13 December 2017

We are the Branches

     Recently I’ve been reading SheReadsTruth--Romans Study, and it has been a hard study to really dig into. Paul chooses his words for a reason, all intended for a purpose, and keeping that in mind often causes me to look deeper at Scripture to understand God's character even more.

But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root. “Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either. –Romans 11:17-21

     These verses remind me of humility. Paul is talking about the struggle with pride and humility between Israelites and Gentiles. Paul has a specific purpose for discussing this as he knew was there was a struggle and would be in the future with this concept. 
     I think sometimes being a Christian we have a tendency to think of two sides – believers vs. unbelievers. But the key is that there is not a "me against them." It's all for the Glory of God! All together we make up a community of believers, doing God's Mission together. And we need each other to carry on God's Mission together!
     It can also be easy to brag when we are strong where others are weak. In those moments, though, we need to recognize that we are just the branches, and the Lord root. It's an everyday choice we make to have either a spirit of humility or of pride. We can do things for God’s glory, helping others in need and letting our pride go, OR we can judge and inflate our pride.
     The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus came and died for our sins so we could have eternal life with God. We have a perfect Savior that came so we could be in right relationship with God. We just have to humbly come to God and ask Him to change us from the inside out.
     I pray that we would be a people marked by our humility. That we would humbly help those in need, co-workers, guests, volunteers, friends, and family alike. That through our humility we would experience the peace that comes with following God's ways! That we would do everything for God's glory!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

12 December 2017

What Inspired You to Volunteer?...Part 2

Continued from Monday, 12/11.

     As I turned away to continue cleaning up, I thanked another volunteer for coming to serve. She had a humbling look on her face. So I decided to ask her the same question, "What inspired you to volunteer today?"
     “I am selfish,” she responded. “I literally think about myself more than anyone. New shoes? I want them. New purse? Gotta have it. New car? Better be mine.”
     She talked about her self-centered outlook on life and how she wanted to make a change. Someone told her about an Open Door Mission ad they heard on the radio, so she e-mailed our Volunteer & Partner Director, certain all the volunteer spots would be full. Fortunately though, some people had just cancelled and she got on the schedule right away.
     Man, am I so thankful that this lady reached out to volunteer! With tears rolling down her face she said, "Today it wasn't about me and It was one of the best days I have had all year. I am coming back to volunteer. I want to learn how to be selfless.”
     You see, our volunteers don't have to be here, they don't have to pick Open Door Mission to volunteer their time with. They could pick any organization in Omaha that they want. But praise God that they choose here! I don't know about you, but that really warms my soul. What keeps our volunteers coming back is relationship. They are here because seeking something greater than themselves. What an honor it is to share Jesus with our volunteers by just loving on them and appreciating what they do.
     Be a leader where you are, and use the gifts God has given you right where you are! God bless you all and I hope these stories have an impact on you as they have me. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

11 December 2017

What Inspired You to Volunteer?...Part 1

     A question I always like to ask our volunteers is, "What inspired you to volunteer at the Mission?" 
     I had never really felt the weight that this question holds until this past Thanksgiving. We had a volunteer who came in a little late for our Thanksgiving banquet, but was determined to serve and jumped right in to help.
     For some reason, she stood out to me. Her eyes were filled with joy, yet there was deep pain inside. People like that intrigue me, so I observed her throughout the night. She smiled at every man that sat at the table she was bussing that night, which included probably 16-20 men.
     Towards the end of the banquet, I decided to ask her my favorite question, "What inspired you to volunteer on Thanksgiving this year?" 
     Instantly, tears started rolling down her face, and what she said rocked my soul to the core.
     “It's how I can be close to my parents this year, because this is my first holiday alone. My mom passed away in May, and my father right before that. I knew today I was going to sit at home alone and cry most of the day. But I saw an advertisement about volunteering and something just urged me to pick here. I felt as if this was what my parents would have wanted me to do. I thought I was going to feel alone this Thanksgiving Jessica…instead I have never felt more full."
     She hugged me and actually thanked Open Door Mission for allowing her to volunteer. She THANKED us! That is what I call God-sized gratitude!

