30 August 2007

United Way Day of Caring

Open Door Mission - United Way Day of CaringWow, I am not sure where to begin but here it goes... As I am driving home from the Open Door Mission Campus, I have to take a double look. It really does not look like it did this morning at
7 a.m. when I arrived.

The United Way Day of Caring 400+ volunteers have left a hand print on the Open Door Mission that will always be remembered by the impact that the collaboration of the business and corporate world has left ... People still do care about People.

Open Door Mission - United Way Day of CaringMany First National Bank employees started arriving at 7 a.m. Team leaders Stacy and Laura were awesome. By 8 a.m., 200+ FNB employees had arrived armed in paint clothes and carrying supplies. This group meant business, no slackers here. Following orientation, they dug in their heels and tackled the projects until 3 p.m. only stopping for a half hour lunch break or shorter for many. FNB painted the exterior of the Timberlake Outreach Center and the Permanent Supportive Housing Apartments, yard work throughout the campus, painted all the parking lines in the lots, painted the inside of the Men's Ministry Emergency Services and Lydia House, painted the exterior of the main Mission building, the list goes, on and on and on. The Open Door Mission Team looks forward to partnering together on future projects at Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Open Door Mission - United Way Day of CaringShortly, after 9 a.m. 14 dignitaries arrived for a short press conference and participated in painting the Men's Ministry Day Room. Then many, stayed and were escorted throughout the campus, personally thanking the volunteers. I had a great opportunity to escort Mayor Fahey for 45 minutes, and then escorted the Mayor from La Vista, Congressman Lee Terry and businessman John Hoich for another 45 minutes.

Aquilla employees spent their time making thousands of care kits for the homeless men, women and children. Each care kit contained a toothbrush, toothpaste,Kleenex and hotel shampoo, conditioner and soap. These are given out in the emergency services departments.

UPS employees spent the entire day stuffing envelopes. This project saved the Mission hundreds of dollars. This group was so committed to this project they refused to leave until it was done realizing the savings would provide more meals for those hungry, in our community.

Tyson Food employees tackled the organizing and painting of the receiving and distribution areas of the Timberlake Outreach Center a very labor intensive project.

World Insurance employees made more than 650+ sack lunches for the Streets of Omaha program. These lunches are given to men, women and children that live on the streets in abandoned buildings, along the train tracks, in their cars, along the levy, etc..

Mutual of Omaha employees painted all the shoe, hat, socks, and underwear racks. A very tedious and time consuming task.

Reflecting on the day there are several other accomplishments:

1. Many volunteers have a better understanding of the complexity of homelessness and poverty and therefore can be an advocate for those without a voice.
2. Time Changes Peoples Lives. Just 2 hours a month will make a difference in someone's life.
3. Many volunteers have a better understanding of the Open Door Mission's programs and services that are provided to the hungry and homeless and that it could not be done without the partnerships provided by volunteers.

This is just the beginning. God has so much more instore, it's just around the corner. I can hardly wait to see...stay tuned in you won't want to miss it.

Blessings,

Candace

Woodmen of the World CARES

How exciting to have almost 100 Woodmen of the World employees volunteering for an entire afternoon at the Open Door Mission campus. Not only did they come to donate their time but they donated funds to cover the cost of the paint and supplies that were needed to complete the service project. Work Made Fun Gets Done. Take a look at the photo's below and see for yourself.

Step Out

Open Door Mission - Step OutThe Step Out Program had about 300 volunteers, on Sunday. The Step Out groups came from King of Kings Church, Christ Community Church and Trinity Interdenominational Church. Open Door Mission did have some families with kids around 8-10 volunteering, too. Our team is still capturing the total volunteer hours donated.

The Timberlake Outreach Center was able to empty 30 gaylords of products onto the floor in preparation for the fall and winter months.

Open Door Mission - Step OutThe Christmas mailing is about 75% completed. This was a sit down project that saved the Mission hundreds of dollars doing it internally rather than out sourcing.

