23 May 2017

I Began to Dream Again...Part 2

Continued from Monday, May 22.

     My short term goal is to finish my Bachelor’s degree in English.  I dropped out my senior year when my substance abuse began to fully take hold.  This degree will open up many more opportunities, and it is a crucial step towards another compounding ambition. 
     I dream of acceptance into the Peace Corps to be an English as a Second Language teacher.  The Peace Corps is improving the world.  I wish to be a part of this global edification.  The skills I learn overseas will not only positively impact others, but they will also help me grow into the man I hope to become – a man that will one day get his accredited teaching degree and touch the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of youth.  By imparting knowledge and wisdom to these students, and by filling them with love and hope, I will be relaying the same message the New Life Recovery Program gave me.
     I have already made great strides to achieving these endeavors.  I recently gained employment with a local company that provides a wonderful benefits package.  In fact, they offer employees $25,000 over four years for college tuition!  I have also filled out the FAFSA and applied for a Vocational Rehabilitation Scholarship.
     All things considered, the financial aspect of finishing college may be completely alleviated.  I am elated that this allows for less financial stress and more room to learn and grow as a student and employee. 
     I would not have gotten this job without my life change at Open Door Mission.  The Mission staff led me back to God and helped me adopt a new attitude: No matter how I feel I will get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.  It is a new dawn.  It is a new day.  It is a new life for me, and I am feeling hopeful for the future. 

Steven
Open Door Mission Guest

22 May 2017

I Began to Dream Again...Part 1

     Eight months ago my life began to take a drastically positive upswing.  At that time I was succumbing to an intense drug and alcohol addiction – spinning my wheels, going nowhere.  My family life was crumbling, and my outlook on the future was dim at best.  I became powerless to my vices and developed an out-of-control lifestyle.
     On August 22, 2016, this all began to change as I walked through the doors of the Open Door Mission and was accepted into the New Life Recovery Program.
     As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, my desire for a new way of life began to grow.  Small hopes soon began to spawn larger goals.  In the beginning these goals seemed insurmountable; my mindset was defeated, but not hopeless.  The Open Door Mission staff members helped me work through my issues and victim mentality.  Once I began to take ownership of my life’s problems, they began to lose their power over me.  Progress was made, goals were reached, and I began to dream again.
     All that I have gone through to get where I am today is actually a blessing in disguise.  My lows groomed me for living out my life’s true purpose.  I have lofty dreams these days – dreams full of passion, fueled by a desire to give back and to influence others as positively as I have been influenced.  These dreams will take time, dedication, and the help of God to come to fruition.  I am determined to make these dreams a reality.

To Be Continued Tuesday, May 23

Steven
Open Door Mission Guest

19 May 2017

Baby in One Hand, Homework in the Other

     Jessica obtained her GED!  She worked hard on it for the past seven months.  During this time, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Serenity, but continued to work towards her goal. Every day she would come to the Learning Center with have her baby in one hand, homework in the other, and a big friendly smile on her face (no matter how hard the math assignments got!).
     Her persistence, hard work, and positive attitude were contagious throughout.  So we are all so proud of Jessica as she celebrates this great achievement!  Her future plans are to enroll in college to obtain a Criminal Justice degree.

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

18 May 2017

Giving My Son The Home I Never Had

     “I was broken and torn apart,” said Kelly.  “One day I saw my brother had called me a ‘junkie’ on Facebook, and that opened my eyes.  Something needed to change.”
     Kelly never got the chance to be a child.  Her mother was addicted to drugs, her father absent and strict, which meant that she was vulnerable to abuse – emotional, mental, and physical.  At 15, Kelly was kicked out onto the street after a falling out with her mother.  The years of running the streets that followed are now a blur.
     “I dropped out of school, hung out in the park during the day, and couch surfed at night.  But whenever I couldn’t find a place to stay, I would sleep on a park bench.  It got so cold some nights.”
     Addiction to marijuana and meth overtook Kelly’s life as she had run ins with gangs and was in and out of jail.  Things began to change, though, when Kelly had her son.  He moved into Kelly’s brother’s custody by Child Protective Services, but Kelly had to get him back.
     After trying a couple of programs, Kelly finally gave the New Life Recovery Program at Open Door Mission her all.  The program was intimidating – especially the requirement to give up smoking – but she knew the Bible based material and the longer program structure were what she needed.
     Two weeks into her recovery, Kelly accepted Christ into her life, and she’s been changing to look more like Him every day since.  Three months into her recovery, Kelly got her son back.  “It was hard to learn how to parent a two-year-old, but the staff here really helped me…It was so good to be with my son again.”
     Today, Kelly is ten months sober.  She has her GED, graduated from the New Life Recovery Program, and has many job opportunities open to her.  Classes start at a local college soon, where Kelly will study certified electronic health records.
     “I spent nine months in the program,” said Kelly.  “That’s a lot.  But it was the time I needed to grow.  Without that time and structure, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
     Kelly has been saving her money to purchase a home for her and her son, and will be moving soon.  “I’m breaking the cycle here – it ends with me.  I don’t want to live the way I learned.  I’ve learned how to forgive and I’m proud to have achieved what my mom couldn’t.  I’m giving my son the home I never had.”
     Thank you for allowing homeless mothers like Kelly a chance to break the cycle of homelessness in their families as well as a fresh start as a mother.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

17 May 2017

Agape Love...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday, 5/16.

