30 August 2009

Eagle's Nest Treats Lydia House to Spa Care

The ladies that are going through the Lydia House programs are awesome women, but life has not been easy for them. Some have been abused and hurt in a way that I will probably never comprehend. Some have had drug and alcohol addictions that they may still battle. Going to the spa and getting pampered is the last thing on their mind. But on Thursday evening, the women’s group from Eagle’s Nest brought the spa to the Open Door Mission. One could sense the excitement in the air: program ladies were smiling and laughing and it seemed like their problems were forgotten for one evening. Our ladies received massages, manicures, pedicures and gifts: they were loved and cherished by other Christian ladies who have also been through some trials in their lives and wanted to be an encouragement.

Even though the women were happy with the gifts and massages, it was unanimous that they received more than that: they were able to converse and hear testimonies about women that have been through abuse, hurts, and addictions and yet God has set them free. Those testimonies came from ladies that have graduated our New Life Program some years back. The Open Door Mission does change lives and it is awesome to see it first hand.

As I was listening to the testimonies, I came to realize that if we are not careful we’ll let our work here at the Open Door Mission become a routine. However, we need to remind ourselves that we are on a mission to change and transform lives for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; no matter how mundane our jobs are, no matter how hard it is. Who would have thought that a manicure could change someone’s life? It can! At the end of the evening a beautiful thing happened: one of the ladies gave her life to the Lord! One could just feel the love in the room! Glory be to God for sending us volunteers that want to make a difference in other people’s lives!

Corine Sawadogo
Volunteer Associate

29 August 2009

Volunteer Testimony

Open Door Mission is blessed to have so many wonderful volunteers. Every month, Open Door Mission logs an average 2940 hours of help from volunteers. That saves Open Door Mission as much labor cost as hiring 18 additional full-time staff. Another blessing is when we hear reports from our volunteers about their experiences, like the following from Nina…

“Hello, my family volunteered at (Open Door) Mission on Friday July 31 and had such a memorable experience. We are grateful and amazed at all you do for the Omaha community---all with the grace, respect and love that each person deserves.”
Nina M.

Thank you, Nina and family, and also each of Open Door Mission’s volunteers who happen to be reading this blog! We would love to hear from you about your experiences too. Just write us a quick message by clicking here, you never know, we may feature your experience on this blog, or on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Would you like to volunteer at Open Door Mission, helping to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty? Email or call Cris Morris (402) 422-1111 ext 1504, to set up a tour!

25 August 2009

Mission Bean Coffee

Last week I was able to do a coffee tasting for Mission Bean Coffee at two local HyVee Stores. It was a wonderful time to share about coffee and Open Door Mission. Coffee lovers now have even more reason to savor every sip. When you purchase Mission Bean Coffee, you not only get to enjoy the rich flavor of some of the world's finest coffee, you'll be breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty with Open Door Mission. The coffee is delicious-I had over ten people tell me it was the best coffee they had had. The coffee is available in dark roast, hazelnut, decaf and regular. It is only 7.99 for a bag of fresh roasted beans.

If you like coffee and want to help Open Door Mission please go to your local HyVee store in the Omaha metro area and buy a bag of Mission Bean. It is great cup of coffee to get you going in the morning and you will feel great all day long knowing you are helping the hungry, homeless, near homeless and hurting in the Omaha metro area. So make the coffee you drink something special-make it Mission Bean-a coffee that can help others in so many ways.
Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

24 August 2009

Open Door Mission Mourns One of Their Own

It is with a heavy heart that I write to share a tremendous loss in the Open Door Mission Family.
Dan Applegate, Open Door Mission's Director of the Timberlake Outreach Center, went home to be with Jesus on Thursday evening. While the passing of Dan brings great sorrow to his family, friends and Open Door family, we rejoice in knowing that he has been embraced and welcomed into heaven by our loving Lord.
I ask that you would please pray for Dan's wife, Karen, daughter Emily and husband Ken, son Eric and wife Jill, along with Dan's sister, Marcia, and other family and friends.
With Christ's Love,
Candace Gregory
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. Therefore, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:1

Amazing Week

Very often, more isn't better, it's just more. When we are talking about the amazing volunteers who blessed Open Door Mission and the people we serve this week, more is soooo much better!
I love and appreciate every person who comes to serve at ODM, but this has truly been a remarkable week. It started Sunday with over 600 volunteers from 6 different churches. The event was called Step Out, and they sure did.

In addition to projects around the Mission that included landscaping, working in the kitchen, warehouse and freezer, the people of God put together a cook out and carnival that allowed us to invite working poor families in from the community. We opened up the Timberlake Outreach Center on a Sunday and with our awesome volunteers gave away food, clothing, diapers and even furniture. A little rain (we prefer the term liquid sunshine at the Mission),didn't dampen spirits one little bit, and fun and blessings flowed abundantly.

The fun and blessings weren't confined to the ODM campus either, as volunteers made over 800 sack lunches and distributed them on the streets. Our Streets of Omaha team on Sunday not only fed 800 people who wouldn't have eaten otherwise, they were able to visit and pray with people, and share some smiles.
On Thursday, the abundance of blessings flowed again as the Creighton University Law students came down to lend a hand. These friends dove in and helped clean, and inventory, and work in the garden. A small but mighty army dug into the big freezer in the Timberlake Outreach Center and just wouldn't stop. It was heart warming (even in a sub-zero freezer) to watch the students refuse to leave until they were done, working well past the time they had planned.
I am quite certain I have the greatest job in the world! It continues to be my honor and pleasure to serve God along side the greatest volunteers ever!

Cris Morris
Volunteer and Partner Director

21 August 2009

Evidence of the Spirit

My wife and I just got back from a brief Chicago get-away where we took in a baseball game at our beloved Wrigley Field. Yes, we’re Cubs fans--we can’t help ourselves. As we drove across Iowa we drove right through two big, new, wind farms. One is close to Walnut IA and another by Adair IA. From a distance, several wind generators together look like whiskers growing up out of a man’s face. But as you drive through them up close, they have a special majestic quality as they turn steadily in the wind. I couldn’t see any wind, but its evidence was manifested by the turning of these mechanical wonders. So it is with the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in my life and the lives of so many of our guests here at Open Door Mission. The evidence of the Spirit’s moving is all over them as they deal with the complexities of life. You just can’t see where The Spirit’s power comes from. The marvelous changes He makes in our lives however, is evident to all. May it always be.

Tom Meradith

Garland Thompson Men's Center Director

20 August 2009

Creighton University Pre Law Students

Managing the Blog

For the last few months, I've been given the privilege of managing this blog for Open Door Mission. Candace has asked different staff members from every department to contribute stories of lives changed or personal reflections on how God is moving us as we serve Him here. Once the blogs are written, I edit them for grammar and spelling, attach appropriate photos and log in to Blogger to publish them.
It has been an amazing blessing for me to read each of these stories as I am preparing them for posting, just as I'm sure it has been a blessing for the many people who read them. I know this because I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of readers over the past few months. I hate to admit I am sometimes tempted to think the increase is because of my work editing and adding photos to the blog, but the truth is obvious.
People are reading this blog more because it contains organic stories of hope, and testimonies from those who are actually on the front lines ministering to the hungry and homeless. Did I just use the word 'organic' in that last sentence? No, these stories of hope are so much more than organic - which I define as "from the earth", or originating from man or animal. The true source of these stories and testimonies is none other than God Himself. Only He can give the kind of hope we see in the faces of our clients every day at Open Door Mission.

Thank you to Open Door Mission's donors who read this blog to see how their precious gifts are being used.
Thank you to the many volunteers who read this blog to stay up to date on the work they contribute to with their valuable time.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to play a small role in your work at Open Door Mission.

Darren Timberlake
Community Relations Coordinator

19 August 2009

Deep Thoughts by Ronda Nelson

Usually when I submit a blog I share an insight that I may have had while serving our residents that day. Today I thought I did not have an insight and I was stressing that I would not have something to blog about. I tried to force myself to have a deep thought by noon, but no deep thoughts this morning, instead I needed to:
* drive an 8th grader to her Junior High in South Omaha by 7:30 a.m. I will sure miss my time with her once her bus starts – it is been fun to hear about her day and her dreams as we have hung out these past days.
* re-direct OPS busses out of the mud to the back of the mission where eager kids were waiting to get to school. Bus drivers are saints!
* call OPS and find out where missing buses were. Mr. Bright our Title 1 homeless liaison and Ira in Transportation are amazing!
* find school supplies for a high school student. Did you know most of their books are online now? How does a child in poverty or homeless get to do homework? I am thankful that we have a learning center and kids' tutors, but what about kids in homes that can not afford computers and internet?
* start an intake with a single mom and her five children that drove here from Missouri and slept in their car in downtown Omaha last night. The kids shared it was very cold. Breakfast was over, but the kitchen helped me get sandwiches and cereal. As I opened the door to their room they began to smile and laugh – what I thought must be a too small room for so many – they thought of as comfort and safety.
* painfully turn away three single women and four families (with eleven children) that called the hotline phone for shelter. I give them other shelters' numbers, but if I am full more than likely the others are too.
* get a note posted all over the mission that we would not have power this Friday. The switch is being turned on at the new Lydia House building that day – the building is 75% complete – almost ready for January occupancy!

So no deep thoughts for this blog, but what a joy to do so much before noon and know that if I am doing each of these small things well, I am honoring the person I am serving and honoring Jesus Christ. It is a good day!

Ronda Nelson
Lydia House Assistant Director

Deeb Realty and the Shelter Fund

It was a tremendous blessing for Candace to receive a check in the amount of $2,000 for Open Door Mission yesterday from Andy Alloway of Deeb Realty, and George Akers from The Shelter Fund. Both Deeb Realty and The Shelter Fund are committed to making a difference for hungry and homeless men, women and children. This donation was funded by proceeds from a recent golf tournament.
Darren Timberlake
Community Relations Coordinator

Back to School Bash-Thank You

It has been a short summer and children are back in school. I have been reflecting on the events of the past 8 weeks. I started asking people to get involved in Back-to-School Bash to help clothe children at Open Door Mission, Lydia House, and those whose parents are involved in the various programs of the mission. I am still in awe of the generosity of the community and how powerful God is when people let Him work in their lives. Donations began as a trickle, and then poured in. Clothes, shoes, underwear, backpacks and gift cards came from individuals, churches, workplaces and organizations. Open Door Mission was able to provide the children with at least two new outfits, shoes and a backpack. Oh me of little faith-I had hope for at least one outfit for each child, God had other plans.

THANK YOU to everyone that chose to make a difference in a child’s life. I wish all of you could have seen the joy first hand, heard the laughter and experienced the awe of touching a child’s life in a practical, yet very special way. There was the little pre-kindergartener that found the perfect pink “princess” dress; the young man that got his first belt (he was so excited about it that his grandmother called the next day to say thank you); the 2nd grader that looked through dozens of boxes of shoes and finally found the “Transformer” sneakers he had “wished & prayed for”; the teenagers that could find “in style” clothes and so many more stories of how you, the donors, made these children feel loved and very special. You have blessed so many through your gifts-the children, their families and the Open Door Mission staff. Blessings and thanks to all of you-can’t wait to see what next year is going to be like!

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

18 August 2009

Seniors Day At The Timberlake Outreach Center

Today is Seniors Day which means that we have two Kings Klosets. We have our regular one in the morning and than another one for our senior citizens in the afternoon. You might be wondering why we decided to have a special Kings Kloset once a month just for our senior citizens. Well, we found it heart breaking to see how some of our senior clients are living. The average senior citizen that walks through our doors is living on approximately $659.00 a month. Many times they are forced to make difficult choices regarding their food, shelter and health concerns because there is just not enough money coming in to cover all of their needs. Our goal is to help them with some of their basic needs so that they are able to stretch that monthly check a little further to make their quality of life a little better. The Timberlake Outreach Center does that by providing clothes, household items, food, personal care items, cleaning products, and whatever else we might have on hand that month.

I spoke with one of our senior clients today and she said she would be looking for shoes today, hers are worn out. She shared that she gets all her clothes here and that the money she saves shopping at Timberlake Outreach Center helps her stay current on her bills.

The work at the Timberlake Community Outreach Center is PREVENTION, that is helping to prevent our clients who are near homeless from becoming homeless. We do that by providing food, clothing, diapers, household items, furniture etc…through our various services. 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.

So today is Senior’s Day, but it’s also your day. I would like to say thank you for your generous gifts and donations to Open Door Mission, for without you we would not be able to serve the people in our community who are in extreme crisis or nearly homeless. Without you we would not be able to have Senior’s Day! I thank you for partnering with Open Door Mission.
May God bless you and your family for your generous support.

Joyfully serving Jesus,
Judy Collins
Assistant Director of Community Services

Matthew Shows Compassion In A Special Way

Matthew recently turned 6 years old. He decided he wanted a very special birthday party-and not what you might expect. Matthew told his mother Sharon that he didn’t want any gifts for himself-he wanted donations for Open Door Mission. So for his birthday, he celebrated with his family and friends and asked them donate to provide food for Open Door Mission. A BIG THANK YOU to Matthew and his family.

Matthew’s compassion for others is a blessing to those hungry in the metro area. Thanks to Matthew’s concern for others Open Door Mission can serve over 1,500 meals a day to children, families, women and men who might not otherwise have a meal. Matthew is providing hope by first meeting a basic need. Matthew has a heart for the hungry, homeless and hurting. If you would like to help Open Door Mission like Mathew did please contact us.

Maggie Cope

Communications Coordinator

16 August 2009

Step Out and Serve 2009 Helps BIG TIME!

It may have been muddy, sure there was a forecast of rain, but did that stop over 600 volunteers from several different churches converging at the Open Door Mission campus today, to work on various projects that saved Open Door Mission and it's staff thousands of hours of labor? NO WAY!!!!

The 5th annual Step Out and Serve event was today, and it was amazing to see busload after busload of red t-shirt clad men, women and children stream into the Garland Thompson Men's Center chapel for a quick orientation, then get to work in the name of the Lord.

Perhaps the most fun project of all was a carnival and cookout provided by Westside Church, featuring over 30 carnival games, including a dunk tank, giant inflatable slide and bouncy houses, face painting, cotton candy and snow cones... you name it. There was even live christian music!
Other projects tackled by these wonderful volunteers included sorting clothes, washing the Open Door Mission's fleet vehicles inside and out, yard work outside the current Lydia House and Family New Life Recovery wings, preparing Christmas Bells cut outs for the upcoming holiday season, DEEP CLEANING of many high traffic areas throughout campus, and preparing over 900 sack lunches and delivering them on the first ever SUNDAY Streets of Omaha outreach.

Over 2,000 families in the community were invited to shop and the Timberlake Outreach Center and attend the free family carnival. People started arriving as early as 8:00 a.m., but the doors to the Timberlake Outreach Center did not open until 12:30! That is how great the need is for those who are homeless and hungry in the Omaha area!

There is simply no way to thank these wonderful volunteers enough. It is a true testimony to the power of God and the hearts of Open Door Mission's awesome supporters and volunteers. You all truly made a difference and helped to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty!

Darren Timberlake
Community Relations Coordinator

14 August 2009

Rewarding Investments

When we think of investments our minds usually wander to the New York Stock Exchange. Better news has been coming from that venue lately and that is a relief to all who have experienced the recent downward ride of the market roller coaster.

Yet, I invite you to think of investments in a more profound manner, that is, the investments that we make in people. Parents know the joy as well as the occasional heartaches associated with investments of time, energy, hope, care, love, and yes, money, in their children. Seeing joy in a child’s face or a child beaming with pride after a worthy accomplishment is more rewarding than any Dow Jones Industrial up-tick. This spring and summer my wife and I had the joy of seeing our younger child receive her bachelor’s degree and her older brother receive his Master’s degree. Each child is spiritual grounded and with their education intact they are ready for adult life. Wonderful dividends indeed!

Please think of the wonderful people, family and friends, that you have invested in and the joy that has brought to your life. In fact, stop and appreciate all those folk that have invested their hearts and souls in you and what a blessing that is to you.

Investing in others and seeing their lives blossom are the greatest quarterly reports we can ever experience. The time, talent, and treasure that folk share with the Open Door Mission are investments in people who are the most vulnerable in our community. Seeing people come to new life in Christ at the Open Door Mission and seeing them escape from poverty and homelessness as they develop stability with new life skills brings one a sense of gratitude that beats the results from any balance sheet.

Your prayer support and gifts shared with the Open Door Mission are a great investment, indeed!

Scott Shreve,
Senior Development Director

13 August 2009

Facebook and Twitter

The most recent statistics say that I am the most likely person to join Facebook. I won’t tell you my age. What woman would on a public blog? I will say that yesterday I saw the “peace sign” on a pair of donated sneakers—all the children fell in love with them—which reminded me of my teenage years. Next week, I will be eligible for a senior discount at some places. And I am a proud grandma of two of the cutest children I have ever seen.

Anyway, a few months ago I became a member of Facebook. I have found it a very useful tool to keep in touch with family and friends—those that remember the peace sign. I, also, enjoy staying up to date with my grandchildren.

Open Door Mission is my favorite Page on Facebook. It is a great way to inform friends and family about all the great things happening at the Mission. With social networking today, Open Door Mission can keep you updated on coming events and immediate needs very quickly. This week I invited all of my friends to be “fans” of the Page. It was exciting to see so many of them responding in support of Open Door Mission.

We are also able to keep in touch with “followers” on twitter.

Please consider becoming a “fan” on Facebook or “follower” on Twitter. We would love to share the great things that God does everyday at Open Door Mission. Click either of the logo’s above to find Open Door Mission.
Karen Applegate
Director of Advancement

12 August 2009

Greetings from Lydia House

This has been a very special and fun week serving over 100 children during our Back to School Bash. We were able to serve all the children who live at the shelter, those in our 2911 program and all of our alumni. The children came to the Mission to shop for clothes from our Back to School Bash donations. On Wednesday, the children are receiving haircuts, having lunch at Qdoba Mexican Grill and then finishing any leftover shopping in the afternoon.

It has been such a treat to see so many of our children from the community and the alumni return to get ready for school. I have not seen some of them since last year and it was fun to catch up. Not to mention, I love to shop so spending three days shopping is as close to a perfect day as I can get.

Thank you all for your donations to help send our children back to school in style and a special thanks to those in the community who cut our kid’s hair. They look wonderful with their new haircuts and are dressed to impress for that first day of school.

Charity Watts
Lydia House Director

11 August 2009

New Shoes, Clothes, Haircuts, and SMILES :-)

Today as I was driving into work, I was remembering the smiling faces of our Lydia House kids as we loaded them in the van to get haircuts, getting them ready to go back to school. The kids here at the Lydia house have been so Blessed with new shoes, clothes and haircuts.

Yesterday one of the boys was sitting outside of my office with his brand new pair of shoes waiting to show them to me and tell me all about them. We sat on the bench for a good 5 – 10 minutes admiring his new shoes and discussing how they will make him run faster! The smile was priceless!

I would like to just thank every donor who has played this huge role in making our kids feel excited about the first day of school… Blessings

Leann Quiroz
Lydia House Supervisor

One Tired Volunteer

Volunteering is hard work. Sometimes you need a break! This young volunteer fell asleep while his mom was serving a meal at Open Door Mission.
Would you like to make a difference? Organize or join a Fishes and Loaves team. Prepare, serve and clean up after a meal at Open Door Mission. Only 2 hours a month for a year is 24 hours serving hot, nutritious meals to hungry and homeless men, women and children at Open Door Mission.
Call or email Cris Morris, Open Door Mission's Volunteer and Partner Director to get involved TODAY! 402-422-1111 ext 1504.

10 August 2009

We Have Much to Be Thankful For

If you haven’t been down to the mission lately you really need to come for a tour. Email Cris to make it happen.

God is so good, even in an election year, in the middle of a recession we were able to successfully raise enough money that the first two phases of a three phase project are completely funded through the generous support of people like you. The tile is up, and the building is looking great. If you are not currently involved in the Rebuilding Lives campaign, please get involved today! http://tinyurl.com/no2y2e

My children were blessed with the opportunity to attend Open Door Mission’s Summer Bible Day Camp this year. They were able to go swimming twice a week, skating once a week, trips to the zoo. They learned about the gospel, memorized verses, and had a wonderful time.

Thank You to all the staff and volunteers that made this such a wonderful summer for my children and over 150 other kids from the mission and the community.

Jason Green,
IT Manager

09 August 2009

Back To School Donations Rolling In

Kaplan University Justice Club Does Back-to-School Bash!

Kaplan University Justice Club, with faculty advisor Lt. Deb Terrell and Antonia and Darlene, spearheaded the Back-to-School Bash drive at Kaplan. They encouraged the whole campus to get involved-and did they ever! Their efforts brought in 79 pounds of new school clothing and shoes for needy children at Open Door Mission’s Lydia House and its programs. Thanks to the generous spirit of the students and faculty they will help provide a new school outfit for a child. They chose to make a difference and not only change a child’s life, but to give hope to the whole family.

The exciting news is that because they had so much fun and know the need is great Kaplan Justice Club wants to do more. That’s what happens when people get involved helping others-you just can’t stop-the joy keeps growing.

Elk Horn Lutheran Church had Fun Shopping for Back-to-School Bash

If you are ever in Elk Horn Iowa on a Sunday stop by the Elk Horn Lutheran Church-you will be blessed. This church has such a heart for Jesus and others. They support Open Door Mission and Lydia House on a regular basis, but also do special events-like Back-to-School Bash. This year they went hunting for the best bargains. They let the stores know what they were doing and were able to take advantage of sales and special discounts to buy even more clothing. Their pastor Keith Menter is thrilled that his congregation was able to collect over 65 lbs of clothing and shoes for needy children. Calla and Bruce Poldberg, along with others in the church, loaded up my car-filling up the trunk and backseat . The clothes will provide a new school outfit for the children served by Open Door Mission’s Lydia House through its various programs. This small town church has a big heart-a heart to share with others, a heart to go beyond the church walls, and a heart to serve.

Would you like to join in to help like Elk Horn Lutheran? There is no church or workplace too small to make a difference. Please call or email me so I can help you make a difference in someone else’s life. You too can experience the joy and blessings just like the people of Elk Horn Lutheran.
Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

07 August 2009

Chandler View School CATS Team Provides Books for Lydia House Children

In conjunction with Scholastic Books the Chandler View CATS team provided a box full of new books for the children of Lydia House at the Open Door Mission. The CATS Team, led by Cindy Gasper, is a group of students promoting being drug free and staying in school. This team, along with their parents, collected money during a recent book fair and chose Open Door Mission’s Lydia House to be the recipient of this special gift. Scholastic Books generously matched the amount collected. Sharollynn Kucera (pictured with the box of books) was able to go to the Scholastic Books warehouse and pick out over $275.00 worth of books for the Lydia House children.

Open Door Mission appreciates the Chandler View CATS team for donating books to the children. Reading is a wonderful way for children to learn, to use their imagination and to enrich their education. At Open Door Mission we encourage children to stay in school and become lifelong learners. Groups like the Chandler View CATS team help by donating books to the Children & Youth department-how can you help? Please call or email the Volunteer department if you would like to volunteer to make a difference in a child’s life.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

06 August 2009

Greetings from Deadwood,SD!

My name is Kathleen Lacy and I am a Development Specialist with the Open Door Mission.

My day is usually very busy ( in a good way). I don't get to interact with our clients much but I do get to interact with our donors and supporters. My day starts with opening mail, then entering the donations into our system so that we can promptly send a receipt. I also track and enter volunteer hours, help keep our database updated, enter contact records and help out in our department as needed.

My favorite part of the job would be while opening mail. Donors sometimes let us know of a prayer request, an answer to prayer or even how the mission has impacted them when they came down for a tour and volunteered.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support for the Open Door Mission as we look to change lives for eternity!
Kathleen Lacy

Development Specialist

05 August 2009

My Little World

I recently went on a vacation to the west coast, for the first time in my life, I entered into another World

A place where people in motion was a way of living, a life of "go,go,go!", with visitors from all over the world. Numerous ships of all sizes were everywhere in the harbor.

I was blessed to attend a Christian Methodist Episcopal church in San Diego, and to hear my cousin preach a good message. We were then able to go out to the streets, with a strong spirit to spread the WORD to those who would hear.

It was a very good vacation. I am so glad to be home. I have a different perspective of myself, and it is good to be back with my two younger children.


Tony Miller

Open Door Mission

Property Manager

04 August 2009

Have you shared your ‘Bible’ today?

‘In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake.’ II Corinthians 4:4-5.

Some people believe it is the randomness of complex systems, with some systems more complex than others. At Open Door Mission, we believe they are an intended grace bestowed on people for a specific purpose…

I work as a Community Case manager at the Timberlake Outreach Center. I meet, greet, review and serve our walk-in clientele from the community, trying to match their needs with donations of furniture and household items given to us from Omaha and surrounding area donors. Around here I am known to many as a "Jesus Freak", from scriptures hung all over my office walls, to really trying to capture and win for Jesus, every soul that I meet. But it wasn’t always so…

As described above in II Corinthians, I used to be blind and deaf to the Word. Not intentionally, but ignorantly. The Word, the Blood, the Water: seems you’re either born into it or led to it. Being the latter, I’d like to share the profound events that changed my life…

11 years ago while on break at a job site and walking to feed my parking meter, in one step I felt something similar to a rubber band snap inside where my leg joins my body. Within a couple hours, I was limping. Within a couple days, I couldn’t walk at all. I had no sense of balance or ability to put one foot before the other.

MRI’s were done immediately, but were misread. For four months I crawled on hands and knees to get around. Early on, I’d sleep off and on for 16 hours or more each day. I couldn’t drive or go to work. I’d cope by crawling outside to my flower bed and watch the different varieties come up, bloom and wither away. I wondered, what was the meaning of all of this?

Doctor’s would not correctly diagnose what had happened to me for three years. By then, I had relearned how to walk, having been escorted by two physical therapists in three and a-half feet of water. How humbling! I was a championship swimmer in my teenage years!

The final diagnosis: I wasn’t crazy after all. My L4, L5 and S1 discs had ruptured that day I felt the ‘snap’, and over time had drained completely. I was told it should have been repaired immediately, but now it was too late: I was crooked. It took me a whole year to return to my work full-time and with it, a disciplined routine of Aqua-therapy, physical therapy, chiropractor, medications and doctor appointments to make it through each day, each week, each year...

At year five, someone told me about Trinity Broadcast Network. Being hearing impaired since age two, I’d never ‘heard’ a sermon before. In church growing up, I knew when to stand up, sit down, kneel or when to sing, but now with closed captioning I could ‘see’ what was being spoken! I was shocked silly at how much I’d missed! I was hooked instantly and became a student of the bible in front of the TV, taking notes, praying, believing and starved to learn all I could about Jesus! I accepted Jesus as my Savior, repented of my sins and was born again in my living room!
About two months later, I awoke one Sunday - - to no pain! Peering under the covers to make sure my legs were still there, I was stupefied! I didn’t tell anyone for three days because I just kept waiting for the pain to return! But it didn’t! My doctors were dumbfounded! Jesus had miraculously healed my back!

So that’s the story behind why I am a sold-out crusader for Jesus! Wouldn’t you be if that’d happened to you? Like the miracle that happened to me, God has a plan for each one of us. The Open Door Mission is a miracle that happens to someone important to God’s plan, everyday! Whether the vehicle be through the receiving of furniture - - or participating in one of the many programs and services offered here - - for those whose blinders are removed, they too become a witness of His grace and mercy and a testimony to advance the Good News within their reach of their world!

One lady I’d served, commenting on my office said, “My Pastor once told me, some times you are the only Bible people will see.” Wow! When you’ve been miraculously healed by the grace and mercy found in Jesus, how can you keep it a secret? If you’ve been touched and healed in the sweet, sweet name of Jesus, make sure you shared your ‘Bible’ today and tell someone about it!


Kelli Young, Community Case Manager
Timberlake Outreach Center

03 August 2009

Soul Food for the Soul

In your minds eye, you probably picture a typical meal prepared at Open Door Mission, and have visions of soup and stale bread washed down with strong coffee. I am happy to report that Claudzell Meeks, Open Door Mission's Chef, is not content with this stereotypical meal for the hungry and homeless men, women and children at Open Door Mission. Despite the fact that he oversees the preparation of more than 1,500 hot nutritious meals every single day, he has the ability to do so with surprising variety and creativity.

So, when the Open Door Mission obtained a supply of pork bellies, Claudzell immediately knew it was time to serve souls with Soul Food. This last Friday night, the fare in Open Door Mission's dining hall consisted of hog maws, red beans, collard greens and corn bread. If you don't know what any of those things are (except maybe the corn bread), it is just "good old southern food", and it was well received by those who were served on Friday night!

Just another example of how God continues to bless Open Door Mission, and has gifted Claudzell with a special ability to serve a great variety of delicious food.

Darren Timberlake
Community Relations Coordinator

01 August 2009

"Brothers and Sisters" make a Big Impact

Month after month, we get to work with our generous volunteers. I love the familiar, friendly faces, but it is always special to welcome new friends to service at Open Door Mission. It was my pleasure recently to welcome The Countryside Community Church VBS group. Countryside is a faithful partner of the Mission, but many of these young people had never been to Open Door Mission before. The saints from Countryside brought with them 191 pounds of donated items. What a way to say hello! They then spent some time at the Timberlake Outreach Center sorting and organizing mission donations.

On their second visit that week, my new friends from Countryside Community brought with them over 400 pounds of donations for Open Door Mission. This time they worked in the Food Pantry (read Big, Hot, Warehouse!) next to the Administration building. Near the end of their time with us that day one of the children told our volunteer associate that they had a rule. The rule was they were not allowed to use the term “those people” when referring to the clients and residents at Open Door Mission. Leave it to the children to preach the most meaningful message of all. What if we all took the words “those people” and all the associated imagery out of our vocabularies forever? Perhaps “brothers and sisters” would be more what Jesus has in mind? One step closer to the kingdom do you think?

The group came back again the third time on Friday (Yes, 3 times that week!). The task of the day was to make over 700 sack lunches to be distributed to the “brothers and sisters” on the streets of Omaha. After helping prepare all those lunches, the group helped us serve lunch to our “brothers and sisters” here at the Mission and sorted out our bread pantry before calling it a day.

Saint Francis said “preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words” The children and their adult helpers from Countryside Community Church did just that as they served happily and faithfully at Open Door Mission. They honored God and blessed us all! Thank you so much!!

Cris Morris
Volunteer & Partner Director