30 July 2011

Everything I need to know I learned in the Learning Center

Most people would say that as the Learning Center Director I help our clients improve their academic skills. But I know they are learning so much more. I am teaching them skills that they can use in other aspects of their life.

  • When to ask for help: Sometimes the material is tough. Which is frustrating, since I am teaching skills we all were supposed to learn in elementary school. Asking for help requires humility and admitting that we cannot make it alone.
  • When to walk away: Sometimes, because the material is tough, my students get frustrated. It is at these times they need to take a break and try again later.
  • When to keep trying: Even when things get tough, even after taking a break, it is important to not give up. My students can accomplish whatever they set their mind to.
  • Attitude: “I think I can” leads to “I can” and “I did”. This is true for learning to multiply fractions and maintaining sobriety.
  • Patience: Sometimes the computers are slow or not working. Getting mad and throwing a fit won’t make them faster or fix them. Just wait it out.
  • Taking turns: I have 12 computers for 35 students, and 100 other residents. Sometimes you can’t spend as much time checking email, or you may have to wait a few minutes to get started.
  • Setting goals: Oftentimes, my students are overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be completed. I help them break their assignments into smaller bits and set goals of when they will accomplish them.
  • Time management: “I don’t have time to go to the Learning Center!” Yes, you do. If you have time to read your email, chat with your friends, take a walk, or take a nap, you have time to come to the Learning Center.
  • Priorities: Along with time management, my students must decide what is important. A smoke break could be better spent working in the Learning Center for 15 minutes.
  • Following through: Anyone can set a goal. It requires action to complete the goal.
  • Pride: My students are making great progress, and I praise them every chance I get. My students are changing from addicts to smart, capable Children of God. They are growing everyday, and this is something to be proud of.

Micole Harms
Learning Center Director

28 July 2011

Come for a tour of Open Door Mission

Over the last 6 years the IT infrastructure and the campus have grown by leaps and bounds. On the IT side, much innovation and financial stewardship has been realized through a long term relationship with an outside contractor named Aaron. His diligence and unique perspective allowed Open Door Mission to be progressive and good stewards of the resources we received. Thank You Aaron for all of your work behind the scenes.

On the campus side, if you have not been down for a tour in the last year, you need to come down to fully appreciate the rich blessings that have been poured over the mission. We have been given a grand opportunity to exercise our faith, with looming threats of flood and financial difficulties, but through it all, God continues to provide abundantly for our needs and protect us. I want to thank our faithful donors for their continued support of the mission as well as to ask all of followers to continue to keep the new men’s center in your prayers as there are many hurdles in the way of successful completion.


Jason Green

IT Manager, Open Door Mission

27 July 2011

Open Door Mission Provides Hope for the Hopeless

On my journey to the office I drive on a highway with flood waters on both sides. As I am passing those flood waters I just can’t help but wonder how this farm land and homes can ever be again.

Just as our people who come to the Open Door Mission with little hope God of love and power, hold us up when life hits us hard and give us courage to find a new life in the face of our loss. That is what the Open Door Mission does for the many people who walk through our doors.

Betz Woodhull

26 July 2011

That Spiritual Rock 1 Corinthians 10:4

I Corinthians 10:4 And they all drank the same supernaturally given drink. For they drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them – produced by the sole power of God Him-self without natural instrumentality – and the Rock was Christ. (Ex. 17:6; Num. 20:11)

That rock are you following today? Many people seem to be following so many different beliefs, but not ever finding any true peace in what they think will enlighten their lives. Which is truly sad because there is such a simple and rewarding way that is offer and it’s totally free? That is the Spiritual Rock one who will always be available to our every cried, and will only give us the True and living word that will give us strength when we are weak and down. A rock is something that is truly hard to damage, it is not easily broken, and Our Father is that rock so let’s not forget that he is our only hope and let’s spread the love too others about this Great and Awesome Rock.