     When we truly study scripture, the words come alive.  Agape love is sacrificial love.  When we truly live this sacrificial love, that's where we meet Jesus in a real and tangible way.
This is agape in the Greek language.
     Now sacrificial love does not mean going around telling people "I'm sacrificing for you, so appreciate me."  No, it's something internally that you are aware of.  It's denying ourselves, taking up our crosses and following Jesus (Matthew 16:24).  When we truly experience this and walk this out, our heart changes and we start to see people the way Jesus sees people.  We are connected with God in such a real way. 
     The Good News of the Gospel is even if we've failed or fallen short, we can come humbly come to Jesus' feet and ask him to put people in our path He wants us to show His love to.  The Good News of the Gospel is it's never too late to be obedient to what God may be calling you to do!
     I encourage you to think about this: do you have a difficult person in your life that is hard to love?  If so, would you pray for them, ask God to humble yourself, and ask God for tangible ways to show you love them.  In turn, you will be showing Jesus to them!
     Would we be people who do not complain about people, but instead love them like Jesus loves us?  Would we be people that truly live out the Gospel every day and live out what sacrificial love looks like tangibly in our own lives?  I pray our hearts would be stretched wide and it would minister to us as well as the people we serve!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

16 May 2017

Agape Love...Part 1

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  --Matthew 22:35-40
     The great commandment is to love God and love others.  Hearing this sounds like a huge undertaking.  How do I love God and love others?  Maybe you are thinking, I love God, but loving others is really hard.  Or maybe you think, this is for people who are good at this, but I'm not…
     This is the great commandment, and it applies to more than just those who work in full-time ministry like we do at Open Door Mission.  This is the great commandment for all believers. 
     The Greek word for love in these verses is agape.  Jo Saxton sheds some light in a
Jo Saxton is a pastor, Christian author, and speaker.
sermon about what this agape love means.

"What does your love say about you?  It’s easy to love people who are like you.  Love-agape is sacrificial love.  What does your sacrificial love look like?  It’s more than baby-sitting.  Sacrificial love costs you.  It may cost you to make friends who are the lost, lonely, least and lonely, is that your example?  It may be someone you disagree with politically.  Can you disagree without being disagreeable or do we have to fight it out with hashtags on Facebook?  What does our love look like?  Cornel West says justice is what love looks like in public.  What does your love look like to the people you disagree with, people you don’t like, people with whom you don’t want to spend time, and people who occupy your time?  Sometimes the thing the Lord is inviting us to will stretch us into more.  You will find your heart will become bigger than it expected.”

To be continued Wednesday, May 17.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

15 May 2017

Grateful for Open Door Mission

     I would like to thank Open Door Mission for allowing me to heal and grow as a man, father, and child of our Most High God.  I now have the privilege to be part of a church plant in a North Omaha community where I will be able to establish and nurture significant relationships. 
     Through the grace of God, I was recently offered a position with a painting company.  And I was recently given a car through the Chariots of Hope program at Open Door Mission, which will help me get to and from work.  Though I currently receive Social Security Disability, it is my goal to phase into complete and full self-sufficiency.  I can only do this through the full and active grace of the Holy Spirit which dwells within me. 
     Thanks to Open Door Mission, my relationship with my young son is growing and I am able to see him more often.  I hope to model a Christlike life for my son – we all know children are our future.  I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve received at Open Door Mission.

David
Open Door Mission Guest

12 May 2017

I Have Become a Better Man


     My name is Justin, and I graduated the Journey to Work Program this past February.  I first came to Open Door Mission from prison.  Last July, I was paroled here and joined the Journey to Work Program right away.  I was in the program for seven months before I graduated.
     During those months, I received my GED and found a full time job.  Now I am working, going to doctors’ appointments, and visiting my two young sons whenever possible.
     I thank the Lord every day for putting Open Door Mission in my life.  By going through this program, I have become a better man. 

