30 May 2008

Timberlake Outreach Center

Greetings from the Timberlake Outreach Center! We have been very busy here with lots of people coming in for clothing, diapers and furniture.

As you know, gas and food prices are up and pay is not. That means that a lot more folks are needing help with the basics. We have a lot of clothing coming in right now and it is especially great because of the children’s clothing. I have seen quite a few mothers really moved because they came in hoping for something for their children and leave with more than they had hoped to find here!

We are extremely busy with furniture appointments because a lot of people are moving or have moved and are in need of things for their new places since most of their money is going to pay rent, utilities, food and transportation. We are seeing that clients are having difficulty with finding transportation for their furniture appointments, usually having to pay someone with a truck to help them. The good news is, our God provides, and we have furniture coming in, so they are getting good quality used items at no cost and they are so appreciative and thankful.

I would just encourage you to stop by the Timberlake Outreach Center and take a tour if you have not done that. All of the items donated are given at no cost to our clients in need!! We can really use your gently used clothing and furniture items for the low income and poverty stricken clients coming in our door! We will even pick up your furniture items if you are not able to bring them in, just call Dan Applegate at 829-1517.

Amy Springer

27 May 2008

Community Relations Coordinator

Welcome to the fast-paced, exciting life of a development officer for Open Door Mission. My title is Community Relations Coordinator, and I focus most of my time developing relationships with present and potential donors. I meet with friends of the mission, thank them for investing in the homeless community, and strive to increase the effectiveness of the gifts they have been lead to bless us with.

Another area of responsibility I have is developing Open Door Mission's presence on Social Websites like (Facebook, MySpace and YouTube right click these links and choose 'Open in New Window' if you'd like to visit our sites), and keeping online and on-air Community Calendars updated.I also have the privilege of getting out in the community for speaking engagements at churches, schools, businesses, and service organizations. I am honored to be able to educate the public on homelessness, and cast light on the life-changing ministries offered at Open Door Mission.

Some people have asked how I can be comfortable asking people for money. I admit that there are times when it is uncomfortable crossing boundaries with personal requests for funds, but since I know that God's work is being done at Open Door Mission every single day, I realize I am only giving people the opportunity to invest in the work of the kingdom, and leaving the rest to the work of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks to the Lord for allowing me to have a roll in building the success of Open Door Mission, and more importantly, building His kingdom. (For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; Matthew 25:35 - NASB)

Darren Timberlake, Community Relations Coordinator

How great God is

Good morning. It is just before 8 a.m. and as I am walking into work today I am wondering what I will share with everyone in the blog.

The first thing I see is one of the men who stays in our shelter out front sweeping and picking up litter. I tell him "thank you" and let him know how much I appreciate him helping us keep things clean and he replide "I'm just doing my part".

Inside I found a man ironig his clothes as he asked me if I had a tie that would match. He was going out today to apply for work and he wanted to look his best. (thank goodness I always throw my ties in the back seat after work)

It then occured to me that what I would share in the blog is what I get to be a part of every day. What a privilege God has granted me. I have been blessed with the opportunity to not only get to know the men who come to the Open Door Mission but also to use the experience and resources that God has provided to support these men as they work so hard to achieve the very things that I so often take for granted.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please pray for our men as they go through such a difficult season of their lives. God Bless You.

Tim Suelter
Director of Men's Emergecy Services

We love our Volunteers

Saturday, May 24th

Even though it is a holiday weekend we still had some dedicated volunteers donate their time to help in whatever way they could. Saint Charles Borromeo Church has come down several times to help in our kitchen and they did so again this weekend. They really enjoy working with our kitchen staff and being able to talk one on one with the men staying here. Some other kitchen volunteers are the Weather's family, who told me they were just going to volunteer once but sense they started they call me ever week to volunteer on Saturday or Sunday.

