31 March 2010

Small Churches, Big Hearts

Nelva and Tom serve the United Methodist Churches in Dunlap and Dow City Iowa. Recently, they brought a carload of items from their churches-over 172 pounds of handmade quilts and fleece blankets. What is really special about this is the whole town helped. Fabric was donated, squares cut, designs pieced, and some sewed and quilted. All this was a gift that will give comfort and hope to those in need. The quilts will be given to a homeless family, a hurting veteran or a baby. These blankets will also show that others care and compassion can come in many sizes and ways. Thank you to Dunlap and Dow City UMC for giving of themselves to provide a special gift for those in need.

These generous servers also collected hundreds of pounds of items from linens to car seats. How wonderful to have a community come together to make a difference in the lives of the hungry and homeless. Would you like to make a difference too? Please contact me and I will help you change lives. It just took one phone call from Nelva to make a big difference in her community and lives at Open Door Mission and Lydia House.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator
(402) 829-1554

30 March 2010

My Daughter’s Easter Dress

This week, while meeting with a family in the 29/11 program, I asked them if they were doing anything special for Easter. Mary said they were looking forward to going to Sunday service, but she didn’t have an Easter dress for her 3-yr old daughter. I told her we had received a few donated dresses in the ‘Blessings From Above’ store room and we could look to see if we could find a dress. Before we went to look, the Lord heard her request and not only did He provide a dress, but He also provided a pair of white sandals and white tights to match!

When I asked Mary what her daughter would say she replied, “A pretty dress and it’s mine.” Mary returned the next day and said her daughter said those exact words, and when she tried it on she did not want to take it off! Mary is very thankful for the ‘Blessings From Above’ and her daughter will have a pretty dress to wear to Church on Easter.

Praise the Lord,
Tyrone Abdul
Community Case Manager

29 March 2010

Thank You Notes

Through all of the everyday drama and crisis management at Lydia House, one positive ritual stands out that seems to be helping everyone’s attitude—writing thank you notes. It is a very simple, small token of our appreciation for all the volunteers that come through our building to throw us birthday parties, invite and transport us to community events, and donate needed items and extras, like games and snacks.

It is amazing to me that many people do not even realize that a thank you note can go a long way in showing our appreciation and forming an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ We will continue our simple ‘thank you’ note ritual and encourage our residents at Lydia House to find the small things to be thankful for each day.

Raejean Rosedale
Lydia House Evening Shift Supervisor

27 March 2010

Salvation comes by faith alone.

After 3 weeks in Wing G at Garland Thompson Men’s Center, working day by day on personal goals, a man with a religious spirit came to me and said, “I believe all religions lead you to God, as long as you are a good person everything is fine with God.”

My answer was simple; “If that were the case, where is God in your present condition?”

He had no answer. For 3 nights he could not sleep, tired and without hope he came to me, “I have an answer! Religions make you tired and hopeless. It does not matter how much you do, all religions have the same ending.”

I asked, “Do you want to find hope?” He said yes, so I explained that Salvation comes by faith alone. That night we continued this conversation, which had a positive impact on his present condition and changed his eternity. He found the hope of Glory.

Jonathan Lopez
Garland Thompson Men's Center
Hispanic/Latino Coordinator

26 March 2010

Greetings from Lydia House

We have been in the New Lydia House Building for about two months. When we first moved into the building the halls were quiet and long. The same amount of people that were squeezed into the small wings at Open Door Mission barely filled the rooms here. My office at the reception desk in the mornings was quiet and lonely.

Now, as more people are moving in, the halls are still long, but you can hear signs of life coming from closed doors as you walk past. The reception area on weekday mornings is full of life; people entering for classes, children leaving for school, adults leaving for the day, people coming in for appointments or volunteering for the day.

Gone are the days of Lydia House being quiet and lonely, it is now full of life and hope.

Angela Casper
Overnight Supervisor

23 March 2010

Prayer Brings Change

I spent an hour with a broken father this week as he told me the story of his family. With mental health issues on both sides of the family and dysfunctional parental upbringing themselves, the father and mother are struggling to hold their family together.

This father has been praying for family healing and salvation. He is also prayerful for unity in church attendance and direction toward the right community help source.

As we talked this week, he tearfully admitted that he can now see the Lord is on the road to answering his prayers. It all started with his decision to move his family to Open Door Mission. In following his Family Goal Plan formed during Case Management, he feels his family has now been connected with all the community support they need.

