21 July 2017

A Shoulder on the Streets to Cry On

Hidden among the streets are tents like these, where
the hungry and homeless seek shelter.
     She sat on a blanket made of leaves and dirt. She had tears running down her face and would barely look at me or any of the Streets of Omaha volunteers that day. So I put a bottle of water by her feet and told her Jesus loves her and we left.
     One week later, the same lady was at the same park, tears still running down her face. I walked over and sat in the grass with our volunteer named Kim. We did not say a word at first. We just sat and drank a bottle of water next to her. She seemed relieved and thankful that we sat in silence with her, and then she quietly laid her head on my shoulder and cried. She didn't say a word.  She just cried, and I let her. I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to just be still.
     Kim put her hand on this sweet lady’s back and whispered, “You can do it, one day at a time.” She whispered a few more words of affirmation to, and we said a quiet prayer over her. As we walked away she said in a gentle voice, "Thank you. I am thankful for love."
     We don't know what was wrong and we didn't need to. We do know that God was at work in her heart and that sometimes you just need to be still and let God do what He does best. On Streets of Omaha we get to do that every day. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

20 July 2017

The Name we Carry

     We all have names that we carry. We have best friends, family, brands we like, coffee we drink, favorite foods we eat…the list goes on. The question is, what name are you carrying? Are you carrying the name of Jesus around or are you known more for brands you like, friends you keep, favorite foods you eat, or the coffee you drink? 
Louie Giglio is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA.
     Louie Giglio says, "At the end of the day, the most important name for you to carry is the name of Jesus. God is counting on you to carry the name of Jesus. At the end of the day, it's possible that your roommate, friend, family member, buddy will say, ‘I didn't know, I knew you were religious, I knew you were a Christian, but I didn't know about Jesus.’ But Christian doesn't mean Jesus to this world. I'm not knocking Christianity, but the word Christian was only mentioned twice in the whole Bible. I think a better word is Jesus—I follow Jesus, all my fountains are in Jesus, all my hope is in Jesus. The world is dying to hear His name above every name, the name that means healing, the name that means Savior and that is the name of Jesus."

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.  -Acts 9:10-19

     This story snippet of scripture is when Saul/Paul was being prepared to carry the name of Jesus, just like you and me. How much do many of our stories look this way? God came to Ananias and said, “I want you to lay hands on him so he may regain his sight.” Ananias doubted God, saying, “God do you know how evil this man is?” God replied, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine to carry My name.”
     How often do we doubt God, do we ask God if He’s sure He wants us to share with this person because they are so hard hearted. God's response to us every time is that we are a chosen instrument to carry His name. 
     We are called to carry the name of Jesus, to tell our testimony, to share how God is constantly working through our life. I challenge us, is this the name we are carrying? Are we carrying this name with us every day at Open Door Mission? Are we carrying this name in our friendship circles, family, and homes?
     I say God brings people to Open Door Mission's doorstep because they need to know Jesus, whether or not the person realizes it when they arrive.  Some meet him here in a real way, some hearts are hardened, and some faith is renewed. But everyone comes to our doorstep because they are in need of healing and hearing about the name above all names—Jesus! 
     I pray that we would be people who would boldly carry the name of Jesus at Open Door Mission. I pray that we would not let fear or someone's hard heart hold us back. I pray we would know that even if someone rejects Jesus it is not about us, it is about them and Jesus, it's not personal.  I pray the reason we carry the name of Jesus is because that is the hope we have and that is at the bottom of our joy--Jesus!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

19 July 2017

A Graduate's Testimony

     I started this journey to sobriety in a treatment facility in Des Moines, Iowa, where I was kicked out for drinking. This led me to the emergency room, where I spent several days recovering.
     In January 2016, I arrived at Open Door Mission and joined the New Life Recovery Program in February. It was difficult for me at first, and in June I had to leave for 30 days because I could not quit smoking.
     I restarted the program last August, and stand before you today a graduate! For the next two years I will be a part of The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) program, which will give me a two year associate’s degree in Urban Ministry.  
     I have many favorite biblical passages, but would like to end with a quote from Micah 6:8 which reads
He has shown you O’ man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
     Lastly, I would like to thank the staff and many volunteers at Open Door Mission. Your hard work and efforts have not gone unnoticed.
     Thank you and peace be with you all!

