30 March 2011

Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? It’s now the end of March, which means we are three months into 2011. Have you been fulfilling that resolution or did it fizzle out after about 2 weeks or so? Well one of my clients’ daughters made a resolution for herself. Here is her resolution:

It’s the New Year, and He is making all things new. This year we see God in the big picture and in details. This year we may love better and bigger. This year may we be transformed by the power of God. A transformation from our strength to His, from broken to beautiful, from a transformation that starts in the heart, then seeps outward into the world….a world He loves very much and a transformation that He desire for us. This year may we be wide open to the transforming hand of the Father. It won’t be quick, it won’t be easy, but there is a really good chance you are becoming something extraordinarily….Beautiful.

-Tiffany Maher—daughter of Amy Chapman

May we all take on this resolution and see where God takes us this year!

28 March 2011

Finding God’s Providence in Chemotherapy!

Thursday at my fourth round of chemotherapy at UN-Medical Center I met Mike, my chemo-mate for the day. Since Mike was a “captive” audience I started to tell him about Open Door Mission. To my surprise he said he knew all about Open Door Mission because he had stayed there for 2 months at the first of the year. You see, because of Mike’s cancer he had lost his job and health insurance, and then his home. Open Door Mission was there for him when he needed a place to stay and find hope. He had nothing but praise for the staff at the Garland Thompson Men's Center. They made special accommodations for his special health needs as he went through treatment prior to surgery. Mike said the important thing was the staff prayed with him every day-that gave him hope. He credits prayer for shrinking his tumor enough that the doctors could do surgery and then start his chemotherapy-where I was blessed to meet him. Every day the Open Door Mission and Garland Thompson Men's Center provide hope as well as a safe place to stay. You can be a part in making a difference in the lives of others-I know Mike is glad someone cared enough. Please support Open Door Mission as they work in your community to help others change their lives and find hope and new life. Come take a tour and see how you can be blessed and bless others. Maggie Cope

25 March 2011

Never Underestimate Your Ability to Make a Difference

Growing up, I was always taught that it is better to give than to receive. When I say taught- I mean by example, not mere words. My parents always gave back…in times of abundance and times of barely enough we always gave. In fact, I can remember several times when my older brother and I would give to someone in need we’d encounter as children …without questioning or second guessing ourselves. It is a simple philosophy engrained in us by our parents.

I’m happy to say it’s not one that has faded over time either. In fact, even now as local business owners my family is giving back. Visit Liberty Tax Service at Westwood Plaza near 120 and W. Center Rd. to see for yourself. For every tax return they prepare, they will personally donate a complete meal to Open Door Mission to help serve the hungry and homeless of the Heartland. You can also stop by their office to drop off your Hope Tote Items as you embark on Spring Cleaning this season.

You see, you can never underestimate your ability to make a difference. My parents aren’t jack-of-all-trades but they are making a difference in a way they know how. So I ask how can you make a difference in the life of another? Can you spare $1.92 to serve a hot, nutritious meal…or spend 2 hours a month volunteering on our campus? The possibilities are endless- whether you read to a child, sort clothing at the Timberlake Outreach Center, prepare sack lunches – I can go on and on.

God’s Word says, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45. I know you have it in you. It is a philosophy engrained in us all by our Heavenly Father.

Looking forward to seeing you make a difference,
Victoria Gaskin, Executive Assistant

23 March 2011

Rocking for Jesus

The adage, “take care of the little things and the big will take care of themselves,” is used a lot in sports. Coaches work to get their players to have their game’s techniques so ingrained in them that they do not have to think about them when they are learning a play. They simply happen because they are part of them. Then the “little things” involved in a play are learned so that they happen without thinking. Success is almost guaranteed, if you execute the each detail of a play correctly. Oh, if life were this simple. It is not, yet the adage is useful. Let me give you an example.

I was attending graduate school at the University of Nebraska and my wife was working outside of our home so I was the at home parent. When we first moved back to the area we met a family in our church that had a couple of boys our youngest son’s age and I was invited to a play group. I was the only dad and a number of years older than most of the ladies present. They accepted me and what appears to be a life long friendship between Peter, Ben, and Jeff was started.

Before the boys were in school I took them many places. I did this to help out the moms as well as helping myself by giving my son, Peter, playmates other than me. The kids loved the adventures and fun I created for them. The boys are in school and now I am working here at Open Door Mission. One may think that the relationship would have waned and in some way it has—but in others it is stronger than ever.

After church one Sunday to my surprise some other kids that I know showed up after they attended their church. I told them that I saw Jeff down the hall. A couple of moments later they all return and Jeff calls out “Mr. Frazee” and then with great enthusiasm and volume tells me the story of how he and Clara heard an episode of Adventures in Odyssey where the kids collected money for a worthy cause and they wanted to do the same so they too organized a rock-a-thon to raise money for Open Door Mission.

Jeff, a sixth grader, thought of the Open Door Mission because he knew I worked here, he volunteers here, and most importantly has a generous and loving heart that his parents are working hard to cultivate with their lives as examples, Bible teaching, and providing opportunities to extend compassion and empathy. Jeff and Clara organized; recruited Ben, Isaac, Michaela, Jon, and Kyle; got all the parents on board; asked Calvary Christian Church and Wellspring Lutheran Church’s Sunday school classes for support; and Jeff got Dominos in Bellevue to supply pizza for the event.

They sat and rocked for twelve hours-pretty amazing (especially for the exuberant Jeff) and knitted hats, mittens, and a scarf. They made thank you posters for all the classes that donated and one fore me. They raised $1071! All of these families are focused on the little things of life. These kids are incorporating compassion and empathy into their being so they do not have to think about being that way—they simply are. They all already are accomplishing big things. Imagine the big things God will work threw you as you are focused on the little.

Steven Frazee
Senior Development Officer
Open Door Mission

22 March 2011

UNO still going strong - Third Day of Seven Day of Service - Part one

Today over 30 students from UNO will be volunteering on the Open Door Mission Campus as part of UNO's 7 Days of Service. Students will be making pantries, helping sort clothing. organizing the Timberlake Outreach Center, and other various projects on our Campus.

Open Door Mission would be unable to provide services to over 500 men, women and children each day without the help of caring individuals in the Heartland. "You would not believe that amount of work that is accomplished from the assistance of volunteers. When those we serve see other people from the community at Open Door Mission they know someone cares." says Candace Gregory, President/CEO.

Please check back tomorrow and read why some of the students wanted to come volunteer at Open Door Mission.

17 March 2011

God's Wonderful Grace

I am currently enrolled as a student in what I think is a most wonderful curriculum, The Urban Ministry Institute. I chose to share my class experience, (GOD’S WONDERFUL GRACE) with the guys living in the homeless shelter during evening chapel. There were several reasons as to why I made this decision.

First: The large majority of my chosen audience was guys who have momentary given up life’s struggle. Men whom for various reasons have decided to fight no longer, succumbing to the seductive lure of drugs, alcohol and guilt. Guys who have been deceived by the Enemy into believing there is no hope.

Second: I also at one time was a client in the same homeless shelter. I knew these men personally, sharing food, crimes and drugs. I too at one time was deceived by the Enemy into believing the lie of hopelessness.

I stood before the men and boldly declared the salvation of the Gospel and it’s saving grace. Before them I boldly preached of how I am compelled to share with the world how Yahweh has had compassion on me and how he has broken the death grip of Satan. And even more important, they too through faith and belief in our LORD and SAVIOR can become heirs to the kingdom. I shared of GOD’S great mercy and how he is pleading with every sinner to come to him and be forgiven. I read from Isaiah 1.18 where the LORD extends this invitation to the sinner:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as
Snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool
This is the day of the LORD and salvation is here: WHOMEVER SHALT CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.(Romans 10.13).

I was well received by my peers and I felt like a servant of GOD preaching salvation to the poor and downtrodden. Many came to me after chapel and expressed how happy they were for me. I prayed with them that they might understand that this grace is not just for me but that it is free to all believers willing to confess in the LORD CHRIST.

Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the LORD hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

Mark 5:12

Jesse A. Powell Jr.

Garland Thompson Men's Center

15 March 2011

Job Openings at Open Door Mission

It’s so exciting to see how people are called to the mission and to hear there stories, it’s not just a job it’s a ministry. Each day Open Door Mission is providing 400 men, women, and children with safe shelter beds, serves more than, 1,700 hot, nutritious meals, and provides preventive measures to more than 250 families living in poverty. We have job opening at the Lydia House, Timberlake Outreach Center, Maintenance and a Data entry Specialist; check out our positions on our web page at www.opendoormission.org. You never know, maybe you’ll be blogging about your job soon.

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director
Open Door Mission

12 March 2011

Thank you Omaha Beef

Tonight, the Omaha Beef opened their season against the Lacrosse Spartans. It was "Can Opener" night. Anyone who brought cans of food to help boost the food pantries at the Open Door Mission, received a voucher for $5 off admission.

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the Open Door Mission by bring cans of food. Each day Open Door Mission is serving more than 1,700 hot nutritious meals to many hungry and homeless men, women, and children and you made a difference right here, right now in your community.

10 March 2011

In Jesus there is Hope

I would like to share with you all the scripture reference used in my last sermon at the Garland Thompson Men's Center, I hope as you read it the Holy Spirit persuades your heart that there is hope!

Job 11 (New International Version)

13 “Yet if you devote your heart to him (God) and stretch out your hands to him (God), 14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, 15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. 16 You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. 17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. 18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. 20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp.”

Jesus is the only hope for your life and mine.

08 March 2011

From the Desk of Candace Gregory, President/CEO

Dear Open Door Mission Friend,

Karen Applegate, Open Door Mission's Director of Development served the hungry and homeless for more than 23 years. Many of you have been praying for Karen over the last few years as she battled cancer. At 3:30 a.m. on Saturday March 5, 2011, Karen went home to be with Jesus. She got to hear those covetted words... well done good and faithful servant. Please be in prayer for Karen's family.

Please join us...

Visitation ....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
6 p.m. to 8 p.m
Cutler O'Neill Funeral Home
545 Willow Ave in Council Bluffs, IA

Celebration of Life Service...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
10:30 a.m.
First Christian Church
20794 Highway 92 in Council Bluffs, IA


Candace L. Gregory

07 March 2011

29/11 Program is a blessing to many

There are many things I love about my job, one of them is working with our 29/11 clients in the community. When our clients become part of the 2911 Program they are in a survival mode, living from pay check to pay check, behind on current bills and many are fearful they might become homeless within the next month or two if they don’t get some help. I asked Vicki one of our 29/11 clients if she would share her story with you and here is what she wrote:

My name is Vickie and I have a Son named Charlie who is eight years old. About three years ago, I came to the Timberlake Outreach Center because I needed assistance with food and clothing. I was working full time evenings, every weekend and holiday just to make ends meet. I didn’t have any goals. I was in survival mode.

After going to Timberlake a couple of times and attending their worship service, I met with a staff member who talked to me about Christ and prayed for me. Soon after that, I was invited into the 2911 Program.

I began a one on one ministry with Judy Collins, who taught me about the love Christ has for me and that God does have a plan for me. I recently read the survey I completed when joining the 2911 Program and did not recognize that person. At that time, I was very unhappy with almost everything in my life and didn’t have a lot of hope that things would change for me. I felt lost and confused spiritually.

Since then I have come full circle. I am more peaceful and have no doubts that God will sustain me. I’ve learned to set goals and attended classes on nutrition and budgeting. I am now debt free, work one daytime job, which allows me to be with my son and am starting my second year in college and plan on becoming a paralegal and donating some of my time to help people like myself who need help filing forms and navigating the legal system.

I joined Flatland Church, which I absolutely love, and like volunteering to help with our neighborhood ministry programs, attend Bible study classes and coordinate transportation for our congregation. I believe God’s plan for me three years ago was to find the 2911 Program. I am truly grateful for that and look forward to what else He has in store for me.

At the present time we have over one hundred families on our 29/11 Program and through God’s love, His life changing power, your support through gifts and donations we are able to help families like Vicki’s to have a better life and hope for the future.

Joyfully serving Jesus,
Judy Collins, Timberlake Outreach Center / 2911 Success Net Director

03 March 2011

Cheerful Giver

Here is a story of a cheerful giver. I sat next to him at an Open Door Mission luncheon. He told me that he and his wife originally got connected with Open Door Mission by donating clothes, household items, and furniture. He said, “Sometimes we just had to acknowledge we hadn’t worn this shirt or that dress in the longest time, items almost good as new. But better given to Open Door Mission where folks will use them instead decorating our closet.” He said the same was true for household items and some furniture collecting dusk in the basement.

After dropping donations off over the years they learned more about Open Door Mission and decided to start donating money. He said, “We see it as an investment in changing lives.”

But the biggest smile on his face came when he said, “Now I have time to volunteer! I have always wanted to volunteer but my business and family life schedule have been too hectic. Now I am retired and I plan on coming down at least once a week to help out.” He said this with the enthusiasm of a school child anticipating recess.

He is certainly a JOYFUL GIVER! What a joy to be in his presence. When I left, after the luncheon, he was with other volunteers making sandwiches for the men and women that come to Open Door Mission with hunger.

Each partner of Open Door Mission is such a blessing! Please visit our web-site to find out how you can be a blessing as well.

Scott P. Shreve
Senior Development Officer

01 March 2011

Special Times for men, women, and children at the Lydia House

Wow what a busy few weeks we have had here at the Lydia House. We have been so blessed this month with special events for our men, women and children.

On Saturday Feb 19th we had a women’s retreat here at the Lydia House for all of our Life Changing Program Members. Set Me Free Ministries filled the day with a powerful Christ filled message, music, and a catered lunch. Many of our women spent the day in tears and self reflection over the message that this group brought to the ladies. Our women were not only touched by the quality of what was being offered but by the individual testimonies of Set Me Free Ministries members that it has made a lasting impact on their future.

We also had the opportunity to have an artist from St. Louis named Bert Vander Mark who has a ministry called Visual Parables come to the mission for a 2 day very special art experience for all of our Lydia House Residents. Bert presented the gospel and other spiritual messages before the clients were ask to set what they heard or what the spirit was leading them to express through art by paining, coloring or drawing. Tara Rye partnered with the Open Door Mission & Visual Parables to help provide volunteers to assist our guests with their art work and provide uplifting music while we were painting. We made a huge fun mess and found that most of our children were expressing themselves by actually wearing their art!

We also had the opportunity to go the Circus on Friday! Can you believe that most of our guest here at the mission have never been to the circus. Everyone who went had nothing but wonderful memories and great stories to tell about their first experience under the big top.