24 October 2011

Graduation is upon us!

Open Door Mission gets to celebrate a very special day for us. Nine families and individuals that are graduating from Open Door Mission's New Life Recovery and Journey to Work Programs. For many it is the first time they have completed something in their lives.

Please join Open Door Mission on Saturday, October 29 at the Lydia House located at 2809 N 20th St E. The ceremony will begin at 10:30AM and you will be able to hear exciting testimonies of what God has done in the lives of these men, women, and children.

21 October 2011

Open Door Mission is preparing for Christmas!

I know it’s not even November – but like the Boy Scouts, our motto is “Be Prepared” and in order to be prepared we need your help.

Open Door Mission is preparing to provide gifts for more than 6,000 boys and girls this Christmas Season through Project Santa - A drive-thru Christmas. Parents of homeless and needy children will be coming to sign up to receive a bag of toys for their child so on Christmas Morning there will be something under the tree.

Here is how you can help make Christmas special for a little boy or girl. Would you consider having a toy drive at your place of work, school, or even Church. Open Door Mission will provide a collection box for you to place to be filled. All you have to do is click on "Schedule a Toy Drive" and we will get a box to you.

You can also help Open Door Mission sort and bag toys. As all these toys come in from area drive we need volunteers to help sort them and then get they ready to go into age and gender appropriate bags. Open Door Mission's warehouse looks like "Santa's little workshop" Just click on "Bag toys" and sign up to make a difference today.

There is only 66 days until Christmas!

18 October 2011

Holiday Opportunities

Toys, presents wrapped and tied with bows, twinkling lights, Christmas trees and wreaths, gifts for adults, turkeys and hams, all the holiday side dishes-oh yes I love the holidays. Unfortunately for many the holidays are not a “good time”, it is just a reinforcement of lost hope and feelings of despair. At Open Door Mission the staff work tirelessly to make sure that there is hope and joy for those we serve during the holidays.

The staff at Open Door Mission can’t do it all without your help-we need you to help make the holidays a time of hope. We need help providing over 5,000 Thanksgiving turkeys and food boxes, over 6,000 children with Christmas gifts and over 300 single men and women with a gift on Christmas morning. How can I help you may ask, here’s how: do a turkey and/or food drive to collect food for the Turkey'n'Fixin's boxes and the thousands of meals Open Door Mission will serve Thanksgiving and Christmas day; organize a Project Santa drive to collect new unwrapped toys for children (ages birth to 12th grade); call to receive Christmas Bells (a set of 12 suggested gift items for adults) or sign up to volunteer to deliver Turkey'n'Fixin's boxes through Drumsticks on Wheels or help bag toys for the Christmas drive through. A few hours of your time or the purchase of some extra gifts and food can make a difference for those that are homeless or near homeless by providing Hope for the Holidays.

Please contact me so I can help you be blessed this Thanksgiving and Christmas season as you bless others. Sign up on line at www.opendoormission.org or call me at 829-1554 or email me here. I am looking forward to hearing from you, because with your help this can be the best holiday ever for those looking for Hope.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

12 October 2011

Taking Nothing For Granted

I helped move in a wonderful young family to the LH yesterday. Mom, Dad and several children had been living in their van off and on for over a month. As I walked them into their new room two of the middle boys stopped, looked at each other, and ran for the couch. "We have a couch! We have a couch!" They said this several times, bouncing up and down as they sat on their new sofa.

A moment later they joined the others in the bedroom where all the older children were softly crying. I asked what was wrong and one of the precious girls looked at me through teary eyes and said "We all get a bed."

I almost hit the floor on my knees but I did tear up with them. It made me stop and think about all the things I take for granted. A couch to sit on whenever I want and a bed to sleep in every night. They were all so very thankful for what I had done for them but in reality it was I who had received the gifts. Thank you little ones for showing me again what we are all about here at the Lydia House.

Kate Fischer
Lydia House Director

11 October 2011

A Temporary Home

A young mom on her own
She needs a little help, got no where to go
She’s looking for a job, looking for a way out
‘Cause a half-way house will never be a home
At night she whispers to her baby girl
“Someday we’ll find our place here in this world
This is our temporary home
It’s not where we belong
Windows and rooms that we’re passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where we’re going
I’m not afraid because I know
This is our temporary home”

This verse from the song Temporary Home could be about many of our guests here at the Lydia House. We have several single moms who have found themselves in a place where they need a little help. Some already have jobs and are saving up for a place of their own, others are still looking for work, and still others are confronting other issues in their lives. Thankfully, the Lydia House is here for every state.

Some guests may only need a couple of weeks; others may stay for several months, especially those in one of our Life Changing programs. Remembering that this is a temporary home is an important part of guests’ stay. It is both a motivator and encourager when times are hard and it seems like there is no end in sight.

These past two weeks have been especially encouraging; a single mom who has been at the Lydia House for over a year found safe housing for her and her 3 sons, a graduate of one of our programs was accepted at an apartment on the bus line to her school, and two other families were accepted into a Residential Readiness program.

But even as we praise God for His faithfulness in these individuals, we continue to pray for new families and single women who move in every day. Thank you for supporting the Lydia House and Open Door Mission as we continue to be a temporary home for so many in need.

Amanda Vanderpool
Lydia House

07 October 2011

Are You willing to Stop to help someone in need?

I recently flew to California to visit my family. All morning long I was rush, rush, rushing. It was a WorkNet graduation day so I was rushing to set up the classroom, rushing to finish the presentation, rushing to clean up the leftover mess, then rushing to get to the airport. I rushed to check my bags, rushed to rearrange the items in my bags so they met the weight restrictions.

I rushed to remove my necklace, earrings, bracelet, belt, shoes and work key card. Then I impatiently waited for the end of my pat down because in my rushing I had forgotten to remove my name badge. Finally I got to the gate; just as they were about to board. I found my place in line and waited, mentally rushing the 20 people in front of me. As I started down the terminal I was still rushing the lady in front of me with the two small children, hoping she would soon develop a sense of urgency. I wanted to yell, “COME ON PEOPLE!! Hurry up!” Then we were stopped. “Noelle, Noelle Pee please come see the gate attendant, please come see the gate attendant.”

I turned around, annoyed that I was being forced to stop my rushing. “Miss, this is the right terminal, but you are about to board the wrong plane. Yours doesn’t board for about two hours. Why don’t you sit down, relax, and have some lunch!” Well, it was a good thing that I had done my makeup that morning so when I walked back through the line of people I at least looked like a pretty idiot!

Needlessly rushing, how much did I miss as I was rushing through my day? Did I take time to comfort the woman who recently lost her husband? Did I see the child desperately longing for attention? How many people did I fail to see because what I thought I needed was more important to me that those that actually needed me?

Matthew 25:35 says “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.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
How I failed to be the blessing that I could have been, had I not been rushing through my day I could have taken the time to make a difference in someone’s life. Take time to notice what is going on around you. Be willing to stop to help someone in need. Don’t allow the opportunity to bless others pass you by.

Noelle Pee
WorkNet Director

06 October 2011


Jacobs House Romania and the Open Door Mission Omaha. Two different ministies, one common goal. To draw our brothers and sisters closer to Jesus Christ by serving them and filling very basic needs such as clothing. All year long Bob Wolkins fills 70 pound boxes with clothing destined for the people of Materat Romania, 360 boxes all together. He also repairs bicycles for the Romanian children, 140 bikes in all.

Mr. Wolkins pays for a seatainer every year to ship all this to Romania. They drop it at his home, and he has two hours to load it, before it starts costing more money. Last year a group of volunteers helped, and it took nearly four hours to load.

When asked, over 20 men that stay at the Open Door Mission came forward and volunteered. Their goal was to not exceed two hours- they were determined to hold those costs in line. They worked together like a team that had done this many times before. They each had their own job, yet looked out for the man next to him. They relieved those inside the seatainer regularly, as the temperature was much hotter than outside. When the last bicycle went on, the time was just shy of two hours. On top of that, due to a miscalculation of seatainer size, 60 boxes wouldn't fit. Jacobs House donated that 4200 pounds of clothing to the Open Door Mission.

As children, I'm quite sure these men didn't dream of being in a homeless shelter one day. But through their hardship, God delivered them to this high place. A place where others they will most likely never meet, have been touched by their kindness. In a very poor part of this world God delivered hope through these men.

Patrick J McKernan
Open Door Mission, Garland Thompson Mens Center Director

03 October 2011

Thank you for your support!

What a beautiful fall day we are having. The sun is shining and the temperature is just right! I am excited that my family is camping this weekend. It will be perfect to sit around the campfire catching up and telling tales. Whenever I have a fun family event planned and start to get excited about leaving work for the weekend, my heart usually has a twinge, for I know that for the homeless and near homeless that we serve their weekend may not be as peaceful.

Knowing there is such a great need, makes me all the more committed to the work of Open Door Mission. It has been amazing to see over the last sixteen years, that I have been with Open Door Mission, the growth of space and services and the improvements of our service delivery. If you have not visited the Open Door Mission in the last few years, it may be hard for you to recognize us. That is until you see or hear a staff member working with a resident and hear God’s word being shared to offer hope, encouragement, and guidance as it has been for the last fifty-seven years!

Working in the Housing First Department, I see applicants as they are completing their paper-work to move into Lydia House Shelter or our Permanente Supportive Apartments. I see them at the time that they are in most despair and it is an honor to assist them through the paper work, let them know of all of our services, listen to their story, and pray with them. During this first meeting, I see transformations begin. A mom’s shoulders release a bit of their stress – now no more wondering where her family will live. A women’s face softens and hints a smile when she knows she is now welcomed after being turned away from so many other places, fare too many times due to her mental or physical health needs. And a child laughs and smiles as they leave with a toy or much needed pair of shoes. For most applicants, this may be the last time I see them. The PSH and LH staff welcomes them and handles their move-in process.

But, then there is a graduation! And I get to see a completely transformed family or women as they stand tall and smile boldly as they accept their Work-Net or New Life Recovery program diploma. Often, I do not recognize them! But, then I hear them speak their testimonies and I hear them offering Gods’ word, ministering to their family, residents, and me and all who will hear, a message of hope and encouragement. Yes the need is great, but WOW God is greater!

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:30 (NLT2007)

Thank you for the support that makes a way for transformations to happen! Come by and have a tour or volunteer – or maybe I will see you at our next graduation!

God Bless,
Ronda Nelson
Housing First Director