The TORC outside is primed and painted with one coat. We plan on putting on the second coat on Thursday. Also, the outside of the Permanent Supportive Housing apartments received their first coat of paint and the 2nd one will be done on Thursday.

Open Door Mission - Step OutThe north side of the main mission building has one coat of paint on it.

The backpacks are sorted and we have a complete inventory list for Christmas usage

The kitchen was painted.

You will not believe how much difference the outside of TORC and PSH look. The before and after are unbelievable.

Open Door Mission - Step OutGlen, Open Door Mission’s Property Manger said he was almost in tears when he saw the first 50 orange shirts arriving to help.

Praise the Lord for His Blessings are falling upon us.

Open Door Mission - Step OutI hope that you enjoy the photo's.

25 August 2007

Graduation

You are Cordually Invited to Attend Our Graduation September 8th 2007, at 11:00 AM

Hi All

We just wanted to let you know that this has been a stellar week at the LH. We have four of our aftercare graduates children now attending OCA fulltime on full scholarships. OCA was very impressed with our grads and their children. The kids had a great time today and even made some friends and picked up an instrument for the first time. What a blessing this whole process has been.

We always want the best for our graduates and their children, this is just one step in the right direction to breaking the cycle of homelessness for generations to come. I am so proud right now I have been crying just thankful for the opportunity to change a young life forever and see them reach new heights they never even dreamed were possible for single moms with one income. Praise God!!!

We have a lot of changes coming up for the LH in September so I will be telling you all about it in a few weeks.

We also had several new fun things going on. We had “mic” night with our 7 LH grads and they got to practice their testimony’s with men sitting in there ( I don’t know how they felt about hearing 7 testomiy’s) but I believe we will actually be able to hear the women this year and have a nice neat exciting 3 minute testimony that is precise and together.

We are having picture night tonight and a trip out to golden corral to celebrate our 7 grads, discuss their futures and hopefully help in fulfilling a lot on long term goals a grand dreams for each of them. Isn’t graduation time the most exciting? We get excited weeks before in the planning process and can’t wait for the day to come to see at least one dream they all have had lived out of walking across a stage with heads held high and a beautiful cap and gown to go with it.

Signing off for now,
Blessing Charity

14 August 2007

Amy Grills-Timberlake Outreach Center

Hi, my name is Amy Grills and I am the receptionist at the Timberlake Outreach Center at the Open Door Mission. My job is to assist people with King’s Kloset registration, food pantries, diapers, fans, furniture appointments and various other needs as they are coming into the Outreach Center. I love my job!

God has really brought to my mind today just how grateful I am for all that He has done for me and how He has grown me and continues to grow me in Him. I remember very clearly feeling like some of the clients I see coming in – overwhelmed, unloved and without hope. I came to the Open Door Mission at what I consider the very worst time of my life and I am amazed everyday how far God has brought me since then. I knew of God’s love for His creation, but I did not know that He could and would forgive me if my heart was right and I was ready to accept Him.

I can’t say enough about our volunteer chapel teams that come into the Outreach Center everyday to tell the people of the community about God’s love and forgiveness. They spend 30 minutes preaching God’s word and then stick around to answer all kinds of questions and to help lead people (who are ready) to the Lord! I have been so blessed to see people from the community come and spend time with a chapel volunteer and the next time I see them, they are changed, smiling and have hope and are involved in a local church. God is so good!

The other thing that God brought to my mind today is how blessed I am to work in a place where we pray as a team each morning before we start our day. We get to pray for our ministry here at the Open Door Mission, for fellow staff, for clients and various other things. Speaking of prayer, I would encourage whoever reads this to pray for the clients here at the Open Door Mission as well as the community coming in. We are in constant need of beds, appliances, dressers, and we especially need fans, air conditioners and bottled water due to the extreme heat! If you can donate financially we would appreciate it, but we would also greatly appreciate your prayers!

If you would like to volunteer your time or talents, please contact Cris Morris at 829-1504, we would love to give you a tour and tell you more about what we do here at the Open Door Mission and at the Timberlake Outreach Center!

