28 September 2016

Chosen in Love

     I found this to be very encouraging, and wanted to share it with all of my Open Door Mission friends.
     J.D. Greear said, "What is important is that you live with the assurance that God chose you, in love, before the foundation of the world.  And that if He chose you before the world began, He will never give up on you for any reason.  He is working His good plan even in your darkest moments.  And you can boldly proclaim the Gospel to those around you because God determined those are the means in which He will save souls."
J.D. Greear is the Lead Pastor of  The Summit Church of
Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina.
     What a great encouragement this is, to stay the course no matter what!  There will be times when we as humans will fail, when we feel like giving up, but God will NEVER give up on us.  He chose us specifically, and that should inspire great hope within us.
     Ephesians 1:4-10 says, “For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.  With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
     Take heart, my fellow workers!  God has called us to a higher purpose, and He is using us to save souls.  What better calling could there be?

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

27 September 2016

Packages of Diapers

     This is James.  He is in a community service program at Lakeside Hospital, and a recent assignment was to choose a non-profit in the area to support in some way.  We are so blessed that James chose Open Door Mission’s Lydia House, and donated 15 packages of diapers!  These will be used for homeless babies staying at the Mission, and provide great relief to their mothers.
     Daily, we are reminded of how generous a community we live in and how much God blesses us with His favor.

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

23 September 2016

A Tale of Faithfulness

     I recently was able to witness a volunteer bless a woman who was staying at the Lydia House. 
     Early in the week, this woman was accepted for an apartment that she loved, but the complex required a $180 administration fee that she couldn't pay.  This woman had already faced SO many setbacks in securing housing, and was beginning to lose hope.  Her assistance was on the edge of expiration, pending on if she signed a lease, but she couldn't sign until the fee was paid
     The next day, this woman and some other ladies from the Lydia House were praying into this situation during lunch when a volunteer came over and asked what they were praying for.  They explained the story to him, and the volunteer graciously decided to pay the fee for her.  She signed the lease the following morning!
     Each time this woman had faced a setback in her search for housing, her first response had been to pray and trust God.  It was amazing to see her faithfulness, this volunteer’s faithfulness, and (of course) God’s faithfulness!

Ashley Carlson
Lydia House Case Manager

22 September 2016


     Shwin lives at the Lydia House with her children and has been such a hard worker since the day she moved in.  Last week, Shwin obtained her GED!  This is such an exciting and well-deserved accomplishment!
     Shwin studied in the evenings after work and on the weekends in the Library.  Her persistence and dedication payed off when she passed her last test!
     Please join me in congratulating her!  With her dedication and hard work, I am confident that God will continue to bless Shwin’s efforts to provide for her family. 

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

21 September 2016

Day of Caring

     Last month the Volunteer was able to be a part of the United Way Day of Caring!  This is an annual event where different businesses and individuals sign up through United Way to volunteer throughout the day at different agencies, showing their support for the community.
     We are so grateful for each volunteer that stopped by that day, dressed in their Day of Caring shirts!  Our hope and prayer is that these volunteers loved their experience and LOVE what we do here at Open Door Mission, so they will tell others about it and return (with friends!).  Hopefully this was accomplished.
     Additionally, THANK YOU to the staff who worked with the Day of Caring volunteers!  Many amazing staff members stepped up alongside our Volunteer Department to make this day a success.  
     We are thankful for the opportunity to tell others about what God is doing here at Open Door Mission and to have such a supportive team of co-workers that are willing to jump in when needed and lend a hand in spreading that message!  Don’t miss out on next year’s United Way Day of Caring!

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

20 September 2016

Desperate for Hope

     I wanted to share this story from a few days ago and ask for prayers.
     At our Administration Building’s front desk, I received a call from a man begging for prayer.  He quoted scripture accurately as he described his desperate need of help.  I prayed with him and his wife over the phone, reminding them both that God loves them and wants the best for them in all situations.  Then I encouraged them to continue praising God even when faced with troubles and to cast all of their cares on the Lord.
     This conversation stuck with me into the night, and I kept thinking of this man and woman.  They are living in a motel room, far from home, and desperate for affordable shelter as they face many medical difficulties.
     I started feeling an overwhelming sensation of thankfulness.  It is so easy to forget where I have been, but moments like these remind me of how good God is, no matter what.
     Would you please keep this couple in your prayers?  Ask that they would find appropriate housing for their situation and they would rely upon the Lord.

