21 December 2010

God's Scarf by Open Door Mission's Volunteer Tara Rye

God’s Scarf

As Shelly and I went to try on our costumes as bell ringers for pageant, I noticed how classy she looked in her all black with a red scarf displaying a bling emblazoned cross. “Shelly, this would be a great costume for us as bell ringers. Where did you get that scarf?” She said, “My daughter gave it to me for Christmas last year. She bought it at a kiosk at the mall. I am going shopping today, I will see if I can find them.” In anticipation, I waited for Shelly’s text to say she found the scarves, but she never sent it. I text her late on Saturday night, “Did you find it?” My heart heard disappointment in her text, “No, but I have one more place I can check on Monday. I went everywhere, but no one carries them.” Both of us resolved that it would not be. It never occurred to me to ask God to join us in this endeavor—a scarf did not register on the spiritual radar in my mind.

On Monday morning, I went to teach my last lesson for the year at the Open Door Mission. My two prayer partners, Kim, Beth and I went out to the cars after to exchange our Christmas presents. Beth gave to every person at the mission an ornament that she personally handcrafted. “I made Christmas ornaments for ya’ll, too.” As she handed me a second gift she continued, “As I walked out the door this morning to come, I heard God say in my heart, ‘Go get the scarves!’ I told Him, ‘But, I will be late.’ I heard clearly, ‘Go get the scarves! So, I went back in and pulled these out of the closet for you.” I was clueless at this point, but when I opened my present, I started to scream and cry. Shelly wore the exact scarf on Saturday. It was a perfect match! As I told Beth and Kim the story, we all jumped up and down in the parking lot delighting in how God takes care of little details. Kim said, “God did this so you would know that His ways are not our ways. He wanted you to know how much He loves you.” I stood overwhelmed by the amazing power of God and at the faithfulness of Beth to listen and obey Him. I said, “We need a total of four! Do you by chance have two more?” Beth nodded her head, “Yes, I do! I have two more in the closet at home! That kiosk was ours. We didn’t open it this year.”

Beloved, do you ever wonder if God sees your needs? He cares deeply about the details of our lives… even the desire for a red scarf with a bling emblazoned cross! My beloved Kim reminded Beth and I that the reason she loves serving in prayer ministry births out of these moments. She waits with expectation to see how God will move and every week the three of us see His hand move in our behalf or in the life of another at the mission. The LORD surprised me this time. I have asked Him to shock and amaze me in my day, but I never knew it could be in this way. I watch with great expectation daily, but this one totally took me by surprise because it was an insignificant detail. In the scheme of spiritual matters, it really did not matter. If you see me walking around at Christmas, take time to notice my God scarf! It will forever more symbolize to me the value of listening to God and obeying His voice in order to join Him in His ways!

Merry Christmas!

Tara Rye
President/Founder
Cultivating Hearts
P.O. 541124
Omaha, NE 68154
http://www.tararye.com/

20 December 2010

Making A Difference.


Making A Difference: Larry Ainsworth
By: Kristy Brannen
Seventy-year-old Larry Ainsworth considers
himself abundantly blessed. As an expression of
his gratitude he spends a lot of time serving the
community.
A path built on faith
Upon retiring from the telecommunications
industry in 2004, Ainsworth said he spent several
months praying to God about what his next step
should be in life. “I prayed asking God what He
desired from me in the coming years,” he said. “It
was my desire to serve as a volunteer wherever
it pleased Him.” He said he was hopeful that God
would not direct him to serve in prison ministry or
mission work. However, Ainsworth said, ultimately
that was God’s plan because he spent the next
seven years in prison ministry.
“It proved to be a most rewarding time spiritually,”
he said. “Times I will not forget.” Toward the end
of that period, Ainsworth said he began praying
again for direction and he received it through
an advertisement in his church’s bulletin. It was
an advertisement seeking someone to help
with paper work at the Open Door Mission’s
administrative office. With his management
background, he knew he could help and applied
for the position.
His first project was to make his way through a
rather large backlog of paperwork. A few months
into this project, he was approached by one of
the chaplains at the mission to see if he had any
interest in helping with the chapel services at the
Outreach Center. “I was very much interested in
the opportunity to share the good news about
Jesus Christ,” he said.
As if those two responsibilities weren’t
enough, Ainsworth was recently
offered what he considers another
opportunity to serve the Lord. He was
asked to teach a class for those in the
programs at ODM. “I truly believe that
I receive the greater blessing from the
interaction with all those in the class,”
he said.
The definition of dedicated
Ainsworth said he admires the
dedication that seems to encompass
ODM. “One great blessing of
volunteering at ODM is working with
a very dedicated group of people,”
he said. “They are not dedicated just to the
organization, but more importantly to Jesus Christ
and what He can do in the lives of people whose
hope for the future may be very small. No matter
what their job may be, they know their work is
bringing glory to God not man.”
He said that in a time when the world seems
especially complicated and more focused on
serving man, witnessing this type of dedication
gives him great comfort and hope. He also credits
this part of his work for deepening his faith by
challenging him to think about who he serves and
why. “I would trust that those with whom I work
with would say that Larry is a committed worker
first to Jesus Christ and then the organization and
its goals,” he said.
Just like those he admires, Ainsworth is the
epitome of dedication. He understands the bigger
picture. By handling some administration work in
the in the office, he recognizes that he is freeing
up staff members to handle mission-driven work.
As far as his work at the Outreach Center’s chapel,
he said it provides not only joy, but an opportunity
to share and learn from others. “The results of my
efforts in the chapel services will never be realized
until I reach Heaven,” he said.
Educating beyond the classroom
The opportunity to step into the role of teacher
has been one that Ainsworth is honored to take.
He explained that his class is a diverse group of
men and women at various stages of life who are
struggling with eternal matters or who are simply
looking to learn more about spiritual growth.
“What a challenge God has presented to me,” he
said. “I love this tremendous opportunity to be
involved in a small yet meaningful way.”
Ainsworth’s teaching goes beyond the classroom
at ODM. For more than 30 years, he served his
church in ministry and leadership roles. “The Lord
has led me through a variety of services in the
local church, counseling, preaching, visitation,
and teaching,” he said. “Preparation time is often
greater than the presentation.” He explained that
he is slowly cutting back on some of these roles,
allowing the younger generation to take on some
of the responsibilities.
Shaping and strengthening
Often time volunteers discover that their work
does more than impact the people in need or
the organization’s mission. It changes them as an
individual. Ainsworth is no exception. His work
has greatly impacted him. “It is very encouraging
for me to witness the inner workings at ODM,” he
said.
He would like to see more people become involved
in the effort to help the homeless, the abused, the
under-educated, the addicted, and the financially
impoverished. ODM can always use volunteers
and donations, he said. Without the people and
the funds new programs and new buildings are
on hold.
Ainsworth has lived in Omaha 65 of his 70 years.
He graduated from Benson High School in 1958
and began working at Western Electric, where
he stayed for 45 years. Eight of those years were
spent in an hourly position while the remaining
37 were in management roles.
He and his wife, Sharon, have been married for 51
years and have seven children, nine grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren. While working and
raising his family, Ainsworth pursued a bachelor’s
degree in business administration. He believes
his faith has enabled him and his family to work
through the tough times and enjoy the good
ones. “The Lord has blessed us and let us always
be a blessing to each other,” he said.
For more information on ODM or to get involved,
visit www.opendoormission.org

18 December 2010

Open Door Mission's Project Santa's Drive Thru Christmas

Today, with the help of over 400 awesome volunteers Open Door Mission had the oppourtunity to give out Christmas gifts to parents of more than 4,200 poor and needy children in the Heartland. It was amazing to see the joy on the parents faces as they drove through the line and received books, the Bible, diapers for the younger children, a food box that included a Ham, and a bag of toys to be able to take home, wrap and put under the Christmas tree for thier Children. Below are some photos from todays event.








For more photos please check out the Open Door Mission's facebook page and become a fan today. at http://www.facebook.com/#!/OpenDoorMission