21 December 2006

Long time, no talk....

Good Morning,

Believe it or not the only reason that I am having the opportunity to blog is that the Open Door Mission phone lines are down. The only mode of communication for me is by email or in person. Since, no one is beating down my front door, I thought that I would take the opportunity to catch you up on a few things. Especially, since several blogger watchers have complained that I have not been blogging. Sorry, but it is a little busy down here.

Well, Saturday was awesome. Hundreds of children attended Open Door Mission's Happy Birthday Jesus Party. They were entertained by St. James Untied Methodist Church's puppet team and magician Joe Cole. We had a great time celebrating Jesus birthday with our annual singing of Happy Birthday Jesus and blowing out the candles on the cake. Because of the generosity of the community through Operation Santa, every child received received a gift bag. These bags are taken home and the parents wrap the gifts to be under the tree from themselves or Santa. A great big thank you to KFAB and KGOR.

On Monday, MITA dropped off their annual donation of new educational books. There were more than 7,000 new books. These books are sorted by age and gender by volunteers and used in the Operation Santa bags, at Lydia House so that all homeless children have a new book of their own, and at Back To School Bash. This is a wonderful partnership that provides new books to homeless and near homeless children in our community.

On Tuesday, 94.1 and their team of listeners provided more than 217,000 diapers for the babies and toddlers of the Lydia House. The majority of the mothers seeking shelter at the Lydia House are victims of domestic violence, to have diapers provided is a huge burden lifted. Also, not to mention the right sizes for each baby and child are readily available because of this program. This program is allowing the Community Services department of the Open Door Mission to expand their preventive measure programs in 2007. The working poor families that attend life skills classes such as budgeting and parenting will be given diapers for their time spent in class. 94.1 Thanks for keeping so many bums (baby bottoms) dry throughout the year.

Watch for guest bloggers all next week:0

12 December 2006


Whew, our feet are not even touching the floor, staff are moving along so quickly these days.

We are struggling to be ready for Saturday's Happy Birthday Jesus Party. Our numbers are tallied for preregistration, it will be our largest project, in the Open Door Mission's History. We are preparing to serve 4,393 children on Saturday. This does not include our waiting list.

It is not too late to join in the fun.

We have approximately 1,600 more bags to do before noon on Friday. If you can spare anytime join us at the Open Door Mission's warehouse to sort and stuff bags, 8 a.m to 8 p.m.

We are short on Saturday, too. Just contact the Open Door Mission's Volunteer Department for more information at 422-1111 ext.1202

07 December 2006

Tune in Today

From the Heart of the President

Tune in to KCRO AM 660 at 4:00 p.m. today Thursday, December 7 and join me for Hope for the Holidays A special Open Door Mission one-hour broadcast. I hope that you will be blessed and encouraged as you listen to stories and testimonies about how men, women, and children are finding Hope at Open Door Mission this holiday season - because of friends, like you, who care.

Thank you.


05 December 2006

Note of Encouragement from an Open Door Mission Supporter

Thanks for all you do for hurting people that I cannot do.

My God richly bless the Open Door Mission, the staff, and those who cross the threshold.

Merry Christmas!!


04 December 2006

Shop With A Cop

I hope that you had an opportunity to read the article in Sunday's paper in the Midlands section. The article focused on the increase of numbers of homeless at the Open Door Mission since the cold weather hit. As I headed to my car this morning, I was so glad that the cold snap had broken. Last week, as I ran from my heated home, to my warmed up car and then to my toasty office. I realize how much I take for granted. In our community, there literally are men, women and children that do not have adequate shelter nor are their physical needs being met. I thank God for the Open Door Mission and Lydia House and for the ones that have the opportunity to enter the doors.

Tonight, is Shop With A Cop. This is an annual event for the children of the Open Door Mission and Lydia House. Many times, our children have only met law enforcement during negative times in their life in relation to domestic violence, drugs, gangs, etc. This is an opportunity for each child to be partnered with a law enforcement officer for an evening of activities. Each child, will ride with an officer in their cruiser, shop together for clothes and toys, eat supper and visit Santa. This is a huge positive role model experience for the children. Thank you to the Irvington Walmart and the Omaha Police Union for their commitment and time to make this program a success.

29 November 2006

Hungry v.s. Food Security Issue

Sunset Hills Meal Drive
The Open Door Mission through the generosity of the community was able to serve more than 4,800 Thanksgiving meals and gave away more than 1,300 Turkey and Fixin boxes to low income families. These families were able to stay in their own homes for Thanksgiving. A great big thank you to the 800+ volunteers who gave of their time.

The Sunset Hills Student Government Association just finished a fund raiser to benefit Open Door Mission in which 140 students collected $688.78 or 374 meals. Each feather on this turkey represents a meal that was collected. Thank You Soooooo..... Much.

Most recently, the USDA reported that 35 million people could not put food on the table at least part of last year. People living in poverty in the Heartland are required to choose between food, shelter and basic needs. The Open Door Mission continues to see an increase in the need for preventive measures.

Last year, the Open Door Mission on average served 1,400 each month through the Community Services department. Individuals and families supplementing their income. The Outreach Center looks like a thrift store but nobody pays. There are gently used clothing, shoes, furniture, emergency pantry, case management and more. This month, the Outreach Center will break a record in the number served. There is an estimated grand total of more than 7,000 served at the Outreach Center for the month of November.

Therefore, whether we say hungry or very low food security issue the facts remain the same there is a real need in our community.

16 November 2006

Calling all Turkeys.. Gobble, Gobble..

Gobble, Gobble.... as you have heard the Open Door Mission needs Turkeys for their Great Thanksgiving Banquet on Saturday. Many from the community are stepping up and out to meet the needs. Check out www.wowt.com and watch the live video on the right side of the table.

08 November 2006


Good Afternoon,

WOW, the weather is unbelievable. Who would have thought that it could be high 70's in November.

Yesterday, I started the day with radio personalities Glo, Glen and Cammie form Star 104.5 It was an opportunity to promote the upcoming Sister Doin It For Others Event this coming Saturday. This is an annual event, in it's 7th year, raising public awareness and quality donations for the women and children that reside at the Lydia House. I had the opportunity to swing by and say, "HI" to Big Party and Jeff from 94.1. We are gearing up for the Lydia House Diaper Drive. This drive brings in more than 200,000 diapers.

Last night, I spoke with employees and investors of Horizon Bank. I am so impressed with this group of individuals and their genuine sincerity and compassion. Although, Horizon Bank does not have a location in Omaha, this business is very community minded throughout the state of Nebraska. I truly enjoyed the fellowship, not to mention the food was fabulous.

Last but not least, a celebration is in order in reference to Initiative 421. Again, the people of Nebraska have spoken on expanded gambling, saying, "No." I believe the people of Nebraska understand that expanded gambling will not create a positive economic or social impact in our communities. Praise the Lord.

03 November 2006

Time Flys..

Wow, I can not believe that it is Friday. Time is just flying by so quickly.

Thank you to so many that stopped by at the corner of 72nd and Dodge, last week, for the Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat campaign. Thousands of pounds of clothing, food and household items were donated. A great kick off to the holiday season.

Last Saturday, you could not have missed the Open Door Mission Jesus Loves Me balloons that were all over the MidAmerica Center at the annual Treat Street event. 1,700 balloons were given out. Also, more than 1,000 Hobart stories were given out which spiked an increase in the volume of callers to the Phone A Story line. Last Sunday, was the second week of Christ Community Church's mission fair. The Open Door Mission booth had more than 50+ individuals express interest in volunteering. A special thank you to Barney( board member), Kathleen ( alumni), Charity( Lydia House Director) for helping me staff the booth.

The Open Door Mission will be celebrating Veterans Day with a Red, White and Blue Salute to Veterans. It is going to be a great night on November 9th at 7:30 p.m. For more information contact me directly at cgregory@opendoormission.org Come and join us as we honor homeless vets.

27 October 2006

Easter Concert

Last night, was awesome. Chef McIntyre and his crew along with the Men's Recovery Services team did a fabulous job. The food was delicious and the service was with a smile. A very special thank you to Brookside Church for allowing Open Door Mission to use their facilities and to Pastor John and Peg. The Open Door Mission is planning to make this an annual event. I thought you would enjoy hearing firsthand from one of the attendee's. Jackie sent this email this morning:

The Easter concert was phenomenal!!! What a crowd!! Are you blest? Hope So, I certainly was!!! Met a Pastor from Nigeria and heard his great story as well! The food was EXCELLENT!!!!! What a wonderful evening! Blessings. JACKIE

Have a great weekend:)

24 October 2006

Homeless Children Guest Blogger

The last few weeks have been very exciting here at the Open Door Mission with the kids and our activities. Let me tell you a little bit about what is going on.

We went to the Rose Theatre and the children watched the stage performance of Ol' Yeller. We have been to the Children's museum - and we even went on a hike with some volunteers!
We are going skating this week at Hope Skate, and a couple of weeks ago when school was out, we all went to the movies.

It is so thrilling to see the look of joy on the face of a homeless child as they participate in activities that most of us take for granted. We give glory to God for His provision for our needs, and we thank Him for our blessings!

Misty A. Gasa, Children/Youth Director, Open Door Mission

20 October 2006

Initiative 421

Yesterday Open Door Mission hosted an informative luncheon on behalf of Gambling With The Good Life concerning Initiative 421 . About sixty-five clergy and non-profit representatives were present.

Each night at Open Door Mission, we sleep more than 300 men, women and children. We serve over 700 meals per day. Unfortunately, Open Door Mission turns away more than 140 families and 90 single women each month. We serve hundreds in our outreach preventive programs to the nearly homeless.

The Open Door Mission has witnessed first hand the effects of gambling on men and women and their children. The passing of more keno availability will only lead to the continued decay of the nucleus family.

21% of the homeless population that Open Door Mission serves willingly admit that they have a chronic to severe gambling addiction that has led to the inability to earn a liveable wage.

A most recent study by Dr. Robert Goodman of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst says that 86% of all compulsive gamblers become involved in crimes such as embezzlement and forgery to support their habit. The State of Nebraska and the City of Omaha cannnot afford an increase in crime or homelessness. The development of downtown Omaha will have far more problems than panhandling and garbage on the streets if Initiative 421 allowing video keno is passed.

The Open Door Mission has many victims that are an example of all forms of gambling. Video Keno slot machines will just be another negative vice-grip on the family.

Vote NO on Initiative 421.

19 October 2006

Joyfully Serving Jesus

I love my job and thank the Lord most days for the opportunity to serve Him through the Community Services Outreach Center at the Open Door Mission. My day usually begins with co-workers and myself meeting together to pass on important information and to pray. I then return phone calls, meet with food pantry clients and other case management clients. I also try to catch up on paper work and ministry projects we have coming up. I know this sounds pretty quiet and routine, but life at the Outreach Center is not normally quiet or routine. To me, at times it seems more like a Three-Ring Circus! Our days are exciting and extremely busy and we have to stay alert and focused or we might miss what God is doing in our lives and the lives of our clients. Yesterday for instance, two of our clients recommitted their lives to Christ. They came in discouraged and depressed and left encouraged with a new hope for their future.
My day is never dull because we have people from all walks of life coming through our doors. Each person or family has a unique story, and yet, there is one thing they all seem to have in common. They have experienced a recent crisis in their life or family and have come to Open Door Mission for help. We have the privilege of praying with them, sharing God's love and helping to meet those needs through the various gifts and donations many of you have given to our Mission.
Last month we gave out 127 food pantries and over 2000 people from our community came to our Outreach Center for food, clothing, furniture and appliances. You are our partners in Christ. For without you we would not have been able to serve these people. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, and spread the word to family and friends that your gifts are not only helping to meet needs for people in our community, they are also helping to change their lives. By the way, did you know that all of your donations are given back to people in need for FREE?
So please give us a call if you would like to donate any household items, furniture, or appliances in good condition.
Please call Dan Applegate, Open Door Mission Director of Community Services at 829-1517 for any donation pickups.

Joyfully serving Jesus
Judy Collins, Open Door Mission Assistant Director of Community Services

18 October 2006

Thank God for laughter

I thought I would share my Tuesday with you. Actually it began Monday evening. I had been out of town since Friday. I was in Kansas City spending time with my daughter, Emilee. What a privilege it was to hear her sing in church on Sunday and then at the Wyndotte County Christian Women's luncheon on Monday. There is no greater joy in the world than hearing your child serve the Lord in that manner. Especially when neither her father nor I can sing a note. I arrived home tired from the 3 hour drive and threw my husbandss keys on the dining room table. Dan is out of town this week, which is a rare occasion, so I am on my own.

Tuesday morning I got up late and in my haste grabbed a set of keys off of my table, shoved them in my pocket, locked the front door, and walked outside. It was garbage day so I needed to get that to the curb (this is normally Dan's task). I then reached in my pocket and discovered the keys that I grabbed were my work keys. But that wasn't so bad, I fumbled through my purse in the rain and found my set of keys for the car. I then remembered that my front door was locked and I was hopping that the lock I used was the one that I had the key for. I knew that the lower front door key was on Dan's set sitting on the table. I decided that I would worry about that later. I was running late and needed to get to the office.

My day consisted of representing Open Door Mission at a Combined Federal Campaign meeting. I always enjoy the opportunity of talking about the Mission. But when I got back to the Mission, I locked my keys in the car. This is only the second time that has ever happened to me. Remember Dan is out of town and his set of keys are on my dining room table in my locked house. Thank God for AAA.

After work I went to a hair appointment that lasted about an hour longer then usual. When I was leaving the appointment at 7:45 p.m. I decided to drive through Taco Bell and pick up a salad and tacos for my two dogs. (They love it when I bring them a treat.) Dan keeps a plastic cup filled with change in the car and I needed a penny for my purchase. I picked up the cup and you guessed it, change flew all over the car. For a moment I felt a bit overwhelmed, but...

As I sat at the drive up window, I looked back on my day and remembered how it began. I was running late, but I did take time to do my daily devotion. I have been reading from the Jabez story. It reminds me to dedicate everyday to the Lord and to ask for those "divine appointments" only given by God. I was so glad that I had taken the time to dedicate this day to God.

I ended the day laughing about so many things going wrong with Dan out of town and needing to take care of myself. I thank God everyday for Dan and my family but they were not with me on this day. I realized I was not on my own, God had spent the day with me. I am so grateful for a loving God that laughs with us when we do stupid things.

Karen Applegate
Director of Development

17 October 2006


Greetings everyone from the Lydia House Department. We are having a very busy October. All rooms are completely full and we're turning away record numbers in our emergency area. Our New Life Recovery Program is completely full and we have over 25 disciples on the program at this time. More and more of our clients are attending outside meetings at their churches and for 12-step. This is to help enable our clients to be self sufficient and independent in our community. We are seeing many positive results from this experience. One of our Disciples is sharing her testimony at Good News Jail and Prison Ministry Banquet in Council Bluffs this month, this is her first time sharing and she is very excited. We just had one of our graduates who was living in transitional housing move on to her own home this week. We are very excited that she could transition so easily from supportive housing to independent housing. I would invite you to come for a tour anytime to hear more about what we are doing her at the Lydia House. Hope to see you soon.
Charity Watts
Lydia House Director
Open Door Mission

God is good!

Good Afternoon,
My name is James Cummings and I am the Director of Men's Emergency Services. There is never a dull moment in my department. We are doing some exciting things with our emergency men. We have started doing strength-based case management with all of our emergency men. Today I had a man come in my office to meet with me for his case management session. He had a great big smile on his face. With the help from my staff and me he finally has been able to find an apartment of his own and is able to move in the first of the month. I also has another man that I have been able to share God's love with and this man rededicated his life to Christ today. It is such a blessing to be able to work with these men and see the little steps they take to be on their own and be successful in the community.

Director of Men's Emergency Services
Open Door Mission

14 October 2006


I just have to tell you about my last two Fridays. Then you will know why I am skipping boycotting Fridays.. Last Friday, my family set out to accomplish the task of a family picture. This is no small feat with a family of 6. It started at 11:00 a.m. and I did not have a photo in my hot little hands until 3:30 p.m. One inexperienced photographer, one fussy 18 month old that had enough, and a frazzled mother. Well, this is the best we could do:)

Then this Friday, three of my four children have had for the last 24 hours flu like symptoms. Now, all you parents can relate this is not fun and by the end of the day, I had flu like symptoms.
So as you can see I am really passing on Fridays just jumping right into the weekends from now on.

Thank goodness it is Saturday. I am off to Kansas City to the City World Mission Association.

12 October 2006

Millard South High School

Millard SouthToday was a great day. I spent the entire day at Millard South High School. I had the opportunity to speak to students about homelessness and poverty. I am excited about many students expressing interest in volunteer opportunities. millard southThe students had gathered toys, clothing, food and household items for the Open Door Mission and Lydia House. My vehicle was jammed packed with side mirror view only. Enjoy the great photo's: Millard South

01 October 2006


Sometimes, things never go as you plan.

My daughter, had surgery, last week. She had her tonsils and anodes removed. This required a hospital stay at Children's Hospital. I have referred clients over the years to Children's and have always gotten good reports. People referring to the care as excellent. My family had a great experience under the circumstances. I can now say its not only a place that I refer people but a place I would take my own family.

For weeks, Pastor Tom and volunteers have been working on a float for the Open Door Mission to use in parades. Last week, due to miscommunication the ball did not get put on the van and thus the float did not float or move for that matter. Then yesterday an unfortunate event, the van that was scheduled to pull the float in the parade rear ended a staff members car. Again, the float did not float or move. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. All in all there must be a lesson in this for me. I just have not figured it out, yet. I will have to wait for God to reveal it to me. Ugh, patience...

23 September 2006

What an AWESOME day

This morning, friends and family of loved ones and the Open Door Mission had a great opportunity to celebrate changed lives. It was Graduation day for members of the New Life Recovery Program and the Resident Rehabilitation program. During graduation, it is so moving to hear the testimonies from the graduates. There was one family, a mom and dad with their three girls, and six men. For many of them this is the first time completing something. This is a new beginning and season. Following graduation, the alumni served a fabulous buffet.

This afternoon, Bellevue Christian Center's Youth Masters arrived to volunteer. Many assisted in the Food Service department with Bible Believers Fishes and Loaves team. This allowed the homeless to be served in a banquet style setting. A very special treat. Others volunteered in the Bright Space and Tutoring Lab, and many went to work in the pantry.

Salem Baptist Church's Men of Honor individuals and families volunteered late this afternoon and evening. For the first time, the Open Door Mission opened the Outreach Center to serve the near homeless in our community. There were approximately 750 individuals served through this outreach event.

Last but not least, the Open Door Mission was able to participate in the Benson Parade. Many volunteers, alumni, and current program members and staff were able to hand out candy and Hobart stories to parade spectators.

19 September 2006

Ambulance Stolen

Well, it is not everyday that someone gets to report that an Ambulance has been stolen. In fact, this is the only occurrence that I am aware of in the Open Door Mission's history.

I want to assure you that Open Door Mission takes precautions to create a safe environment for the clients served, the volunteers and staff.

I am grateful that the client, the public and the police officers involved were not harmed during the incident.

On a more positive note, more than 100 Open Door Mission clients are assessing the bus line that has now expanded to include Abbott Drive.

I plan to blog on the Keno initiative, tomorrow. Tune in.

06 September 2006

Emergency Services

Hope that you all had a great time with your friends and family over the holiday weekend. I spent the majority of my time spring cleaning or should I say, "fall cleaning". I just kept procrastinating. Oh, but how good it feels to be organized and decluttered. Is decluttered even a word? Oh, well.

Monday was a highlight for the Open Door Mission. It was our final day of the Homers for the Homeless program with the Omaha Royals and our monthly food drive. This season, each time a home run was hit at a home game, the plate was passed, no pun intended, for the Open Door Mission. There was more than $1,700.00 collected. The check was presented to me during the bottom of the 3rd inning.

Tonight, I attended a meeting with the Emergency Services staff and clients. For the last six months, staff have been planning and preparing for changes. They have been working on being cross trained in chaplain duties and case management. Tonight history was made at the Open Door Mission. Effective, tonight, every man that enters Emergency Services will now have a case manager assigned to work with them, personally. Through strength based case management men will be supported on reaching their goals and preventing homelessness in the future. This is very exciting.

On a personal note, I will be flying to Seattle on Thursday to be with family. We will be celebrating the life of my great Aunt Lib. Recently, she celebrated her 90th birthday, in July. But this past weekend, she passed on to another celebration, eternity in heaven. If you have questions or concerns or uncertainty about where you will spend eternity, please email me personally at cgregory@opendoormission.org I would love to send you a great booklet, Step Up To Life.

01 September 2006

Karen Applegate

It is Friday. Not only that, it is a Friday before a three day weekend. Everyone gets excited when you have an extra day off and if you are like me anticipating an extra day off, you are beginning to winding down. Dan (my husband) and I are in a small group from our church that meets every other Friday evening and this is the week. I love our friends from the small group. We all desire to have a closer relationship with God and a side benefit is that we have a lot of fun. I thought about this week even skipping it because of the long weekend. Today I cannot even remember why I thought about that. Why would I think just because I am getting an extra day off work it would be okay to skip studying God's word with friends?

Okay, I am human.

This morning I attended a monthly meeting at the Better Business Bureau regarding their annual integrity award. The committee is made of representatives from various types of businesses from our community. I know what the word integrity means, but I decided to look it up today. Other words for integrity are honor, nobility, credibility, character, and decency. I enjoy working with the people on this committee because they truly care about the "integrity" in our community.

When I think about these two groups of people in my life, they are very different. They represent all walks of life. They do come from different faiths and different social and economical settings. The goal for each is to strive for "integrity" in everything they represent.
One of my responsibilities at Open Door Mission is to make sure that all fund raising expenses are spent wisely and never exceed an unacceptable level. I am proud to be a part of an organization that strives for the highest level of "integrity".

I am so blessed, God has put many people in my life that represent credibility, honor, and integrity. Now that I actually thought about it, is there really a better way to start a three day weekend than studying God's word with friends?

Have a great holiday weekend!

31 August 2006

MAT Busline

Yahoo, the busline is coming. For years, the Open Door Mission has needed access to the busline. It is going to be right outside our doors. This will allow men, women and families the opportunity to public transportation. This will be empowering to be able to get to medical appointments, job interviews, educational institutions, etc. Special thank you to Curt and Kelly with MAT and Kiwanis Club member Max. Max is an advocate for others. Max is a volunteer at the Kiwanis welcome center at Eppley Airport and a volunteer driver for Veterans. Max gave of his time to advocate for the busline expansion. So, to all volunteers TIME CAN CHANGE LIVES. Again, special thanks to Max:)

29 August 2006

Cultivating Hearts Radio Show

Just a quick note.

Hope you are tuning in on Saturday nights on KCRO 660 AM to our Cultivating Hearts radio show. Click here to download the Inductive Study Questions that Tara was talking about

Welcome Back to me...

Step OutStep OutWow, what a weekend.

We had some great volunteers through Step Out. Many individuals and families gave of their time to make a difference in the lives of many. There was painting, sorting of clothes, food pantries made, meals prepared and served, school supplies, and much more. There were actually more than 1,277 manpower hours donated Step OutStep Outthrough this event which is about 10 months worth of work for a full time staff.

Step Out

18 August 2006

Patti C.-Executive Assistant

Well, today has been a day of prayer! God is so good to allow me, as a staff member, to take time out of my day to come before His throne to lift up praises and prayers to Him. Another staff member reported that a female client accepted Christ today! What a blessing! We have another sister joining the army of the Lord! One of our faithful volunteers and his family are in need of prayer, two staff members asked for prayer for their families, and so much more!

I am thankful that the Lord has me working in a place that follows Him. Not only am I praying for these praises and prayers above, I am praying for you! Our faithful donors, volunteers and fellow staff members. You are all an integral part of the work the Lord is doing here at Open Door Mission.

Please, if you have a specific prayer request that I might be able to pray about for you, give me a call at 402-829-1505. Or you can e-mail me at pcummings@opendoormission.org. It would be my pleasure and privilege to lift you up today!

Blessings upon Blessings!
Patti Cummings
Executive Assistant

16 August 2006

Ronda N.-Director of Lydia House, Recovery Services

Hi Friends of Open Door Mission and Lydia House!

What a busy day, I just got back from a week's vacation with my parents, my family, and my two sisters and their families. and I am trying to get back into life at Lydia House.

Spending so much time with my family always highlights for me what a blessing my family has been in my life. Though I made my mistakes along the way, the foundation that my family gave me helped pave the way for me to be in ministry today.

Over the past 13 years I have had the privilege of working at Lydia House. My heart is heavy each day as I see children and adults coming to stay that are hurting in so many ways. Not everyone has grown up knowing Jesus Christ as their personal savior, not everyone has received unconditional love as a child, not everyone has been taught or seen the life-skills needed to lead an independent life, not everyone has had food to eat each day, not everyone has been able to attend school, and not everyone has been able to DREAM. But, my heart is uplifted when I get to work alongside my co-workers and friends of Open Door Mission and Lydia House as we team together to offer services for families to fill these voids in their lives. As you browse our web site - you can learn all about these services.

I am the director of Lydia House Recovery Services. Currently we are serving 11 families with their 15 children and 6 single women in a long - term recovery program. I manage the daily structure and lead the Recovery Services staff. Today my day started at 7:00 a.m. As I entered the mission I was greeted with a hearty good morning and had the door opened for me from one of the men living in the Men's Emergency Shelter volunteering in the kitchen. I get to see first - hand how kind and gentle these 'men of the streets' are when given an opportunity to serve. Before even entering my office I needed to help a young mom with cleaning up her baby that had gotten sick. After monitoring the medication time I completed room and chore checks.

This morning the room and chore checks took extra long as I got to visit with the families that I had not seen for a week. A lot can happen in a week: four women and one husband advanced to their next level in the recovery program, sadly one woman had relapsed and left the program (I pray that she will return). Bible Day Camp ended (the kids are home this week - our new Children and Youth Coordinator is keeping them busy). A single mom started to receive weekend visits with her young son and another mom now has her daughter living with her full time. A sprained ankle and a broken washing machine and vacuum. Two husbands found full - time employment. One mom started a hospital day program to better address her mental health needs. An expecting mom's due date was put - up a week (baby should be here next week!). One single woman started our new Journey to Work Program. All kids were enrolled in school - starts next Wednesday!. And best of all - two woman accepted Jesus into their lives. These are the reasons that I love working at Lydia House! I am inspired at the hard work people are putting into their lives and seeing results and starting to DREAM for the future.

The rest of the day seems like a blur. Catching up on voicemail, mail, and e - mail, checking in with staff, a lunch meeting with the Open Door Mission Alumni officers, and a case manager's meeting. And the best part is the end of the day when I walk though the dinning room and see all the kids eating and laughing with their parents and often a child runs over to hug me good - bye. How blessed I am to be able to serve at Lydia House.

Ronda Nelson
Director of Lydia House, Recovery Services

15 August 2006

Pastor Tom Asks For Help!

We at Open Door Mission are so thankful for the good partners that bless us from local churches in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Many church folks hold chapel services here at the main mission and at our Outreach Center. Some have been mentors to those on the New Life Recovery Program. One church invites our program people to breakfast at their church once a month - feeds them a great meal and just loves on them! Others pick men and women up at the mission for church on Sundays and then bring them back again. Others help serve dinner and make sack lunches. Some organize clothes and personal care item drives for people who really need those things. Others adopt a family during Christmas time to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas with a young family. I could talk a bunch about real "Good Samaritans" who minister to the homeless and hungry here at Open Door Mission, but I would like you to do that!

I would really appreciate you replying back with a personal testimonial about your ministry experience here at Open Door Mission. Why do I ask you to do that? Because people expect me to talk about how God uses people to be a blessing to many here at Open Door Mission, but your personal stories will carry far more weight than my words.

Please respond back, and thank you so much for caring for those who are the least and the last.

14 August 2006

Misty G.-Children & Youth Director

Bible Day Camp 2006 is over; it was a wonderful time. God works in great ways, big and small. We witnessed God change and move in these children. It was a refreshing reminder for us as Christians to be as "child-like" in our faith. My favorite thing about Open Door Mission Bible Day Camp was: watching the children singing praise songs with eyes closed and arms raised up to our Father. What a powerful memory. God is good! I also loved hearing the children praying to Jesus in the morning to start our days.

In praise,
Misty A. Gasa

11 August 2006

The Good Stuff - Deb Hayes, Director of Public Relations

PR TeamAlthough Open Door Mission has always had the components of Public Relations, the department is relatively new. And so is most of the team. Let me introduce them to you: left to right in the photo: Natalie, Volunteer Assistant; Patty, Seasonal Director; Connie, Volunteer and Partner Director; and Iris, PR Associate. (I'm the one behind the camera.)

As a team, we're here to plug volunteers into the many outlets of ODM programs and services. And it takes hundreds of volunteers to help meet everyone's needs.

At our team meeting this week, we talked about "Smiles," an essay by Filomena Borsellino. As a sociology student, Borsellino was given the assignment to smile at three people and then document their reactions. Shortly after assigned the project, Borsellino, her husband and son went out to McDonalds for breakfast. While standing in line, everyone around them began to back away - everyone but Borsellino. As she turned around, there were two poor homeless men standing beside her, one shorter with sky blue eyes. Dirty and cold, the men had only enough change to buy one cup of coffee, but that price would also afford them a chance to warm up. As she looked at the shorter man, he was "smiling." Borsellino ordered two extra breakfast meals and delivered them to the table where the men were resting. "Thank you," the blue eyed man said with tears in his eyes.

"I did not do this for you," she replied. "God is here working through me to give you hope."

When she returned to her family, her husband said, "That is why God gave you to me - to give me hope."

Passion like this - to be a light of hope from God - is the reason Open Door Mission staff show up for ministry every day - Monday through Friday, and even Saturday, Sunday and holidays.

By the way, two members of our Public Relations team are graduates of ODM's New Life Recovery Program, but I'm not telling who. You'll need to come for a tour of the Mission to find out. Call us - 422-1111, ext. 1202 to schedule a convenient time.

Oh, and when you have nothing else to give... give a smile!

10 August 2006

Larry A.-Gift In Kind Extraordinaire

Hi, my name is Larry Ainsworth. The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to be a volunteer here at Open Door Mission on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. When I started here at the Mission eighteen months ago, I was asked to help with the clerical work involved with the "Gift-in-Kind" receipts. I learned that every gift of food, clothing, shoes, house wares, personal - care items, furniture and other miscellaneous items must be attributed to the donor. My work day starts with sorting all "GIK" receipts by date and then identifying the donor so their gift(s) can be assigned to them. This is required for financial accountability and to fulfill governmental regulations. My work is definitely not difficult but must be done and I enjoy doing it. It has been my desire and intent to assist the workers and administrative staff wherever possible so their time can be better utilized on the more critical functions of the Mission.

Working out in the community with some of the food drives and the Hurricane Katrina Relief has added to my understanding of the dimension to which the Mission goes to serve people, not only in our community, but other places as well. In these past months, the Lord has blessed me with a number of new relationships here at the Mission. I am encouraged by these men and women and their dedication in serving their Lord and our community. I likewise am seeking to be an encouragement to them in their various areas of service.

About a year ago, the Lord opened a door for me to help in another area of the Mission, in addition to my regular work. Pastor Tom Meradith asked if I would be interested in helping out by leading the chapel serve at the Outreach Center on Tuesday mornings. Of course I said "Yes!" What a wonderful opportunity to share the Word of God with those using the center; to make known that our God desires to change lives now and to give peace and hope for eternity through His Son, Jesus Christ.

I count it a real joy to be just a very small part of this great work here in our community.

Serving our Savior,
Larry Ainsworth
Faithful Volunteer

08 August 2006

Judy C.-Assistant Director of Community Services

Hi, my name is Judy and I would like to tell you about my day. I began my day at the Open Door Mission's Outreach Center returning phone calls and setting up appointments with clients who were in need of food pantries or furniture. Next, I walked over to our Learning Center at the main building to meet with Mike Dodd, the Director of the Open Door Mission's Learning Center, to observe one of the classes Mike was teaching. He has been helping Dan Applegate, Director of Community Services and me prepare for implementing a Community Learning Center at our Outreach Center. This will enable clients from our community to be able to use the Learning Center to improve reading and math skills, prepare for GED classes, job readiness, etc. It's very exciting and we are hoping it won't be long before the Outreach Center Learning Center will be open and available to our clients.

I returned to the Outreach Center to meet with furniture and food pantry clients. My day is never dull because we have people from all walks of life coming through our doors. Each person or family has a unique story, but there is one thing they all seem to have in common. They have experienced a recent crisis in their family and they have come to the Open Door Mission for help. Our work at the Community Services Outreach Center is PREVENTION that is helping the near homeless from becoming homeless.
As we assist in meeting families present needs, we are able to share God's love and give them hope for their future.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our donors who have given to our mission: clothes, household items, toys, furniture, and appliances. Due to your generous gifts we were able to provide beds and dressers for several families today. Also, household items to another family who needed pots and pans, dishes, and a kitchen table and chairs for the family to have dinner together tonight. I wish I could say every need was met that came through our doors today but, the need is great and our inventory is low. So, please tell your friends and neighbors to give us a call if they have extra furniture or appliances they no longer need.

Please call Dan Applegate, Open Door Mission Director of Community Service at 829-1517 if you have any good used furniture or appliances you wish to donate. Your gift(s) will meet a real need for one or more families in our community. And May God bless you for your kindness!

Joyfully serving Jesus,
Judy Collins
Open Door Mission Assistant Director of Community Services

07 August 2006

Karen A.-Director of Development

I started working at Open Door Mission in 1988. I was the youngest person working at the mission for the first several years. I do not talk about who is the youngest or oldest employee now ... for obvious reasons. Many have told me that I have worked at ODM longer than anyone in its 52 year history.

Eighteen years ago, the people we served were middle-aged to older men. We had a space for a few single women. Housing a child was either not needed or not spoken of because no one had adequate space or a facility to provide for families. Lydia House opened in 1990 for single women and single parent families, since then we have been able to redecorate and make room for two parent families.

As I have gotten more "mature", the faces I see each day have become younger. That has been difficult for me. I remember the first time I really noticed a child in the cafeteria, it broke my heart. One day I was talking with a gentleman that had been at the mission for a couple of weeks. He told me that that day was his 20th birthday. This young man was younger than both of my children!

The needs and the Mission are different today, but one thing that has not changed through the years is God's presence. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What a privilege it has been for me to serve God. It is awesome to see changed lives, not only from the people staying at ODM but the volunteers and donors.

Thank you for your continued prayers and sacrificial giving of time, talent, and treasure. If you have not been to the Mission lately, I would love to give you a tour and show what God does daily at Open Door Mission.

Karen Applegate
Director of Development

Brian M.-Director of Food Services

Here in the Open Door Mission Food Services department, we call ourselves, "The Culinary Zone." I tell everybody that we may have the busiest kitchen in Omaha. The reason I say that is because on average we serve 200 plates for breakfast, 250 plates for lunch, and 300 plates for dinner. We also pack 200 sack lunches on a daily basis for those heading out for jobs. You see, our kitchen doesn't close. We are open Monday through Sunday and serve even more on Fridays with our "Streets of Omaha" program. So you can see, we stay very busy here.

We also provide catering for special events like, Back-to-School-Bash, Bible Day Camp, The Great Thanksgiving Banquet, and other community events, to name a few. In The Culinary Zone, we have seven positions to fill. These positions are filled by volunteers who stay here at Open Door Mission, as well as volunteers who generously give of their time from the community. Here at Open Door Mission we say, "Hope Begins with a Meal". I am truly amazed to watch God provide for each meal here at Open Door Mission.

Brian McIntyre Food Service Director

Joan M.-Donor Relations Coordinator

In the late 1980's/early 1990's, I had the privilege of working here at Open Door Mission. During the 12+ year gap between then and now, how things have changed!
The staff is much larger (there were 5 of us "back then"). The number of clients we serve daily has tripled. The face of homelessness has gotten much, much younger. But the needs, the problems, the crisis - and the caring - are much the same.

I count it such a blessing to work among men and women who don't consider this a "job", but God's calling. They give sacrificially of their time and talents to serve the hungry and homeless men, women and children we see daily. In 100+ degree heat many of them have been out on the streets handing out water and encouragement, a pat on the shoulder, an offer of shelter.

When I think of my co-workers, Revelation 2:19 comes to mind. "I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first." May Open Door Mission continue to grow in love, faith and acts of service. And 12+ years from now, let it be said that we spent our days wisely and faithfully. God is at work through Open Door Mission!

02 August 2006

Brenda B.-Business Relations Officer

Brenda BanksOmaha is busting at the seams as we reach record highs in both population and business growth. Most of the population growth is due to increased business opportunities in the metro area and yet we serve more people at the mission than ever before. The truth of the matter is that the lives of those who live at or below poverty level and the lives of the rich are only a short distance apart. That distance can be measured by miles but more often than not, it is measured by support systems and controlled circumstances.

Business owners are well aware of how fast uncontrollable circumstances can change the coarse they are on. With this understanding, they are thrilled to partner with us to be a support system for the people we serve. We certainly could not do this work without the help of local businesses and individuals that care enough to give their time, talents, energy and finances. Everyday, we are mindful that TEAM means Together Everyone Accomplishes More. Together, we provide the support that our clients need to get through life's disappointments and become all that they were created for.

My role at the mission is to help businesses partner with us in the work of changing lives. It is my privilege to help engage these businesses because together we truly can make a difference in the lives of many people. Feel free to call me any time to talk about how we can TEAM up to make a difference.

01 August 2006

Guest Bloggers, please enjoy!

As an update-I am on vacation visiting family and friends in Canada for the next two weeks. Please enjoy hearing from many of Open Door Mission's fine staff as they guest blog in my place while I'm gone. Here's to real maple syrup, ketchup chips and lots of fresh lobster!

Charity Watts-Lydia House Director

Today is another exciting day at the Open Door Mission. We are currently undertaking a project that will take many hours to accomplish. We are entering all of our emergency clients in a new computer program to aid us in better tracking of clients and statistics for the future.

We are also in the middle of a call campaign so you may be hearing from us soon. We would love to know how to pray for each one of you so please contact us anytime. We have made many improvements to the Lydia House and I would love to give you a tour to see all of the updated changes.

We recently began a new program called Journey to Work. This is for single women and families. They will be learning new life and job skills while on the program for 9 months. The program is designed for those not coming to us with Drug or Alcohol issues but those in need of life and employment skills.

Hope to see you in the future for a tour. God Bless!

Charity Watts

31 July 2006

Maggie C-Director of Lydia House, Emergency Services

It is a typical Monday-as soon as I get in the door several clients are eager to tell me the weekend events. It was evidently a long hot one in many ways. I spend an hour trying to sort out stories & details. Everyone is calmed down now & understands that cramp quarters requires lots of understanding & turning the other cheek. I check on the other clients, making sure chores have been done & that they know I care about them individually. One of the team calls in sick, but thankfully another team member offers to come in early. Everyone pitches in to keep the "house" running. I am blessed to work with a great team.

It is the end of the month so the phone calls looking for shelter are plentiful. Unfortunately I have to turn everyone away-my rooms are full. I have already turned away over 200 people this month; over 100 of them were children. That is the hardest part of this job. People should not have to beg for a place to stay. We were able to give one family shelter from the heat. A bright spot in the day.

I love my job, but am often overwhelmed when I see how many people need help & lack of space prevents us from providing just basic needs for people. Sure we can feed them & let them shower, but it is heartbreaking to have to tell them I have no place for them to sleep, or feel safe, or a place for their children to play care freely or to even stay together as a family.

The Lord says joy comes in the morning after the dark night & it does here every day if you look for the little miracles-a child's laughter, a family praying together before a meal, or another client reaching out to share what little they have with someone who has even less. If I can make a difference in just one person's life my life is a success. I do this job because God called me to it & He blesses me through it. Each person that comes through here is the face of God.

29 July 2006

Dan in for Candace

Dan Applegate was a volunteer at the Open Door Mission for more than a decade. Dan is the Open Door Mission's Community Services Director. Community Services serves homeless and near homeless men, women, and children with clothing, food pantries, household items, furniture, etc.. and the Gospel message is shared freely. Below is a highlight from Dan's day;

Today, Friday July 28th had to be one of the most uncomfortable days this year weather wise. This is probably why I got a call today from a mother of three children. The oldest being 5. Her small apartment has no air conditioning. She said her children were very uncomfortable and had already experienced some heat exhaustion symptoms. Her question was "Do you know anyone who has an air conditioner?" I replied "Yes, the mission has one that was just donated." I asked if there was any possible way she could get down here today. She said her neighbor could bring her down this afternoon. As always a great need was met. God is good!

26 July 2006

Perfect Timing

Okay, the heat wave is over for now. We are preparing for new airconditioning units to be installed. Perfect timing before the next heat wave hits, next week.

We have less than 500 cookbooks left from the KGOR Cooking for Kids fundraiser for new playground equipment for the Lydia House children. Hopefully, we will be teaming up with KGOR to sell the remainder of the cookbooks on Saturday.

Many families have been stopping by to sign up for the Back to School Bash. Volunteers are already sorting bookbags and school supplies. We are expecting more than 1,400 children this year. Rock in Prevention will performing an antidrug and proschool message.

Hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as I am.

21 July 2006

Jason the I.T. Guy in for Candace.

I thank God every single day for the opportunity he has given me. You see I am blessed and highly favored and things always go my way. Our God has cared for all 0f my needs and among other things he has blessed me with the opportunity to do my passion (which is fixing computers) in his service here at the mission. Every day I am able to witness first hand how God is changing the hearts and lives of the homeless and hungry right here in Omaha. It never ceases to amaze me just how big our God is, or how many people he has prompted to partner with the mission.

At every outreach event we have, no matter where you look, there is always an army of volunteers sorting, handing out, cooking, parking or serving to help others in need. We can always use your help as well, so sign up and come on down. Recently the haircutters came in to offer haircuts to the men women and children that stay at Open Door Mission.

Because the weather has been so hot, faithful donors have given generously in bottled water, fans and in support of the air conditioning units that were replaced. Everyday we hear testimonies of God's faithfulness through you.

I am grateful that as the staff of the Open Door Mission we are encouraged to pray for our community, volunteers, donors, staff, Board of Directors, Ladies Auxiliary and clients as they have need and are informed of praise reports throughout the day.

As the I.T. guy at the mission, I am pretty much the I.T. Department, and have plenty of work to do, throughout the entire gamut of I.T. projects. I am currently working on refurbishing donated computers to either work as client and staff computers or be given away at our outreach center with clothing and furniture. If you would like to lend of your time or talents in this area, I welcome your help and suggestions.

May God Bless you richly

20 July 2006

Heat Wave

Goodness, I am welcoming the cool air. Yesterday, on water patrol, people were so welcoming of a cool drink. Also, it was an awesome opportunity to share with many homeless about the life changing programs at the Open Door Mission. Two men and one woman jumped on the shuttle to the Open Door Mission and Lydia House to find out more information. Praise God.

It is still a little steamy in the Open Door missions Outreach Center and one wing of the Lydia House. We are trying to raise the money to have the broken units replaced. We have ordered the units believing in faith that we will have the money to pay for them. I am so grateful to the staff and volunteers working in these conditions. The ministry has not skipped a beat nor has any needs gone unmet.

People have been stopping by all day. Picking up their KGOR cookbooks. This is a great collectors item. It is not too late to buy one for yourself or for a gift. They are on sale at the administration building and via the website.

I am flying to Seattle in the morning. I am welcoming the cool air.On Monday, I will be visiting the Cadillac of Missions. The settles Union Gospel Mission. I look forward to sharing those highlights with you.

19 July 2006

Water and Fans

Good Afternoon on this hot and steamy day,

Water Patrol is heading out this afternoon. It will be refreshing to hit the downtown area with bottled water for men and women living on the streets of Omaha. This is where many of the homeless catch a ride to the Open Door Mission and Lydia House.

Thank you to all those that have been donating water and fans. Many individuals, groups, family, and businesses such as, Two Men and a Truck and Great Western Bank, have been contributing.

I hope you had an opportunity to see Lori's story on channel 3, last night. It was an awesome success story on a single mom's life being turned around. We will have it on our media site in the near future.

Have a great day:)

17 July 2006

Water Patrol

Today, was my turn with the team for water patrol. We handed out 245 bottles of water in one hour. Everyone was so grateful.

It was a great weekend for the Open Door Mission. There were more than 1,000 people served at the Community Picnic and the Super Douper Give Away. Keep the Open Door Mission in mind for fans. We have given out all we have as of tonight at closing. So, many of the near homeless that do not have air conditioning or central air are in desperate need.

If you did not get your KGOR cookbook. They will go on sale, tomorrow, at the Open Door Mission's administration building and via the website at www.opendoormission.org

Stay cool.

Wanda O. for Candace

Today has been a very hot & busy day over here at the Outreach Center. I have been busy on the phone returning calls to people from the community to set up furniture appointments in between seeing clients that have had appointments with me today every half hour. My co-workers Judy, Kathy & Amy have been helping me in whatever ways I need. They, along with Dan & our wonderful volunteers have also been getting our Center ready for our big Super Duper Give-A-Way that we are going to have tomorrow.

We had one of our recent Graduates, Iris receive some of her furniture for her new apartment that she will be moving into soon. Ruth, one of Lydia House Recovery Services' Case Managers, brought over a bunch of her clients to receive clothes, shoes, lamps, etc. that they need for their rooms. It was very nice to see some new faces & some familiar faces that are on the New Life Recovery Program. I did not have much time to speak with them, because I was with a community client serving her needs for furniture.

I used to work with the Program clients. So, that's why it's nice to see them-even just to say "hi". Although it's been hot & sticky here, we all work together & rely on Jesus & His strength, & we also from time to time spend a little time in the cooler area, so bad attitudes & irritations don't flair up. It has been a great day serving the needs of the community as well as the Open Door Mission.

Love in Christ,
Wanda Olmsted
Community Services Case Worker

13 July 2006

Where does the time go...flying bye.

I am so pumped for Saturday. The excitement has been building all week.

The media has been kind enough to cover the preparations for the heat wave, during this week. The Open Door Mission does not have even one fan to give out as of today.

On Saturday, the Open Door Mission will open its door to more than 2,000 families in the community. It is our annual Community picnic and Super Duper Give Away. Families will come and have a great lunch. Omaha Steaks donated hambugers for this event. Thank you:) We will have great picnic foods, live entertainment and picnic games. Also, families will get to look for clothing and household items that will help supplement their income. This is great event but a needed preventive measure to equip families to be in their own homes by stretching their dollars.

This Saturday the KGOR Cooking for Kids cookbooks on on sale. This is a limited edition with only 3,000 cookbooks. Many musicians from all types of music have lended their support by donating an original and personal recipe. I will be at Sgt. Peppers on Saddlecreek with the KGOR crew on Saturday from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. Stop by, say "HI" and buy a cook book in support of kids at Open Door Mission and Lydia House.

07 July 2006

Pastor Tom in for Candace

I have never been very athletic. Any similarity between what I do and golf, is purely coincidental. I remember as a kid, my best play at any sport was the proverbial "do over". In golf we call it a "mulligan". I am MR. Mulligan! It is indeed a liberating feeling to know that in a friendly game, with no serious or lasting consequences, we get the grace to "do over" and name our bad moves "Mulligan".

Day-to-day life is very different indeed. Sometimes not living up to norms and expectations causes circumstances that somehow change the course of life dramatically. We see the truth of that statement lived out everyday here at Open Door Mission. No one plans to be homeless and hungry. No one plans to loose their livelihood due to illness or life-altering addictions. No one plans to suffer physical and mental abuse at the hands of a loved one. No one plans to grow up with absentee moms or dads. Over the years we have seen so many people come through our doors who have given up on the "game of life" because they just couldn't make the team. Many are "out of bounds" because of their lifestyle or "benched" because of a sub-par education. However, there is indeed great news! We serve the God of the second chance! He specializes in "do overs"! We all have fallen short of the standards God sets (Romans 3:23). But just when we think we have lost, our substitute enters and secures the victory - his name is Jesus Christ!

Okay, so much for the sports analogies. You get the point. The wonderful thing is, so many other tired, frightened, downtrodden, lonely people get the point also. If God were here on earth today, He would spend a lot of his time at places like Open Door Mission. Hey wait a minute! He is alive, and living in his people! I've seen him in the eyes of a volunteer tutor as she provides a second chance to a homeless child who needs help with homework. Jesus and his disciples clothe themselves with the humanity of chapel teams who come daily to present the good news of the "God of the Second Chance". Faithful angels from our Loaves and Fishes Teams serve multiplied meals to our hungry guests.

By God's grace, may it always be that people who walk through our doors find many who share the same name - Mulligan!

05 July 2006

Summer of Hope Follow Up

Thursday afternoon, I will be hosting an hour show as a follow up on KCRO to the Summer of Hope campaign, at 4:00 p.m. I believe that you can listen online at http://www.kcro.com/ or on 660 AM Thank you to all that financially contributed and to those that donated their time to answer phones. The Summer of Hope donations are still arriving via email and mail.

04 July 2006

Independence Day

Let freedom reign. A fabulous patriotic fireworks show, last night. My family headed over to Bancroft School, last night, and staked out a great spot.

This morning, the phone is not ringing, no appointments, no speaking engagements, and no distractions. I have been able to accomplish a lot of administrative tasks on my to do list.

Many of the men and women at the Open Door Mission are veterans. This is a special day as freedom is celebrated. For others, we are celebrating with deep appreciation for those that have made sacrifices in the past and the present.

Today, men and women at the Open Door Mission celebrate not only their patriotic freedom but the freedom that they have in Christ. Channel 6 interviewed, past graduate, Amy - this morning. Amy has a year and a half of sobriety. Her freedom is from meth. She has her family back together, an apartment, and a full time job with the hope of returning to school. Amy's story will air on Channel 6 at 5:00 p.m.

Open Door Mission's Food Service Director, Bryan, is busy with barbecue preparations. Bryan's team has been in the kitchen since 5 a.m., this morning. Thanks Bryan for never letting anyone go hungry at Open Door Mission.

Have a great day with your family and friends. We have so much to be thankful for.

29 June 2006

Summer of Hope

Summer of Hope Radio-athonYesterday, started at 4 a.m. I almost thought my alarm was playing a joke on me. But I rolled out literally and almost fell onto the floor. Also, not being a coffee drinker pried my eyes open. Then jumped in the shower, the blood started pumping. The adrenaline was flowing with excitement for our first Summer of Hope Radio-athonSummer of Hope Radio Thon. This morning, was a repeat of the above. It is amazing to hear the men and women's testimonies of changed lives through Christ. God is so good.

27 June 2006

Heat Wave

Goodness when it rains it pours. The heat is upon us and what happens, not one but two air conditioning units break down. Both need replaced not repaired due to being ancient. One in the Lydia House and the other in the Outreach Center. The windows are open and the fans are blowing. Pray that we will be able to locate a low bid to stretch our dollars. The summer months are hard with the spike in numbers in client services coupled with donations being low. Hoping that you will be tuning into the Summer of Hope radio a thon. This Wednesday on KGBI 100.7 FM and on Thursday on KCRO 660 AM.

23 June 2006

Pastor Tom for Candace

Pastor Tom
It seems like when it is this close to our nation's Independence Day, my mind always turns to those who have made our freedoms possible - our nation's military veterans. I guess that's because I am a Vietnam Veteran myself. I salute those dedicated men and women - the best our nation has, who are now serving in our military, and those who have served before them.

I especially remember however, the faces of those homeless Vets that I see here at Open Door Mission everyday. We serve a great number of our nation's veterans from many wars - but mostly from the Vietnam War. For a number of reasons, they just have never been able to completely come home . You can see it in their faces - their eyes that cannot come into contact with yours, the distant look that betrays a broken spirit.

I am so thankful that I work with a dedicated group of people who are living out a life of compassion for these and other individuals who find themselves tied up in life's circumstances. At one time these invisible vets had the best their country could offer. They had the best military hardware, the best training, and the best resources that the world's greatest democracy could give them. Things are indeed different for many now.

Aren't you glad that God remembers and keeps the books! Every Veteran's Day, at Open Door Mission we have a special Veterans Chapel service. ODM staff members, who are veterans themselves, invite homeless vets to come up on stage and introduce themselves and tell others the branch of service they were in and when. Then we pin a small American Flag on the chest or each vet. I wish you could see the sparkle in their eyes! Wow - after many long and sometimes lonely years, someone just says thanks for what you did for your country .

Last year we had 83 vets on stage. This year in many ways, I would like to see 500! But a bigger part of me would like to see none. You see, I remember that these brothers and sisters in arms are not just vets, they are also homeless.

22 June 2006

Patti C. in for Candace

Its been a busy day here at Open Door Mission. The sun is shining outside and the Son is shining on our ministry. I have had the opportunity to call churches today and speak with the pastors about the possible partnerships for an Open Door Mission speaker to come and share a Mission Moment during a Sunday morning worship service. What a privilege it has been to share with the pastors what Open Door Mission is doing on a daily basis and a greater privilege the Lord is providing open Sunday services for us to speak at! Its been a great day of fellowship here at Open Door Mission. We'd love to give you a tour of the mission and fellowship with you. Please give me a call at your convenience at 402-422-1111 Ext 1515 to set up a tour time. As I sign off to spend time with my family, I just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU for being a part of the Open Door Mission family!
Patti Cummings
Executive Assistant

21 June 2006

Cultivating Hearts

Wow, an exciting morning. And I am not talking about my drive to West Omaha and getting to 120th street, either. Although, that could be a hot topic. I spent most of the morning at KCRO radio. The Open Door Mission is partnering with Cultivating Hearts ministry to provide a radio program together. You can tune in on Saturday nights on 660AM at 6:30 p.m. I would love your feedback on the show,what you would like to hear about, and more, drop me an email at cgregory@opendoormission.org

Believe it or not, the Open Door Mission is preparing for the Holidays. We are clearing out the warehouse to make room for Turkey and Fixin boxes and Operation Santa assembly lines. Immediately, following Back to School Bash, we will start preparations for the Holidays. It takes approximately 3 to 4 months of preparation. Who would have thunk. Now you know.

20 June 2006

Operation Bedtime

Excitingly, Operation Bedtime just dropped off more than 2,000 adult and children books to the Open Door Mission and Lydia House. This is a fabulous program by Michael and Debbie Schmidt. Watch channels 6 and 42 to find out more tonight. Many of these books will be used in our Learning Centers and Day Camp.

This past weekend, we had a group from the First Church of the Nazarene in Co. Bluffs volunteer on Saturday morning. They did a great job, I might be partial since it is my home church. Some helped prepare and serve lunch, some played with the children and some sorted clothes and put our household goods in the Outreach Center. It was awesome to see adults and children working along side each other.

Thank you to Tom at NPDodge:) Tom donated College World Series tickets so that the men in the recovery program could attend a game, this week. This is an awesome highlight for the men.

12 June 2006

Cool Down

How refreshing to have a cool day no matter that it won't last. Blessing come one by one.

Excitingly, we are preparing for Guys Night In to celebrate Father's Day. Each man, at the Open Door Mission is someone's son or a father. Many can be unloveable and untouchable at times. But all have the opportunity to have HOPE, in Christ.

Believe it or not. Is Open Door Mission preparing for the Holidays? More to come tomorrow.

09 June 2006


It has been an up and down week in the life of RESCUE ministry, God's ways and will are not always mine or should I say I am not in sync sometimes:( But God's plans are always better than mine:)

A highlight for the week was the delivery of the Open Door Mission Panhandler Cards to the downtown business district. We are encouraging the community to not give out money or food to panhandlers. In return, we have great business cards that promote free food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc.. at the Open Door Mission which includes a map. If you would like some for yourself please email . She would be happy to get some to you.

If you are a volunteer bare with us as we restructure our volunteer department. Yet, keep in mind your time is valuable to the Open Door Mission and together Lives are Changed. The volunteer department would love your calls at 402-1111 ext 1202.

Have a fabulous weekend.

03 June 2006

Home on the Range

Open Door Mission Back home safe and sound. I will take humid and hot temperatures any day over rain. I think I only saw the sun twice while in Seattle for a week. Excitingly, I was able to participate in an intensive seminar on leadership. The presenter was Del Maxfield a well known name in RESCUE. I look forward to posting photo's the first of the week.

I was able to take a quick tour around the main building on Friday night. Many of you prayed for staff member Jim Briggs. Jim was in a car accident and broke his neck. Jim has returned to work in the food service department. Amazingly, through God's grace he is healing.

Open Door MissionTomorrow morning, I will be at First Church of the Nazarene, in Co. Bluffs, and Prairie Lane VBS, in the evening. Each day, hundreds of pounds of laundry is washed, dryed, and folded at the Open Door Mission. As I am logging off to go do laundry, I am blessed to only have two loads to do....

30 May 2006

Sunless in Seattle

Open Door Mission - AGRM Conference in Seattle WA You have heard of Sleepless in Seattle. This has been Sunless in Seattle. But the sun has come out this morning. I have been able to see more scenery today then in the whole last four days together. I have finally seen the mountain. But it just doesn't measure up to cornfields:)
I have to mention that the opening night was fabulous. The special speaker was a former football player form the Seattle SeaHawks, HUTCH, Ron Hutcherson. He was inspirational and motivational.

I worshipped at the St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church on Sunday with my great Aunt Lib. We had so much fun visiting together. She is an artist. I was able to see her art work in a small gallery in Burien. The heritage that families can capture in their elders is forgotten often. I loved the old family stories.

Back on the homefront, at Open Door Mission things are running smoothly. How I know is because I have not received any phone calls. I heard that in the Omaha World Herald their was a story about a homeless man's life that has been changed. He is a successful business man in Chicago. Did you read it? Everyday, lives are changed at the Open Door Mission.

Hoping to see the inside of Macy's tomorrow.

25 May 2006

Annual Conference

Open Door Mission - Space Needle in SeattleI will be flying to Seattle to attend the National Association of Gospel Rescue Missions conference. This is always an encouraging learning experience. I will be blogging from there, updates.

Thinking of the upcoming Memorial Day and reflecting. The Open Door Mission has had two guests die this past quarter. Who will be remembering them and other forgotten ones? I know that I will.

23 May 2006

WAHOO first comments posted..

Well, I never thought that the price of gas would prompt someone to comment. This is awesome:)

The Open Door Mission would love volunteers to donate their time and resources picking up donated items. Perhaps, right in your neighborhood or from your local church parking lot. This would allow the Open Door Mission to be better stewards of their resources. If you would like more information on this volunteer opportunity or others contact Open Door missions Volunteer Manager at volunteer@opendoormission.org

Golfing for a cause could be this past weekends theme. The Applied Underwriters and Alpha Sigma Omega Sorority held golf tournaments to benefit the Lydia House. Infact, Yvonne and one of our board members, Jim, golfed in the tournaments. I shouldn't comment on Yvone's talent, hacker, but our board members foursome won.

18 May 2006

Gas not Cheap

This is pretty nifty.

Just enter your zipcode in the site below, and it tells you which gas stations have the cheapest prices ( and the highest) on gas in your zipcode area. The site is updated every evening. Just click on the link. You will see a map of your area. Then scroll down and you will get a listing of gas prices in your area including addresses and brands starting with the cheapest.



The sun is shining brightly, today. Amazingly, the weather man reports close to a high of 90 degrees.

Last night, I met with friends for dinner at Johnny's Steakhouse in Village Point. I highly recommend this restaurant. The atmosphere is inviting and the food is great. Try the tilapia or salmon:)

This morning, juggling ministry and family responsibilities, I attended my daughter's Preschool Finale. She was the lamb in Mary Had A Little Lamb. So cute.... All of my children will be done school this week. The childen at the Lydia House will finish up next week.

Wishing you a bright and sunny day in your life.

17 May 2006

Break In...

What a morning....Staff found the front door side window of the Administration building busted out. Apparently, last night, at approximately 2:00 a.m someone threw a brick through the window. We do not have all the details, yet. But God's hand of protection was on the Open Door Mission because the person or persons did not do any damage or take anything. God is so good.

As I mentioned in a prior blog, I visited Dunlap,IA for a Ladies Tea. You can view the slide show on my favorite links. You will notice the large gravel pile has disappeared in our Administration parking lot. The gravel that sat all winter is filling in pot holes. Day Camp preperations are in full swing. The Open Door Mission will host 300 children this summer. We still have a need for Day Camp staff if you know of any High School or College Students. Infact, we have several employment opportunities that you can view by clicking on Job Opportunities on the home page of the website.

12 May 2006

WOW, What a WEEK:)

This week has been fantastic.

The kick- off was the Open Door Mission's Clergy Appreciation Luncheon. It was an opportunity to say," thank you" to more than 65 clergy guests. To show our deep appreciation for their support in "Lives Being Changed."

On Tuesday, in Dunlap, IA., I spoke to more than 50 ladies at the Annual Community Ladies Tea. I look forward to seeing the photo's of this event. I will be posting them at a later date.

The Open Door Mission is busy Spring Cleaning, inside and out. Open Door Mission's "Keep Omaha Beautiful" team is busy picking up garbage outside the Mission, all the way down Locust and Abbott Drive to the downtown and Gene Leahy Mall area. This is an opportunity for the guests of Open Door Mission to do community service and say, "thank you" to the community for their support.

On Saturday, the Pancake Man will be serving up breakfast to more than 320 men, women and children. Then in the afternoon, the Harley Davidson Club will be arriving with items from their Spring drive such as food, furniture and clothing. Exciting:)

All week, the Community Services department has been handing out Mother's Day baskets to women. These women are seeking assistance and in need of food, furniture or clothing. They live in their own homes trying to make ends meet.

Don't forget to honor special women in your life on Sunday:)

05 May 2006

New Employee's Today

Good Afternoon,

It is always an exciting day when a new staff member joins the team at the Open Door Mission. But even more exciting, when the new employee has graduated from the Open Door Mission's New Life Recovery Program. You can learn more about two of our newest employees by clicking on Open Door Mission's newsletters. Read about George and Amy's stories.

Have a blessed weekend:)

04 May 2006

Good Afternoon

Open Door Mission - GraduationThe sun is shining, today. The days are getting longer and full of activity here at Open Door Mission and Lydia House. My feet are just starting to hit the ground after the awesome celebration on the weekend. The Open Door Mission Board, staff, volunteers, guests and family celebrated while more than 17 men, women, and children graduated from the New Life recovery and Resident Rehabilitation programs on Saturday. For many participating in the cap and gown ceremony, it was completing a program and then continuing to be committed to life change.

Yesterday, more than 50 of the Lydia House ladies were pampered through Spa Day sponsored by the Open Door Mission Ladies' Auxiliary. Community volunteers provided manicures, pedicures, hair cuts and styles, make overs, Beauty First and Mary Kay products and much more.

Today, is National Day of Prayer, join me and others at Westside Church at 7:00 p.m. and/or say a prayer, right now for others,the poor, the hungry and homeless, the media, the war, the government and leaders, education, the family, the unborn, the church etc...

Keep Looking Up:)