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