22 May 2018

Tips From Training

     As Candace Gregory, Open Door Mission's President/CEO says, "I am a slow learner BUT not a give up learner. So I HOPE that counts, God is not finished with me yet." 
     At the Mission, we are always trying to learn, trying to better ourselves, trying to better our Mission. At a recent training, there were many useful tips, but one that stuck out and I reasoned needed to be shared with all of you. This tidbit is a lesson we can bring back to the workplace to be better than we were the day before. 
     The training emphasized the need for self care. Work can be a draining place in the caring profession. What are you doing to care for yourself? Did you pray, read your Bible? Do you fellowship and worship every week? Do you go to movies, hang out with friends, go for hikes, and other fun things? If you will, it is okay to be self-focused instead of other-focused some of the time. So, I challenge you this week, take an evening and rest WELL, however that looks for you. Making this a weekly habit will give you more energy for what lies ahead. 

Steven Frazee 
Senior Program Director

21 May 2018

Sometimes, there isn't necessarily a story to tell, only a beautiful moment to show. God has blessed the Mission immensely, and these pictures are here to prove it. 

Men in our New Life Recovery Program taking a day to help plant potatoes on a beautiful sunny day.

A group of students out of Louisville, NE filled a bus with donations, donating what was inside, along with the bus. 

Omaha Gives! sign made by one of the students in the New Life Recovery Program pictured with a few of the Lydia House children.  

A New Life Recovery Program student, Tyler, obtained his GED Friday, May 18. 

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

18 May 2018

Unfiltered Joy

     There's joy in the small things. If you have never taken the time to stop and really think about that, you may be missing out on a key part of the joy God so freely gives. I am fortunate to witness the joy of the small things in my day-to-day work as the Streets Ministry Coordinator. There's an apartment complex I visit regularly because I am aware of the unfavorable conditions of the structure and the people who reside there. Today, just like any other day, I pulled up with my volunteer and we get out of the van to serve the people approaching. We were approached by a young boy who looked to be no older than 4. As he ran toward us, he had one hand out, "asking" for a sack lunch. He smiled when his request was granted and ran away to tell his buddies what he had just received. While we were still serving others, the little boy returned to ask for two more lunches, thinking they would be for other friends or members of his family. We were wrong! As we were exiting the apartment complex, we saw the little boy, sitting under a tree with all three lunches. He smiled and waved as we drove away. 
     What power something as simple as a sack lunch and soda have! The power to put a smile on a little boy's face while he sits under a tree enjoying the beauty of nature created by God all around him. Luke 10:21(NIRV) says,"At that time Jesus was full of joy through the Holy Spirit. He said, “I praise you, Father. You are Lord of heaven and earth. You have hidden these things from wise and educated people. But you have shown them to little children. Yes, Father. This is what you wanted to do." When was the last time you stopped to appreciate the small things, the gentle breeze, the warmth of the sun on your skin? I challenge you to find joy in the small things!

Misti Mitchell
Streets of Omaha Volunteer Coordinator

17 May 2018

God Hears our Prayers

     Prayer is a powerful tool the Mission uses on a weekly basis. Whether that means praying for a guest, a donor, or another Mission employee, the Mission PRAYS! So on National Day of Prayer, it was wonderful receiving multiple prayer requests from the community. The Mission strives to be praying for all who need it. 
     There was a prayer request that stuck out to me when sifting through the list of requests. A woman who had recently been diagnosed with MS. She says, "I have days where i'm okay and then days where I have trouble walking, body numbness, vertigo, and other weird symptoms. I just want to be healthy. I hate having to do my life around this." And as if this wasn't heart-wrenching enough, she says this, "Sometimes I don't think God hears me, but I trust He hears others." 
     I wanted to give this woman a hug, to let her know God hears her cries. But, I cannot do that. So, I will blog and hopefully, by Grace, someone reading this will learn from her story. 
     I want to encourage you today to pray. Even if the situation seems hopeless, to cry out to God regardless. Believe that God can hear your prayers, because He can! If you are ever curious on what to pray, I encourage you to start with the Lord's prayer: 

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. They will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

     My prayer for you today is a fruitful prayer life. That you come to know and understand a relationship with the Lord is fueled on prayer. That your prayers are about HIM and aligning our minds and hearts with what He is doing, not necessarily just to get what we want. That this brings you closer than ever to your Father in heaven. 

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

16 May 2018

Other Duties As Assigned

     We all have that line in our job description that states, "other duties as assigned." We joke about this phrase, but I took a couple of pictures of Russell, the director of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), living it out!
     This is Russell cleaning windows at Permanent Supportive Housing. Not only is he cleaning windows, but he has a PSH guest helping him.  I am sure that it would not only be faster, but easier to clean by himself! I love Russell's heart here because he is intentionally choosing to build a relationship with a guest while doing something that she enjoys, but that is not specifically on his list of tasks for the day. Thank you, Russell, for being such a great example! 

Amy Harvey 
Community Relations Director

15 May 2018


    Erick, one of the guests staying in the Garland Thompson Men's Center, approached me this morning and asked me if I knew an older man with the walker that was also currently residing at the Mission.
     I acknowledged that I did know him, and what I heard next is a story I can't make up.  Erick said, "I just found out, he is my Grandpa!"  
     He hasn't had much, if any, contact with that side of his family throughout his life.  The last time he remembers seeing them was when his grandmother passed away in 2000.  Erick said something drew him to his grandfather yesterday to help him with some coffee.  When the elderly man looked up, he immediately knew who Erick was and called him by name. Erick then realized it was his grandfather who he was helping.

     Pray for this as they are reunited with each other and catch up.  I guess now we know another reason why Erick was brought here to Open Door Mission. 

Darryl Price
Day House Supervisor

14 May 2018

A New Way of Life

     Just because you are homeless, does not mean you are talentless. Open Door Mission is blessed to see this truth all around us every day. So, when the Mission was in need of an artist, men staying at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center recommended we visit Mitch, a student who was in the New Life Recovery Program. 
     He was asked to help create a sign for Omaha Gives! and he gladly accepted the challenge. As he was drawing, he shared why he was so happy to help. “I used to be involved in a lot of bad stuff. Drugs, prison, you name it. When I was ready to clean my life up, the Mission gave me a place to go.”
     Mitch has been drawing ever since he can remember. He gives credit of his penmanship to his mother and his artistic side from his Father. “I’ve taken bits and pieces of advice and style from different artists from where I’ve been over the years and created my own style.” When asking him how his art helps him, he states, “My art helps me stay sober. It gives me an outlet to release my creativity and thoughts onto paper.“
     “What happens when someone gives to Open Door Mission?” We ask him. He replies with confidence, “When you give to Open Door Mission, you’re giving to hope. You’re giving to a second chance. A true change. A new way of life.“

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

11 May 2018

Free Pet Clinic

     We are grateful that Dr. Nels, a very experienced veterinarian, joins a small group of dedicated volunteer vet techs and animal lovers in a periodic Free Pet Clinic at Open Door Mission. I had the honor of greeting guest dogs and cats, along with their humans, at the most recent Clinic. It was a steady stream of barks, yips, purrs and meows that certainly kept my attention. 
     The Clinic gives pet owners with limited means the opportunity to catch up with their dog’s or cat’s vaccinations. The doctor performs nail trims and overall health checks on the pets, encouraging each owner to keep the pet they’ve chosen in good health. And it all comes at no charge to the owner. 
     The Clinic also offers complimentary pet food, the occasional treats, and even pet clothing and collars provided by the generosity of Omaha Wags to Riches, a local animal-foster and care organization. 
     Yet for all the organizational and professional care these events offer, there is one unmistakable element in the Clinic room: the very real understanding that, for these people living on the edge, the animals they bring in their arms and that walk at their side are part of their safety net of relationships. Perhaps more so part of that safety net than many of the humans they’ve known. 
     There is a special element of respect shown by Dr. Nels and the volunteers toward each pet and each owner.  They recognize the link forged by shared experience. They see that certain pets belong to certain owners and vice versa. It isn’t about legal ownership, either. It’s more about acceptance and belonging. It’s about the value of a companion that has a proven track record in tough times. It’s about telling a friend things no one else will hear.
     It may be part of the reason why God created dogs and cats and human beings and called the arrangement “good.” And why, today, it’s still good for so many of us. 

Steve Wamberg
Development Director

10 May 2018

Answered Prayers

     Our kitchen here at the Mission runs primarily on donations. 80-90% of everything we use comes from donors. Manufacturing plants give us meat ends that we take and turn into hundreds of sandwiches and sack lunches. Local grocery stores and bakeries provide baked goods for our guests during meals and supply our monthly birthday parties. In the fall, local farmers will share fresh produce left from farmer’s markets which give our guests the opportunity have healthy meals.

     Frankly, we rely on these donations. Without them, we could not do what we do every day. The Streets of Omaha team wouldn’t have anything to give to the homeless and low-income neighborhoods we have the opportunity bless each day. And what Midwest meal is complete without bread and butter? The Mission’s meals would be incomplete without the bread donations we get. 

     Still, running on donations has its drawbacks. Often we have to get creative with what we have.  We don’t have taco Tuesdays or pizza on Fridays, but you’d be shocked with what our chef’s can do with the odds and ends we have to work with sometimes. Everyday is like an episode of Food Network’s “Chopped”.  There are weeks where all the fruit is canned. There are days where all I can do is pray that desserts will show up.

     Prayer is one of the few things at the Mission we don’t run low on. Yes, we pray before meals, but it's more than that. Walking through the halls, you can see programmers praying with each other. Everyday I receive multiple emails about joys, concerns, and updates that staff have come together to lift each other up in prayer. Although this is not a unique phenomenon in a Christian community, never before have I seen prayer answered in the way that prayer is answered here in the kitchen. 

     For example, a couple of weeks ago all three of our cereal containers bit the dust. These containers are used everyday (save hot breakfast on Fridays) for our guests to have cereal for breakfast. Using containers that pour easily allow us to maintain a hygienic experience and keep sickness at bay. Although it’s not the end of the world, it is a problem when we didn’t have any cereal containers and an expensive problem at that. Shortly after praying about this need, he received a call. A donor had four new cereal containers and wanted to know if we could use them.

     We eat stir fry at least once a week in the kitchen. Two weeks ago, two of our chefs were talking about how great it would be to have a certain ingredient for stir fry. It wasn’t a priority though, so it didn’t make the list of necessities. Later that day, a case of it was donated.

     Salad is a staple at all hot meals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been short lettuce to last all through the next meal. I’ll begin to wonder what the plan is and how I’m going to fill this need.  Then someone will donate three or four big salad bowls untouched from an event. 

     Every single week in the kitchen there is a moment where the Lord shows up through a donation. These are only samplings of answered prayers that happen here in the kitchen. These are moments that in our weakness and need, we can see a reflection of God’s abundance and glory. 

     If you found this blog encouraging today, please take some some to consider if you could be an answered prayer. It's the untouched boxes of donuts from your staff party, it’s your presence during a walk-in time at the kitchen, or even that check you’ve been meaning to bring down. That is the Lord trying to work through you. And who knows, while you’re here maybe you’ll find that we’re the answer to your prayers as well. 

Molly Cox
Kitchen Coordinator 

09 May 2018

Mission Wellness Motivation

     I LOVE to hike and spend time with God and have been doing that more here lately as the weather is FINALLY so nice!!!! What a good reminder that we need to take time away from our busy lives to spend alone time with the Lord. 
     I know our lives can get especially busy during the summer, but I can assure you that you won't regret taking a day off with the Lord. I encourage you in the month of May to disconnect, even if its for one hour, and spend some alone time with the Lord. 

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director 

08 May 2018

Volunteers who Advocate!

     The Mission has a family that volunteers regularly at the Council Bluffs Family Outreach Center (CB) that has become passionate about what CB does for families in their community. First a volunteer, the family has invested even more by advocating for the Council Bluffs Outreach Center. She will post on different media platforms asking for people to be looking out for underwear and sock sales. She asks them to purchase and drop off donations at her home. She also loves to find sales and purchase some for families in need. We are SO appreciative of family's that not only volunteer, but advocate for breaking the cycle! 

Candace Gregory

07 May 2018

Supermarket Sweep!

     Sarpy County Young Professionals (SCYP) hosted their annual Supermarket Sweep, inviting local businesses to compete for a trophy, bragging rights, and an opportunity to support their community here at Open Door Mission. 
     The aisles filled vibrant energy as each team scoured the shelves for the items on their list. The air was filled with excitement as each team checked in at their cash register. Grocery items were being counted and each team was ready to hear who was the winner! 
     In the end, there were was a tie between two teams. Their tie-breaker consisted of walking (or running, although that was against the rules) the fastest to the bakery and grabbing a bag of fresh donuts. Hillcrest Health Services came out victorious with their superior "power walking" skills. There was celebration and a gift of $670.00 to help break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. 

Thank you SCYP for changing lives while also having fun! 

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

04 May 2018

Drawing Near To God

     Here at the Timberlake Outreach Center, we have the opportunity to establish a relationship with our guests. It is an opportunity to minister those who are hurting without hope and in the mist of giving up.
     Every day we pray as a team for God to guide us to divine encounters and every day 
we have them. I want to share a beautiful story of one of our female shoppers. 
     For months I have been listening to her talk about her struggles, fears, and everything that was going wrong in her life. I had this opportunity to minister and God gave me words of comfort, love, and assurance that HE had everything in control. We prayed almost every month and every time we asked God to help her in every moment of difficulty and HE did. 
     Yesterday, she was looking for me to share great news: she is getting her children back and got a house! She is very excited and is painting rooms for her children, getting ready for them. She's sober, ready for a new life, being guided by Jesus. She is thankful for the Timberlake Outreach Center and all the help she's gotten here.

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

03 May 2018

Treynor Day of Caring

Words truly can NOT express the gratitude and appreciation that the Open Door Mission team has for the Treynor Day of Caring team of students, teachers, bus drivers and administration. 438+ left their hand print on the Campus making a difference for others. WE stand in awe of the energy and enthusiasm of the Treynor Cardinals! 

        Candace Gregory

02 May 2018

A Life Well Lived

     I was born in Omaha, NE but soon moved to Houston, TX. This would be
where I grew up and became an addict. After years of this, I found myself enrolled in Open Door Mission's New Life Recovery Program. Nine months later I am clear headed, sober and a God-loving man. After graduation I plan on staying for three months, continuing to go to my home church Empty Tomb, and patch up some relationships in my family. I'm committed to living a good, sober, and productive life based on what I have learned in this program. 
     My favorite bible verse is Titus 2:12. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. 

Craig Arandus 
New Life Recovery Program Graduate

01 May 2018

A Familiar Face

      At few nights ago at the grocery store, I heard someone call out my name. I looked up to see Frank. He was one of the first students I worked with when I started working in receiving at the Timberlake Outreach Center. He had the biggest smile on his face as we chatted about what he has been doing since he left Open Door Mission. He is working for his church and staying connected to keep his sobriety intact. It is a joy and a blessing to bump into people who are doing good and gives me hope to serve another day.

Shawn Bartlett
Receiving Clerk

30 April 2018

Prodigal Son

     I was speaking with a vendor who had not been to church in a little while. They were afraid to go back to church for what might happen to him. Jason reminded him that even when the prodigal returned, they threw a feast in his honor. The vendor was so encouraged by this, he called his rabbi who told him that they loved him and wanted him back! 

Jason Green
Director of IT and Logistics

27 April 2018

Life Giving Moments

     Open Door Mission is first and foremost a ministry. We desire to share the Gospel and spread God's love to everyone we meet. Shawn, an Open Door Mission employee, shares his love with people in such a simple yet brilliant way. People who walk through the Timberlake Outreach Center (TOC) have the opportunity to take a moment, breathe, and read the life giving scripture Shawn puts on the white board each and every day. If you ever find yourself on Open Door Mission's campus, please be sure to stop by the TOC and read the words that bring HOPE to our staff, guests, and donors! 

Open Door Mission Employee

26 April 2018

Finding New Life

     Hello, my name is Patrick Wajda and I was born and raised right here in Big Red Country. I grew up Catholic in a loving home and I had a great childhood. Drinking alcohol was a part of that childhood at family gatherings and the summer fun. Relatives would slip us kids a drink here and there and I found that I loved the taste of a cold beer.
     By the time I was a freshman, I was drinking on the weekends with friends or family. I could buy beer back then on my own as I looked older than I was. By the time I was a senior, I was drinking every night.
     When I moved away to college, I began to do drugs. I was hired on to a good job, I worked hard, but continued to go down a dangerous path. 
     I was married in 2001 and we were blessed with 2 daughters. I quit drugs but continued to drink. The alcohol was more important to me than my family which was the main cause for my divorce in 2010. I was lonelier than ever and made my situation worse by drowning my sorrows in beer and whiskey. It was at that point in my life that I realized I was an alcoholic.
     I couldn’t quit, and after a 5 day blackout in June 2017, I felt like Open Door Mission was where I needed to be. I was shaking so bad I couldn’t sign the intake papers. Thanks to Pat McKernan, He told me I needed the New Life Recovery Program. I did what staff told me, followed the rules and prayed a lot. I was baptized last year and know now that with my Lord Jesus Christ, i’m going to stay sober. My old life was hell. The Holy Spirit guided me here, and with everyone here at Open Door Mission, I’ve found a new life!
     My life now has done a 180. My family talks to me again and my friends support me also. The future holds great promise as long as I keep doing what the Mission has taught me. God has blessed me and I owe so much to all those here. I’ve joined the Urban Ministry Institute and have a great sponsor. For fun, I’m going to restore old cars.
     My favorite scripture is Phillippians 1:6 : “Being confident in this very thing,that which He has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!”  Thank You and God Bless 

Pat Wajda
New Life Recovery Program Graduate

25 April 2018

A Wise Life

My name is Erin Shonka and this is my testimony.
     Growing up, I would daydream and think how great and exciting the world was going to be. It was the devils false vision, false dreams and false hope that eventually controlled me.  I started to lose the morals that my Mother had taught me while growing up. That behavior led me to be very selfish, alone and empty. I had no purpose.  That’s when I knew it was time to take a look at myself.  
     I was scared of commitment and change. But, looking into my daughter’s eyes outweighed that fear, this motivated me to want to do good. I wanted to change my life, be a great example for my girls and to show them the love that they deserve.  I have been through several programs, but I had to dig deeper and that is when I found Christ. I started getting into my bible and read the book of Proverbs. I felt like there was so much sense, wisdom and guidelines to life that was so much more appetizing to me than anything else in my life. That’s when I started to feed my spirit (God given).
     Today I am a single mom who has completed the New Life Recovery Program from start to finish and completed my GED.  My girls are on the honor roll and it’s all because my heart is set to be obedient and do right, which in return, guides them to want to do their best.  The promises of eternal life is a gift far greater than any person can give on this earth in the flesh.  Now that I have my discernment in action, I will do my best every day for the Lord, myself, and my family. 
     Open Door Mission has saved my life and my family's happiness. The Mission has taught me how to be a woman in Christ and they have provided the resources to gain my education.  For that, I will be forever grateful.  My goal is to further my education in the medical field and to start a career.  I want to enjoy watching my kids grow up into successful young women and to thank God for it all.
     Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Erin Shonka 
New Life Recovery Program Graduate                                                       

24 April 2018

Answered Prayer

     I have been so worried about getting stock out to our guests.
     I went to bed worrying about it. So, I sat on the side of my bed and said another prayer to God. I asked God to send us good volunteers to get donations out to our guests who are in need.
     God answered! We had a group from Omni this morning along with another group of ladies. From 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. we had a great group from Offutt Air Force Base come and a mom and her son also helped. Man, they rocked it!! More than six huge boxes and many racks of clothes were stocked and shelved on the floor. They all did terrific! 
     God pulled through once again for everyone involved.

Linda Pirruccello 
Council Bluffs Homeless Prevention Coordinator

23 April 2018

A Good Reminder

     Every so often I get to see something very inspiring at the mission. This morning I got to see a bunch of men in the New Life Recovery Program sitting around the table reading God‘s word. I took a picture and had to share with you all. Let this be a good reminder that the work is good and is rewarding.

Andrew Brondum
GTMC Support Worker

20 April 2018

Making a Difference

     After years of battling my addictions and depression I found myself wondering how I ever got this bad and hopeless. This left me desperately thinking I needed a change, but how? When? Where? Then it hit m
e: I remembered this verse, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" Jeremiah 29:11. Which happens to be my favorite scripture verse. Suddenly I was weeping uncontrollably. Tears streaming down my face I felt shame, guilt, and broken wondering how I was going to break this vicious cycle. I remember sitting in the cafeteria, looking up at the wall above the food carts. I must have read the passage painted on that wall a hundred times. Every day I would read that and wonder “What plan, what future!?”  
      Humbled by my life and addictions, I felt called to join the New Life Recovery Program. I interviewed with Pat McKernan and was reminded at that moment that God does have plan and future for me. I thank God every day for the clarity that morning!
      Also, as a Marked Man for Christ, I firmly believe Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.”  What I get from that will carry me on to bigger and better places.  
     So when you ask me what I learned from this program, all I can say in response to that question is if God is for us, who can be against us!?  
     I have contemplated over what I will do after graduation. I entertained the notion to go back into theater lighting and travel again. But after being here a little bit and wanting more for my sobriety and spirituality, that notion was replaced with 'maybe I’m not ready for that yet.'
     So, what do I plan to do after I graduate this program? After working in the learning center helping tutoring my fellow brothers, working in the kitchen, and being a resident aide on the emergency side of the Mission, my ambitions and views have changed. I want to surround myself around individuals like me that also want to desperately better themselves, just as as I do. This is a great deal of hard work for any one besieged with these addictions’ that we all share, and deal with on a daily basis. I ponder the idea of trying to get on board with the Mission and make a difference, and finally the Mission's T.U.M.I. program which I am currently applying for as we speak.

Gary Hughes
New Life Recovery Program Graduate

19 April 2018

The Struggle Is Real

     We often hear the phrase in popular culture, "the struggle is real."  We look at Jesus and see he suffered as well as healed people!  Sometimes in full time ministry, I just want the good parts. I want to say, "God, give me the good parts without the hard parts."  But I see through the struggle, my faith is strengthened and I know God deeper!  
     My church is preaching on the book of Colossians. I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.  My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.--Colossians 2:1-3
     Looking at verse 1, we see the struggle is real in Gospel-Centered Ministry.  Paul wants them to know they are loved.  Paul has labored in prayer for them.  Paul says I want you to know "how hard I am contending for you..."  Paul was not just giving small prayers, He was praying boldly for them.  And even praying for those that he has not met personally too.  Through reading this, I'm reminded struggle is a sign of success.  If someone close to me, a guest at ODM knows Jesus, it shows I am right where God wants me.  I have a heart for them to know Jesus. 
     His prayer was that they would be encouraged and united in love, so they may truly know Christ deeper! 
     We were challenged to ask ourselves "has our heart been enlarged by the Gospel?"  Not just once, but everyday is our heart growing to know Jesus more?  God's relationship with us is not that we would just go through the motions of life, but that we would come to love Jesus more every single day.  That is where growth happens in our own lives to share with others!
     My prayer here at ODM is that our heart would be enlarged by the Gospel everyday.  The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus came to give us new life.  God sacrificed His Son so we would have eternal life!  I pray we would not be people who just go through the motions.  But instead, I pray that if we would be people who wrestle with our brothers and sisters to know Christ that we would be passionate about the truth of Jesus!  That we would be bold in our faith and that we would be encouraged in heart and united in love, so we can enlarge God's kingdom!!!

Trudy Woodward
Lydia House Director 

18 April 2018

Prasie the LORD, My Soul

     Before the New Life Recovery Program, I had been through a few treatment centers. I learned that if my mindset on my addiction did not change, my addictions would always have a hold on my life. Through this program, I learned ways to battle my addictions. 
     The problem was I believed only I could win that war without help. I lost that war single-handed and God won. Since starting the New Life Recovery Program, my life has blossomed into a joy and fullness that I haven’t experienced since a young age. I surrendered myself to my almighty God. Now I have the unconditional love of Jesus Christ to mold my life into the son, brother, father that he has planned for me to be. I have no fear of what life gives me because God will provide a path for me.
 When given the opportunity to share his blessings I do so happily. I do so with such love knowing God's will is working through me. 
     After graduation I plan to  continue my fellowship at Empty Tomb church. I also plan on living here at the Mission among my brothers in a loving and safe environment. I also will be giving back to Open Door Mission by volunteering and caring for others just as they have done for me. With solid recovery support and accountability, I plan to achieve goals that were not first achievable and to flourish in my quest with God, my Lord and savior.
  My favorite bible verse is Palms 103:1-5. 

Praise the LORD, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Eraquio Martinez
New Life Recovery Program Graduate

17 April 2018

Thank You Omaha Cosmo Club!

     Faithful! That’s the one word that sums up the West Omaha Cosmo Club! 

     For more than 23 years, they have been supporting the Open Door Mission with their Undie Drive and Clothing Drive.

     Last night, they shared their club photo album with me. It was an emotional experience. Three people have gone on to be with the Lord - Pastor Bob, Karen and Dan Applegate that were in the beginning of this partnership.

Candace Gregory

16 April 2018

My will to HIS

        I was born the third of eight children. Being the middle child of such a large family, it was easy for me to get lost in the shuffle. I would be left alone to my own devices and I eventually learned that anything I did was not really noticed. Growing up in the shadows, I did everything and anything I wanted without suffering the consequences. I knew how to fly “under the radar”. When my parents finally took notice of the life I was living, it was too late for them to do anything. At 17 I moved out, was an avid drinker and occasional pot smoker. I eventually dropped out of school to travel instead. The years I spent living doing what I wanted to do turned into a decade plus. The end of that lifestyle was interrupted by a gradual increase in my contact with the law enforcement, resulting in 3 felonies. 
     I never really thought about my relationship with God or my walk with Christ.  Coming to the Lydia House has made me aware of my need for God in my life. This also made me acknowledge my need for goals. I have gained a very close relationship with God and have come to understand better who I am in Christ and who I need to be In Christ. In the past I lived solely by the desires of my own heart and by the will of my flesh, which led me down a path of loneliness, destruction, isolation and despair. I now live more by The Word of God and by His Will alone, which has led me down a path of true freedom, inner peace and security. 
     Having obtained my G.E.D, my future plans include enrolling  into college and working to obtain independence and to live the life God intended me to live. The Scripture that has most resonated with me is Romans 8:13-14 “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” 

Eunice Dzodzomenyo
New Life Recovery Program Graduate  

13 April 2018

You Come Too!

