31 July 2013

Doors



Amber...our receptionist extraordinaire

Psalm 112:7

They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

There is a popular saying “When one door closes, God will open another.” I truly believe this!

A door was recently closed in my life, but God opened another one for me here at Open Door Mission. It has been a new beginning for me and a roller coaster of changes. Jesus does have a plan for us, but for me it was not the one I had envisioned.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I forget that God is in control…. not me. Once I gave up the tug-of-war with God everything fell into place. I may not understand His plans for me, but I am confident that He opened this door for me with purpose.

Philippians 4:7


And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


 

In the short time I have been at the Open Door Mission, I have met some incredible people! The passion they have for the work they are doing, in His name, is contagious! I am so blessed to be here and look forward to working with each and every one of you!

Amber Briggs

Admin. Bldg. Receptionist

30 July 2013

Volunteering...Faithfully

We are volunteers at the Open Door Mission.  Prior to our retirement from full time employment we discussed where we wanted to invest some time and energy.  Open Door Mission has been a part of our lives for 30 plus years.  They have proven to be faithful to God, all they do is done with integrity, and we support their mission and values.  They reach out to those in need in our community, so we can see the fruit of their labor.  We have been given many blessings; this gives us the opportunity to be a blessing to those in our community. It is an expression of our gratitude and the testimonies affirm that our monies are used wisely.
 
We invite you to join us at Friends of the Friendless (FOF) monthly meeting and luncheon. This special time provides fellowship with like-minded Christians; plus we hear the stories from those that have been impacted by their stay at the mission; and did we mention the food is great?

Our favorite service project is working in the business office where we began in February, 2012.
We were well established when we joined the FOF in July, 2012.  We like this area as the staff have been very gracious, appreciative and anticipate our coming.  There is a variety of projects we help with. We have never run out of things to do and there are always envelopes to prepare for mailings.  You’ve heard the phrase ‘timing is everything’?  We think they time their projects to coordinate with our volunteer time twice a month on Tuesday afternoons.  We keep coming back because we are now mutually dependent on each other!!  The office staff has become extended family to us and we love all of them.

 
Danny and Esther Miller

29 July 2013

From Cucumber Salad to Full-time Ministry

I am sure some people are WAAAAAAAY tired of hearing of how I came to minister at the Lydia House (I am SOOOOO excited!). I am guessing that YOU haven’t heard how God spoke over cucumber salad.

No? Get ready!

My journey to the Open Door Mission has been a winding one, full of some significant valleys. Since 2008, our family became a foster family, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I found out about the molestation of one of my children, and our foster home was unjustly closed in 2011. Most recently, as of the fall of 2012, I have become a single parent. I went from a typical suburban life, to facing near homelessness in a very real way.


Move for God 5K ladies photo by Leslie Knox
Through it all, I can say that God has been faithful and has carried me through many dark days, and many of my questions. I found it very curious that during these most heart-wrenching days, God stretched me farther than I ever thought I could stretch. Though I have never cared well for my physical body, in the fall of 2012, I became involved in a Bible study that included training for a 5K race at the end of the 12-week session. In the spring of 2013, I became a member of the leadership team that organized a “Move for God” 5K. This time we were able to designate our race as a fundraiser, and we felt that God led us to support Open Door Mission. During the study, a woman named Candace Gregory attended, and one day I shared with her a little snapshot of my story.

The week before our race day in June 2013, I traveled Omaha as a youth sponsor for our church’s Urban Mission Trip. During that weekend, we served at the Timberlake Outreach Center and in the kitchen at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. I will never forget hearing Chef Ramon’s story of how he came to the Mission, and just being impressed with his testimony. It was minutes after that, while mixing a huge batch of cucumber salad that I really felt God impress on me that the Open Door Mission was “home”.

I returned from that mission trip, and contacted my new friend Candace and told her that I didn’t know why I was messaging her, but that I needed to see if there were any ministry openings. I applied and the rest, they say, is history. I now have the awesome privilege to serve ladies and families in need at the Lydia House as a Family Support Worker.

Leaving stay-at-home motherhood and being forced to enter full-time work has been a tough thing to face. God has been so gracious even in this challenge, as I find it no greater honor than to serve Him in ministry through the Open Door Mission. My passion lies in my desire to share the hope that I have received in Christ, in spite of my recent trials and circumstances.

