30 December 2016

Kingdom Building Ministry

During the Holidays, I am able to spend more time than usual with
our donors, volunteers, and friends of the Mission.  What a blessing!
     Just a couple of days ago, we celebrated the great gift of the Christ child once again.  In the midst of it all—getting together with family, giving and receiving gifts, the festive dinner, and the reflective warmth that Christmas always invokes –I pray that we were all able to take time to express our deep appreciation to the Father for His life-changing gift.
     As Norman Vincent Peale once put it, “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
     My husband Steve and our children join me in expressing our genuine thanks for your party in Open Door Mission's Kingdom Building ministry as a staff member, donor, volunteer, or friend.  And we want to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year! 
     “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,” said Charles Dickens.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

29 December 2016

Little Addy

     Little Addy started her own drive this holiday season to raise money to buy hats and gloves for homeless men, women, and children.  She raised over $1,150.00 and purchased over a 1000 sets of hats and gloves!
     Be sure to never underestimate a person because of their age—Addy was able to make a huge difference for people she has never even met because of her passion and compassion.

Darryl Price
Day House Supervisor

28 December 2016

BINGO!

     Last week we had our monthly BINGO night at the Permanent Supportive Housing Building.  It was an extra special family night as the theme was Christmas!  The number of people who came to play and have fun together was wonderful, and the community is a blessing to our hearts.  We have fun building this community at the Permanent Supportive Housing Building, taking a moment during the craziness of the season to spend together.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

27 December 2016

GED Achievement!

     Please join me in congratulating Justin on obtaining his GED! He started the Journey to Work Program in August and completed his GED last week, right before Christmas.  He now plans to go to college to study mechanics after he graduates the Journey to Work Program.  God is good—praise Him for opportunities!

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

23 December 2016

Generous Donors

     During the Christmas season, myself along with other staff members get the opportunity to visit our donors in person, deliver a tin of cookies baked by our Lydia House women, and let them know how much they are appreciated.
     Talking with my fellow staff members, we all agreed that this opportunity is our favorite part of the season.  All of us were touched by the homes we were able to visit, the warm conversations we had, and the loving hugs we received.
     What inspires us the most is visiting donors who live in humble conditions –not all are in huge mansions.  These people are giving sacrificially, and what a blessing it is to change lives alongside them!  I believe that meeting these donors is a huge testimony to all of us, and affirms the scripture of the widow’s mite:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.  Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” –Mark 12:41-44

     Merry Christmas!  May you all be blessed for your generosity!

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

22 December 2016

Star Wars Blessing

     Friends of Open Door Mission, Constance and her husband, have collected Star Wars figures throughout their marriage.  But last week, they donated every figure to Open Door Mission so they can be given as Christmas gifts to teenage boys.  What a special moment!




Cynthia Mier
Receptionist

21 December 2016

On National Radio


     On the way home last week, a 20 year old girl from Bellevue, NE named Amber had called in to the radio station KLOVE with some cool news.  She said the she and her friend go door to door caroling in their neighborhood every year, asking for canned good donations.
     Here’s the kicker – they donate these canned goods to OPEN DOOR MISSION!  It was awesome to hear the Mission mentioned on a national radio station!  And what a blessing to hear yet another way our donors think of us during the holidays.

Sonya Holland
Accountant

20 December 2016

A Gift From Their Own Tree

     These two little girls, Calista and Lillian, were with their mom at Christ Community Church’s Christmas concert last weekend.  There they heard a presentation about Open Door Mission and our urgent needs for Project Santa.
     They wanted to help, but instead of going out and buying toys, they each chose a gift that had already been wrapped and put under their tree for Christmas.  That means these girls each gave one of their own presents so two other kids could have a great Christmas.  Now THAT is the spirit of Christmas!

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

16 December 2016

Project Santa is MONDAY

Thank you to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
employees and hundreds of other toy sorting
volunteers who made Project Santa possible!
     Thank you to everyone that helped out with the Project Santa sign up day a couple weekends ago!  It was an amazing day!  Everything went smoothly, and that is because of all our dedicated staff members and volunteers!  We signed up thousands of kids to receive toys for Christmas day, and now that day is on Monday!
     We’ve had hundreds of volunteers on campus, and out in Elkhorn, Council Bluffs, and South Omaha, all helping us get ready for the big day!
     Thank you to all who have helped sorting and bagging toys as well as loving our guests and clients.  You are making a difference in the lives of people on mission field in our own community!
     On Monday, Project Santa day, will be such a blessing to many families as well as staff and volunteers.  Please pray with us that it goes just as smoothly as our sign up day, and against any snow, ice, or adverse conditions!

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

15 December 2016

Making Someone Feel Special


     Working at the Timberlake Outreach Center, I often get to speak with people bringing in donations for the poor and needy in our community.  Last week, one little boy just melted my heart with his donation.
     Four year old Connor came with his mom to bring some personal care product packs he had made, saying he just wanted to make someone feel special this Christmas.  Each one included Kleenex, hand sanitizer, lotion, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand wipes, Vaseline, raisins, a candy bar, 10 quarters, a first aid kit, and was wrapped in a pair of socks.
     He had a big smile on his face, and I know God was smiling too. 

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

14 December 2016

More Than a Statistic

     As it gets colder, Open Door Mission sees an increase in people seeking shelter.  These people just trying to get warm, fed, and rested.  Some may think that during these bitter cold days, everyone that lives on the streets comes in for shelter.  However, this is just not true—we come in contact with people every day during our Streets of Omaha program that are still living out in the cold.
     "I don't expect you to understand or even to accept me, but you are here and you do,” said one man that we serve on the streets.  “I am amazed."
     He had been sitting under the interstate bridge all afternoon.  He was hungry and alone.  We talked with him, gave him a few sack lunches and bottles of water, and then simply spent time getting to know him.  As we got up to walk back to the van he said, "Thank you.  Thank you for taking the time to just let me be a person." 
      Today He felt less like statistic or an addiction, He felt the way he deserves to feel and that is like a person who God calls his child. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

13 December 2016

Tell the Kids, and the Parents Follow

This is Reagan Elementary, another school making a difference
in their community!  They collected over 248 pounds of food to
feed the hungry and homeless this Holiday Season!
     I had a last minute speaking engagement at a third grader class yesterday, and what a blessing it was!
     They are collecting diapers for the 94.1 Diaper Drive this weekend, and are having a competition between classrooms.  They were so excited about their drive that they couldn't tell me enough about things they and their families have done for those in need.  I also was asked a million questions about everything at Open Door Mission.
     The teacher told me that the week before she had invited her kids to ask their parents to bring them to volunteer with her that Saturday.  Much to her surprise, she had six kids and their parents come!  Tell the kids and the parents will follow!
     If only all adults could have their enthusiasm!!  I do believe God speaks volumes through the innocence of children.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.  –Matthew 19:14

Valerie Ridpath
Heartland Hands Coordinator

09 December 2016

Lasting Change

     Once I a while, I receive lovely, encouraging notes from the men, women, and children whose lives have been changed by Open Door Mission.  Here is a nice note that I wanted to share with you:
     My name is Tom, and firstly I would like to thank the Open Door Mission for everything that they have provided me with in my life so far.  I can never truly express my gratitude for everything that has been extended to me spiritually, physically, and mentally.  I now have a full time job and soon will be a full time college student.  I am so grateful for Open Door Mission, the amazing opportunities they have given me, and for the program I was able to graduate from.
     To God be the glory for this man’s lasting change!  Join me in praying for him and every other man and woman in our programs, that God would bless and protect them.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

08 December 2016

Gracious Words

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  –Proverbs 16:24

"And to say gracious words is brave.  To speak life into someone else takes courage.  Whether you are correcting in love, standing up for the voiceless, praying for the sick, or praising and loving others, your words are changing the atmosphere.
Don't be afraid.  Be brave.  Say the things that will speak truth and heal.  Hold your tongue in anger or fear--those are the times when a coward speaks.  But when the moment comes to say the gracious thing that will make a heart forever?  Say it.  Speak love, and watch as beautiful things come to life."  –Annie Downs, "Let's All Be Brave"

     I read this recently during my morning devotions, and this Proverb stuck out to me.  Gracious words.  What does it mean to have someone speak a gracious word over my life?  It is a rare gift indeed when someone chooses gracious words.
     Gracious means showing God's divine grace, which is kind, compassionate, and merciful.  When situations are hard, how much easier is it to react in frustration, anger, blame?  It is so much easier!  But it takes more courage to speak love to others. 
     When we hear a gracious word spoken to us we feel validated, accepted, and sometimes it's just what we need to heal us to further move forward.  Words can have death and life in our lives.  What we speak can change the trajectory of someone's life forever.  We never know unless we take that brave step and decide to encourage, not tear down. 
     I pray that we stop and think what we say and that we will be more gracious, especially during the Christmas season.  Then it would truly be a season of blessing!
     Instead of getting burned out thinking all the extra tasks we have to do this time of year, may we thank the Lord for giving us the chance to show God's grace to the community we serve.  Let’s pause and be gracious to one another and speak life to each other, our guests, our families, and our friends.  Even when our backs are pushed against the wall, would we choose to be gracious!
     I believe that our gracious words can point others to Jesus.  I believe that this Christmas, words can be used to bring beautiful things to life, to change stories, and to break chains forever!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

07 December 2016

Stop by and say, "Hi!"

     Brian decided to come by the Timberlake Outreach Center’s Receiving Area and say hi to the team.  It's always a pleasure to have Brian and his moral support around, but he may need to work on figuring out how to drive through our drop off area.  This is NOT correct!
     Be sure to bring your donations or our urgently needed items to any of our four conveniently-located Family Donation & Outreach Centers (Timberlake, Council Bluffs, Elkhorn, and South Omaha) this Christmas!  You’ll always be greeted by a friendly face and hopefully get a little joy out of our goofiness.

Scott McDowell
Receiving

06 December 2016

New Member of the Kingdom


     I would like to introduce a new member to the Kingdom of God! This is Alexis and her family.  She came to Council Bluffs Family Donation & Outreach Center six weeks ago.  We met and she told me at the time that she was a week clean from meth, determined to stay sober so she could get her daughter back home.
     Ever since that week, she has returned weekly to the Outreach Center just to talk.  Last Thursday, Alexis finally realized how much God loves her and is there for her, and on Sunday she attended church and was baptized!
     Please pray for Alexis as she starts this journey with Jesus.  She has the greatest weapon in her now to help fight this external enemy of drug addiction!
     To God be all the glory!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

05 December 2016

#UNselfie

     Last week for #GivingTuesday, Open Door Mission friend Larry joined the #Unselfie movement!  He volunteered for over 10 years and was such a bright light at the Mission to volunteers, staff, donors, and guests all the same.  He stopped by my office for hugs as it was his last day teaching.
     Larry is leaving behind a legacy of making a difference at Open Door Mission, and we will miss him dearly!
     Were you able to give back on #GivingTuesday?  If not, make sure to mark your calendars for next year and take your #Unselfie so you can inspire HOPE for lasting change.  Maybe what’s in store for you is to be the next Larry?

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

02 December 2016

Into the Holidays

     I just wanted you all to know I appreciate each and every one of you!
     My heart is overjoyed through this Holiday season and every day, really.  Being able to see the other side of Open Door Mission brings me to tears sometimes.  I am so thankful that God has blessed me in my position here at the Mission.
     I have the ability to meet/greet the generous donors, volunteers, staff, and guests as they come through our doors.  I get to talk with people both in person and on the phone.  God knows my heart and has given me more love for each of these people that I interact with than I could ever have imagined.
    I am joyful to share the hope I have with others.  I have been made new in Christ.  He is my Author, my Creator, my Protector, and my Father.  
     As we go through this Holiday season I am reminded of how each person’s struggles and hardships are so different.  Please be in prayer with me for all of the programmers and people who are coming in seeking shelter from brokenness.  I pray that God comes into their lives and removes all the thresholds of evil.  
     Thank you in advance and have a blessed day!

Cynthia Mier
Receptionist

01 December 2016

Faithfulness in the Small Things

     A couple of days ago I had the most wonderful morning, and I wanted to share it with you.  It started with a really good devotional in the morning which talked about faithfulness in the small things.  
If we were to take our cues from Scripture, focusing on the relationship between the Father and the Son, we could make the case that God receives love through obedience.  Succinctly stated, “Christ emptied himself in order to be filled up with obedience.”
     And then as I was driving to work, admiring the beautiful pink clouds as the sun rose, I saw one of our Open Door Mission trucks on the road.  I looked up at the driver, and there was Peter with a big old smile, waving at me.
     It's the little things in life that make me happy, and I am grateful to God for all my blessings. 
     Praying today that God will show you some amazing blessings in your life. 

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

30 November 2016

I Work at Open Door Mission!

     I wanted to share this picture and cute story with you! 
     Recently, my daughter took my name tag, put it on, and said, "Mom, look!  I work at the Open Door Mission!"
     I said, "Oh you do? What do people do at Open Door Mission?"
     She replied, "Well, mostly they eat soup, but they help people too!"  She attended Ladle of Love with me! 
     I got to thinking, and this really reminded me that, more than anything, children watch what we do.  How blessed are we that our children get to watch us do God's work EVERY SINGLE DAY! 

Michelle Therkildsen
Development Associate

29 November 2016

Safe Shelter for the Holidays...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 11/28.

     “They have so many wonderful programs for the kids, from the Tutoring Lab to the Bright Space with more toys than I’ve ever seen,” said Kemesha.  “Our favorite is the Book Nook, though.  We’re able to read a new book together every night, and that’s such a blessing.”
Kemesha is slowly getting back on to her feet, despite complications from an illness.  She started working at a call center and saved her money to purchase her own vehicle.
     Through everything, Kemesha knows the Lord has been with her and her children.  She has turned her eyes back to the Lord, and can see the difference in her life.  “Once we were seeking the Lord faithfully, everything started falling into place,” she said.

     Kemesha is a woman of great strength, and her perspective on life has change throughout this journey.  “As long as we’re able to eat, take showers, and be together…I feel like we’re blessed,” she said.
     And for the first time in a while, Kemesha is looking forward to the Holidays without anxiety or stress.  Thanks to wonderful programs such as Adopt A Guest, she knows her children will feel loved as they open presents hand-picked for them on Christmas day.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

28 November 2016

Safe Shelter for the Holidays...Part 1

     Life for Kemesha can be busy and overwhelming, with a full house and a baby on the way.  But she is grateful to have found safe shelter at Open Door Mission for her and her family.
Kemesha recalls growing up really fast.  She remembers her family being homeless as a child, but felt her father provided for them the best he could.  Life hit hard when she became a teenage mom at age 15.
     “I grew up pretty fast,” said Kemesha.  Since then, Kemesha has experienced one hardship after another.
     “The kids and I lived in a house with no electricity and barely any water,” she said.  She even recalls walking to the nearest store to warm up food for her children.
     Kemesha decided to move to Omaha when her neighborhood became too unsafe.  Loved ones and friends were being shot around her.  Kemesha's brother lives in Omaha, so it seemed like the best option for getting away from the violence.
     When the family first came to Open Door Mission, they had to stay in the Lydia House Overflow Area for a couple of weeks before a room opened up.  It was a brand new experience, but her children felt at home right away.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/29.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

23 November 2016

Sharing Our Heart

     Currently, Open Door Mission still has many homeless and needy men, women, and children who have not been sponsored under our Adopt A Guest Program.  I pray that the Lord would open donors’ hearts to see what He is doing, and they would humble
themselves to see what God would have them give! 
     My prayer is that as Open Door Mission staff, volunteers, and friends, we would be outspoken in our church communities and small groups, sharing what AWESOME things God is doing at Open Door Mission!  And when they see our enthusiasm and ask questions, that we would help them get involved in our Mission!
     My small group volunteers in the kitchen once a month and is going to Adopt a Guest this Christmas.  It may look small, but what if all of us connected with the Mission shared our HEART with the people closest to us and invited them in to be a part of what God is doing here?  It would have huge impact!
     I know that volunteering once a month it has been a blessing to my small group as much as it has been to our guests.  We need to be people that encourage others to get out of their seats and live out the Gospel!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

22 November 2016

'Tis the Season

Here I am at the KFAB Radiothon with Boyd Dingman, who helped
donate towards our match money for the day!
     The month of November has been amazing so far!  We had the Salute to the Red, White and Blue, ceremony honoring Veterans.  We’ve had volunteer groups helping to make Fixin food boxes for Drumsticks on Wheels event this past Saturday.
     And ‘tis the season of Project Santa boxes being set up throughout the community for drop offs.  The Christmas Bell tree is going up at the BOOMER station at Midtown Crossing.  It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. All that’s missing is some white stuff and cold temperatures to really make it feel like the Holidays.
     All of this craziness can get overwhelming, but it also leads me to reflect on how many times God has said to me, “Just listen to My voice and word, and have faith!”  He tells me that so frequently because He knows I need to hear it!  So join me in taking comfort in knowing that God knows the needs of HIS Open Door Mission.


And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 4:19

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

21 November 2016

We Will Run To YOU

These volunteers helped make sack lunches for our Streets of
Omaha program.  What a blessing!
     Volunteer Michael jumped out of the van and ran a sack lunch to a man he saw sitting under a bridge.  He was out volunteering for Open Door Mission’s Streets of Omaha program.
     "I am very grateful for you,” said the man.  “A lot of people don't pay attention to me, or they run the other way when they see me."
     Our Volunteer Michael told him, “We will run TO YOU every time."
     The man's face lit up with joy.
      The sad reality is, the people that we serve are used to people running away from them, not looking them in the eyes.  Some even get called horrible names.  In our ministry, we don't know everyone's situation or story, but we do know that people need love.  Our Streets of Omaha volunteers look forward to sharing that love each and every day.
     Some of our volunteers such as Mike volunteer all day, making lunches in the morning and then handing them out in the afternoon.  Lives of people on the streets as well as our volunteers’ lives are being changed here at Open Door Mission.  We would love you to be a part of that

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

18 November 2016

Socktober


     Recently we received a generous donation of new pairs of socks at Open Door Mission’s Elkhorn Outreach & Donation Center!
     Carter and Delaney Richardson initiated a SOCKTOBER sock drive through their school at North Bend Central and throughout their local community to collect a total of 850 pairs of socks for the homeless.
     What a blessing!

Jesse Pauly
Elkhorn Donation & Outreach Center

17 November 2016

Salute to the Red, White, and Blue...Part 2

     The event was to celebrate Veterans, but it truly was more than that.  This is true about all of Open Door Mission events.  We are creating community on our campus because without it, life change fizzles.
     We are the body of Christ.  We are a vine and Jesus is our source.  We are to lift each other up and share each other's burdens.  We are the gathered and members.  We are brothers and sisters. We are a city on a hill.
     Please remember just how important you are.  People notice when you celebrate them, and they also notice when you are not there.  Our guests and your fellow staff appreciate seeing you go the extra mile, whether you are a volunteer, donor, staff member, or friend of the Mission.
     We are all co-laborers in Christ.  Each of us has our limits and our needs.  Our lives intersect here at Open Door Mission for a reason.  The Lord calls me and you to live a life of worship and love in a world that so desperately needs both.  He calls me and you to remember a people who are trying to forget and whom most have forgotten.
     Take time to help others be a part of community so they can experience lasting life change through the power of Holy Spirit and the aid of Christ’s community.
     These thoughts occurred to me after our service had ended, while I watched folks interacting with our Salute to Red, White, and Blue speaker.  I saw joy in many people's face.  I saw appreciation of the message they had heard.
     One of our homeless veteran guests shared with me that he wished he had gone forward to be recognized, but could not see why a homele

ss guy should receive honor.  This man is a perfect example of someone who needs to be a part of community.

Steve Frazee
Senior Programs Director

16 November 2016

Salute to the Red, White, and Blue...Part 1

     Last week we hosted the Salute to the Red, White, and Blue event to honor homeless veterans.  It was such a wonderful event!
     Sometimes we incorrectly assume that all people will enjoy and accept recognition.  During our service honoring veterans, I know of at least five men in the audience who served, but could not muster the nerve to come before the gathering to be recognized.  Please keep this in mind and go out of your way to thank any veteran you come in contact with.
     In that same mindset, I was reminded of something else that night.  I am at peace at Open Door Mission.  I am comfortable with all of the things that I do and even with the new tasks assigned to me.  It was not always this way, though.  Not too long ago, I did struggle with anxiety related to my work at the Mission, but the Lord brought peace.
     Having come out of that anxiety, I always need to remember to seek out those who are not at ease, and to encourage and build bridges for others.  I should never assume my feeling are yours.
     Thank you all for serving our true Commander and Chief (God our Father, Lord Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit) and those He loves in a manner that brings a smile to His face and grows His kingdom.

To be continue tomorrow, 11/17.

Steve Frazee
Senior Programs Director

15 November 2016

Contagious Joy

     In a world of uncontrollable circumstances we are only in control of one thing: that is our attitude.  We can choose to let unfortunate circumstances take our joy OR we can rise above it and hold on to what is ours to have. 
      This was never clearer to me than the moment I met a woman named K on one of our recent Streets of Omaha outings.  K was full of pain, rejection, and felt so alone.  But the day we met on the streets, and she decided to come to Open Door Mission.  K has had a lot of pain in her heart from years of neglect and abuse, but she held onto one thing and that was her joy!
     She told one of the Streets of Omaha volunteers that her joy comes from Jesus.  K has been at Open Door Mission's Lydia House for a few months now, and her joy is very contagious!  She commented to me one day, "I never thought my anxiety would allow me to be in a place full of people, but I know I am supposed to be here because Jesus replaced my anxiety with more JOY!" 
    The day we met her was definitely a divine appointment.  God has a plan for K and He used the Streets of Omaha Team as a part of that plan.  He placed us exactly where we needed to be, exactly when we needed to be there.  He did this to show his beloved daughter how important she is and to show her how much He loves her!
     God wants to use us all, as long as we allow Him to!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

14 November 2016

HOPE Begins With a Meal...Part 2

Continued from Thursday, 11/10.

     God gave Robert a vision of what his future could look like in two different scenarios.  “One was very dark, but the higher road was full of light,” said Robert.  “God lead me to the higher road.”
     Finally ready to make a change, Robert’s friend dropped him off at Open Door Mission, where he joined the Veterans First Program.  It all started with a hot, nutritious meal in Open Door Mission's cafeteria.  That first meal inspired HOPE for lasting change in Robert.  At first the program was scary; having to confront real obstacles and issues in his life, but eventually the Lord granted Robert freedom.
     “I realized that when I go, the things I have won’t come with me,” Robert said.  “What matters is my relationship with Jesus.”  Robert has truly submitted his life to God.
     At graduation, Robert received a pin that states, “Courageous.”  This inspired Robert to be a better father and grandfather.  He used to be absent, but reconciled and now visits his family (including five grandkids) regularly.
     Currently, Robert is employed full time, is active in the community, and maintains his home.  As a former chef, Robert knows the difference a meal can make.  This is especially true at Open Door Mission as HOPE begins with a meal.  Thank you for your support in providing HOPE for the hungry.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

10 November 2016

HOPE Begins with a Meal...Part 1

     Robert spent over twenty years serving his country in the Army National Guard.  But now he is learning to serve his Lord and Savior.
     Throughout his life, Robert has kept to himself.  As a child, he grew up under the care of his grandparents.  His mother was very young when he was born, and his father was completely out of the picture.  “I grew up in front of a TV set,” described Robert.
     He kept to himself through high school, but shortly after graduating he joined something bigger than himself.  Robert was recruited to the Army National Guard.
     For the first year, Robert performed administrative duties, then was transferred to being a cook.  He started with no experience or knowledge, but soon learned how to provide good meals for hundreds of men.  Robert served his country diligently and proudly, not giving up even on the hardest of days.
     What began as a way to make money grew into a place for Robert to belong.  “I enjoyed being in the service and holding responsibility for my country.”
     However when Robert retired from the Army National Guard, life was not as you’d expect for someone who had faithfully served for over twenty years.  Losing sight of who he was, Robert began drinking heavily which compiled with other circumstances lead to him hitting rock bottom.

To be continued Monday, 11/14.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

09 November 2016

Happy Birthday to Open Door Mission!


     Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday Open Door Mission!  The month of November marks another year of blessings at Open Door Mission.  And may God continue to bless this ministry more than humanly possible to conceive, so that we may continue changing lives for eternity.  Birthday Blessings all around us.
     Here is to another 61 + years of God's work at Open Door Mission, full of lives being transformed by the renewing of the heart and mind!

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

08 November 2016

Learning About Generosity...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 11/7.

     First of all, they help homeless people who suffer in different ways.  Some women and children are affected by domestic violence, and some single adults are suffering from substance abuse and addiction.  So, those people need a safe place to stay, especially during the winter time when they suffer from extreme cold weather.  When they go to Open Door Mission’s shelter, they find a safe place to sleep.
     In addition, Open Door Mission helps people who are hungry.  They provide three meals a day.  They also give food to people who live in poverty.  Through the generosity of Open Door Mission, those people can solve their problem of insufficient food and save money for utilities.
     Finally, the most important thing that the organization does is changing homeless people’s lives by providing education.  They inspire them to attend the job training and life changing programs.  In the impact, those people graduated from school and they find a better job and life.
     The organization asks for a donation from each person who is fortunate enough to have money who can donate it.  So, when you give a gift as a small amount of money to them, you are helping people who need safe shelter, nutritious meals, and education to change their life.  Perhaps you can help to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

     I hope this warmed your heart like it did mine!  Thank you so much to all donors, volunteers, and friends of Open Door Mission!

Kaylene Powell
Open Door Mission Volunteer

07 November 2016

Learning About Generosity...Part 1

     This is a final copy of an essay written by one of my Burmese ESL students this past spring.  She gave me her permission to share it.  We were discussing charity and generosity in class, and my students had to write a five paragraph essay about how a small amount of money can still make a big difference.
     This is her final draft, on the topic she chose for herself (as they all did).  I thought you would be moved in the reading of it.  I was so proud of her progress that term!
     Press on and know that your labor is not in vain.

     Although I can’t help people whenever I want to, I still always want to help people as much as I can.  Last December, I got mail asking people to donate money to Open Door Mission.  Through the letter, we could give $20, $20, or $50.  Also, they listed their website.  So I went online and saw all of their activities.  Then I knew it:  though we donated a small amount of money to Open Door Mission, I was still helping homeless men, women, and children receive shelter beds, nutritious meals, and education to change their life.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/8.

Kaylene Powell
Open Door Mission Volunteer

04 November 2016

Run With Endurance...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 11/3.

     Jesus calls us to keep our eyes fixed on him!  He calls us to continue the race with endurance and to do it with joy!  Jesus was able to see the big picture: salvation and saved souls!  We are not always able to see the big picture, but that is where faith comes in.  We need to believe that God is good and we need to be obedient to His calling no matter what.  We should not say, "Let’s make a deal: if I do this, I will get this."  Instead we should say, “I have faith that you will come through, Lord!”  The joy of what we get to do every day is to share in Christ's love with others.  What a great God we have that would allow us to be a part of it!  There is truly nothing better.
     Open Door Mission family, I pray would you read this and be encouraged and energized for the rest of your day.  Would you, with joy, say this is not a regular day, but a wonderful day!  And our circumstances won't determine our attitude, but Jesus and the joy that we get to join in on this wonderful ministry opportunity every day will!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

03 November 2016

Run With Endurance...Part 1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  –Hebrews 12:1-2
    Last week I read this study during my lunch break, and I wanted to share it with my Open Door Mission family:
     We are to run with endurance the race that is set before us, and we do this by looking to Jesus, who endured the cross and faithfully provided salvation to those who believe (Romans 10:9).  Why did He do this?  For the joy that was set before Him.  The joy of accomplishing His Father’s will and restoring man’s relationship with God.  In the midst of Jesus’ suffering, He had perspective.  He was able to see the big picture—that His sufferings would lead to redemption.  This perspective, this joy, this hope helped Him to be faithful.
     When we face challenges, when we get tired, may we remember what joy it is to share Christ’s love with others—to watch His mercy, grace, and redemption bring hope to the hopeless and save the lost.  –IF:Gathering Discipleship Study
     When I read this, I had already had a day where I needed a good Word from the Lord to press on!  This really gave me encouragement to keep going, to dig deeper on what God is calling me to.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/4.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

02 November 2016

Encouraged by God's Work

     Working in the Development Department, people often share fun stories and notes with me, which is such a blessing.  Sharing what the Lord is doing at Open Door Mission is my job, and I love it!  My prayer is that even when things seem tough, staff, donors, volunteers, and friends of the Mission will be encouraged by these stories of HOPE by knowing that God is on the move!  He is at work, and we get to be a part of it.
     Below is a card that was shared with me.  I don’t know the specifics behind it, but the sweet note inside is sure to lift spirits.  Please read it and be encouraged!


Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

01 November 2016

It's That Time of Year Again...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 10/31.

     Almost every woman wrote on their sheet that they are grateful for their children, families, and other loved ones.  But EVERY piece of paper mentioned the Lydia House Staff in some capacity.  Here are a few that truly blessed my soul:

> "I am thankful for a sober, safe place to stay."
> "I am thankful for the staff and how understanding and caring they are."
> "The staff here are amazing angels that put themselves last to make this a better place, they are loving and they shine for Jesus."
> "I am thankful to live here, I am thankful to have women staff that treat me with respect."
> "I am thankful God gave me the Lydia House to be my safe haven."

     Lastly, I played the song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey.  It has been a blessing to me lately (click here to check it out).

No matter what you are going through,
Remember yesterday's a closing door,
You don't live there anymore.
Say good bye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again!

God is always good and He is always there! 

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

31 October 2016

It's That Time of Year Again...Part 1

     Like most people, the holidays are my favorite time of the year!  Next week in the Lydia House we will once again put our "What are you thankful for?" box at the front desk.  Guests can put what they are grateful for in the box, and as staff we get to read these snippets and be inspired by the level of gratitude in our ladies!
     This morning I was talking to some of our Lydia House ladies, and the conversation turned to a discussion about the condition of our hearts.  I brought up this verse:
Above all else, Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  –Proverbs 4:23
     I told them that this does not mean to close off from other people, but to be aware of what we take in and who we allow to have our hearts.
     They talked in depth about what was in their heart, both good and bad.  I shared things that I myself have kept buried inside for years.  We all shed our fair amount of tears and when we were almost done I asked them to get a jump on this Thankful season and write down what they are grateful for.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/1.

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

28 October 2016

Wheels for Hope

     Did you know that Open Door Mission accepts donated vehicles?  When someone donates a vehicle, that person is providing a huge blessing for an Open Door Mission program graduate and their family!
     These photos are of two wonderful and hardworking ladies who recently received some wheels!  What a blessing!

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

27 October 2016

A Psalm A Day


     I have been reading a Psalm a day, along with my regular devotions, for several weeks now. Today, I was in Chapter 77 where the author wonders if God is still merciful and loving.  He even questions whether God is as compassionate as He once believed Him to be.  The author is in complete anguish, confused about why he is going through his trials.  Doubt is creeping in, and he wonders if God is changing.
     But then the Lord reminds him of the previous miracles and good works that He has done in this man’s life.  God lifts the author out of his doubt.
     So how can I apply this to my life today?  I am battling a cold, which turned into strep throat, and that turned into bronchitis.  God convicted me that I was burning the candle at both ends.  History always repeats itself when I get run down emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I need to trust God that HE has it under control—EVERYTHING.  I need to trust others whom God has entrusted, too.  Trust in God the one who promises to give us life abundantly.  Who is your trust in, today?
     As we go into the busy Holiday Season, do not let Satan distract you from the opportunity to share the Gospel with others.  BE Jesus, so others can SEE Jesus and want to KNOW Jesus.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

26 October 2016

Microwave Message

     One of our Men’s Emergency Center staff members, Jim, does a wonderful job of connecting with the homeless men who come through the Mission’s doors.  He shares a wonderful, unintimidating "Microwave Message" devotional with these guys.
     In only 15 minutes, he shares a passage, asks questions, and invites questions.  By the end of those 15 minutes, these men are connecting the Word, Jim, and each other.
     Jim embodies what our ultimate goal at Open Door Mission is: Be Jesus, so people can See Jesus, so people can Know Jesus.

Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director

25 October 2016

And the Gold Ladle Goes To...

   
 This past weekend we had our Annual Ladle of Love event, and I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make it such a success!
     Alexandria and Rick helped to coordinate pickups, Josh and Scott helped haul tables, Pat and his team helped prepare the Dining Room, men and women in our programs helped bus tables, and the kitchen staff helped make sure all the soups were hot and ready to eat.  That’s not all!  I’m grateful for all staff that attended our event on their day off with their families!
     We had a record-breaking 27 soups from very generous chefs across the area.  The competition for the bronze, silver, and gold Ladle of Love Awards was fierce!
     If you were unable to attend this year, be sure not to miss this fun afternoon next year!

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development