Cynthia Mier

19 September 2016

The Pain of Hunger...Part 2

Continued from Friday, 9/16.

     We packed his back pack full of bottled water and sack lunches.  I talked to him about seeking shelter and gave him Open Door Mission’s number.  His eyes were full of tears as he gave a final hug, and I asked once more if I could call Open Door Mission to come pick him up.  He assured me he had a plan for his night and would be fine. 
     This boy didn't say much or tell us much about his life story.  He did teach us about being full of thankfulness, that life is precious, and that sometimes all you need is a hug and to know that someone truly cares about you. 
     He left knowing that he was loved, cared for, prayed for, and (most importantly) he left hearing that there is a Man named Jesus Who came to this earth, died on a cross for him, and Who loves him more than he can imagine.  This boy left knowing that God sends people like our Open Door mission Streets of Omaha Volunteers to show love, acceptance, and grace to those we meet.  That is the overflow of the same that has been shown to us.
     Yes it started with a sack lunch and water but it ended with this hungry boy feeling full, accepted, and LOVED!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

16 September 2016

The Pain of Hunger...Part 1

     You know that feeling you get when you haven't eaten all day?  You get a low grumble in your stomach that eventually turns into a slight cramping pain.  The thought of that feeling came to my mind as I spoke to a young 18 year old boy who shared with me that he hadn't eaten in days.
     Of course, our Streets of Omaha volunteer team handed him a sack lunch, but then this boy just sat still, looking at the sandwich he had pulled out of the lunch.  After a moment, I asked him why he didn't want to take a bite.  His response stabbed my heart like a knife as he said, "I am trying to decide how much I should eat.  I know I will be hungry later."
     As I tried to fight back tears, one of our volunteers asked him if we could hug and pray for him.  He agreed, and we each gave him a hug.  It was one of the tightest hugs I think I have ever received.

To be continued on Monday, 9/19.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

15 September 2016

Labor Day Cookout

     Our Permanent Supportive Housing family had a Labor Day cook out last weekend, and it was such a wonderful time of fellowship!  It is awesome to gather together as a community, to support one another and hear how God is working in each other’s lives.  We did have to eat inside because it was so humid, though!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

14 September 2016

God is at Work

     I got to throw a PARTY in the elevator last week.  One of our New Life Recovery Program graduates and long- time tenants at the Rebuilding Lives Center got a full time job!
     It has been a long road for him, but now he will be working two different jobs.  His financial picture has completely shifted, and he is so grateful!  Praise God for His provision in each of our lives, always at just the right time. 
When it seems hopeless for those we serve, God is at work. 
When everything is at a stall, God is at work.
When we have done all we can do, God is at work. 
When .... Ever, God is at work.
     Remember to celebrate God's work with and for those we serve!

Taylor Clinch
Rebuilding Lives Center Director

09 September 2016

United in Prayer

     Last week, we had a prayer meeting of many men of all ages and from all parts of the United States and abroad.  We all came together for a powerful time of prayer before the Cornhusker AA Roundup.
     This truly was a joy to see people from all backgrounds praying together.  There is nothing quite like the Body of Christ living as true disciples of Christ.  Not only was this a beautiful sight to see and a special time to be a part of, but it was a great reminder of how God is changing lives and destinies!

Pat McKernan
Garland Thompson Men’s Center Director

08 September 2016

A Fresh Start

     "There are no strangers to me, Jessica.  There are only friends I haven't met yet."
     These words were spoken to me, followed by a big hug full of gratitude, by a man we met on the streets.  The volunteers and I listened to his story which he told with conviction and pain in his eyes.  What was the most touching was when he told us about his new found relationship with Jesus and his plan to change his life. 
     I will never forget the look he gave me when he said, "Thank you, ladies, for showing love to me today.  It is a reminder of Christ’s love for me."  The look in his eyes spoke to me more than the words out of his mouth.  His eyes told his story.
     "I am hurting, and I am hungry but I am not ALONE,” he said.  “I am a new creation, I am set apart for a bigger purpose, I am child of God.  He protects me, loves me, and changes me every day.  I am loved!"
     We spent 45 minutes talking to our new friend. In those minutes, we laughed, cried, prayed, and hugged our new friend and brother in Christ.
     Two days later, we were on our way to another Streets of Omaha location when I heard someone shouting my name.  I looked over and there was our friend, getting ready to get on a bus heading to his fresh start.  I got out of the van and gave him a big hug.  We prayed again and said farewell as he boarded his bus.
     These moments will never be forgotten.  To think it all started with a lunch. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

07 September 2016

Thirsting for Something More...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday, 9/6.

     People encouraged him to come down to Open Door Mission to get help, which he did reluctantly.  After weeks of debating of whether or not to join the New Life Recovery program, Dillon recalls the day he looked up to the cross in Open Door Mission’s chapel. At that moment, he sought Christ with his whole heart and  became a born-again Christian. The hurt he felt was gone. He learned to let go of the anger and bitterness.
     Dillon did join the New Life Recovery Program and graduated in January. Dillon now has a restored relationship with God and an understanding of who Jesus Christ is. He draws from that cup every day, inviting the Holy Spirit into his life. Dillon says, "If I don't call on the Holy Spirit daily, I will be prideful and destroy myself." He has learned to ask the Holy Spirit to be inside of him and help him make life-giving choices. 
     He now works at a local recovery center where he gets to serve others. Daily, he sees reflections of his former self full of anger and emptiness walk through the doors in need of help. He is thankful for Open Door Mission as he has found that missing piece, Jesus Christ. With Jesus at the center of his life, Dillon has rebuilt his relationship with his daughter, goes to work every day, prays and believes in God.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

06 September 2016

Thirsting for Something More...Part 1

     Following the divorce of his parents at the tender age of three, Dillon bounced from foster home to foster home enduring years of pain and physical abuse. He attempted to live with each parent but living with either a violent father or a drug-addicted mother didn't make safe alternatives for a child.
     He recalls his father jumping from girlfriend to girlfriend all the while abusing him and his sister. On the other hand, his attempt at living with his mother and step-father resulted in Dillon selling drugs in middle school. At age 13, he was placed in a youth correctional facility. 
     Dillon's rebellious life continued into adulthood. His daughter was born when he was 32 and he realized he couldn't live a double life of dealing drugs and raising a family. The time had come to pick one. He got clean and sober for three years but there was still a piece that was missing that led him back to drugs and alcohol.
     He started his own tree company and kept busy with work but thirsted for so much more. He felt a tremendous void in his life, one that in the past was filled with drugs and alcohol.  Dillon’s negative thoughts were consuming him and his life was falling apart.

To be continued Wednesday, 9/7.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

02 September 2016

Bingo Night

     Once a month I hold a Bingo Night for my tenants at the Permanent Supportive Housing
building, and they LOVE it!  Our most recent Bingo Night was a little different in a HUGE way.
     One of my tenants found out some horrible news about his brother, and he was devastated.  This man and his wife asked if we would be willing to pray for his brother, and I said yes.  We took a break from bingo, and everyone and held hands in a circle.  Together as a family, we stood in agreement in the power of prayer.  I started us off, but many others prayed in between, feeling called to pray in that moment. 
     About 25 of us took a small moment to powerfully stand together and pray for this precious family.  We stood together as a community in Christ's love.  It was a beautiful scene; one of such beauty that a photo could not capture!  Praise God for unexpected prayer meetings, community with other believers, and the spiritual maturity of our tenant at the Permanent Supportive Housing building.  My heart is exploding!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

01 September 2016

Sharing the Gift of Salvation

The Water's Edge is one of many churches who join Open Door
Mission in helping hungry and homeless men, women,
and children.
     I was homeless for about a year and a half, travelling through many different cities across Iowa and Nebraska.  Please allow me to share a little about my experience.
     One major thing I learned is that is no way for a Christian organization to force homeless men and women into finding Christ.  They simply need to be there as a shoulder to lean on in the darkest of days for these hurting people.
     Now the beauty of God's grace is that He led me to Open Door Mission, where God is truly working and where they have figured out that forcing Jesus doesn’t work.  My life was forever changed at this place, and I now have my daughter, a full time job, and a wife that I love with all my heart.  I have a great church and an ongoing relationship with the men who helped me at the Mission.  My mentor was actually the one who officiated our wedding.
     The reason Open Door Mission worked is because they have the support of multiple churches that don't only contribute financially, but also volunteer their time and extend helping hands to build personal relationships.  These relationships are what help men and woman make conscious decisions to follow Christ willingly.
     Religion isn't forced upon as a condition to stay at Open Door Mission.  Christ is openly and frequently mentioned, but not in a mandatory manner.
     The churches affiliated with the Mission that I have attended are selflessly devoting their time and efforts towards helping the hungry and homeless.  Now, by the grace of God, I'm here today and can say that the journey was all worth all I’ve learned.  It’s a privilege to be an example of how God can work on you, taking you from depths of the valley to the highest of mountains, and truly change your heart.
     I hope that this blesses anyone who reads it, from volunteers to donors to church partners to any seeking help.  I felt it was necessary to share my personal experience, and I hope it provides a better understanding of what needs to happen so that more men, women, and children can have and share in the gift of salvation.

Open Door Mission Guest

31 August 2016

Being Jesus With Skin On

     I wanted to say a huge, “Thank you!” to Brian Springer, Open Door Mission’s head chef.  He showed up a couple of weeks ago to mow my daughter and son-in-law’s grass, despite the the horrible heat and humidity!
     My daughter and her husband are brand new parents, their baby is just days old.  So they're still trying to figure out how to juggle everything.  Knowing this, Brian reached out and was such a blessing to them!  Not only did he mow the lawn, but he went above and beyond with trimming and everything.
     Open Door Mission is blessed to have staff who live selfless lives, both at the Mission and in their everyday lives.  Thank you, Brian, for being such a blessing and Jesus with skin on to people you don’t even know.

Teresa Brown
Open Door Mission Volunteer

30 August 2016

Angry No More...Part 2

Continued from Monday, 8/29.

     Finally Trudy’s brother brought her to Open Door Mission’s Lydia House.  For months she had resisted this center, knowing their programs are Christ-centered.  She was convinced that after all that had happened in her life, God must hate her.  “I came here really angry at God, and I was not going to change my mind,” said Trudy.
     That all changed one night, when inspired by the Scripture on the walls, Trudy began reading her Bible.  She started with Psalm 6, went on to 7, 8, and countless more.  “I felt then,” Trudy said, “like God was the only one who could save me.  I said, ‘Look God, I’m really mad at You, but I really need You.  So I just have to trust that You’re going to be good to me, and that You’re going to help me through this, because I am lost without You.’”
     It soon became a dream come true.  She joined the worship team, and now has the truths of those songs and Scripture in her heart.  “Who knew I could worship Him in the most natural thing that comes to me?”  Trudy said.  “Music is a God-given blessing.”
     The Open Door Mission staff have also been a blessing to Trudy, taking time for her and putting their energy and love into this place.  Trudy’s dream is to one day help other addicts, especially those with multiple diagnoses like Trudy has.  She now has custody of her youngest, and is close to getting her other son back.
    “Once they brought God into it, my recovery became possible,” Trudy said.  “Before I had all the need and all the reason in the world to get clean, but until I had opened my heart to Jesus, I had no will.  Now a huge burden has been lifted off my heart.”

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

29 August 2016

Angry No More...Part 1

     Trudy spent most of her life angry at God.  It wasn’t until she had hit rock bottom that she began trusting Him, that she experienced true lasting change.
     Her childhood was difficult to say the least.  She watched her parents get divorced, lived with her drug addicted mother, and stayed in abandoned houses and cars.  After years of this lifestyle, Trudy’s mother was sent to prison, so Trudy went to live with her father.  In time, Trudy was a functioning alcoholic.
     Trudy’s older brother taught her how to play guitar.  This became a way to escape the harsh realities of life, and soon she got into music full time.  She joined a band and played bars each night, which added to her alcoholism and introduced her to cocaine.
     Trapped in a nightmare of addiction, Trudy welcomed three children into this tumultuous life.  She recalls life on the snowy streets while pregnant, struggling to survive; having a son who was born with illness; living in her car; and recovering from a car accident.
     Eventually this downward spiral led to losing custody of her children and unbearable heartache.  She knew life needed to change, and began a journey to sobriety last November.

To be continued on Tuesday, 8/30.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

26 August 2016

New Wheels

     One of our Journey to Work Program graduates just receive some new wheels!  God truly is taking care of Yusufu!
     He shared with me that he recently got a job downtown, and his shifts end very late at night.  As he rides back to Open Door Mission on his bike, drunk people often throw beer bottles as well as insults at him.
     Now has safe passage to and from work, and a way to transport his young children.  This was what Yusufu was most excited about, as now he can take them to church with him!
      Praise God for His goodness!

