17 November 2017

Prayer at the Mission

     Prayer is so important at Open Door Mission! I LOVE seeing our life changing program students praying for one another. This picture was not taken at church, in a classroom, or even behind closed doors. This time of prayer is taking place in the lobby of the Lydia House—right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the day!
     Sometimes it brings me tears of joy to hear that our staff members are intentionally reaching out with the simple question, “How can I pray for you today?” It’s amazing what God can do with one simple phrase.
     Because of this question, one of our staff members was able to hear one lady’s powerful testimony. This woman is from Africa and she stayed at the Lydia House for one year. We helped her get her green card and get back on her feet. Since moving out on her own, she and her two kids have been living on their own and she is employed full time! At times, she still needs a little support, but is doing well and is homeless no more!
     Say a prayer today because GOD is listening. 
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. –Colossians 4:2

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

16 November 2017

Preach the Word

     In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul charges Timothy to,

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season.

     One night at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center, our Health Care Case Manager Greg came in to get something quickly from his office. While here, he learned that for some reason there was no chapel team scheduled and that staff hadn’t gotten a chance to cover it due to some other issues that had arisen. 
     Without missing a beat, Greg got on the building’s speakers and announced that he had a sermon ready! And then he went and lead chapel! You can bet that he was preaching the Word.
     This man is a walking embodiment of 2 Timothy 4:2, and an encouragement and challenge to many of us in the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. Love him!

Jeremy Settle
Case Manager

15 November 2017

Simple Acts of Giving

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” –Acts 20:35
      A couple of weeks ago, I had my first experiences leading the Streets of Omaha team on a rainy day. Boy, is this a change from the sunny days I'd experienced up until then!
     While at our first stop, a guy approached the van asking for a jacket or a blanket to keep him dry. Without hesitation one of our volunteers, Suzy, took off her jacket and gave it to the man.
     Later, we had two additional individuals asking for umbrellas and Suzy along with another volunteer, Jane, both gave their umbrellas to those in need.
     I have read Acts 20:35 plenty of times and know in theory that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But today I got to see volunteers putting that Scripture into action! The Son was shining in their hearts, even in the rain!
     Thank You, Jesus, for showing Yourself true and mighty through three simple acts of giving.

Misti Mitchell
Volunteer Coordinator

14 November 2017

One Liners

     The other night, I met with Jack for discipleship. He is doing well, in the middle of the Intermediate Level of the New Life Recovery Program, which means he has lots of Bible packets to fill out. I have been enjoying reading his answers. If you put them together, it would be a well-written testimony.
     I also am going through his memory verses with him. He tells me he can't memorize them, so he writes each one ten times. One of his verses was out of Proverbs. His translation was a one liner. In my NKJV it says,
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. – Proverbs 25:28
     I challenged him to quote this verse without looking. He did perfectly. Then I taught him another verse that was a one liner, John 11:35 (Jesus wept). Again, I challenged him to recite this verse. He nailed it! Then I told him even big verses are full of one liners. It may be three or four sentences, but they are one line at a time. Jack smiled. 
     I share this because I want you all to know how personable these times of discipleship are. It is good stuff. Keep our program men and women in your prayers. The program should be encouraging and even fun. Praise God that we get to do what we do. 

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

13 November 2017

Happy Birthday, Open Door Mission!

     There is so much to celebrate this month! The famous Omaha Woodmen Tower was lit up purple just three years ago to recognize Open Door Mission’s 60th Birthday. Three years? It seems like just yesterday!
     Two years ago we opened our South Omaha Family Outreach/Donation Center that now serves more than 200 needy families every week.
     God is good, and it is good to take moments to thank Him for big milestones like these. Praying for more exciting blessings to come in our 63rd year!

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

10 November 2017

Thankful for a Father's Love...Part 2

Continued from Thursday, 11/9

     John went into another downturn after his father’s death. He fell back into the cycle of
addiction. His part time restaurant job barely covered his expenses. But it was there that John ran into David Eischeid, an Open Door Mission staff member.
     "Just being around Dave woke me up. And he was patient, consistent with me. He reminded me how much better life was when following our
Heavenly Father, and he asked me to think about coming to Open Door Mission.
     “I came to the Mission. I got here, I got sober. I’ll work to get my CDL back. My daughter and her family just moved into town. I’m blessed to have the chance to get to know my grandchildren.
     “I'm thankful I made peace with my earthly father before he died, but it took my Heavenly Father to show me how to love. This is a safe place to take time to reconnect with my Lord God. God bless everyone who works with me here, and thank God I found Open Door Mission.”
     Thank you for providing a place for John and so many others to find the love of our Father in heaven!

Steve Wamberg
Director of Development

09 November 2017

Thanks for a Father's Love...Part 1

     John was on a search throughout his childhood. “I had the material things I wanted, but I never felt I could please my father. I never heard him tell me he loved me. My father was my hero, and as a young boy that distance was devastating.” Before long, John discovered that he could get his father’s attention quickly if he misbehaved.
     “I gave up trying to be good,” John remembers. “Getting into trouble gave me more contact with my father than I had if I did well.” Just as John was entering adolescence, a family member abused him sexually. “I lost my innocence. That little secret drove me into isolation."
     As a teenager, John was still having issues creating healthy relationships. He began to numb himself with alcohol and marijuana – a habit that continued through high school and into a promising career in auto body repair. A few years after he’d launched his career, John found himself divorced with the custody of an infant daughter and back living with his mother.
     Wanting to make a fresh start, John joined the National Guard. During basic training, he became sober, healthy, and excelled as an infantryman. He returned home ready to make positive changes.
     A job he was counting on fell through. John experienced long cycles of falling apart, then doing well, then falling apart for years at a time. He added crack cocaine to his addictions. John’s drinking cost him his CDL. He wasn’t always in a good place, but a miracle unfolded: John and his dad reconciled in the months before his dad died.

To be continued on Friday, November 10

Steve Wamberg
Director of Development

07 November 2017

My Friend, Clifton

     This is my friend, Clifton. He had a great laugh and was a wicked chess player. Our first meeting together was not all smiles, however. In 2001, I was meeting with the men in the chapel of our old Men’s Center. Clifton jumped up on a chair - all 6'4'' and 250+ pounds and loudly shouted, "I demand a recount. I want Steve Gregory to be in charge - he's the boss."
     I said, "Mr. Pope, sit down right now." Clifton was homeless, but after being at the Mission got back on his feet and a found a home. BUT he always registered for Thanksgiving assistance. Every year is has been fun to catch up.
     This past Saturday, the Open Door Mission team registered thousands of families for a frozen turkey and a fixin’s box. Thank you for your prayers for the team that greeted and served our friends that are #homelessnomore, but still struggling to make ends meet.
     Please continue to pray that Open Door Mission has enough turkeys and non-perishable foods for every household in need. Rejoice with me for Clifton…he truly is #homelessnomore as he is in his heavenly home.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

06 November 2017

Open Door Mission Celebrates Program Graduates

This article is taken from Strictly Business Omaha. Click here to view the original article.

     On Saturday, October 28, Open Door Mission celebrated New Life with nine graduates. The ceremony took place at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center Chapel in Omaha. These men and women received Certificates of Completion during a cap and gown ceremony. For most, it was the first time they had experienced a cap and gown graduation. After the service, a reception honoring the graduates and their families was held.
     A recent Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion report featured Omaha, the Open Door Mission, and other faith-based organizations responding to homelessness in Omaha. Open Door Mission President/CEO Candace Gregory said, “Based on its findings, the Baylor study projects that the students who graduated will likely benefit Heartland taxpayers $21,745 each in savings on social services and from increased income tax revenue. That’s $282,685. Yet their changed lives, of course, are infinitely more valuable.”
     Open Door Mission is a Gospel rescue mission providing basic needs and life-changing programs for hungry, homeless, at-risk and addicted people in the Heartland. Now in its 63rd year, each day Open Door Mission offers 816 safe shelter beds to homeless men, women and children, serves over 2,300 hot, nutritious meals, and provides preventive measures to keep 275 individuals and families in their homes. For more information, please visit www.opendoormission.org.

03 November 2017

Praises for Disciple Making

     My heart here at Open Door Mission is once guests know Jesus and have personal relationships that they would be in community with other believers and be disciple to grow in their faith. One of my female guests has felt hurt by women in the past and was not ready to live life with other women. I talked with her about being in community with other women and why it is so important for my spiritual walk. It’s such a blessing, and I want her to enjoy that too. I would talk to her about what living out our faith daily looks like, and how being mentored has helped me to grow and know the Bible. I told her sometimes it’s as simple as asking someone at church to read a Christian book together or be intentional about reading the Bible together. 
     She took a step of faith and asked a friend to study the Bible with her intentionally and read a specific passage to discuss it and grow together. At the same time, she started attending church, but cannot go to their study due to time conflicts. The church told her we will find a woman who wants to do the study with you one-on-one, because they wanted her to be a part of it!
     Praise the Lord for pouring out his love on this guest through the women that reached out to include her. What a testimony that God can take something that was hard in a person’s life and use it to redeem and bless His people, to show his people that they are loved, cherished and wanted by Him and the community of believers!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

02 November 2017

In the Fire

Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. – Deuteronomy 4:12
     I've heard stories from those we serve on the streets about their times in the "fire." By in the fire I mean when they are surrounded by the "flames" of the world that engulf them. Though I cannot relate to some of the things they speak of, I have also been in the "fire" many times in my life. What I have learned, though, is that God is always with you in the fire—what a blessing! 
     How PERFECT is our Father, a Mastermind in that He created mankind in His own image! So when we are ministering and loving on those we encounter on the streets, they are seeing a reflection of God, and we have the privilege of reminding them that they are also God's children.
     God can speak to those in the fire, and He can be seen through us. He knew exactly what He was doing when He created each and every person. 

Misti Mitchell
Volunteer Coordinator

In Conflict Management Class

     I recently had the opportunity to spend an entire afternoon doing something that I love to do - talking with, and ministering to a woman who was just getting ready to graduate from our New Life Recovery Program. But this wasn't just any programmer. Lisa was special to me.
     The Lord had laid her on my heart the day that I first saw her in my Conflict Management class. I remember her sitting in an out of the way corner, and trying not to be seen. Her head down. Her hat on. For whatever reason, my eye kept being drawn to her.

     When she finally came up to the table at the end of the class to have her sheet signed, I stopped. I turned to her, and looked into her eyes. I gently placed my hand on the top of hers and said "How ya doin' sister"? She replied, "Fine" and looked at me quickly with a half-smile but looked back down. I asked if she wanted me to pray for her in any way, and she replied, "Nope, I'm okay." She grabbed her sheet and left the classroom. 
     Once the classroom emptied out, I was surprised that she came back. "I think I left too soon," she said. I turned my chair and pulled one up for her right across from me. As she sat down I grabbed her hands and asked her if she knew Jesus. We talked and I told her how much He loves her and wants the very best for her if she will only trust Him with her future. I prayed for her right there. That was nearly a year ago. 
     When I saw Lisa recently and had the time to talk with her, it was hard to believe that it was the same person. Lisa told me that she has never been more content, or felt more at peace. Her wisdom, and ability to trust the Lord in all things was just astounding. The Lord had done an amazing work in Lisa. This is why we do what we do. Changed lives that have eternal value. All glory to Him!

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

01 November 2017

Calling Future Staff Members!

     Open Door Mission is looking for new amazing staff members, and we were wondering if you could help.
     Do you know a good candidate for our Rebuilding Lives Center Case Manager position? He/she would work with our men who have graduated one of our life-changing programs (New Life Recovery Program or Journey to Work Program) and are living in an apartment. 
     Maybe a  you know someone who could be a Volunteer Coordinator. What a fun ministry to work along volunteers—you get paid to have fun! 
     We are also looking for movers and shakers…also know as Family Support Workers for the Lydia House. These staff members work with our guests, ministering to them, helping with life skills, and having fun. 
     Maybe you know someone who wants to work in the evenings or overnight alongside our guests at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center?
     Or do you know a college student looking for part time hours? The Lydia House and Garland Thompson Men’s Center could use them for open shifts. 
     We are looking for ministry-minded men and women who LOVE Jesus to join our team.  Please have them check out Careerlink for our latest job postings.  

Amy Buss
HR Director

31 October 2017

The Difference at the Timberlake

     The Timberlake Outreach Center underwent a lot of renovations this summer, both the building and the way we provide services. And since opening, it has been such a blessing! I wanted to share with you some of the comments that our guests at Timberlake Outreach Center are saying:

“The place looks beautiful, clean, inviting, and peaceful.”
“The shopping time is pleasant and calm.”
“I was able to find what I needed.”
“I feel blessed and grateful for this place.”
 “This is nice and amazing, it looks good.”
“I love the purple color.”
“You have done an amazing job, everything looks good, I want to thank you and congratulate you all for what you have done.”
“It makes me feel blessed to come here.” 

     One day I even saw a lady who starting crying just to see the difference when she walk in. These are just a few of the comments we’ve received, and I will continue to share with you everything that is happening at the Timberlake Outreach Center.
     I also wanted to take time to say THANK YOU! Thank you to all of our staff members, students, and volunteers who worked so hard to make this possible. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It feels like I just started a new job, and I really needed this. We have prayed, laughed, and cried with our guests—and it has only been two weeks! I can't wait to experience what else God has for us.
     I am so blessed to serve at Open Door Mission’s Timberlake Outreach Center. Let's help each other by loving one another. Let's keep praying. Let's encourage one another. Let's be obedient to the Holy Spirit. Our gifts are for God's glory, so here are our hands, feet, hearts. We offer our whole body, spirit, and soul for You, God, to use us as You desire.

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

28 October 2017

Congrats Are in Order

     The smile on Junior's face says it all: he obtained his GED! Something amazing is that he accomplished this in less than six months. For those six months, Junior persevered through various challenges, but never gave up and kept on studying hard. His next step is joining a Christian college.
     Also this upcoming Saturday, October 28 we will have a graduation ceremony for all of our life-changing program students who have completed their programs. Don’t miss it! Click here for more information.

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

27 October 2017

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

     Recently, I visited Covenant Presbyterian Church and was visiting with the Associate Pastor. He shared a story with me that illustrated how far God's reach is, and how he cares for the most broken from the abundance found miles away. 
     The church had funded and built a hospital in south Sudan. This area yielded a variety of human needs, but a hospital was critical. Because Covenant is a partner with us, we donated 5,000 pounds of clothing that was then sent to this hospital to be distributed to the needy. It's amazing to me that God uses relationships in ways that we never expect, but he definitely has the plan.

And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

     Very cool that Open Door Mission can have impact so far away. He's got the whole world in His hands!

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

25 October 2017

Blessed Assurance

     A couple of weeks ago Mark met with Open Door Mission’s Discipleship Counselor, David. During this meeting, Mark found salvation in Christ! A couple of weeks later, I was meeting with Mark for discipleship, and this is where team work comes in. Mark was in need of a boost of encouragement about his salvation. Here is my discipleship note I entered in the Discipleship assessment after our meeting:
     I met with Mark tonight. Though he has prayed and asked Christ into his life, he was still unsure of if he had eternal life. We talked about that. I went through a number of verses with him that spoke about having eternal life in Christ. I shared John 1:9, Romans 6:23, and 1 John 5:12-13 among others.
     I asked, "Do you have a pair of glasses on your face?" He did, by the way. He answered, "Yes I do."  I went back and forth with him about his assurance that he had glasses on his face. He knew he did! We went over the verses mentioned earlier, and it was like a light bulb went on. He beamed and stated that he knew he had eternal life! 
     We are here to hang in with our people in the program. They need us to be patient with them and pour the truth of God's Word into their lives. Praise God for the assurance of our salvation. Please keep Mark in your prayers.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

24 October 2017

Prayers Being Answered

Would you consider volunteering with John Michael at Open Door
Mission's South Omaha Family/Outreach Donation Center? Walk ins
are welcome Tuesday-Saturday!
     One of my clients has come to our center a few times and received some items. However, last time she came, she was terrified. She said that a friend had taken $500 she had needed for a court fine in four days. Her worry was compounded by the knowledge that the judge had already given her a six-week extension on paying that fine. She and I prayed together that she wouldn’t go to jail and that God would provide.
     She came in recently and told me that the judge had given her another three-week extension. She had come because she was worried and stressed about getting the money since she doesn’t have a job. She said she could have gone to someone else, but she felt like something—or Someone—was leading her here.
     I prayed with her, and both of us felt the sweet presence of the Lord. 
     Keep this woman, Sara, in your prayers if you could. I would love for us as a Mission to be able to join together and watch God provide for her in miraculous and astounding ways. 

John Michael Den Hartog
South Omaha Outreach Manager

23 October 2017

Servant-Hearted

     I was listening to John 13: 1-17 today. It reminded me of what Jesus calls us to do every day. In the beginning of John 13 he washed his disciple’s feet. Jesus was doing this knowing that his hour would soon come. Knowing there was suffering to come, and he served others regardless. These verses spoke to me today.

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” –John 13:15

     I want to be a servant like Jesus, and I want to be more like Jesus, but my actions do not match up with my words. I can tell how much my actions and words match, because if God calls me to do something that isn’t as fun, I ask myself, “Do I find someone else to do it, or so I submit to God’s authority?”
     Jesus served his disciples even though he knew he was about to die and suffer for us—it makes me ask, “Do I rationalize that I have done a lot of hard things today, so maybe this is for someone else?” Jesus served willingly and gladly, and when I serve, do I do it with a smile, or is it forced? Is my heart truly at peace? 
     As I read this, I learn more and more what it means to truly be a servant like Jesus. I meditate on the depth of what Jesus did for me and others. Being servant-hearted is not a title to be worn, it is a life to be lived out in word and deed. Would we be people that are an example of Jesus, and when people see us, do they see Jesus?
     Be encouraged, dear friends. The beauty of the gospel is even if we have fallen short, we can come to God humbly and ask him to teach us how to serve like Jesus. The beauty of the Gospel is Jesus who died for us, so we could have abundant life now and for eternity. As we imitate Jesus, we experience the fullness of His joy!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

20 October 2017

Freely in Jesus' Name

     As I'm writing this, a lady named Mary is sitting at my desk eating pizza. She just walked into Open Door Mission’s busy Council Bluffs Family Donation/Outreach Center without any pants on.
     Mary was brought in by a kind lady who saw Mary on the side of the road and brought her in.  She has no shoes and some broken toes, and smells very strongly of urine. Quickly, I found her some pants, shoes, and another shirt. She's eating pizza and sipping some hot coffee.
     The selection in our Outreach Center is little thin, owing to a couple of very busy days in a row. But all that mattered was trying to get Mary some dry, clean things and making sure that she has more dignity than when she came in.
     Please pray for us over here in Council Bluffs as we try to be Jesus to each and every person who walks through our doors. We are so grateful that we can offer necessities for free in Jesus’ name to our neediest neighbors like Mary. That is thanks to donors like YOU, so thank you for making a difference!

Jessica Andreasen
Council Bluffs Outreach Manager

19 October 2017

At the Foot of the Cross

     In my time working here I am sometimes surprised when we seek the Father and He shows up. I don't know why that still surprises me - because I pray in faith. Maybe the word is humbled and not surprised. Still, it is always amazing. I believe that I speak for every single staff member when I say that we feel so blessed to be used in the healing that happens here. Nowhere have I seen His hand so clearly. His heart is truly for the hurting. The stories that are shared by our guests are sometimes so tragic that they are haunting. They are frequently eye opening, and usually heart breaking.
     Yesterday, I was teaching a class for our program women and the topic was forgiveness. That is a very tough topic for some of the guests here, given their back grounds. In the process of this discussion, four women in a room of about twenty disclosed that they had been sexually abused as a child. Some involved very close family. One woman asked me how she could forgive that?  The only answer that I had was "bring it to the foot of the cross, and lay it down". Some of the program ladies joined me as we put a hand on her shoulder, and began to pray. God showed up. You could feel His presence. There were many tears afterwards, and many hugs. There was a sense of release, hope and sisterhood in that room.

"…Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart."  --Jeremiah 29:12

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

18 October 2017

Renewing of Your Mind

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  – Romans 12:2

     I always enjoy taking ladies from the Lydia House along with me on the Streets mission. It's great to hear about their transformation as they have overcome many tough obstacles. On this particular day, one of the ladies inquired about a young man from one of our regular stops. Later that day, we visited this young man and had a conversation with him about his day. When we got back in the van to return to Open Door Mission, that same lady said, "he's so sweet. The world hasn't gotten to him yet."
     For her, it may have been a general statement but for me, it meant so much more. We serve people from all walks of life on the street, seeing how "the world got to them." Romans 12:2 states, "do not conform to the pattern of this world," which I see daily, those who have done just that. The ways of the world has nothing to offer us BUT GOD, offers us eternal life with Him. Let's set ourselves apart as images of Jesus and let the ways of the world go so that we will be able to, "test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." The world can only get to you if you let it.

Misti Mitchell
Volunteer Coordinator

17 October 2017

Serving Others in Need

     Every once in a while, some of the ladies at the Lydia House have the opportunity to cook for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. It is always a blessing to get off campus and serve others in need of help.
     I'd like to give a HUGE shout out to our Hospitality Director, Brian Springer, for always helping us gather up the food we need for the meal cooking! Today I also got a lot of help from James over in the kitchen. Thanks you guys! 
     Tonight the ladies made homemade gravy, then shredded chicken and poured it over mashed potatoes or stuffing. We also steamed some veggies and had fruit cocktail! They all had a great time. A couple ladies even learned some cooking problem solving skills after burning the mashed potatoes... Oops ....Turned out great though!




Lacey Krager
Family Support Worker

16 October 2017

Grand Re-Opening

     I have had the privilege to be a part of a restructuring plan at the Timberlake Outreach Center. Through this I have been reminded of what God is doing in and through the Open Door Mission. Our leaders have seen the talents and potential in our program men and given them opportunities to give back; these men have found purpose and now feel alive again. God has a plan and future for all of them.
     I have witnessed men and women that have gone the hard road, lost much, walked through healing in Jesus and now are leaders at Open Door Mission! You all inspire us and give us hope. I have met some in our community that we loved, cared for, given resources and spiritual direction to, and who are now working and living less dependent on the hand outs and more on Him!
     It can be hard to see in the day to day what He is doing, but if we step back He will show us His plans and His desire. I have been reminded that His desire is to have our hearts, to renew our minds, and to rely on His strength. Our love for Jesus changes the landscape of our surroundings! 
     Thank you to all the wonderful staff members that allow Him to flow in and through you into this place. We can trust Him in everything. His Word promises that He is able to do more than we can ever imagine. He loves you all deeply!
     Also, the Timberlake Outreach Center just re-opened to shoppers last Friday. Here are a couple of photos:








Laura Keen
Outreach Program Director

13 October 2017

Love Your Neighbors: Lives Worth Changing


     When you see Cynthia today, you see a Jesus lover and follower; a leader on Open Door Mission’s campus. 
     Growing up, Cynthia’s life was filled with chaos. “My family was really into partying.  Nothing was routine. I felt unsafe.” At the age of nine, Cynthia began drinking and smoking marijuana to numb the pain.  When Cynthia was twelve, she began to sell drugs.
     Any sense of peace eluded Cynthia, even when she became a mother, but a change was coming. “I was tired of selling drugs. I made a huge mistake, was arrested, and thought I’d never see my kids again. 
    “Yet, I started to build a relationship with Christ in prison. I started feeling something I’d never felt before. And when I left there, I applied to Open Door Mission's Lydia House for their Bible based recovery program. I was accepted! The program gave me so many skills, broke down so many walls, that I felt like I actually had a chance at life—to be a successful part of a community.”
     Today Cynthia, Open Door Mission’s Housing Admissions Specialist, lives a life filled with gratitude to God and others. “I just want to say thank you to God and each donor from the bottom of my heart.”
     For Shawn, the wild life became a pattern that defined him from his childhood through life as a young father.  “Neglected. Empty--that’s how I felt as a child. I was like a free range feral kid. I got married at 17. I had a lot of anger issues; there was a lot of fighting.”  Along the way, Shawn began using meth. After a stint in prison, Shawn replaced meth with alcohol.  In 2013, Shawn and his second wife split up – and Shawn ended up having custody of his four kids.
     That’s when he turned to Open Door Mission. “I came into the program thinking, ‘I’m a grown man, and you can’t show me anything.’ But with a firm hand, they were guiding and directing me.”
     Shawn finished the program job ready and sober. “Two years later, I applied to work here at Open Door Mission. Shawn is a Maintenance Technician. Every job here is part of a ministry. I’m investing in people like people invested in me.  
     “I cannot express all that is in my heart for the people who cared for me—staff, donors, everybody— when I did not care for myself.” 
     Not every student who graduates from an Open Door Mission program returns to work at the Mission as have Cynthia and Shawn. But each person we reach is a life worth changing for a better future. Thank you for your care and generosity that helps ensure that those we serve receive the practical, relational and spiritual care they deserve.

Steve Wamberg
Director of Development

29 September 2017

Salvation in the Medication Room

     I was helping with the medications pass at lunch when one of our guys from the Men’s Emergency Center came in. Usually, I don’t have a lot of time with individuals while handing out medications, but this guy Fred said something that triggered the Gospel. I shared with him the Good News because he did not know if he had eternal life. He prayed right there and went from "I don't know” to “I know so." Praise God! 
     Later that afternoon another man came into my office for his discipleship meeting. As I started, I asked him where he was at with his faith in God. The man immediately began crying. He and his wife are here in the New Life Recovery Program. They have kids that were taken away from them by Child Protection Services.
     He said, “I am mad at God.” As I talked with Lester, I shared Matthew 11:28-30. More tears came because he saw God was telling him to break down those walls and come to Him! We talked more and this man prayed, asking for forgiveness. He received Jesus as the answer to all his problems. Hallelujah!
     Please keep these men in your prayers.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

28 September 2017

Stop Pouting...Start Praising

     Have you ever gotten tired of something? We all do! Every day we have to get up and go to work. Every day we have to make sure the bills are being paid. Every day we have to make meals and try to keep the house clean. And when we get really tired of it, we tend to pout, vent, and complain about our situation. 
     It’s interesting that after the people of Israel had been freed from slavery in Egypt, they started complaining about their hardships in the wilderness. One of their complaints was that they were tired of the manna (the bread) that God provided miraculously for them every single day. They grumbled and complained! Numbers 11:6 “But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” They allowed the food they had tired of become more important than their freedom in a sense. 
    God is taking us all somewhere, and like the people of Israel, we have everything we need right now to get to where He is taking us. But that is where the Israelites missed it. They were only looking at their circumstances and what they thought they didn’t have. How many of us do that?! It is so easy to see out of natural eyes that look at the negatives, for problems, rather than see out of supernatural eyes that notice the hand of God working behind the scenes. Remember, God is fighting our battles for us.
     If God is leading you, nothing can stop you! Instead of complaining about the everyday thing you are tired of, start saying, “God thank you for this manna. Until you change it, I am grateful for it. I look forward to where you are taking me and my eyes are fixed on you!”

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

27 September 2017

Jake's Testimony...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday, 9/26.

Production Technicians ensure that a quality product is delivered
quickly and according to safety, environmental, and health
procedures and regulations.
     I took four college classes while in prison, which qualified me to become a certified production technician. I have brought my student loans out of default and have been awarded a financial aid grant to follow those four classes into an AA degree in manufacturing. I am registered for evening classes this upcoming fall, allowing me to also work full time. I plan to earn manufacturing experience over the next year and a half until I finish my degree, at which point I hope to use my degree and experience to promote to an operations management position, or to continue to work until I earn the position.
     Currently, I have a manageable plan to ride my bike and the bus to school and work, while making time for the most important parts of my well-being: church, AA, and fellowship. More opportunities are opening such as going to/taking friends to outside meetings, volunteering at church, getting ahead in school, and gaining more trust from my future employer in my dependability.
     Things may not work out to the best case scenario, but I believe that if I work hard at my job and stay steady through school, that I will make my way into the career I’ve hoped for. And with a job that I like, and that pays well, I will be able to provide for a healthy family someday.
     Most importantly though, I know that I can empower all these things to happen by staying strong in church, meetings, with my brothers in Christ, and my relationship with the Lord.

Jake
Open Door Mission Graduate

26 September 2017

Jake's Testimony...Part 1

     I have come a long way from who I was two years ago. I know this in my heart, but I’ve also been told as much by close family. In the first eighteen months of my last two years – the time that I was incarcerated – I spent a lot of time on my own so as to look at myself and my past. So I like to think that I did a lot of prep work on my personal revival at that time. But I know that it wasn’t until I came to Open Door Mission that I became properly equipped by God, the staff, and my program brothers to rebuild myself in the image that God and I had hope for all along.
     While that was a vaguely positive sentiment, the specific nature of my past transgressions is that I was a perpetual manipulator. From my family to my friends to my own emotions, I used to plaster my life with white lies that I convinced myself were doing me good without hurting anyone else. I thought that I could out-maneuver any questionably moral situation by justifying my intentions to myself and keeping other people in the dark. I had no ability to sacrifice, and no interest in the proper way of things.
     But for the past two years, I have been consistently practicing the patient and proper way to gain achievements. I have accepted and embraced the arduous nature of things worth doing, instead of short cutting my way through it all.
     In my addiction, I had lost track of my purpose and dream. I had intended to become an industrial engineer. I now have a different version of my dream, but I have gotten it back nonetheless. This is what sparked me back on course, but it is God and the support of friends and brothers that fuels that spark.

To be continued Wednesday, 9/27.

Jake
Open Door Mission Graduate

25 September 2017

Now Hiring!

     Are you looking for a career in the ministry field?  Do you want to be a part of a fun and rewarding atmosphere at the same time?  Do you want to be a part of a great ministry to help other people and share the love of God every day?  Our staff members are dedicated to inspiring HOPE for lasting change in hungry and homeless individuals and families. We want YOU to be a part of the journey.
     Each career position is unique and has its own personal style to Open Door Mission's ministry. These positions range from serving our guests to working with donors and volunteers, and each area’s goal is to better God's Kingdom. Each area is vital. We serve an awesome God and being the hands and feet of Christs is what we're all about!

Click here to view available positions. 

Rick Ziegler
Office Manager

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