-- 

Kathy Swartzfeger
Overnight Support Worker
Office:  402-422-1111 ext 7029
Fax:  402-505-3916
E-mail: kswartzfeger@opendoormission.org
www.opendoormission.org
 

28 July 2013

God Sees the lost

God sees the lost and broken and often comes and meets them right where they are.  The story of Genesis 16 of Hagar and Sarai remind me of this.  Hagar was treated very badly by her mistress and ran away.  The angel of the Lord met Hagar where she was and told her to return to her mistress and submit to her authority.  He then promised that he would give her many blessings (more descendants than she could count).  The angel told her to name her future son Ishmael which means ‘God hears,’ for the Lord heard her cry of distress.  When Hagar returned, she gave the Lord another name….’the God who sees me.’ God delivered Hagar out of being lost and broken and gave her a multitude of blessings…And most importantly God saw Hagar, when she thought no one would notice her.

 

What a blessing it is to work with God’s people every day here at Open Door Mission.  We have the opportunity to meet the guests where they are and really “see” them in their lost and brokenness.  We get to come beside them and tell them how we love them and even more, tell them how God loves them even at this very moment in the midst of their pain and brokenness. God meets them where they are to tell them to come home to Him and live His way….It is so encouraging to hear the guests thirst for more of Jesus and ask questions about what God’s way looks like and pray together with them.   God sees the hurting and brings deliverance again and again!  How thankful I am to say that I serve at Open Door Mission….
 
Trudy Woodward
Lydia House

...

27 July 2013

The Power of Prayer


When the Timberlake Outreach Center’s lovely receptionist has a day off during the week I like to jump in when I don’t have guest to meet with and cover the front desk.  Doing that puts me to come in a little later than my schedule time. When I came in today I had a guest waiting for me. I thought they just needed to reschedule and appointment, sadly, that wasn’t the case. When I approached them to greet them they were frustrated, upset, stressed, and emotional.  They started telling me everything that was making them feel like this. As they were explaining to me their situation a lot of thoughts were going through my mind.  As they continued to explain, questions like, “What do I say?” “How can I comfort them?” What advice can I provide?” popped in my mind.  As I was paying close attention to their situation, it then hit me, I can pray for them.
 In Psalms 107 talks about how much power is in a prayer. The men in the sea were in trouble due to the weather. They cried out to God and he calmed the storms and brought them peace. As my guest was venting their frustrations I thought about this verse.

Once they finished, I said, “Let me pray for you.” As I started my prayer we both felt the presence of God. I touched points that they didn’t inform me of and it became a nice beautiful moment. Once I finished, the guest said to me, “Thank you so much. I felt the presence of God and my heart is now at peace. I felt God’s arms around me like if he was giving me hug for comfort, thank you so much.”
Sometimes we may find ourselves in situations where we may not know what to do. Sadly, at times praying about it becomes a last option. Being honest I am guilty of it. When everything is going good, at times, I just give thanks to God but do not pray. When crisis strikes? Oh boy, do I pray like there is no tomorrow. If this short story/testimony/parable can teach you something let it be this: never underestimate the power of prayer. If you think God is good when your prayer is answered during your crisis, imagine how God will be when you are praying in good times as well; it is amazing what God can do through it and you sure do not want to miss out on it J
 
Gennesis Guzman
2911 Program
Timberlake Outreach Center

 

26 July 2013

What is a Missionary?

In the first week of orientation after I started working here at the mission I was told that it was my job to become a missionary to the homeless. I thought that this was very interesting because at the time I was preparing to become a missionary to Africa. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that missions is something that only takes place overseas, but the truth is that it takes place everywhere – including your hometown. It seems that God has used the Open Door Mission to help teach me what being a missionary is all about.
 
I’ve learned here that being a missionary is about seeing lives transformed by God. I love working here at the mission because they understand that this life transformation is a process that only begins when people are shown the love of God. Unfortunately, loving others can be a hard thing sometimes… One of my coworkers today said something today which perfectly described it: When seeing someone who is broken and lost, wading through the muck of life, love doesn’t just yell down directions on how to get out. Love gets down into the thick of it and walks alongside of them, helping them do what needs to be done to get free.
 
Transformation can be a very slow process at times. Thanks be to God that he is willing to get down into the mess of our lives and walk alongside of us while we stumble around, searching for freedom from the mire!