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

25 August 2016

I Need Your Prayers

     We get the privilege here at Open Door Mission to stand back and watch God work in the lives of the people we serve.  I had one of those God moments with our Streets of Omaha volunteers today.  Their names are Heather and Lashawnda. 
     We pulled up to a corner lot where two individuals were sitting on the grass.  Lashawnda and Heather handed out bottles of water, packets of hygiene items, and sack lunches to these sweet folks.
     As I was walking back to the van, I heard a soft voice say, "I need your prayers."  I turned around and witnessed this beautiful sight: Lashawnda was praying over these two beautiful people.  Her powerful prayer asked for hope, love, protection, and God's guidance over them.  Tears rolled down everyone's face.
     As we said amen and hugged each other, the woman said, "I just knew today was the day that someone would come to care for us."  As we were getting in the van, one of the volunteers looked at me and said, "This right here is why I do this.  Everyone needs to know how much they are loved. Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us to these people today." 
     What an absolute blessing it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. 
Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

24 August 2016

Smile, You Work for Jesus!

     Recently in our Administration Building, the air conditioning on the fourth floor (where my office is located) went out.  It was a rough week!
     As I think back on our level of discomfort in dealing with the heat, I can't help but think of those we serve...those that live with no air-conditioning, struggling to make it by paycheck to paycheck ...or are roaming the streets with no refuge from the sun or the elements.
     Please say a special prayer for our friends in need. This week without air conditioning has definitely given me a deeper appreciation for the things we tend to take for granted.
     One of my coworkers pointed out that as I pass out pay stubs to my department, I have become notorious for saying, "Smile you work for Jesus."  But it's true!  I have friends around the world that can only afford short-term trips and so long to be in full-time ministry.  I know others that are state-side and volunteer all the time, but hate where they work. Neither get paid to be in full-time ministry, doing what we do. 
  I guess this week has been one of reminders to be grateful for all God has blessed me with, from air conditioning to working in full time ministry!  

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

23 August 2016

Missionaries Where We're Planted

I wonder what would happen if we all lifted our eyes and imagined as living intentionally exactly where we are.  What if we looked at where we are called to serve through the eyes of missionaries.  What if God has placed us exactly where we are, that we are sent people.  Sent to this world, not to stand in judgment of it, or be separate in our safe Christian confines, but be for it, to be representatives of Jesus, to bear the Good News wherever we go.  Who has God placed around you that you could love.  What can we do to show you are welcome with me, you are safe with me.  It could change the way we are able to share the Gospel in our generation.  --"Pulling the Thread" by Jen Hatmaker

     I was listening to this sermon last week, and it spoke to me in such a HUGE way.  What would it take for me to be more intentional on a daily basis?  We are placed and planted where we are for a purpose: to love and welcome people into the Kingdom!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.  For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.  And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.  So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.  --2 Corinthians 5:18-21

     We are Christ's ambassadors!  The definition of an ambassador is a respected official acting as a representative of a nation.  Verse 18 states that God has given us the task of reconciling people to Him, just as Christ reconciled the world to himself (verse 19).  So as Christ's ambassadors, using that definition, we act as representatives of God, sharing the Good News.  We are an acting official acting as a representative of Christ.  We speak for Christ when we plead with our lost brothers and sisters to turn to God, so that all could be made right with Him.  How the Lord loves all of His children!
     I pray this encourages you today, and that we may fully live in the calling the Lord has given us!  I pray we have testimonies we are able to share with each other on how God is moving at Open Door Mission, in us, through us, and through the people we serve.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

22 August 2016

At the Council Bluffs Outreach Center...Part 2

Continued from Friday, 8/19.

     Seventeen of our homeless guests this week alone came in for a change of clothes because everything they had was stolen. 
     We had four families this week that have three or even four generations coming to the Outreach Center monthly for food and supplies.  
     This week, three women of various ages came in.  Although they weren’t related, they had much in common.  Each walked in with their heads down, sharing tear-filled stories of how they never thought they would be coming to ask for help.  Loss of relationships and jobs have put them in a place of hopelessness. 
     This is just a snippet of the stories we hear daily.  We offer help and direction.  We share our faith in Jesus.  And at the end of our busy day, we fall on our knees on their behalf.  Then, with a heart of thankfulness, we praise Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ever imagine through His very life that is within each of His faithful children.
     Please pray for Council Bluffs. God has brought LIGHT in this dark place through the work of Open Door Mission. As we link arm in arm through faith and prayer, I believe that we will see lives changed and hope restored.

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

19 August 2016

At the Council Bluffs Outreach Center...Part 1

     I want to share what a week looks like here at the Council Bluffs Family Outreach/Donation Center. 
     Today, fifteen of our guests live on the streets or in shelter nearby.  As a daily average, one out of every three guests that come in are homeless.
     A few days ago, two women in their thirties came in, and explained that they have been living behind dumpsters for the past four weeks.  They hadn't showered in weeks.  Shelters are not for them because, as they said, "Meth is our best friend."
     A 32-year-old woman relocated to Council Bluffs due to domestic violence.  She has eight kids (three still in diapers) and one on the way. They live in a shelter, and she said all her family bridges have been burnt. 
     A 33-year-old woman has five children, and her boyfriend had recently beaten her up, sending her to the hospital.  She and her five kids have been homeless for months.  They have lived in hotels, with friends and family, and now are living for the next week with the last family member that will help.  Staying at Open Door Mission isn’t an option, because she cannot leave the state of Iowa.  On top of this all, she now knows that there is another child on the way.

To be continued on Monday, 8/22.

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

18 August 2016

Can I Give You a Water?

     "Excuse me sir, can I give you a water?"
     That’s how the conversation started for a volunteer and one of our homeless friends on the streets.  It didn't stop there though.  This man invited us to sit down and have conversation with him.  He talked to us about his life, politics, and how he loved nature.  Apparently he had grown up on a farm, so he really loved being outside.
     I looked over at one of our volunteers, and I could tell she was holding back her tears.  As the conversation came to an end, the man stood up and gave us a hand shake and thanked us for taking the time to visit with him.
     We walked back to the van and on the way our volunteer hugged me, saying, "This experience is one of the best I have ever had."  That day she not only made a difference to the gentlemen we had chatted with, but he made a difference in her life. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

15 August 2016

Walking With Jesus

When I’m back on my feet again
I’ll walk proud down this Fort street again;
I’ll remember that I always win
When I’m back on my feet again

And not going to cry no more
And I’m not going to get high, no more
I remember who I’m living for…..
Jesus Christ, my Lord

Open Door Mission Guest

12 August 2016

No More Taking Things for Granted

     As a volunteer at Open Door Mission, I found myself being very humbled.  I realized that there is so much that I take for granted every day.
     On an average day, I come home from my great job, greet my family in a heated or cooled house, eat a delicious warm dinner, and sip on something to drink. I do all of these things without a single thought about those who only have a shady tree or a freeway over pass to call home, those without food or water.
     So when I heard about Open Door Mission’s urgent need for bottled water, I challenged my truck club Diesel Mafia, Nebraska chapter to donate and help out.  We proudly collected 75 cases of water, and I know this water could be a life-saving drink for someone in need.
     I will continue to do as much as I can to help, and do my best to not forget what I learned during my time at Open Door Mission.

Ron Brazau
Open Door Mission Volunteer

11 August 2016

Back to School Physicals

     What an amazing day we had today at Back to School Physical Day at Open Door Mission last week!  Thanks to the many medical professionals from our community who volunteered their services.
     We had a very successful turnout, and now all Open Door Mission’s children are ready to head back to school healthy and happy.  Thank you to all those who came out and volunteered!  Check out the action in the photos below.

Kate Fischer
Free Health & Healing Clinic Director

10 August 2016

Prepared for Where We're Going

     A couple of mornings ago, a young lady was dropping off some clothes at the Timberlake Outreach Center.  I handed her a receipt enclosure and envelope, letting her know that we give everything away free so any financial donation is appreciated.  She stopped me, explaining that she used to live in the Permanent Supportive Housing building and had received help from the Timberlake Outreach Center many times.
     About a year ago she took the Financial Peace course with our Permanent Supportive Housing Director, and that course drastically changed her life.  She learned so much about financial stability and responsibility, and was able to move out into her own home using these principals.
     I love seeing how we helped repair someone from where they were and prepared them for where they are going!  Praise God for getting to see lives changed!

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

09 August 2016

Press On

     Do you ever feel as though you have hit the end of your road?  Maybe unfortunate things have been happening in your life, and it seems like the trials never end.  Maybe you are experiencing some things you know the Lord wants to stretch you with.
     I know that this has been me lately.  To be completely honest, there have been moments when I wanted to just give up.  But then at church this past Sunday, I was reminded of my purpose through the follow Bible verse.  I was reminded that it’s during those hard times that we have to keep pushing on.  
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 3:14
     I wanted to encourage all Open Door Mission friends this week: don't lose sight of what your purpose is.  When things get difficult, press into Jesus and press onward for the kingdom!  Maybe that sounds a little cheesy, but it’s true.  If you were placed here at the Mission, as a volunteer, donor, staff member, or friend, it means God has a plan for you to help accomplish His work!  Don't lose sight of your purpose!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

08 August 2016

Accept the Invite...Part 2

Continued from Friday, 8/5/2016.

When we accept life's invitation, it's contagious too.  Other people will watch us and start seeing life as something more amazing, more whimsical than before.  When you show up, people (the type that don't think they're invited) start seeing invitations everywhere as thick as colorful fall leaves.  They don't think about their pain or weakness any longer.  Instead, they think about how incredible a big life really is and how powerful the one who is throwing the banquet is too.  –"Love Does" by Bob Goff
     This was so good!  Every day we are blessed to be given an invitation to live life fully and point others to Jesus BY living fully.  What if we viewed the invitation to live fully every day as important as, for example, getting an invitation to the White House or to meet your favorite celebrity or to get a paid trip to a beautiful beach?  What if we viewed our life every day like this?
     Let's be people who accept life's invitation to walk with Jesus, a life where love takes action.  Let's have faith that others who feel unworthy and uninvited will see they have an invite too, just by seeing our acceptance of the invitation to live a full life.  I believe that they will see they are loved and cherished by us and by Jesus when we begin to live fully!
     Will you accept the invitation that God is calling you, to live a full life today?

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

05 August 2016

Accept the Invite...Part 1

     There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time.  I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement in the Lord, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.
     It doesn’t come in an envelope.  It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen.  It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day.  Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live. 
     A couple of things happen when we accept Jesus' invitation to participate with Him in life.  Obstacles that seem insurmountable suddenly aren't.  Impediments that we believe disqualify us suddenly don't.
     When we show up to participate with Jesus in the big life, we're participating with the very being Who made life in the first place.  He gently asks us how we are and invites us to get better together with Him.

To be continued on Monday, 8/8/2016.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

04 August 2016

What an Angel

     One of our wonderful volunteers, Angel comes in consistently to play with our kids aged three to five years’ old in the Bright Space.  It is a pleasure to watch her interact with the children, and her love for them is so evident in her words and actions.
     This picture is the perfect example of what I’m talking about.  The girls wanted to braid her beautiful hair, and she obliged.  Thank you, Angel, for being a light in the Bright Space!  We at Open Door Mission truly are blessed with the best volunteers!

Rachel Fisher
Children & Youth Director

03 August 2016

Project Blessing

     There are two ladies who are making a difference in such a fun way, and I wanted to tell you about them.  These amazing ladies buy donuts for half price, pay for the boxes with their own money, and then donate them to the local shelters! 
     Their names are Deb and Diane, and each time they bring eight to ten boxes filled with three to four dozen yummy donuts almost every week.  And we’re talking huge, delicious, gourmet donuts!
     They call themselves Project blessing, and what a blessing they are!  Thank you, Deb and Diane, for caring for hungry and homeless men, women, and children.

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

02 August 2016

Hitting Home

     How great it was to start my morning last week at Sam's Club in Papillion to speak at a staff meeting.  To my surprise, while introducing me, the manager broke down in tears.  He shared that one of his associates last month had asked him for a ride to the park after work, revealing that he was homeless.
     The manager personally brought him to Open Door Mission instead.  Isn't God AMAZING?!  The other staff members were shocked to know that anyone that they could have worked with was actually homeless, especially in a more affluent part of town.  To think that we get to play a small part in this is such an honor and privilege.
     As he shared, the manager mentioned how impressed he was with the level of respect and dignity the staff members had treated our new guest with.  This man has since raised enough money for a bus ticket to Texas to stay with his sister.  The manager said for the first time in a long time, he personally dropped to his knees in prayer and praise as he counted his blessings.
     Thank you for being Jesus, so others can see Jesus, so that they may KNOW Jesus.

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

01 August 2016

Not Just a Sandwich

     We have volunteers here at Open Door Mission who are excited about our Streets of Omaha ministry.  From making sandwiches and sack lunches to handing them out to folks on the streets, people are wanting to get involved!  The story I want to share with you today is about a volunteer and her experience on the streets.
     Margaret has been coming to the Mission every Tuesday for the past four months to make sack lunches.  She is always talking with other volunteers about how much she enjoys volunteering here, and how she feels as though she is being blessed through serving others.  Margaret decided that she not only wanted to make lunches, but that she would like the opportunity to come out in the van to hand them out as well.  She spent the afternoon laughing, praying, crying, and sharing the love of Jesus with people.
     My favorite part of the afternoon was when a woman named Bridget asked Margaret and two other volunteers to pray for her.  After the prayer, Bridget started to cry.  Margaret hugged her and allowed Bridget to rest in her embrace.
     On the way back to the Mission, Margaret said, “Jessica, I never knew that the lunches I was making in the morning brought so much joy to people.  I just thought I was making lunches…I guess I didn’t realize I was giving HOPE and love.”
     For Margaret, volunteering at Open Door Mission has showed her that in EVERYTHING we do, our purpose is to show people that Jesus is the answer.  For He uses simple things, like sack lunches, to change people’s lives.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

29 July 2016

Powerful Lyrics

     There are so many good Christian songs with powerful lyrics available to listen to nowadays.  Sometimes I find myself tuning out the words, but it’s worthwhile to actually listen to these songs once in a while.  To pause and let the words wash over you.
     We sang this one in church a couple of weeks ago, but it has stuck with me.  It brought me back to a simple, basic thought.  I encourage you to read the lyrics, and let their truth sink in.

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
Everything to God in prayer.

Janet Henderson

28 July 2016

Lemonade Stand

     These girls are Ellie and Layla.  They heard about Open Door Mission’s urgent need for bottled water during the hottest days of the year, and decided to make a difference.
     So with a little help, they built a lemonade stand to raise money.  All money raised was used to buy bottled water for Open Door Mission, which funded 30 cases of water!  Way to Beat the Heat!
     This shows how each person can help the hungry and homeless in his or her community, no matter how young!  Thank you, Ellie and Layla, for reminding us of this!

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

27 July 2016

What am I Passionate About?...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 7/26.

     We need each other.  We can't get through this life alone.  Sometimes we believe the lie that we don’t need others, but the truth is that we need to spur on one another toward love!  God made us for each other.  Yes, it's messy.  It's not perfect.  But it's so beautiful and filled of GRACE and MERCY.  That points us to Jesus every time.
     I am reminded of Paul and his attitude:
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! –Acts 28:30-31
     I love Paul's boldness and perseverance.  I want to be like Paul, pointing others to Jesus every chance I get.  We don't proclaim the Kingdom of God to others to get glory.  We win others to Christ, so God gets all the glory.  Our actions, attitude, character, and words show the world that although we live in the world, but we are not of the world!  Because when God gets the glory, we see hearts changed, beating only for Jesus!
     I am encouraged, through the sadness and brokenness, that we can change the world just by pointing others to our passion for Jesus!  We can be/are the light! 

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

26 July 2016

What am I Passionate About?...Part 1

     After I finished my workout this past weekend, I was getting ready to leave when one of the gym employees said, "Miss!  Miss!  Wait!"  He ran over to give me a free seven-day pass to invite a friend in hopes that the friend would join the gym as well.
     His excitement and passion about me inviting someone and possibly joining the gym was infectious.
     As I walked out of the gym, I couldn’t help but think, “Am I this passionate about Christ?  About sharing how amazing Christ is in hopes of winning more to the Kingdom?”
     The truth is that at times I could be better about boldly sharing my faith with others.  It then brings the question, what is my passion?  Is it the Lord Jesus Christ?  We are all passionate about something, and it comes out in what we tell people in conversations.  Do we bring up the latest movie released, the newest restaurant, or what Jesus has been doing in our lives?  God’s will is not that we keep our faith secret and private!
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  –Hebrews 10:24-25

     To be continued tomorrow, 7/27.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director