To be continued Tuesday 12/12.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

08 December 2017

Crossing the Grand Canyon

     There is a guy who comes to Open Door Mission's Garland Thompson Men's Center from time to time to visit one of our guests in the New Life Recovery Program. He asked if he could talk with me, so I brought him into my office. His name is Ron. Ron asked how he might get a job here at the Mission. I shared our website with him and encouraged him to look at our job openings to see if any would be a good fit.
     Then I asked how his life is going and learned that Ron has actually been sober for several years. I also asked how his relationship with God was, and learned that did not have assurance of salvation. He did believe in Jesus, but his feelings and life didn’t line up to where he knew for certain that he had eternal life. 
     We talked for a while and Ron shared things in his life. He is a single father with two daughters. He is not going to Church anywhere. 
     I was able to share the Gospel with Ron as an analogy of trying to walk across the Grand Canyon on the tight rope of feelings or on the solid bridge of God's promises through Christ. He chose the bridge. He prayed and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. When we had finished praying, he knew for sure that he has eternal life. Praise God!
     Please keep Ron in your prayers, along with his two girls. Pray that he will start going to a life-giving church that will help him grow in his faith.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

07 December 2017

New Sets of Wheels

     At Open Door Mission, we love to celebrate when our guests receive cars to help their pursuit of lasting change to be homeless no more! So would you celebrate the following three recipients with me?
     Bob who graduated from the New Life Recovery Program over a year ago and currently lives in Permanent Supportive Housing received his own set of wheels!


     Then we have Katie, a Lydia House guest, who is the proud new owner of a Chevy Tahoe.

     Finally we were excited to see Henry and Inelisse receive a vehicle of their own. They are fresh from Puerto Rico and lost almost all of their possessions.

     Please contact us if you are interested in donating a vehicle to Open Door Mission! Click here for more information.

Jason Green
Director of IT and Logistics

06 December 2017

Blessings at the TOC

     We at Open Door Mission (specifically the Timberlake Outreach Center) are blessed to have such amazing, faithful volunteers! Last week we were short staffed, and these wonderful people stepped in without hesitation to save the day! I could not have served our guests without them! Thank you!
     Our volunteer department is amazing, too, for finding these great volunteers and getting them plugged into the right spots. Thank you for all your great help!
     We are just so blessed!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Director

05 December 2017

Project Santa Sign Ups...Part 2

Continued from Monday, 12/5.

     Later that day, a different former Lydia House guest came in whose case I had managed. During her stay, this lady made decisions that caused her to move out early into her own apartment. While she was leaving, she blamed all of her decisions on me. I remember thinking, “Lord, will this woman ever have a positive relationship with me again?”
     Well He answered my prayer as she walked up to me to get registered on Saturday! She has been stable with a good job, living in her own apartment as a single mom to three kids. As I helped sign her up, I couldn’t help but notice a change in her heart. She did not seem to bitter. She said overall things are going well for her. There seemed to be more joy in her life than when I had last seen her.
     I prayed with her and afterwards she said, “God Bless You.” This is a woman I never thought would say a kind thing to me again, but God is greater! And God is constantly working in our hearts and in the hearts of the guests we serve. 
     It encouraged me to see that although some people are only here for a season, God is still at work in their life outside of Open Door Mission.
     I also share to say that God is always working. Even in those tough moments we have with guests, God is using us.  We may not know until we reach heaven (or a few years down the road), but just because we don't see results right away doesn't mean we should stop trying. It means we say, "You are greater God, and I trust You even if I don't see results today. Use me for your glory!”

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

04 December 2017

Project Santa Sign Ups...Part 1

     This past weekend we signed up families from our community for our annual Christmas program called Project Santa. There were two stories this day that encouraged me, and I wanted to share with you all.
    The first story is about a former Lydia House guest whose case managed a couple of years ago. She had come to the Lydia House because of a domestic violence relationship, and she had come alone because her partner couldn’t join her until she had completed a batterer's intervention class. Due to her situation, I was able to have intentional discussions with her alone (without the abuser) about God's purpose for her life. She left with the courage to break up with her abuser, and has been stable and living on her own ever since.
     As we were talking this past Saturday, she said that her time at Lydia House made her see that she could do it on her own and because of case management and getting connected with available resources. I asked if I could pray for her after signing her up for Project Santa, but she said no—she is blessed and thankful this holiday season. She currently is a single mom to three girls and is a strong mom for her family.  She handed me a family picture and said, “You can hang this in your office as a reminder of a family you helped that is now successful.”

To be continued Tuesday, 12/5.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

28 November 2017

Hope for Lasting Change

     One of my favorite things to be a part of is lasting change in our men’s lives at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. I have been able to see one such man, Hayden, changing right before my eyes, and it has been a pleasure. Hayden has chosen to step aside and allow the Holy Spirit to make him the leader God intended him to be.
     He gave his life to the Lord last week, and I was blessed to baptize him! A couple days later, Hayden received is GED! It’s amazing to see what God can do in the life of one who trusts everything to Him.

Pat McKernan
Garland Thompson Men’s Center Director

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

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

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

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


     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