In our Outreach Center I was busy with Urban Plunge, they brought two youth groups with them and one of them happened to be my old youth group from high school. The 16 of them helped in putting out new clothes donation, organizing the toys area to make it look nice, safe, and clean and of course they didn't stop there. They also re-stocked our little cooler on milk, put out more bread, organized our pants, put out hair clips and hair bands, and they would have done more if I hadn't stopped them.

It is always fun getting stuff done on Saturdays. Please visit Open Door Mission’s website at www.opendoormission.org to see your Life Changing Volunteer Opportunity today or please contact Cris Morris at cmorris@opendoormission.org or at 829-1504

23 May 2008

Timberlake Outreach Center

May 23, 2008, from the Timberlake Outreach Center:

How do you put into words something so awe-inspiring, that goose bumps creepy crawly up and down your arms and neck, you choke up with a tear or two, breathing is rapid and shallow - - you are caught, stunned in a God moment? I mean, what do you say? When I think of Open Door Mission, those are the moments that make up my day! My name is Kelli Young, and I am a Community Case Manager at the Timberlake Outreach Center. I work in our Furniture Program and get to witness lives being changed on a daily basis. Believing prayer is the answer to what is needed in life, we pray much, often and offer to pray for/with others. Here is one God moment that happened today…

I remembered my first appointment by name and by sight, having met her many months ago when she provided a “ride” for our mutual client. He spoke a different language; she was the interpreter. I remember telling them about Open Door Mission, our different programs and services, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon completing our referral sheet, I asked if there was anything I could pray for them? The offer was declined because he was Muslim, and her faith not yet acknowledged. I served her several times after that, but we could never pray together because she still had not chosen….

So it was with a heavy heart this morning when I saw she was my first appointment of the day. I was here to serve her, resigned to just completing the referral form and picking out the furniture. I knew she’d be happy with what we had in terms of donations, and that we had just what she said she needed! But I was the one to be surprised!

She came in to my office with pen and paper in hand, writing down the scriptures posted on my walls! She pointed out where I had misspelled “fervent” on one scripture, as in “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16). She shared that although she is new to this, she is now attending church and learning! Indeed, what a student she’d become! We thanked God for opening up her heart and we prayed for her request for wisdom (James 1:5-6). She cried a bit and I choked up and got the creepy crawly goose bumps, and we really enjoyed this God moment!

From praying to quit smoking, to praying for the healing of ravaging diseases, to praying for a new (or older) heart to be opened to the Good News - - we see God here, working His wondrous miracles everyday through the Open Door Mission programs!.....Kelli.

22 May 2008

Encouraging Words from our Men's Recovery Director

It’s almost June and I don’t know about you, but I have been spending a lot of time outdoors gardening and planting. What a great God we serve to provide us with such simple and yet profoundly enjoyable activities. Just the thought, to see life, develop life, protect, nurture, and cultivate life itself. Actually, it’s highly symbolic of the ministry we carry on every day here at the Open Door Mission in Men’s Recovery. Watching new men join our program, come to new life in Christ, grow through Dick’s discipleship counseling, develop life skills through John’s mental health counseling, protected by Dwight’s oversight as building supervisor, and cultivation of all that through Tony’s case management. Just imagine the privilege of being directly involved in the recovery of someone’s sense of dignity, self-esteem, and productivity then you can see what Jesus Christ can do for those who we might view as the most hopeless. Yet, He proves time and time again that there is no such thing with Him. That sense of hope and that sense of reward drives us here at Men’s Recovery and we humbly realize that if it were not for a much larger team, we could not do the job. I wanted to share some thoughts of encouragement with everyone of you who minister with us by way of prayers, donations, volunteering, and working with our men here at the Mission.
Dick Arant has shared a really fantastic experience he had lately. Although he is filling in for us as Discipleship Counselor, he still continues his job as Aftercare Case Manager. Lately, he has been working with one of our past graduates who is becoming increasingly ill and bedridden. Dick was able to help him procure an adjustable hospital bed and get it set up in his apartment (with some help from our program men). We were really excited watching how our God always provides. I was the thinking about this because I was speaking at church around the same time about El Shaddai, the Hebrew name for God meaning The All Powerful Provider. Needless to say, He provides me with plenty of examples for that name on a daily basis here. (As I am sitting and typing these very words, men are working in the next room installing a new security system for us.) Our All Powerful Provider never fails to meet our men’s spiritual, physical, or psychological needs and the staff here is constantly reminded by these examples, of the true source of our men’s individual recovery stories.
Very recently, we have seen the return of one of our men who had left too early. Although he was out of our sight, God was still working with him to bring him to remember things he had been taught here. He finally came to realize the state of his existence and to crave a return to his former relationship with Christ. He called from Chicago and was able to get back to Omaha where he is currently progressing in our New Life Program. It makes me wonder about hundreds more like him who have left and although we don’t hear back form them, God is still faithful to use their experience here to work with them.
Of course we have our men who leave other ways as well and these are blessings God allows us to see. For instance, we just graduated three men and all are gainfully employed. But the best new is that one of them is currently an Open Door Mission staff member working for Men’s Ministries. Praise God!
I have personally been blessed lately watching my own staff and their development. They have gone through some tough experiences lately, but God has been faithful in teaching them through these. It’s hard for all of us to gain wisdom and it never comes cheap or easy, but it’s always worth it when the lesson is over. More important, is the source of that wisdom and the faith that develops knowing that when things seem out of control, God is still in charge. If we can just keep looking to Him, the purpose will show through. I think of the verse Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” This is rapidly becoming the theme verse for my own life. Part of that is because we are constantly planning here in Men’s Recovery, (in fact we will be having staff meeting in just a couple of hours to do more of that) and the great mystery (to us) is how God accomplishes His desires for us and through us (sometimes in spite of the planning we did). I don’t think we would even begin to do a work of such importance and magnitude if we did not trust that, although we are responsible for the effort, He is responsible (and faithful) for the results. How else can anyone begin to do the work of any ministry without that focus and confidence? We struggle to maintain that focus here. Things seem to go directly parallel to our success and failure at keeping that focus. If you asked us what we have learned the most about lately, that is what we would tell you. And hey, the staff would also tell you that it’s often not fun nor easy, but we serve El Shaddai here and He always makes it worth it.
As I close out, I am thinking that I will be out to do more gardening and enjoying nature in just a little while. It is His great pleasure that I experience such pleasure. (How about a God like that?) Aren’t you glad that He has out best interest at heart? We yearn for all of our men to believe that. So go out, enjoy nature, give Him great pleasure by experiencing pleasure from all He has provided. After all, He is El Shaddai.

Stan Latta
Director of Men's Ministries

21 May 2008

Greetings from a Developement Specialist

My name is Kathleen Lacy and I am a Development Specialist here at Open Door Mission. What is it that I do? While each day brings something new or different, my responsibilities grow or slow down depending on the season. I process incoming donations from the mail, and also online credit card donations. I send out welcome packets to our new donors and also welcome back packets to those we haven’t heard from in a while. I enter volunteer hours into our system (with the help of another person). As fall and the holidays come I register those for our Back to School Bash, Great Thanksgiving Banquet and Operation Santa, and Eggstra Special Egg Hunt Events. One of the greatest parts of my job is seeing the blessings. I get to see the smiles on the faces of children when they get their backpacks for school. The tears of joy when parents get presents for their children for when the loss of a job means no Christmas. The happiness on the faces of the volunteers as they serve meals. My favorite scene was at Christmas last year as our donation receiving area became Santa’s Workshop and watching all of the “elves” make Christmas possible for close to 5000 homeless and near homeless children. Remember, no matter what you do whether it be giving a monetary donation, or volunteering your time and talents you are a blessing to not only those we serve but those of us here on staff as well. God Bless You!

