31 December 2013

The lighting of a fire!



In the Adult Learning Center I see a wide range of educational attainment and ability. We have people that can barely read at a 3rd grade level and then we also have people with a bachelor’s degree. At times, trying to meet the educational needs of such a wide range of abilities can feel a bit overwhelming. Recently I came across a quote that has helped put things in perspective for me.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire” William Butler Yeats

This couldn’t be truer for the adults in our learning center. The absolute best moments of my job happen when someone suddenly “gets it”. Sometimes it is a sudden understanding of fractions and other times it is simply a belief that “I can do this”! Regardless, a fire has been lit and that person feels just a little bit more empowered to accomplish their goals. I am so grateful to be a tiny part of the monumental changes that people make every day.
 
Vickie Gregorio, Learning Center Director, Open Door Mission.

27 December 2013

Providing Hope for the Homeless

One of my favorite things about working at the Open Door Mission is getting to know the staff. This past week while I was in my office responding to emails and getting caught up in all of the Christmas events, one of the staff members who works the overnight shift stopped by to say hello. We chatted for a while and she shared her incredible story with me. 

It happens often that I am reminded of the way God orchestrates our lives. He loves us all and knows us all so well that he would put time into planning the encounters we might have. If you were to look at all the staff at Open Door Mission, you'd see many different stories from all different walks of life. There are people of different ages and experiences with different talents.

What's amazing to me is that God can take all of these differences and make them into a great team of people with one goal: providing hope for the homeless and needy. No one's story is too messy or not messy enough. He's able to use all of us. As cheesy as that sounds, it's the truth. He's ready and willing to use anyone. 

Erica Julsen

18 December 2013

God is doing great things in the Garland Thompson’s Men Center.



 I had the privilege of working with a young man that found himself in a situation of homelessness, having no family or friends in Nebraska he felt alone and hopeless; but with prayer and encouragement things began to change for him. He said he just wanted to work, go to school, and get his own apartment. He said that he needed to be able to focus that in the past he had let his peers influence him and that affected his school grades.   He had come to the realization that roommates were not good for him. With a little guidance and lots of determination on his part he is now currently enrolled in college fulltime, he is working part-time, and he has moved into his own apartment.  This is just a sample of the great things God is doing in the lives of the men staying in the GTMC.  I am so grateful to everyone that has help to make positive changes in this young man’s life; everything that you have donated has helped to bring about his success.  Thank You!
 
Jeannette Blackstone, Resource Specialist
Garland Thompson’s Men Center, Open Door Mission
 

17 December 2013

God is a redeeming God.

It's funny how God uses you when you least expect.  While on my break I had the privilege of listening to a young woman share with another staff member what is going on in her life.  She had just started the New Life Recovery Program and was excited to grow in Christ but also had some very real struggles that she was working through.  I listened silently for about 15 minutes until I felt God tell me to speak up.  I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles and what I had learned.  Afterwards she thanked me for what I said. 
Later as I reflected on that conversation, all I could do was praise God.  God is truly a redeeming God.  He takes our suffering and struggles and redeems them, not only for us but for others.  In God's eyes, nothing is wasted and everything can be made new.

Please pray for perseverance and strength for all of our programmers who are daily choosing to pick the hard, narrow road over the easy, wide road.  
 
Rachel Fischer
Child and Youth Director
Open Door  Mission

16 December 2013

Generousity of Others

My name is Sarah Erwin, and I serve as the Heartland Hands Coordinator at Open Door Mission. This is my first Christmas season working here, and seeing the great need of others during the holidays has reminded me just how blessed I’ve been over the years. I have never wondered whether we would have a holiday meal of turkey and all the trimmings that year, because my family always did. I never spent a Christmas wondering if I would get a gift that year. I just knew that I would. It is amazing how I take these things for granted.
 
One thing that I absolutely love about the Christmas holiday is that, for a short time, most people focus on how they can give, rather than what they can get. I love seeing the generosity of others displayed; especially through the gifts of our donors at the Mission. They give gifts of time, gifts of finances, or by encouraging others to participate in drives to collect clothing for those in need. And this is how I know that these gifts are making a difference: I personally see the joy on our guests’ faces when they realize they’ll get a Christmas present this year, some of them for the first time in their lives. This alone could be life changing, but even more so because every gift is shared with the love of Christ and the message of His saving grace. That is what someone gives when they give at Open Door Mission. Material possessions can so easily be lost, but the gift of Christ lives on in our hearts forever. 
 
 
 
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,    and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 
Isaiah 9:6
 
Sarah Erwin
Heartland Hands Coordinator, Open Door Mission.

13 December 2013

It's the Little Things


It’s the Little Things

 

As I left for work this morning, I couldn’t help but count my blessings.  It’s the little things in life we so often take for granted…a safe bed, a warm shower, a roof over our heads, transportation, food…it doesn’t seem like much but to the homeless we serve, they are true luxuries.

 

Imagine life without a home.  Imagine living out in the brutal cold.  Imagine not knowing when you will have your next meal.

 

This is the reality so many men, women and children face.  But thanks to the kindness and generosity of our community, they can be rescued from these harsh conditions as they receive HOPE at Open Door Mission. 

 

Now a single mom can read her son a bed-time story as she tucks him into a bed, a veteran can enjoy a hot meal for the first time in days, a homeless man can shower, shave and seek employment….all the little things. 

 

Because you gave homeless men, women and children can experience the love of Christ and see his grace lived out every day.  Because you gave, they can enjoy all the little things that mean so much.

 

God BLESS you for caring,

 

Victoria Leuthold

Executive Assistant, Open Door Mission

12 December 2013

My Mission here at Open Door Mission

"Praise God from whom all blessing flow" and the blessing have been so great having the opportunity to be employed here at the Open Door Mission Ministries. My testimony is I've been seeking employment here since 2003 and finally was hire in January 2013. God's grace and mercy has allowed me to witness miracle's and play a small part in the recovery field addictions here. God's mighty acts of lovingkindness has enable me to encourage, influence and persuade others who suffer from alcoholism and other addictions. As humble as I know how to be I am ever so grateful, thankful and appreciative to be able to work side by side with other Christians and be a working creative vessel of honor to God and what he does through children of the most High God. My mission here is to exalt the Savior, and to edify the saints, to evangelized sinners and to elevate society and I try to always be mindful of this through my praise, worship and ministry as a soldier in the army of the Lord. I've have my marching orders. The steps of a good man is ordered by the Lord. Thank God for his faithfulness here at the Open Door Mission, it show's in my life and the life of all those who walk through these doors looking to serve and, also those seeking to be served.

Ronny Moore
Evening House Supervisor, Garland Thompson Men's Center, Open Door Mission

11 December 2013

God's Presence!

The best gift of all is…
“God’s PRESENCE”
Christmas is the Messiah’s light overcoming darkness
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2)
As we are in this Christmas season, a lot of people have no hope, joy or light of any kind in their life right now. They have no home, job, car… let alone any money to buy presents for their kids and families. For whatever reasons they come here to the Open Door Mission, I pray that the second they step through the doors, they feel nothing but the PRESENCE of God in this place. I know that Christ’s love abounds here and people who have been living in darkness can experience being in the presence of God and experiencing His grace, mercy and forgiveness by receiving Jesus into their hearts.
After all, isn’t that why we celebrate Christmas? To tell people about God who loves them so much, He gave His only son to die for them so they could have eternal life with Him someday?
The birth of Jesus, His death and resurrection has made it possible for all who believe in Him to NOT have to walk in darkness anymore, but can have true freedom in Christ, have full access to the presence of the Light of the World…Jesus Christ our Lord!!! Hallelujah!!!
Through all of the hustle and bustle during this time of year, please don’t forget to take some time every day in the sweet PRESENCE of God allowing him to fill you to overflowing so that you can be a LIGHT shining for Jesus during this most celebrated time of year!!!
Merry Christmas everyone!
Lisa
 

10 December 2013

Learning why you volunteer


Leading Volunteer Orientation three times a week provides me with the blessed opportunity of meeting a wide variety of volunteers.  As we tour the campus, my favorite question to ask individuals is, “Why do you want to volunteer?”  The answers vary greatly, and many of them are truly inspirational.

Just last night a woman shared with me about her grandmother’s stay at the Lydia House.  Open Door Mission helped her take care of her grandson, empowered her to receive her GED, and introduced her to Jesus Christ.  It is through His help that she has now been sober for six years.  The grandson, after receiving tutoring help, has been on the honor role ever since.  Now this woman wants to donate her time to Open Door Mission because she has seen, in her own family, the powerful work God is doing among our residents’ lives.  What a powerful testimony!

Beatrice Kruse
Volunteer and Partner Administrative Assistant

05 December 2013

We can do anything through him! :D


 
The book of Philippians Chapter 4; Paul talks about how he wanted to make peace between two people and how he lived and still praised God for everything he had done because it was done with a purpose/reason. He also talks about some of the things that he had gone through and regardless of anything that he was still that same unstoppable leader.
 Paul was a man of his Word. He walked and practiced what he preached. Even in rotten times he was still able to maintain his faith and that same passionate fire for Jesus. He was able to teach his followers and challenge them to still maintain that same relationship with God. He told them to put to practice what he had taught them to empower them to do those things.

Paul was one of those leaders who were unstoppable. With a positive attitude, Paul had the mind to make it. With a mind and heart like that is why he so rightly stated, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Even though Paul was encountered with a lot of suffering and persecution he demonstrated a state of heart and mind that made him God’s kind of leader. Anyone who adopts a similar attitude and heart becomes a similar unstoppable kind of leader.

I am currently serving at the Lydia House as a Family Support Worker. Sometimes it gets tough. Dealing with people isn’t as easy as it looks. You want the best for them and want them to make good choices that all you can be to them is a leader. Some people have gone through suffering and rejections. It gives us a chance to be like Paul where we can and will become this type of leader for those who need it; to be that example to those who have a hard time in what they are doing. 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 awesomess in them. Will it be hard? Yes. Is it going to be easy? No. But one thing that is true is that we are never alone. Sometimes our insecurities they try to hold us back, but note one thing and know it, you're made for more.

Paul did so; he was going through some hardcore suffering and problems and was able to be of testimony to his followers and teaching them as well. If you think you can't or it’s too hard or whatever the excuse is? DON'T because YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS YOU! =)

 

Gennesis

Lydia House – Family Support Worker, Open Door Mission

03 December 2013

A Sense of Belonging

 
 
As a Christian, my knowing that I belong to Christ is strengthened as I read His words to his disciples as he was leaving them,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:1-2
 
These words comfort me, for I know that Christ is preparing my place in heaven because I have accepted Him as my savior.  I can only imagine what that day will be like, but I smile as I think about it as when my Grandmother made preparations for my holiday visits.  The warmth I knew as she welcomed and loved on me is priceless and especially during the holidays, when my heart longs for those times.  But, Christ’s words may seem hollow and meaningless if a person does not have a relationship with Him and it can be hard to understand and accept God’s love and plans, if a person has not experienced kindness and love by another in there life.  Sadly, this is the situation of most that we serve at Open Door Mission.  They come without a sense of belonging or welcomed by anyone in the world.
 
The joy of ministry in the Housing Department is that amongst the paper work, audits, and deadlines of my days, my number one responsibility is to be welcoming.  It is a great day to see a smile when a person comes into my office burdened with the insecurity of homelessness and they leave knowing that we have been preparing a place for them.  Great to know that my co-workers and Open Door Mission volunteers will continue to show acts of kindness in the days ahead.  My prayer is that through these acts of love, our guest’s hearts will start to heal and that they, too, will come to accept Jesus as their Savior.  That His words of promise will no longer sound hollow, but will bring a guest comfort and an assurance that they belong in Christ’s kingdom. 
 
Thank you for being a part of Open Door Mission, sharing your love to many!
Ronda Nelson.  Housing Department.  

02 December 2013

Why I came to Open Door Mission, and why I choose to stay.

Back in 2011 God laid it on my heart to inquire again about the Open Door Mission.  I had thought about in 2009 and I never went through with it.  Because you see at the time I was working as a nurse, I wasn’t sure leaving the nursing field was a bright idea.  But God (as you may already know)  had other plans for me.  God immediately opened the door when I reached out to the only friend I knew at the time that had Open Door Mission connections.  I was hired within a week. 

Two years later I am still here, and while I have changed departments, my love for those we serve and the reason I am still here has never changed.  I believe in the God of second chances.  I believe that God is the reason lives are changed. I believe that His will is being done here on our campus.  I believe in our leadership and that they are also here to further the Kingdom.  And I believe that our foundation and why we do what we do is firmly rooted in the work of King Jesus, the Most High God.

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8

7”But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

    whose confidence is in him.

8 They will be like a tree planted by the water

    that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

    its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

    and never fails to bear fruit.”

 

Tami Hungerford, Public Relations Assistant

Open Door Mission.