     Judy Irwin’s first journey to Open Door Mission was over 20 years ago. She came with her daughter to volunteer, but Pastor Bob Timberlake had to cancel their volunteer appointment due to illness. Judy made it a point to return with donations of food and clothing, but wanted to do more.
     A few years later Wanda Meador, a friend from Bible Study Fellowship, asked Judy to join her as a volunteer at Open Door Mission. Judy, by then a retired special needs paraprofessional, was ready to help people in need. So in 2000, Judy became part of the Open Door Mission Women’s Auxiliary, a volunteer organization dedicated to tackling tasks and events that would otherwise cost Mission staff precious time and resources.  
     The Women’s Auxiliary members started encouraging their husbands to join them at their gatherings. As a result, the group’s name eventually changed to “Friends of the Mission.” By the fall of 2004, after his retirement as a sixth-grade teacher, Glenn joined Judy at Friends of the Mission and as a regular volunteer at Open Door Mission. “Men were still rare at Friends of the Mission when I began,” Glenn remembered with a chuckle. “But before long the men discovered how many ways they could help.” 
     Glenn’s years of organizing classrooms translated into a special knack for restocking household goods and clothing for display at the Timberlake Outreach Center, and in tending the Mission’s garden. Judy has enjoyed helping in the Mission kitchen and with events including the ever-popular Birthday Parties held each month for children at Lydia House, and Spa Days for female residents on the Mission campus. 
     The Irwins were thrilled as the Mission campus was transformed with new and refurbished buildings in the years surrounding 2010. But they’re even more excited about the lives they see transformed through Open Door Mission. “It’s always gratifying to hear the residents’ testimonies,” Judy said. Glenn added, “It’s rewarding to see the results after they’ve been fed spiritually, emotionally, and physically.”
     Along the way, Judy and Glenn encouraged their friends Lenora and Ed Munger to join them as Friends of the Mission. Ed was a volunteer “fix-it man” for the Mission for some years until his passing, and Lenora is still an active member of Friends of the Mission. (And Wanda Meador, the Bible Study Fellowship friend who brought Judy back to the Mission campus in 2000? Today she’s President of Friends of the Mission.)
     Just as Wanda invited Judy to join her, and the Irwins invited the Mungers to join them, the volunteers of Open Door Mission welcome you to join us: “You come too!”

Steve Wamberg
Development Director

12 April 2018

Salvation Times Three!

     It's amazing to see God answer prayer. I have begun to ask God in prayer to give me opportunities to share the Gospel and he has answered it every single day I have prayed it. In 3 separate occasions men have come to faith in Christ within one week!
     Please pray for James, Dorsey, and Donnie, as all 3 understood the Gospel and wanted to change their life by putting their faith in Jesus and doing life God's way, not their's anymore. Praise God! 
     I encourage you to ask God for opportunities to share the Gospel, and then look expectantly for the answer to your prayer as he is going to give you the opportunity! All you have to do is ask.
     Thank you for the teamwork here at the ODM that gives me the opportunity to share the Gospel daily. 

Jacob Carr
Recovery Case Manager

11 April 2018

Give a Car, Change a Life

     I feel like I am a good candidate for the Wheels of hope program to show the Family Courts my independence. My main obstacle to gaining full custody of my son is transportation. To have access to a vehicle would help to overcome this and move forward with unsupervised visits. 
     A vehicle would also help to transport myself to and from my sons medical appointments. I know to be rewarded with this form of independence will also help to maintain my sobriety to be able to go to outside meetings and stay connected with my church, to find housing, and to stay active with my home church. 

Karlie Cappellano
New Life Recovery Program Graduate

10 April 2018

Praying on Campus

     I was on my way to lunch when a lady staying at Lydia House stopped me and asked if I could pray for her.  She explained that she's going through a divorce while also going through a custody battle. She is having to make a lot of decisions she hasn't made before.  I prayed for her to have wisdom and peace as she needs to downsize her possessions. 

Gregory Crocker

09 April 2018

Forever and Always

     My life before the Lydia House was unstable and chaotic. My mindset was not where it should have been and my priorities were all wrong. 
     When I arrived at the Lydia House after having my son, I was very upset. I was not okay with my situation, but as time went on, I was coming around to the idea of being here at the Lydia House. The amazing staff here changed my perspective by being kind and wonderful. 
     I have learned so much from being in the New Life Recovery Program. I learned how to deal with events in my life, how to change, how to be a better person, and how to deal with addiction. Though my favorite part is becoming closer to God. My walk with God is so great and it is only the beginning. 
     After this program I want to go back to work so I am able to financially provide for my kids, be more stable, and be the mom I need to be. I will also continue to be active in church and volunteering, always striving to do better and get closer to God. 
     One of my favorite verses in the bible is Joshua 1:5 "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave or forsake you." I heard this when I went to my church again for the first time in months and it was at a time I needed to hear it most. This is my verse for life so I always know that God is there for me forever and always. 

Kristina Lindner
New Life Recovery Program Graduate