12 August 2007

Guest Blogger - After Care

It has been an exciting time in the Lydia House Recovery Program for the month of August. For the first time in my life I spoke on KCRO Radio station with several of our Journey to Work Program Members. I can tell you that I wasn't prepared because I didn't know that I was to talk briefly about the Professional Developement Class and how important it is for people in our programs to know how to successfully get employment. In no time, I did it, and I bet I could do it again with a little prepartion.

I had the opportunity to attend a confrence in Lincoln, Nebraska regarding how to help those who are homeless to get permanent housing. There lots of issues like who are funding these projects, remodeling existing buildings, case management support for indiviuals and how to help those with mental illness. I found the Personality Disorder particulary intersting, becuase this helped me to understand better the population that we serve wth mental illness.

Even more exciting, I began to train an equip two new staff members as case managers in the Lydia House Recovery Program. It has helped me to think about all the information that seems to come so easily because I have been woking and ministering at the Open Door Mission for 14 years. I discovered that I needed to make a check list of all that I do, so I could be more effective. It has helped. My goal is complete the training and work full-time in the 18 month After Care Program for those who have graduated from our New Life Recovery Program. I am really excited that I will be working with Dick Erant the Men's After Care Case Manager. He is a great asset to the Open Door Mission.

I am going to sighn off now, because I realized that I could go on and on about the great things that happening in my life at the Open Door Mission.

In Christ Love and Care,

Deb Wylie
Lydia House Recovery and After Care Case Manager

09 August 2007

Guest Blogger - Volunteers, Volunteers, Volunteers

Volunteers, Volunteers, Volunteers, what would we do without them?

Well, one thing is for sure, without their help, we could not meet the growing needs of the nearly 5000 men, women, and children we serve each month at the Timberlake Outreach Center.

Hi, my name is Judy and I’m the Assistance Director of Community Services at the Open Door Mission.

Our staff at the Timberlake Outreach Center are grateful to all the people who volunteer their time and talents to partner with us, to help meet the needs of people in our community who are in extreme crisis or nearly homeless. One such volunteer was a young woman named Alex. Alex volunteered nearly 100 hours at our Timberlake Outreach Center this summer. She was a tremendous help to us. She shared with me how rewarding it was for her. I asked her if she would be willing to share some of her thoughts on volunteering at our Timberlake Outreach Center with you, and here’s what she wrote.

"Instead of wasting your summer vacation on the sofa watching TV or playing video games why don’t you try volunteering at the Open Door Mission? That’s what I did over my summer vacation and it was amazing – I found it to be both fulfilling and rewarding.

I’ve never experienced anything like it before. At first it was
overwhelming, but the entire staff welcomed me with open arms and made me feel appreciated. It was an eye-opening experience to see how many people in our community are in desperate need of the services provided by the Open Door Mission to its residents. The Open Door Mission provides services such as: clothing, food, furniture, diapers, career development and life skills classes to those who are displaced and financially needy.

My experience at the Open Door Mission has also made me realize how
blessed I am for the life that I have. I will never take the gifts in my life
for granted ever again. Additionally, while volunteering at the Open Door Mission my relationship with God was enhanced and I realized how important it is for God to be in my life. I look forward to volunteering at the Open Door Mission for many years to come. I hope while reading this blog you asked yourself what you can do to help out at Open Door Mission; they could really use your help! "

Dedicated Volunteer, Alexandrea Swanson

Well, Alex is right, we really could use your help! If you are interested in volunteering at the Open Door Mission please give Cris Morris, Director of Volunteers a call. Her number is 829-1504.

08 August 2007

Guest Blogger - Homeless, Addicted and Afflicted

Hi, my name is John E Lindsey, and I am the Program Counselor for the men’s longer-term program called New Life Recovery. Most of the men are homeless, addicted and afflicted. My job as a servant of Christ is to labor in the power of Spirit to engage and equip these men to live life on life’s terms.

In Ephesians 4 the Apostle writes, “. . . but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head even Christ . . . building up of itself in love . . . walk no longer . . . in the futility of (your) mind . . . because of the hardness of (your) heart . . . lay aside the old self . . . that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:15-24).

Open Door Mission - Men's MinistryI am trained as a mental health practitioner, licensed in the state of NE. My role is to address the men’s core personality and lifestyle issues like addictions, co-dependency, and a history of abuse, abandonment or neglect. These issues often result in a shame-based lifestyle of spiritual and moral corruption which the Bible calls sin! God’s remedy of healing such a miserable existence is the three-fold process of the gospel of grace – our past justification, our present ongoing growth of sanctification, and our future glorification – a developmental process.

Two terms that the Scriptures employ for this developmental approach to a life of holiness are: Renewal and Transformation. Renewal is an event-oriented or cognitive-behavioral approach where content and truth are transmitted; and through activities like, classroom instruction, participation in personal & corporate worship, service involvement, fellowship, Bible study, prayer, etc. While transformation is a process-oriented approach of experiential and emotive or “heart work,” where a person addresses their emotional and core personality issues; through activities like individual and group therapy, accountability groups, meditation, etc.

Open Door Mission - Men's MinistryPlease pray for the men to “work out their salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12b) and for the staff that we can use our gifts and training to effectively “speak the truth in love.” There are many ups and downs on the journey of living life on God’s terms!

06 August 2007

Guest Blogger - Grace Fellowship Food Drive-Maggie Cope

This past month, my church Grace Fellowship in Omaha, has been collecting food for Open Door Mission.
They decided to go above and beyond and combine an outreach effort with the food drive.
They went around the church neighborhood and let people know about Grace Fellowship and the need for food at Open Door Mission.
The results were awesome-last Sunday I picked up 450 pounds of food from the church (As you can see in the photos there was a lot of food).
This Sunday I picked up another 163 pounds of food.
God took each person's contribution and made it a bounty for those less fortunate.
Wow-when God's people come together to reach out so many others are blessed.
Thank you to all those at Grace Fellowship that coordinated the food drive, collected the food and loaded the food into the car.
Thank you to all of those that responded by donating food and monetary gifts.
I am blessed to serve a mighty God, I am blessed to belong to a caring church and I am blessed to work at Open Door Mission, where lives are changed daily because people care.

Guest Blogger - What I do in a day

Hi folks,
My name is Dan Applegate. I am Director of Community Services at the Open Door Mission. You might wonder what the Director of Community Services actually does in a typical day. Let me start by saying it’s not a suit and tie position. I normally use the casual dress approach.

Friday the 3rd started off by shuffling staff to cover all the bases. We were a little short handed but we just tough it out. That’s a huge advantage for me. I have a great staff that seems to just will themselves to do great things.

Friday’s Kings Kloset crowd was a little larger than usual. It was extremely busy partly because mothers are school clothes shopping for their kids. This time of year is very costly for single mothers with kids and families. They struggle trying to balance a very small budget in trying to get the kids ready for school.

Food pantry boxes have been very overwhelming at the Timberlake Outreach center the last 30 days. We have given out more food pantry boxes than ever before. When the kids are out of school the food bills go up. Most families just need a little help to make ends meet. We are very privileged to help meet the needs of the working poor.

Next were the mounds of paperwork. Gives me a chance to catch my breathe. Next is time at the warehouse and at the food pantry warehouse. These areas are always busy with clothes and food donations. They need to be sorted and distributed to the people who are in need. This is a never ending task only because the need is great. We desperately need your help with food. Our shelves are pretty bare.

Next up would be to see what areas I can assist my staff. Sometimes I am amazed at how well they meet the needs of the working poor. They work extremely hard and constantly give of themselves to help others. When asked “can I help you?” one step-mother of 5 just burst into tears. Another young man stopped by to give the staff a formal “thank you” because we showed him compassion 2 years ago.