We prayed and he left my office. He later came to tell me that his whole family will be attending church this Sunday in a sound Bible church! PRAISE GOD!!

Please join me in lifting this father, and his family, up to our Lord in prayer. It will be a long, difficult road but they have begun it together.

Kate Fischer LIMHP
Emergency Services Coordinator

Boxes of Hope

In April of 2008, Open Door Mission’s Timberlake Outreach Center was forced to suspend it’s ministry of food pantries to the community, due to a decline in donations. Even though it’s been almost two years, food pantries are still one of the top requests from clients.

In the last two months, thanks to a surplus in holiday food donations, we’ve been able to resume the pantry distributions. Word tends to spread quickly in the community when we have a supply of items to supplement the income for families in need. You should see the throngs of people who line up daily to receive these boxes of hope! It is our prayer that we would be able to continue this ministry permanently—but for now, we have a limited number of food boxes.

With summer approaching, many parents are wondering how they will be able to feed their children when school lets out. Perhaps you could help. Can you organize a food collection at church or work? One fun thing to do is have a friendly competition with a different department or Sunday school class to see who can collect the most food. If this is something you’d like to do, contact Maggie at 422-1111 ext 1554 for more information.

Darren Timberlake
Community Casemanager

19 March 2010

God's Plan

Before coming to Open Door Mission, I taught Jr. High for three years. Although I liked the staff, I wasn’t so fond of the students. (Some people just aren’t cut out to teach Jr. High—I’m one of them.) I know that God gives us challenges, but I refuse to believe that He wants us to be miserable. So I resigned my position, trusting God to place me at another school, where I hoped to be happier. I wanted to make a difference. Instead, God brought me to Open Door Mission.

Although it wasn’t where I planned to go, I know it’s where God did. Many times, my boss has said to me, “Micole, God sent you here for a reason.” Neither of us have figured out what that reason is, but I know she’s right.

I do miss teaching, but I have accepted that God has other things in mind for me – at least for now. I love working at Open Door Mission. I still miss my old coworkers, but the staff here is amazing. More than just friends, we are like family. Everyone has welcomed me with open arms, and truly cares how I’m doing. I’m greeted everyday with a smile, and when I don’t have a smile in return, they offer their prayers. They ask, “Have you taken it to the Lord?” I am grateful for the people I work with, and I am grateful to God for bringing me to Open Door Mission.

Micole Harms
Bilingual Case Manager

17 March 2010

Just what is a Communications Coordinator?

I am often asked “just what is a Communications Coordinator?” and even I have to stop and think of an answer. I feel it is my job to communicate the needs of the Open Door Mission and its clients to those that are able to help-churches, businesses, schools, and organizations. I worked with Emergency families for four years before moving to the Development Department so have been privileged to see both sides of the workings on at Open Door Mission.

So what do I do? I get to talk to people-and I do love to share about Open Door Mission. I call various groups and individuals to see if we can provide a speaker for them, so they can learn more about us and our available programs. I set up the details and make sure the speaker has everything they need to make their talk informative and interesting. Open Door Mission also provides staffed information booths for various events. In many cases, we are not only sharing about volunteer opportunities, but providing information about our services and programs to those that need help. I encourage participation and partnership in our special events such as Back-to-School Bash, Turkey'n'Fixin's, Christmas Bells and Project Santa. I set up drives, such as Hope Totes, Beat the Heat , Bible Day Camp and of course-FOOD!

I give tours of Open Door Mission’s campus and share how we give hope and life changing help to those needing a new way of living. I think the two best parts of my job are writing thank you notes and speaking. Every time I write a thank you note, I know Open Door Mission is being blessed by many compassionate and caring people. As for speaking, something I once dreaded doing, has become my greatest joy. I get to bring Open Door Mission directly to the people. Whether it’s a preschool class, senior center, rural church, social club or high school classroom, the message is the same…you can make a difference in the lives of others. I would love to help you do that. Please join with Open Door Mission to reach out and change your community, one life at a time.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

16 March 2010

Did you ever feel like a Lone Ranger all by yourself and nobody really gets what’s going on in your head? I think we all feel that way at times. Even Elijah, the great prophet of old, felt the same way. He Told God that he alone was left to serve him. God straightened out Elijah’s thinking by telling him that there were thousands who hadn’t bowed the knee to evil. The truth is, there are many who are experiencing those same feelings. The only one in the history of humankind who was really alone, was our Lord Jesus Christ, when he died on the cross. He said, “Father, why have you forsaken me”? At that time, He was totally alone, when He took our sins on Himself. That was indeed Good News!

We celebrate that marvelous day of redemption every Good Friday, and we will again this April 2nd. The 45th Annual Greater Omaha Leadership Prayer Breakfast will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Embassy Suites, La Vista Hotel & Conference Center. This is located at 12520 Westport Parkway next to Cabela’s in La Vista, NE 68128. We will share a great fellowship breakfast with hundreds of people. The speaker will be Mr. Wayne Huizenga, Jr., President of Huizenga Holdings Inc. Among other holdings, he has ownership of the Miami Dolphins and Dolphin Stadium. I hear you saying, “Oh yeah, I have so much in common with a guy like that—I’m sure that will help my feeling of isolation!

It just might—especially when we bring into focus the fact the God uses our individual paths to shape us the way we inevitably should be. I’ll be there to offer a prayer for the homeless and hurting. I hope to meet you there. For more information visit the Giving & Getting Involved section on our website.

Thomas G. Meradith
Senior Development Officer

15 March 2010

I have been privileged to speak at a variety of churches and to different age groups the past few weeks. There was a great diversity of religions, but what I have seen is great compassion and caring based on the love, forgiveness and salvation of Christ – diversity with a common goal and helping others in need and looking for hope.

Would you like to be a part of this caring community? Please contact me to see how you can provide socks, personal care items, food and many other items that will bless the homeless and near homeless. You can choose to make a difference in the lives of others. Please call Open Door Mission and let us know you want to make a difference.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

13 March 2010

I could tell you cool stories of how God is working each day in the Lydia House and how miracles are happening. However, there is one time that sticks, because it happened recently.

There is a participant that currently lives in the Lydia House. She is someone who graduated our program but has made her way back to us because of abuse where she was living. This woman has a very hard time taking care of herself because of low self-esteem. She also is a very distant person and tries to hide behind her pain by joking. I got an e-mail from a staff member that this participant was joking in an unhealthy way. So, being her case manager, I had to intercede and stop the behavior.

When I brought her into my office to try to coach her in healthy behaviors, she kept trying to get me off the subject by joking around. It was a desperate attempt to do everything she could to not talk about it. As she was getting more and more frustrated with me, I just said, “You are worth it. You are worth me fighting to help you build healthy relationships. You are worth it.” I saw tears start to roll down her cheeks. So, I kept repeating that she was worth it and why I was trying to help her. I realized that day that sometimes all our people need to know is that they are of value.

Alicia Riskowski
Lydia House Case Manager

12 March 2010

Change of Pace

As a Senior Development Officer at Open Door Mission I received a wonderful change of pace the last two weeks of February. Because of vacations, etc., I was requested to work with the Emergency Services in the Men’s Center. I served the 3:30 p.m. to midnight shift.

It was a joy to see the gratitude of the men that we serve. Their gratitude is expressed in actions as well as words. They are willing to pick up the chairs, move the tables, and sweep & mop the floors to transform the day room and cafeteria into chapel space for the evening. During the afternoon and evening whenever the various trash cans needed to be emptied and restrooms needed to be cleaned, there were men that volunteered to help out. Oftentimes when I started a chore, I would hear, “Hey, Pastor Scott, let me do that for you.” When it was time for medications to be given out the men receiving meds came into my office individually and told me about the ups and downs of their day. It was exciting to hear the updates on progress being made and positive changes being embraced in men’s lives. Then a gracious “thanks” was given to me as each man walked out the door.

Open Door Mission is all about changing lives and breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness for men, women, and children. I just want each and every partner in our ministry to know that the people we serve are very grateful for the bed we provide, the meals we serve, and the opportunities for new life we share. Your gifts and prayers really make a difference.

Scott Shreve
Senior Development Officer

11 March 2010

I find it amazing how often we are unable to see GOD’S overall plan. Last week a client, that we can call Mr. C., was extremely unruly and verbally combatant. Because of his behavior Mr. C was asked to leave the facility at which point he became even more hostile and attempted to attack a fellow client. Mr. C was escorted outside whereupon he began making threats and beating on the inner door window breaking the upper glass. 911 was called and Mr. C was arrested.

While shopping for groceries several days later, I turned a corner and found myself face to face with Mr. C. I was startled and did not know what to expect. To my delight, Mr. C extended his hand in a show of friendship and was apologetic for his behavior. Mr. C said he did not remember the incident and only knows what he was told at the police station. Mr. C went on to say how good Open Door Mission has been to him and how sorry he was about the whole situation.

Is not this where our LORD and SAVIOR wants to meet us? Not proud and righteous but remorseful with a repentant heart, recognizing that only through his grace can we be received. Mr. C and I took the time and the GOSPEL was delivered right there in the cookie aisle.

Jesse Powell
Veterans Coordinator

10 March 2010



Help people in your community, and your whole youth group could win a pizza party and tickets to see Casting Crowns, Tenth Avenue North and CALEB...for free!

LMG Concerts helps Christian musicians promote shows nationwide; they believe in giving back to a community, not just passing through it.

From now to April 3, area youth groups will collect non-perishable food items and/or articles of new or gently used clothing or toys from their friends, family, and neighbors for Open Door Mission.

On April 3, the youth groups will arrive at Open Door Mission with their collections for a count-in where the winning group will be announced.

The youth group that collects the most items per capita* will win a pre-concert party for up to 30 that includes pizza, beverages, autographed Casting Crowns CD, and early access for the best General Admission seats available to the concert on April 8th.

*Per Capita = Total Items Collected / participating youth group members.

This gives a youth group of 5 an equal chance with a youth group of 20.

To participate, contact Billy Rodgers - 360.953.4209 or LMG Concerts: 360.696.4558

08 March 2010

My grand-daughter Kaitlyn (Katie) is nine years old. While staying at grandma and grandpa’s house last week-end she asked me if she could email Candace Gregory. She said she had something to tell her. So, Katie hopped up on my lap and proceeded to write her a note on my computer. I’m telling you, she can type faster than I can – but that’s another story. The thing that amazes me is that she, like most other kids her age, just GET IT. They understand that they don’t have to change the world with big, grandiose ideas - just do the simple things they all can do, and believe that God will make it big. May we adults think like a nine year old?

Hi, Candace I'm Kaitlyn I wrote a slogan for you guys it's GIVE A DOLLAR SAVE A LIFE. I also am having my school bring in old or too small clothes for Lydia House. I'm asking people to give a donation of at least $1.00. The money can go to or for anything you guys would like. The idea came from a inspiring 7 year old in a book I had happened to read. She also wrote a slogan I can't exactly remember it. It's amazing with what you guys do for others at Open Door Mission. My school is DC West in Douglas County. Any money I happen to get I will be sending to you guys.

This is another thing I did. It's a story I wrote. Dear Open Door Mission,

I'm Kaitlyn I heard about the New Lydia House. I wanted to help earn a good amount of money to help out with it.

You guys will be able to get more things if needed and, if not go to lunch and relax for once or at least once I mean you guys are always on you're feet.

Thomas G. Meradith
Senior Development Officer

06 March 2010

Soon after we had enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal served by volunteers, I sat down to enjoy the “company of strangers”. One of the men who had been staying with us for quite awhile sat down next to me. “Mr. Johansson, how are you doing this evening?” He turned to me…“Nobody’s ever called me that before.” I knew that was his name so I was baffled by his remark. Mr. Johansson was part of the “street community” …unshowered, unshaven, dirty clothes, but well fed on this day. Our conversation was short.

I hadn’t given this exchange a second thought until one night in January. In the lobby, I saw Mr. Johansson, with another man’s arm draped over his shoulders. This man was covered in snow, no hat nor gloves, obviously under the influence and barely coherent. “Mr. Vincent needs OUR help”.

Two months earlier, I had shown Steven Johansson a tiny bit of respect. He showed me so much more. It wasn’t “this guy” or “this bum” …it was “Mr. Vincent needs OUR help”.

I haven’t seen Steven for some time now and pray that God is keeping a watchful eye over him. What he unwittingly reminded me was that we are all God’s children, regardless of the role we play in His garden. Amongst all His thorns, a rose bloomed in Mr. Johansson…a rose that I’ll not soon forget…Amen and Amen.

Mike King
Journey to Work Coordinator

These names are fictitious, the story is real.

05 March 2010

Whew, it has been just over a month that women and families have been living at our new Lydia House building. I wish I was an author to be able to describe how beautiful our new space is. The beauty is not just in the tile floors, the dark wood cabinetry, or the angle of the entry way walls. The beauty is in the knowing how this space effects lives. The great love, respect, and care that we have always shared with the children, women, and families that we serve is now reflected by our surroundings.

My new role as Compliance Director is to - as speedily as possible - move residents in. Since we offer longer stays I get the rewarding job of letting people know they can come live with us for an extended time as they work on their goal of self-sufficiency. I can literally see a mom’s shoulders relax and a face soften when she knows the basic necessity of safe housing has been met. It is overwhelming at times when I move a family or women into their unit as they stand in their space and weep. They tell me I can not fully understand what it means ~ I agree.

I am overjoyed when I see them, days later, in the hallways and they tell me all about their settling in, or I walk by and see a family cooking a meal, or hear kids laughing in their room, or see a women quietly reading curled up in a comfy chair, for I know where they were just a few days ago and these little things were not possible. I also know that this is just the beginning, they will be working with a Christian body of staff that will not only offer services to help them achieve their immediate goals but will offer life-changing programs based on a foundation of a personal relationship with Jesus-Christ!

What a difference this place makes – Beautiful!

Thank you all for making it possible,
Ronda Nelson
Compliance Director

04 March 2010

Friends of the Friendless - March Update

Late Tuesday morning, The Friends of the Friendless met in the chapel of Garland Thompson Men's Center for their monthly luncheon and meeting. Approximately fifty ladies and gentlemen shared a buffet lunch and friendly conversation

They listened to the story of Open Door Mission's homeless guests enjoying a birthday party given in honor of all February birthdays. Imagine having a birthday but not having the loved ones to celebrate with you. Imagine never having had a birthday party given in your honor. Some Friends of the Friendless members wanted to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone staying at Open Door Mission.

In the month of February, they hosted a party complete with cakes, candles, ice cream, root beer floats, goodie bags, and singing of "Happy Birthday". If it was your birthday, your name was on the cake. What a special treat for people who are glad just to have a roof over their heads. There'll be another party in March, and April, and May...so forth Friends of the Friendless care about the guests at Open Door Mission and they love finding creative ways to show that.

Our Friends stayed for a couple of hours after lunch to help at the Timberlake Outreach Center. They made sack lunches for our guests and wrapped silverware for the 1,500 meals that get served each day at Open Door Mission.

The meeting ended, but the caring didn't. They'll be back next month for "Spa Day". This is when the guests at Open Door Mission will be pampered with massages, manicures, haircuts and more - compliments of the caring Friends of the Friendless.

Judy Ward
Friends of the Friendless Prayer Chairman

03 March 2010

Hi, my name is Micole and I work at the Timberlake Outreach Center. I had lunch with one of the men here. His name is Joe and he was at the Mission a year ago. He wanted me to know he is impressed with many of the changes he’s seen. He did not know about the new Lydia House at all—construction had not begun! One of the things he’s observed is how staff is able to get so much more involved with their clients—attitudes have changed and there is such a sense of pride among the men staying here. He is now on a special diet and the kitchen staff is bending over backward to help him.

He is really enjoying his new roommates and notices a new cooperation and camaraderie. He really appreciates Open Door Mission helping him find resources he will need to get back out on his own. I was overjoyed to hear Joe say that we ALL are doing such a good job and he is really enjoying his experience.

Micole Harms
Bilingual Case Manager

02 March 2010

Silent Auction Items Needed

Nothing thrills my heart more than to see a life once broken in tragedy now celebrating in triumph! Homelessness and poverty result in degradation and devastation. Open Door Mission, however, continues to keep the “door open” for hungry and homeless men, women and children. Our services empower others toward the restoration of dignity, self-respect and purposeful living.

That is why I am asking you to partner with us for our Seventh Annual Auction Dinner, HUNGRY FOR FOOD, HUNGRY FOR NEW LIFE, to be held on Tuesday, May 4, 2010.

With your tax-deductible contribution to the Auction Dinner, you will receive public acknowledgement as an Auction Partner and two complimentary event tickets.

A variety of items such as business goods and services, gift certificates, get-a-way vacation packages, antiques and collectibles, and more are perfect ideas for the silent auction. There is no end to the possibilities – and that’s where we need YOUR help.

Click here to donate an item. May I count on you to help us make the Seventh Annual Auction Dinner our best yet?

JoAnn Dodd
Public Relations Coordinator