Jeremy Settle
Garland Thompson Men's Center

24 July 2013

20/80...Are You Part of the Statistics?


I recently heard a statistic that you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Usually I am a little leery of statistics because they are so frequently used and more than likely skewed to advertise and sell a product.  Does Lysol really kill 99.9% of germs? Could using Rogaine twice daily increase my hair count by 13%? Do the new Glad garbage bags really use 6.5% less plastic than the previous bags? I’m not really sure about all of that, but I would say that the 20/80 statistic about our clothes is pretty accurate for a lot of us. Think about all the clothes you have in your closet, dresser, armoire, or wherever else you may store your clothes. Now, how many of these have you worn at least once in the past month? There are probably quite a few you haven’t worn for months or maybe even years - maybe there are even clothes you forgot you had.

Every month at the Open Door Mission’s Timberlake Outreach Center thousands of clothing items are given out to the homeless and near homeless. All these clothes are donated by generous donors.  So would you consider donating some of those clothes you thought of that you rarely wear or don’t want anymore? Maybe that pair of shoes you only wore once a few years ago is just what a struggling single mom needs for an upcoming job interview.  Perhaps you have a pair of jeans that just “haven’t quite fit the same since the holidays”, that a man with only a pair of tattered and ripped jeans would be overjoyed to have. You don’t have to donate the “80%” but I’d dare to say many of us could come up with several things we could give away and be ok without. Thank you in advanced for your generosity and for partnering with Open Door Mission to empower the homeless and near-homeless to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty!

 

Ryan McDowell
Development Associate

22 July 2013

Community Focused=A Community Served


They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. -Acts 2:42-47

The church in Acts was community-focused – something we as a society have almost forgotten. Our day-to-day interactions often revolve around our own needs or those of our families. While those are not bad pursuits, we can miss out on the benefits of community living as experienced by the early church.

Something awesome about the Mission is its sense of community; we have five separate residential facilities with over 450 residents, an outreach center that serves the Omaha-metro area, and a wonderful team of volunteers and staff, all under the Open Door Mission umbrella. Like the church in Acts, we value community and are committed to growing the body of believers. Whether through morning prayer meetings at the Lydia House, or community lunches at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center, we come together daily and intentionally.
PSH Apartments-serving low income families with affordable safe housing

Even better, we always welcome new members to our community and would love for you to be a part of it! Visit our website for any of our volunteer opportunities or current drives. We thank you always for all your support and prayers. God bless!

Amanda Vanderpool
Housing Department-Lydia House

21 July 2013

God is Always Pursuing the Best for Us.

I started at Open Door Mission around Labor Day last year. I can tell you, it’s been a very interesting ride. God has His way of stretching and growing us in ways we never would have expected. After graduating college and completing an internship, I reluctantly moved home with my parents less than excited to start the job search. Not trusting what God had planned, the day after I moved home, I interviewed and was offered the position here. I never expected the job search to be so short or so painless.
            
Family volunteer together at Timberlake Outreach Center.
    Since, I have learned how humbling it can be to work with volunteers. There are many days when I am discouraged as I see the work that needs to be done and the few on those days that a group offers to pray for me, Janet (a dedicated volunteer from Tanzania) gives me a big hug when she walks in, or a volunteer asks, “What’s the most disgusting job you need done? I want to do it.” God is always pursuing us. Even on the harder of days, He gives me reason to rejoice and be grateful. I am so thankful to be part of something bigger than myself and to know that God is at work here.
 
Erica Julsen
Volunteer Coordinator
Creighton Prep students making sack lunches

20 July 2013

A Testimony of Prayer


Many of you have heard me say that I love my job; I have given many reasons why I love what I do here at the Open Door Mission.  But one of the things I love the most is the opportunity to share my faith and pray with people, to help them see there is help for their present situation and hope for their future.   Many times we don’t know how, but God does and so we take our problems to Him through prayer.   Mark 10:27 say’s: For with God all things are possible.”  

What follows is a testimony of a single mother who came to the Timberlake to receive food and clothes and left with so much more.  When she shared her story with me praising the Lord for what He had done for her I asked her if she would be willing to share her story through our blog.  She said she would. She calls her story a testimony of prayer.

It was my sixth visit to the Open Door Mission Timberlake Outreach Center and I walked up to the counter to sign in for a food pantry and to shop Kings Kloset.  As I sat and waited for them to open with prayer, something tugged at me and said you need a different kind of help today and I knew I needed to talk to someone and ask for prayer.   I wasn’t really there this time for the pantry or clothing.  I had a situation that I could not conquer on my own, I had prayed about it but I knew that wasn’t enough.  I needed others to pray as well.

 As I sat in my seat with my eyes closed I heard someone come out and give directions on shopping on the King Kloset floor, receiving a food pantry and diapers then she prayed and dismissed people to go shopping.   After she was done, I walked up to her, introduced myself, told her my problem and asked her to pray for me.    Not only did she pray for me, but she offered me a chance to tell God thank you for what he had already done in my life, and what he was about to do.  She invited me to join a group of people who had come to the Timberlake Outreach Center to have a quiet time of prayer and praise that day and it was called “Ministering 2 Jesus.”    She talked to me for a little bit and then led me to a little prayer room in the back of the sorting area where I could close my eyes and be in silent prayer.  The room was the size of a closet, but the power in there was enormous.  I left the room feeling very light and burden free.  I didn’t know how God was going to fix my problem in such a short notice, but when I left I knew He would make a way.  And He did!


Providing food, clothes and household items and MORE for those in need.
Within a short period of time God had provided the help and resources I needed and fixed my problem.  Through prayer, work and concern of the Open Door Mission my burden was lifted.  Thank you so much for directing me to God.  J

So now you know why I love my job.    Sharing faith stories, offering prayer, and gathering hope, when sometime it seems everything is hopeless, but with God we know all things are possible and nothing is hopeless.

Thank you for partnering with us to help prevent homelessness.  Your help is making a difference in our community and for all eternity.

Judy

18 July 2013

Wildlife Storyteller


At the Open Door Mission Lydia House two-thirds of our children are under 10 years old.  For these young children, bedtime can be a nightly struggle.  Even more difficult is when a family has just moved in.  Usually they have come from a situation of great stress and possible trauma and are trying to get settled as much as possible.

 

This is where Wanda Meador and Friends of the Friendless come in.  Upon moving in each child receives a Wildlife Storyteller (a stuffed elephant, lion, tiger, or teddy bear that tells Bible stories and sings bedtime lullabies).  The children love it!  Suddenly they have something to snuggle up to at nighttime that is their very own.  And this special gift is more than just a stuffed animal; it sings them to sleep and tells them Bible stories.  Countless times in Bible Club I have begun telling a Bible story only to be interrupted by a child who finishes it for me.  When I ask "How did you know that?" they respond "My elephant told me."  This great blessing would not be possible without the generosity and love of Wanda and Friends of the Friendless.  Thank you so much!

 

Rachel Fisher

Lydia House Children & Youth Director

17 July 2013

Stewardship of God's Gifts

 My name is Sue King and I work in the Development Department in the Administration building. My main job duties are to open the mail daily, enter donations into our data system, and go through the volunteer  sign in sheets and enter that information.

   This past Sunday I heard an interesting sermon on stewardship and I immediately thought of our faithful volunteers and donors. I had not really thought about this but I learned that EVERYTHING we have belongs to God. That includes our house, our car, our personal items, our money and our time. We are to manage all of these things for His glory. When I let all that soak in, I really started appreciating the volunteers who faithfully show up every month, week, and even daily. I am impressed even more with the donors who consistently send donations every month-winter or summer.

   As Christians, we can all become good stewards of the things God has entrusted us with. Let me ask you, as a good steward in God's Kingdom, what are you doing with His time, His personal items, and His money?

-- 

Sue King
Development Associate
Office:  402-422-1111 ext 7004
Fax:  402-422-0737
E-mail: sking@opendoormission.org
www.opendoormission.org
 

16 July 2013

Your Donations Mean Hope to Those in Need.


The most amazing thing I have witnessed while working at the Lydia House is seeing the amount of donations the wonderful people in this community donate to us on a daily basis.  So many of the individuals we serve come here with either just the clothes on their back, or just a few items to get them by. Upon our first meeting I always check with my guest to see what items they need and 9 times out of 10 Open Door Mission can help them get everything they need, all due to the wonderful people who donate to our facility.


Volunteer Lori Beth putting out Hearts of Hope Baby Shower gifts
Not only do the donations go towards the adults residing in our facility, but also to any children residing here.  It is so heartwarming to be able to provide a mother and her new born baby with clothing, diapers, wipes, bottles, blankets and much more. But none of this would even be possible without God working in the hearts of the people in our community.  Many of the individuals who donate items to our facility don’t get the opportunity to meet the individuals residing here or to see the smile on their face when they are able to get new clothing, shoes or hygiene products.  I would like to speak for them and for myself and say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your donations, because without you we couldn’t do what we do on a daily basis.

 

Holly Hood

Lydia House


14 July 2013

Woulda Coulda Shouda

“Woulda coulda, shouda” is probably a feeling we all have had from time to time. It has been muttered countless times at Garland Thompson Men’s Center and Rebuilding Lives Center. Positive opportunities lost or ignored are one of the themes of people suffering in addiction as well as in poverty. We begin to change this by blessing men with a clean and safe environment, good food, and people who are professionally and personally interested in and actively care for them. When they choose to be in a program and work to change their lives they are further blessed with a sleeping room, life changing classes, and developing friendships.
Some of these friendships go to the next level and become a brotherhood. This brotherhood is held together by the saving blood of Jesus, shared life experiences, and mutual investment. They understand the agony of defeat oh so well. Many have tasted sweet success, but need to develop a history dominated by success and not failure. We help them accomplish that and they also do that for each other.
A gentleman suffered from verbalizing his thoughts out loud instead of just thinking them. He is a nice guy, but when you people hear most all of your thoughts they tend to give you space. He had been in the program for a while and people were still giving him space. He did not seem to mind. He seemed to be used to people staying away–one day it changed.
He was in a crowded classroom—there was no space to be given. I was teaching a he started to verbalize after he answered a question. I noticed the gentleman next to him nonchalantly touch his arm and he stopped verbalizing. After class, I stopped to think about the kind exchange and remembered other times a gentle touch was given and the man became self-aware and stopped. There is not as much space now between him and others. He is not a group person—probably because of life experiences, but he is with others and they all seem to know that a gentle touch will work a miracle.
Spring Graduation class with Steve Frazee, Pat McKernan and Scott Morris
I wonder how many people reading this will have their own “woulda, shoulda, coulda” moment. Our men have figured out what a brother needed and are glad to offer it. They offer a living example of the truth Paul wrote in Romans 15:1-3 “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’” Set yourself free from “woulda, coulda, shoulda” by being aware of the people God has placed in your life and start by doing small things. Help us change the world one life at a time in Jesus’ name. Even the littlest thing you do will make a difference. 

-- 
Steven Frazee
Senior Program Director

13 July 2013

Loving What I Do...

   The Open Door Mission hosts a birthday party every month. Everyone comes to celebrate all the birthdays that past in the month. I am lucky enough to host that birthday party every month. We have an awesome group of volunteers who show up, decorate the room, and serve cake and ice-cream to everyone. We sing happy birthday to each individual person, give them a gift, and let them blow out their very own candle.
This is just one of the many ways we shows God's love to our guests, and make them feel special and I just love being able to be a part of it. Whether I am running around campus searching for cake and ice cream, shoving as many tables as I can into an elevator or trying not to fall with a back full of children It is always a blast! 

Miguel Robinson
Volunteer Department

12 July 2013

God Spoke...

 I didn’t always want to be in mission work. I can pinpoint the exact moment when God spoke to my heart. I was watching the sunset from the roof of an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When I left for my 2 week trip to Haiti in May of 2011, I had a wonderful paying job, a brand new car, a beautiful apartment and goals that included complete financial security and working my way to the top of a career in human services. When my church announced a trip to Haiti I heard the holy spirit say, “you’re going.” I was excited! The morning of the trip one of my mentor’s came to me. He placed his hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eye. He said, “God told me you are going to come back different. He told me that this trip is going to change the course of your life. SO….Good luck” and he walked away.  As I boarded the plane, Adam’s words hit me like a rock and I began to pray. I prayed for most of the plane ride to Florida that God would open my eyes and soften my heart to what He wanted to show me on this trip. By the time we boarded the plane bound for Haiti I was at peace.

                We were warned before we got to Haiti about what we would face when we got there but there was no way to prepare for the sights, smells, and feelings that overtook me upon leaving the airport in Port-au-Prince. 1 year after the country was shaken by a horrible earthquake the roads were lined with rubble. People lived in collapsed houses and tents made from tarps. They were still unburying human remains from some areas of the city. When the truck pulled into the gates of the orphanage, hundreds of children ran to greet us. Throughout the two weeks, I learned so much about the faith of a Child and the heart of a missionary. To hear the children sing the hymns I grew up with in their own language brought tears to my eyes. To have such simple tasks be met with so much gratitude from the Haitian people took my breath away.  Nearly every night I’d go up on the roof and watch the sunset.  One night as I watched the sunset I was met with a cool breeze (which is incredibly rare in Haiti) I closed my eyes to enjoy it and heard the most beautiful sound that ever existed! The voice of my savior saying, “I have created your heart for missionary work. Living within my will brings your heart great contentment and peace. GO” As I opened my eyes, that sunset was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. So I took a picture to capture the moment that Missionary work captured my heart.  


Jessie Phillips
Lydia House Family Support Worker





 


11 July 2013

Making a Difference on the Streets and in Homes

One of my favorite services we have at Open Door Mission is our Streets of Omaha program!  A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking one of our partners out with me.  Streets of Omaha is when we make 1500 sack lunches in the morning and then head out to the streets of Omaha to deliver food to the homeless and poverty stricken in our community.  For many, this is their only meal for the day so they may ask for an extra sack lunch for dinner later...


Sack lunches make a difference in the lives of  these children.
During our ride out, we talked to faithful volunteers that serve on this program weekly! Mike told me the first time he went out on our Streets of Omaha and saw the conditions of homes we delivered to, he cried.  It was a humbling experience for him and he was grateful for not just the experience but for his blessings he's taken for granted, like eating whenever he was hungry!  

Pictured left is from an apartment home we deliver to that greeted us with hugs and cheer when we arrived.  I don't think my own kids have ever been so excited when i called them to the dinner table! Fortunately these kids know we will be arriving every week with their lunches!  If you have not had a tour of the Open Door Mission, please call us for one!  There are many other volunteer opportunities on our campus too! If you are ready to make a difference in someone's life, please contact us www.opendoormission.org 
 
Mimi Hannor
Development Department

10 July 2013

God's Amazing Plan


My Open Door Mission journey started in March 2009 when I arrived at the old Garland Thompson Men's Center homeless and hopeless, suffering from the effects of a long-term drug addiction.  While I was in that addiction, God said, "You’re going to help other women just like yourself".

Here's my story: I grew up in single parent home where drug experimentation was accepted and encouraged.  My mother was very young and the 60's and 70's, well you know, it was kind of a free for all.  By the grace of God I survived!! 

Since 2009 I graduated the New Life Program at Open Door Mission, enrolled and graduated from Metro Community College, and I am currently enrolled at Grace University.  I am now an undergraduate in the Psychology program and praying that I will begin the Master's program in January.  Whoo, God is good.  Oh yeah, I also work at the Lydia House, helping other women just like myself.

 

Carla Habrich

Lydia House

08 July 2013

God Has Given You Talents


Remember the parable of the five talents?  Matthew 25:14-30

 Some translations use the term “gold” rather than talents. 

 Why does God care what we do with our talents?  And why is He upset when we bury them deep inside and keep them for ourselves?

 I used to ask myself these questions before coming to the Open Door Mission.  I started volunteering at the Mission nearly 10 years ago through my church.  I’ve had the honor of being on staff full-time for the past three.

During that time, I have seen this very Word come to pass.  Our volunteers give of their “talents,” many who are working full-time themselves.  They each carve out time in their schedules to dedicate to the less fortunate in our community.  Our financial supporters give of their “talents” and “gold” when they take funds they worked hard for and sow it into the lives of a needy neighbor.

 God never ceases to amaze me!  Time and time again, we see the Lord pour out a blessing on our volunteers and donors!  It’s as if we get to see this Scripture lived out in person 24/7/365.   

 Won’t you consider donating your “talents,” whatever they may be?  Whether you give of your time, treasure or “talents” each was a gift from God, intended to be sown into His Kingdom. 

 Visit www.opendoormission.org today to start sowing your “talents.”  You won’t regret it and His Word promises a blessing in return.  

 “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will

make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your Lord.’” Matthew 25:20

 
Thank you in advance.

 Victoria Leuthold

Executive Assistant

 

07 July 2013

All is Possible...Even a GED!


I have been working in the Learning Center for about two months now and have loved every minute of it! Education is an empowering force. Daily I can see God working through the learning center to empower His people. Here is just one beautiful example:

One day, while meeting with a woman in the learning center it came up in our discussion that she did not have her GED. She said that she did not need it since she is “past her prime”. However, she is still planning on finding employment again. After discussing the need to have a GED in order to get even the most basic job, and the importance of just accomplishing an important goal she decided that she would work on getting her GED.  We continued to talk but at some point her decision settled in and she interrupted me and with great excitement declared “I am going to get my GED”! She had long ago decided that she was not capable. I fear that for this woman and for many of us this message of “I am not capable plays out in too many situations in our lives. I pray that that each of us can find these places and realize that …”with God all things are possible” Mathew 19:26.
 
Vicki Gregorio
Learning Center
Lydia House

06 July 2013

THE TRUTH WILL SET THEM FREE


Each week I have the privilege of facilitating one of Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program classes.   As I enter the classroom on Wednesday mornings something powerful happens to my heart.   My mind turns off everything else that is on my “to do” list, and I immediately find myself enjoying my time with the beautiful women who are attending the class.  Every woman has a unique story as to what has brought  them the Open Door Mission.  Some come to class eager to absorb spiritual truth that they know will help them along their journey.  As classroom discussion takes place it is easy to identify those who are grasping the truth.  Some grasp it and choose to change.  Some grasp it but choose to not embrace it.  Some do not grasp it, but really want to grasp it.  Some do not want to grasp it, and can hardly wait for class time to come to an end.

The greatest joy I have as a facilitator is seeing these women grasp the truth.  I can see it in their faces, and through the words they speak.  I begin to see life transformation take place right before my very eyes.   Some come in with hardened hearts, and arms crossed on their chests.   But, after a few weeks I see the arms come down, the face brighten, participation in discussion, questions being asked, notes being taken, quoting of scriptures as a means to edify others, and a cooperation that comes with an eagerness to grasp more of the Truth that is setting them free. 

This is what spiritual transformation is all about.  God’s forgiveness and grace softens hardened hearts, and empowers the forgiven to live in right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the very reason why I consider it a privilege to be a New Life Recovery class facilitator.  I am so thankful God has allowed me the opportunity to witness His transforming work in the lives of many who have entered the doors of Open Door Mission.   Not all choose to follow His ways, but the seeds of truth are being planted.  May I always be faithful to the work my Lord has set before me to do.
 
Celeste Norman
 

05 July 2013

Hope & Perseverance.

 
Hope & Perseverance. These two words ring true for a current guest here at the Lydia House.  For the last two years she has been trying to do everything the court has wanted her to do to gain permanent custody of her now five year old son.  About six months ago the events took a turn for the worst when the system decided she should give up her parental rights to her precious son.  With no one to speak on her behalf and advocate for the all the progress she really had made, this guest felt defeated. 
 If it wasn't for the community of Christian women living here in our shelter I really think she may have given up.  Given up and spent the rest of her life angry and hopeless. This particular group of Lydia House residents encouraged her and prayed for her.  This guest had no choice but to try it "their" way, since for so long her way was no longer working.  She began going to our chapel and praying during our meetings. 
Two days ago she came to me and shared her news...the courts have since dropped the termination of parental rights and are officially trying for reunification.  Today we moved her into a family room so her son can now start having overnight visits.  Now she can tell other women to never give up and to trust God and His plan!!! Praise God!!
Tammi Gumm
Lydia House

03 July 2013

"I know the plans I have for you..."

In the summer of 2010, I came to the Open Door Mission with a group of 10 young adults from my church for a week long missions trip. Little did I know, this trip was the start of a dream I never knew I had. While serving here at the Mission at week, I felt that God was showing me where I would be working "someday". I knew that this was a "grown-up job" and that I would never be qualified until I at least finished with school.
Well, I should have known that God would have another plan. In December of that year, with a full year of school left, I got the opportunity to become an intern here at the Lydia House. Throughout my internship I fell in love with working here and with the people that God brings here, our guests. After my internship, I planned on coming back when I finished school and prayed there would be a job opening. Again, God had another plan! I was hired 2 weeks after my internship ended and have been blessed through this ministry ever since.
God has continuously shown me His love and everyday I get the wonderful reminder of Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Reminded that no matter how much I plan and plan, God's timing will always prevail. 

Katie Schumacher
Lydia House