22 September 2017

A New Creation

     Sarah graduated last month. There was a time when that day didn’t seem possible. But Sarah’s story is one that demonstrates that our God gives second chances, that He has already won the battle. One of her favorite verses, 1 John 4:4, says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
     Although God knew the ending, Sarah still had to go through the battle.
     Childhood wasn’t easy for Sarah. Her parents divorced when she was eight. Sarah’s mother fell into a drug addiction and they lost their home. Life was never stable. Sarah lived with her grandpa, her aunt, even with a friend whose parents she paid rent to.
     Essentially on her own, Sarah skipped high school and got her GED instead. At age 19, she fell in love and started a family, but depression began to cling to Sarah. She took pills to numb the pain, and eventually turned to methamphetamine.
     Knowing she wanted more from life, Sarah took her two children to Colorado for a new start. Her boyfriend got clean and came back to help her get clean as well. They tried to stay sober together, to make changes in their lives, but everything kept spiraling out of control.
     The couple lost custody of their three children and were selling drugs and stealing to make ends meet. One day the police kicked in their door, taking Sarah to jail and her boyfriend to prison.
     “Thank God!” said Sarah. “I remember wanting to go to jail so I could have a chance at being sober. And it was in jail that I found God. I was reading Isaiah 61 and was so comforted. I prayed, ‘God, give me more of this!’”
     In April 2016, Sarah came to Open Door Mission. “It was the first time I’d had structure in my life. But you get out of the program what you put into it, and at first I wasn’t ready to surrender. I wanted to do my own thing.”
     Soon, Sarah found herself on the streets and back in jail. In December, though, she received a second chance.
     “The second time when I returned to the Lydia House was different. I felt the old me die, like in 2 Corinthians 5:17. ‘The new creation is here!’ My heart has been changed – I feel things again. And I pray that people see glimpses of God in me.”
     Sarah just started a telemarketing job and is focusing on reconciliation with her children. She’s not sure about the future, but hopes to be able to give back in some way. Perhaps, someday, even working at Open Door Mission.
     “My case managers and the Open Door Mission staff were so supportive. There was always someone to talk to when I started having scary thoughts. Open Door Mission really saved my life.”
     Thank you for your part in inspiring lasting change in lives like Sarah’s!

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

21 September 2017

Include God

Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears and listens to and heeds my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with me. – Revelation 3:20

     When I got to work this morning, our Director of Men’s Emergency Services told me there were about four men who wanted to talk with me. I met with each of them right away. One of the men, named Cameron, wanted to know about getting help with housing and how that process worked at Open Door Mission. We talked and he shared that he had already completed the packet that assesses his need for housing.
     As we talked, I discerned that he had not been in the Omaha area long. He came from Columbus, Ohio. We talked about what brought him to Omaha, and during the conversation I had the opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ. He knew he did not have a right relationship with God. He knew he did not have eternal life and what that meant for eternity. He was raised in a Christian home but knew he was far from God. It was much like the story of the prodigal son.
     God drew this man's heart to Himself. When I asked him, "Is there any reason why you would not want to ask for God's forgiveness and receive Jesus into your life?" He said, "No there is not." Cameron is a new brother in the faith! Keep him in your prayers. Hallelujah! He came into my office to talk about housing. He left my office having security in housing in Heaven!
     We have the great privilege of developing a relationship with God and inviting Him to be a part of everything we do, every day. That starts with simple prayer – just talking to Him and sharing your life with Him as you go about the things you have to do. Be thankful that His presence is with you, and include Him in your thoughts, in your conversations, and in all your everyday activities.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

20 September 2017

Running on "E?"


     When your gas tank is near empty, you go to a gas station and fill it up. When you are about to write a check, you make sure there is enough money in our bank account to cover the amount. When your cell phone battery is low, you plug it in to charge it. So why don’t we do the same with our mental, emotional, and spiritual bank accounts when they’re on empty? When we find ourselves easily frustrated and upset, when everything seems impossibly hard, when we’re overwhelmed, and when we’re thinking that things are never going to change – we need a refill. 
     How can we keep our mental, emotional, and spiritual bank accounts full today? You can start by reminding yourself that you are not a victim of your circumstances, feelings, or thoughts! Let us choose to be the victor and not the victim! 1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “We have the mind of Christ”. We can literally think the thoughts of our champion, Jesus Christ; we can bind ourselves to His championship mentality. He has given us His word to fill our mind and spirit with truth. Get into the Bible and dwell on His word, His truth. 
     God wants us to have everything that Jesus came to give us for an abundant life. Sometimes to fill your spiritual account is as simple as reminding yourself that you are God’s masterpiece. You were made in His image and with His strength. You’re unique. You are lacking nothing. You have everything you need to accomplish what He has called you to do. Please dwell on these truths! Place them into your heart and mind, and fill your tank! Take time to be filled with God’s strength.

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

19 September 2017

This Way to the Shuttle

     The other night I was downtown with my family getting a cup of coffee. We all walked out of the shop to see the usual crowd of our homeless brothers and sisters sitting around the library.
     A gentleman looked my way, and God put it on my heart to go talk to him. So I walked over and introduced myself, and as we get to talking and this brother told me his story. Apparently he is stuck in Omaha, waiting on a check from the VA that would allow him to get back home to Philadelphia.
     I told him all about Open Door Mission since he wasn’t aware of the organization. He told me all he wanted was a hot shower and some food, which I knew we could absolutely help him with. I called the Mission’s front desk to verify the shuttle times and directed him where to go. We have a shuttle that takes men and women to and from Open Door Mission and the library downtown.
     As he began walking toward the shuttle stop, I told him God had brought me to him and that God loves him. Jumping back into the van with my kids, I was able to explain about God’s love and how we are to help each other. And in my rear view mirror as I drove away, I saw my new friend getting into the Open Door Mission shuttle.

Shawn Bartlett
Maintenance

18 September 2017

Challenging the Peak with a Band of Brothers...Part 2

Continued from Friday, 9/15.

     Leading up to the trip, we had been studying Hebrews 10:23-25. As I look back now I can see that God was laying out His truth to be in our hearts during this Peak Challenge.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. –Hebrews 10:23-25

     This scripture, the practices it encourages, the brotherhood it mandates, and the God who wrote it were the only reasons we made it to the top of Mount Elbert. The latter is the main factor. I cannot emphasize enough how much we shouldn’t have been there, how unprepared we were. But God put us there. He used that nine hour (round trip) journey to teach us many lessons. He may have altered the weather and the official hard stop time to get us there, but He carried us to the top.  
     The hike up paralleled much of what our New Life Recovery Program teaches our men. You keep moving forward celebrating any progress, however small. You surround yourself with others that are steeped in scripture, have a relationship with God, and will encourage you to continue on your strenuous journey. Periodically, you look around you and take in the beauty of the progress you have made. Through the entire journey, you thank God for the provisions He has provided in this walk laid before you. From time to time, you see nothing but your feet, stepping one in front of the other, and the small progress you’re making. 
     God worked on this trip. God called Band of Brothers to provide for our men to go. God had been working in all our lives before this trip. And on this trip, God brought His word to life. God called six men to the watery grave of baptism! God carried us to the top. God. God. God. He is good and He will continue to grow and challenge us. This trip creates many opportunities for someone to hear His wonderful voice and see His hand.





Taylor Clinch
Rebuilding Lives Center Director

15 September 2017

Challenging the Peak with a Band of Brothers...Part 1

     I grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota and have traveled to Colorado several times. I have never, however, climbed any of the peaks in Colorado. But that was exactly what I was about to do. God had lined up Open Door Mission to be blessed by an amazing men’s ministry called Band of Brothers to go on a trip called Peak Challenge. 
     The task for the trip was pretty simple: take 20 guys from our life changing sobriety and work readiness programs to the heart of the mountains in Colorado and climb a 14,000 foot mountain. Logistically, it was a little more complicated as I had to prep for the trip and get everything lined up. That was done well enough. We had an AMAZING group of men go, so that stress of little things was relieved. So what was the challenge of this trip? The peak.
     I was cocky in my thinking that after two years of not really doing any regular physical activity, that I could show up, sleep in the mountains for three days, and hike Mount Elbert sitting at 14,439 feet without a problem. That attitude was quickly put to rest at the beginning of the hike. About a third of the way up the mountain, groups were solidly formed. Everyone had their crew of people going at a similar pace. 
     The crew I was with struggled during the hardest part of the climb. One of our group of three had told us he was done and turning back. Malin and I encouraged Tyler not to make this choice at a difficult part, but to continue to an easy area before making his decision. Needless to say, this wasn’t the only time that Tyler wanted to turn back, nor was he the only one who had the same thought enter his mind. 
     About half way up, it was clear that we shouldn’t be on the mountain. We were placing one foot in front of the other, but only barely. Literally, toe to heal length was how we climbed almost half the mountain. Foot by foot and step by step we plodded up the mountain. We were quite the painful sight to see slugging up the mountain, and we knew it. People would pass us by at a blazing pace. We would talk about those people being amazing beasts who climb mountains for a living (we literally met one guy that did). 
     However, we knew we were an especially sorry group by the reactions of those coming down. They would pass others and say “Hi,” and continue on their way. They would pass us and feel the compassionate need to speak encouragement to this dilapidated group of plodders. After a while we noticed it and laughed about it.






To be continued Monday, 9/18.


Taylor Clinch
Rebuilding Lives Center Director

14 September 2017

Serve in Words and Actions

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. –Colossians 3:15-17

     I am reminded today that everything we do here at Open Door Mission, we do it for the glory of God. Our lives in Jesus Christ are amazing because we can bring Jesus to every aspect of our life. Saying a kind word can speak volumes to someone! Going out of your way to help someone can also show them Jesus without saying his name. Furthermore, sharing the Gospel is so powerful in itself.
     God is asking we do everything for God's glory. Our faith lived out is in word and action, not just action and not just word. We can over-spiritualize things and say "I won’t give it my all because I don't get to share Christ." However we miss out HUGELY because we share Christ in everything we do. By working as a team with our co-workers, we do things for God's glory. By listening to someone struggling this week, really listening--putting your computer, phone, papers aside and listening can give people worth and dignity that they are looking for to be heard. 
     You may be reading this and think of how you have fallen short in this area. The Good News of the Gospel is we can come to Jesus, humbly surrender our ways to him, and let him change our lives on how we think, treat, and talk to people. The Good News of the Gospel is that God sees Jesus when He looks at us. Our salvation is not determined on what we do, it's not legalistic. We don't have to prove ourselves to anyone. Jesus has proven himself for all of us. He died for our sins even while we were still sinners.
     So let's be people who know King Jesus in word and action. Let's be people who are joyfully serve those in need. Let's be people who show our glory for the Lord by how we treat every opportunity and task that we are given that day.  Be encouraged dear friends!  God is faithful to us. God is on the move at Open Door Mission!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

13 September 2017

Love Like Christ

     One night I decided to walk to the gas station across the street with Jackie, my final case management appointment scheduled for the evening. I thought it would be good to change it up a bit and to celebrate that she is promoting to the Intermediate Level of the New Life Recovery Program.
Jackie (right) was baptized in July 2017.
     We had just sat down to begin our meeting when a former Lydia House guest walked. She was recently asked to leave due to her unwillingness to treat her own mental health and threatening behavior toward our other guests. The departure of this guest had been heartbreaking for many of us.
     Jackie said she was going to check on her and returned a few minutes later with the other woman, who was limping.  With tears in her eyes, she said that her shoes were too small, and sat down in the chair next to Jackie to take off her shoe. Jackie lovingly looked at this woman’s feet and said, "You have blisters both on the bottoms and the tops of your feet. You need to find a place to clean them and get some band-aids."
     Then, without hesitation, Jackie pulled off her shoes saying, “These might a little big, but see how they feel.” The woman slid her feet into the shoes and you could the relief come rushing in. Jackie then bent down and helped her to tighten the laces.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
     When we were getting up to leave, the other woman was saying some things about her difficulties since leaving the Lydia House, and I was able to explain why mental health is important for everyone’s well-being. She allowed us to pray with her.  It was so humbling to be in God's presence like that.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. –James 1:22

Teresa Leishman
Case Manager

12 September 2017

Mobile Diabetes Clinic

     A record number of Open Door Mission guests visited the Mobile Diabetes Clinic, run by Methodist Nursing Students. Their examinations included blood sugar, blood pressure, height, weight, body mass index, and a warm oil foot soak to finish it off. The guests were lining up outside the mobile unit to be tested. It was wonderful to see so many taking care of themselves and being informed!
     The Methodist Nursing Students were amazing. We love it when the nursing students are here. They are calm and know just what to do in every situation they’re confronted with.
     After his visit to the Clinic, one male guest caught remarked that, "Those ladies treated us with respect and dignity and that made me feel good. But that foot soak - WOW! My feet never felt so good!"






Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

11 September 2017

Salvation!

     Earlier this month, a man named Tracy came to my office. He needed some bus tickets to go visit his mom. As I was serving him, he said, “Can I ask you a question?” He wanted to know how we can have joy in hard situations. Great question. I talked with him about having Christ in our hearts. I shared about the joy I have, even though my sister has cancer and a brother of mine is messed up on meth and in jail. I shared about some struggles my children are facing, and how despite all that, I have God’s joy and peace. I told him that we don’t need to let our circumstances legislate our joy. 
     I said to him, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” He did not have assurance of his salvation and I was able to share the gospel with him. He surrendered to the Lord and received the free gift of God’s salvation. 
     At the end of my shift the following week, I was doing weekly discipleship with a man named Eddie. He expressed his gratefulness to be in the program. As we talked, he got emotional because he spent the last five years in prison and missed out on being there for his son. We talked about that. He also said that, in the classes here, he has been challenged about what it means to be a real man. He was definitely feeling pretty low. 
     He believed what I was sharing with him in the Scriptures, but because of his past he felt he was not worthy and could not be forgiven. I mentioned a verse that helped me see that God accepts us in Jesus. Ephesians 1:6 says, “… whereby we are accepted in the Beloved.” Eddie saw it!
     I asked him the operative question, “Is there any reason right now you wouldn’t ask God to forgive you and receive eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord?” He said there was not. We prayed and he was gloriously saved. He knows he has eternal life and he is excited about the adventure!
     Please keep Tracy and Eddie in your prayers, and be ready to answer people’s questions. It is an open door to share the Gospel. 

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

08 September 2017

Preston's Testimony

     I was born and raised here in Nebraska. After high school, my friends and I got into street racing, drinking, and smoking. One night as I was driving home, I went to pass a car. The roads were slick and my car went into a slow spin. I went sideways into the ditch at over 60 miles per hour, somehow, without the car flipping over. I believe that it took the hand of God to save me. That’s when I first started to believe in Him, but didn’t devote my life to Him.
     I ended up going to prison for over a year, and decided to come to Open Door Mission once I was released. When I came, it was nighttime and dark. I was a little scared, but when I got inside they gave me a cup of coffee and I got my own bed and locker. Sleeping in the bunk house was not fun, but I want to thank the staff of the Open Door Mission for putting up with me! There are many times when I was not the easiest to deal with.
     My stay here at the Mission has taught me many things about God, as well as other things. My favorite classes here are Men’s 33, which taught us how to lead as Godly men, and Financial Peace, which taught us seven steps to getting out of debt in the future. Speaking of the future, I am working to find a good job, so I can get a fresh start in life.
     It all scares me to say the least, but you can never give up on your dreams. Pray to God for all things, and work for good. One of my favorite Bible verses is:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that any man who believes shall not perish but have everlasting life. –John 3:16

Preston
Open Door Mission Graduate

07 September 2017

Where is Your Hope?

     With the tension present in our world today, where is your hope? Is it in the new laws being created? In new community resources? Or is it in Jesus, knowing the He is the only one who can transform hearts and change our world? As followers of Jesus, we should pursue justice. But do we daily believe and live out that Jesus is our only hope?
     In his sermon, Louie Giglio said the following: “Changing the laws doesn’t change the heart. The laws changed in relation to not discriminating people of a different race, but people still dislike people of a different race. The law changed, but the heart stayed the same. The Gospel transforms the heart. We should pursue justice in every way, but we can’t just count on changing laws to change people’s hearts. We have the power to share the Gospel story of Jesus, to see them come alive from the dead, repent of their sins, come to fullness in Jesus, be filled with the spirit of God, get connected into the story of God, start getting their minds renewed to the Word of God and start transforming everything around them. The hope of America isn’t just in that laws change, but the hope of America is that Jesus changes and awakens the hearts of people.”

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it early, as I should be. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that may know how to answer everyone. –Colossians 4:2-6

     In Colossians, Paul is telling us to be devoted in prayer. He is not telling us to pray only when we feel like being devoted. The word “devoted” means to continue firmly and without wavering. We are to pray faithfully, with care and a spirit of thankfulness. We are to pray for each other that God may open a door for us to proclaim the Good News of Jesus. When we have those opportunities, our words are to be clear and honoring to Him. Paul is asking us to be wise about how we speak with people that are not followers of Jesus and to make the most of every opportunity we may have to give the world a reason to have faith in Jesus. 
     I pray that we are people whose hope is in Jesus alone, and that we would be people that know that only Jesus can change hearts. Policies and laws can make people do things, but Jesus can change people’s hearts for eternity. Would be people who ask God to put people in our lives that we can share the Good News with and watch their hearts be transformed by the Good News of the Gospel? I pray that as a staff we would grow in Jesus together and would have testimonies to share with one another of God’s goodness in our lives, through evangelism and discipleship. Be encouraged because Jesus has given us everything we need to live this out daily!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

06 September 2017

A Concrete Bed

     In my line of work, I’m humbled and blessed by the relationships I’m beginning to form with those who are out on the streets. This past week, there’s a story that has touched my heart, and really made me check myself. There’s a man who we call “Uncle,” whom I’ve gotten to know. Uncle always has a smile on his face and he carries a cooler with him. When our van pulls up, he’s always thinking of others, asking for extra waters to put in his cooler because, he says, “I always run into someone who needs it. I can’t do much but I help others when I can, as much as I can.”
     When I saw Uncle this week I gave him a big hug, but on this day, his spirits were low. I noticed, for the first time since I’d met Uncle, he was wearing the same clothes as the day before. He started talking and confiding in me about how he cries at night on his concrete bed. He said the night before was not a good night for him as he couldn’t stop crying. My heart broke as he looked at me and said, “Can I get a few extra waters so I can make sure I have enough for those who need it today?” “Absolutely,” I replied. We gathered with Uncle, held hands and prayed for him as he wept.
     How often, in your time of despair, when you’ve been crying all night long are you still thinking of others? How often, when you don’t have much to give, are you still trying to give to others?
     Uncle has given me a life lesson that I’ll never forget! Often, we think we don’t have anything to give, but giving your last can reap abundant blessings from God, as he is pleased with those who sacrifice the little they have for others. 
     Let’s continue to look for the messages from God in those we serve because God uses them to bless us too.

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. –Hebrews 13:16

Misti Mitchell
Volunteer Coordinator

05 September 2017

Development of Spiritual Depth

     Open Door Mission has been blessed by the ability to broadcast our graduation ceremonies live for about a year now. We post the link online so people unable to attend graduation can still tune into it live. It’s great for students graduating to send to family and friends who live far away.
     One young lady who recently graduated had several people watch her ceremony via this live stream, and they were amazed at how different she looked—not just in appearance, but in her smile and beaming face. This wonderful young lady used her graduation speech as an opportunity to share Christ, and is passionate about what God’s done for her. Since joining our recovery program, she has been encouraged by reconciliation among her family members, and has burden for family to know Jesus Christ as Savior, especially her brother.
     I am amazed to see our graduates’ development of spiritual depth from when they start the program, graduate, and then go back to their communities and churches to have an impact for the Kingdom.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

01 September 2017

Lydia House Olympic Games

     This month, the first official Lydia House Olympic Games were held. We had a bunch of different games - including Wacky Caps, Sumo Wrestling, and a giant obstacle course with slime! It was so much fun and such a great way to spend our Saturday! Everyone - kids and adults - had a great time!
     It’s important to have times like these, to be silly and have fun. Each of these women and children have gone through so much heartache, pain, and struggle, that their hearts can use a couple of worry-free hours.










Lacey Krager
Family Support Worker

31 August 2017

Be Merciful

     Whenever people hurt or disappoint us, our human nature leads us to dislike them because of their shortcomings. But God’s desire for us is to love all people, including our enemies. 
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48
     If people can see love in your heart, instead of anger and judgement, that will give them  evidence that Christ is working in you! One of the greatest privileges we have in life is to follow His example, and we can do that by being generous in spirit and by giving mercy to others as they need it.
     When someone hurts or offends us, it is easy to make a list and keep count of everything they’ve done wrong. But God is asking us to be like Him. In Lamentations 3:22-23 it tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning. In Isaiah 43:25 He says, “I will blot out your transgressions and remember your sins no more.”  I have learned the best thing we can do for ourselves is to let go of the hurt…to lose count of how others have wronged us…and leave the past in the past.
“Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:36-37
     We reap what we sow and whatever we give away to others is what we’ll receive in return I believe. If you want mercy, then sow mercy! If you need a friend, then sow friendliness! If you have financial needs, then look for ways to meet someone else’s needs. The truth is when we sow mercy, we reap a harvest of peace, joy, and healthy relationships. We also take a giant step forward spiritually. Choosing to do what is right (even when it hurts) causes us to grow and mature in an amazing way. 

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

30 August 2017

What I Learned in Paris

     Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. For that reason, my husband and I love to travel. Experiencing new cultures, seeing new sights, and stepping out of our comfort zones truly brings things into perspective. It helps us align closer with the Lord’s heart, not just for ourselves and our country, but for all peoples throughout the world.
     This summer, we were blessed to travel to Paris – the City of Lights. It was beautiful, every corner breathtaking and Instagrammable, and oh so inspirational. The culture was refreshing. But one dark spot in the City of Lights was the shocking homeless population.
     As soon as shops closed their doors, a homeless person would take shelter on their stoop. Walking down the streets, doorway after doorway had turned into a home for the night. In the heart of the busy Latin Quarter where we stayed, each night we saw a single mother with four small children lay out a bed of two blankets on a street corner. She tucked them all in, and they’d fall asleep in the chaos of Parisian nightlife.
     When we returned home, I did a little research about homelessness in Paris. According to INSEE, 141,500 people were living without shelter in 2012, an increase of 44% since 2001. In Paris alone, that increase was 84%. Women account for 38% of this homeless population and around 30,000 children have no home.
     The image of that mother and her four children has stayed with me throughout the weeks since we left Paris. No matter where you travel to across the world, the Lord’s compassion for the brokenhearted remains the same. While I struggle to recognize every member of our life-changing programs at the Mission, God knows the number of hairs on each and every person’s head. He is sleeping on the stoops with the thousands in Paris. He is beside those taking refuge under bridges here in Omaha.
     So in a time when disunity among nations is on the rise, as Christians let’s remember the calling that binds us all. Let’s be compassionate to the brokenhearted.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

29 August 2017

Sunday Devotional

     I get to lead short devotions with the men in our Men’s Emergency Center each Sunday, and wanted to share an example of what those devos are like. Hopefully you’ll receive some revelation and encouragement for this:

Jesus healed Bartimaeus because of his faith.
Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. –Mark 10:46-52


  1. Why mention that Jesus and His disciples both came and left Jericho in the same verse? Why not mention just one of the two? (old city vs. “modern” city of Jericho, Jesus attracted yet another large crowd in Jericho)
  2. What was Bartimaeus’ reaction to hearing that Jesus was near?
  3. What was the crowd’s reaction to Bartimaeus? Why do you think they had that reaction?
  4. What was Jesus’ reaction to Bartimaeus?
  5. How do you think the crowd felt when Jesus told them what to do, after they had just been rude to Bartimaeus?
  6. How would you feel if your authority had just told you to go back and be nice to the person to whom you were just rude?
  7. What stands out in Bartimaeus’ reaction to what the crowd told him? Why do you think that was the reaction?
  8. How would you feel if you found out that Jesus wanted to see you?
    • Jesus does want to spend time with you. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that he sent Jesus to die for the punishment of our sin, and that whoever believes in God’s gift through Jesus will have everlasting life with Him.
  9. Why did Jesus ask Bartimaeus His question in verse 51?
  10. Why did Bartimaeus call Jesus Rabboni / ”My Master?"
    • What would you call Jesus if He were to ever speak to you?
  11. After Bartimaeus tells him, Jesus gives him a huge encouragement but also works a miracle. What was it? (heals him simply because of his faith)
  12. What was Bartimaeus’ reaction?
    • What is your reaction to Jesus?
    • Are you waiting for a huge miracle to follow Jesus? What if that miracle never comes? Will you still follow Him? Bartimaeus already knew who Jesus was, and the first opportunity he had he went to follow Jesus. Will you follow Him?

     We share the Gospel freely, providing every opportunity for men, women, and children at Open Door Mission to accept Christ. But we never force the Gospel on anyone. It is all invitation!

Bob Blank
GTMC Support Worker

28 August 2017

Healthy Discipleship

     Last week, David blogged about a conversation with a man in our New Life Recovery Program named Gary. I recently met with Gary, and wanted to share a little about the progress he has made.
     When I met with Gary, he told me about his meeting with David. He said the two of them ended up talking for two and a half hours, though it only felt like 15 minutes. He had been dealing with a grudge and hatred towards God because of his Mom’s death. This lasted for over 20 years.
     After talking with Pastor David, Gary was able to let the burden go and open his heart to God. He no longer resents God, but loves the Lord. He can't understand it, but he knows he believes in the Lord.
     On Sunday, Gary attended Calvary Church. The Pastor talked about throwing rocks at a house. Gary said someone from behind him grabbed his shoulder and said, "We've thrown a few rocks haven't we." That man was Pat, our Men’s Emergency Services Director. Gary said he had to laugh, and laughed as he shared this story. It is clear to see that Gary is genuinely enjoying the program now. 
     Together we went over his memory verses, and he seems to be doing well. I also talked to him about being baptized. I encouraged him to read Romans 6 and also talk with people he trusts about making this decision.
     The reason I am sharing this is to encourage you that people’s lives are being transformed over here. And it’s not just a one and done experience, but rather a journey. And Open Door Mission staff members are here to walk these men and women through each step of that journey. That’s called discipleship. And Gary’s growth, his movement towards considering baptism is a sign of healthy discipleship!
     I did nothing but listen to what Gary had to say. The Spirit of God was in my office with us. He was genuinely excited, unable to contain the joy of the Lord. 
     Let's give a shout out for Gary, the Lord, David, and all Open Door Mission staff members and volunteers who are discipling every day. And thank you to all who have prayed for Gary. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

25 August 2017

Robotics Club

     A group from Blair came to put on a robotics club for our Lydia House kids, and they did an amazing job! The kids had a blast and it was planned and laid out very well! The students (middle and high school aged students) were great with our kiddos and made everything age appropriate.
     Nicholas especially had a really great time. The group's leader plans to help Nicholas find robotics opportunities through his school. They talked about doing a night like this again sometime, and we hope they do!
     What a cool opportunity for these children to experience something they may not have otherwise gotten to experience. Thank you to these students for caring for our kids!







Lacey Krager
Family Support Worker

24 August 2017

Our Burden Bearer

     We have a student by the name of Gary, who came to us very burdened by bitterness. His mother died when she was only 50, and Gary just could not handle this loss so he turned very bitter toward God.
     Gary describes his mother as a pure woman who was his best friend, and he saw no reason why she should have passed away in 1994. He carried this anger and bitterness as heavy baggage on his shoulders for the last 23 years.
     The Lord, through His love and sovereign ways, led Gary here, and he was finally ready to have the Lord Jesus remove this horrible burden. Now Jesus is HIS burden bearer. Gary is a NEW man who is experiencing the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of a life filled with joy and peace that no one can take away. Please continue to pray for him as he lives as a new creation IN CHRIST!

David Eischeid
Discipleship Counselor

23 August 2017

Attitude of Gratitude

Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining…Complaining is dangerous business. It is easy to complain. We likely do not realize how much we do it. It can damage or even destroy your relationships. I believe it can be one of the most challenging things to overcome. – Philippians 2:14

     Remember that every word you speak has some kind of effect. Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue (our words) have the power of life or death in them – the way we speak really does matter. So it makes sense that we should avoid complaining at all cost. I think of complaining as the enemy’s language. When we do complain, we open the door for him to come into the situation and cause trouble. Praise and thanksgiving is God’s language. 
     Complaining comes from an ungrateful, prideful attitude of the heart. It causes us to feel that we should not be inconvenienced or have bad things happen to us. 
     I’ve learned (and strive to remember) that there is a better approach! I now try to look for the treasure in every trial. The truth is I’ve done most of my spiritual growing during the hardest and most painful times of my life. The trials of life have caused me to press in to God. And as I have done that, He has changed me. He’s helped me develop an attitude of gratitude and humility, which has brought real freedom into my life. Real freedom is being able to not have my way and still be just as happy as if I did. 
     It’s a difficult process getting to the point of having real freedom. But it is worth it. We just need to accept that gaining spiritual maturity is going to hurt. Growing in God is not always comfortable. There are times of sacrifice involved. And there will be times when God will ask you to do things and you’ll feel that you are neither equipped nor ready to do what is being asked – but He will give you the grace to do it.
      Let’s make it our goal to have a constant attitude of gratitude. Resist the temptation to complain but instead praise and thank God for who He is and all He’s done for us. By God’s grace and through His strength, we can overcome complaining and live each day with a joyful and thankful heart. 

May these words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

22 August 2017

College Ready Scores

     Please join me in congratulating Eunice on obtaining her GED! She worked hard, studied diligently, and passed with college ready scores on most of the test subjects! So after completing the New Life Recovery Program, she plans to start college, majoring in either Historical Literature or Epidemiology.
     While she continues the program, Eunice has volunteered to help tutor other women in their GED work to help them reach their goals. She is a great blessing to us!

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

21 August 2017

Less Than a Fast Food Meal

One nutritious meal at Open Door Mission costs less than a
cheap meal at a fast food restaurant.
     Have you ever tried to forget about food even when it's so accessible to you? For most people, a quick run to a fast food drive thru or a gas station is a weekly habit. For most people, paying five dollars for a fast food meal is pretty simple as well.
     For the hungry and homeless men, women, and children who come to Open Door Mission, even five dollars is out of reach. But did you realize that $2.15 provides one entire nutritious meal? On a daily basis, individuals and families staying at Open Door Mission are fed three nutritious meals, and lunch is open to the entire community.
     The kitchen staff and wonderful volunteers are busy preparing 2,300 meals so no individual goes hungry.  Because of YOUR continued support, the Mission can provide one meal at a time. HOPE begins with a meal, and then so much more follows.  
     God is blessing the Mission daily and it's our donors who make it all possible. THANK YOU for giving to the Mission and may God's love pour over each of you and may you be blessed!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

18 August 2017

Celebrate Who You Are

      This morning, I was reading in Corinthians about the gifts that God has instilled in and promised to each one of us. As I thought about the scriptures I was reading, I began to wonder what may be inside of me that God is still developing. What gifts am I not aware of yet? At the same time, I thought about how easy it is for us to focus on what others have and what others are doing, while completely overlooking the potential in our own lives. 
     God has given each of us special gifts. There are special talents and gifts inside of us that are waiting to be developed. Think about where you were five years ago or even last year. You probably are not the same person, and of course, you will continue to grow as time goes on. We should not compare ourselves to others or think, “I don’t have the talent like that person does, so I’m not as important.” The truth is that we are all important, we all have a part to play in building His kingdom, and we need to learn to love who we are. 
     Remember that we are all growing and changing every single day. God has given each of us special gifts. Everyone carries tremendous value in this life. Get excited about seeing your life unfold! Celebrate who you are today, and who you are becoming in your future.

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

17 August 2017

Ability, Skill, and Craftsmanship

JR Vassar is a pastor at Church at the Cross in Texas.
     JR Vassar said the following in his “Work as Worship” sermon: "Is the spirit of God only concerned if you help teach the bible better, keeping your behavior in check, producing the fruit of Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control)? Is the spirit of God only concerned about helping you tell others about the Gospel? Or may the Holy Spirit want to give you ability, intelligence, craftsmanship, skill? I think the Holy Spirit can give wisdom in solving problems to people in their workplace, make wise decisions to move the company forward, and can help you deal with crisis in work. In doing so, He can give you such wisdom and such excellence in your job that it elevates a person to a position of influence in their companies and in their domain. The Holy Spirit wants to give you skill, creativity, and problem solving abilities, and He wants to do this in such a way that you may be elevated to a position of influence. God wants to give skill to His people that they may actually do their jobs with excellence and not live in obscurity. We need to show people how valuable our work is and how we are doing it so the glory of God flourishes. All of life can bring glory and honor to God, but with that there must be increasing dependence on God to get to this point."
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. –Colossians 3:17
     I pray this will encourage you today.  Our work matters for the glory of God.  Whatever we do is worship to the Lord to show Him that our work matters.  When Jesus died for our sins and rose again, he sent the Holy Spirit as our helper.  We have the Holy Spirit daily, not just to study the Bible well, or share the gospel well, or to be "super-spiritual," but for everything we do!
     Whether it’s receiving a donation, giving a guest a toiletry item, typing up an expense report, typing monthly reports, sharing the Gospel, explaining a Bible verse, or giving wisdom to solve a crisis situation, all of this can show God's glory. God's glory is shown when we do this with excellence! We should not be working just to check things off our list, but do them well!
     I pray that we would know that we are given ability, skill, intelligence, and craftsmanship to do our ministry well.  Because when our individual ministries flourish, the Mission as a whole flourishes.  If you don't know what God has given you as ability, skill, intelligence, or craftsmanship, pray and ask Him.  Because God has given us all lots of things!  Our work here at Open Door Mission is a huge testimony of God's goodness to us, our coworkers, bosses, family, friends, and the world. We have major influence to those people that surround us, so let's use our influence to bring more into God's Kingdom!
     I pray that we would be people that do everything for the glory of God and know that doing the everyday tasks will change eternity forever!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

16 August 2017

Ready for What's Next

     I’ve just come back from a trip home, and I’m glad to be back – refreshed, renewed, and ready for what’s coming. I am truly excited about what God has in store for several areas of ministry this fall and winter. Those areas include:

- The intentional ministry direction of the Timberlake, Elkhorn, Council Bluffs, and South Omaha Family Outreach/Donation Centers
- Upcoming graduates and new students enrolling in The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI)
- The garden harvest this spring and summer along with possibilities for fall and winter with the greenhouse
- The revamping of Guest Services and the Receiving Area this fall at the Timberlake Outreach Center
- Spiritual growth and healthy community building activities for students in life changing programs
- Revamping of intentional ministry happening at the Lydia House
- The team that God continues to blend together one by one in every area of the Open Door Mission ministry. It is simply amazing and something that only God could orchestrate.

I could go on and on, but these were areas God brought to mind during my trip. What are you excited about seeing God at work in?

Thought:  The view from every ministry should be from the perspective of Christ on the Cross at Calvary. (Brian Murray)

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

15 August 2017

At the Eleventh Hour

Photo by Doug Walters on Unsplash.
     It ended up being one of those busy nights at the Garland Thompson Men's Center. I got things wrapped up and handed off to the night shift staff members, and was preparing to head home.
     That’s when Kyle comes in, at the literal eleventh hour. He sees me and tells me, "I'm ready to surrender my life to God, Grandpa.” He looked like he had been through the grinder. You could read discouragement all over his face. 
     What am I to do? I thought I was ready to go home, but turns out God had different plans! We went into my office and talked about what it means to surrender to God. I shared with him that God is a Holy God and we are wholly sinners. God will judge sin. But Christ took our place on the cross, and in doing so He took the weight of our judgment.
     I asked him if there was any reason he would not ask Christ to save him. He said, “There is not." He prayed and afterwards he knew he had eternal life in Christ. Hallelujah!
     Sometimes God’s timing isn’t convenient. His plans don’t fit into our plans. But it is so important to be open to what He’s calling you to, because the salvation of lives is on the line! I was willing to go an extra hour without sleep to be sure I’ll see Kyle in heaven for all eternity. Strive to be adaptable when God places opportunities in front of you.
     Keep Kyle in your prayers.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manger