Dal S.
Open Door Mission Graduate

18 July 2017

Armor of God

     Every Thursday morning, it's a delight to lead a devotional time with the men at Garland Thompson Men's Center. One morning, we talked about putting on the Armor of God and how important it is to be on guard, standing your ground on what is good and true, and shutting out the evil one.  There are many parts that all come together to serve one purpose.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.  –Ephesians 6:10-20

     My hope, prayer, and encouragement for you today and going forth is to live your life shielded by the Armor of God.  

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

17 July 2017

God's Word

     Have you ever sat down to read the Bible and felt like you were trying to force something to happen? I have. I’ve opened my Bible before, closed my eyes, opened to a particular passage, and started reading, hoping it would be exactly what I needed to hear! But then, it usually ends up being something that has nothing to do with my circumstances. 
     We’ve all been there, trying so hard to make a connection with God and ending up frustrated. God doesn’t want His word to make us feel pressure; He wants His word to make us feel light and free. He doesn’t want us to come to Him feeling stressed; He wants us to come to Him feeling blessed, and knowing His word is making a difference in our lives beyond what we may feel in the moment. 
     God’s word is more than an instruction manual. It’s not just a list of do’s and don’ts. His word is a love letter. When we read it His love empowers us and deposits His strength into us. That is because His word is alive and will change your life. When we read scripture, we have to know that God is breathing His life into us. He is refreshing our spirits and directing our paths. Don’t run from the Bible, run to the Bible and receive His love because God wants to do something great in you!

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. –Hebrews 4:12

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

13 July 2017

An Encouraged Witness

     I have had the privilege to be part of the restructuring plan at Timberlake Outreach
Renovations at the Timberlake Outreach Center continue to
move along wonderfully!
Center. Through this project, I have been reminded of what God is doing in and through 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 I can see they actually feel alive again. God has a plan and future for all of them!
     I have witnessed men and women that have journeyed down the hard road, lost much if not everything, walked through healing in Jesus, and now are leaders at Open Door Mission!  They inspire me and give us all hope. It is a pleasure and honor to work beside them!
     I have met neighbors from our community that we have loved and cared for, given resources and spiritual direction to, and who are now working, living less dependent on hand outs and more on Him!
     It can be difficult to see day-to-day what God is doing in our hectic lives, however if we take a minute and step back, He will show us His plans and desires. I have been reminded that God’s desire is to capture our hearts, renew our minds, and teach us to rely on His strength.
     Our love for Jesus changes the landscape of our surroundings. Thank you to all wonderful staff members, volunteers, and donors that allow Him to flow in and through you into this place.
     We can trust Him in everything. God’s word promises that He is able to do more than we can ever imagine! He loves us all deeply!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

12 July 2017

A Personal Relationship

     Last night I met with Matthew. He grew up Catholic, as I did, so we had an instant connection.  He started sharing about his struggle to understand that just knowing about Jesus in our head was not the way to get to Heaven. I had this exact same struggle when I was younger.
     We were able to look at Scriptures together, and the Holy Spirit turned on the light for him.  As we read through John, Matthew realized that in John 1:12, 3:16, 5:24, and 14:6, Jesus was talking about having a personal relationship with the Father, one made possible through His death on the cross. Matthew came to know Jesus last night!
     Now he is a forgiven sinner, a new creation, and a new member in the greatest family on earth--OUR Family-- the Family of our Lord God.

David Eischeid
Discipleship Counselor

11 July 2017

Fun on the Fourth

     We had such a fun time on last week on the Fourth of July!  All of the residents at the Permanent Supportive Housing building got together for an indoor picnic, fellowship, and even a water balloon fight—right before it started raining.
     What a fun day it was for all that attended!  Praise God for developing community, friendships, and relationships at Permanent Supportive Housing.  I hope your Independence Day was just as blessed!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

10 July 2017

Second Men's Basketball Tournament

     Open Door Mission’s Second Men’s Basketball Tournament was held earlier this month. The first tournament was won by the staff team (aptly dubbed "White and Nerdy), so the competition was fierce on both sides this time, either to defend the title or to claim it for the first time!

     There’s a nice flat area between the Garland Thompson Men’s Center and the Lydia House, so we set up a court there.  This location worked much better than the Rebuilding Lives Center courtyard where the last tournament was held.  Being outside, we were able to have many more participants and spectators enjoy the wonderful competition.
     An Open Door Mission volunteer was able to get a basketball hoop donated so we could run a full court, double elimination tournament.  This enhanced the tournament as you wouldn't be out at just one loss. We had three referees, a volunteer, a staff member, and a resident, which kept things fair. 
     The competition was spicy, and the staff team was unable to defend their title.  The team that ended up winning was actually a group of non-typical looking ballers—two older men and a guy wearing boots!  It was truly good to see the friendly competition and fun being had by all!

Taylor Clinch
Rebuilding Lives Center Director

07 July 2017

Free Furniture and Fresh Food

     Due to store renovations, Open Door Mission is offering free furniture and free fresh vegetables, fruits, and breads at our Timberlake Outreach Center every Wednesday and Friday during July and August.
     It has been awesome to see what God can do through the inconvenience of this renovation.  We are still blessed with donations to give to working poor individuals and families, and we are still able to give these away freely in Jesus’ name!
     So check out these photos to see what these free furniture days have looked like.  And
please continue to pray for our renovations and for the new programs that will be implemented later this year to better serve our community.

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

06 July 2017

My Streets of Omaha Experience

     After ministering to the hungry and homeless during our Streets of Omaha ministry, I always ask our volunteers to share one thing they learned and one thing they loved about their experience.  Here are some answers I have gotten:

"I love that Open Door Mission, serves people not just inside their walls, but out in the community as well.  I am truly blessed by this organization’s love for people."

"I learned that people on the streets are generally very thankful and polite."

"I loved meeting Jay.  He was so kind and gentle. I loved that he talked freely to us and welcomed us into his life."

"I learned that even when they have next to nothing, people on the streets are so generous with what they do have.  I was touched by the kindness of our street friends."

"I love being able to be the hands and feet of Jesus, right here where I live."

     These are some comments made by volunteers on the Streets of Omaha team.  The experience is different every day, but one thing remains the same: people are being impacted and loved.  We strive to show the love of Jesus to people everywhere, and we do that one sack lunch at a time. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

05 July 2017

Bragging Rights Go To...

     Yesterday was an exciting day at the Garland Thompson Men's Center!  We hosted a Spades Tournament, and there was some fierce competition.  Twenty four players duked it out at Spades in the cafeteria, including a couple staff members as well. 
     After four hours, Gooden and Charles walked away the victors.  Each won four consecutive games!  They won some sweet prizes, along with the coveted bragging rights.
     Happy Fourth of July to all of you!  I hope your community time was as sweet as ours.

Jeremy Settle
Case Manager

03 July 2017

Don't Waste Precious Energy

     Sometime last month, I sat down to do my devotions, which can be admittedly difficult with my daily list of priorities.  The last month has been difficult for me, and I have much to catch up on, many extras at home right now, medical things, financial things, family things, AND trying to finish The Urban Ministry Institute course.
     Now, I'm not organized by any standards, but I know where everything I need is and have been challenging myself to make my office neater.  Anyway, I always make sure, even in the midst of this crazy mess, to take time with the Lord.
     This was the beginning of one of my devotionals that really stuck with me, so I wanted to share it.  I hope you enjoy it, and maybe even have your mind blown!
Jesus Calling: June 19
I am the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing and celebrate My Presence.  This is My high and holy calling for you; receive it as a precious gift.  Glorifying and enjoying Me is a higher priority than maintaining a tidy, structured life.  Give up your striving to keep everything under control--an impossible task and a waste of precious energy.
     My guidance for each of My children is unique.  That's why listening to Me is so vital for your well-being.  Let me prepare you for the day that awaits you and point you in the right direction.  I am with you continually, so don't be intimidated by fear.  Thought it stalks you, it cannot harm you, as long as you cling to My hand.  Keep your eyes on Me, enjoying Peace in My Presence.
     “A waste of precious energy.”  What a thought-provoking phrase – that God desires our company far more than He desires a clean desk and tidy home.  May you find time to meet with Him today, so that you do not waste the energy He has given you.