Justin
Open Door Mission Graduate

11 May 2017

Different Facets of the Gospel

     Something I’ve noticed throughout my years as a Christian is that the more times and ways the Gospel is presented to me, the more clearly I see the different facets of the story.  Just like a diamond.  And depending on what is happening in my life at the time, different parts of God’s character mean more to me.  So don’t grow weary in continuing to share the Gospel!
     Every bit of love, kindness, forgiveness, and grace we bless others with is a like a drop of living water to replace of that "stinky water” of sin.  When ministry gets hard, we can remind ourselves that, "I'm sacrificing for you so you will appreciate/LOVE the Heavenly Father who has transformed me with His love so I can love you.”  Let us beware of the attitude of deserving praise for our service.  
     We are the earthly hands and feet and HEART of Jesus.

Sonya Holland
Accountant

10 May 2017

Confidence Boost

     A little while ago, two of our New Life Recovery Program/Work Net students Dal and Kelly went to Authentic You for haircut and makeover!  Both are trying to find the next best steps towards achieving their long term goals.  So the makeovers were a huge encouragement.  With this boost of confidence, they are ready to face any interview!  Check out their transformations below:




Daniel Anderson
Work Net/Vocational Director

09 May 2017

A Fresh Start


     I can never repay all of the blessings Open Door Mission has given to me.  Before coming to Open Door Mission, I had no hope or direction and my mental health was overwhelming.  Since joining the New Life Recovery Program, my relationship with God has grown more than ever before.  I was given the opportunity to address my mental health issues and have come to the realization that I am a good person who is capable of having friends. 
     Since my fresh start at the Mission, I am able to attend NA meetings, set up doctor/mental health appointments, go shopping, and get involved at church.  I am also currently seeking part time employment.
     I am most grateful for everything the Mission has done to help unify me with my children. Without their generosity, my outlook on life would still be bleak.  Thank you for a second chance at lasting change.

Michael
Open Door Mission Guest

08 May 2017

How to Continue in Full Time Ministry

     Over my 8 years at Open Door Mission, I have worked with many different groups of people within our organization, including volunteers, kids, women and families, and now single men.  No matter my position, I had to engage in the area I was assigned and actively look for ways to plug that area into the overall ministry of the Mission.  This ranges from sorting mass amounts of donated Christmas toys in a warehouse, praying with a man/woman, or sharing the word of Jesus.  I find value in each.
     My motivation for whatever I am doing comes from the fact that I value what we are doing at Open Door Mission.  Open Door Mission is making an impact for Christ daily, and whatever task I’m assigned is thus valuable because it works towards the greater purpose.  If I do not measure what I am doing as valuable, then I will not be able to continue doing it cheerfully. 
     How did Stephen in Acts 7 have the motivation to continue down his path, facing certain death?  He was not concerned about his earthly existence, determining instead to stand firmly on the side of Jesus Christ, no matter the consequences.  He saw what he was doing as valuable.
     EACH part of the body is valuable for the whole of the function.  If I lose sight of that, that is when I get the most discouraged.  Does the foot always like to be walked on?  No, but the body isn't running without it.  I have found that I must re-engage with the larger picture regularly to be sure to remain motivated. 
     Another key tool for me to remain motivated to serve others daily is trusting in God and the seasons He walks me through.  I do not always feel motivated, but God calls me to press into him more and more for that motivation.  He wants me to trust in His plan, even when everything seems off and my "feelings" are seemingly confirming it.
     When we remember that God allows us to go through seasons, we don't get too comfortable in summer and we don't get too hopeless in winter.  We appreciate spring more and the blessing of new life it brings.  We also notice the signs of fall, and oddly, begin to appreciate it as well. 

Taylor Clinch
Rebuilding Lives Center Director

05 May 2017

God-Given Checklist

     I read this during my lunch break recently, and it encouraged me so I wanted to share.  It is from She Reads Truth Study.
"Before we close our Bibles today, let’s look at one more list. In Colossians 1:12, Paul reminds us of the incredible blessings we have as followers of Christ:
We share in Christ’s inheritance.
We are rescued from darkness.
We are welcomed into Christ’s Kingdom.
And we have received redemption from sin and death!
Now, that is a list we can all get excited about!  It is the list that has been fully checked off by Jesus on our behalf.  None of our shortcomings can subtract from it.  May we cling to Him today, trusting that we are worthy because of His saving work in us."
     When we look at our checklists today, let’s look at this first.  It is a good reminder of all that Jesus has done for us, and that none of our shortcomings can subtract from it.  Let us do God’s work from the stance of who we are in Christ.
     I know that when I am doing work from the stance of Jesus, when I stop and reflect on His word, I get more done, am more productive, and am amazed at how God shows up hugely every time.  I pray we would have time to meditate on God’s Word today and remind ourselves of the truth that is in Jesus!  That is my prayer for us all today!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

04 May 2017

Salvation This Very Day

     Today I was able to meet with a man in Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program named Russell.  He was thinking about leaving the program.  I had spoken with him about this earlier, and told him I wanted to talk with him more.  So he caught up with me, and we had a wonderful discussion.
     I was able to share with him while he was able to really pour out his heart.  He knew about Jesus but he did not know for sure he was saved.  He actually said, "I know I am not saved."  We talked and I shared the good news of Jesus Christ.
     There came the point in our conversation that I asked him, "Is there any reason why you would not want to ask Jesus to be your Savior?"
     He said, "There is not."
     We prayed together then he prayed and confessed his sins, asking the Lord to save and forgive him.  Afterwards I asked him again, "Do you know if you have eternal life or not?"
     He said, "I don't."
     I reminded him of the verses we read and it was like a light bulb turning on.  He smiled and said, "Yes I do!"
     The Devil was trying to keep him in his old programming.  But the Lord deleted the old programming and gave him assurance in that very moment. Hallelujah for the power of the Gospel!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

03 May 2017

Promotions Night


     Promotions for students in the life-changing programs are an important part of the process.  Joining the program is the first step towards making that life change.  After that, there are different levels in the program, and every month we have a night to celebrate those who have moved on to the next level.  That night is Promotions!  The men and women in our programs strive for excellence to achieve those goals.
     I recently attended a Promotions ceremony.  The men and women honored in these ceremonies have grown in many areas and have achieved many personal goals.  Some of the students receive special recognition.  One of these awards has been voted on by their peers and recognizes a specific area where one that man or woman shines and is making a difference.  The other award is a staff nomination for which man or woman went above and beyond in the program.
     This night is a time for lots of celebration and recognition of the men and women who are ready to and already are making a difference for themselves and others.
     To see smiles on the faces of these men and women who have come so far is more encouraging that I can express.  In class, I make sure to tell the guys that they are important and that God has a plan for them.  I encourage them to keep their heads up and to keep working towards Graduation!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

02 May 2017

Helping My Neighbors

     My name is Kayla, and I started to volunteer at Open Door Mission because I wanted to use my extra time to help my neighbors who need food, shelter, and safety.
     I quickly found that it is easy to volunteer each week because these neighbors are so kind to me when I drop off supplies at the Timberlake Outreach Center, and they appreciate anything I give them. Some of these neighbors come to the Mission with the clothes on their back, and that’s it! This truly makes me appreciate everything I have in life and makes my troubles seem much smaller.
     I volunteer in the Development Department because I have extensive experience with media relations, event planning, and grant writing. For the first few weeks, I updated the free Omaha and Council Bluffs community calendars with all of the Open Door Mission’s upcoming events. I have taken inventory of supplies, written auction item receipts, gave feedback on their newsletter, helped with the Runza campaign, and distributed posters and flyers. The Development staff members always welcome me, make me feel appreciated, include me for their staff gatherings, and make great use of my time.
     What skills have you learned throughout your career? I guarantee the Mission could utilize your time and efforts. Perhaps you could volunteer for an hour each week or for one of their special events? Open Door Mission will add value to your life, and I’m certain you’ll make new friends along the way!

Kayla Zebrowski
Open Door Mission Volunteer

01 May 2017

My Part of the Ministry

     I love being a part of Open Door Mission’s Marketing Team!  The main part of my position involves supplying information to all satellite campuses (our three Family Donation/Outreach Centers) and updating communication boards around Open Door Mission’s main campus.  We want to get news out to donors and volunteers, and share what exactly we do at the Mission.
    I also get to collecting prayer requests from our guests, volunteers, and staff from the "Prayer Walls" we have in each building on campus.  These are available for everyone to use when they want to express a prayer request or personal praise that is on their heart and mind.
     These are special parts of Open Door Mission's ministry that I get to be a part of, but it doesn't stop there!  The sky is the limit of how someone can be a blessing here by serving in some way shape or form.  
     Check out our website and "Like" us on Facebook to find out how YOU can get involved and make a difference TODAY!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

28 April 2017

I Serve Because I was Served

     Sometimes people ask why I work at Open Door Mission, and the answer is close to my heart.  I am blessed to have experienced both sides of Open Door Mission—as a guest and as a staff member—and I love both sides.  Words cannot explain the thankfulness that I have for the work that is accomplished at the Mission.  I believe that each staff member was handpicked by God for their position in their season.
     I have been given a new life and HOPE from the staff/volunteers to become a better person and to build a relationship with God.  That is something that was missing in my life before coming to Open Door Mission.  I came from generations of abuse, violence, alcoholism, addiction, and hopelessness.  I am absolutely certain that I would not be the person I am today without the guidance and love I received from the staff and volunteers while I was going through the program.  Even today, I am still encouraged by staff and volunteers!
     I will be celebrating five years of sobriety in June.  I have built a relationship with Jesus and He IS my Lord and Savior.  That is what has made the difference.
     I was brought back to Open Door Mission as a staff member to serve God and be His vessel to those who are still hurting and in conflict.  This could be answering a phone call, smiling at a person on campus, helping unload vehicles of donations, assisting someone with paperwork to move in, telling someone they are loved, or listening to the ladies in a small group.
     No matter what God calls me to, I know I work here for God’s purposes, not my own.  He gives me the strength to inspire hope in others I come into contact with.  He makes each divine meeting and hand picks people to be where He wants them.  
     I am eternally grateful for the staff, volunteers, and donors that make this place possible.  This is not just a job.  We are able to see life changing miracles all around us.  It is a privilege.  My coworkers and I are able to pray for and encourage each other.  I cannot begin to explain the blessing it is whenever I am about to pray to our Father with someone in need.  Guiding them towards a relationship with God and sharing my testimony of how He has made me a product of grace is wonderful.  
     I serve because I was served.

