I started to think after I got out of recovery that I would be of no use to anyone or I would have to wait years for God to use me. I was so wrong. I work over nights at the Lydia house and I couldn’t tell you how much our guests have impacted me and hopefully how much God has impacted them through me.
One Friday night I got called over to the crisis center to talk to a lady who was having anxious thoughts and
couldn’t sleep. She is pregnant for her first time and wanted to smoke a cigarette. I went to talk to her, to maybe help calm her thoughts so she wouldn’t have to smoke. Her voice was so soft and shallow; I mostly nodded and asked her to say everything twice. She started to say that her husband wasn’t taking his medication properly and was nervous and scared for him. We eventually went outside so she could smoke a cigarette, because I know when you are in a dark place the only things that help are the things that you are used to. When we got to talking outside, it became what I would call a normal down to earth talk, but God was using me and I had no clue because I thought I made her feeling of anxiety worse. We talked about how she is a practicing muslim and how she fell away from God and the religion is too “loose” for her. We talked for a little longer about different things that have happened to her for to fall away from God; I asked if I could pray for her before she went back to bed. She said no because our talk was so deep it felt like a prayer to her. The next day was Saturday and my sister asked me if I wanted to help serve dinner that day in the kitchen at the mission. I thank God from the bottom of my heart I was there. I saw her and she told me I changed her, I said me? She said the talk last night gave her hope and she felt as if her unborn baby was saying to change her ways. I reassured her it was not me and it was God! She said she was going to rededicate her life to Christ today in evening chapel. I said what are you waiting for, what about right now? God gave me the privilege to be with her while she did this. We humbly fell on our knees and asked God to have mercy on us and forgive us.
All the glory to God for He uses people when they don’t think they can be used. Sometimes He uses them and they don’t even know it.
24 September 2013
AS I WAS SPENDING TIME WITH THE LORD ONE DAY, I WAS REFLECTING OVER ALL OF THE FREEDOMS I HAVE IN JESUS CHRIST AND JUST HOW MUCH HE MEANS TO ME AS MY PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR. I WAS ALSO REFLECTING ON HOW MUCH JOY I HAVE IN MY HEART LOVING HIM AND SERVING HIM WITH ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME.
THIS JOY THAT I’M SPEAKING OF CAN ONLY COME FROM JESUS AND NOT FROM ANYTHING THIS WORLD HAS TO OFFER. HE DIED SO WE CAN LIVE! HE DIED SO WE CAN BE FREE! HE DIED SO WE CAN ACCEPT HIS FREE GIFT OF SALVATION, LIVE VICTORIOUSLY OVER THE ENEMY AND HAVE A JOY UNSPEAKABLE THAT THE WORLD WILL SEE AND WANT!!!
I AM NOT A SONGWRITER BY ANY MEANS, BUT ONCE IN A WHILE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL BIRTH A JINGLE FROM WHAT’S IN MY HEART, AND HE GAVE ME THESE WORDS SUNG TO THE TUNE OF "JOY TO THE WORLD,” WHICH IS A TESTIMONY OF HIS SAVING GRACE AND THE EVIDENCE OF A CHANGED LIFE!!! MINE!!!
1) THERE'S JOY IN MY WORLD...SINCE JESUS CAME...TO LIVE...INSIDE...MY HEART
HE DIED ON CALVARY...SO I COULD BE SET FREE...BRINGING GLORY TO HIS NAME...BRINGING GLORY TO HIS NAME...TO BRING GLORY & HONOR TO HIS NAME.
2) HE TOOK AWAY...MY GUILT AND SHAME...AND GAVE ME PEACE INSTEAD...I TRUST IN HIM ALONE...HE'S MY CHIEF CORNERSTONE...IT'S ON HIS WORD I STAND...I DECLARE IT IN THIS LAND...I AM SAFE AND SECURE IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND
3) THE LORD GIVES ME POWER...TO LIVE VICTORIOUSLY...BECAUSE I'M MADE ANEW
TAKING TIME EACH DAY TO PRAY...IN HIS WORD I LEARN TO OBEY...LOVING JESUS IS SO SWEET...THIS WORLD CANNOT COMPETE...HEAVEN BOUND...MY SAVIOR...ONE DAY I'LL MEET!!!!!!!
MAY THIS SONG BE A BLESSING TO YOU AND BRING MUCH JOY TO YOUR HEART!
IN HIS GRIP,
at 10:00 AM
23 September 2013
While I was job shadowing my first week at Open Door Mission I had the privilege to shadow Noelle Pee in the WorkNet Program. On this day the group was graduating from the class. We took a trip to Costco to pick out a cake for the graduation ceremony and were treated to lunch while we were there.
After a genuine conversation with one of the graduates, we found we had a lot in common. By the time the graduation ceremony ended I knew I would never forget this man.
In the months that have passed, I see him from time to time. He always greets me with a “Hello, it’s great to see you!” and I say to him, “It’s great to see you too!” When I served him dinner last night, we had our usual greeting, and then he added.… “It’s good to be seen.”
The impact of his statement left me wondering….
How many people walk through this life and feel invisible to everyone around them? Now add being poverty stricken, hungry & homeless. At the Open Door Mission we face these issues head on and are doing our best to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
Deuteronomy 31:8 "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
No matter how invisible or alone we might feel God is always with us. He longs to have a personal relationship with us. He is patiently waiting for you to accept Him into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior.
As for my friend who made me see things from a different perspective. I see you, I thank God for you & I’m so glad you stayed for the blessing!
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man
be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all
things are become new."
at 1:52 PM
12 September 2013
Every season brings different needs and different reasons to donate and volunteer at the Open Door Mission. Jeremiah 31:25 says: " For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the suffering". That statement is one thing that never changes here.
In the hot summer months we provide safe, cool shelter for those guests who want to come and enter our doors. Donors help provide many fans and cases of water. Volunteers help set up food pantries and go out into the community to provide sack lunches and bottled water.
When Fall comes, there is our back to school bash for the children who reside here. Donors help provide new school outfits and shoes to help bring joy to the sorrowing. Thanksgiving meals are also provided by our donors for a holiday meal to people in our community. Volunteers once again help to distribute these.
Winter and cold weather arrives and new coats and hats are provided for those in need. Christmas gifts are given to families and single men and women. Warm beds and nutritious meals are available for those who are weary and need rest. Once again, donors are providing the coats, the toys, and the food needed for so many. Volunteers come to serve our guests in the kitchen, to wrap toys, to distribute gifts. This truly is a season which can bring joy to the sorrowing.
Finally Spring arrives and for many it brings hope. When the grass turns green, the trees bud, and flowers bloom there seems to be a newness in the air. But for may, they are still tired and weary. They are full of sorrow. The Open Door Mission and it's many donors and volunteers is still here. Warm, meals are still served here, new clothes are provided here, the gospel is shared here.
I like working at a place where so many employees, donors and volunteers truly care for the weary and sorrowing. Come be a part of something awesome.
10 September 2013
As I have begun this journey of ministry at Open Door Mission, people often ask me what my duties include as an overnight Family Support Worker. The answer is quite varied. I love the fact that every shift is different!
I answer phones that ring with people in crisis on the other line. Those calls are the heartbeat of overnight staff. We offer safe, clean beds- and definitely hope. Should women and children come for shelter, I get the pleasure of filling out intake paperwork, and literally tucking precious souls into bed. I may be the first contact a person gets with the mission, so it is crucial that I keep calm, sympathetic, and positive.
I have the privilege of cleaning rooms here at the Lydia House to prepare for new guests. As I clean, I pray for the occupants that have left- and the new residents to come. This helps me to keep my focus; I am cleaning as unto the Lord, I am not merely scrubbing sinks and floors.
Other duties include security, filing and email…LOTS of email! Since overnight staff doesn’t always interact with other shifts and the supervisory staff very much, it is crucial that we stay in contact through this correspondence.
Occasionally, it is our duty to call for an ambulance, or transfer a guest to the hospital. Recently, I was able to minister to a woman as we transported her to a nearby emergency room. We talked about God’s great love for her, and how she could choose now to get the help she needed to leave an abusive relationship, and learn better coping tools than turning to alcohol. We sang a song with the radio on our way to the hospital, “Lord, I need You, oh, I need You! Every hour I need You! My one Defense, my Righteousness! Oh, God- how I need You.”. Tears ran down her face, and my heart swelled with love for this precious woman who, in this moment, recognized her need for a Savior. I may never see her again- but I pray that the night was full of impact for her, as it was for me.
As morning light breaks, people begin waking and it is time for med pass. We offer a scheduled and supervised environment for our guests to take their medications. I enjoy this time of my shift, because I get to meet and bond with the individuals we are here to serve. Often, I will hear of job interviews, or how the kids are doing in school, or how someone has found housing. Because this happens near the end of my shift, I pray for these requests on my way home from work.
There are so many things I could tell you about- little vignettes of ministry, and prayer, and meeting of needs. These things add even more richness to my Open Door Mission journey. I honestly don’t believe I could be a blessing more to the people here then they have been to me. That is how God’s equations work- the one sent to bless, receives a blessing beyond calculation!
at 1:58 PM
01 September 2013
Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago”.
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend time with several of our Lydia House ladies as they each worked on creating various art projects. I enjoyed so much watching these ladies select their projects, evaluate their supplies and determine the direction they wanted to take with their project. Some began timidly, afraid to make the first stroke onto the canvas. Another jumped right in with a clear vision of what she wanted her finished piece to look like. Others were inexperienced, yet forged ahead with confidence that the project was going to turn out just fine.These various approaches reminded me of how all of us handle life situations so differently. Some of us allow fear to hold us back. We are afraid that things will get worse if we take a step forward. So we stand still, and stay stuck in our circumstances. Some of us jump right in without any thought of the final outcome or the damage we can cause by our impulsive choices. Sometimes things happen to turn out okay, but other times we leave a path of destruction. Some of us look at our situations and have no idea of where to begin, but we trust that God will work all things out for good, and we place the first stroke on the canvas knowing everything is going to be alright.
At Open Door Mission we have many hurting people who come to us with a sense of hopelessness. They are stuck, afraid, and unsure of what the next step needs to be in their life. As our staff ministers to these precious individuals, and introduces them to the One who can bring them hope, we begin to see many place their brush on the canvas of their life and make positive strokes that lead to a beautiful masterpiece. Lives are changed, hurts are healed, faith in God grows, and the beauty of the masterpiece brightens up and brings hope to those who meet them.
Life is a canvas just waiting for us to fill the emptiness with the beauty created when we follow God’s plan for our lives.
Celeste NormanSpecial Events Coordinator