31 July 2006

Maggie C-Director of Lydia House, Emergency Services

It is a typical Monday-as soon as I get in the door several clients are eager to tell me the weekend events. It was evidently a long hot one in many ways. I spend an hour trying to sort out stories & details. Everyone is calmed down now & understands that cramp quarters requires lots of understanding & turning the other cheek. I check on the other clients, making sure chores have been done & that they know I care about them individually. One of the team calls in sick, but thankfully another team member offers to come in early. Everyone pitches in to keep the "house" running. I am blessed to work with a great team.

It is the end of the month so the phone calls looking for shelter are plentiful. Unfortunately I have to turn everyone away-my rooms are full. I have already turned away over 200 people this month; over 100 of them were children. That is the hardest part of this job. People should not have to beg for a place to stay. We were able to give one family shelter from the heat. A bright spot in the day.

I love my job, but am often overwhelmed when I see how many people need help & lack of space prevents us from providing just basic needs for people. Sure we can feed them & let them shower, but it is heartbreaking to have to tell them I have no place for them to sleep, or feel safe, or a place for their children to play care freely or to even stay together as a family.

The Lord says joy comes in the morning after the dark night & it does here every day if you look for the little miracles-a child's laughter, a family praying together before a meal, or another client reaching out to share what little they have with someone who has even less. If I can make a difference in just one person's life my life is a success. I do this job because God called me to it & He blesses me through it. Each person that comes through here is the face of God.

29 July 2006

Dan in for Candace

Dan Applegate was a volunteer at the Open Door Mission for more than a decade. Dan is the Open Door Mission's Community Services Director. Community Services serves homeless and near homeless men, women, and children with clothing, food pantries, household items, furniture, etc.. and the Gospel message is shared freely. Below is a highlight from Dan's day;

Today, Friday July 28th had to be one of the most uncomfortable days this year weather wise. This is probably why I got a call today from a mother of three children. The oldest being 5. Her small apartment has no air conditioning. She said her children were very uncomfortable and had already experienced some heat exhaustion symptoms. Her question was "Do you know anyone who has an air conditioner?" I replied "Yes, the mission has one that was just donated." I asked if there was any possible way she could get down here today. She said her neighbor could bring her down this afternoon. As always a great need was met. God is good!

26 July 2006

Perfect Timing

Okay, the heat wave is over for now. We are preparing for new airconditioning units to be installed. Perfect timing before the next heat wave hits, next week.

We have less than 500 cookbooks left from the KGOR Cooking for Kids fundraiser for new playground equipment for the Lydia House children. Hopefully, we will be teaming up with KGOR to sell the remainder of the cookbooks on Saturday.

Many families have been stopping by to sign up for the Back to School Bash. Volunteers are already sorting bookbags and school supplies. We are expecting more than 1,400 children this year. Rock in Prevention will performing an antidrug and proschool message.

Hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as I am.

21 July 2006

Jason the I.T. Guy in for Candace.

I thank God every single day for the opportunity he has given me. You see I am blessed and highly favored and things always go my way. Our God has cared for all 0f my needs and among other things he has blessed me with the opportunity to do my passion (which is fixing computers) in his service here at the mission. Every day I am able to witness first hand how God is changing the hearts and lives of the homeless and hungry right here in Omaha. It never ceases to amaze me just how big our God is, or how many people he has prompted to partner with the mission.

At every outreach event we have, no matter where you look, there is always an army of volunteers sorting, handing out, cooking, parking or serving to help others in need. We can always use your help as well, so sign up and come on down. Recently the haircutters came in to offer haircuts to the men women and children that stay at Open Door Mission.

Because the weather has been so hot, faithful donors have given generously in bottled water, fans and in support of the air conditioning units that were replaced. Everyday we hear testimonies of God's faithfulness through you.

I am grateful that as the staff of the Open Door Mission we are encouraged to pray for our community, volunteers, donors, staff, Board of Directors, Ladies Auxiliary and clients as they have need and are informed of praise reports throughout the day.

As the I.T. guy at the mission, I am pretty much the I.T. Department, and have plenty of work to do, throughout the entire gamut of I.T. projects. I am currently working on refurbishing donated computers to either work as client and staff computers or be given away at our outreach center with clothing and furniture. If you would like to lend of your time or talents in this area, I welcome your help and suggestions.

May God Bless you richly

20 July 2006

Heat Wave

Goodness, I am welcoming the cool air. Yesterday, on water patrol, people were so welcoming of a cool drink. Also, it was an awesome opportunity to share with many homeless about the life changing programs at the Open Door Mission. Two men and one woman jumped on the shuttle to the Open Door Mission and Lydia House to find out more information. Praise God.

It is still a little steamy in the Open Door missions Outreach Center and one wing of the Lydia House. We are trying to raise the money to have the broken units replaced. We have ordered the units believing in faith that we will have the money to pay for them. I am so grateful to the staff and volunteers working in these conditions. The ministry has not skipped a beat nor has any needs gone unmet.

People have been stopping by all day. Picking up their KGOR cookbooks. This is a great collectors item. It is not too late to buy one for yourself or for a gift. They are on sale at the administration building and via the website.

I am flying to Seattle in the morning. I am welcoming the cool air.On Monday, I will be visiting the Cadillac of Missions. The settles Union Gospel Mission. I look forward to sharing those highlights with you.

19 July 2006

Water and Fans

Good Afternoon on this hot and steamy day,

Water Patrol is heading out this afternoon. It will be refreshing to hit the downtown area with bottled water for men and women living on the streets of Omaha. This is where many of the homeless catch a ride to the Open Door Mission and Lydia House.

Thank you to all those that have been donating water and fans. Many individuals, groups, family, and businesses such as, Two Men and a Truck and Great Western Bank, have been contributing.

I hope you had an opportunity to see Lori's story on channel 3, last night. It was an awesome success story on a single mom's life being turned around. We will have it on our media site in the near future.

Have a great day:)

17 July 2006

Water Patrol

Today, was my turn with the team for water patrol. We handed out 245 bottles of water in one hour. Everyone was so grateful.

It was a great weekend for the Open Door Mission. There were more than 1,000 people served at the Community Picnic and the Super Douper Give Away. Keep the Open Door Mission in mind for fans. We have given out all we have as of tonight at closing. So, many of the near homeless that do not have air conditioning or central air are in desperate need.

If you did not get your KGOR cookbook. They will go on sale, tomorrow, at the Open Door Mission's administration building and via the website at www.opendoormission.org

Stay cool.

Wanda O. for Candace

Today has been a very hot & busy day over here at the Outreach Center. I have been busy on the phone returning calls to people from the community to set up furniture appointments in between seeing clients that have had appointments with me today every half hour. My co-workers Judy, Kathy & Amy have been helping me in whatever ways I need. They, along with Dan & our wonderful volunteers have also been getting our Center ready for our big Super Duper Give-A-Way that we are going to have tomorrow.

We had one of our recent Graduates, Iris receive some of her furniture for her new apartment that she will be moving into soon. Ruth, one of Lydia House Recovery Services' Case Managers, brought over a bunch of her clients to receive clothes, shoes, lamps, etc. that they need for their rooms. It was very nice to see some new faces & some familiar faces that are on the New Life Recovery Program. I did not have much time to speak with them, because I was with a community client serving her needs for furniture.

I used to work with the Program clients. So, that's why it's nice to see them-even just to say "hi". Although it's been hot & sticky here, we all work together & rely on Jesus & His strength, & we also from time to time spend a little time in the cooler area, so bad attitudes & irritations don't flair up. It has been a great day serving the needs of the community as well as the Open Door Mission.

Love in Christ,
Wanda Olmsted
Community Services Case Worker

13 July 2006

Where does the time go...flying bye.

I am so pumped for Saturday. The excitement has been building all week.

The media has been kind enough to cover the preparations for the heat wave, during this week. The Open Door Mission does not have even one fan to give out as of today.

On Saturday, the Open Door Mission will open its door to more than 2,000 families in the community. It is our annual Community picnic and Super Duper Give Away. Families will come and have a great lunch. Omaha Steaks donated hambugers for this event. Thank you:) We will have great picnic foods, live entertainment and picnic games. Also, families will get to look for clothing and household items that will help supplement their income. This is great event but a needed preventive measure to equip families to be in their own homes by stretching their dollars.

This Saturday the KGOR Cooking for Kids cookbooks on on sale. This is a limited edition with only 3,000 cookbooks. Many musicians from all types of music have lended their support by donating an original and personal recipe. I will be at Sgt. Peppers on Saddlecreek with the KGOR crew on Saturday from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. Stop by, say "HI" and buy a cook book in support of kids at Open Door Mission and Lydia House.

07 July 2006

Pastor Tom in for Candace

I have never been very athletic. Any similarity between what I do and golf, is purely coincidental. I remember as a kid, my best play at any sport was the proverbial "do over". In golf we call it a "mulligan". I am MR. Mulligan! It is indeed a liberating feeling to know that in a friendly game, with no serious or lasting consequences, we get the grace to "do over" and name our bad moves "Mulligan".

Day-to-day life is very different indeed. Sometimes not living up to norms and expectations causes circumstances that somehow change the course of life dramatically. We see the truth of that statement lived out everyday here at Open Door Mission. No one plans to be homeless and hungry. No one plans to loose their livelihood due to illness or life-altering addictions. No one plans to suffer physical and mental abuse at the hands of a loved one. No one plans to grow up with absentee moms or dads. Over the years we have seen so many people come through our doors who have given up on the "game of life" because they just couldn't make the team. Many are "out of bounds" because of their lifestyle or "benched" because of a sub-par education. However, there is indeed great news! We serve the God of the second chance! He specializes in "do overs"! We all have fallen short of the standards God sets (Romans 3:23). But just when we think we have lost, our substitute enters and secures the victory - his name is Jesus Christ!

Okay, so much for the sports analogies. You get the point. The wonderful thing is, so many other tired, frightened, downtrodden, lonely people get the point also. If God were here on earth today, He would spend a lot of his time at places like Open Door Mission. Hey wait a minute! He is alive, and living in his people! I've seen him in the eyes of a volunteer tutor as she provides a second chance to a homeless child who needs help with homework. Jesus and his disciples clothe themselves with the humanity of chapel teams who come daily to present the good news of the "God of the Second Chance". Faithful angels from our Loaves and Fishes Teams serve multiplied meals to our hungry guests.

By God's grace, may it always be that people who walk through our doors find many who share the same name - Mulligan!

05 July 2006

Summer of Hope Follow Up

Thursday afternoon, I will be hosting an hour show as a follow up on KCRO to the Summer of Hope campaign, at 4:00 p.m. I believe that you can listen online at http://www.kcro.com/ or on 660 AM Thank you to all that financially contributed and to those that donated their time to answer phones. The Summer of Hope donations are still arriving via email and mail.

04 July 2006

Independence Day

Let freedom reign. A fabulous patriotic fireworks show, last night. My family headed over to Bancroft School, last night, and staked out a great spot.

This morning, the phone is not ringing, no appointments, no speaking engagements, and no distractions. I have been able to accomplish a lot of administrative tasks on my to do list.

Many of the men and women at the Open Door Mission are veterans. This is a special day as freedom is celebrated. For others, we are celebrating with deep appreciation for those that have made sacrifices in the past and the present.

Today, men and women at the Open Door Mission celebrate not only their patriotic freedom but the freedom that they have in Christ. Channel 6 interviewed, past graduate, Amy - this morning. Amy has a year and a half of sobriety. Her freedom is from meth. She has her family back together, an apartment, and a full time job with the hope of returning to school. Amy's story will air on Channel 6 at 5:00 p.m.

Open Door Mission's Food Service Director, Bryan, is busy with barbecue preparations. Bryan's team has been in the kitchen since 5 a.m., this morning. Thanks Bryan for never letting anyone go hungry at Open Door Mission.

Have a great day with your family and friends. We have so much to be thankful for.