Cynthia Mier
Housing Admissions

27 April 2017

Congratulations are in Order

     Please join me in congratulating Lydia House guest Kelly on obtaining her GED!  Last Saturday she also graduated from the New Life Recovery Program AND walked the stage as a High School Graduate!
     She has worked very hard the past 8 months to get sober and make a lasting change in her life.  These accomplishments are well earned!  Kelly plans to start studying Medical Billing and Coding next semester at a local community college.
     Pray for her to have continued sobriety, boldness, and motivation.  And also pray for our other guests, that they may be inspired to make a lasting change in their lives as well!

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

26 April 2017

There's Love Here...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday, 4/25.

     “Because that process of jail, then a judge, then a different recovery program, then another arrest, then another hearing, finally brought me to Open Door Mission. And you know what made the difference?
    “There’s love here. But for the love of everyone here, especially Pat (Director of Men’s Emergency Services), I could have chosen to return to a life of addiction, poor choices, and the lack of character that nearly took me out in the first place.”
     Today, Matt is determined to pay it forward in love. He leads a Bible study. He’s a greeter at the church he attends. He has a special joy in encouraging youth to make decisions that honor God and build character.
     “Someone from church needs to do life with kids, so they understand that Jesus is present in every area of their lives. There needs to be someone who plays ball, or talks with them over a soft drink, or skips stones on the river – whatever – who shows them that inviting Jesus into everyday life is good stuff.”
     Your support of Open Door Mission has encouraged Matt to pursue a career in addiction counseling. “I’m a people person. The Mission helped me get into vocational rehab as well as The Urban Ministry Institute to pursue my degree in counseling.
     “There’s love here. I’m loveable now. And I love and help others. In return, that helps me.”
     Thank you for making it possible for Open Door Mission to help Matt.

Steve Wamberg
Director of Advancement

25 April 2017

There's Love Here...Part 1

     When you talk with Matt, you see a man at peace. He breathes evenly. His voice is steady. He almost glows when he mentions God and His faithfulness.
     It’s hard to believe that, seven months ago, Matt lost both parents in a three-week period. A recovering meth addict and a new Christian, Matt had come to Open Door Mission just one month earlier to continue his journey to recovery.
     “I was clean and, after 14 years of addiction of one kind or another, actually wanted to stay clean,” said Matt. “My parents gave me a good childhood. They did what they could to help me each and every step. I was the youngest of five kids, and had all the benefits of being youngest. It truly hurt to lose my mom and dad.
     “If there was any time I might have returned to life as an addict, that was it.”
     Matt has no complaints about his early life in northwest Missouri. His dad worked for IBM. His mom kept house. If he hadn’t tried alcohol in junior high, Matt might have a totally different story to tell.
     “I kept drinking from about age 12 on. I added weed as a habit in college,” said Matt. “Then I started on methamphetamines. It took me all those years being miserable to understand that God was really helping me out when I got busted.

To be continued Wednesday, 4/26

Steve Wamberg
Director of Advancement

24 April 2017

Love of Chocolate

     She walked to our van with her head held down.  One of our Streets of Omaha volunteers got down to her eye level and asked if she wanted a chocolate bunny.  Her head shot up and this sweet little girl said, "I am four!  I love chocolate!”
     We all smiled and gave her a chocolate bunny, and immediate she opened it.  Her eyes were glowing with pure excitement!  She asked us lots of questions and talked to us about her favorite things to do.  As we all loaded back in the van, having handed out sack lunches, bottled water, and chocolate to everyone in the area, she ran into one of our volunteers’ arms saying, “Thank you for my chocolate!”
     As we drove away, we could see her sit next to her mom on the front step of her house.  She waved to us as we drove away.  We left away feeling honored that we were able to meet her.  I hope she was able to get a glimpse of what the world should be like—people reaching out to others, smiles all around, lots of laughter, and new friends.  Today we made a new friend, and we are so thankful for that opportunity!
     Our Streets of Omaha volunteers make a difference in the lives of people every day!  The Streets of Omaha program is spreading the love of Jesus one sack lunch (and chocolate bunny) at a time!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

21 April 2017

Impromptu Devotionals

     The other day I was walking from the Administration Building to the Timberlake Outreach Center.  When I entered the Receiving Area, I found a group of guys from the New Life Recovery Program standing outside in gorgeous spring sunshine.  They were circled around two of our staff members, Scott and Shawn.
     As edged a little closer to eavesdrop, I heard these men sharing from Galatians 5:13-17.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  –Galatians 5:13-17
     Scott and Shawn were willing to take time out of their busy work days to share encouraging truth with these men, to share wisdom God has granted them through their own experiences and trials.
     This is what I love about this place!  Thank you to all staff, volunteers, and donors who take the time to invest in our men, women, and children.

