19 July 2018

God's Love Made Known

     In our Conflict Resolution class this morning, I was joined by six new ladies. Having new people in my class always excites me because those are new opportunities to help someone who is trying to get their life back on track. This also means six new people to pray for and encourage. 
     Anyone who has ever taught a class here will tell you that we create relationships with our guests.  It's not just a class, but an opportunity for ministry, friendship, and a chance to show them God's love. They are wrestling with things that are sometimes much more tragic then we can imagine. 
     One of the new members of the class today commented that she was able to recently give her testimony at our Friends of the Mission luncheon, and was so touched by the love that she saw on the faces of those in that room. She said, "They had no idea what my background was. I could see their hearts breaking for me as I told my story. I really sensed how much they cared. I don't think that I have ever felt so much love in one room". 
     One of the most amazing blessings about the Mission is to be able to witness how God uses all kinds of people and all kinds of situations here to make His love known. 







Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

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18 July 2018

Praying is POWERFUL

     At Open Door Mission, we set aside a time once a week to pray for our leadership team. 
     Human Resources Director Amy Buss left a message of thankfulness for all of us praying for Senior Leadership.
     I have had Candace and Amy both come up and ask if I would bring a prayer request to those that meet to pray for them.
     Prayer is such a game changer!  We get to literally TALK TO GOD!  Are anyone else's minds blown at that? As I learn more about God's character the more I'm convinced that it is honoring to HIM to honor those in authority over us. Not only honor them, but fight for them! 
     If our leaders are healthy, then our organization is healthy. Pray these qualities continue to blossom from our leaders. Let's continue to lift up our leaders! God put them into a position of authority with heavier burdens to carry.







Josh Smith
Heartland Hands Coordinator










17 July 2018

The Way, The Truth, The Life

     Our Sunday morning devotion led by our new staff member Terry, was a great encouragement. Terry did an excellent job of opening up The Word of God to our dear friends (guests at the Garland Thompson Men's Center).
     He shared compassionately and clearly the Gospel message from key verses in Deuteronomy 30:19-20, 1 Corinthians 15:2-4, and John 14:6. He encouraged the men to choose life by choosing Jesus to be Lord and Savior. Because of that, three men responded to our gracious Lord and His Word of Grace, two made professions of faith in Jesus and one made a reaffirmation of his faith.
     To God alone be the glory and let's pray for wisdom as we and the Holy Spirit follow up with these dear guests. Thank you each for your service and prayers for the eternal glory of Christ and His Kingdom.







Ed Schoenberger
Garland Thompson Men's Center Floor Support 
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16 July 2018

Fresh Veggies

Straight from Open Door Mission’s garden: 71 lbs. of cucumbers and 4 lbs. of peppers - and this is only the beginning! 







Garry Struebing
Gardener 

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13 July 2018

A Tale of Two Summers Part 2

Summer is a more challenging season than winter for people who live in the streets. 

A Tale of Two Summers began on this blog two weeks ago. Here’s today’s installment featuring the story of Paul from last summer: 

Paul received two mosquito bites on his hand while sleeping on the cool concrete of a drainage ditch. It seemed like no big deal. But when he scratched them, life on the summer streets meant those bites were open to the elements. Paul watched with alarm one morning as red lines of infection climbed up his arm. For homeless people seeking a cool place to sleep in a park or wooded area, mosquitoes and ticks not only keep them awake all night, but also spread diseases or leave wounds that become infected – as happened to Paul.

Paul made his first visit to the Open Door Mission Free Health & Healing Clinic in time to clean and treat his wounds last summer. In the last year, he’s come back to the Clinic for a few basic needs like glasses and blood pressure checks. Just a few weeks ago, Paul decided to explore our residential recovery programs, where he is focused on sobriety, job training, and educational skills. The added benefit to the public for someone brought to sobriety and job readiness is an additional $21,745 to the $35,000 per person, per year, for rescuing a homeless person from the streets.

It’s a tale of two summers for our hurting and homeless neighbors. One summer they can be at great risk from the heat; the next they can be sheltered and on their way to a better life. Thanks to people like you, the tale is getting better for hundreds of people in need this year. 







Candace Gregory
President/CEO




12 July 2018

Jesus Is Lord and Savior

     During devotions in the day room at the Garland Thompson Men's Center, three men made professions of faith in Jesus.
     During dinner time while I was on cafeteria supervision, a 62 year old man with a rosary around his neck accepted Jesus in the hallway; his name is Bob. 
     We had a wonderful chapel service at the Garland Thompson Men's Center where I led the singing and prayer. Terry, our new staff member, did a great job sharing the word from Jeremiah 29:11. I closed the service with a short Gospel presentation and prayer resulting in one man accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior and one man reaffirmed his faith in Christ. 
     Terry prayed with these two young men after the service. To God alone be all the glory for Jesus wonderful grace changing lives!! Please pray for growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ as we follow these men up. 2 Peter 3:18, Psalm 115:1, Romans 1:16







Ed Schoenberger 
Garland Thompson Men's Center Floor Support

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11 July 2018

A New Car

Today our friend Eunice received a car and we are so excited! Thank you to our friends who have donated a form of transportation to Open Door Mission. A car is a vital step in being able to go to a job, go back to school, pick up children, and so much more. 







Russell Janssen
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

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10 July 2018

Note to Self

Just a cute note from a programmer to herself for the week! We all need to encourage ourselves from time to time!







Liana Martinez 
Case Manager

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09 July 2018

Little Caesar's Love Kitchen

     Little Caesar's Love Kitchen stopped by to deliver cheese and pepperoni pizza, a favorite at Open Door Mission! When asking the men and women what they thought, they responded with two thumbs up. They only question they had? 




Do we have enough for dinner? ☺







Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist


06 July 2018

Donate Socks and Underwear!

     A fresh pair of socks and underwear are hot commodities at Open Door Mission. So often we have men, women, and children coming in with nothing but the clothes on their backs. As CEO Candace Gregory says, "There's nothing like putting on a new pair of underwear and socks that no one else has worn."
     We are honored that Riverside Presbyterian Parish hosted a sock and underwear drive.
 "People might not think that it changes a life, but it sure does instill dignity to someone when you pass those to someone. It's a basic need-a basic necessity," says Gregory. 
     Reverend Suzanne Gorhau, the Pastor of the Parish leads a group that deeply cares for our hurting and homeless neighbors. "We wanted to share God's love. Sometimes sharing God's love means sharing a cup of cold water, sometimes it means giving money after a disaster, and sometimes sharing God's love means giving someone a new pair of socks and underwear." 
     We are so thankful for Riverside and their commitment to help transform lives through hosting a sock and underwear drive! 







Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

05 July 2018

Donate Treasure!

     Open Door Mission received an email from State Farm Agent Tyler Peschong, expressing interest in
Open Door Mission being his business' nonprofit of the month. We accepted his offer and were excited to partner with him for the month of June. 
     Tyler took his involvement to the next level. He not only gave a gift through his State Farm Insurance Agency, he took his involvement a step further by asking if he could come down for a tour and an interview that he could share with his social media followers. What a cool moment to show our guests at the Mission people in the community care about them and are in support of their purpose here.We are thankful for business' like Tyler's who give back to their community!
     You can find the video here.







Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

03 July 2018

Donate Water!


    

     Recently Open Door Mission was in a bit of a pickle - our bottled water inventory was running dangerously low. Hundreds of bottled waters are given daily to the homeless who often frequent the front desks seeking hydration and the streets ministry passing out bottled waters in order to hydrate the homeless who are living in triple degree weather. 
     To say we were in a bit of a pickle 
might actually be an understatement. We were in real trouble. 
We advised our needs every way we knew how: television, radio, and digitally we asked for help. Enter donors. Since our call-to-action, our community has rallied together to provide a need that will SAVE LIVES! 
     Do not underestimate the power of a donation as simple as bottled water. That bottled water will be the difference between life and death for some. So THANK YOU to our donors. We do not do what we do without your support!















Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

02 July 2018

Donate Clothing!

     This week, I want to focus the blog on our amazing donors. Whether they are donating their time, talent, or treasure, we are SO lucky to have each and every one of them. 

     Our friend Kate faced a difficult loss two years ago- the passing of her daughter, Emma. In honoring her memory, Kate made the brave decision to host a "stuff-a-truck". Members of the community, friends, and family could give clothing, food, water, etc. and she would end up transporting all donations to the Timberlake Outreach Center - 1,441 pounds of housewares, food, clothes, and 20 cases of water in total. 
     Kate could have chosen many different ways to react to her daughter's passing, but she chose to honor Emma in a way that not only helps hurting individuals and families, but honors her memory in a beautiful way. 
     Although we did not know Emma personally, we can tell from her Mother's actions she was a kind, compassionate young lady. Thank you Kate for choosing Open Door Mission to honor Emma. 







Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

29 June 2018

A Tale of Two Summers

     Summer is a more challenging season than winter for people who live in the streets.

     In fact, summer is not necessarily a time our homeless neighbors look forward to. Here’s a tale of two summers, starting with the story of Mark from last summer:

     Mark was stumbling through the crowds outside the College World Series as dehydration from drinking, added to the heat, was bringing on side effects he’d never had before from his medications. For the homeless, dehydration in the summer is actually a bigger cause of death than exposure in the winter.

     But this summer, a friend began bringing Mark to lunch at Open Door Mission’s Garland Thompson Men’s Center to help him escape the heat and to get at least one nourishing meal a day. Today Mark is sober, out of the heat and in recovery at Garland Thompson Men’s Center in our New Life Recovery Program. His life and treatment are more stable than they’ve been in years. And the public benefit for bringing a homeless person off the streets is $35,000 per person, per year.

     It’s a tale of two summers for our hurting and homeless neighbors. One summer some people can be stumbling and wounded through a haze of illness or intoxication; the next they could be sheltered and in recovery.

     It’s a tale of two summers, and thanks to people like you, the tale is getting better at Open Door Mission for hundreds of people in need this year.







Candace Gregory
President/CEO



28 June 2018

What Does Your Check Say About You?

     I am privileged to help out processing incoming checks for the Development Department. Some days (and seasons) we receive lots of checks, and sometimes, not so many. During the past few years I have gotten to “know” our donors through their checks. It is easy to tell someone’s interest, beliefs or favorite sport/team by the artwork on their check. We do get a lot of “faith based” checks, the Huskers definitely rule college sports, but there are others that express other interests. I wonder if people realize that their checks act as a billboard for their concerns, interests and beliefs. Who it is written to shows what they value.
     The variety of handwriting is amazing…some are neatly hand printed, you can tell those that learned the Palmer method of cursive and then the IT people who have the computer print them off. Cursive writing has an unbelievable amount of styles, from readable to very unreadable. Spidery handwriting brings memories of my grandparents writing…people still faithful in their giving. Bold writing, done with a flair, makes me think of a younger group of people. They may be just starting their support of Open Door Mission. Then there is the rushed or scribbled handwriting… are these people really busy or just in a hurry? I notice that they did take time to make sure Open Door Mission is supported in their mission.
     Then there is the cash donations, they are equally telling. The person that carefully tape 6 quarters to the receipt…how important to him that he give back to God. Crumpled dollar bills, carefully soothed out but still showing wear and tear of a lot of use now go to feed a child. Even tens and twenties carefully counted and wrapped in a sheet paper before being mailed have stories to tell.
      These checks and money are representative the vast variety of donors that support Open Door Mission. So whether the donation is quarters or $10,000 checks each gift is precious in God’s sight and in ours. The widow’s mite or the rich man’s abundance, all come together to change the lives of the homeless and hopeless. Thank you to all our donors, you donation makes a different.







Maggie Cope
Gift In Kind Coordinator

27 June 2018

Daughters of the King

     Those that know me know I love to teach. Teaching some ladies at the Lydia House is one of my
greatest blessings & joy. Recently I did a module on self-worth, emphasizing they were “Princesses” because they are “daughters of the King of Kings”. They find their worth in Christ, they are princesses & therefore they can do anything because the King of Kings supports them.
     I gave them a saying my niece had designed for me and a tiara to wear. I was surprised at the impact that simple little gift made. Now when anyone joins my class the “regulars” make sure the new students get a saying & tiara too. It is a blessing to teach princesses.







Maggie Cope
Gift In Kind Coordinator


26 June 2018

Qualities of a Persevering Team

     I shared this today to Lydia House Staff.  This message was preached on Sunday and it really encouraged me.  I think of these are also qualities of a persevering team!
     The one that spoke to me the most was spurring on the fainthearted, not giving up when things get hard but pressing into God and the ministry He gave us.

Colossians 4:7-18
Qualities of a Persevering Church—CityLight Church Pastor Gavin Johnson

 1. Creates a culture of encouragement
       - Colossians 4:7 - Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear           brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.
       - We are our own worst critics
       - We do well to encourage each other!

  2. Lives as a spiritual family
       - Colossians 4:9 - He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear                   brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is                         happening here.
       - They are rooting for each other

   3. Works as a diverse team
        - Colossians 4:10-11 - My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his                      greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received                  instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus,                  who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews                    among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a              comfort to me.
        - What are gaps you see?
        - What passion do you have?

    4. Devoted to God’s Word
         - Colossians 4:12 - Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ                 Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that                 you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
         - Church has a high view of God’s Word
         - Love the Bible and not be stiff, rigid and angry.  Still show the JOY of                 Jesus

    5. Celebrate other Churches
         - Colossians 4:16 - After this letter has been read to you, see that it is                 also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the               letter from Laodicea.
         - Not in competition

     6. Spurs on the fainthearted
         - Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have                      received in the Lord.”
         - A persevering church spurs on the faint-hearted.  It’s about completing             the ministry you have received from the Lord.  Not giving up because                 it’s hard.  Not going through the motions, it’s pressing into God even                 more.

      7. Stays rooted in the Gospel of Grace
         - I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains.                     Grace be with you.
         - Jesus persevered!



I pray we would be people that give it our all, that we would not give up because we have a bump in the road, but instead would say Yes Lord I am going to complete the ministry you gave me!







Trudy Woodward 
Lydia House Director


25 June 2018

Heat and Homeless Neighbors

     Do you remember your school days? Sometime in April you began to count down how many days were left until summer vacation. You knew summer would promise a few weeks of freedom from the everyday grind, and you couldn’t wait for it to come.

     What a lot of us – even those of us who ended up working at Open Door Mission –  didn’t know then was that, across the United States, summer actually proves to be more deadly than winter for our homeless neighbors. They are in far greater risk for hypothermia or heatstroke, especially if they have no access to some place where they can get in out of the sun. Medication like antidepressants can prevent the body from sweating, contributing to overheating. Heat also tends to make breathing problems worse.

     Many homeless people have no access to fresh water, as they are barred from public restaurants and stores. Even when they do have such access, many homeless people won’t drink enough because they don’t have easy access to a restroom on the streets. 

     Simple food, water and shelter at Open Door Mission can make a life-changing difference for people spending this summer in the streets. That’s why we’re so grateful to a generous community who step up to offer what they can to help neighbors in need beat the heat! Thanks so much for your caring hearts!







The Staff at Open Door Mission

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22 June 2018

Dental Equipment for Open Door Mission


     I just got word that a dentist is donating over $10,000.00 worth of dental equipment: chair, lamps, portable dental unit, x-ray, etc. A dentist I contacted will pick all of the equipment up and deliver it here to the Mission, THIS WEEK. He will also have a technician with him to set everything up and make sure all is in working order for us! 

GOD IS SO GOOD!!


     I have contacted the Omaha District Dental Society President and she is sure we can get dentists to come volunteer two (or more) hours a month at different times! Steve Frazee, Open Door Mission's Senior Program Director and I are working on the location of the new dental clinic, but I'm too excited tell you all that IT'S HAPPENING!!!










Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health and Healing Center Director

21 June 2018

Renewed Life

     Yesterday, a young lovely lady came to me after shopping and said, "I want to say thanks for everything you guys do here. I was here 6 moths ago and I was hopeless  and homeless. That day I felt discouraged and disoriented, but you listened to me and prayed for me. I felt the love of God and since then, I started going to church, God gave me a good job, I just got my apartment and I feel great, loved and hopeful."
     This is what God is doing every day in the life of so many people. I am so blessed to serve here at the Timberlake Outreach Center at Open Door Mission. God is in control. We as servants of Him just have to want a personal relationship with him, want to be vessels of his Love. Just wake up every morning with the expectation that God has something greater for you every day, so that you can be a blessing to every person you encounter.  

     SMILE AND REJOICE! JESUS LOVES YOU, AND THE BEST PART OF IT? HE WANTS TO BE YOUR CENTER. 

     THE LORD WILL FULFILL HIS PURPOSE; YOUR LOVE, O LORD ENDURES FOREVER. PSALM 138:8







Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

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20 June 2018

Testimony of a Changed Life

     One of the fun things about my job is getting to interact with volunteers and hear their hearts, learn about why they have come to serve and be able to thank them for making a difference.  We have very faithful volunteers and prayer warriors that meet monthly and are called Friends of the Mission.  This group of people are amazing, are high energy, unbelievably honest and so, so caring.  They meet the first Tuesday of each month in our Chapel at 11:30am. They eat lunch together, hear a testimony, listen to us talk about upcoming Mission events and they finish the meeting by participating in a service project.

     This past Month, we were blessed by a testimony from Ariel who lives at the Lydia House, speaking about the path that brought her to Open Door Mission.   I have seen Ariel around campus, but had not had the opportunity to hear her story.   She talked to us about tough times growing up as she turned to drugs after being raped as a teenager.  She became a mother at 18 and again at 21.  Eventually her children were taken away and she ended up getting arrested and running away from Drug Court.  BUT, she turned herself in.  When she chose to turn herself in, it was the beginning of good changes in her life.  In jail, she got involved in a Bible Study and after some time when she saw the judge, she was granted early release to come to Open Door Mission.  This is where it gets good.  The rest of the message that Ariel gave was about how she KNOWS that God loves her, how she is growing in her relationship with Christ and how that relationship is changing everything!  She is seeing her children regularly and rebuilding her relationship with them.  She plans on going to college to become a counselor and wants to help others.  

     It takes a LOT to stand on a stage with 60+ people staring at you and share your story.  It’s hard to admit failures and talk about struggles.  It’s difficult to be open and honest with strangers and lay it all out there.  Yet, this is what Ariel managed to do, to share with us so that she could get to the part of the story that is current, where Jesus is in her life and is giving her HOPE each and every day.   

     I was honored to be there at that Friends of the Mission meeting to get to hear Ariel’s story, to tear up with her as she talked about early life, to feel the joy and confidence about where she is at now in life and to pray with the Friends of the Mission group for God’s will to be done in Ariel’s life moving forward.

     Come and join us for Friends of the Mission the first Tuesday of each month in the Chapel at 11:30am.  It is time well spent and you will be blessed!







Amy Harvey
Community Relations Director




19 June 2018

God's Got This.

     Do you ever have one of those days where nothing goes right? Yesterday, from the moment I woke up, chaos ensued and trended into the work day. Mondays, am I right? 
     I took a moment to breathe, prayed for a bit, answered some emails, and prepared for my Monday class with students from the prep and basic (two different levels in the New Life Recovery Program) ladies. I missed a few weeks due to various reasons, so I wanted to reacquaint myself with the material. Also, I have never taught with both prep and basic together in class! We were on week 4 of lesson plans which I read through, prayed about, and prepared answers for. 
     When entering the Lydia House, I was greeted by a warm "You're back!" which was good to hear. Even if they don't realize, I missed seeing them every week. Doing life with these ladies is one of my favorite parts of my job. 
     We watch DVDs in class, and in order to watch these discs, I must have the remotes. Could you guess what happened next? I bet you can.... 
     I cannot find these remotes ANYWHERE. I put three women on the hunt. Class starts at 9:30 and by 9:35 I cannot find them. My first time back in WEEKS, my first time with over half of the students in the room. This was not an ideal situation. Without remotes, there is no class, unless we started the dvds all over again. I felt out of control of the situation, not prepared, and quite frankly, a little frazzled (the events of the day were quickly piling up). 
     One of the women suggested, "We can just start over again. I don't mind. And most of the ladies in here haven't seen the material before week 4." 
     It is normally not my policy to start from the beginning again (due to the way the course is set up), yet for some reason, this idea stuck. I felt it put on my heart that it was a good idea to start over. I didn't look much into that heart feeling, I just wanted class to start! 
     After receiving the okay from the entire class to start at the beginning, I put in the dvd. The class was running behind, we did not get the chance to do introductions, but we watched the disc material. After the dvd portion of class, the floor opened up for discussion. We had a great talk, but unfortunately was not long enough. 
     I sat after class disappointed in myself. Reviewing how class could have gone smoother, how if the remotes were found, class could have gone on as it should have. Praying and asking God why class was so rocky on my first week back with all of these new ladies. I wanted to make a good impression, to show them I am on their team and I had no chance to do so! 
    God truly enjoys showing up in those moments and this was of no exception. I had a young lady leave after class and come back in. I apologized for how class went, that next week would be better. She looks at me and said it was okay. 
     I asked how she was doing and she said, "I'm not doing so great. Someone close to me just died. At first I was sad. Now i'm just really angry. So i'm glad we started the dvds over again." (Did I mention this class is Anger Management!?) 
     We were able to have a conversation on the content of what was said on the dvd and talked about how it was applicable to her life in this moment. I asked her if we could pray together, and she said yes. So we were able to pray for her loved one together and what a beautiful moment of God's goodness. I am so thankful for her and that moment! 
     Even in the utter chaos or when you don't feel you are in control, I myself am still learning that God is in control. He knew a young lady in class needed to hear the message of disc 1 Anger Management over again. And without the remotes going missing, that would not have happened. He knew the needs of every lady in that class including mine. I am thankful for His reminder! 
     


     The takeaway? God's got this. 







Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist