22 November 2010

Efficiency vs. Faithfulness

It’s easy to get burned out, which is why it’s important to intentionally remember the bigger picture of what I am doing and the larger vision of why I am doing it. Everyday there is an opportunity to choose efficiency or to choose faithfulness. I have always tended to be an efficient person, multi-tasking five things at once while writing lists and lists and lists of things to remember. So when I came to the Lydia House I fell back on the trusty old notepad and contemplated ways to streamline my efficiency.

One night with only an hour left on my shift and three things remaining on my to-do list, a resident came to the front desk to talk to me. “Rachel, I know the kitchen locks at 10pm but I’ve had a rough night and I’m really hungry. Can you please let me in to get a box of crackers?” Frustrated at the interruption, I began to deny the request when a small voice whispered in my ear, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.” I stopped mid-sentence and stared into the young woman’s eyes. She was a human being made in the image of God, not a task to be accomplished or a chore to be checked off. After letting her into the kitchen and walking her to her room, I cried in the hallway and prayed: “Dear God, may I never sacrifice faithfulness for efficiency. May I never forget that the person is more important than the task.”

I still keep to-do lists and find little ways to improve my efficiency but I am much more willing to throw the plan out the window when the need arises. Why? Because God does not require efficiency from us, he requires faithfulness.

Rachel Fisher
Lydia House Evening House Supervisor

Make a difference in the lives of others by donating your gently used clothing, furniture and household items. Donations can be dropped off at our receiving area now located on the east side of the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 E Locust St
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13 November 2010

Unexpected Visit

Saturday, October 30, 2010, I was driving down the street looking for a place to get my car washed and vacuumed. I saw two men holding “Hand Car Wash” signs and decided it looked very convenient so I pulled my car into the business. The owner walked in to greet me. We talked I told him I currently worked at Open Door Mission and we discussed the possibility of him hiring men from the Mission to work at his car wash. He asked me if I ever went in to the jails. I said I did. He then wrote down the name of a woman and asked me if I would go see her. It was his sister. He said, “She probably won’t want to talk with you but go see her anyway. She has been in prison 6 times and has never wanted to give up the drugs.” He painted a very bleak picture. I told him I would go.

I went to Douglas County Corrections on Tuesday, November 2nd to meet with this woman. I had no idea what the reception would be and almost expected it to be a very brief encounter with possibly a follow up later. I met her in mod 12 and we sat down to talk. I had prayed and walked in with no agenda but to love this woman. Sitting before me was not the person I had anticipated but a woman very ready for a life change. Her heart was like well toiled soil. (Her mother and brother had prayed for her for years.)

We talked about her court date, about a recovery program and then I talked to her about her relationship with Christ. Her mother and brother were both believers and she could talk the talk but did not understand putting her trust in Jesus Christ and the work that He did on the cross by shedding His blood for her sins. I presented the gospel to her and she indicated that she had placed her faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. I was going to pray with her but she burst in to a prayer of repentance and faith. She has applied for our New Life Recovery Program and is going in for treatment for the first time. Praise to the Lord God Almighty!

Joy Stevens
WorkNet Director

Make a difference in the lives of others by donating your gently used clothing, furniture and household items. Donations can be dropped off at our receiving area now located on the east side of the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 E Locust St
• Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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12 November 2010

Gifts from God

A couple weeks ago I was at an Open Door Mission luncheon and had the opportunity to speak with one of our board members. He asked me what I do at Open Door Mission and I explained that I am the Learning Center Director and help our residents work on their academic skills. He thanked me for my work and exclaimed that all of us have such challenging jobs working with the homeless and near homeless. I told him that I enjoy what I do and that I am truly blessed to work some amazing people – the residents.

Yes, some of the people who come through our doors are a little (sometimes a lot) rough around the edges. But I have also found that all of them are good people, full of potential. They just took a few wrong turns and lost their way. But God has brought them here to Open Door Mission. Along with showing them God’s love, I have the pleasure of helping them realize that they are capable and can be successful. Yes, I help them improve their reading skills and learn their basic math facts; more importantly I help them realize that they matter as a person and God loves them no matter what they have done in their past.

The board member I was speaking with was amazed by my open heart and my ability to see the potential in all who walk through our doors. He said that this was a gift from God, since this is not a worldly viewpoint. I had never considered my openness and acceptance of all people to be from God. It got me thinking – maybe this is one more way and reason God was preparing me to come to Open Door Mission. I can be His shepherd for His people – no matter how far they have strayed from the path.

Luke 15:2-7 (NIV)

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable:
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.


Micole Harms
Learning Center Director

Make a difference in the lives of others by donating your gently used clothing, furniture and household items. Donations can be dropped off at our receiving area now located on the east side of the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 E Locust St
• Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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11 November 2010

Veterans

According to the VA’s most recent count there were over 150,000 veterans in Nebraska.

I want to start by saying Thank You for the sacrifices’ you and your family made in service to our country.

I myself spent 13 years in the Colorado Army National Guard, the last two activated and stationed at Ft Carson in Colorado Springs. I have been blessed to be part of Open Door Mission for more than five years as the IT Manager. Veterans represent approximately 23% of the nation’s homeless population and 33% of the men that are homeless. Many are plugged into the VA’s Homeless services, but many more fall through the cracks. Open Door Mission recognizes that as much as 1/3 of our men’s population are veterans, and has established a vets program to provide beds, case management, and brotherhood to those that participate. Last night we honored our homeless veterans with a special chapel service to say Thank You, and to recognize the service that was given for all the freedoms we enjoy.

Please join me in praying for our troops.

Lord, father, God, Thank you for this day that we get to honor and remember those who served our country in the armed forces. We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, Have mercy on all our veterans and bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in. Thank You Lord, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Thank You,
Jason Green
Open Door Mission IT manager


Make a difference in the lives of others by donating your gently used clothing, furniture and household items. Donations can be dropped off at our receiving area now located on the east side of the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 E Locust St
• Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Interested in hosting a drive for new items? Contact Maggie here

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10 November 2010

Turkey & Fixin's

The Timberlake Outreach Center is always a busy place with lots of activities. But last week was exceptionally busy because people in extreme crisis or nearly homeless have been coming into register to receive a turkey dinner to cook for themselves and their family for Thanksgiving Day.

In the past, generous donors like you have provided the finances or turkey dinners to enable Open Door Mission to provide a turkey dinner for these families. This year is no exception, we need your help in providing a financial gift or actually purchasing a turkey or fixin’s box. Doing this will enable us to once again provide a dinner for these families.

Just think on Thanksgiving Day as you sit down to have dinner with your family you could have the joy of knowing that because of your gift another family is also enjoying a Thanksgiving Dinner on you.

Your opportunity to give to this ministry will be Friday, November 12th. Representatives from Open Door Mission will be at all the HyVee Stores throughout the metro area. We will be collecting for our Turkey & Fixen's Drive. So please mark that date on your calendar and come on down to your neighborhood HyVee store to purchase a turkey dinner for a hurting family in our community.

Joyfully serving Jesus,
Judy Collins
Timberlake Outreach Center Director

Make a difference in the lives of others by donating your gently used clothing, furniture and household items. Donations can be dropped off at our receiving area now located on the east side of the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 E Locust St
• Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Interested in hosting a drive for new items? Contact Maggie here

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09 November 2010

Reflections on Lessons Learned

The past few weeks I have had the privilege of speaking to students in middle and high schools. As a former teacher I especially enjoy being in the classroom. But there has been a consistent thing that has come to haunt me, maybe because I too had the same mindset. It seems no matter how young or old you are we have preconceived ideas and prejudices toward those “not like us”, especially the homeless. I feel blessed I can share about Open Door Mission and the homeless and near homeless in the Heartland; and hopefully change preconceptions for better understanding. The students are often surprised to hear that there several causes of homelessness and lots of factors can determine the reasons for homelessness. They learned in many cases the homeless don’t victimize but are the victims of others cruelty.

The past eight years I have worked with Open Door Mission God has opened my eyes and heart. I truly love the clients we serve because instead of seeing them with my “cloudy eyes” I see them as God sees them with an agape love. No one decides to be homeless-various reasons and circumstances lead to a life of poverty and sometimes homelessness. Many of the people I have met through the years have become good friends and in many cases like family. The homeless and near homeless may have more in common with you than you think. By taking time to hear their stories, share their pains and hurts, laugh and cry with them you will discover a blessing.

I would like to encourage you to put aside preconceived notions and ideas about the homeless; and come down to Open Door Mission to see how God is working and how you can make a difference in the lives of others. Come be a friend to those who are seeking hope and a better life. Maya Angelou said it like this: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Please come volunteer at Open Door Mission and help someone feel the warmth of friendship and God’s agape love that only you can give. I know that like me, you will find untold blessings.

If you would like to help make the holidays brighter for those at Open Door Mission please consider collecting new toys for children birth through 12th grade by doing a Project Santa drive, providing gifts for the single men and women staying during the holidays through Christmas Bells or collecting food to help Open Door Mission serve over 1,700 meals a day. I hope to see you at Open Door Mission soon.

Maggie Cope
Community Coordinator

Make a difference in the lives of others by donating your gently used clothing, furniture and household items. Donations can be dropped off at our receiving area now located on the east side of the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 E Locust St
• Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Interested in hosting a drive for new items? Contact Maggie here

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05 November 2010

Life Verse

We recently had a few Lydia House staff move on to serve the Lord in other areas, so to fill in the gap I was assigned to lead Wednesday morning devotion class. I had not led a devotion class in years and to be honest was a little nervous about doing this one. I could not think of any topic to do and Wednesday was approaching fast. Then one day while doing my rounds I saw my life verse printed on the walls “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13. This verse has comforted me through many hard times and has helped me stay focused on Jesus.

This is when the idea to share my testimony and share with the class some of the events that has made Phil 4:13 my life verse:
  • While on the program here at the Lydia House, I was healing from past pains that the church has caused me, I was reminded (through Phil. 4:13) not to look to man for strength, but to Jesus. He is the only One that will be there at all times for me.
  • When my husband was not following the rules at the Lydia House and it looked like he was going to leave and not come back. I started quoting this verse in my head and within ten minutes he became compliant with the decision of the director and agreed to go to a sister program in another city. How this verse gave me strength during our four month separation while we healed spiritually and then being reunited so we could graduate the New Life Recovery Program together as a family.
  • To let me know that Jesus will give me the strength to live and take care of my children and myself while struggling through the grief of my husband going home to be with Jesus.

After sharing this I asked the class if the Lord has showed them a verse they can start using as a life verse and seven of the people in the class quoted their verse without looking in the Bible. I thought this was an awesome experience.

Angela Casper
Lydia House Overnight Family Support Worker

Make a difference in the lives of others by donating your gently used clothing, furniture and household items. Donations can be dropped off at our receiving area now located on the east side of the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 E Locust St
• Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Interested in hosting a drive for new items? Contact Maggie here

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01 November 2010

Psalm 113

I am blessed to work at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. Every day I witness the supernatural hand of God restoring and transforming lives, though some times, afflictions appear to prevail. I have seen God’s grace overflow, filling our hearts with joy and peace.

I love working where God meets men in distress. My eyes have witnessed what Psalm 113 says:
He raises the poor from the dirt,
and lifts up the needy from the garbage pile,
that he might seat him with princes,
with the princes of his people.

Every day I thank God for rescuing me out of my garbage pile.

Blessings,
Jonathan Lopez
Hispanic / Latino Emergency Services Coordinator

Make a difference in the lives of others by donating your gently used clothing, furniture and household items. Donations can be dropped off at our receiving area now located on the east side of the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 E Locust St
• Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Interested in hosting a drive for new items? Contact Maggie here

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