31 January 2008

A call to three days of Prayer and Fasting and Prayerwalk regarding the proposed Casino


In that day the Lord of hosts will become a beautiful crown and a glorious diadem to the remnant of His people; A spirit of justice for him who sits in judgement, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. Is. 28:5,6

We're sure that most of you have heard the news about the Ponca tribe receiving permission to build a casino in Carter Lake. Carter Lake is part of Iowa but is on the Nebraska side of the river therefore it is Iowa's jurisdiction. (We've included background history of the land and casino issue at the end of this e-mail.) In 2003 and 2004 we did prayer works across the state asking the Lord to intervene in the casino gambling issue. In His great kindness and through the body of Christ's prayer and action the issue was defeated.

Several years ago someone shared with me a picture they'd had in prayer of a large battering ram swinging again the gates of our city. Once again the enemy is at the gates of our city and state. Although Carter Lake is Iowa land a casino will have great impact and invasion into Nebraska. We find ourselves looking once again to the Lord to be our Champion, our Victorious Warrior.

Therefore, we are calling a statewide 3 day prayer and fast concerning this issue that wants to deeply and negatively impact our community and state. We will also do a prayerwalk on Monday, the 4th.

Statewide Call To Three Days of Prayer and Fasting:
· Monday, Feb. 4th through Wed. Feb. 6th.
· See prayer guide below.

Casino Site Prayerwalk:
· Monday Evening, February 4th, 5:30 to 6:30 PM
· We will meet at the Timberlake Outreach Center, 2107 East Locust (just East of Abbott Dr), then go over to the proposed site to prayerwalk.

The prayer focus will be from Psalm 20:

Day one:

Ps. 20:1-3--meditate on this.

  • Pray the Lord would intervene in this situation and turn back the enemy at the gate.
    Declare the name of the Lord over Omaha and Nebraska--our Deliverer; our Helper; Jehovah Nissi--our banner.
  • Pray the State of Iowa would join with our courageous Attorney Gen. Jon Bruning who filed to appeal the federal ruling on behalf of Nebraska. Pray for Jon and all the attorneys involved in supporting the appeal.
  • Pray that economic development would open up for the Ponca tribe and they wouldn't look to a casino for financial provision.

Day two:

Ps. 20:4-6--meditate on this.

  • Pray the Lord would give Omaha and Nebraska the desire of His heart--that we'd be a praise and honor to His Son.
  • Pray that the Lord would be victorious in this battle.
  • Pray that the Body of Christ across the state would awaken and build up the wall and stand in the gap in prayer about this issue.
  • Pray the Ponca Tribe finds its identity in Christ; they know the Lord’s purpose for them and their redemptive gifting so they can become who God intends them to be.

Day three:

Ps. 20:7-9--meditate on this.

  • Pray for the Lord's mercy for Omaha, Carter Lake and Nebraska.
  • Pray for confusion, dissension and conflict among those groups involved in promoting the building of a casino. (2 Chron. 20:21-23)
  • Pray that the enemy's strategies, schemes and plans against the Ponca tribe, Carter Lake, Omaha and Nebraska would be broken by the power of Jesus's Name and His blood.
  • Pray that God's will would be done and His Kingdom would come to Carter Lake, Omaha, Nebraska and the Ponca tribe.


In 1877 flooding and shifting of the Missouri river left a small parcel of Iowa land (2,000 acres) on the Nebraska side of the river. This is Carter Lake, Iowa, population 3,300.

Carter Lake is just northeast of downtown Omaha and directly across from Eppley airport. It is within a short distance of the new Quest Center and Gallup University.

In 1962 the Federal Gov. at the request of the tribe, terminated the Ponca tribe’s status. It had less then 70 members at that time.

In 1990 the Federal Gov. recognized the Poncas as a tribe. This made them eligible for Federal funding.

The Poncas are the smallest of Nebraska’s 4 tribes and have no reservation.

In 1999 the Ponca tribe purchased 5 acres of land in Carter Lake and had it taken into “Trust” in 2002 for the purpose of building a health clinic.

Tribal leaders repeatedly stated to local and state Iowa officials the land was for a clinic not a casino.

In Oct. 2007 the Poncas appealed to the National Indian Gaming Commission (NGIC) to be able to build a casino on that land. It was denied because the site was not taken into Trust for gambling purposes under the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regulations. They appealed the decision.

On Dec. 31, 2007 the NIGC reversed their ruling and allowed permission stating that although there had been deception on the part of the Ponca tribe they could not restrict their land usage. (The NIGC is an independent regulatory agency established within the Dept. of Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.)

Jan. 2008 the Sec. of Interior Dirk Kempthorne made a decision to tighten regulations allowing Indians to purchase land off reservations for gambling purposes. He correctly noted that since 1930 tribes have been permitted to put land in Trust for the purpose of tribal unity and the current rash of applications seem to have more to do with money then tribal cohesiveness.
On Jan. 17, 2008 Carter Lake Mayor Russell Kramer said “I have no problems with casinos at all”. He wondered how it would affect his police and volunteer fire department since this Ponca owned casino would pay no taxes to local or state governments. Carter Lake would also be responsible for road maintenance and counseling for problem gamblers that would result from a casino within walking distance of Carter Lake and Omaha’s north side.

Jan. 27, 2008 it was reported that many property owners surrounding the 5-acre parcel were willing to sell their land to the Poncas thus permitting their 5 acres to be used for the casino building alone.

What happens many times when Native Americans receive the “rights” to build a casino is that “right” is quickly leased to a Nevada gambling operation who then funds and operates the project. A percentage is then given to the tribe and unfortunately the majority see a very small financial benefit.

OmahaFamily.com Article

Recently I had the privilage to be featured in Omaha Family.com's parenting spotlight. click here for the full story or read on for an Excerpt from that article.

Parenting Spotlight

by Sharon Bargas

Whether she is at work, volunteering or at home with her family, Candace Gregory, President/CEO of Open Door Mission, is passionate about everything she does – even her exercise routine in the early hours of the morning.

Born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada, Gregory is a graduate of Lower Coverdale Christian Academy, Bethany Bible College, New Brunswick Community College, and Grace University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She came to the Open Door Mission as the organization’s first case worker in 1995. Since joining the Mission, Gregory has also served as Director of Family Ministries, Director of Lydia House and Family Ministries, and Chief Operating Officer.

24 January 2008

Letter to the Omaha World Herald without editing

Dear Editor,

Over the past 13 years I have witnessed the face of homelessness and poverty change from a man, to a woman and now a child - the fastest growing population of the homeless and poverty stricken.

Today, numerous diverse social issues prey upon the stability of individuals and their families. A recent survey reveals that 40% of the homeless population admits to gambling in an effort to improve their situation. How can a man, woman, mom, dad or child endure another issue as life threatening as expanded gambling and the side-effects that are proven to come with it; namely alcohol, loitering, panhandling, prostitution, street drugs, crime and more.

I believe that we all have friends, neighbors and loved ones that are hurting and lonely - already feeling the affects of gambling. Since, the Iowa Casinos opened in 1995, I have seen firsthand an increase in gambling addictions among the poorest of the poor, but it appears there is going to be gasoline poured on a fire that is already burning.

If the Ponca Tribe builds their Casino on the proposed location it will be approximately two blocks south of the Open Door Mission’s Campus. It is already a struggle to meet the needs of the growing homeless and poverty issues. Currently, the Open Door Mission provides safe shelter to more than 320 men, women and children each night, serving nearly 1,500 meals daily and offering preventive measures to more than 250 working poor families.

This is not a political issue but rather an issue of right from wrong; principles and family values. The previous concept of a Native American Health Center would be a welcome addition. If the Ponca Tribe wants to make a positive impact in the community for the Native American population, it should pursue that venue.

The Open Door Mission does not need a Casino in its backyard, providing easy access to gambling. There are no positive outcomes that could possibly outweigh the negative consequences.


Candace L. Gregory
Open Door Mission

23 January 2008

Great Western Bank Donates

A special thank you to Jason, Megan and the Great Western Bank team for their Christmas Ornament 2007 campaign.

18 January 2008


My goodness that wind is bone chilling and that is just from my car to my home or office.

CAN YOU IMAGINE.... living outside on a day like today, or nor having a winter coat, hat or gloves, this NEBRASKA weather and not having access to warm and safe shelter is life threatening to those that are homeless.

The Open Door Mission is in need of blankets, hats and gloves, and warm coats. Plus, for the poverty stricken near homeless - space heaters for their drafty run down homes they live in. Please share the need in your Sunday School classes, churches, organizations, groups,friends, family and co-workers.

The Open Door Mission have increased the shuttle van services to keep a watchful eye for someone that might be on the street in need. If you see, a person in need - maybe under dressed, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or even questionable behavior due to possible metal illness please give Open Door Mission a call at 422-1111. A shuttle van will be dispatched with a staff and volunteer to investigate. The staff will encourage that person to come to the Open Door Mission for safe shelter, hot nutritious meal and the love of Jesus will be shared.

Have a great weekend, stay safe and warm.


One Mission Staff's Prayer on Future CASINO

I was so broken as I watched this news about the casino last night.

I know that if it goes through our clients will have easier access to this heartbreaking and life shattering addictive practice.

The anticipated and almost predictable effects upon what we do here at ODM are immeasurable.

Father, protect your children from the schemes and assignments of the evil one who comes to steal, kill and destroy.


17 January 2008

Good Evening,

Today, started off so great, words cannot really describe the true joy.

I met with the Missouri Synod Lutheran District on a possible partnership in South Omaha in one of their empty buildings. This has been a slow process and teaching me patience and peace. This continues to look promising in the progress.

I had a great lunch at the Southwest Kiwanis Club meeting. Damon, Open Door Mission's Senior Development Officer, spoke to a Seratoma group. I was able to thank this group for their long time partnership for the last 8 years through Celebrate Education. I shared an opportunity for the group to expand their volunteer opportunities through a new program Excellence in Education. Quarterly, the Kiwanis members and their families will be paired up with a school aged child to venture out into the community to a restaurant to learn and practice social skills and proper etiquette. Then, head over to a local bookstore, each child will be assisted in picking 2 books of interest to purchase and keep. This is very exciting and totally funded by a business donor.

Channel 7 and 42, worked with Karen,Open Door Mission's Director of Advancement and covered the Open Door Mission in preparation of the cold weather expected. The Open Door Mission emphasized the need for space heaters, blankets, gloves and hats for the homeless and needy. Plus, we had a great story the night before with channel 6 and Yulice.

The radio show Inside the Open Door was flowing, nicely. Then my cell phone began vibrating uncontrollably to the point that it was really hard to concentrate. At the break, I attempted to view the call list – there were 8 calls from media. I knew something was up. I left Dan, Open Door Mission's Director of Community Services and his guest volunteer Big Lou, solo to keep doing the show and he was awesome.

But nothing really could have prepared me for the devastating news that the Ponca Tribe has been approved for a Casino in Carter Lake, IA. This a personal and leadership struggle for me. I truly believe that expanded gambling prey’s on the most vulnerable population in our community. Currently, we cannot meet the needs of the growing social issues. Yet, God is in control. Join me in prayer that God will make a way for this not to be in the Open Door Mission’s backyard.

I have to speak this evening and have to head out the door or I will be late.



09 January 2008


A Big Thank you to the students of Trinity Christian School. They did a service last quarter of collecting socks for the homeless and needy men, women, and children at the Open Door Mission. They raised 2, 144 pairs of socks. Pictured are the 24 student council students from 5th through 8th grade.

These socks will go to help keep lots of men, women, and children's feet warm. If you would like your school to do a sock drive for the Open Door Mission please contact James Cummings at 829-1554 or jcummings@opendoormission.org.

Diaper Drive

Channel 94.1 (KQCH) of Journal Broadcast Group, partnering with Metropolitan Community College, Sam’s Club and Two Men & a Truck, extended a challenge to Omaha’s listening community: to raise 250,000 diapers for the smallest residents of Open door Mission’s Lydia House. The results are in: the goal was reached and surpassed by nearly double! 452,674 diapers were collected during the event, which ran from Saturday, December 1st through Friday, December 21st

On Monday, January 6th, 94.1 Staff were joined by two men and a truck, men from our New Life Recovery Program, and lots of random volunteers to help onload and sort all the diapers.

A BIG THANK YOU to Channel 94.1 (KQCH) of Journal Broadcast Group, partnering with Metropolitan Community College, Sam’s Club, Two Men & a Truck, and many other businesses and individuals in our community. To the right you can see Candace Gregory (CEO of Open Door Mission) standing along with 94.1 staff (Jeff Duggan and Big Party) of the Big Party Show holding some of the diapers that have come in

These diapers will go to help many homeless and needy families in our community that are in need over the next year. Diapers can cost a family more than $100 a week. Most day-care centers will not take children without their accompanying diapers, and welfare programs rarely provide them. As Candace points out, “Diapers are not a luxury item. When a family comes to us in need, we do our best to meet those needs in every way possible. These diapers will enable us to meet the diapering needs of families all year long!”

04 January 2008


FEED THE CHILDREN, is an International Organization dedicated to feeding impoverished children around the world.

Today, Feed The Children saw the need and took the opportuniy to donate at least 400 boxes of food, 400 boxes of personal care items, and two full pallets of drinks and other miscellaneous items to the Open Door Mission and Lydia House.

This donation will help the Open Door Mission serve more then 320 homeless men, women, and children daily. It will also help with serving more then 1,500 meals that are served each day to the homeless and hungry of our community.