30 June 2013

Interning at the Women and Family Crisis Center


Hey all! My name is Victoria D. and I am the current intern for Kate Fischer!

I am currently “manning the desk” while Kate is out and about getting people situated and giving a tour! Growing up as a kid the Open Door Mission was a name that was often talked about in my house. I can recall my sister and I calling in on Sunday nights to hear the bible story for the week. The real thing though that really kept me involved with giving was my mom’s hard work to make sure my sister and I grew up with volunteer hearts no matter our situation. When looking for internships I knew that this was a place on the top of my list. I had an old babysitter that I knew worked at the mission currently so she was my first person of contact when I began trying to track down an internship possibility. After a whirlwind of emails between Candace, Kate, myself I ended up with an email within a matter of a few hours! Once I read the email offering me the internship I ran around in circles, jumped up and down, screamed for joy, cried a little, and called everyone that I thought would want to know!

My first day Kate asked me what I wanted to do, what I hoped to accomplish in my time here to which I quickly responded to with “Everything, I want to do every job, there’s probably not enough time to do that but that’s exactly what I want to do!” Kate’s response was “PERFECT!” Once my training began Kate quickly told me that it was “baptism by fire around here” since every day is a new experience with a whole new set of situations. I have come to hold this saying as being 100% true. It was a bit disorienting my first few days with me learning so much about the day to day operations but I have begun to settle in and actually feel confident in my position and duties. Each day I am amazed by God’s hand in not only other people’s lives but my own. Something of Kate’s that has impacted me is that whenever someone asks her how she is doing her response is blessed no matter what kind of day she has had or is expecting. She does this to remind herself that no matter how bad or tough her day has been she has a great deal to be thankful for. This has rubbed off on me and made me aware of this as well. Now when I go home I see what I have and not what I want, what I can give and don’t need to take.

In the end I have loved every day so far and I’m only about a third of the way through my internship! I love that I am making an impact on other people’s lives; that I am starting to make a difference in my community. I look forward to come in each day because there is always something new to learn, to see, to hear, and to experience.  While sometimes it can be draining, it is well worth it when I consider the people I am helping and the knowledge that I am gaining. The inner connected web of people and agencies that all work together towards a common goal is amazing and quite honestly humbling. I can’t help but see the love and commitment that the people working here have towards the God, the guests, each other, and the mission. The work that the mission is doing is astounding and I pray daily that it will continue to do God’s work and that it will prosper. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity that I have been given in being here and blessed to be working with these men and women of God. 

Well this has just been a short synopsis of my experience so far and I look forward to the rest of it! I now must go help with lunch so have a blessed rest of the day!

Victoria J

28 June 2013

Being Transparent


I have been at Open Door Mission for over 11 years and I still love my job. But I need to be transparent…I wasn’t sure I wanted to work here 11 years ago…in fact I had planned to only be here for a year. Then God showed me that all my preconceptions and prejudices about the homeless were oh so judgmental and wrong. I discovered the reality of homelessness and myself.

You see the homeless are just like anyone else…some have made bad choices, some are victims of circumstances, some don’t have the right skills to succeed, some have been “tossed aside” by society and/or family for various reasons and all needed the healing of a Christ centered life.  Those we serve are survivors…they have chosen to keep trying to find what they need to have a peaceful abundant life…Christ. I do not condemn what they have done nor do condone their actions, because I don’t know what I would do to survive if I didn’t have Christ.

The people we serve can be some of the most loving and caring people I have ever known. I pray for them but they also pray for me. They have shared their dreams and hopes…so many the same as ones I have.  They have trusted me with stories of their lives, joy and sometimes unbelievable hurt.  I am blessed by a wonderful part of society we often want to “make invisible”. To me these “invisible neighbors” are truly great folks to know.

Please come volunteer at Open Door Mission and discover for yourself the blessing of serving the” least of these.” Let God lead you like He did me to the joy of serving Him by serving others. Just click the link to receive the blessing…http://www.opendoormission.org/volunteer

 

Maggie Cope

God’s Servant at Open Door Mission

27 June 2013

Cedar Rapids' First Congregational UCC Church...On a Mission...Trip!


First Congregational UCC's
mission team is off to a great start!


 
 
 



We left Cedar Rapids about 8 am and arrived in Omaha by early afternoon.  We checked in at our "home base" for the week:  First Central Congregational-UCC near downtown. This is where we will be sleeping, eating breakfast, and spending some of our free time.  Our first volunteer stint here is at Open Door Mission, where we will help prepare the evening meal.

Everyone on our team will take turns serving as "captains" for a day.  The team captains will help us stay on schedule, introduce our team to the folks at each non-profit agency where we serve, and help lead the discussion during our morning devotions and evening reflections.  Today's team captains are Marc, Naomi and Zoe.
The Omaha weather forecast for Wednesday is hot but no rain.  That's good news because we will be working outside tomorrow.

We are grateful for your support and ask for your prayers during our time away from home.

26 June 2013

How I started working at the Open Door Mission:


Hi, my name is Joshua Smith, I am 25 and a recent college graduate from Northwest Missouri State University.  I have been working at the Open Door Mission for about 8 months and it has been quite a ride!  The Lord is teaching me how to love in such a deeper way since I have started here.  Growing up in the suburbs of Bellevue Nebraska I was not exposed to very much poverty growing up, the Lord had different plans for me, and I am grateful.

I have had the awesome privilege of serving people from every background and many different nations.  The most shocking realization for me was how many young men around my age that are homeless right now.  Through these short months I have been able to see young men give their lives to Christ, work through relationship struggles, develop better work ethics, grow in patience and forgive family members for past wounds.  In March I was able to be a part of baptism of a 23 year old former atheist!  God is good!  There is so much work to be done here and the Lord is so faithful.  It is hard to pack so much of what He is doing on campus around me in such a short space.  But I want to say thank you for all the people that donate, pray, and serve the Open Door Mission!  Without you guys this place could not make the impact it is making today! KEEP PRAYING!!

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
Joshua Smith
Garland Thompson Men's Center
Open Door Mission

23 June 2013

Practical Hospitality

Recently, I was leading devotions for our program men and we were discussing our Biblical challenge and charge to be hospitable. Paul writes again and again about being hospitable, or generous and caring for others. In Romans 12:13 for instance, he says “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice Hospitality”. Ok, that is pretty clear and really does not need much clarification. Or does it??
Well, it shouldn’t, but the truth is that for so many of “God’s people who are in need, being offered hospitality may seem like a strange and far too infrequent occurrence. One of the reasons I love the Open Door Mission though is because “Practicing Hospitality” is not just what we do, but who we are.  In everything we say and do at ODM, we are practicing and cultivating a spirit of hospitality. We want our guests to feel like they are loved and appreciated because they really are.

SkateDaze sharing their hospitality with our Garland Thompson Men's Center guests.
I want to challenge us all to be hospitable, and reach out, sharing with and caring for those around us. We can and should start with our families, neighbors, coworkers and friends. Please don’t stop there though.  Reach out a little further and “share with God’s people who are in need”! It continues to be my honor and pleasure to serve God’s people here at the Open Door Mission. I serve with a terrific staff, and an amazing group of volunteers, and I pray for blessings on each and every one of you!!

-- 

Scot Morris
Rebuilding Lives Center Director
Office:  402-829-1539
Fax:  402-422-0737
E-mail: smorris@opendoormission.org
www.opendoormission.org
 

22 June 2013

Your Part in the Body of Christ

Your heart beats around 100,000 times a day, 365,000,000 times a year and over a billion times if you live beyond 30. You use around 200 muscles to take one step. You have around 60,000 miles of blood vessels running throughout your body. The average person has over 100,000 hair follicles on their head. In a pretty well-known passage in the Bible (1 Corinthians 12) Paul explains that the body of Christ, just like a human body, is made up of many different parts but each part is just as important as any other. Without even the “smallest” part, the body would not work correctly.
This picture comes alive every day at the Open Door Mission. Staff, volunteers, and donors from different backgrounds, countries, church denominations all bonded together by one purpose. This purpose being to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty and ultimately sharing the great hope we have in Jesus.
Maybe you think that you don’t have much to offer. You see your gifts or abilities as ”a part that doesn't really matter”.  Paul says that “If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be?” Each part is valuable. So, have you considered your part in this body? In what way is God calling you to serve at the Open Door Mission?
 
Ryan McDowell
Development Associate

21 June 2013

Thanks to You...



Thanks for being a part of the Open Door Mission, though your generosity of time, talents, and treasures 502 people had safe housing in one of our emergency shelters or rental units last night!

Empowering is that 21% of ODM residents pay rent each month to live in their own family apartment or an SRO room (Single Residency Occupancy).  Many of our renters state that they had never believed that they could be a successful renter, after living years homeless or years of housing instability. For many it is a proud day each month when they present their rent payment - something many of us may groan about
 
They have become successful renters, because they have a community of support that has shows them each day that they are a valuable person in God's eyes and in the eyes of those around them.  Once a person accepts and understands how valuable they are, their aspirations come alive and in the supportive community of Open Door Mission aspirations are possible.   All renters are supported through discipleship, financial education, and life-skills coaching.  It is a blessing to see to see the results.  A man that once would not bath (it didn't matter or wasn't possible living on the streets or homeless camps) now keeps his rental unit neat, clean, and tidy - filled with belongings that reflect his interests.  Powerful to hear a mom share her story of past employment and housing instability due to having to often flee both to escape an abusive partner.  Now her story includes renting at Open Door Mission and being employed for over two years, and community volunteering!  Her kids no longer look fearful as they come and go - just full of smiles.

Romans 12:10-12 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

This is why I serve at the Open Door Mission.  The Mission is a place where our anyone in need can come and be shown how valuable they are - allowing them to dream of a different future and have the support to actually obtain their dream.   The Mission is a place where people can come and actually enjoy paying rent 

Ronda Nelson
Housing Department Director

Have you seen our new buildings?  If not call for a tour.

As much as we love loving on our residents, we would love to add to the value of your life, too!  Come down and volunteer with us sometime and your day will be filled with smiles 

20 June 2013

Loving the Job!

"I love my job. The easiest way to describe my job is to say that I sit down to talk with men who are in a recovery program, and I try to help them succeed. Success looks different for each man, and what needs to be done by me for each man is also different.
Often, I fill the role of facilitator, advocate, encourager, cheerleader, and advisor. But sometimes it’s my job to confront a man in love, and I would be lying if I said that I never yell. Confrontation is often difficult for me… it seems like it would be so much easier to just avoid the hard discussions. I know there are times when love looks like conflict, though, and when the men see that I am fighting for their good, the conflict only ever causes our relationships to grow stronger. In time, it is incredibly rewarding to see men who I have fought hard for walk across the stage during promotions and graduation. Although it seems strange to say, I feel very much like a proud father sometimes. I watch the growth take place before my eyes, and it feels like maybe I am getting an inkling of how our heavenly Father feels when he watches us."

Jeremy Settle
Case Manager
Garland Thompson Men's Center

18 June 2013

Problems Have A Purpose

Psalm 50:15 (NLT) says "Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory."

God will use whatever He wants to display His glory. Heavens - stars - history - nations - people - problems! God can orchestrate many different things to get our attention. Sometimes we only give God the glory when things go right and we're feeling good. But the Bible says "In everything give thanks." It's not just the good things that happen that glorify God, because even the problems we face can bring Him glory.  It's all in how we choose to handle the situation. What we focus on will determine if God gets the glory or if we let the situation get us down.

Think about it - a season of suffering is a 'small price to pay' so to speak when compared to what Christ did for us on the cross - suffering and dying for our sins. Look past the problems, struggles, heartaches and hassles and gaze upward and think about the heavenly mansion where you will live for eternity - forever and ever.  We need to explore the problems God allows to come into our lives and ponder them. But make sure we stay focused and make sure they have one purpose - to bring glory to God.

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."Psalm 34:19

17 June 2013

New Life at the Garland Thompson Men's Center


A former guest at the GTMC stopped in to see me today.  Paul had stayed with us for about 14 months.  At the time, he was unemployed and separated from his wife.  Paul struggled when he first joined the program, and had some struggles during his time in the program.  Paul tried hard, but his stubbornness sometimes got the best of him, especially his struggle with Christianity.  It took him awhile, but Paul finally saw the light come on.  He started to trust in God and good things started to happen.  He got his teeth fixed, found some self-confidence and got a job.

Today, Paul stopped to see me and to give me an update about what is going on with him.  Today, Paul celebrated one year at his job.  He has been promoted and given a substantial raise.  He wears a suit coat to work (something I never thought I would see), has people working under him and has become a valuable person at his job.  Paul has bought a new car and a house since he left GTMC.  He has been reunited with his wife and even has his mother-in-law staying in the house with them. 

In times when failures seem so prevalent, it warms the heart to hear of the success stories.  I know the programs have taken a hit lately, but God still is in the business of miracles.  We just need to remind our guests of this fact.  Paul, at one time, seemed like a lost cause.  God has blessed him and his family in so many ways.  God’s love can never be under estimated.

Russell Janssen
Garland Thompson Men's Center

16 June 2013


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

 

Today I want to share one my favorite bible verses.

 

1 John 4:9-12 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

 

 

God loves us so much 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. 

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

15 June 2013

Blessings...come in lots of ways

All year long, Open Door Mission accepts gift-in-kind donations, such as, food, clothing, shoes, toys, household items, furniture and appliances. These items are such a blessing to the  men, women and children who come through our doors seeking assistance.

As you clean out your closets or homes this summer, please remember someone may be able to use what you no longer need or want. You will be making a difference in the lives of those we serve by enabling them to remain in their own homes or furnish their homes as they graduate from our New Life Recovery programs and move back into the community.

Please remember that there is always a need for bottled water and fans, as summer is fast approaching.

It is a pleasure to work in the Development Department and see all the items being provided by Open Door Mission's most valuable asset--our donors and prayer warriors.
 
Linda Gunderson
Development Supervisor

14 June 2013

Many Parts...One Whole


Well summer is upon us and you know what that means… Volunteer groups!  Typically in summer we see a dip of our volunteer numbers, people are on vacation, or graduating, etc.  But it is also the perfect time to schedule a time to come down with your youth group, office, bible study, or family.  My name is Bethany, and I am a volunteer coordinator here at Open Door Mission.  Essentially, if you ever come to volunteer, I may work with you and show you what to do and work alongside you to see the needs of this ministry met.  I love meeting new people and I especially love this season of lots of volunteer groups.  We have had several churches and youth groups send out groups to help weed, or sort clothes, or work in our kitchen and it is a blast to work with them.  We have churches from all across the Midwest that come, and several denominational backgrounds are represented.

                As I think about many of these groups, I am reminded of the analogy used in scripture that we are the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27).  There are many parts that make up a whole.  I cannot tell you the pleasure it is to see this in practice.  We are told to look after the poor all throughout scripture.  Proverbs 29:17 says that, “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”  It is such a privilege to see people coming together to truly look after the needy.  People who may have certain doctrinal differences agree that caring for our city’s poor is important, buy into that, and come volunteer to make that happen.  That is powerful and I believe the Lord sees that and honors that.  So I guess what I am trying to say is, to those of you who volunteer here, thank you.  Thank you for helping us meet spiritual and physical needs of the hurting and the broken.  I believe that every minute you have sacrificed of your own time to serve here will be returned to you blessed by the God.  It says in Matthew 13:24-30 we see the biblical principle that we reap what we sow, and you have sown seeds of kindness, compassion, and obedience to the Lord.  And to those of you who have yet to volunteer, come on down and join in on what God is doing here!  It is exciting!

 

Bethany Loux

Volunteer  Department

12 June 2013

God is at work!


I am the discipleship counselor for 20 women in our New Life Recovery program and have seen a dramatic change is the lives of many of our women. I have been the discipleship counselor for the last two years and I can honestly say that this is the hungriest group of ladies that I have worked with! They are hungry for God’s word. They are so excited to do our Bible studies and they are memorizing Bible verses! Yesterday I had one lady recite 2 verses to me, and another lady recited 4!! Praise the Lord for what he is doing in the lives of HIS people!


Psalm 119:9, 11
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?

By living according to your word.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

 

--Noelle Pee

 

11 June 2013

Changes That Lead To Challenges

 

Hi, my name is Judy Collins and I am the director of the Timberlake Outreach Center.  I have been working at the Open Door Mission for ten years and during the majority of that time I have been working in the area of “Preventing Homelessness.”  That means, helping people in our community who are in extreme crisis, near homeless, and the working poor remain in their homes.  We do this by helping them stretch their income through, allowing them to shop at our Kings Kloset for free, along with giving them food pantries and diapers for their children once every 30 days.  We also give out furniture.  All of the items our shoppers receive come from donations from people in our community like you.  The money our shoppers save through shopping at our Center helps them to stretch the little bit of income they have to help pay their rent, utilities, or gas to get back and forth to work.

Lots of changes have taken place over the past ten years.  When I started working in the Community Service Department ten years ago I worked out of the administration building. I would meet with five to eight families a day who would come in for a food pantry or furniture.  The mission opened King Kloset once a week for approximately three hours.  Today, our Community Service Preventative Program is housed in our Timberlake Outreach Center.  We are open six days a week, eight hours a day and serve thousands of people in our community each month.

As many of you know with grow comes the need for some changes and some challenges.  For me one of the greatest needs I have right now is having the man power to help keep our shelves stocked and our clothing racks full.  We need volunteers who would like to make a difference in helping to prevent homelessness by not only donating to our mission but also, volunteer to work at the Timberlake Outreach Center.

I would like to thank you in advance for partnering with us to help prevent homelessness.

Please visit www.opendoormission.org and click on the volunteer button to sign up for your orientation and tour today. 

Judy Collins

10 June 2013

"All We Need is Love"


Hi, my name is John E Lindsey, and I provide mental health services and do case management in the shelter and with men when they join one of our life changing programs.

A song “All We Need is Love, came to my mind as I write this Blog.  There are many men who have a need for love – God’s Love.  So why are some of my love interventions fruitless?  What I am learning is that I am too willing to attribute “good” intentions to my “loving actions” and too quick to attribute “bad” intentions to other’s responses.  Have you ever considered this to be a blind spot, my placing my “good” intentions above other’s “negative” actions? 

In Romans 12:3, sandwiched between two of Paul’s exhortation, first to be a “living sacrifice,” and his instructions on the exercise of our spiritual gifts;  Paul challenges us, out of grace, that we STOP or INTERRUPT our tendency to think “more highly of ourselves than of others.”  I am convicted, that this tendency to attribute good intentions to my actions and attitudes, while attributing evil intentions to others, ultimately results in “thinking more highly of myself than of others.” 

Only then will my next response to them be out of LOVE – truly seeking the other person’s highest good. Then I will be more judicious when to express gently caring for them, and when to be firm and disciplining.  Also, I will be less likely to “take offense” at how they come across to me!

 
John Lindsey
Garland Thompson Men's Center

09 June 2013

I Need to Restart My Life


 “I need to restart my life.” Is a common saying I hear from the ones that move into the Crisis Center.  Restarting your life is a big deal. Changing habits and way of life are one of the hardest things to do. Many of us run to things that we are used to and/or comfortable with, such as, relationships, previous behaviors, habits, addictions, the list goes on.

It is written in Romans 12: 2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I see many of our men, women, and children transforming their lives. Throughout Open Door Mission programs, as well as transforming their lives by choice. In order to transform a life or anything in that matter takes time, patience, hope, and commitment.

God gives us time, he is patience with us when we do wrong, he has overpowering hope and he is the father that is committed to us and only us.  You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning and you do not want to get up because the bed is nice and warm, but you know if you don’t get up you are going to be late for work. Well life is the same way if you get too comfortable, you might miss out on the miracles in life.

Such as : The Rocky Mountain National Park (or I like to say, the “Stairways of Heaven”)

07 June 2013

Open Door Mission - Beat The Heat

I know that it might not feel like it today but I know that hot weather is coming. . I know for me, when it is hot out, there is nothing like a cold bottle of water. In the summer months Open Door Mission sees first-hand the effects of hungry and homeless men, women and children when they don’t get enough to drink. That is why Open Door Mission needs your help!
You can organize a “Beat The Heat” Drive to collect bottle water, sunscreen and fans. These 3 things can make a world of difference to someone in need. Recently we had a few days that were extremely hot and I was able to go out with Open Door Mission’s Streets of Omaha team. I was able to see men, women and children that wanted nothing more than a cold bottle of water
.
The following is a short video that I hope you will take time to watch and see for yourself on how you can help “Beat the Heat” this summer!




James Cummings
Public Relations Director

06 June 2013

Praises


God’s hand is at work. It is easy to take a look at our world or situations and forget that God is working. We look at our culture, and become disgusted. We look at our country, and are disappointed. We look at the world, and are scared. We look at our youth, and feel hopeless. Well in each of those area’s you can see God at work. He is moving, He is shaping and He is transforming.

The Open Door Mission was blessed recently with having a group come from Ainsworth Nebraska and volunteer their time working with us. They have done wonderful work in the past and I was excited to see them back. The youth were willing and hardworking and did everything (and more) asked of them. They broke cement up by hand, they dug trenches, pulled weeds, and even now hold the record for most pantries made in an hour 500+. Their servant’s heart and diligent work is a testimony to the Spirit at work in their hearts. It was a great encouragement to me to see them changing their world with their time and effort. The Open Door Mission has many volunteer groups that are stellar like this, but it is still powerful each time one comes down to work. We love when God leads people to us to remind us of His hand at work with hands at work.
 
Taylor Clinch
Permanent Supportive Housing Director
Open Door Mission

05 June 2013

Good News

I wanted to take this opportunity to share some good news with you.  The news is this:  that God is in the business of renewing and transforming lives and He has revolutionized mine!!  He is true to His word when he tells us in Romans 12:2
"
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
 "
I can testify to this truth.  Since coming back to the Open Door Mission last July, my life has been rewritten, reordered and God's will for me, restored.  I chose to stop conforming to the world and my own ways and turned to God for my renewal.  I put myself in the New Life Recovery program.  I gave the Lord everything, including my thought life; this was an amazing sacrifice through which, God did amazing things.
The Lord has raised me up into the newness of life and blessed me with a peace, a joy and a new ministry for His glory!  During the recovery program, I was asked to step up to a leadership role by being a Resident Advisor to the other men.  Upon finishing the program, I was approached and offered a two year scholarship in the TUMI program.  I prayerfully considered and then, accepted the offer.  So now, I have a solid two-year "after care" program in place which provides me with the continuing education for my ministry and a source and place of continuous accountability, stability and structure. 
I've always been good at finishing recovery programs, I've never been good at maintaining a walk with God and my own recovery.  He's lovingly continued to move me along a path toward Him and provided everything that I need and more!  Part of the TUMI program included a six month internship working with the mission.  I was hired full time four months into it!  Now God's provided a ministry, that also happens to be a full time job, serving people just like I used to be!  In serving Him and the broken and lost that come to the Open Door, I also am keeping myself safe, secure and on the path that leads to fulfillment of God's will for my life!
So, I no longer conform to the world or to my own desires, but am now fully submitted to God's will and I couldn't be happier.  I know that I am in the right place and I give all the credit to the Holy Three in One!

Grant Crawford
Evening / Night Supervisor

04 June 2013

Being THE fruit


Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

When working with people and dealing with different personalities, sometimes, it may cross our minds to lose some self-control; in moments like these is when we have to be reminded why we are doing what we are doing.

I am going to keep it real; working with people is a hassle, stressful, and overwhelming. It can sometimes be a huge caseload if we don’t know how to work around them. Working at the Timberlake Outreach Center has taught me so many valuable things and have had lessons learned. When I walk through the Timberlake Outreach Center doors, there is not a single time where it is not busy.  People are waiting to be checked while others are sitting patiently listening to a preaching until the clock strikes 10 ‘o clock. Once we open up the floor it becomes chaotic. At times we have three people talking to us at the same time, two families wanting to get checked in at the same, and someone wanting furniture. If one were to be in a situation like this, what would they feel like doing? They would probably want to pull their hair out! Why? Because it is the easiest thing to do; to lose self-control, to not be patient or kind or even joyful.  When I find myself in times like these I always pause and reflect on Galatians 5:22.

One of the greatest leaders that ever lived taught us these qualities. Jesus taught us to be show love to everyone, to be patient in everything we do, to always be joyful, to be kind to one another, to be faithful in our everyday lives, and to have self-discipline/self-control.  I love working with people. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for it; but one thing that I have learned throughout my time at the Timberlake Outreach Center is to live the fruit of the spirit. I don’t know what the people we serve go through and if I can make a difference by just smiling at them or simply saying, “Hello! How are you today?” and impact their lives, just like Jesus did, then it is worth the time being invested.  I want to challenge you to start living the fruit of the spirit. Whether it be taking one fruit daily into practice or focusing on just one, we can be that reason and hope for them to continue and to teach them what is right and to be that leader of excellence and example of awesomeness in them; just like Jesus did for us.

Genesis Guzman

Case manager

Timberlake Outreach Center

03 June 2013

To Proclaim Christ


We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.’  ~Colossians 1:28-29 (NASB)

It is important in ministry that we understand why we do what we do. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day activities and lose perspective. This scripture is one that I return to often to remind me of not only the why but the how.

The most significant thing we do at the Open Door Mission is to proclaim Christ. Without that we are merely meeting the immediate physical needs and essentially putting a Band-Aid on a cancer. He is, after all, the one who restores lives, turns hearts of stone to hearts of flesh and causes the ‘blind’ see.

Secondly, we admonish and teach in order to present everyone the opportunity to be complete in Christ. Many of us have been surviving in this life according to the world’s perspective and priorities. To change this it requires renewing our minds, taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.

It is essential that while we are engaged in this labor of love that we remember that our source of power is Christ. If for a moment we try and rely on our own strength and wisdom, we will begin to falter and get off track. 

I am honored that the Lord has seen fit to allow me the opportunity to be just a small part of the journey of faith these he has entrusted to Open Door Mission.

Cheryl Dixon, Lydia House Director

01 June 2013

I Believe in Miracles


I believe in miracles.  They occur every day here at Open Door Mission.  From the youngest to the oldest the stories are many.  No matter where you go at ODM there is always a miracle. What an honor I have to witness them myself.

About a year ago I was introduced to a man named Gary.   My first encounter with Gary was at a Bible study outside of the Mission.  Something struck me about Gary, but I wasn’t sure what it was.  For the last year God continued to keep Gary on my heart.

During his time in the program Gary had a presence about him that was so convincing.  God’s work in progress was obvious to me.  Where I once saw loss, I saw hope.  In the few times I saw him he always said hi and had a smile on his face.  All it took to see Jesus was to stare into his eyes and catch a glimpse of his inner joy.

I had a chance to see Gary graduate the program a few months ago.  Gary’s smile was bigger than ever.  His testimony glistened with passion and sincerity.  He “got it”.  He doesn’t just know about Jesus, He knows Jesus.

I don’t know Gary’s full testimony outside of the graduation speech.  Yet, that is not really important.  Where he was is not important as to where he is going.  This is true of all of us, not just the mission graduates. Continue to support the ministry of Open Door Mission.  Know that with each penny spent many lives are impacted.  The rewards are eternal and the blessings are overflowing.  I continue to lift of Gary in my thoughts and prayers.  He is my reminder to keep my first love in its proper place.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Christopher John Yelinko, Development Associate