Other than that I don’t do much of anything. Stop by and see me. I would love to show you around the mission and maybe you will see an area that you might like to volunteer in.

Thanks again for all your prayers and God bless you all.

05 August 2007

Poor Canadian Connection

For those of you that emailed inquiring about my whereabouts for Thursdays Radio Show
" Inside the Open Door With Candace" heard weekly on KCRO 660AM at 4:00 p.m., I apologize but I was at a water park with my family in Moncton New Brunswick. The reception was not good enough to go live. Infact on the third try with my cell phone standing on practically one foot and leaning to the north, I was able to have a conversation with Charity before the show started. But have no fear, I will be able to call in on a land line this coming Thursday.It is going to be a great jam packed show. Hope you can tune in via radio or Internet at http://www.kcro.com/

Back to the water park, check it out at http://www.magicmountain.ca/ My family had a great time. WE especially enjoyed the lazy river ride. My husband, Steve and my son Samuel rode the KAMAKOZEE, not once but twice, if you can imagine. Take a look at the steep slide.

Well, I am keeping up with the reading, just finished a hilariously funny, non fiction, These boots are not made for walking. It was quite the chuckle.

This afternoon, we travelled to Fredericton, New Brunswick to a family reunion. This really was quite fun. Now, get out the atlas or the globe and check it out. We flew into Portland, ME, and are staying in Bellisle, New Brunswick and have been to Saint John, Sussex, Fredericton, Hampton and Moncton.

We are hoping for a nice day tomorrow for water skiing, ski biscuiting, paddle boating, swimming and making sand castles and mud pies at the beach. It is a holiday,here, celebrating New Brunswick day.

I received an update regarding Back to School Bash on Friday. We are really low on three ring binders and character book bags for the younger children. Please spread the word.

02 August 2007

Guest Blogger - Christmas is coming

Open Door Mission - Christmas is comingOpen Door Mission’s Development Department is preparing for Christmas!

I know it’s only the first of August – but like the Boy Scouts, our motto is “Be Prepared”.

That’s why we’re looking forward to two coming events that will bring hundreds of volunteers to Open Door Mission – some to paint, some to clean, some to weed the garden and the grounds – and some to help stuff envelopes in preparation for Christmas events.

On Sunday, August 26th, many area churches will encourage their members to “Step Out” and volunteer a few hours of their time to help various non-profit organizations throughout the city. Last year we had a tremendous response and a TON of work was accomplished!

Then on Thursday, August 30, local business organizations are sponsoring “Day of Caring”. We are expecting many wonderful workers to join us to spruce things up before fall and to help in many different areas of our ministry.

We love it when people come and share their time and talents with us. And those of us in Development consider it a real blessing as each envelope is prepared for mailing to churches, businesses and individuals who will bring hope for the holidays to the homeless men, women and children who are hungry for hope in our community.

Merry Christmas!

Joan Meradith
Director of Development
Open Door Mission

01 August 2007

Guest Blogger...First we address physical needs

Coming to work as a Case Manager in the Lydia House with women and families and their children brings many opportunities to show God’s love. A mother with 9 children showed up at the Open Door Mission, during my shift. We were full to overflowing but it was hot and they were sleeping in their car. I gave them our family lounge which is not very big and they had to crowd in and sleep on the floor. They were very grateful for a safe place to stay. Last week a married couple needed a place because they were sleeping in their truck. On Tuesday, I was able to provide them with a room.

Many times in order for people to be ready to hear the Gospel, we need to see to their physical needs. I am privileged to be able to do that and then ask God for the opportunity to share Jesus with them.

Thank You, and God Bless You

Ruth Forrester, Lydia House Family Ministry and Emergency Services Case Manager at Open Door Mission.

Guest Blogger...I have been working with a certain young man...

I have been working with a certain young man for just about three years now. His name is “Mike” and he has had more than his share of set backs in his life before coming to the Open Door Mission. Mike’s Father was incarcerated when Mike was five years old and he has not seen him since. Mike’s mother has been addicted to crack cocaine for as long as he can remember and he has not seen her for a couple of years. I cannot imagine the feelings of abandonment he must have. I vowed early on never to add to those feelings.

Mike learned many things from his mother one being how to live on the street and do drugs. He would disappear for long periods of time only to come back looking very pale and very malnourished. Upon his arrival we would sit for hours and talk of where he has been and things he has done and been through. I often found it very hard not to look horrified when he would tell me of some new low he had found. After a while I would try to encourage him with praise, prayer and talk of his future, but would never tell him that if he continued to behave the way he does he would have to find another place to stay or that I would no longer have time for him.

It has been one year since I last heard from him. Never have I gone one year without speaking with him. I think of the terrible stories he has told me over the years wonder what tragedy he is experiencing now.

I received a letter the other day from no one other than Mike himself. Enclosed were a letter and a picture of Mike, a young woman and a baby. They were standing in front of a pickup truck that, according to the letter, Mike has just purchased with the proceeds from his new job in construction. There was no return address and no statement in the letter that would give away his location. I guess sometimes you have to not only leave the past behind, but you can’t tell it where your going.

God Bless You,
Tim Suelter, Directer of Men's Emergency Services at Open Door Mission.

Guest Blogger..Hello Open Door Missionaries,

Open Door Mission - Men's MinistryYou know, I’ve been sitting here thinking (kinda scary already, huh?) Well, it rained today and that was symbolic of the rainstorm of ideas that my staff sent me for this praise report when I asked them earlier this week! Wow, which droplet would you like first?

Since we’re on the subject of water, I’d like to thank God for faithful program men like Marshall and Mike for faithfully watering the garden out back every night without being asked or reminded to. We here at Men’s Recovery really appreciate the job they’re doing.

Speaking of jobs, Chad has been with our Step-Up program for only one week and has already landed a job. To top that, Mike got a second job this week. Fred went from a part-time to a full-time position at his job.

As most of you know already Dick Arant started on Monday as our full-time AfterCare Casemanager. He has been working hard and already has put together some future visions he would like to see fulfilled. It was really neat to see how excited the men were to see him come on board. Many of the men pitched in and helped him move in and start organizing his office.

Open Door Mission - Men's MinistryThat makes it a truly historical event in Men’s Recovery, not only do we have a full staff now, but we also have the largest recovery staff of all time here at ODM.

However, what I am really excited and thankful for is the quality of the men we have on staff. Sure, sure, I know the director is supposed to say glowing things about his staff, but it’s really exciting when you can really mean it as well, I very much do.! I would openly invite anyone to come down and visit and meet the staff, even talk to our men about them. They would tell you that the best thing about this truly qualified staff is that each one of them sincerely cares about the men in our programs. You can’t buy that or teach that.

Indeed God truly provides. Jesse learned that this week when he acquired a vehicle that was a genuine answer to prayer. He not only provides, but He restores. Luke learned that as well this week when he took the courage to call a sister that he had not even spoken to in 15 years, due to feeling very alienated towards each other.

After setting a time and calling her, God was overwhelmingly redemptive in helping those two in restoring their relationship. I told you, when it rains, it pours.

One of the men led devotions today, and he gave an illustration about us getting to heaven and Jesus taking us to a huge warehouse full of items from top to bottom, when we ask what all that stuff is, He answers,” That’s everything that you failed to ask for”. Well, if He’s been this faithful, let’s pray that the staff and the men keep on asking again next week.

God Bless You
Stan Latta, Men's Ministry Director

Making More Memories in Canada

The storied Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride thrilled crowds in Hampton Tuesday evening as the riders and their steeds performed. Riding their stunning mounts and wearing the famous red serge, the ride is known throughout the world.My family had a great time and enjoyed the show, seeing it for the first time.

I am getting alot of reading done and it has only been one week. I read Beth Morre's Get Out of the Pit for the second time.I just completed Book One and Two in authors Chapman and Palmer's Four Seasons based on relationships. I am half done Bob Greene's Best Life Diet.