20 May 2008

Lydia House Discipleship Counselor

My day at the Open Door Mission begins bright and early at 6:30 a.m. I arrive in the dark to a locked building and have the privilege of being first to greet the women in the Recovery Program first thing in the morning. Several women have asked for a 6:30 wake up call so I go to their door, gently knock and say “Honey, it’s time to wake up.” Soon there is a trail of women clad in robes with towels over their arms heading for the shower. I often converse with them as they are washing their faces and putting on makeup while crowded around the bathroom mirror. Meds are given out at 7:00 a.m. in my office so I get another chance to sit about a foot away from each lady and speak face to face. This is usually a joyous time of teasing and laughter. If they get up on the wrong side of the bed, we sing a “Good Morning” song to coax them into good spirits. One of our outstanding disciples now is a woman who came into the Mission a few months ago, addicted to crack, thin, beaten down with no direction in her life. All she knew is that somehow she had to get off of the drugs. She was spiritually confused even not knowing whether she was a Christian or not. God’s Word has taken up deep root in her heart and she is being transformed before our very eyes. She loves doing Bible studies, sings full voice during our praise and worship time, and memorizes several Bible verses each week. She has earned countless award prizes (Bonus Bucks) for answering questions with complete Bible verses with references. This young woman hardly resembles the battered down one that entered the program a few months ago. She now knows whose she is (God’s!) and why she is here. All glory to God and the power of His Word to transform a life!

Joy Stevens
Discipleship Counselor

16 May 2008

Summer of Hope

Well, it officially feels like summer... It is the first day of summer break for my four children.
Last night, was Kindergarten Graduation and Elementary School Awards, this morning.
The children at Open Door Mission have another week of school. Tomorrow, the Open Door Mission's children are going shopping for fish. Yes, that is correct pet fish. A generous donor has donated the fish tank and accessories and the money to purchase fish. So, the next time you stop by the Lydia House.... ask to see our fish:)

14 May 2008

God’s Ways are Not Our Ways (1 Cor. 1:25)

It simply does not make sense! On paper at least, if you think about what Open Door Mission is able to do on a daily basis, there is no logical explanation. In the middle of a sagging economy, how is it possible that almost 2000 hot, nutritious meals are served to the hungry and homeless every day? With banks, auto makers and virtually every other industry appealing to the government for bailouts… how is it possible that a new Lydia House is nearing completion, and only about 3 of $24 million is left to be raised in the Rebuilding Lives Campaign?

The answer is simple. God’s ways are not our ways. When you try to understand how God does things, from a human perspective, it never adds up. Look in the Bible. Did it make sense to Abraham or Sarah when God told them they would have a son in their old age? No, Sarah laughed at God! How do you think Noah felt when God told him to build a huge boat so that he and his family would survive the coming flood? Or Gideon, watching his army dwindle from tens of thousands to only 300, while told by God they would defeat thousands of Midianite soldiers. And of course, Jesus’ disciples must have been pretty confused and scared as they watched their Messiah crucified outside of Jerusalem.

In my own life, God’s wisdom has become real, despite my own doubts. Only 14 months ago I left a well paying job with a Fortune 500 company to come and work at Open Door Mission. It does not make sense…but tomorrow, we are closing on our first house, a dream we’ve had for over 10 years! In addition, because of the tax credit we will receive, all our other debts will be paid. Who would have thought this would be possible?

So, when you feel God leading you to do something, or if you seem to be up against an insurmountable obstacle in your life… remember that God’s Ways are Not Our Ways. Trust in Him, and remember Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Darren Timberlake, Community Relations Coordinator

13 May 2008

Great Volunteers

What a Blessing Saturday Volunteers are! May 3rd we had a great group from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church that brought a group of 30 people to help the Open Door Mission at our Outreach Center. This group helped us to clean out our freezer and cooler. Not only did they help clean it, but they also helped to organize it so that food could actually be found.

We had big bags of vegetables that are very impractical for the use of our kitchen staff. So they helped us to condense the vegetable bags into freezer bags and put them into stackable crates. Now our kitchen can use the vegetables and they can walk into the freezer and find what they are looking for. This group did us a huge service in helping us to save food and they weren't afraid to reach in and get dirty. These wonderful volunteers not only volunteered their time to do a dirty job but they also donated bags and bags of hope totes.

People are stepping out and making a difference right here and right now, what a praise and a blessing.

We also had over 80 great volunteers that came to the Open Door Mission this past weekend. You too can have the oppourtunity to have a live changing experience and volunteer at Open Door Mission. Please contact Cris Morris at 829-1504 or at cmorris@opendoormission. for more information.

10 May 2008

Auction and Dinner

Wow, God is simply amazing. The 5th Annual Auction and Dinner was a fabulous event because of the 590+ attendees of supporters and volunteers that came out in support the Open Door Mission. The staff at the DC Centre were the most professional group to partner with from start to finish and throughout the event. The atmosphere was welcoming and the food was delicious. There were more than 275 auction items that went home with a guest. The life changing testimonies from the Quiroz family and Tim Seulter was moving and rewarding to hear that God is in the business of Changing Lives and providing freedom form bondage. It was a joy to present the Rescue Awards to HYVEE, the Omaha Police Union and the Channel 94.1 I will look forward to sharing with you photo's of this event the first of the week. Today, there are more than 80 volunteers arriving for a work day at the Open Door Mission. I am off to speak at the Nebraska Postal Workers State Convention, then to visit with the Yonkers family in celebration of their daughter Heather's graduation, then speak at a Mother's and Daughter's Banquet, this evening.
From me being a mother to all mother's - HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.

Have a great weekend, even if it does rain:)

Blessings ONYA


06 May 2008

Anyone for Lemonade?

A few weeks ago you might remember reading on this blog about a family that was going to have a Lemonade stand in their neighbourhood to raise money for the Open Door Mission. Well I am happy to tell you that Jack and Kristin did have their Lemonade stand just over a week ago. They held it on the Weekend of April 24-26 and their goal was to raise at least $250. Well they did in fact raise that and more. They rasied a total of $256. A great big thank you to these two wonderful children that thought about the men, women, and children that live at the Open Door Mission. To find out more about their experience please tune into KCRO 660 AM on Thursdays from 4:00 - 5:00 for Inside the Open Door with Candace. In the upcoming weeks they are going to be on to tell their story about their Lemonade Stand.

Never to Young to Volunteer or have fun...

Today, was my official day off but I had to do some small jobs at the office. Since, I was spending the day with my youngest son, Daniel, he came along as my sidekick. The beginning highlight was visiting with longtime friend and volunteer Marshal at the Administration building but the end of the day highlight was sitting on Public Relations Director Ms. Trudi's bike. If you come and volunteer, Ms. Trudi might let you sit on her bike, too.

05 May 2008

Words of Truth from a Volunteer

Hi Friends,

Last evening, we had an ice cream social inside the Timberlake Outreach Center at Open Door Mission in appreciation of our volunteers. We had quite a few show up and we had a very good time. After all had left, we were talking about how to clean up and what to do with ice cream, lots of different toppings and tons of cookies.

Candace asked if we thought it would be ok to go invitethe guys from the emergency shelter over for ice cream and we all said ofcourse! So Candace walked across the street and as the guys were getting out ofchapel asked "who wants ice cream!?".

We spent the next hourserving up sundaes of all kinds to a very appreciative group of guys who probably don’t often get to swing through Dairy Queen. We had a blast, and it was just another demonstration to me, of how simple the Gospel message is, and how even and maybe especially something as easy as an unexpected bowl of icecream can say Jesus loves you and so do we!?

I’m still smiling!