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

20 April 2017

Striving for Excellence

     Every day I get the opportunity to be an example at Open Door Mission by ministering to the men on campus.  Getting to know them and their story is such a blessing as this gives them a chance and an opportunity to open up, share their feelings, and, express what they want to accomplish while at the Mission.
     When I see them as we cross paths or when we have a face to face conversation, I see huge smiles or the tears of happiness as the men tell me how much they have grown in their faith.  I can tell they are finding what they have been searching for in their personal journey and just how much they feel loved and cared for by God.
     Watching the men strive for excellence in everything they do by putting their best foot forward is daily blessing.  What makes this extra meaningful is I teach a class for the men one day a week and lead morning devotions for the men one day a week.
     It doesn't stop there.  The program is a wonderful opportunity for men to get connected with God's word and how to make that positive change in their life that they have been longing for.  The New Life Recovery Program takes their journey with the Lord to the next level.  This program is a stepping stone for them to start being independent and back on track.
     Several of our men are looking forward to graduation which is this Saturday, April 22, at 10:00 a.m. at the Garland Thompson Men's Center, (2705 N 20th St E Omaha, NE).  Students graduate from the program when they have completed all requirements.  I see firsthand the positive changes in lives every day, and I know God is at the center of it all!  
     God is at work changing the lives of MANY men, women, and children at Open Door Mission!  I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful ministry. In Christ's Love, EVERYONE is SOMEONE!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

19 April 2017

Innovation and Competition

     As Gift in Kind Coordinator, I get to meet with many groups—ranging from businesses to churches to classes to Girl Scout troops to everything in between—who have decided to bless Open Door Mission with drives.
     I would like to share how a little ingenuity, compassion, and (of course) competition brings great blessing to Open Door Mission.  UBS Financial Services had total participation of their 40 employees in a team challenge that led to lots of fun and laughter.
     Team names were the No Namers, Comfort Collectors, Hot Buttered Leprechauns, and (the winners!) Gordo’s Do Gooders.  Together, UBS collected 7,763 personal care items for hungry and homeless men, women, and children at Open Door Mission!  They had to use chairs as carts as there was so much stuff.
     A big, “Thank you!” to UBS for their innovative way of supporting Open Door Mission!  How can your company, small group, class, or family make a difference?  Don’t be afraid to dream big and make it fun!




Click here for more information about drives.

Maggie Cope
Gift in Kind Coordinator

18 April 2017

LOOK...Part 2

     Annie F. Downs then discussed how there is a difference between having a personal relationship with Jesus and working for God in employment/vocation.  Sometimes from working in ministry we are too tired, too exhausted to spend time alone with God, just meditating on His word, reading the Bible, and hearing from Him.
     Sometimes it's easier for us to say, “I shared Bible verses, I shared the Gospel today, so I'm good.  I'm just too tired today God.”  Sometimes we wish we could hear from God, but just are too tired from the day to take any time to actually hear.
     What matters to God is that we spend time with Him.  We can come as we are, tired or fully energized, or in between.  Yes, we need to be obedient to do His will and for some that means full time ministry.  But if our relationship with God suffers, our ministry often suffers as well.
     Would you make it a priority to spend time with God and look for Him?  I don’t mean read just to get it done, but to actually look for God in scriptures, ask questions, study, and enjoy who He is.
     I have learned and will continue to learn that when I spend time alone with God, He shows up hugely in my ministry at Open Door Mission.  I don't seek out people, but God places people in my path and I share what He wants them to know.
     Would we be people who look for God in everything we do?  Would we LOOK for Him in our day to day life, in scripture, in what He does?  Would we be encouraged that if we have fallen short, that we can still come to God's feet?  Would we pray, "God help me look for You, help me see Your Word as living and active and I pray it would come alive in my life daily."
     God is so good because He is always looking for us, no matter where we are.  We matter, you and me because our God would leave the 99 just to find the 1.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

17 April 2017

LOOK...Part 1

     A couple of weeks ago I was able to hear Annie F. Downs, one of my favorite Christian authors, speak at Lifegate Church’s Brave Event (a women’s conference).
     She discussed the word LOOK in the Bible, explaining that it is an active word meaning attempting to find, seek. 
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.  Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  –Psalm 34:4-5
LOOK--Here we see that looking changes us.  When we LOOK to the Lord for help, will be radiant with joy.  It will change us internally and physically as it says no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized Him as He was breaking the bread.  And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” He said.  But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!  “Why are you frightened?” He asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?  Look at My hands. Look at My feet. You can see that it’s really Me. Touch Me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”  As He spoke, He showed them His hands and His feet.  –Luke 24:36-39
LOOK--Jesus is telling them to get active about believing that I am what I am.  Look for Jesus to be the savior that you needed.  He always shows up because He knows we are always looking!
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”  –Matthew 18:12-14
LOOK--Jesus looks for us.  He is looking for you!  He would forsake the 99 just for the 1.  We all matter!
To be continued Tuesday 4/18.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

13 April 2017

What Easter's All About

     This weekend we will celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead!
"Christ suffered for your sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit."  --1 Peter 3:18
     In this time leading up to Easter, please remember to pray for the homeless - that God would grab a hold of their hearts and bring them home. He loves them - every single man, woman, and child - enough to send His Son to die for them. Pray that more people than ever would find salvation in Jesus!

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

12 April 2017

Celebrate Recovery



     I take a group of guys to Celebrate Recovery at Sojourn Church in Council Bluffs on Thursday evenings.  One of the guys who comes is named Caleb.  He has been in and out of Open Door Mission’s programs a couple of times, but his addiction still had a hold of him.  This time it seems different, though.
     Last Thursday we had a good meeting, and on the way back we were talking about assurance of salvation.  Caleb had a number of things he knew he needed to get right with people.  I shared he did not have to clean up his life before he can have assurance with God.
     “Come by faith, just as you are,” I said.
     I shared the Gospel with Caleb right there in my truck, and he prayed to accept Christ.  Hallelujah!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

11 April 2017

The Next Best Right Step

     I would like to lift up in praise that out of our most recent group of WorkNet students, three students have full-time employment, one has part-time employment, two are continuing their education with a direct path to employment, and one plans to volunteer and improve their physical health.
     There are a few remaining members of this class seeking employment and direction for the next best right step on their path.  So please lift them up in prayer for God's providence and guidance in their search.

Daniel Anderson
WorkNet/Vocational Director

10 April 2017

The Blessing of a Car

     My name is Angela and I recently graduated from the New Life Recovery Program.  A week after graduation, the van I owned blew up and I had to sell it for scrap.
     I had put a lot of wear and tear on my van by giving rides to women and children at the Lydia House to and from doctor appointments, stores, and etc.  I wouldn’t change that for the word.  I love the families that I’ve met here and cherish the wonderful relationship I’ve had with them.
     Currently, I’m working a full time as a cashier in Council Bluffs, and it has been difficult getting to work without a car.  My goal is to return to school and finish my cosmetology license, but that wouldn’t be possible without my own vehicle.
     Then, last week, I was blessed with a car!  There were tears in my eyes as they handed me the keys to this blessing of a car.  I just want to say, “Thank you!” for all Open Door Mission and the Lydia House does!  You have put so many smiles on so many faces since I’ve been here.  What a blessing.

Angela
New Life Recovery Program Graduate

07 April 2017

Update on Jane Doe

     I have an update on Jane Doe!  A couple of days ago, she came to Open Door Mission for lunch.  Sarah and I were able to talk with her, and she told us that she wanted to stay at the Mission.  Jane was clearly very hungry and even got seconds of her meal.  We gave her many smiles and hugs to help her feel welcome here.
     When I asked her what happened at the hospital, she danced around the question.  I know that staff members took her to the hospital, but I asked her if she had stayed.  She lowered her head and said, “No.”
     Jane has many bruises on her face and neck.  Her voice is still very quiet and she has difficultly speaking.  She said I could go back to work as she finished eating and that she would let me know when she was ready to get checked into the Lydia House.  A couple of minutes later, I watched her go out the back door to catch the shuttle for downtown.
     Please pray for Jane.  She is seeking and knows she is safe at Open Door Mission.  She is afraid of the unknown however, and fear of the unknown is a tool used by Satan.  Pray that she feels the presence of our Lord working around her so she can find her way back to a place at the Lydia House.

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

06 April 2017

The Power of a Testimony

     This weekend, we had a memorial service for Gary, one of our guests who passed away suddenly.  Afterwards, one of the guys in the New Life Recovery Program came up to talk to me.  He said he did not usually get emotional at funerals, but there was something special about what he heard that day.
     He talked about wanting to get closer to God.  The more we talked, the clearer it became that this man was basing his closeness to God on what he needed to do rather than putting his faith, hope, and trust in what Jesus did for him.
     I shared four simple things with him: God is a holy God, man is wholly full of sin, one day we will all be judged, and that Jesus bore our judgement on the cross.  We discussed these things and he understood what I was saying.  He decided to put his faith, hope, and trust in the work of Jesus Christ.  After we prayed, he knew that he has eternal life in Christ!  There was a genuine smile on his face that wasn't there before. 
     Praise God that for using used the testimony and memorial of Gary to bring someone into the Kingdom of His dear Son! 

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

05 April 2017

Wahoo!


     I am constantly blown away by the generosity of our volunteers and donors!  Last week, students from Wahoo Middle School came to volunteer.  They helped make sandwiches and sack lunches for our Streets of Omaha ministry during the morning food prep time!  Aside from volunteering, they also stayed for a tour of our campus AND donated 234lbs of cereal and breakfast items!
     A big thank you Wahoo Middle School and to all Open Door Mission volunteers!  If you’d like to volunteer during the Food Prep time, Walk Ins are Welcome!  Click here to learn more.

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

04 April 2017

Jane Doe

Some of the Free Health & Healing Clinic's wonderful volunteers.
     The Lord knows her real name, but Jane Doe is the only name she would give when she came into the Free Health & Healing Clinic last week.  She had been severely beaten twice in two days and had finally gotten away from her abuser.
     When Jane saw the volunteer doctor in the clinic, he advised her to go directly to ER as she has several broken bones.  One of her broken bones was on the leg she limped on to come into the clinic.  She also had a partially crushed voice box and was barely able to speak.
     I was able to get Jane a sack lunch and drink while we waited for the van to be pulled around.  A male and female staff took Jane to the hospital, and on the way the female staff, Sarah, shared her story of salvation.
     As they were helping Jane out of the vehicle, she thanked Sarah for sharing her story and said it gave her hope.  Sarah held Jane’s hand and encouraged her.  It is no coincidence that Sarah rode along to the hospital.  Seeds were planted in Jane’s heart and we know that she is in our Father’s loving care.  I do hope she comes back to see us. 
     Please pray for this precious soul.  I don't know how she knew to come to Open Door Mission’s clinic, but I am praising God that she did.  He is the one that guided her steps.

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

03 April 2017

The Miracle Baby

     Would you join me in lifting up my 2911 client, Nya, up in prayer as she is going to be induced for labor on Wednesday?  Her story is so special!  Her last pregnancy was very rough.  When she gave birth, she lost too much blood and the doctors had to break the arms of the baby to get him out.
     Because of this, when she found out she was pregnant again, her doctor told her she needed to get an abortion.  She was told that the baby would not live to full term and that Nya herself would most likely die.
     The doctor said she was too weak to carry this baby and scheduled an abortion date for her in September.  She didn't want to go, but her husband talked her into it.  In the parking lot of the hospital last September, Nya refused to go inside for the abortion.  
     She prayed over a new list of doctors and picked a lady at another hospital.  When Nya finished telling the new OB her story, the doctor shared that she herself believes in Christ and prayed for Nya!  This lady told her that God can see things that doctors aren't even smart enough to see themselves, so Nya was wise to listen to God in her decision.
     The baby boy in her belly has reached six pounds, is active and kicking, and is very healthy!  The doctors have Nya taking extra iron so she will be as strong as possible for the procedure.  She is going in for a c-section as that is the smartest way for her to give birth with her high risk pregnancy.
     The couple has chosen the Sudanese name for the baby of Chudiar, which means "don't worry."  This is such a testimony of the miracles God has up His sleeves!
     Another praise is that Nya was in need of a crib.  After searching around the Timberlake Outreach Center this afternoon, I found one in good condition!  God truly sees every need and He has been with Nya through all of this.  Thank you for your prayers.

Kristin Boll
Community Case Worker

31 March 2017

Homeless No More


     This past weekend, my son and I drove a young father of four staying at the Lydia House down to the bus line.  It was misting, cold, and windy.  Despite this weather, the man was cheerful, and shared that he had just rented a home.
     He and his family have been living at the Lydia House for eight months.  He is a cook out west, but does not have a car.  Every work day he walks downtown to ride the bus to work, works his shift, rides the bus back downtown, and walks back to the Lydia House.  What dedication.
     This family is on their way to being homeless no more, thanks to so many that GIVE to Open Door Mission and Lydia House.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

30 March 2017

Salvation at Midnight

     A man named Sean was trying to meet with me all evening. That night, however, I was doing intakes at our Men’s Emergency Center and it was busy.  At about ten minutes to midnight, we were finally able to get together for a discipleship meeting.
     Sean was raised in the church, but did not know if he had eternal life.  I shared the truth of the Gospel with him and asked, "Is there any reason you wouldn't ask Jesus in your heart right now?’”  Sean saw he missed the mark with God.
     He saw the truth of Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23. He saw the hope of John 3:16 and I John 5:12-13.  We prayed together and Sean asked God to forgive him through Christs' work on the cross.  Hallelujah!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager