20 August 2008
This week it is a blessing to continue to serve as parents call in hoping we might have some backpacks left. In some cases they didn’t realize that Open Door Mission could help out, for others it is a lack of transportation on the weekends (no bus service), and for some families it is the fear that they weren’t deserving of God’s bounty. It is such a blessing to tell someone that yes we can help them, yes we can make their children feel like all the other children with a new backpack and yes God’s people truly do care for all people-no matter social, economic or ethnic group. So for the inner city church trying to encourage their 50 young people to stay in school or the family looking for a better education and life for their children here in America and all the others Open Door Mission served this past week, a big thanks to you that donated all the backpacks, the notebooks, pencils and other supplies, you have made a difference in children’s lives because you cared. Not only did so many donate, but so many helped “stuff” the backpacks before Saturday, some handed out hot dogs and chips at the party, and some did lots of “laps” gathering backpacks for the waiting families.
Thank you to all that donated, volunteered and prayed so that the children would know God’s love, would know that others cared and would know they were worthy to be loved and blessed.
Thank you for letting me serve,
Maggie Cope Communications Coordinator-Open Door Mission
19 August 2008
18 August 2008
I just had to share what a blessing it was to come into the kitchen and find pancakes with home-made blueberry compote for breakfast! Clauzell always does such a great job making things work for breakfast and lunch, no matter what’s in (or missing from) the pantry. It was great to see the extra effort that was put in making the kids’ first day of school an ultra-special one. Way to go!!
Omaha, NE- Most of us take the little things for granted, like a new outfit or a fresh haircut. But that's not the case for many right here in Omaha. There's a program with the Open Door Mission called "Summer of Hope", getting homeless kids ready to go back to school.
The kids don't always get to go to a salon for a fresh haircut. The stylists at Turning Heads Salon were more than happy to pick up their shears to create special dos for the special kids, for free. Darlene Nanfito says, "I feel we're getting so much more than what we're giving. It's a really good feeling. It makes us feel good."
The almost two dozen children are homeless and the haircuts help them get ready to go back to school. Open Door Mission President Candace Gregory says, "Many are fearful of going to school and people finding out they're homeless. Today, they'll be like every other child in Omaha and get ready for school."Remember, when you head back to school, you need a new outfit. That's where Target Stores step in, giving the kids news shoes and more than one ensemble for school. There are even more smiles, as these kids are used to having hand me downs. Gregory says, "At the Open Door Mission, we want to stress staying in school and to not do drugs and we believe education is the key to bringing homelessness to an end."
An end that could start when they walk into classroom-- with their new looks! At the Lydia House, there are 60-100 children, from infants to age 18. Open Door Mission is always looking for volunteers and donations. Call 402-422-1111. Reported by Michelle Bandur; firstname.lastname@example.org
These past few weeks I have been busy working with the parents of children living at Open Door Mission's Lydia House, helping them prepare for a return to school. My job is easier because of you and other people like you who care.
OPS's Title One office does a great job in arranging transportation for the children to attend their own schools, and assist our new children in finding a school to attend. All we have to do is let them know who our new children are.
Volunteers and donors blessed the children with a fun outing last week--getting new hair styles and shopping at Target for back to school outfits! Yesterday each child received a brand new book back filled with new supplies. The kids were so excited that I'm not sure they slept too well!
While all the excitement surrounds the children and getting back to school, I am also providing services to our single women in the Emergeny Shelter. Today was a hard day working with these women. Sixteen live in a dorm-type setting, and from time to time they don't get along too well. Today was one of those days. But what looked like impending disaster turned out to be a great opportunity to talk with them about Biblical principles concerning love for one another, showing kindness, being a good neighbor, etc. They are learning not to gossip, and are really trying to see each other as Jesus would. It is an amazing moment when two women come together and apologize...then later to see them laughing and hanging out. Only Jesus can bring about that kind of healing!
I am looking forward to next week. I have three volunteers scheduled to help me during the day. Jean provides office assistance on Tuesdays, Rose Marie is starting this Tuesday to assist our women and families as they receive clothing from our Timberlake Outreach Center, and Ed is coming in on Monday to inspect our areas so that he can begin providing weekly maintenance support.
I would LOVE to invite you to the Lydia House to spend a day with us. Currently there are many volunteer opportunities available, such as providing child care for pre-schoolers during the day, organizing and filling our supply closets, answering the hot-line phone, sorting donated items and supervising our Computer Lab/Learning Center.
Are you interested? Please call Cris at (402)829-1504 today and tell her you'd like to volunteer at the Lydia House. She'll make it happen, and I'll be even happier!
Thank you for praying for us,
14 August 2008
One of the men I have been working with, I will call him Nick (not his real name) has been experiencing a real revelation – that it is okay to have boundaries with people. He described that throughout his life, he never knew what boundaries were, and therefore never really had clear limits and expectations in his relationships with wife, family, and friends. Even though he had some good values, like – a desire to get along with others; a value to not cause conflict; his summary of his lifestyle was that he always became confused, then frustrated, and eventually stop caring and would return to a life of drugs.
Through classes and individual therapy, Nick began to gain understanding how he would fall into this cyclical pattern of self-defeating behaviors. As we worked together he began to unravel his self-defeating patterns. It is time consuming. There are moments of temptation, to simply moralize for the purpose of having an answer to the problem. Life change is not simply having the “right answer.”
Life change as a Christian is about transformation, and not mere conformity (Romans 12:2). So I counseled with Nick, training him how to renew his mind – applying grace, truth and time to the heart issues of his life, in such a way that Nick began to see the person God re-created him to be.
Now Nick has a greater understanding about his limits and preferences. So that he can rightly, healthily, and biblically esteem other people more highly than himself (Romans 12:3). Highly esteeming others is never accomplished by belittling ourselves. Only as we experientially grow in our understanding of the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18) will we be able to believe and then obey God’s command to love others as ourselves.
12 August 2008
The other day a man was grateful because we were able to give him a crib for his baby. A mother was excited that she could finely feed her children at the kitchen table she received. Can you imagine the thrill of the mother of five who received a washer and dryer and will no longer need to wash her kid’s clothes in the bath tub or have to take her washing over to a family member’s home.
Because of your gifts many of our clients have been able to furnish their homes, cloth their families, diaper their babies and have a bed to lay their tired bodies on at night. Thank you for your kindness for without you we would not be able to serve our community the way we do.
Our staff also has the privilege of praying for each client. I have seen God work in some of our client’s lives to soften their hearts, bring hope for their future, provide for their needs and change their lives. Every now and then some will come back to tell us how God answered their prayers. It blesses our hearts as I hope it blesses yours. We can’t do this ministry without you, so thank you for your kindness and gifts to those in need.
Joyfully serving Jesus,
Judy Collins, Open Door Mission Assistant Director of the Timberlake Outreach Center
Anna and Caleb visited Open Door Mission for the first time yesterday (Monday).
It seems mom and dad had a garage sale on Saturday. Anna and Caleb decided to take advantage of the extra neighborhood traffic, so they set up a lemonade stand. It was a hot weekend, and they brought in a whopping $22 plus some change.
Both wanted to donate the cash to Open Door Mission. So, bright and early Monday morning, mom brought her two entrepreneurs to the Mission. Anna and Caleb saw individuals and families who live here because they have no home of their own. They saw Open Door Mission's Bright Space, a wonderful play room designed just for kids.
They smelled good food cooking in the kitchen, and understood that Open Door Mission is a place that provides food for the hungry, and shelter for the homeless.
They knew that they'd given their money to the right place.
You can experience the same thing that Anna and Caleb did. Come to Open Door Mission, take a tour, and see for yourself. Just like the kids, you'll understand the difference.
Public Relations Director
11 August 2008
I had this great experience working with this group from Gretna, Ne..The name of their Church is Good Shepherd Lutheran there were fifty five of them ranging in age from five to seventy five and they were the most pleasant group of people I have ever met.And that’s saying something because I have been blessed to meet some wonderful people from all over the world.
I really am glad and happy that we have Cris, Open Door Mission's Volunteer and Partner Director spear heading our hospitality team. She was right in the mist of stuff with me mixing it up with our volunteers it was simply a wonderful experience to have them work with us. They prepared the meal out side on Grills then brought it in to serve online in our dining area. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and had a great time of fellowship on a very hot day.
Then to top it off Cris' soul mate Scot came in to help setup our new office look and it looks great what a blessed person I am to witness all of this at once.
Regards, Jim Briggs Hospitality Supervisor.
I wanted to give an update from yesterday's Homeless Count. Joy and I went back to the Park in the afternoon. We took clothing items, blankets and lunches to the tent community members we met in the morning. We also took Heartland housing applications and coached the families how to fill them out. In addition, several people expressed an interest in having a Bible which Joy was able to provide. We spent about an hour ministering in practical helps and spiritual matters to the families. During that time, we were able to learn more about their stories which is fascinating in that one man stated he knew a staff's employee from his childhood (what’s that about God?). They responded to us so graciously by offering us lunch and drinks (we told them we had already eaten).
What a blessing it was to see our prayers for divine appointments play out right before us!
Laurie and Joy
08 August 2008
I read the stories on the blog everyday and think what amazing co-workers I have. Everyone truly has a servant heart and I am so blessed to work here.
I thought about what should I write and then it came to me, I should write about an employee who makes a difference and goes above and beyond. I started making a list and every employee made the list.
My co-workers are all amazing. I see servant hearts, warm smiles, encouraging words and team work everyday. I know my co-workers are not only here to “get the job done”, but they are here because they want to be here and are called to be here. Every employee has a story about why they work here and every one of the stories begins with God called me here or God lead me here.
I am so humbled and blessed to work at a “job” that I happily go to everyday and where I know I will see the heart of Jesus in my co-workers.
07 August 2008
04 August 2008
01 August 2008
• 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
• 3 eggs
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup white sugar
• 1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
• 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking dish.
2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes