31 December 2009

Timberlake Outreach Center

As we come to the end of 2009, I can't help but reflect on this past year and how God has provided and met the needs of people in our community through people like you. I work at the Timberlake Outreach Center Community Services where our staff serves over 6000 people each month. Our clientele are the working poor, people who are in extreme crisis or nearly homeless. The work at the Timberlake Outreach Center is PREVENTION. We are helping to prevent many of our near homeless, working poor clients from becoming homeless.

I remember thinking in January of 2009 it could be a very difficult year. Our economy was hurting, many businesses were closing, the unemployment rate was climbing and our cliental was rapidly increasing. People from all over Omaha, the surrounding Metro community and small towns were coming to the Open Door Mission Timberlake Outreach Center to receive resource case management, food, diapers, clothing, furniture and appliances etc. I wondered if we would be able to continue to meet our clients growing needs?

Well, I am happy to say we did it! You did it! GOD did it!!! And we made it through another year. Through God's love and life changing power, your donations, and volunteer time, we were able to provide our clients with help for their present situations and hope for their future.

Thank you for partnering with us to help change lives for eternity; we couldn't do it without you.

Joyfully serving Jesus,
Judy Collins
Timberlake Outreach Center Director

30 December 2009

Friends of the Friendless

Friends of the Friendless is a group of volunteers that meets the first Tuesday of each month for a delicious lunch and several hours of work together here at Open Door Mission.

Friends of the Friendless was first organized as the Ladies Auxiliary in 1956. Its purpose was to pray for the new work that was being done among the homeless in Omaha. The women involved also offered their services to help financially and practically.

Times have changed and the work of Open Door Mission has expanded in many ways. The Ladies Auxiliary changed its name to Friends of the Friendless in 2007 – we’re not just for ladies anymore!

Our purpose has not changed though. We spend the first hour of our meeting eating lunch and listening to testimonies from graduates of the New Life Recovery program. That is the most exciting part for me. It is awesome to hear how God has used Open Door Mission to bring people from a life of despair to one of hope and joy. We also hear from a current program member and learn what circumstances God used in their life to bring them to this place of refuge and healing.

We spend some time hearing about the needs of the mission and praying that God will supply for all of our needs. After a short business meeting, we spend a couple of hours (or whatever time each of us has available) on service projects: sorting clothes, making sandwiches, bagging laundry soap, or working together to make fleece blankets. Projects vary according to the need; but there’s always a variety.

A Mission with a big vision needs the support and prayers of many volunteers – we are so thankful for our Friends of the Friendless. We are always looking for more friends. If you’re interested in checking us out, our next meeting is scheduled for January 5, 2010 at 11:30. Call Cris at 422-1111 ext 1504 if you’d like to join us or need more information.

Judy Ward
Friends of the Friendless Prayer Chairman

28 December 2009

A Praise

Severe weather conditions allowed me the opportunity to minister to our participants Christmas day. My heart was warmed by the spirit of brotherly love and compassion they exhibited toward one another. I was moved even more, and I must admit tears came to my eyes, as I witnessed families with children brave the elements to come here on Christmas Day and serve the homeless population. What a blessing it was for this staff to observe such acts of unselfishness, kindness and love toward our fellow man. HALLELUJAH!!

Jesse Powell
Men’s Emergency Services
Day House Supervisor

23 December 2009

Greetings from Lydia House

My name is Leann Quiroz and I am the Lydia House Day Supervisor for single ladies and families. We are these last few days before Christmas, assuring that every family and single woman will be blessed with gifts, hot delicious food, love - but most of all, they will hear about CHRIST.

I have been helping with our Adopt-A-Family program. I just want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone that adopted a family or single woman here at Lydia House. You have truly made this Christmas brighter for them.

Blessings
Leann

21 December 2009

Having Faith

This is a lesson of having faith and remembering who is really in charge.

I’m involved in the Project Santa program and last Friday we were hoping to finish stuffing the 4,500 toy bags Open Door Mission is giving out on Tuesday, December 22. We only had 25 more bags to stuff for the newborn to 12 month boys. We put blankets in all the bags, however, we only had enough blankets for 14 bags. We began discussing what we were going to do, as we really needed to complete this age group. We forgot for a moment, that God was in control. A few minutes into our dilemma a donation was dropped off - someone had brought in 12 crocheted blankets. This was one more than we needed to finish the 25 bags.

A great example of how God always knows what we need and when we need it!

Patty Sloderbeck
Volunteer Department

18 December 2009

Radiothon Update

As one of the Open Door Mission staff members who helped facilitate KGBI’s Hope for the Hungry Hope for the Holidays Radiothon, I want to thank the KGBI listeners for their invaluable support in helping those in need.

The Heartland’s generosity is overwhelming—462 individuals were sponsored during this all day event. You are providing hope and encouragement for the men, women and families with children who are struggling during this Christmas season.

Thanks again and praises to our Lord and Savior for helping Open Door Mission serve the community. Without you, we couldn’t provide Hope for the Hungry Hope for the Holidays.

Linda Gunderson
Advancement Administrator

16 December 2009

Employed again after 9 years!

When Ted came to Open Door Mission, he had been unemployed for nine years and everything he had was lost. He often thought “what am I living for”. He knew that the Journey to Work Program would help him as he had been jobless for nine years after a very successful career in the banking field.

Ted started the Journey to Work Program ten months ago. After completing the required course work and the WorkNet Program with intensive case management, he was ready to do his independent job search and get back to work. Praise the Lord!

Ted is now employed and is praising the Lord that he was given a second chance and that Open Door Mission was able to assist him when he needed help the most. Ted is now saving money so that he can move into his own apartment after the New Year.

Tyrone Abdul
2911 SuccessNet Case Manager

15 December 2009

Thank You

I want to say thank you to all the wonderful companies, churches, organizations and people in the Omaha area. It is my job to set up drives for Open Door Mission - especially Project Santa which provides new toys for children. I was beginning to get a little worried as the toys weren’t arriving very fast. A big reason being our snowy weather. Finally, as the weather started to clear, companies, churches, groups, and individuals began bringing their new toy donations.

However, we still need more toys to provide presents for over 4,500 children that would not otherwise get Christmas presents. It has been hard on everyone economically this past year, but there are still those that can and choose to give in order to make a difference in the lives of others. We need people with generous and compassionate hearts to bring new toys to Open Door Mission. Your gifts will bless many children and their families by giving them hope.

We still need new unwrapped toys - primarily the following items:
  • Teen Board Games
  • Puzzles – all ages
  • Baby dolls
  • Barbies
  • Play sets – children 1-2
Thank you, again, to all who have given - you are making such a difference. Bless all of you who will give to meet this need. We appreciate your making a difference in children’s lives. May you all have a very merry and wonderful Christmas!

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

12 December 2009

December Blessings

We have had a great couple of weeks at Open Door Mission. The first week of December, we registered over 4,500 children for Project Santa. Twenty-six percent of those we registered had never received services from Open Door Mission before. Another 47% showed that this was only the second time they came to us for service. It was interesting to visit with some of those first timers. They were so grateful to have us in the community to help in their time of need.

This week, ConAgra came to Open Door Mission to “Shine the light on Hunger”. In just a 3 hour period, we served over 2,000 meals. We left the Timberlake Outreach Center open that evening, so the community could utilize their trip to east Omaha. Open Door Mission, with the help of Payless Shoe Source, was able to provide 200 children with new shoes. Many of the men, women, and children were also able to receive a new winter coat.