Teresa Leishman
Case Manager

30 June 2017

Transforming Culture...Part 2

Continued from Thursday, 6/29

     But how hard is that?  Our natural default is to be negative.  The current tone in America is to be negative.  Many Christians have become like Babylonians, reflecting the culture around us instead of transforming the culture and setting a new tone a tone of positivity and justice.  God wants us to set a brand new tone. 
     We have to be people that hear and listen to the voice of God because the enemy will come after us. 
“We don’t really have an option to sit on the sidelines because generations after us need Jesus.  We need to invest our lives in things that matter and give life, the benefit will be there in our generation and generations to come and that’s what we get to be part of and why we need to be a pioneering people.”  —Aaron Coe, Passion City Church
     Some days I am so guilty of just biding my time, instead of building where I am planted.  I often have to ask myself, “God, am I building something here with what You have given me or am I wishing to be somewhere else?”
     It’s a good reminder that God has called us to be change agents.  He has called us to change the culture around us, not just conform to it.  We are to give people a reason to have hope in God!  And we are to be people that hear the voice of God and listen to it!
     Like in the verses of Jeremiah, God is calling us today to build and settle where He has us.  I pray that we would be people who set a new tone in our culture.  I pray that we would not get bogged down by our culture, but instead know that God has placed us in this moment to set a tone for positivity and justice.  Amen!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

29 June 2017

Transforming Culture...Part 1

     Are we just biding our time, or are we building where we are?  In our culture, so many people just go through the motions, passively waiting for things to happen in their lives.  We have a choice, though:  we can choose to live always waiting and looking to the future, or we can live in the present, ready to build where God has planted us.  The following snippet is from “Pioneering to Prospering,” a sermon at Passion City Church:

“We don’t want to just be pioneers who bide our time, but we want to be pioneers who establish ourselves so new life can exist.  Pioneer (definition) a person who is among the first to research and develop a new area of knowledge or activity.  A pioneer recognizes that you build where you are.  God sends Jeremiah so they remember this.  He has brought us to this place for purpose.”

     And below is a verse that perfectly ties into this thought:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.  Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.  They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.  —Jeremiah 29:4-9

     The thought in today’s world is that we can either accept the current culture or we can reject it.  I think God is calling us not to accept or reject, but to transform the culture that we’ve been called into.  He’s called us to be change agents, to be a people who set the tone for culture.  So if something is unjust or un-right, we don’t settle for that fact, but we work to change the culture from the inside out.  We make followers of Jesus!

To be continued Friday 6/30

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

28 June 2017

School's Out For Summer

     For children who rely on school meals, summer is not a time for joy and freedom.  It’s a time for hunger.  Did you know that one in five children in the United States is affected by childhood hunger?  For millions of children, free and reduced- priced school meals are the only ease to hunger pains they receive.  During the summer, they endure the anxiety that comes from not knowing when they will eat again.
     Research shows that the average grocery cost for a family is more than $300 a month when school is out, putting a stain on already tight budgets.  That leaves many families making tough decisions.  Two-thirds of all low income families say they have had to choose between purchasing food and paying utility bills. 
     A lack of reliable nutrition during the summer has long-term consequences on children.  Kids who struggle with hunger are more likely to forget what they have learned, which has them starting the next school year months behind their peers.  Kids who go to bed hungry during the summer months are more likely to experience iron deficiency and heart disease.
     Open Door Mission wants to stop this cycle! You can be a blessing to a child by donating boxed meals, cereal, canned vegetables, canned fruit, and protein for our neediest neighbors at the Timberlake Outreach Center or any of our three Outreach/Donation Centers today!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  --Matthew 22:37-39

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

26 June 2017

The Heart of Jesus

     As I looked down at his feet, I saw blisters and cuts, and my heart immediately felt heavy.  That heaviness soon became lighter, when one of the volunteers bent over to put a pair of sandals on this young man’s feet.  I felt tears fall down my face because in this moment I was witnessing the true heart of Jesus.  All I could do was stand there in complete awe.
     As this young man took a sack lunch from Open Door Mission’s Streets of Omaha volunteers, he was receiving much more than a sandwich.  He was being shown how much Jesus loves him!
     We prayed with him and hugged him good bye.  As we drove away, he had a smile on his face.  I believe that he truly saw the heart that Jesus has for him that day.
     On the Streets of Omaha team, we witness these precious moments every day.  How?  One sack lunch at a time.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

23 June 2017

Double the Salvation

     Last week, I was passing out medications to our guests, and it seemed like time was barely moving.  After an hour, one of my fellow staff members brought his son who is in the New Life Recovery Program into the Garland Thompson Men’s Center Medication Room to introduce him to me.
     As I spoke with his son, I could see that he looked somewhat forlorn.  We talked and I shared the hope of Christ with him.  I am glad it took me so long to hand out medications that night because I was where I needed to be to have that encounter.  This young man told me knew that he wanted what his dad has, which is salvation through Christ.  He accepted the message of the Gospel and prayed right there to be forgiven and receive Christ as his Savior!  Please pray for this new believer to grow in faith, and to finish the program strong.
     A couple of days later, we did not have a team come in to lead chapel, so I volunteered to preach.  One thing to know about me is that I'll preach at a drop of a hat and I'll drop my hat to preach!
When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them.
--Matthew 9:36a
     I shared out of Matthew 9:35-38.  It's the passage about Jesus seeing the multitude in their desperate need and needing to have a Shepherd.  By God's grace, He enabled me to preach a clear Gospel.
     One of the men in our emergency services named Tom came up to me after the service and wanted prayer.  The cool thing is that one of our other men who is the New Life Recovery Program came up and asked Tom, "Do you know for sure that you have Jesus in heart as your Savior?”  Tom did not.  The three of us talked about that a little more, and then I asked Tom if he wanted to pray and accept Christ as his Savior.  He did, confessed his sins, and turned away from following false gods.
     Salvation again tonight!  Pray for Tom to grow in his relationship with Christ.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

22 June 2017

Mission Update

     It seems like a lot of days at Open Door Mission don’t quite go as planned.  But I am grateful that when unforeseen ministry opportunities present themselves, we have leaders on staff that are willing to step up.
     Earlier this week, Open Door Mission was able to serve 30 seniors in low income housing that were affected by last weekend’s tornadoes.  They had lost everything in their fridge and freezers, and were unable to afford to refill them.  A couple of our staff members and volunteers were able to be a blessing to these men and women.  God is so good to supply all our needs – even those we didn’t plan for!
     The Timberlake Outreach Center’s renovations are moving along quickly, and the improvements look great already!  Please pray for the team that is working so hard to finish everything.
     Well, that’s a quick update into what’s happening at Open Door Mission!  We are so grateful for your prayers and support.

Candace Gregory

21 June 2017

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurriedness

     I wanted to share some thoughts that Candace shared with the Open Door Mission staff at our last staff meeting.  These really impacted me, and that I have been meditating on them the last couple days.  Candace called us to be hospitable to ALL people in our ministry here at Open Door Mission.
     I’m blessed to be able to lead morning devotions for the men at Open Door Mission, and I recently talked about this verse:

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  –Romans 12:4-8

     God has given each believer spiritual gifts to use—to minister, teach, equip, laugh, cry, show mercy, etc.  I have been convicted about how easy it is for me to get wrapped up in the day to day things of my job, at times forgetting that God has placed me here for ministry. May we not get too wrapped up in our tasks that we are unable to take time to pray, talk, cry, laugh, and minister to ALL the people God puts in our lives.  May we always be willing to share WHY Jesus is amazing and worth having a saving relationship with.  
     I’m also able to teach a class in our New Life Recovery Program, and the session I recently taught was about eliminating stress in our lives.  Our textbook calls Christians to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives, saying that hurriedness and godliness are incompatible.  Hurriedness and relationships are incompatible.  Hurriedness and prayer are incompatible.  Hurriedness and the Holy Spirit are incompatible.
     Realizing these truths about hurriedness, I would like to share six ways we can eliminate stress in our lives so we can show Jesus, and be Jesus so people can know Jesus.

     1. Eliminate Hurry in our lives
     2. Downsize Expectations
     3. Learn the art of saying "no" kindly
     4. Admit mistakes and imperfections
     5. Laugh more
     6. Take care of yourself-get enough rest, balanced meals, stay active (exercise)

     I hope this was encouraging for you!  We are all imperfect, working towards a deeper relationship with our Lord.

Brian Springer
Hospitality Director

20 June 2017

Ever Heard of the Summer Time Blues?

     Have you ever experienced the winter blues?  When most of us think about extreme weather conditions, we think of icy roads, subzero temperatures, and winter weather.  Studies now are showing evidence that serious depression with a seasonal onset occurs in the winter as well.  Did you know the same depression occurs in the summer months too?
     High environmental temperatures during summer months can be just as dangerous to your body, even deadly!  Some people find heat, sunlight, and humidity to be quite agitating.  Heat has long been linked with spikes in violence and violent behaviors.
     Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to escape extreme summer temperatures in air conditioning or with a fan.  Now imagine enduring the elements a Midwestern summer throws at you while living on the street, homeless.
     Approximately 31% of all weather related deaths are due to heat related fatalities.  Heatstroke is predictable and preventable!  Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.  The hot and thirsty homeless are desperate for water! The low income families in the Heartland are desperate for boxed fans; some relief from the heat as well as not everyone has air conditioning.
     Open Door Mission wants to help our neighbors Beat the Heat this summer!  In order to do this, we need your partnership!  Donate bottled water and fans to any of our Outreach locations.

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

19 June 2017

Blessing Bags

     Often while you're out and about, traveling down busy roads, you may see a homeless person at an intersection.  Usually they have a backpack filled with their belongings and a cardboard sign saying, "Help Needed."  Many thoughts may go through your head such as, "What should I do?"  You may just keep moving and ignore having ever seen them.
     The simple way to show the love of Jesus for that person is to supply them with a Blessing Bag.  Put your creativity into action by making some bags for those in need.  You could include a bottled water, snack food, deodorant, toothpaste, and etc.  The possibilities are endless in creating something with a personal touch.
     These Blessing Bags can let someone know that there is HOPE for their life and inspire.  YOU can be that difference TODAY by using your creativity to put together Blessing Bags.  Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus and showing love to those who are less fortunate!  Now when you see someone at an intersection, you'll be prepared to make a difference.

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

16 June 2017

Microwave Message

     Each Sunday morning I get the opportunity to share a “Microwave Message” with the men in our Emergency Shelter.  This is a quick message, quick and to the point, with a lot of time for discussion, questions, and prayer.  Here’s one of my recent lessons to give you an inside look at what these devotional times are like.

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.”
“Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me.
Anyone who is not against us is for us.
If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.  –Mark 9:38-41

- What incident did John tell Jesus about?
- Was the man doing evil or good?
- Why did Jesus’ disciples tell the man to stop?
- What attitude was behind the disciples’ command to the man?
- How did Jesus answer John?
- What two principles did Jesus give to back up leaving the man alone?
- What people will experience a reward from God?
- Can God operate outside our group?
- Why do we fall in to the subtle lie that because God is with us, He can’t be with someone else?

     Please pray for the men in our Emergency Shelter, that God would move in their hearts, that they would receive hope for lasting change, and that they would take the next best right step towards getting their lives back on track.

Jim Settle
Men’s Support Worker

15 June 2017

Encouragement for a Hard Week

     Maybe you’re like me and this week has already been a hard one.  Here is some encouragement from Paul, and I pray that it will encourage you as it has encouraged me!

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.  –Philippians 1:9-11

     Andy Stanley says, "God’s not trying to make you a better behave-er.  He’s trying to make you a better lover of people.  The essence of Christian maturity is when a person can love
Andy Stanley is a Christian motivational speaker and pastor.
another person that is difficult to love.  That is when a person is making progress.  It’s what God is doing in me that eventually comes out of me; it’s inside out.  One of the signs of maturity and emotional health is when you can see the person how God sees them and you begin to respond as God would respond."

     Paul’s prayer for us is that we would not be okay with just staying the same.  His prayer is that our love would overflow more and that we would continue to grow throughout the years.
     This growth and love is not based on circumstances.  It’s based on God working in our life.  What a joy it is to know that through the bad circumstances and good ones, God is working to complete us just the same.  And that through the bad circumstances, God brings His goodness out in huge ways! 
     Life is not about checking off all the boxes of going to church, small group, and prayer meetings, although those are all wonderful things.  It’s bigger than what we do, and is about the inward transformation of what God is doing in us!
     Our Christian faith is best seen in how we treat and love others around us.  That’s when you see the inside out transformation!  When we see people how God sees them, how our faith grows hugely!  Our purpose in life is to magnify God in all we do.
     I pray we would believe this, and that we would pray this for our own lives.  I pray we would be people that pray big prayers and believe God for HUGE things.  I pray that we would be people whose love is overflowing more and more each day!
     May we have open hearts and be humble people to let God transform us into who He wants us to be.  I pray we would be people that are bold with our faith.  That we don’t hesitate to show people the glory of life with Jesus and the full life He brings us every single day!
     And I pray that through this, God would help you will be a better, mother, wife, father, husband, daughter, son, employee, and/or friend!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

14 June 2017

When Work is a Privilege, Not A Chore

    Why do I continue to work at the Lydia House?  Even when times get hard?  Because to me, when I am at the Lydia House, it isn't "work.”  Not ever!  I am blessed that God assigned me to serve Him there, and through Him I try to serve each Lydia House guest with love.  My position is not a chore, but a privilege. 
     People ask me all the time why I'm so happy all the time.  I tell them it's the joy of the Lord gushing out of me.  And that opens wide the door of opportunity to tell them what God has done for me and that He wants to do the same for them. 
     I used to be an alcoholic, drug addict, incarcerated, was severely abused, lived at the Lydia House, graduated the New Life Recovery Program, and relapsed after years of sobriety.  But by God’s grace, I have been clean and sober over nine years now!
     When I share this with Lydia House guests, it’s difficult for them to believe it, but it gives them hope!  That's the hope they can daily have in Jesus!  My love for God, my story, and His joy in me has been a great witnessing tool, and I'm blessed to share it with others! 
     So when I come to work at the Lydia House, I come excited, ready, and expecting God to use me mightily for His glory!  I'm not ashamed of Jesus, His Word, or being on fire for Him!  I thank Him that my mess is His message. 
     Meet our guests exactly where they are and see them through the eyes of Christ and watch God work!

Family Support Worker

13 June 2017

The Promise of God's Plan

     Attending Open Door Mission's last Graduation ceremony was so uplifting to me.  Hearing the testimonies and watching the graduates speak with their heads held high is a blessing in so many ways.  My thoughts went directly to, "We are ALL growing in God's Love.”
     Many men and women in the program are excited to fulfill their dreams and get their lives back on track.  This is the promise of God's plan for their lives!  God makes all things new with a fresh start, and lets them know that they have a purpose and a future.
     I am encouraged to see the growth throughout each journey, and to see where God has had a hand in it all.  The clean slate, fresh start, endless blessings, and God's love are all a part of how the power of Jesus CAN change lives!
     Be sure to attend our next Graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 24 at 10:00 a.m.!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

12 June 2017

A Moment of Unity

     “Ms. Jessica,” he shouted.  As I turned around, I was greeted by a resident of the North Omaha community.  With a smile on his face, he started helping us hand out sack lunches to other individuals in the community.
     I saw a joy in his eyes and I asked him why he wanted to help us today.  He smiled and said, "I  have been on the receiving end before Ms. Jessica.  I have been hungry.  I have been lonely.  And Open door mission was there for me!  It is my time to help in any way I can."
     His statement and his willingness to assist us touched me deeply.  Before we piled in the van to leave, this man began to lead us all in a prayer.  As he began, we could hear people down the block yelling, “Wait!  Wait!  We want to pray too!”  Several individuals ran to join our prayer circle.
     Today, a man was able to give back what was once given to him.  People were fed, prayed for, and loved on.  For at least a moment today, there was unity, peace, love, and prayer on this North Omaha block.  People from different walks of life, different ages, and different races came together.
     May this moment of unity grow and across the Streets of Omaha as we continue to spread the love of Jesus, one sack lunch at a time.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

09 June 2017

Amazing Grace!

     Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!  Las week I was doing case management with a man named Jason.  He knew about Jesus, having been raised in a religious atmosphere.  Yet he did not know for sure if he had eternal life.
     We visited for a while and I was able to share the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to him.  We came to the point where I asked him, "Is there any reason you wouldn't want to pray and ask God to forgive you and receive Christ into your heart?”
     He said, "There is not."
     So we prayed and Jason came into assurance of his salvation.  Hallelujah!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

08 June 2017

Gifts in Kind

     Have you ever donated clothing, housewares, or some form of a non-monetary gift to Open Door Mission? Do you wonder what happens to your donated items? Gifts in Kind (GIK) are any donations that are not financial gifts. They empower the homeless and near-homeless to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
     ALL working and useable GIK donations Open Door Mission receives are given FREE OF CHARGE to people in need. Did you know that even the items that are not in good condition are recycled? For example, Open Door Mission also accepts clothing with buttons missing, tears, stains, rips, and etc. which will be recycled.
     The ability to give back to our community, to help end the cycle to homeless and poverty, is an ongoing process. Our needs include but are not limited to food (canned fruit, soup, meat, spaghetti sauce, and boxed meals), clothing for men, women, and children, household items (dishes, pots and pans, small appliances, and lamps), furniture, appliances, linens (bedding, blankets, and towels), as well as personal care items (deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, razors, and shaving cream). Staff members will even welcome you at our Donation/Outreach Centers and do all the lifting, so you will not have to even get out of your vehicle.
     Gifts in Kind are stored in our one of our four Donation/Outreach Centers. Our neighbors are allowed to come to one of our Centers to “shop” for free once every 30 days for everything besides furniture. Our neighbors can receive free furniture once every six months due to our limited access to those items. These resources help our neighbors with some of their financial burdens so they can use that money to pay bills and remain in their own homes.  Together we can end the cycle!
     Everyone in need coming through our door receives help if the resources are available. That is why it is so vital for our neighbors in the community to continue donating their no longer needed items that are still in good and usable condition. 
     God has a plan for each and every person. Will you help further His Kingdom by giving your time, talent, or treasures to support Open Door Mission break the cycle of homelessness and poverty? Find out how YOU can shine the light of Christ at www.opendoormission.org.

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

07 June 2017

President/CEO's Prayer List

Amanda was just recently baptized by Open Door
Mission's Discipleship Counselor, Angela. Praise God!
     It has been a busy three weeks at Open Door Mission with the KFAB 1110 Kids to Kamp Radiothon, Omaha Gives, representing Open Door Mission at the National Association of Gospel Rescue Missions’ Conference, and Mission Possible 5k/10k.
     God is so good through all of this!  We have had 18 professions of faith, numerous re-dedications, 40 Bibles given out, and 1 baptism – and that’s just what I know about!
     Would you join me by adding these things to your prayer list?  Open Door Mission depends on prayer partners like you!

  1.  Pray for the Summer of Hope campaign.
  2. Pray that those experiencing homelessness will seek refuge at Open Door Mission.
  3. Pray for the June renovations of the Timberlake Outreach Center.

     And let me leave you with five thoughts from legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden (whose biography I just finished):

  1. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” 
  2. “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”
  3. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” 
  4. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”
  5. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” 

     Thank you for your support!

Candace Gregory

06 June 2017

Mother-Daughter Team

     These two ladies are a fantastic mother and daughter team!  The first Sunday of every month the come to volunteer at the Lydia House, and what a blessing they are!
     They help with medications, make medication files, dispose of old medications, and are always willing to do anything else that needs to be done.  It is wonderful to know they’ll be here to help one Sunday a month.
     Do you want to be a volunteer?  Consider signing up for a consistent time to come and serve.  You never know the relationships you’ll be able to build and the lives you’ll be able to change until you get started.  So click here to sign up today! 

Shelly McCullough
Family Support Worker

05 June 2017

Love in Action

     When one of our shoppers at the Timberlake Outreach Center first came, she was having problems with one of her eyes.  It was very infected and she was afraid of losing it.  The woman told me she had an upcoming appointment with an eye doctor, so I asked if I could pray for her.
     She agreed, so we prayed and as we prayed, she felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and started to cry.  God gave her a word that she will be healed.  He said that He was going to heal her through the doctor’s hands and medicine.
     Then last week, she came in to visit and share her testimony of what God did in her life.  Her eye is healing, and it already looks completely better!
     The woman share with me how very grateful she is that staff members and volunteers at the Timberlake Outreach Center take our time to listen beyond what our eyes can see.  It was wonderful to see her giving glory to God.
     Every day as we go about our lives, let’s be ready to listen to the Holy Spirit to go beyond what we can see.  Let’s live out our purpose of being servants of God by sharing His love.

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.   Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  –Romans 12:9-13

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker