31 October 2009

Handmade Quilts Bring Warmth and Hope

Joan has been providing handmade baby quilts to Open Door Mission’s Lydia House and those it serves for almost two years. She lovingly provides these quilts for children she will never see, but knows they will be something special for the child that receives one. Her quilts don’t just provide warmth for the child, but also show the mother that others care about her and her child. Joan is sharing God’s love in a very special way. We appreciate Joan’s labors of love because the quilt becomes a gift of love and hope to a needy family. Thank you also to her daughter Deb, for faithfully bringing the blankets to Open Door Mission.

Would you like to share God’s love in a special way? As Open Door Mission prepares to serve 6,000 children at Christmas we need hats, scarves, mittens and gloves and fleece blankets, as well as new toys. Would you and your organization, workplace, church or family please help provide a Christmas of Hope for the homeless and near homeless? Please check out our website for details on how you can provide Hope for the Holidays.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

30 October 2009

Grand Canyon

I was recently in the Grand Canyon with my wife and son. The views from the rim and along the trails down the Canyon were beautiful and awe inspiring. As our guide told us how the many layers that are exposed in the Canyon developed over millions of years I thought of our programs at Open Door Mission. In fact, I did!

The New Life Recovery Program and Journey to Work Program are measured in months, not millions of years, but each day, week, and month in a program provides a new layer of life skills, educational ability, and spiritual development for each individual enrolled. The solid foundation upon which all layers form is faith in Jesus Christ, our solid rock. Then layers of emotional coping skills, Biblical knowledge, maintenance of sobriety, educational and computer skills, job readiness insights equip each graduate for new life!

The Grand Canyon is a wonder of the world and each graduate from an Open Door Mission program is a grand wonder as well. If you would like to explore a Planned Gift to support the work of Open Door Mission please contact me.

Scott Shreve
Senior Development Director
(402) 422-1111, ext. 1538

29 October 2009

Night Watch in the Lydia House

I work primarily in the Lydia House Children & Youth Department. It has been a blessing to share the love of Jesus with our kids.
Last month, Charity asked if I would fill in for our Overnight Supervisor during her surgery and recovery. I had never worked the midnight to 8 a.m. shift before and wondered how the change would affect me physically. The Lord has blessed me to be able to handle the change of sleeping during the day.

As Overnight Supervisor, I do periodic room checks throughout the Emergency A & B wings, file, sort mail, clean, assist in handing out medications and much more. During this time, I am reminded of Psalm 63:6, “When I remember you on my bed; I meditate on you in the night watches.” and Psalm 119:148, “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I might meditate on Your Word.” (KJV)

Ladies will come to me and ask me to pray with them, or talk, because they couldn’t sleep. Moms will even bring their sick children to my office for medication and to keep them from disturbing other family members. I love being able to minister to families and ladies in this way and thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve during the ‘Night Watch’ at Open Door Mission.

Janice M. Loud
Lydia House Children & Youth Department
Night Watch – House Supervisor

28 October 2009

Planting Tree at the New Lydia House

Today some homeless men from Open Door Mission the joined Candace Gregory, Open Door Mission's President/CEO, Richard DenHerder, Open Door Mission's Director of Finance, Jack Phillips Local Arborist and Mike King, Open Door Mission's Garland Thompson Men's Center Case Manager in planting 19 trees and shrubs around the New Lydia House that is set to open in January 2010

27 October 2009

Southwest Kiwanis Club

On Tuesday October 20, Open Door Mission’s Children and Youth Department partnered with the Southwest Kiwanis Club for a night of fun with the independent living seniors at Immanuel Village. Our night began at 6 p.m., with the children making pillows and decorating door hangers. After the arts and crafts they enjoyed punch and cookies and taking pictures with the seniors.

The children and the residents had a great night of sharing stories and getting to know one another. We look forward to going back on the November 17.

Pastor Tyrome Charleston
Children & Youth Director

22 October 2009

Southwest Church of Christ

Pastor Jim, from Southwest Church of Christ, and his friend Dave stopped by Open Door Mission this week to bring a “small” gift to help out during the holidays. It was no “small” gift--it was over 1,000 pounds of donations ranging from canned goods to clothing. His congregation out of compassion for others, chose to make a difference by donating to the homeless and near homeless in the Heartland.

The holidays are fast approaching and for many in our area it will not be a joyous time of celebration--they are hungry, hurting and in many cases feeling hopeless. Would you please help Open Door Mission reach out with hope and help for those seeking just the basic necessities of life?

  • Reach out to more than 6,000 boys and girls and bring the joy of Christmas to their hurting hearts with your donation of new toys to Open Door Mission. Schedule your Project Santa toy drive.

Make a difference this holiday season--give hope and joy to those who need it the most--visit Open Door Mission’s website for more ways to become involved.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

21 October 2009

Learning Center

I am the Learning Center Director for the New Life Recovery Program and the Journey to Work Program. Every one who joins these programs is assessed academically in reading, reading comprehension, vocabulary, memory, math and writing. Some come in with high school degrees, college degrees, GED or no academic standing.

It is very rewarding to help individuals learn new skills or improve their knowledge in the Learning Center. Due to alcohol and drug abuse, what was once learned seems to be gone for the individual. That’s where Learning Skill Improvement helps to regain lost memory. Improved memory brings self-confidence.

However, many men don’t see the purpose of learning how to type or how to use a computer. I think of the man where construction has been his trade. His fingers are large and don’t seem to work on the keys, but in time he has stretched his fingers to type.

It is all about helping people reach goals they didn’t know they needed. It is surrounding them with words of congratulations, you did it and you can do it. The Learning Center provides a launching pad for the future.

II Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Deb Champion
Learning Center Director

20 October 2009

Volunteer Blessings

What a busy week it has been at Open Door Mission! As you probably know, busy means blessing here at Open Door Mission, and the blessings certainly poured into the Volunteer Department this week. We had some amazing guys stop by from a group called “Heart Hats”. These men are tradesmen from all over the country, working in the Omaha area. In their spare time, they share their talents and skills with nonprofit organizations. These new friends built a storage unit in our kitchen, replaced a wall in the dining room, and built some terrific new storage bins in the Timberlake Outreach Center.

The busyness (blessings) continued into the weekend. We had several groups of young people dig in and put together some new clothes racks in the TOC so we can get more of your gently used clothing donations hung up and available for our clients. That cleared the way for bringing in more of those donations, which they did, smiling the whole time.

In the afternoon the warehouse was blitzed (sorry I couldn’t resist) by some members of the Millard West football team who joined another kind of team in reorganizing our warehouse pantry in preparation for putting together thousands of Turkey ‘N’ Fixin’s boxes next month.

I would love to tell you that it was an extraordinary week, but I think all of our volunteers are extraordinary. It continues to be my honor and pleasure to serve Open Door Mission. On behalf of the Volunteer Department I want to say thank you, and bless you!

Cris Morris
Volunteer & Partner Director

19 October 2009

Greetings from the Lydia House

The staff here at Lydia House works as a team to teach and instruct—not only basic life skills to the residents, but also hope to encourage spiritual growth. Sometimes that growth happens slowly and we miss the daily signs of progress, making me feel discouraged. Then one day, God allowed me to see residents demonstrating their growth. They came alongside one of their fellow residents encouraging them to continue their recovery because God would never let them down. Later, I saw a group of people getting together for a time of prayer.

Recently, God showed me that our efforts have a long term effect on people. I was encouraged by two of our alumni. One has started their own ministry, putting God’s Word in everyone’s hand by using recycled prescription bottles. The other has shared the amazing faith they developed since their graduation from the program.

Our goal at Lydia House is to change lives, one at a time, and I have had the privilege to see the signs of this happening in at least two lives. This gives me the encouragement to keep going that my small efforts do help to change lives.

Angela Casper
Night Supervisor

17 October 2009

Men's Ministries

Hi, my name is John, and I am the Mental Health Therapist for homeless men, who are, sadly, categorized in society as “throw-away” people. Thankfully, God has other ideas for every man that enters Open Door Mission.

A man (I will call Frank), whom I have worked with for three months, recently got a job. Frank’s journey was not unique. He has no family he is close to and has been on his own all his adult life. His parents divorced when he was a child and his mother died when he was eighteen. Frank has a distant relationship with his father, and no siblings. In his adult life, he has worked a series of jobs, but has also had many “lay-overs” at shelters throughout the Midwest.

Frank is a loner, does not drink or use drugs. Most of his jobs have been dead-ends. Spiritually, he knew God was out there, but never considered any personal relationship with Him. While most of my interactions with Frank have been spur-of-the-moment, because he was anxious or worried, I listened, offered reassurance, and offered advice on what he could do.

His first month at the Mission, Frank arranged his evening so that he did not attend chapel. As he described it later, it was not that he had anything against hearing about God, it was just that God never seemed to have any direct relevance in his life. So Frank was content to let God go His way, and Frank would go his.

What is so wonderful at Open Door Mission, is that we have volunteers that take time out of their busy schedules and provide help—in the kitchen, at the Timberlake Outreach Center, chapels, and other areas. We have a man who comes almost every week and leads a small group in Bible study or shows a video, which provides a more personal setting where men can hear God’s word and interact with it.

Frank was encouraged by his case manager, Mike, to take advantage of the services offered at the Mission. One evening, Frank attended the Bible Study. He said later that he didn’t know quite what to think about it. The man leading it was nice; however, Frank had never thought much about God. But Frank continued to attend. One week, the leader shared the plan of salvation, and Frank began to consider God in a new way.

Later Frank shared with me that he has benefited from his time at Open Door Mission. He found a job, is saving money, and has hope. He knows that God loves him personally and whatever the future holds—God will be there for him.

It is such a blessing working at Open Door Mission. Even though we see the shadier side of life, and come face to face with hopelessness, I don’t become overwhelmed by the neediness and chaos that comes through our doors. Experiences with people like Frank, remind me of Open Door Mission’s purpose and its provision of hope and new life in Christ. Taking the time to treat a fellow human being with simple things like food, clothing and shelter, in the name of Jesus, can make all the difference in the world.

Thank you for praying, giving and serving at Open Door Mission.

John Lindsey
Program Therapist

16 October 2009

Program Completed!

Thumbs up for Lesley as he completes the New Life Recovery Program at Open Door Mission. “Thank You Lord, Thank You Lord” were his words after he received the keys to his new car.

Lesley’s journey started more than 11 months ago when he came to Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program. He said the journey was long and the ride was not smooth, but he thanks the Lord for helping him through his recovery. Lesley completed all Open Door Mission course work and finished his online degree, and is now living independently, employed full time and hoping for a promotion at work. Thank you Lord!

Tyrone Abdul
2911 SuccessNet Case Manager

15 October 2009

Crown Pointe Spaghetti Dinner

On Sunday, September 27, Crown Pointe Retirement Community hosted a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser to help support Open Door Mission. They had over 500 people for lunch and raised over $3,000 to provide meals to many hungry and homeless men, women and children. I had the privilege of attending a check the presentation at Crown Pointe.

Dorothy Kelly – Crown Pointe Executive Director
Toni Heng – Crown Pointe Sales Director
James Cummings – Open Door Mission Executive Administrator

The residents were excited about the amount of money they raised though the fundraiser.

James Cummings
Executive Administrator

14 October 2009


Saturday morning I awoke to a wonderful surprise! Snow! It energized me to look forward to the day the Lord had in store. What a great day it was!

Our volunteers are ever-faithful. Despite the snow, we had amazing volunteers who were willing to do the job. I was at the Timberlake Outreach Center and had the opportunity to work alongside volunteers as we sorted through clothing, household and kitchen items that have been donated. We had quite a lot of baby and children’s clothing that were donated and we were able to fill up the racks for the babies and kids in our community!

Thank you to our volunteers for their hard work! Thank you to our donors who make this job possible! We couldn’t serve those in need without you!

Patti Cummings
Volunteer Associate

09 October 2009

2009 Walk-A-Thon Update

On September 20, approximately 400 energetic people showed up at Gallup University’s parking lot to put on their Walk-A-Thon t-shirts and “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” They followed the route that many of our homeless guests take as they walk from downtown Omaha.

Open Door Mission’s Second Annual Walk-A-Thon lasted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with walkers arriving whenever they chose. They walked the 1 mile plus, from Gallup to the Mission’s Garland Thompson Men’s Center. There, they enjoyed 5 kinds of scrumptious soup prepared by chefs from local restaurants. Many toured the Mission for the first time to get a taste of more than just soup. They got to see and hear about the services and programs that Open Door Mission provides to the homeless and near-homeless in the greater Omaha area.

As one of the group leaders who walked with families, friends, and church and business groups, I was impressed by the smiles and expressions of gratitude from walkers as they returned to their cars. Fresh air, exercise, caring for the needs of others and being a part of the work at Open Door Mission, put a smile on their faces and a spring in their steps.

Judy Ward
Development Associate

08 October 2009

A Success Story

I’d like to introduce you to an amazing young man that came to the Mission in April of this year. Joel came from Cuidad De Havana, Cuba, 17 months ago with his mother, looking for a better future. Joel has had to learn a new language, new culture, new schooling system and face fears, depression, and loneliness. I can not begin to imagine my world being so disrupted and uncertain. However, with the support of Open Door Mission staff, much prayer, and his own commitment to Christ, Joel has grown in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)

Joel is currently a senior in high school, with a 3.5gpa, and is preparing to graduate in January 2010. He was voted to be on the executive board for the Latino Leaders Club and was recently nominated for the Gallery of Stars among high school students. In September Joel helped with Grassroots Development Leadership Program Fundraising Dinner where he worked along side Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle.

Please pray for Joel and his mother as he prepares to graduate and move on with his dreams. Joel hopes to attend Harvard obtaining his BA in General Medicine, MA in Engineering and PhD in Law.

Kate Fischer
Emergency Service Case Manager

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

07 October 2009


My name is Joy and I am the Director of a new program here at Open Door Mission called WorkNet. WorkNet is a 3 ½ week career planning course for people with employment issues—no work record, addiction, prostitution, criminal record, mental health issues or a tough economy.

The man in the picture name became unemployed after a sweeping lay off from the company he had faithfully worked for 28 years. Before this almost 3 decades long stint, he had been in the military so his resume and job searching skills were very rusty.

WorkNet is seeing more and more community people taking part in this program because of the economy. Classes start the first Friday of every month, excluding December and July. To sign up or for more information, I can be reached at 402-422-1111, ext. 1509. A GED or High School diploma is required and child care in place. There is no charge for this class.

Joy Stevens
WorkNet Director

06 October 2009

God's Faithfulness

I am a new staff member at Open Door Mission and came with my own expectations and hopes. From my past experience I never thought of a job as a place where you could gain support in your Christian walk. However that support is exactly what I have received. It has been my privilege to ask another staff member, “Can we pray for a client” or, “Can we pray for Christ to reign here at the Mission?” I have never had that experience in a work place where staff can come together in unity and change the spiritual atmosphere. It is SO powerful to have staff unity.

Now, my fault is that I tend to get focused and just pour into the lives right around me. However, I hear that unity is not only going on where I work but all through the Mission. As we continue to grow our goal should be to continue to really pour into other staff members lives. I think unity is where true strength comes from and requires vulnerability and trust with one another. That unity will keep the devil from coming in and destroying the amazing things that God desperately wants to do in each of our clients lives and don’t forget…in OUR lives.

I’ll share one of the many stories I have experienced over the last few months. I was working a Saturday morning which tends to be pretty laid back because the clients have no classes. I walked to the emergency wing and there was a lady who had just come to Open Door Mission the night before. This lady was standing in the hallway tearing up and seemed very guarded therefore didn’t want to talk. I debated what to do as I was walking towards the office. Finally I turned to her and said, “Is there anything I can do?” She said, “no” as she started to cry again. I wasn’t going to leave her alone so I waited a minute with her. I asked her again, “Is there anything I can do?” She didn’t say anything as she started crying a little harder. I sat down on the bench in front of the office and so did she.

I was so excited because I knew she was starting to open up because she sat down next to me. I waited a minute as she was crying and finally asked, “What are you dealing with?” Finally she opened up and told me how she couldn’t find a job even though she had a master’s degree. Her son was in the military and normally calls every day but hadn’t called in two weeks. The last time she had talked with him his tank was destroyed while he was in it and they were afraid of more retaliation from the enemy.

I have a brother who was a Calvary scout for 4 years and know how hard it is to have family at war so I tried to encourage her. I asked her if she believed in God and had faith that He would protect her and take all her cares. She said she used to believe but because of everything that had been going on she was finding it hard to have faith in God at all. I told her how He can take all that pain and fear of the unknown from us if we trust him. I asked if we could pray. She agreed and I asked God to give her a peace and if her son was still alive that he would contact her.

I gave her some tissues and we both went on our way. I went to the recovery side of the Mission and came back fifteen minutes later. The Lady came to me with this glow and said, “I have to tell you something! I don’t know how this happened but I just want you to know that my son called me five minutes after we prayed and he is ok.” I rejoiced with her and thanked God for letting her experience His faithfulness!

Alicia Riskowski
Recovery Services Case Manager

03 October 2009

29/11 Program

I love my job and thank the Lord most days for the opportunity to serve Him through the Timberlake Outreach Center Community Services at Open Door Mission. My days are never dull because we have people from all walks of life coming through our doors. Each person or family has a unique story, and yet, there is one thing they all seem to have in common. They have experienced a recent crisis in their life or family and have come to Open Door Mission for help. We have the privilege of praying with them, sharing God’s love and helping to meet their needs through the various donations many of you have given to our Mission.

Yesterday was such a day. One of our clients received a refrigerator and the family was overjoyed. This family of six had been living without a refrigerator for the past three weeks. A single mom with six children received a washer & dryer. Her washer broke a month ago and she had been washing her family’s clothes in the bath tub. Needless to say we made her day. Then, a client from the past walked into my office. Yvette is a part of our 29/11 Program and she had been sent over to receive a food pantry and some other items by her case worker, Jeanette Blackstone.

When she walked in my office she said, “I don’t know if you remember me or not, but I want to thank you for praying with me and telling me about the 29/11 Program. That day was a turning point for me and the 29/11 Program is really helping me.” I was happy to see her and hear how things were better since she joined the program. I asked her if she would share some of her story with you and here’s what she wrote:

“I walked in only for a food pantry, but was blessed to find out about the 29/11 Program. I would like to first start off by thanking God for putting caring people in my life. The 29/11 Program is truly a blessing. I am a single mother of three beautiful children whom I love dearly. In the past year and a half I have been struggling to take care of my children due to overwhelming expenses, such as moving, rental increase, car repairs, buying food and high utilities bills. But in the midst of all that stress God has never failed me. I learned about the 29/11 Program and I decided to join and since then our family is doing better and I am thankful to Open Door Mission and the 29/11 Program.”

Because of your various donations, families are able to improve their quality of life and lives are being changed one person at a time. Thank you for partnering with us to help prevent homelessness and meet the needs of our working poor. May God bless you for your kindness and generous spirit.

Joyfully serving Jesus,
Judy Collins
Director of the Timberlake Outreach Center

02 October 2009

My husband and I were on vacation in Branson enjoying the beauty of the area and relaxing.

I couldn’t help but think of our busy lives and how we don’t take time to pray and thank God for our many blessings. We need to remind ourselves we can pray for others even while sitting at a stop light, or when we see someone in need of prayer instead of sitting in judgment of them.

Prayer for today: Lord of creation, help us to pause daily and be refreshed by the blessings of today and ready to pray for people around us.

Betz Woodhull
HR/Accounting Assistant

01 October 2009

Children and Youth Department

Here is a shout out from the Open Door Mission greatnimac (means great and magnificent), Children and Youth Department. School is back in session and our children are all plugged in. We have students from K-12.

We are thankful that as our Title I tutor lab is up and running. All the children will be placed on Success Maker, a program that measures the students academically in reading and mathematics, and then helps them progress one level at a time. I want to thank the Children & Youth Department staff for helping with homework in the tutoring lab and learning center while we were waiting for the lab to open. We are looking forward to our first Celebrate Education with the Southwest Kwanis Club in October.

The Children & Youth Department would like to send a big thank you to Dr. Dan Cravatt and 30 students from Nebraska Christian College for giving our children a great night out at the “Amazing Pizza Machine”. Each child had their own personal chaperone.

Please remember our youth here at Open Door Mission and pray that our children will be blessed and kept safe from the enemy.

Pastor Tyrome Charleston
Children & Youth Department