Debra A. Scott

Lydia House

25 July 2011

There is Hope for the homeless

When singing along with the song “There is Hope for the Hopeless” ,performed by Sierra, my words frequently change to “There is hope for the homeless”. Here at Open Door Mission we place a huge emphasis on bringing hope to the hungry and homeless we serve each day. Our summer theme is entitled “Summer of Hope”; we frequently hear from our leadership that “hope” begins with a meal. So often society can look at a person and say “there is no hope”, but that is so not the case with our God! Since working here at Open Door Mission I have seen firsthand how hope can be restored in the lives of those we serve. Spiritual growth takes place, physical addictions are conquered, family relationships are restored, educational progress is achieved, employment is obtained, independent living is found! There IS hope for the homeless!!

A few days ago I had the wonderful opportunity of tagging along as staff showed three of our Lydia House ladies a 3-bedrom apartment they would be sharing at our new Permanent Supportive Housing facility. These three single ladies have been at the Lydia House for almost a year and all came to us feeling hopeless about their circumstances. On this day when they saw their brand new apartment they were overjoyed, and so was I! One kept mentioning how she loved the “new” smell of the building; another opened every closet and marveled at the storage space they would have. The two “younger” ladies decided they would give the master bedroom to the third roommate because she was the “oldest”. They chatted about how they would arrange their kitchen table and chairs, and just marveled at the size of their new kitchen. What a blessing it was to stand back and listen to their interactions, and be reminded once again that there IS hope for the homeless. When each of us do our part to meet the needs of the hungry and homeless, we see over and over again how God truly does make all things work together for good.

Celeste Norman

21 July 2011

Does it make you a king to have more and more?

15 “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. 16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 22 15-16

It is a normal behavior to look after our personal needs before the needs of others. That is why we spend years finding different ways to increase our wealth. Selfishness is part of the fallen nature within us that rejects God’s word and commands. It is only when God regenerates our hearts when we understand the depth of being compassionate for others.

At the Timberlake Outreach Center every day Volunteers and Staff defend the cause of the poor and needy. It is a joy to see the needy find relief as they receive food pantries, clothing, household items, furniture and appliances for their homes.

Every morning before I begin my day a simple prayer comes to my mind:

LORD help me to do what is right and just, help me have a heart of a servant.


Jonathan Lopez


Timberlake Outreach Center

20 July 2011

Beat the Heat

This week the temperatures have been extreme. In fact for the last 5 days the Open Door Mission have been heading to the streets to do water patrol.

We take 8 to 10 cases of cold bottles of water and head out to places where the homeless and near homeless are so give them a little bit of relief, and now Open Door Mission NEEDS your HELP!

Open Door Mission is in need of bottles of water and sunscreen for the homeless and fans for the near homeless.

You can bring your donation directly to the Open Door Mission's receiving area located at the back of the Timberlake Outreach Center located at 2107 E Locust St. They are opened from 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM, Monday - Friday and from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM on Saturdays.

18 July 2011

Thank you Donors

I work behind the scenes in the Development Department at Open Door Mission. I hear stories of lives being changed which is a result of our donors’ faithful support.

I want to reinforce how important YOU are to Open Door Mission by helping provide nutritious meal, safe shelter and life-changing programs thorough your generosity. I, also, have the privilege of visiting with donors, like you, with concerns and/or their experiences while on campus. Thank you again and again.


15 July 2011

"I know the Plans I have for You"

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

At the Timberlake Outreach Center many come thru the doors with emergency situations and with your help, the love of Jesus is shown through providing basic physical needs.

I have had the honor of serving God’s people thru an awesome ministry called 29:11 SuccessNet. The main focus of this program is to help break the cycle of poverty with a simple message of hope thru Jesus Christ.

With your donations, we are given an opportunity to lead many to Christ; and many accept that God does have plans to prosper them! We get to see miracles everyday with many who made a choice to fight poverty. God gave them a gift of hope and courage to go back to school no matter what the circumstances.

Old mindsets are being renewed with the word of God and together we begin a new journey to success. Opportunities through life skill classes and case management will help individuals create a spending plan, reduce debt and save for the future. 2911 SuccessNet is a program designed to prevent homelessness before it happens breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

Mandy Rios
29:11 Case Manager
Timberlake Outreach Center

13 July 2011

Out of the rubble…

This last weekend I was able to drive by the area where the Garland Thompson Men’s Center building was standing and now it is just a pile of rubble. This started me thinking back to when my life was in rubble. I was just three weeks out of surgery, my husband had just been sent to jail, and I was homeless with two children to care for. My children and I showed up at the men’s center, it was known then as the Open Door Mission, tired and broken. The wonderful staff nurtured and helped us rebuild our shattered lives. We became graduates of the New Life Program, found a place to live and I was even blessed with becoming an employee of the Open Door Mission.

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of our donors, I have witnessed the Open Door Mission rebuild and grow so they can continue to help those with broken lives. They have the new Lydia House for ladies and families. The Permanent Supportive Housing is now open to help out with low income housing. This building opened up just in time for me and my family. Due to the rising rental prices my son and I were forced to move to a motel room I could see our lives were starting to crumble. I found out that I qualify to live in one of these low income apartments and we have moved in, I will now be able to start saving money so that I can continue to rebuild my life.

Maybe around the same time that I am planning on moving into a new home, the homeless and broken men that come to the Open Door Mission will have a new building to move into so they can get the help they need to rebuild their lives.

Angela Casper
Development Associate/ Receptionist

12 July 2011

Making A Difference - Easy as ABC

Jack and Henry are young men with a heart for those in need. This July they invited guests to partake in some ice cream sundaes-the only requirement was they had to bring either new clothing for Back to School Bash or personal care products for Lydia House. They have a lot of friends that responded to the boys’ requests and brought in new clothes for the children for Back to School Bash and personal care products for others. Open Door Mission appreciates the compassion and efforts of these young men to make a difference in the lives of others.

Thank you for partnering with Open Door Mission to Change Lives.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

11 July 2011

Fill the Pantry

Did you know that worldwide 9 million people die because of malnutrition and hunger? Did you know that 5 million of them are children? Did you know that over 31 million American children qualify for free lunch and breakfast at school? While there are some free lunch programs during the summer months, over 17 million children will go hungry this summer. Some of those children are right here in the metro area. You can help Open Door Mission provide nutritious meals to make a difference in these children’s lives.

Through the Timberlake Outreach Center Open Door Mission provides sack lunches and pantries for families struggling to put food on the table. We need your help to provide nutritious meals and pantries for the homeless and near homeless, including the children. Please consider doing a “Fill the Pantry” food drive at your church, workplace or through an organization you belong to. We need “industrial “size cans and boxes, as well as regular size cans and boxes, of non-perishable food.

It is so easy to make a difference in someone’s life, a child’s life, by the simple decision to add an extra can or box of food to your grocery cart for Open Door Mission. Maybe you can even do a grocery bag of food or even a grocery cart. Remember one can or box of food from everyone can “Fill the Pantry”. Please help Open Door Mission “Fill the Pantry” so we can help “Fill the Pantry” for those in need. No child should go hungry.

Call me to set up a Fill the Pantry food drive.
Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

08 July 2011

Friends in High Places

It is nice to have rich neighbors. Open Door Mission property is nestled in between the airport, a jail, and the immigration building. These organizations have the financial resources to build up their property in an effort to hold back the flood waters. This allows ODM to stay open. We can continue to be a spiritual oasis to those who feel dried-up in the desert of life. We can provide spiritual and physical relief to life's weary travelers.

Please join us in asking God to hold back the waters in this time of natural disaster. But should God so choose to allow the waters to break through . . . we shall echo the words of Job and say, "Yet shall I trust Him, for He is worthy of our worship, praise, and love."

Trevor Bittner
Men's Center Support Worker

07 July 2011

Open Door Mission Makes History

I have been at Open Door Mission since 2000. When I first came to the mission as an intern I really did not belive that I would be here in the Midwest long term. 11 years later and I am still here. People ask me all the time when they hear that I am from Eastern Canada, why do you live here and not back on the East Coast.

It is simple... God called me to come and minster to the poor and needy. He says in Matthew 25
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me"

This is what the Open Door Mission does everyday. The building that came down today has seen so many men, women, and children's lives changed. It is very exciting to see what God is doing and how HE is using the Open Door Mission to change lives.

The new Garland Thompson Men's Center will be over 60,000 square feet of living space for single men. I can not wait to see what God has insotre for single men that come to the Open Door Mission for help.

Thank you for being apart of this great ministry to the hungry and homeless men, women, and children in the Heartland.

James Cummings
Public Relations Coordinator

06 July 2011

Lives are being Changed!

I have been working with the families at the mission for 14 yrs. It is heartbreaking to hear their stories, it is comforting to know they have found shelter at the Lydia House. It’s frustrating watching them look for work and save money. Not everyone wants to rent to a person coming from a homeless shelter, that too can be wearisome. However, this week, not one, not two but three of my families have found work and homes to live in. A single dad with two teenagers has been with us for a year. A single mom that just got her children back as been with us 9 mo. and a single mom with a pre-teen son has been with us 14 months. All these families came fearful and hopeless. Through the programs at the Lydia House, they leave refreshed in spirit, revitalized in faith and renewed hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to work at the Lydia House and watch God work in miraculous ways, daily!

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Assistant Director of Lydia House

05 July 2011

Friends of the Friendless

Today is the monthly meeting of the Friends of the Friendless of Open Door Mission. I won't be attending today because I'm at home sick, but I can pretty much tell you how things will go. I've been attending Friends of the Friendless for almost three years and I know what I'll miss. There will be a wonderful (and free!) lunch served now at the beautiful new Lydia House. There will be sweet fellowship among the enthusiastic volunteers who came to catch up on what's going on at Open Door Mission and see some sneak peeks at what's around the corner; there's always plenty happening! Then they'll give several hours of their time to move the work of Open Door Mission forward as it serves thousands of needy and homeless each week.

The part I'll miss most though are the stories of people whose lives have been touched and forever changed by the work of Open Door Mission. Those people will be at the luncheon, in person, to tell their stories. Stories I've been hearing around the Mission lately have to do with our brand new Permanent Supportive Housing. One lady I know has been living in a motel with her son for quite some time. Not any more though. Now she's living in a 2 bedroom apartment where she can cook her own meals and do laundry in her own place. What a joy! I'm also remembering a gray-haired gentleman who came to the office to pay rent for his new apartment in PSH. He has been living at the Mission for awhile and his mile-wide smile said it all.

Well, that's some of what I'll be missing today; that's the bad news. But the good news is I'll be back at Friends of the Friendless next month on the first Tuesday to be a part of the exciting, life-changing work of Open Door Mission. For more information on the Friends of the Friendless please click here.

Judy Ward

02 July 2011

Case Management

Case management is an significant service we provide our men. For one man, named Dennis, who has been at the mission for over six years, aimless and mentally unable to take care of himself.

Through the years and various case managers, Dennis slowly developed a routine, but was going to be totally dependent upon the mission. Over the years, going from one case manager to another, we were trying to find some long term option for Dennis. Finally, in our mega case management meeting, the question was raised, “How old was Dennis?” He turns 65 this year. In a matter of weeks we were able to get him on Social Security, so he would have the resources to have long term care.

Life is hard, and the consequences of our actions often magnify the difficulties of this life. If we keep on asking, and keep on seeking, and keep on knocking, Jesus promise that we would receive – but not necessarily on our timetable.

John Lindsey,

01 July 2011

The Open Door Mission’s Permanent Supportive Housing

Praises be the Lord God Almighty for the things he has done and is doing. I’m excited to be part of this great plan. I was looking and listening to the excitement in the voices and actions of those that have moved into the new Permanent Supportive Housing building and to see the joy on their faces. I realized that this is the first time most of them have had their own private apartment in years. WOW!! What a Mighty God!! To go from homelessness to a brand new apartment is a miracle in itself. I was giving a tour of the building and one of the men stopped and said “you can show my apartment” and he said it with pride and confidence that he has a special place to call his own.

I’m so privileged to be part of this chapter in the lives of so many.

Permanent Supportive Housing Director
Jeannette Blackstone