I normally work during the day and usually only go to the main mission building to give a tour or for a special event. The dinner was held on Thursday—one day after the storm. During my visit, one of the employees from Men’s Emergency Service told me that we slept about 300 men in emergency services on Wednesday night. I have been keeping stats a long time at the mission and I believe this is one of the largest crowds we have had. We were glad to provide even the smallest space on the floor for these men.

With the number of men, women, and children we are serving, Open Door Mission is in desperate need of blankets, linens, and pillows. Many of the men that night did not have anything thing to sleep on except for a coat, or the clothes they had with them. If you have any of these gently used or new items, please consider donating them to Open Door Mission.

We continue to be very grateful for the generosity of those in the Heartland. We could not serve those in need without your assistance.

Karen Applegate
Advancement Director

26 November 2009

Turkey Day & Beyond

Thanksgiving is certainly in the air with the great smell of Turkey in the oven and pumpkin pies cooling on the counter top. At least that is part of the wonderful aroma in my household. That is also the experience for many in need in the Omaha community because hundreds of volunteers delivered thousands of Turkey N Fixins boxes this past weekend. Thanks for all the donations, deliveries, and prayers. It is time to give thanks to God for all our blessings in life, especially his eternal grace expressed through Jesus Christ.

Speaking of Jesus, celebrating his birth is just around the corner. After Turkey Day, many of us will head to the malls to get those gifts for family and friends, as we recall the gifts the Magi shared with the Christ child. At Open Door Mission Christmas gifts - especially toys for boys & girls - are all around. It almost looks like Santa’s workshop as preparations for Project Santa are in full gear. This year over 6,000 toys will be given out by Open Door Mission to children in need. Thanks for your donations of toys, volunteering to prepare their distribution, and your prayers for those who receive them.

But first things first - time to join in prayer with family before we fill up the plates with our Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy!

Scott Shreve
Senior Development Director

25 November 2009

I Am Thankful

This year I find myself more thankful than years gone by. I am still thankful for Jesus, family and friends, America, religious freedom, etc. However, this year has taken a turn for me that was totally unexpected. Recently, my son suddenly passed away. My world “seemed” to stop, and yet continued. I found myself going through the days that followed wondering how I would go on. Still, all the while, it was with a peace that was unwavering. That’s when I realized just how blessed I am.

I am blessed to be working with a truly amazing organization - Open Door Mission. It is not just a place to work, but a family - a family of believers that are here to support, uplift and pray for me. The simple comfort that the Lord covers me with is shown daily, through my co-laborers. Their warmth is sustaining me. I love each and every one of them! Phil. 1:3

I am blessed with assurance that my son is with our Lord, Jesus Christ. My son was a simple young man with a simple faith. This was exactly what God has asked of us - to come to him with the faith of a child - never was it more apparent to me how urgent it is that we share the word of God to the world. “God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. God sent his son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” I am thankful that I live in a nation where I can worship the Lord, Jesus Christ. I am blessed that I work with a family that shares the love of Christ, and thankful for the Lord himself. He came to save us all, not just a few or some, but ALL OF US! We need only believe in Him! John 3:16-17.

I am overcome with an awesome peace that can only come from my Lord.
I pray that you all have a blessed Thanksgiving, in the knowledge that Jesus is Lord of your life.

Kate Fischer
Emergency Services Case Manager

24 November 2009

In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it’s easy to get caught up in our own situations and sometimes we don’t take the time to reach out to others. On the way to work, I heard the song: They Don’t Understand by Sawyer Brown. Here is some of the song:

A mother riding on a city bus
Kids are yelling kicking up a fuss
Everybody's staring not knowing what she's going through
Somebody said don't you even care?
Do you let 'em do that everywhere?
She slowly turned around, looked up and stared
She said Please forgive them
But they've been up all night
Their father struggled but he finally lost his fight
He went to heaven
In the middle of the night
So please forgive my children

Chorus:
(They don't understand)
Everybody's busy with their own situation
Everybody's lost in their own little world
Bottled up, hurry it up trying to make a dream come true
(They don't understand)
Everybody's living like there ain't no tomorrow
Maybe we should stop and take a little time
Cause you never really know what your neighbor's going through

Many people come through Open Door Mission’s doors because of losing a job, a loved one, fire destroyed their house, suffering domestic abuse and so many other reasons. We might not ever know why they are here, but we, as staff, are blessed to be able offer a warm meal and a place that is safe for them to lay their head. In 1 John 3:17-18 it says "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." We don’t know what the people we serve are going through, but we can show them the love of Jesus and to me, that is the best gift of all.

Perhaps you feel a tug to get involved at Open Door Mission. Visit our volunteer page today and learn about volunteer opportunities. I look forward to seeing you around here soon!

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

23 November 2009

Another Great Saturday



Saturday was a fabulous day! Open Door Mission was blessed with over 800 volunteers that helped deliver Turkey ‘n Fixin’ boxes to those in need throughout the Omaha & Council Bluffs communities. These volunteers braved the cold, foggy morning and did it with smiles on their faces!



We also had wonderful volunteers help sort through our Christmas gifts that will be given out through our Project Santa program in December. This is always a fantastic time of year remembering how thankful we at Open Door Mission are for each of you. As we look forward to what this season holds, would you join us? We are thankful for your prayers, gently used household donations, volunteer hours, and monetary gifts. I look forward to seeing your smiling faces at Open Door Mission as we partner together!

Patti Cummings
Volunteer Associate

18 November 2009

WorkNet Volunteers

Often, people think that the only way to volunteer at Open Door Mission is in the kitchen, cleaning or sorting clothes. This pictures is of Jennifer from Gallup Corp., who volunteered 2 hours in September to assist our WorkNet program with mock interviews - preparing our clients for the work force. No matter what your skills are, we can use you!

Joy Stevens
WorkNet Director

16 November 2009

Mission Bean Coffee Update

Coffee lovers now have even more reason to savor every sip. Because when you purchase Mission Bean Coffee, you not only get to enjoy the rich flavor of some of the world's finest coffee, you'll be breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty with Open Door Mission.

Mission Bean Coffee can be purchased at

Open Door Mission’s Administration Building or

the following Hy-Vee stores:

10808 Fort St - Omaha, NE

3405 Oak View Dr - Omaha, NE

3410 N. 156th St - Omaha, NE


JoAnn Dodd
Public Relations Coordinator

14 November 2009

Red, White and Blue Salute

What do you get when you mix one U.S. Air Force Chaplain, one Military Color Guard, several dozen caring volunteers, a talented kitchen staff - who prepared and served over 700 banquet-quality dinners - other Open Door Mission staff and board members; plus many honored vets receiving honest gratitude for the service they gave to their country? Mix in some patriotic music and veteran lapel pins given to all the honored vets, and you have a Red, White and Blue Salute to Homeless Veterans!

That is what happened on November 10th here at Open Door Mission. Air Force Chaplain Captain Travis Allen gave a wonderful thank-filled message to over 100 individuals gathered in the chapel in the Garland Thompson Men’s Center.

The festivities started with a wonderful meal served to all staying at the Mission by many volunteers from groups such as Deeb Realty, Orizon CPA and Yonkers. The program commenced with the presentation of our nation’s flag by the Offutt Air Force Base Color Guard. The Color Guard was stretched to the limit, but still ready to give dignity to the program.

I spoke with the Chaplain and he informed me that the Color Guard had been present at 28 funerals and celebrations in the last week alone. That’s a lot of service but they never faltered. They did their country proud! Board members and staff recognized our honored vets with prayers, hand shakes and lapel pins for all.

The most meaningful thing to me was when we asked the vets to come to the microphone, give their name, branch of military and dates of service. Their pride in country and service came forward—and just again for a short time they returned to the ranks of America’s best. It didn’t matter if they were homeless and without a job. What mattered and should always matter is that they were recognized as part of a long line of citizen warriors who put nation ahead of self. May we always treat them with that respect!

Rev. Thomas G. Meradith
Garland Thompson Men's Center Director

13 November 2009

“Bring Your Turkey to Church” Sunday at Celebration Covenant Church

Celebration Covenant Church had its second “Bring Your Turkey to Church” on November 8th. The congregation brought 51 turkeys, 150 lbs of canned goods and financial gifts to purchase at least 15 more turkeys to help Open Door Mission provide a hot, nutritious Thanksgiving meal for the homeless and near homeless in the metro area. Many of the families are also volunteering to help deliver Turkey 'N' Fixin's boxes to families on November 21st.

Thanks to Celebration Covenant’s congregation for choosing to make a difference this holiday season.

Would you like to make a difference too? Would you like to help provide hope and food for a needy family? Please stop by your favorite Omaha area Hy-Vee on Friday, November 13, from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., shop for turkeys and non-perishable food items for Open Door Mission.

Do you like to drive? Would you like to deliver turkeys and food boxes to the families? Open Door Mission needs 800 drivers to help deliver Turkey'n'Fixin's in the metro area. Deliver TURKEY 'N' FIXIN'S boxes.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

12 November 2009

Back on the Front Lines

This is not the first blog I’ve written since moving to Open Door Mission’s Community Services Department in September. Moving my office to the Timberlake Outreach Center, from the Advancement Department has changed my daily routine 95%. Why 95% and not 100%? No matter what department of Open Door Mission you work in, Karen Applegate will be quick to remind you that you work in Advancement. We are all ambassadors of Open Door Mission to our own unique circle of friends, contacts, and church and home family.

The other thing that is the same, is every single staff member of Open Door Mission, be they a case manager, cook, receptionist or executive believes in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and is committed to sharing the Good News with whomever they meet. This has not and never will change for me, but I have experienced a wonderful increase in my opportunity to share my faith as part of the Community Services team!

On a daily basis, I have the privilege of meeting with a dozen or more individuals/families who have come through the doors of the Timberlake Outreach Center. Each client is in my office because they have a distinct physical need for furniture or bedding, but I also get the opportunity to minister to their emotional and spiritual needs.

What an awesome privilege to be a part of sharing God’s blessings with those who are in need! You can play a vital role in this ministry by donating your gently used clothing, furniture, appliances and house wares! Some of the items needed most are beds, appliances, kitchen tables and chairs, and dressers.

You can drop your items off at our new receiving area in the back of the Timberlake Outreach Center, or bring them to A-Plus Williamson Automotive, 2 blocks south of 149th and Industrial for our monthly Stuff-A-Truck on November 21st. I will be there personally to thank you for your donation and give you a tax-deductible receipt.
Blessings,
Darren Timberlake
Resource Case Manager

11 November 2009

Receiving Area

Change is seldom easy, but often beneficial. We are undergoing some significant changes at the Timberlake Outreach Center, one of which is the relocation of the receiving area where Gift-in-Kind donations are dropped off. Last week part of the wall was removed on the east side of our building and a garage door was installed in preparation to relocate the receiving area to our building.

Last Saturday, numerous volunteers and staff worked hard to prepare our building for this transition. Monday, we officially opened the new receiving area for business. This significant change will greatly enhance the receiving and distribution of your donations into the hands of our clients in a more efficient and timely matter.

Your generous donations of furniture, clothing, appliances, household items, etc. permit us to help our clients receive needed items they can not afford to purchase. Thank you for partnering with Open Door Mission to help fight the battle of homelessness; in doing so, you are giving to families less fortunate and helping them have a better life.

So, the next time you bring your Gift-in-Kind donations to Open Door Mission remember to bring them to the Timberlake Outreach Center receiving area. You can’t miss it--just follow the signs. And while you’re here, please stop for a visit. I would love to give you a tour of our Timberlake Outreach Center and tell you about the various programs and ministries Open Door Mission offers to help prevent homelessness. May God bless you, as you generously bless others.

Joyfully Serving Jesus,
Judy Collins
Director of the Timberlake Outreach Center

07 November 2009

It's A Marathon!

I recently attended a graduation celebration for Open Door Mission guests that completed the New Life Recovery Program or the Journey to Work Program. We praised God together in worship and then heard the testimonies of the graduates before a time of food and fellowship.

As I heard the graduates tell where they have been (unemployed, incarcerated, suffering an addiction, and/or victims of domestic abuse) and where they are now (sober, disciples of Christ, employed and filled with hope) I viewed their months in their Open Door Mission program as a marathon for each of them.

I am a marathon runner and I know that in the midst of the run there are points of joy as one passes mile markers and hears the crowds cheering you on. In addition, there are many instances of pain, suffering, and wondering if you can finish. Our graduates have passed through many joyful thresholds of accomplishment in their programs and they have been cheered on by staff, fellow students, and family members. Yet, each graduate has also experienced much pain and suffering along the way as they have withdrawn from addictions and changed thought patterns and actions that have been destructive in the past. They have crossed the finish line because in Christ all things are possible and they are now ready for a new life that breaks the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

Praise God that each graduate is now ready to run the race ahead of them in life and become a blessing to others as they draw on blessings from God each day!

Scott Shreve
Senior Development Director
402-829-1538

06 November 2009

Con Agra Team Building = Fleece Blankets!

Con Agra Enterprise Procurement decided to initiate team building with a mission. The mission was to not only to build a stronger team, but also provide blankets for Open Door Mission. So the 30 people on their team went to work making fleece blankets. There was laughter, hard work, fun and two hours later there were 21 handmade blankets for the Mission. Their efforts are much appreciated because these blankets will provide a special warmth this winter with hope for the holidays and a better life.

Would your group, organization or church like to provide hope also? Please visit Open Door Mission's website to find out how you can bring Hope for the Holidays to the thousands of hungry and homeless in your community.

Make a difference this holiday season…
Thank you for helping break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

04 November 2009

As I sit here on a Friday, I am contemplating the end of one week and yet the beginning of a new one and how that is true over the whole spectrum of life. Every ending is a new beginning for something. For instance, in recovery, one has to end their old life style in order to begin a new one. Someone once told me that every change in life is both a loss and a gain depending on how one chooses to focus on it. That is definitely something that we teach our men here at Open Door Mission and it is greatly empowering as well. Rarely do we find anyone who has been through more losses than our men here on the recovery program. If they can begin to view those past losses as changes instead of meaningless experiences they suffered and trust God who was and is still in control, they can begin for the first time in their lives to realize some of the true power of Christ in setting them free. Not so much freedom from the pain as freedom from slavery to it. We call it “reframing”. Taking an experience, looking at it realistically, and figuring out what God has to offer and teach us from it.

As I write this, I must admit that I am so proud of our men. Lately, they have been put through a barrage of changes and have chosen to focus on them in a positive life-changing way. The Word of God teaches us that we are all made in His image and therefore people carry so much more potential than we realize. It is definitely a privilege to see our men prove that daily.

That’s why our Lord died on a cross 2,000 years ago, isn’t it? This certainly was a horrendously evil event, definitely an incredible loss. Yet, God brought out of that very act the most blessed event in mankind’s history - He redeemed us and made us righteous. The most evil act was made the most righteous act; the biggest loss in history was made into the greatest gain of all time. I can’t think of a more important message for our men to understand.

It was my privilege just 2 days ago to be setting with one of our men explaining this to him when he told me that he was already saved but needed to act upon it and start building his life on this foundation. So he decided to rededicate his life to Christ on the spot. I don’t have to tell you what an honor that was for me. Further, that is something we get to experience all the time here. Our men have the same potential that we do, just different experiences. When those experiences lead to life-altering beliefs, the only cure is Biblical beliefs. Recovery is essentially replacing faulty belief systems (in several areas) with appropriate belief systems. Isn’t it great to have that from an objective source? Thank God for his revealed Word or all I would be able to offer is my own faulty beliefs. Beliefs have tremendous transforming power. No wonder the Word of God has so much to say about belief from cover to cover.

The weather is changing, the economy is changing, and the world is changing around us, but I just praise Him for the anchor He has provided and hope to teach others to do so too.

Stan Latta
Men’s Recovery Services Director

02 November 2009

Thank you Kwik Shop and Kwik Shop Customers

Thank you Kwik Shop and Kwik Shop customers that took part in the "Buy A Plate" to help support the Open Door Mission. For the entire month of September, Kwik Shop did a fund raiser to help the Open Door Mission provide hot, nutritious meals to many hungry and homeless men, women, and children.
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In the above picture Candace Gregory, President/CEO stands with Jimmy Lewis, Kwik Shop Regional Operations Manager, and other employees that made this all possible. They presented Candace with a check for over $22,000 that was collected in this fundraiser.
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Open Door Mission is grateful for the partnership with Kwik Shop.




31 October 2009

Handmade Quilts Bring Warmth and Hope

Joan has been providing handmade baby quilts to Open Door Mission’s Lydia House and those it serves for almost two years. She lovingly provides these quilts for children she will never see, but knows they will be something special for the child that receives one. Her quilts don’t just provide warmth for the child, but also show the mother that others care about her and her child. Joan is sharing God’s love in a very special way. We appreciate Joan’s labors of love because the quilt becomes a gift of love and hope to a needy family. Thank you also to her daughter Deb, for faithfully bringing the blankets to Open Door Mission.

Would you like to share God’s love in a special way? As Open Door Mission prepares to serve 6,000 children at Christmas we need hats, scarves, mittens and gloves and fleece blankets, as well as new toys. Would you and your organization, workplace, church or family please help provide a Christmas of Hope for the homeless and near homeless? Please check out our website for details on how you can provide Hope for the Holidays.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

30 October 2009

Grand Canyon

I was recently in the Grand Canyon with my wife and son. The views from the rim and along the trails down the Canyon were beautiful and awe inspiring. As our guide told us how the many layers that are exposed in the Canyon developed over millions of years I thought of our programs at Open Door Mission. In fact, I did!

The New Life Recovery Program and Journey to Work Program are measured in months, not millions of years, but each day, week, and month in a program provides a new layer of life skills, educational ability, and spiritual development for each individual enrolled. The solid foundation upon which all layers form is faith in Jesus Christ, our solid rock. Then layers of emotional coping skills, Biblical knowledge, maintenance of sobriety, educational and computer skills, job readiness insights equip each graduate for new life!

The Grand Canyon is a wonder of the world and each graduate from an Open Door Mission program is a grand wonder as well. If you would like to explore a Planned Gift to support the work of Open Door Mission please contact me.

Scott Shreve
Senior Development Director
(402) 422-1111, ext. 1538

29 October 2009

Night Watch in the Lydia House

I work primarily in the Lydia House Children & Youth Department. It has been a blessing to share the love of Jesus with our kids.
Last month, Charity asked if I would fill in for our Overnight Supervisor during her surgery and recovery. I had never worked the midnight to 8 a.m. shift before and wondered how the change would affect me physically. The Lord has blessed me to be able to handle the change of sleeping during the day.

As Overnight Supervisor, I do periodic room checks throughout the Emergency A & B wings, file, sort mail, clean, assist in handing out medications and much more. During this time, I am reminded of Psalm 63:6, “When I remember you on my bed; I meditate on you in the night watches.” and Psalm 119:148, “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I might meditate on Your Word.” (KJV)

Ladies will come to me and ask me to pray with them, or talk, because they couldn’t sleep. Moms will even bring their sick children to my office for medication and to keep them from disturbing other family members. I love being able to minister to families and ladies in this way and thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve during the ‘Night Watch’ at Open Door Mission.

Janice M. Loud
Lydia House Children & Youth Department
Night Watch – House Supervisor

28 October 2009

Planting Tree at the New Lydia House


Today some homeless men from Open Door Mission the joined Candace Gregory, Open Door Mission's President/CEO, Richard DenHerder, Open Door Mission's Director of Finance, Jack Phillips Local Arborist and Mike King, Open Door Mission's Garland Thompson Men's Center Case Manager in planting 19 trees and shrubs around the New Lydia House that is set to open in January 2010

27 October 2009

Southwest Kiwanis Club

On Tuesday October 20, Open Door Mission’s Children and Youth Department partnered with the Southwest Kiwanis Club for a night of fun with the independent living seniors at Immanuel Village. Our night began at 6 p.m., with the children making pillows and decorating door hangers. After the arts and crafts they enjoyed punch and cookies and taking pictures with the seniors.

The children and the residents had a great night of sharing stories and getting to know one another. We look forward to going back on the November 17.

Pastor Tyrome Charleston
Children & Youth Director

22 October 2009

Southwest Church of Christ


Pastor Jim, from Southwest Church of Christ, and his friend Dave stopped by Open Door Mission this week to bring a “small” gift to help out during the holidays. It was no “small” gift--it was over 1,000 pounds of donations ranging from canned goods to clothing. His congregation out of compassion for others, chose to make a difference by donating to the homeless and near homeless in the Heartland.



The holidays are fast approaching and for many in our area it will not be a joyous time of celebration--they are hungry, hurting and in many cases feeling hopeless. Would you please help Open Door Mission reach out with hope and help for those seeking just the basic necessities of life?

  • Reach out to more than 6,000 boys and girls and bring the joy of Christmas to their hurting hearts with your donation of new toys to Open Door Mission. Schedule your Project Santa toy drive.

Make a difference this holiday season--give hope and joy to those who need it the most--visit Open Door Mission’s website for more ways to become involved.



Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

21 October 2009

Learning Center

I am the Learning Center Director for the New Life Recovery Program and the Journey to Work Program. Every one who joins these programs is assessed academically in reading, reading comprehension, vocabulary, memory, math and writing. Some come in with high school degrees, college degrees, GED or no academic standing.

It is very rewarding to help individuals learn new skills or improve their knowledge in the Learning Center. Due to alcohol and drug abuse, what was once learned seems to be gone for the individual. That’s where Learning Skill Improvement helps to regain lost memory. Improved memory brings self-confidence.

However, many men don’t see the purpose of learning how to type or how to use a computer. I think of the man where construction has been his trade. His fingers are large and don’t seem to work on the keys, but in time he has stretched his fingers to type.

It is all about helping people reach goals they didn’t know they needed. It is surrounding them with words of congratulations, you did it and you can do it. The Learning Center provides a launching pad for the future.

II Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Deb Champion
Learning Center Director

20 October 2009

Volunteer Blessings

What a busy week it has been at Open Door Mission! As you probably know, busy means blessing here at Open Door Mission, and the blessings certainly poured into the Volunteer Department this week. We had some amazing guys stop by from a group called “Heart Hats”. These men are tradesmen from all over the country, working in the Omaha area. In their spare time, they share their talents and skills with nonprofit organizations. These new friends built a storage unit in our kitchen, replaced a wall in the dining room, and built some terrific new storage bins in the Timberlake Outreach Center.

The busyness (blessings) continued into the weekend. We had several groups of young people dig in and put together some new clothes racks in the TOC so we can get more of your gently used clothing donations hung up and available for our clients. That cleared the way for bringing in more of those donations, which they did, smiling the whole time.

In the afternoon the warehouse was blitzed (sorry I couldn’t resist) by some members of the Millard West football team who joined another kind of team in reorganizing our warehouse pantry in preparation for putting together thousands of Turkey ‘N’ Fixin’s boxes next month.

I would love to tell you that it was an extraordinary week, but I think all of our volunteers are extraordinary. It continues to be my honor and pleasure to serve Open Door Mission. On behalf of the Volunteer Department I want to say thank you, and bless you!

Cris Morris
Volunteer & Partner Director

19 October 2009

Greetings from the Lydia House

The staff here at Lydia House works as a team to teach and instruct—not only basic life skills to the residents, but also hope to encourage spiritual growth. Sometimes that growth happens slowly and we miss the daily signs of progress, making me feel discouraged. Then one day, God allowed me to see residents demonstrating their growth. They came alongside one of their fellow residents encouraging them to continue their recovery because God would never let them down. Later, I saw a group of people getting together for a time of prayer.

Recently, God showed me that our efforts have a long term effect on people. I was encouraged by two of our alumni. One has started their own ministry, putting God’s Word in everyone’s hand by using recycled prescription bottles. The other has shared the amazing faith they developed since their graduation from the program.

Our goal at Lydia House is to change lives, one at a time, and I have had the privilege to see the signs of this happening in at least two lives. This gives me the encouragement to keep going that my small efforts do help to change lives.

Angela Casper
Night Supervisor

17 October 2009

Men's Ministries

Hi, my name is John, and I am the Mental Health Therapist for homeless men, who are, sadly, categorized in society as “throw-away” people. Thankfully, God has other ideas for every man that enters Open Door Mission.

A man (I will call Frank), whom I have worked with for three months, recently got a job. Frank’s journey was not unique. He has no family he is close to and has been on his own all his adult life. His parents divorced when he was a child and his mother died when he was eighteen. Frank has a distant relationship with his father, and no siblings. In his adult life, he has worked a series of jobs, but has also had many “lay-overs” at shelters throughout the Midwest.

Frank is a loner, does not drink or use drugs. Most of his jobs have been dead-ends. Spiritually, he knew God was out there, but never considered any personal relationship with Him. While most of my interactions with Frank have been spur-of-the-moment, because he was anxious or worried, I listened, offered reassurance, and offered advice on what he could do.

His first month at the Mission, Frank arranged his evening so that he did not attend chapel. As he described it later, it was not that he had anything against hearing about God, it was just that God never seemed to have any direct relevance in his life. So Frank was content to let God go His way, and Frank would go his.

What is so wonderful at Open Door Mission, is that we have volunteers that take time out of their busy schedules and provide help—in the kitchen, at the Timberlake Outreach Center, chapels, and other areas. We have a man who comes almost every week and leads a small group in Bible study or shows a video, which provides a more personal setting where men can hear God’s word and interact with it.

Frank was encouraged by his case manager, Mike, to take advantage of the services offered at the Mission. One evening, Frank attended the Bible Study. He said later that he didn’t know quite what to think about it. The man leading it was nice; however, Frank had never thought much about God. But Frank continued to attend. One week, the leader shared the plan of salvation, and Frank began to consider God in a new way.

Later Frank shared with me that he has benefited from his time at Open Door Mission. He found a job, is saving money, and has hope. He knows that God loves him personally and whatever the future holds—God will be there for him.

It is such a blessing working at Open Door Mission. Even though we see the shadier side of life, and come face to face with hopelessness, I don’t become overwhelmed by the neediness and chaos that comes through our doors. Experiences with people like Frank, remind me of Open Door Mission’s purpose and its provision of hope and new life in Christ. Taking the time to treat a fellow human being with simple things like food, clothing and shelter, in the name of Jesus, can make all the difference in the world.

Thank you for praying, giving and serving at Open Door Mission.

John Lindsey
Program Therapist

16 October 2009

Program Completed!

Thumbs up for Lesley as he completes the New Life Recovery Program at Open Door Mission. “Thank You Lord, Thank You Lord” were his words after he received the keys to his new car.

Lesley’s journey started more than 11 months ago when he came to Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program. He said the journey was long and the ride was not smooth, but he thanks the Lord for helping him through his recovery. Lesley completed all Open Door Mission course work and finished his online degree, and is now living independently, employed full time and hoping for a promotion at work. Thank you Lord!

Tyrone Abdul
2911 SuccessNet Case Manager

15 October 2009

Crown Pointe Spaghetti Dinner

On Sunday, September 27, Crown Pointe Retirement Community hosted a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser to help support Open Door Mission. They had over 500 people for lunch and raised over $3,000 to provide meals to many hungry and homeless men, women and children. I had the privilege of attending a check the presentation at Crown Pointe.

Pictured:
Dorothy Kelly – Crown Pointe Executive Director
Toni Heng – Crown Pointe Sales Director
James Cummings – Open Door Mission Executive Administrator

The residents were excited about the amount of money they raised though the fundraiser.

James Cummings
Executive Administrator

14 October 2009

Snow!

Saturday morning I awoke to a wonderful surprise! Snow! It energized me to look forward to the day the Lord had in store. What a great day it was!

Our volunteers are ever-faithful. Despite the snow, we had amazing volunteers who were willing to do the job. I was at the Timberlake Outreach Center and had the opportunity to work alongside volunteers as we sorted through clothing, household and kitchen items that have been donated. We had quite a lot of baby and children’s clothing that were donated and we were able to fill up the racks for the babies and kids in our community!

Thank you to our volunteers for their hard work! Thank you to our donors who make this job possible! We couldn’t serve those in need without you!

Patti Cummings
Volunteer Associate

09 October 2009

2009 Walk-A-Thon Update


On September 20, approximately 400 energetic people showed up at Gallup University’s parking lot to put on their Walk-A-Thon t-shirts and “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” They followed the route that many of our homeless guests take as they walk from downtown Omaha.

Open Door Mission’s Second Annual Walk-A-Thon lasted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with walkers arriving whenever they chose. They walked the 1 mile plus, from Gallup to the Mission’s Garland Thompson Men’s Center. There, they enjoyed 5 kinds of scrumptious soup prepared by chefs from local restaurants. Many toured the Mission for the first time to get a taste of more than just soup. They got to see and hear about the services and programs that Open Door Mission provides to the homeless and near-homeless in the greater Omaha area.

As one of the group leaders who walked with families, friends, and church and business groups, I was impressed by the smiles and expressions of gratitude from walkers as they returned to their cars. Fresh air, exercise, caring for the needs of others and being a part of the work at Open Door Mission, put a smile on their faces and a spring in their steps.

Judy Ward
Development Associate

08 October 2009

A Success Story

I’d like to introduce you to an amazing young man that came to the Mission in April of this year. Joel came from Cuidad De Havana, Cuba, 17 months ago with his mother, looking for a better future. Joel has had to learn a new language, new culture, new schooling system and face fears, depression, and loneliness. I can not begin to imagine my world being so disrupted and uncertain. However, with the support of Open Door Mission staff, much prayer, and his own commitment to Christ, Joel has grown in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)

Joel is currently a senior in high school, with a 3.5gpa, and is preparing to graduate in January 2010. He was voted to be on the executive board for the Latino Leaders Club and was recently nominated for the Gallery of Stars among high school students. In September Joel helped with Grassroots Development Leadership Program Fundraising Dinner where he worked along side Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle.

Please pray for Joel and his mother as he prepares to graduate and move on with his dreams. Joel hopes to attend Harvard obtaining his BA in General Medicine, MA in Engineering and PhD in Law.

Kate Fischer
Emergency Service Case Manager

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

07 October 2009

WorkNet

My name is Joy and I am the Director of a new program here at Open Door Mission called WorkNet. WorkNet is a 3 ½ week career planning course for people with employment issues—no work record, addiction, prostitution, criminal record, mental health issues or a tough economy.

The man in the picture name became unemployed after a sweeping lay off from the company he had faithfully worked for 28 years. Before this almost 3 decades long stint, he had been in the military so his resume and job searching skills were very rusty.

WorkNet is seeing more and more community people taking part in this program because of the economy. Classes start the first Friday of every month, excluding December and July. To sign up or for more information, I can be reached at 402-422-1111, ext. 1509. A GED or High School diploma is required and child care in place. There is no charge for this class.

Joy Stevens
WorkNet Director

06 October 2009

God's Faithfulness

I am a new staff member at Open Door Mission and came with my own expectations and hopes. From my past experience I never thought of a job as a place where you could gain support in your Christian walk. However that support is exactly what I have received. It has been my privilege to ask another staff member, “Can we pray for a client” or, “Can we pray for Christ to reign here at the Mission?” I have never had that experience in a work place where staff can come together in unity and change the spiritual atmosphere. It is SO powerful to have staff unity.

Now, my fault is that I tend to get focused and just pour into the lives right around me. However, I hear that unity is not only going on where I work but all through the Mission. As we continue to grow our goal should be to continue to really pour into other staff members lives. I think unity is where true strength comes from and requires vulnerability and trust with one another. That unity will keep the devil from coming in and destroying the amazing things that God desperately wants to do in each of our clients lives and don’t forget…in OUR lives.

I’ll share one of the many stories I have experienced over the last few months. I was working a Saturday morning which tends to be pretty laid back because the clients have no classes. I walked to the emergency wing and there was a lady who had just come to Open Door Mission the night before. This lady was standing in the hallway tearing up and seemed very guarded therefore didn’t want to talk. I debated what to do as I was walking towards the office. Finally I turned to her and said, “Is there anything I can do?” She said, “no” as she started to cry again. I wasn’t going to leave her alone so I waited a minute with her. I asked her again, “Is there anything I can do?” She didn’t say anything as she started crying a little harder. I sat down on the bench in front of the office and so did she.

I was so excited because I knew she was starting to open up because she sat down next to me. I waited a minute as she was crying and finally asked, “What are you dealing with?” Finally she opened up and told me how she couldn’t find a job even though she had a master’s degree. Her son was in the military and normally calls every day but hadn’t called in two weeks. The last time she had talked with him his tank was destroyed while he was in it and they were afraid of more retaliation from the enemy.

I have a brother who was a Calvary scout for 4 years and know how hard it is to have family at war so I tried to encourage her. I asked her if she believed in God and had faith that He would protect her and take all her cares. She said she used to believe but because of everything that had been going on she was finding it hard to have faith in God at all. I told her how He can take all that pain and fear of the unknown from us if we trust him. I asked if we could pray. She agreed and I asked God to give her a peace and if her son was still alive that he would contact her.

I gave her some tissues and we both went on our way. I went to the recovery side of the Mission and came back fifteen minutes later. The Lady came to me with this glow and said, “I have to tell you something! I don’t know how this happened but I just want you to know that my son called me five minutes after we prayed and he is ok.” I rejoiced with her and thanked God for letting her experience His faithfulness!

Alicia Riskowski
Recovery Services Case Manager

03 October 2009

29/11 Program

I love my job and thank the Lord most days for the opportunity to serve Him through the Timberlake Outreach Center Community Services at Open Door Mission. My days are never dull because we have people from all walks of life coming through our doors. Each person or family has a unique story, and yet, there is one thing they all seem to have in common. They have experienced a recent crisis in their life or family and have come to Open Door Mission for help. We have the privilege of praying with them, sharing God’s love and helping to meet their needs through the various donations many of you have given to our Mission.

Yesterday was such a day. One of our clients received a refrigerator and the family was overjoyed. This family of six had been living without a refrigerator for the past three weeks. A single mom with six children received a washer & dryer. Her washer broke a month ago and she had been washing her family’s clothes in the bath tub. Needless to say we made her day. Then, a client from the past walked into my office. Yvette is a part of our 29/11 Program and she had been sent over to receive a food pantry and some other items by her case worker, Jeanette Blackstone.

When she walked in my office she said, “I don’t know if you remember me or not, but I want to thank you for praying with me and telling me about the 29/11 Program. That day was a turning point for me and the 29/11 Program is really helping me.” I was happy to see her and hear how things were better since she joined the program. I asked her if she would share some of her story with you and here’s what she wrote:

“I walked in only for a food pantry, but was blessed to find out about the 29/11 Program. I would like to first start off by thanking God for putting caring people in my life. The 29/11 Program is truly a blessing. I am a single mother of three beautiful children whom I love dearly. In the past year and a half I have been struggling to take care of my children due to overwhelming expenses, such as moving, rental increase, car repairs, buying food and high utilities bills. But in the midst of all that stress God has never failed me. I learned about the 29/11 Program and I decided to join and since then our family is doing better and I am thankful to Open Door Mission and the 29/11 Program.”

Because of your various donations, families are able to improve their quality of life and lives are being changed one person at a time. Thank you for partnering with us to help prevent homelessness and meet the needs of our working poor. May God bless you for your kindness and generous spirit.

Joyfully serving Jesus,
Judy Collins
Director of the Timberlake Outreach Center

02 October 2009

My husband and I were on vacation in Branson enjoying the beauty of the area and relaxing.


I couldn’t help but think of our busy lives and how we don’t take time to pray and thank God for our many blessings. We need to remind ourselves we can pray for others even while sitting at a stop light, or when we see someone in need of prayer instead of sitting in judgment of them.


Prayer for today: Lord of creation, help us to pause daily and be refreshed by the blessings of today and ready to pray for people around us.


Betz Woodhull
HR/Accounting Assistant

01 October 2009

Children and Youth Department

Here is a shout out from the Open Door Mission greatnimac (means great and magnificent), Children and Youth Department. School is back in session and our children are all plugged in. We have students from K-12.


We are thankful that as our Title I tutor lab is up and running. All the children will be placed on Success Maker, a program that measures the students academically in reading and mathematics, and then helps them progress one level at a time. I want to thank the Children & Youth Department staff for helping with homework in the tutoring lab and learning center while we were waiting for the lab to open. We are looking forward to our first Celebrate Education with the Southwest Kwanis Club in October.


The Children & Youth Department would like to send a big thank you to Dr. Dan Cravatt and 30 students from Nebraska Christian College for giving our children a great night out at the “Amazing Pizza Machine”. Each child had their own personal chaperone.


Please remember our youth here at Open Door Mission and pray that our children will be blessed and kept safe from the enemy.


Pastor Tyrome Charleston
Children & Youth Department

30 September 2009

Thanks for Volunteering

It is an awesome privilege to work at Open Door Mission! Not only do we get to see God at work in our clients’ lives; but we also get to meet awesome volunteers. These volunteers are passionate about serving their community and love to see lives transformed through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The purpose of my blog is to say thank you to volunteers like Earl who drives over three hours from his home to lead chapel services for our men. There are others like Lucille, Lewis and others who make our work at the mission enjoyable and efficient.

Thanks to all who volunteer and God bless!

Corine Sawadogo
Volunteer and Partner Assistant

29 September 2009

Mrs. Kawecki's Honors English Classes

Last week I was honored to teach four classes at Burke High School. Mrs. Kawecki’s Honors English classes are reading Oliver Twist and discussing poverty and homelessness. I shared with the class about present day poverty and homelessness, especially here in the Omaha area. What we discovered, by comparing the situations then and now, is that society’s opinion and treatment of the homeless hasn’t changed all that much.

Whenever you teach teenagers, you are never sure how much they “hear” and “retain”. When I speak, I always hope that I’ve changed a least one person’s attitude or opinion about homelessness. Mrs. Kawecki’s classes listened and learned! The students overwhelmed me with their personal notes about what they had learned and how their perspectives on poverty and homelessness had changed. These notes were a great encouragement to me personally-I know these students have a new understanding and compassion toward the homeless and near homeless. These students will make a difference in their neighborhoods, city, state and nation because they now look at a social/economic situation with a new perspective.

I invite you to bring your high school students to Open Door Mission for a tour and to see how they can make a difference in someone’s life and help break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Consider volunteering at Open Door Mission. If you give only 2 hours a month, every month for a year-you have given just one day of your life to change someone else’s forever. Please help Open Door Mission provide basic needs for the homeless and near homeless in our community. Please help us provide more than 1,500 meals a day so men, women and children won’t go hungry. Call today to find out what you can do to make a difference.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator
402-422-1111

22 September 2009

Changing Seasons

Fall is hands-down my favorite time of year. I have two beautiful pictures of autumn scenery hanging in my office, and I never grow tired of looking at them. One has these words: “Change is not only inevitable, it is essential to survival. Why fear it or fight it when you can simply embrace it?” This picture is a dazzling display of fall colors at their best, and the trees are vibrant with a glorious range of hues.

The next few weeks will offer a glimpse into the marvelous artistic skills of our Wonderful Creator, but the season doesn’t wait around very long. If you don’t get out there and pay attention, you will miss it altogether and have to wait an entire year for another opportunity.

The English word, “opportunity” has a very interesting origin. The word comes from the Latin, “opportuna”, which was used to describe specific water levels and tides when it was best for a ship to leave port and head out to open water. For the ship captains, there was a brief “window of opportunity” for which they had to be prepared or else wait until the next day.

The wise sailor did not wait to prepare until “opportuna” arrived. He knew that he had to be ready to go before the moment of departure, or miss it altogether.

I find that I sometimes resist change because, for whatever reason, I was not prepared. I have a hard time viewing unanticipated change as an unexpected opportunity. I only embrace change when I have a say in it and am convinced that it is for the better. Like everyone I know, I like being in control even if the sense of control is not based in reality.

The truth, of course, is that only God is ultimately in control, and He doesn’t find it necessary to confer with me before He implements it. Could it be that He already knows what needs to change even without my input or well-reasoned recommendations?

My wall hanging asks, “Why fear it or fight it when you can simply embrace it?” The oft-recited Serenity prayer is both wise and eloquent: “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” While I might resist change, I also detest the boredom that comes from the same old thing over and over.

My mother always told me that, of her four kids, I was her ‘difficult child’. Some things never change…. If you stop by my office at Open Door Mission, I will be happy to show you my fall pictures. Better yet, I urge you to take advantage of the wonderful fall scenery that is about to unfold around us!

Blessings!
Dick Arant
Program Case Manager

18 September 2009

Timberlake Outreach Center

Candace recently asked me to transfer to the Timberlake Outreach Center as a Community Case Manager. My major area of responsibility is to provide Christ-centered case management to low-income families and single individuals from the community who are in need of furniture and appliances. A mouthful right? Basically, I meet with people who come to the Timberlake Outreach Center, and visit with them to access their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. I then offer to pray for them, and help pick out furniture, appliances or electronics and assist with loading their vehicle.

Although I have only been doing this for a week or so, I have learned quickly that there is great need in our community, but also, that God's blessings are abundant. On any given month, between 5,000 to 7,000 people come to the Timberlake Outreach Center. It is a great joy for me when we have everything a client needs to be able to share God's provision with them for free. Some items are always in short supply, including washer and dryers, refrigerators and beds.

Today, I was working with a lady who needed beds. It was the middle of the afternoon, and I had already served several families before her. She had waited for at least an hour to meet with me and I simply did not have any toddler or queen-sized beds to give her. She was kind and accepted a toddler mattress, but I felt bad that I was not able to find a bed frame to go with it. She had been shopping for clothing when I called her name, so she said she needed to finish picking out clothes and thanked me.

Not more than 5 minutes later, I came out of my office to see our receptionist leading someone I recognized in my direction. To protect the innocent, let’s just say he is a very influential member of the steering committee for the Rebuilding Lives Campaign. He was concerned because he had dropped off a toddler bed over the weekend, but had forgotten a crucial part of the bed, and was worried we may have already discarded it. My faithful volunteer, Will, was right there and said he had saved the bed in case we found the rest of it and knew exactly where it was. I happily informed my distinguished visitor that I had just been working with someone in need of a toddler bed, and that she was very likely to still be shopping the aisles.

You should have seen the look on this client's face as I was placing the now complete toddler bed parts in the back of her truck! God is awesome and I want everyone who reads this to know that this is not just a freak occurrence at the Timberlake Outreach Center. It happens very often, and I am thankful to be a part of this ministry. The next time you are trying to decide what to do with some "previously enjoyed" furniture or appliances, please consider delivering the items to Open Door Mission’s receiving area, or call 402-422-1111, ext. 1517 and talk to Amy.

Darren Timberlake
Community Case Manager

17 September 2009

Graduation

In the midst of working with staff and volunteers preparing for the opening of Open Door Mission’s Permanent Supportive Housing units in October, planning for occupation of the new Lydia House, and improving our HMIS system, I am planning our next graduation.

A host of volunteers makes graduation a special day, including an uplifting ceremony, an amazing luncheon and reception. For many graduates this may be the first time they have worn a cap and gown and have received such positive praise.

The graduates--two men, three women, and three moms--have worked many hours over the last few months improving their lives through daily life skill, recovery, and Biblical classes, counseling, GED education, and career training programs. The most important change in their lives is that they have a relationship with Jesus Christ and are committed to walk and grow in the teachings of the Bible.

The weeks before graduation are often tough with the final push in classes, the attention, and the extra activities involved with preparation. Sometimes, a graduate will feel unworthy of such praise and may sabotage their progress – so I need your help to pray daily that our graduates keep working and believing.

Also, please mark your calendar to join us for the celebration on Saturday, October 10, at 11:00 a.m.

Thank you and hope to see you there,
Ronda Nelson
Lydia House Assistant Director

12 September 2009

"Blessings from Above"

Here at Open Door Mission, our clients may connect "Blessings from Above" with the area where they may receive toiletries and other goodies.

We in the Volunteer Department connect "Blessings from Above" with all of you! The many volunteers and donors that connect with us on a daily basis are Open Door Mission’s "Blessings from Above"!

Today, we were blessed with a group of 10 adults joining us through Urban Plunge. These wonderful volunteers made up over 200 toiletry kits that will be distributed on Fridays during our Streets of Omaha Project. These kits include shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bar soap, body lotion and a Gospel tract. God is good!

We also had a group of 60 8th graders, along with their leaders, volunteering through their confirmation class at St. John Vianney Church. These kids were a big help serving in the kitchen, organizing our warehouse and helping accomplish many projects that were on our "honey-do" list at the Timberlake Outreach Center…4 hours times 60+ people = priceless!

Thank you for being Open Door Mission’s "Blessings from Above"!!! I look forward to seeing you all in the near future!

Patti Cummings
Volunteer Associate

10 September 2009

The Story

As the Senior Development Director the main focus of my work is to tell the story of the Open Door Mission and invite one and all to become a part of the narrative. What an uplifting story we have to tell. For over 50 years the Open Door Mission has been providing long-term solutions that break the cycle of homelessness and poverty through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are about changing lives, now and for eternity. Each changed life is an exciting story!

Every man, woman, and child can become a part of the story at the Open Door Mission.
How? Keep the staff and those they serve in your prayers.
How? Come on down and volunteer your time and talent in our life changing activities.
How? Make a regular financial donation to support the many programs that change the story line of those we serve.
How? Tell the story of the Open Door Mission to someone who has not heard it and invite them to join in.

Jesus, our Lord, Savior, and great story teller, blesses the Open Door Mission every day and that is why we have a great story to tell, it is the story of Good News!

Blessings!


Scott Shreve
Senior Development Director

09 September 2009

Children Help Open Door Mission


Jack and Kristen live in Gretna and their parents have a yard sale every summer. Jack and Kristen help make lemonade and homemade cookies to sell at the yard sale. All the proceeds go toward helping hungry and homeless men, women and children at the Open Door Mission. This summer they were able to raise over $300.

This is a great example of how you don't have to wait until your older or and adult to make a difference in the lives of the hungry and homeless. With the Holiday Season soon upon us maybe your children would like to do start a food drive or even come and volunteer. Call Cris today at 422-1111.

08 September 2009

An Exciting Day

It is an exciting day! Open Door Mission's first ever Permanent Supportive Housing program is entering a test phase in the old Lydia House Buiding pictured to the right. In preparation for this new program, many of our current program members are moving to new areas of Open Door Mission's Campus. Please pray safety and protection for those who are moving today, and that God will guide the leaders of the effected programs in helping their clients adjust to a new environment.

The men in Open Door Mission's Veteran's Program are moving over to the Garland Thompson Men's Center bunkroom. The men in the New Life Recovery and Journey to Work programs are moving into wing "C" of the main building.

This will vacate the old Lydia House building so that the Permanent Supportive Housing test pilot program can open up with 7 families and 14 single individuals enrolled, on September 15th. This test program will help prepare Open Door Mission for the eventual move into the new 41 unit, 2 & 3 bedroom Permanent Supportive Housing building pictured to the left.
Darren Timberlake
Community Relations Coordinator


01 September 2009

Amy's Favorite Scripture

Hi I am Amy Buss Open Door Mission’s Human Resource’s Director

Today I want to share my favorite bible verse.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

This is one of my favorite verses for a couple of reasons; my grandparents wrote this verse in a bible they gave me and second, because it tells us of the love God has for us and that he sacrificed His only Son on our behalf. It gives me great joy that I can cling to this verse and know that I will have eternal life in heaven through the love of God and death of Jesus Christ.

Inside the Open Door Video - Kaplan University Health Fair

30 August 2009

Eagle's Nest Treats Lydia House to Spa Care

The ladies that are going through the Lydia House programs are awesome women, but life has not been easy for them. Some have been abused and hurt in a way that I will probably never comprehend. Some have had drug and alcohol addictions that they may still battle. Going to the spa and getting pampered is the last thing on their mind. But on Thursday evening, the women’s group from Eagle’s Nest brought the spa to the Open Door Mission. One could sense the excitement in the air: program ladies were smiling and laughing and it seemed like their problems were forgotten for one evening. Our ladies received massages, manicures, pedicures and gifts: they were loved and cherished by other Christian ladies who have also been through some trials in their lives and wanted to be an encouragement.

Even though the women were happy with the gifts and massages, it was unanimous that they received more than that: they were able to converse and hear testimonies about women that have been through abuse, hurts, and addictions and yet God has set them free. Those testimonies came from ladies that have graduated our New Life Program some years back. The Open Door Mission does change lives and it is awesome to see it first hand.

As I was listening to the testimonies, I came to realize that if we are not careful we’ll let our work here at the Open Door Mission become a routine. However, we need to remind ourselves that we are on a mission to change and transform lives for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; no matter how mundane our jobs are, no matter how hard it is. Who would have thought that a manicure could change someone’s life? It can! At the end of the evening a beautiful thing happened: one of the ladies gave her life to the Lord! One could just feel the love in the room! Glory be to God for sending us volunteers that want to make a difference in other people’s lives!

Corine Sawadogo
Volunteer Associate

29 August 2009

Volunteer Testimony

Open Door Mission is blessed to have so many wonderful volunteers. Every month, Open Door Mission logs an average 2940 hours of help from volunteers. That saves Open Door Mission as much labor cost as hiring 18 additional full-time staff. Another blessing is when we hear reports from our volunteers about their experiences, like the following from Nina…

“Hello, my family volunteered at (Open Door) Mission on Friday July 31 and had such a memorable experience. We are grateful and amazed at all you do for the Omaha community---all with the grace, respect and love that each person deserves.”
Nina M.

Thank you, Nina and family, and also each of Open Door Mission’s volunteers who happen to be reading this blog! We would love to hear from you about your experiences too. Just write us a quick message by clicking here, you never know, we may feature your experience on this blog, or on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Would you like to volunteer at Open Door Mission, helping to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty? Email or call Cris Morris (402) 422-1111 ext 1504, to set up a tour!

25 August 2009

Mission Bean Coffee


Last week I was able to do a coffee tasting for Mission Bean Coffee at two local HyVee Stores. It was a wonderful time to share about coffee and Open Door Mission. Coffee lovers now have even more reason to savor every sip. When you purchase Mission Bean Coffee, you not only get to enjoy the rich flavor of some of the world's finest coffee, you'll be breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty with Open Door Mission. The coffee is delicious-I had over ten people tell me it was the best coffee they had had. The coffee is available in dark roast, hazelnut, decaf and regular. It is only 7.99 for a bag of fresh roasted beans.

If you like coffee and want to help Open Door Mission please go to your local HyVee store in the Omaha metro area and buy a bag of Mission Bean. It is great cup of coffee to get you going in the morning and you will feel great all day long knowing you are helping the hungry, homeless, near homeless and hurting in the Omaha metro area. So make the coffee you drink something special-make it Mission Bean-a coffee that can help others in so many ways.
Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

24 August 2009

Open Door Mission Mourns One of Their Own

It is with a heavy heart that I write to share a tremendous loss in the Open Door Mission Family.
Dan Applegate, Open Door Mission's Director of the Timberlake Outreach Center, went home to be with Jesus on Thursday evening. While the passing of Dan brings great sorrow to his family, friends and Open Door family, we rejoice in knowing that he has been embraced and welcomed into heaven by our loving Lord.
I ask that you would please pray for Dan's wife, Karen, daughter Emily and husband Ken, son Eric and wife Jill, along with Dan's sister, Marcia, and other family and friends.
With Christ's Love,
Candace Gregory
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. Therefore, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:1