28 February 2007

HUD Count

Today, HUD sent out a 90 page report of a snapshot on Homeless in America. The short version is there are more homeless in America. There are more than 754,000 men, women and children that were counted.

The key is to be counted. Although, the count is accurate, it is only counting those that can be counted. I believe the number to be very low. How many can not be seen? Those that are doubled up in hotels, with family, in abandoned buildings, living in cars, etc.

The report contains the fact that in America there is a shortage of emergency beds to the tune of 300,000+ The Metro is no different. The Open Door Mission's Lydia House turns away more than 140 families and 90 single women for shelter, each month. In Omaha, there were more than 1,800 homeless men, women and children counted during the HUD snapshot.

I think the most important revelation in all of this report is that these numbers are not just numbers. Each number, represents a person. Each person, is an individual first and homeless second. My hope for the value of this HUD report is to create effective programs full of a community of opportunity. Can it happen? Is there hope?

I believe so... I had the opportunity to share with John Chapman and cameraman George from Channel 6. Lives are being changed, daily, at Open Door Mission for those that have the opportunity to enter the door.

20 February 2007

Skutt Catholic High School

For more than 5 years, I have presented on Homelessness and Poverty to the senior students of Skutt Catholic High School. Today, all that changed as students came to Open Door Mission for an onsite learning experience.

Recently, Skutt Catholic High School is known for their outstanding wrestling team, 10th year in a row state champions. But today, Skutt Catholic students are known for their genuine concern for others that are less fortunate.

There were more than 180 senior students that arrived at Open Door Mission for their talk and tour, today. Many did not show up empty handed. The students brought bags of donations with them. The group also made a cash donation with hopes to do more fund raising for the Open Door Mission. I really enjoyed sharing the overview of the Open Door Mission and the video of Rescue Me. The students were then broken up into groups of 25 and Open Door Mission staff became their hosts. All of the students had a tour of the Open Door Mission campus and enjoyed lunch before departing back to school.

Many of the students appreciated seeing firsthand the programs and services that are offered to individuals and families. Many students were overwhelmed by how lifestyle choices can lead down another path so different then their own.

19 February 2007

Wonderful Weekend

Good Morning,

What a wonderful weekend.....

On Saturday, more than 35 guests arrived for a brunch and tour. Many of the guests, had never had a tour of the Open Door Mission. The Food Service Department did a great job providing quiche, hash browns, french toast, sausage, biscuits and gravy. Excitingly, many guests signed up to volunteer for future activities.

On Sunday, the Federal Order of Eagles held a benefit for the Open Door Mission. Through a bake sale, a hot meal of potato scallop and ham more than $500.00 was raised. It was a fun afternoon of country and bluegrass music, and fellowship. Also, this group collected more blankets, food, winter clothing, etc. than I could personally put in my vehicle. The Open Door Mission cube truck headed out this morning to pick up the donations. This is a good problem to have. Earlier in the week, the Bloomfield Forum's Ladies Red Hat Group and I met. This group, too, collected so much that the cube truck had to be called for the pick up.

It's not too late to participate in your own, Hope Tote drive or Hearts of Hope Campaign. Please contact Open Door Mission's volunteer department for more information. Get involved, today, and change a life...


16 February 2007

The warmth of God's blessings in spite of winter's cold

Hi Friends,
I am back from Phoenix Arizona, unfortunately I did not bring back any of the sunny and warm weather with me. My daughter Chloe and I had a great vacation visiting with my family and friends from Canada. I hit the ground running when I returned to the office on Monday morning. I had forgotten how cold it truly was; but just going from my home to my car, from my car, to my office, was enough to snap me back into the reality that winter is here
The Open Door Mission and Lydia House have been serving a record number of hot meals and serving a record number of men, women and children in homeless or near homeless situations. Thank you for your generous support.
On Tuesday Open Door Mission had the first annual Hearts of Hope luncheon to celebrate Lydia house. More than 50 women braved winter roads and clod weather to attend the luncheon. They dined on an excellent chicken lunch provided by our own Open Door Mission chef Brian McIntyre. Not only was lunch a treat, there was special music by Sabrina Wright to uplift and encourage us to serve. Tara Rye shared about trusting God’s promises to us so that we can spread His love to everyone. I was able to share all the wonderful blessings God has provided for Lydia House through those that have a heart for the homeless. So even though it was cold outside, we were warmed and blessed by all that God has done.
On Thursday I spoke the Red Hat Club at the Bloomfield Forum. I had a wonderful time sharing with them, but oh how they shared with Open Door Mission. They had so many donations that I had to send the cube truck to pick everything up today. Thank you for their generous spirit.
It isn’t too late to join us for Brunch and a Tour on Saturday. There will be a brunch Open Door Mission main building this Saturday February 17th at 10:00am. Once again Chef Brian will prepare a wonderful meal for you and your family or guests. After the brunch we will be giving tours. I hope you will be able to join us; I am looking forward to seeing you there.

14 February 2007

James - God’s Saving Grace is so amazing

It is great to be able to share with you today some exciting news from Men’s emergency Services Area.

Each night we have chapel for the men that want to hear what God is doing and what God can do for them.

The other night we had 3 men pray for the first time to receive Jesus Christ during Chapel. After chapel one of my staff was able to talk with each man and go over the plan of salvation to insure that they understood their need for Christ.

Each man did indeed understand their need for Christ.

It is so exciting to be able to not only meet the physical needs of the men but to be able to meet their spiritual needs as well.

James Cummings
Men’s Emergency Services Director

Teresa Grecco - Case Manager

I started my night with an intake, a great way to share the gospel as well as my testimony on how God and the Open Door Mission can change lives.

I got personel items for the intake like shampoo, towels, soap, toothpaste and toothbrush. I then handed out medicine to the clients. I did a Case Management, We set goals for the week for the client.

It was now time for Quite time. Quite time is a time for families to spend time with each other, play games, read the bible, talk, just to have time together. After that I passed out snacks. We did the chores and made sure the mission was clean and then like I do every night that I am there I prayed with the single women in the dorm and made sure everything was locked up.

I finished up my paperwork and what I needed to do before I went home and made sure everyone was okay.

Just another day at Open Door Mission.

09 February 2007

Guest Blogger - Judy - Assistant Director of CS

My day began with coworker’s and myself meeting together to pass on important information and to pray. I then returned phone calls, and met with food pantry and 29/11 clients. I tried to get caught up on paper work and prepare and plan for present and future ministries at the Community Services Outreach Center.

Let me tell you about one of the new programs we are all very excited about. It’s called the 29/11 program. The name is taken from the Bible verse in Jeremiah 29:11 where God say’s “For I know the plans I have for you plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Our work at the Community Services Outreach Center is PREVENTION that is helping our clients who are the near homeless from becoming homeless. We do that by providing clients food, clothing, diapers, household items, furniture etc… All of these items are given free with the hope that they can take the money they would spend on these items and use that money towards paying their rent or utility bills.

Our 29/11 program is a case management and life skills educational program that helps clients achieve their goals and provide a better quality of life for their families. And with your help and donations, God is using the Open Door Mission to help change lives, one person at a time.Here’s what one of our clients said about our 29/11 Program.

“My name is Tiffany and the first time I heard about the 29/11 program I thought it would not work for me because of my limited funds. Before I enrolled in the 29/11 Program I was struggling to pay my bills every month. I didn’t have enough funds to afford a bank account; I found by the middle of each month I needed extra food and household items and didn’t have the funds to get them. But after I enrolled in the 29/11 Program I learned how to get on a budget, stretch my food stamps to last till the end of the month, plan a menu and prepare nutritional meals for my family for the month. I was able to get on the budget plan for my lights and gas bills. And now I’m able to save, buy extra food and pay my bills on time thanks to the Open Door Mission and the 29/11 Program.”
Because of your various donations families like Tiffany’s are able to improve their quality of life and lives are being changed one person at a time.

So please give us a call if you would like to donate any heaters, household items, furniture, appliances and vehicles, in good condition.

Please call Dan Applegate, Open Door Mission Director of Community Services at 829-1517 for any donation pickups.

08 February 2007

Guest Blogger - Karen - Director of Development

I have been working at Open Door Mission for almost 19 years. I love my job, well most days. I am always encouraged by the generosity of those donating time, treasure, and talent. There are thousands of people throughout the heartland that give each year so that we can serve who Jesus would call “the least of these.”

In 1988 when I started at the mission, I knew it was a calling. I knew that this was where God wanted me to serve. But some days I find myself reflecting on that call and if it is still true today.
The most recent book I have read is “Jack Bauer’s Having a Bad Day”. For those of you that do not know who Jack Bauer is, he is the main character on a television show called 24. He always is saving the day. The book is written by a pastor from St. Louis, Missouri. He takes the first season of 24 and breaks and compares each hour with scripture that applies to trust and faith. I want to share Faith Truth #13 from the book.
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galations 6:4-5 (msg).

Last Saturday I had the privilege of hearing Neva Lema speak. Neva is a Board Member from the Los Angeles Rescue Mission. Neva is known as “God’s Little Giant”, she is 68 years old and stands four foot tall. Her message was not only inspired, I know she was speaking just to me. She shared boldy that regardless of where you work in ministry, it is important to have knowledge, but it is what is in your heart that counts.

Neva shared many testimonies and stories from her life experience. Everyone in the room felt inspired, but I knew the message was for me.

I am pretty sure God showed me these things with a purpose in mind. He has a way of encouraging all of us using many avenues to get the point across.

Yesterday Open Door Mission served hot meals, provided safe shelter, and warm clothing for over 400 men, women, and children. It is my calling/purpose to share Open Door Mission’s story with everyone I meet. I would love to share how you can also be a part of this ministry so we may all continue serving “the least of these.” Click Here to read Karen's Bio

05 February 2007

Guest Blogger - Misty - Children and Youth Director

I am privileged to be the director of Children and Youth Ministries here at the Open Door Mission. Take a minute and let me tell you about what we are doing this month.
Our Teen night will be this Friday and we will be watching a movie and having pizza, also we will be in fellowship with one of our sponsor churches youth team.

We are going to Game Day in Lincoln Nebraska, this is a huge and very exciting event for teens. It is geared to teach young people how to love Christ, share Christ and live Christ with out fear! Amen to that.

We will be celebrating February Birthdays on the 8th, with lots of toys, prizes, activities and yes, cake too.

There is so much going on that I don't have enough room to tell you everything, so this is just a snapshot of our February Fun at the Open Door Mission.

Thank You for your support and may God bless you.

Guest Blogger - Jerome on witnessing

During what would be a typical uneventful day of duty at the Open Door Mission of getting the men up on time, breakfast, cleanup,and keeping things in order, one highlight would be when one of the men comes in and wants to talk and it opens the door to witnessing of the Gospel of Christ and I am always amazed at how much they know of the Word of the LORD and that they previously made that preteen or teenage Decision of the New Birth, but it's always wonderful of telling the old, old Story of Jesus and His Love.

01 February 2007

Guest Blogger - Ruth

Today I am truly blessed. I get to go to work at the Open Door Mission where lives are being changed. Last night when I came to work, I encountered one of our single mothers. I pointed out to her a blessing God had given her before she even had time to ask Him. She informed me that she didn't know God. I invited her to come to my office after dinner and I would be glad to introduce her to Him. After supper she stopped in and I shared the way of salvation with her. The result was that we prayed the sinner's prayer together and she became a child of God. What a privilege it is to work at a place where my main objective is to point people to Christ in word and deed.

Ruth Forrester
Open Door Mission
Lydia House Case Manager