11 December 2015

In His Perfect Peace

     Five days after Laura graduated from Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program, she suffered a heart attack.  “I was sitting in my room, getting ready for bed…and I called down to staff to come to my room, 'stat',” Laura said.  “…That was just a wakeup call from God.”
     Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, Laura was very close with her father.  When Laura was 13, her father suffered from liver cancer, spending five weeks in the hospital before passing away. “I was really upset with God for taking him away

when I was so young,” Laura said.  “And that was when I started drinking.”  Laura’s addiction to alcohol was a reoccurring battle throughout her life.  A never ending cycle of achieving sobriety and relapsing, Laura’s drinking eventually led to losing her Certified Nursing Assistant license.
     Desperate for help, Laura arrived at Open Door Mission in October 2014.  “When I walked in, I was crying,” Laura said.  “The staff made sure I got a bed and something to eat, and I surrendered that day.  I knew the moment I walked in that God had brought me here.” 
Laura has since successfully graduated from the New Life Recovery Program. She has learned to embrace God’s peace. “I have been learning to love myself again and to trust other women,” said Laura.  She has also found closure after the death of her father and reconnected with her sisters.
     She enjoys being a support for the other women at the Lydia House.  “This year will be fun and exciting!...I’ve been encouraging [the other women]...it is overwhelming to see how much the donors love us and want to make our holiday the best ever.”
     Laura’s heart attack brought an unexpected blessing. While in the Emergency Room, Laura prayerfully called her teenaged daughter to tell her the situation. Years earlier, Laura’s daughter had moved out due to Laura’s drinking, and it has been three years since they have seen each other.  When Laura's daughter heard about the heart attack, she came to Omaha to visit Laura, and their relationship was restored.
     Laura’s daughter has forgiven Laura's mistakes and is proud to see progress towards lasting change. Laura is currently working full time at a nearby hotel, is close to getting a car, and plans to renew her CNA license.  Laura expects this Christmas to be even brighter, with hopes that she and her daughter will get to spend it together. Her daughter plans to pursue being a pediatric assistant, being a nurse just like her mother.
     As for the heart attack, Laura says “It taught me to slow down and enjoy life. I can trust God and live in His peace.”
For more stories of HOPE, click here.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

08 December 2015

A Place at the Table This Holiday Season

Choosing a Gang Family
     Steve’s story begins with a family that started falling apart following a divorce.  His mother was forced to work two jobs to make ends meet and raise two children.  Steve’s older brother joined a local gang, in search of a place to belong.  Missing his older brother, Steve ran away to the same gang.
     At age 15, Steve's home life was living in abandoned cars and buildings, jail, and prison. Holidays were lonely and filled with guilt and shame, without joy.
     Steve’s rebellious life continued for 15 years, in and out of prisons, breaking parole, continuing gang activity, and being arrested for felonies.  He gave no thought to how his actions were affecting others, much less himself.
     Then one day his mother visited him in prison.His mother had never stopped loving him, but decided on tough love.  She said that if Steve didn’t change his attitude and ways, she would no longer visit.  As he walked out of the visitation room, his mind reeled with the prospect of never seeing his mother again.  God began quietly working in Steve’s life.
Finding God’s Family
     Steve was told he could possibly parole to Open Door Mission, which seemed unlikely. He did a phone interview with Open Door Mission’s Garland Thompson Men’s Center Director.  The final question of the interview stayed with Steve.  It was, ”Do you know Jesus?”
     God opened a path for Steve to be paroled to Open Door Mission.  When Steve arrived at the Mission, one of the first people he saw was a former gang member, Dustin.  But this wasn’t the Dustin he remembered. 
     Dustin was a new Christian, and a student in the New Life Recovery Program.  He began mentoring Steve and encouraging him.  Dustin helped Steve see the need for Christ, for forgiveness, and for a new family. 
     This holiday season, Steve will find joy and thanksgiving as he and his mother attend church together.  Christmas will have more meaning as they celebrate the gift of the Savior’s birth and forgiveness.  This holiday season, Steve will be surrounded by those that truly love and want the best for him—a real family.  Once again, God has quietly and lovingly brought the lost lamb home.
For more Stories of HOPE, click here.

Maggie Cope
Community Relations Coordinator

07 December 2015

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry

     I had an opportunity several weeks ago to chat with a lady who was donating buns, bread, condiment packets, and bottles water.  Her husband had been recently killed in a motorcycle accident, and I know it took courage for her to share that with me.  I pray that God would comfort her, comfort her family, and start a mighty work in her life.
     This encounter made me think about how we must ruthlessly eliminate hurry.  Hurries and prayer; hurries and God; hurries and contentment—none of these are compatible.  If I had been in a rush, this opportunity to hear a hurting widow’s story would have been missed.
     I am SO blessed to be in a ministry where we can take time to see the hurting, hear their stories, and pray with them.  If you find yourself being in too much of a hurry, ask the Holy Spirit to help you slow down and let God move.  Embrace His peace and see what He has planned for you today!

Brian Springer
Head Chef

04 December 2015

Note From a Graduate

Each graduation is a launch of these men and women
into a fresh start at life.
     I recently received this note from one of Open Door Mission’s past graduates:
    “Hi Candace,
     I just wanted to let you know I have been accepted into the nursing program at a local college.  I couldn't have done it without you and my experiences at Open Door Mission.  I am working to give back in any way I can help!
     I will be forever grateful for your service and sacrifice.”
     One of our past graduates is furthering her education, and is looking forward to giving back what has been given to her.  This is so exciting!  These notes are just the encouragement I need to keep serving, keep investing, keep loving.  Thank You, Lord!

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

03 December 2015

The Fruit of Their Actions

     Last week, I went to a Friendsgiving celebration, put on by a local ministry.  I recognized a few Open Door Mission guests there.  At first, noticed one of them off in the corner reading his Bible.  Later on when they opened the microphone to any who would like to share, a couple of the guys even went up and shared a quick testimony of why they were thankful this Thanksgiving.
     It was very encouraging to see how God is clearly moving in their lives, and to see their boldness in sharing what God’s done for them.  At the end of the night when everyone was leaving, I noticed these same Open Door Mission guests had, without hesitation, started  helping with clean up from beginning to end.  They were some of the last people to leave.
     I was so encouraged by them!  God surely is doing amazing things in their lives.  There is no better way to tell what’s in a person’s heart than by looking at the fruit of their actions.  And the fruit of our guests’ actions is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Lindsay Wyant
Leasing Specialist

02 December 2015

Working in the Kitchen

It's hard to believe the Grand Opening of the Garland
Thompson Men's Center was over 3 years ago in 2012!
What a blessing it has been these past years.
     I had the opportunity to serve Thanksgiving Dinner last week, and what a blessing it was.  Every time I volunteer in the kitchen, I am reminded of the kitchen that was in our old Men’s Center.  It was small and cramped, lacking much of the equipment we needed to feed so many people.
     That is why I am so grateful and thankful for the beautiful facilities that we have today.  It is truly amazing how much is being accomplished by our Head Chef, Brian, and his team in this area of our ministry.  Although Brian has more work, resources, and storage space than ever before, we are hitting our limit once again.  They are using the available space to the best of their ability, without complaints, and with good stewardship in mind.
     I left that evening inspired and energized for a new building campaign!  It is such a blessing to be a part of a continually growing ministry.  Thanks be to God for His provision!

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

01 December 2015

#GivingTuesday: My Giving Story

     #GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to giving back, to celebrating generosity, and to giving.  Part of today’s movement is to share our great giving stories, so I thought it’d be perfect to share mine with you all today!
     I’ve grown up in a generous home, with two of the most giving people I know as parents.  They taught me to hold material possessions with open hands, willing to give whenever a need arises.  They taught me to value the Lord, family, and friends above money.  They taught me to serve without questioning or complaining.  They taught me these ideas through example.
     I first heard about Open Door Mission from a friend at church, and came down for a Volunteer Orientation.  The magnitude of lives being impacted by this one organization floored me, and I knew I needed to get involved.  I signed up to volunteer in the kitchen twice a week, helping with food preparation and serving lunch.  Those hours spent in the kitchen flew by, as I jumped in wherever needed.  I peeled more eggs than I could count, washed dishes until my hands pruned, and handed out desserts to men, women, and children (all of whose eyes lit up each time at the sight of cake or pie).
     It wasn’t what I was doing that impacted me so greatly, but rather being a part of something larger.  It was the knowledge that these small acts of service help hungry and homeless men, women, and children feel HOPE.
     So when the opportunity arose for me to come on staff at Open Door Mission, I took it.  The Lord had grown me up with an appreciation for giving, and now He was providing a chance for me to give daily as my full-time job.  God is so great, and He truly is the greatest giver!  Let’s learn from Him how to be outrageous givers.
     Click here to learn more about #GivingTuesday.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator