may You have Your way.  And would You help me to serve in Your strength, not my own! I need less of me, Lord.”
     I am praying that we would have testimonies to share with each other how God has shown up, and that we will point more people to Jesus in all situations!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

18 October 2016

The Strength God Provides...Part 1

     I was reading this last week and found it encouraging!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.  –1 Peter 4:10-11
     What stuck out in this passage to me is that we are to use whatever gifts we have received to serve others.  We should not envy gifts others have been given, but be grateful for those God has given us and grateful that they can be used to serve others.  Through this attitude, we are being faithful stewards!
     Also, verse 11 talks a lot about humility.  God calls us to humble ourselves and ask honestly, "Would our words be the words of God?"  Pray that we would speak the word of God.

To be continued tomorrow, 10/19.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

17 October 2016

Do not be Afraid

     As I walked to meet a man standing on the side of the road with a sign in his hand, something about his eyes touched my soul.  I could see brokenness, despair, and defeat in his eyes.
     A volunteer from Lifegate Church named Jim must have seen the same look.  He instantly gravitated to the man, and within minutes they had begun sharing stories of life together.  They soon came to find out that Jim and this man had similar stories.
     As Jim spoke with our new found friend, I could hear the compassion, understanding, and love in his voice.  I stood back and watched the two men converse for roughly thirty minutes.  Jim reached out his hand, asking if he could pray, and in response the men reached into his pocket and pulled out a medallion that said "Do not be afraid for I am with you always."  They both smiled and together we prayed. 
    The man told us that he knew God is always watching over him because whenever he reached a time in his life where he felt alone, God sent someone or something into his life as a reminder that he is never alone!
     As Jim and I walked back to the van, we prayed for our new friend again.  God has a perfect plan for this man.  We may not know what it is and we may never know or understand it.  But we will continue to be the facilitators of God’s grace and love.
     We would love to have you come and be a part of Open Door Mission’s Streets of Omaha team where you can share the healing love of Jesus to the broken. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

14 October 2016

Cooking With Marilyn

     A couple of evenings ago, a volunteer named Marilyn came to the Permanent Supportive Housing Building for a fun night!  She taught some of our tenants how to make an easy soup recipe, and afterwards we were all able to enjoy the finished product!
     Our volunteers are amazing at Open Door Mission!  It is so fun to have fellowship with others, learn something new, and see volunteers use their unique gifts to bless others.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

13 October 2016

Busy in Council Bluffs


     Recently I stopped by to visit Open Door Mission’s Council Bluffs Family Outreach & Donation Center and found a lot happening!  The parking lot was full, there were six needy families shopping for essentials inside, and there was a volunteer sorting through donations in the back.
     On top of all of that, our wonderful staff member Phil was helping several more ladies at the front desk, checking them in so that they could go shopping as well.  Way to go Phil!  What a blessing this is to see our newest Outreach Center so full of life, a vibrant place where the Gospel is being shared.

Steve Frazee
Senior Programs Director

12 October 2016

Nine Years...Part 2

     Every job at Open Door Mission is part of the hands and feet of Jesus.  Thank you to all staff members for your servant hearts, hard work, and love for Jesus and the Mission’s guests.  Open Door Mission is blessed to have YOU be a part of this amazing team.
     Thank you for being a part of my journey these past nine years.  If you have worked for one month or nine years, each one of you has been a blessing to me.  I am looking forward to what God has in store for us over the next nine years at the Mission.
     Let me say this: hold on to your hats because God is on the move!  Have you seen what He has done just in the years since I have been here?  This is just the beginning of what God is doing at Open Door Mission!
     This photo is a bit of Mission history.  During construction of the Permanent Supportive Housing Building, we had to walk through Fleet Pride’s back gate to get to the Administration Building.  It was during the rainy season, making the gravel road very muddy.  So I wore these cute boots almost every day!  Just a reminder of how much God has done. 

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

11 October 2016

Nine Years...Part 1

     I love this quote, "When God nudges our heart beyond what we can manage and manipulate on our own, we have an opportunity to act on the faith that we profess to believe.
     God can handle every situation we face.  He is the very essence and definition of what is good.  He will always do what is right and we can trust Him to ultimately not let us fall or fail.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  –Hebrews 11:6
     Nine years ago, I took a leap of faith.  I was asked to lie by my old employers, so I left my job without having another one.  But God provided for me.  He had a plan for me.  I doubted Him for months, but when I finally laid my life down at His feet in complete trust, He gave me a job in full time ministry.

To be continued tomorrow, 10/12.

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

10 October 2016

Ready for the Winter

     The weather hasn’t turned very cold yet.  Because of that, it would be easy for us as Open Door Mission staff to only think about what we need right now.  But, just as Joseph was placed by God in a position of power in Egypt to help save many lives during the unforeseen famine, God has used an AWESOME donor to drop off boots for this winter!
     Look at this photo!  It’s only one of several sections of boots.  Nearly all of these boots are new, sized together, paired, and organized neatly and ready for homeless men this winter.  To my knowledge, Open Door Mission has never had a blessing like this before the winter season even begins!
     I have seen sizes 9.5 to 13, but there are probably many more I haven’t seen yet.  Please lift up a praise to our God for covering us from HEAD TO TOE!  He always provides, and He sure is smart!

Taylor Clinch
Rebuilding Lives Center Director