25 December 2012

What Energy Crisis?

I sit and I look out the window from my third floor apartment and I am amazed at the amount of activity. I see people everywhere, hustling and bustling, coming and going. I see cars parking and groups of people eagerly unloading. I see others groups of people, just as eagerly, leaving and as they go their parking spaces being immediately consumed by awaiting cars. There are guys in the street directing traffic, their arms blurs of continual motion as they sport brown Carhart overalls and orange neon vest.

There is even a lady in pink coveralls giving an interview. The ground is white, covered with a fresh new blanket of snow. Just a few hours earlier, from this same window, I witnessed crews of men, as early as four in the morning, plowing snow in anticipation of the activity to come. The roar of the gas powered snow blowers drowned out their voices as they communicated through lip reading and sign language. Then there were the more ambitious workers taking a secret pride in manually using snow shovels while their counterpart, the guy driving the warm grey plow truck and wearing the smirk, pretended to be oblivious to their insinuations. In all, not one giving anything less than a Homeric
effort. All day long I’ve watched people, young and old, in some type of frenzy.

Wow, so much activity and so much effort, yet everyone seems to be operating from the same energy source. As I watch I can sense an invisible common denominator. I can’t help but take note of its root. It is Christmas time again at the Open Door Mission. People are coming together in the name of helping others, and though this is what we do here at the Mission all year long, there is something different at Christmas time. Christmas brings an indescribable spirit that envelopes the entire campus. For and at unbelievable hours people are working together all over the place. Employees and
volunteers alike are aglow with the spirit of GOD’S love. This glow can also be seen on the faces of the tireless parade of donors bringing gifts. Celebrating the birth of Christ by honoring him through showings of love and kindness to others generates life in itself. This energy and effort can not be attributed to human strength. Helping and loving others (altruism) does something for the soul that can not be achieved by any other means. When doing so we are no longer operating of our own strength but by the power of GOD.

Energy Crisis? What energy crisis? Why does the heathen rage? Why are wars being fought and so many lives lost over energy. Why is the survival of nations contingent upon obtaining and hoarding earth’s resource. Why does the heathen rage? Why can’t the heathen understand that giving, helping and loving others generate energy in and of itself. True energy does not come from the ground. The love of GOD and our fellow man generates enough energy to supply all the world’s needs.

Thank you LORD for allowing your children to see that there is an abundance of energy flowing from love.

Jesse Powell

21 December 2012

Just a neat God sighting today.

I had met with a man earlier in the week to complete his paper work to move into our new SRO units that are opening in January.  While we were completing the forms, he talked about his new job and the approaching cold and wet weather and that he did not have a good pair of boots and would be a few paychecks before he could afford.  So we went and looked to see what had been donated at our Timberlake Outreach Center, he looked on the shelves and I looked in storage.  It took me awhile, he wears a men's size ten and not too many shoes that size are donated, and when I got back with a few nines that I hoped he could stretch he was already gone.  I kept the shoes in my office until I saw him again, sad that I could not help him that night.

Two days later, as I came to work, I was excited to see a man that was very hard to get a hold of trying on boots.  I needed to see him to sign some forms.  I asked how it was going and he said that he was looking for boots and found this very nice pair of water proof boots, but they were too big - that they looked to be a size 10!   Oh my - I was now really excited. I told him that I had 9's in my office and I would love to trade for his too large of find - now he was excited!  The first man was to receive his boots tonight and I am sure he will be excited, too! No way could I or these men have orchestrated these events that both men received the correct winter work boots and I got paperwork done with a hard to reach man.  Make me smile - we know there are not coincidences - just you..

Thank you Jesus for the alignment!

Merry Christmas all!
Ronda Nelson
Housing Services Director, Open Door Mission / Lydia House

19 December 2012

A Widow's Might

Many of us have heard of the widow in biblical times that put in two mites at the treasury. But there are mighty widows giving sacrificially at Open Door Mission, even today.

Tis the season to be toy bagging as we are preparing to serve nearly 4,000 children in need this Christmas. A nice woman came to help sort and organize toys. As she was checking in, she mentioned that she had been doing so for nearly five years. It was their family tradition.

A sadness overcame her as she said her husband had recently passed away. This would be her first year serving alone. Right then she pulled out a prepaid cellphone complete with instruction manual and rechargeable card. She said, “This was my husband’s. It still has plenty of minutes on it. I’m sure he would want the Mission to have it.” Then, she pulled a check out of her pocket and said “He is not here for us to exchange gifts this year. So I made a check out to the Mission for the amount I figured we would have spent on each other. ”

She proceeded to check in and put away her belongings. She stayed for another two hours, serving in our warehouse. As much as I could tell she missed her husband, it seemed like being here and keeping up their tradition almost made her feel at home. Once she was done we thanked her and informed her that the phone was going to be put to great use. With her gift, residents would be allowed to call long distance for Christmas to reconnect with their families. She walked to her car and made the nearly hour long drive back to her home in Ashland, Nebraska.

I couldn’t help but think of the Scripture. “Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then a destitute widow came and threw in two mites. Jesus called His disciples said to them, ‘Surely, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.’” (Mark 12:41).

Whether or not she realized it, her attitude and actions had just ministered to us...For she gave of her livelihood that day. Though she didn’t say much, her strength and MIGHT to give had just spoken volumes.

Do you have an item you’ve considered donating? Maybe you’re not sure if anyone could use it or how it could help? We have many needs at Open Door Mission and could use your help to touch the lives of the hurting and broken. Your donation can change lives – and minister to us all in the process.

Merry Christmas!
Victoria Leuthold
Executive Assistant

17 December 2012

Thank you to our donors

I would like to take this opportunity  and thank our donors for their generosity during the Holidays and all year long. The out pouring of your care and concern for the hungry and homeless is appreciated greatly by those we serve.

I work in the Development Department and see first-hand your generosity through financial and gift-in-kind donations. Also, your time that is spent volunteering to help accomplish all the tasks around the Mission and your willingness to give above and beyond to our various drives, such as Turkey 'N' Fixin's and Project Santa. 

It is always a pleasure to hear from our faithful and generous donors. Thank you and God bless!


14 December 2012

Joy at Open Door Mission

I revel in the joy of working and volunteering at Open Door Mission. My work here allows me to interact with fellow employees, donors, volunteers, program clients, and emergency clients. I am in the presence of a mighty work of God.
As my fellow employees are about their tasks—they are also caring for each other. Hopefully, this is the case at your job. Joy abounds in me each day as I experience the living out of personal relationships with Jesus. It is a joy to come to work because I am in the presence of people God has drawn to Open Door Mission.
Our donors are incredible people. They believe in Open Door Mission; they desire to help the homeless and hungry; and they listen to the whispers of God and are providing for the increasing needs that God is bringing to us. When I get to be with or simply talk with them—joy abounds in me as they accept my thanks and explain how God has drawn them to us.
Our volunteers come from every demographic. They are a visible testimony to the truth that God calls everyone to Him! Each time I have an opportunity to work with them—joy abounds as I see the love they give and receive, I hear their excitement about helping others, and I know they have experienced the presence of God as God has drawn them to help the homeless and hungry.
Our emergency clients are people who are trying to survive. Many of them came and stood in line for 2-3 hours on a Saturday to sign up for Project Santa. We were working as fast as we could to sign them up, but it seemed to take forever. To a person they understood, patiently waited, and thanked me when the process was done. What a testimony to the presence of God that the people God is drawing to the Open Door Mission respond to His presence and all who are gathered are blessed.
Our program clients are amazing people. Their life’s journey has taken them places I do not even want to think about. They have heard the whisper of God and now are seeking refuge at Open Door Mission. We ask them to confront their demons, respond to God’s leading, and practice a godly life with us before they re-enter their lives. What an explosion of joy when a person commits themselves to Christ and begins their journey. What a sense of joy is felt each time this happens as heaven cheers, peace is granted, and hope restored.
What a blessing it is to be in the presence of God. Thank you all for making this possible. Please come and experience the joy of the presence of God; come and rejoice; come and be a blessing and be blessed; come and experience the joy I enjoy each day at work.

11 December 2012

Grace with Accountability

I am a minister of grace, or at least I am trying to be. Sounds impressive huh, but aren't all we Christians ministers of God's grace?? I certainly count myself among the biblically challenged (if that is in fact a word). I am not a mature Christian by any stretch, but rather a maturing Christian, trying every day to make the most out of the time and opportunity God has given me. I am a big picture, bottom line kind of guy, and one who believes very strongly that the Gospel is an amazingly simple message that we work very hard to complicate. Jesus' Gospel message is one of grace.
Grace is that thing we don't deserve, that "unmerited favor". We don't deserve it, can't earn it, and frankly have a hard time understanding and accepting it, which may explain why Christians throughout the ages have struggled to share it and extend it the way Jesus intended. We tend to lean more quickly and naturally toward judgment and self-righteousness. I fully admit to struggling pretty hard with it myself.
Here at the Mission, I wear a number of hats. Much of my training comes from years engaged in the trenches of life. Business, church, family, school, and of course life at Open Door Mission have all been rich training grounds. I like most, have learned some lessons far better than others. The lesson I have learned and continue to learn about grace though, is that while not complicated or contingent, grace is a beginning and not an end. Grace is free, but is not, and should not be cheap.
Here at the Mission, we are essentially in the hope and grace business! I watch our staff and volunteers serve with grace, offering hope to friends who have a very hard time experiencing either. My understanding of grace grows every day, as does my ability hopefully, to share and extend it myself. Serving at Open Door Mission though is teaching me a very important lesson about grace, and that is that such unmerited favor must be associated with appropriate responsibility and accountability to have any lasting value or impact. In my quest to be less biblically challenged (there is that word again), I study the Gospels, and the words of Jesus in particular. Jesus hung out with, and in fact searched out the most unsavory people he could find. He taught them, he saved them, he blessed them. Not once though can I find an instance where Jesus then sent someone back into the world instructing them to live as they like, and make the same mistakes. Jesus saved by grace, and then sent people back into the world to live a better life by taking responsibility for their actions.
We all need grace, but we need to understand the importance and necessity of responsibility and accountability that allows such a gift to bear fruit in our lives. I am getting to know a number of men who are embracing the grace of God. I have the honor and responsibility of walking with them as we learn and grow together through that grace and mutual accountability. These guys are terrific, and they too are becoming ministers of grace! My prayer for all of us is simply that by God's power we can embrace the simplicity of the Gospel and be the people and the ministers of grace that God wants us, and challenges us to be.
Thank you to everyone who prays for and supports the Open Door Mission! Please know that we are praying for you too!


Scot Morris

06 December 2012

Donations for life changing impact

I work in information technology here at the Open Door Mission.

The Re-Building Lives center is preparing to open and is buzzing with activity in preparation for the Grand Opening. As part of that preparation, I was tasked with constructing a computer lab so that our men can have access to computers and utilize the internet for research and to seek employment opportunities. The lab is to consist of twelve computers initially.

I took an inventory of all the components required it became sadly apparent that I was way short of the number of LCD monitors that were required to field twelve work stations for the men.

As I started constructing the computers in the back of my mind was the thought “where am I going to get the twelve LCD monitors that would be needed for the Lab?” It was much, too big for me. I had to trust in the promise of Philippians 4:19 “ And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

As the construction of the lab computers continued, the LCD monitors trickled into the Timberlake Outreach Center one at a time, from individuals who cared enough to donate. These blessed donors of at the Timberlake Outreach Center may have not known it at the time of their donation but their actions were fulfilling the promise made to all of us in Philippians 4:19 and I praise God for our donors because “they make it happen here” at the Open Door Mission.

As the Re-Building Lives center prepares to open, please join me in praying that all the work of our hands will produce changed lives and bring Glory to God.

Chris Brooks

26 November 2012

Men Praying for Men

I am thankful for a place where I can not only work but a place where I can also be used by God to make a difference in the spiritual life of a person. Today this morning at 5am; we began our first prayer meeting. I have been letting clients know all week long that they are all more than welcome to come and pray for their hardships and for their loved ones. Even at 6am we always pray after each "KREY radio" session mini-devotional announcement that echoes through out the P.A. system in the facility every morning to wake up men to a God given and productive new day.
However, in the 5am prayer meeting we had only two clients show up for Prayer but we together, made supplications to the Lord; casting all of our cares to Him. We prayed for clients and their prayer requests posted on the wall where it says, 'Prayer Wall'. We prayed for The Mission, Men's Ministry, for each other and for our loved ones.
Eventhough it was not a huge turn out of men wanting to pray. I believe very strongly that God will increase it with great testimonies of answered prayers. Interestingly, Up on the same wall where it says 'prayer wall' just off to the right side, is also a much more profound statement. It reads 'MIRACLES' and the bottom of this word it says, 'Believe in them'. And in this, I believe God has provided this new men's facility so that every inch of space could be used for His Glory.
Especially, for this little corner 'prayer wall' located outside the med room. God is going to answer many prayers because in Romans 5:5 it delcares, "and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." I know God will not dissapoint His people. So please pray for this little corner. That God may move on behalf of these men that will stand in faith to believe God for great things!
God bless you all and Shalom!
Rey Rios

05 November 2012

The Assistance League Assists Lydia House with Books

Open Door Mission’s Lydia House was blessed this past week with the gift of books. The Assistance League of Omaha brought over 200 pounds of books for the women and children. They brought new books for the children. The books are great stories and full of pictures to give spark to the children’s imagination. Books are a wonderful way for children and their parents to read together and share a special time. The League also collected gently used books for the adults at Lydia House. The books will go into the library so everyone has a chance to solve mysteries, travel to distance places or have a good laugh. Open Door Mission appreciates the Assistance League of Omaha for proving an enriching pastime for the children and adults at Lydia House.

If you would like to do a drive please call 402-422-1111 ext 1554. We would love to help you make a difference in the lives of others.


31 October 2012

Are you a servant?

The other morning as I was getting ready for work, I was listening to a song. 
Make me a servant, humble and meek.
Lord let me lift up those who are weak.
And may the prayer of my heart always be,
Make me a servant, Make me a servant,
Make me a servant today.
Jesus certainly set the example of how to be a servant when he washed His disciples' feet. It was not beneath Him to do such a lowly thing. He did it out of love.
At Open Door Mission I see servants everyday. The mission staff reaches out in love to the people who come to us. These people are hurting and have many needs, and the staff try to 'be Jesus' to them and 'serve' them, and show them God's love. Sometimes it's hard to be a servant. Our pride gets in the way and Satan uses that to keep us from being the humble and meek servants God wants us to be. I pray that God will help me and continue to mold me into the servant He wants me to be. How is your servant attitude?

Lynnette Walter
Development Associate

26 October 2012

Freedom in Christ

In a cold dreary winter day a young man stood in the busy streets looking for a friend. Up and down the streets he roamed, looking for someone to notice him. As the Christmas lights gleaned off the glistening snow, his heart sank because the day had come and gone. No one seemed to notice or even care. Where was that one special person, better yet, where was this God he “knew” so much about?

In each day’s passing this young man contemplated his existence. He wondered where his life had gone so wrong. In his final hour of desperation he found himself in a small city mission. It rescued him from the elements for the days to come, but not ailments that plagued him so. Who is this young man you ask? Well, that young man was me. I was a lost soul, who knew of Jesus, but did not KNOW Jesus. From that cold winter in 2000 on, God has taken me on a journey. After attending several Christian Programs freedom in Christ became a reality. Since then, He has allowed me to marry a Godly wife, finish my degree at Grace University, and join a wonderful staff at Open Door Mission.

My passion for this ministry is strong because I believe in their three fold objective. It states that each person will be saved, discipled, and equipped when they leave. I was given that opportunity several years ago and now I work at a place that provides the same elements of freedom.

I want to encourage you to come to Open Door Mission graduations and witness God’s hand at work. It is truly a miracle of His love, mercy, and grace. Though I have a position “behind the scenes” I consider these men and women my brothers and sisters in the battle that has already been won. I would also encourage those who are thinking about giving to a great cause, to consider Open Door Mission. As I visit a few donors that helped me, I know Open Door Mission graduates appreciate every dollar given to them as well. I want you to know through my story that every dollar given represents a changed life, including mine.

Thank you and God bless.
Christopher J. Yelinko

23 October 2012

God is changing the hearts of men

"I must admit that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this summer when I started working with the men in the New Life Recovery and Journey to Work programs. Although there was uncertainty and doubt, I knew that it was God who had brought me here. Since my start this summer, I have truly come to see God at work in magnificent ways here at the mission! Each week I see men come and apply to join the programs. When they come, they are often broken hearted and hopeless, yet fearful of what to expect. As they spend time at the mission, I see God begin stirring in their hearts as he meets each and every one right where they are at.

The most exciting times for me are the points when God stirs my heart to minister to a man and tell him about the greatness of our God. When I see the doubts and fears come out and become replaced with love and hope, it is powerful and moving. I am so glad that God is working in those men and that they are coming to know Him, but I am also excited that God has continued to work in my own life so that I can see others who came from backgrounds like my own experience the same wonder and love that I have experienced. Praise the Lord!"
Jeremy Settle
Veteran Coordinator and Program Case Manager

18 October 2012

Through Christ we have Joy in the Morning

Over the last 2 years it has been such a blessing to see first hand what God is doing at the  Mission. It is incredible to get the opportunity to love and pray for the clients here. A few months ago a new resident moved in who was trying to get her 2 sons back into her custody. Weekly I would meet with her, and she would express how difficult it was only getting to see her children a few times a week. Together, we would prayer the verse John 16:22 over her situation.

"Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you." 

Continuously  week after week, seeing her complete each goal she had set and going above and beyond what was being asked of her to do. Yesterday, I got the privilege to meet with her and her case worker. She was finally told that her boys were going to move in with her full-time. She began crying and threw her arms in the air and said praises to our God for answering her prayers. What an incredible moment to be able to witness. A woman who completely has given her hopes to God and being steadfast in His promises to her.  Praise Jesus!

Katie Schumacher
Lydia House Case Manager

17 October 2012

What is your vocation?

I have to laugh sometimes at how life works. I was in the lobby of the Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) facility recently doing what I do. I joke with people who ask what I do at the Mission, that I am the Director of other duties as assigned. It’s not that I don’t have specific responsibilities but that I can do many things and being able to switch hats around here is a real plus. On this particular day I was cleaning windows for the second time that day  and one of our community partners walked in and asked me if I had gotten in trouble or something. I wasn’t sure what he was referring to but he pointed to the window cleaner in my hand and I got it. I smiled and told him to hang around for a few minutes, I was moving to toilets next! We joked about how that college education was really working out! It was a fun exchange but highlighted a key difference between working in the world and working in ministry, particularly here at Open Door Mission.
My job right now is to be Director of Permanent Supportive Housing. The PSH is a facility consisting of 41 two and three bedroom apartments, and it exists to serve those who have had problems with stable, affordable housing, but who are ready and equipped to pay rent and live independently (with some gentle guidance and support). Being Director means I am charged with managing the facility and serving the 92 men, women and children who call the PSH home. I love these people, and I am very serious about helping each and every one of them to live safely, independently, and responsibly while also helping them identify and realize their goals and dreams. That is my job, but at a recent conference, Pastor Clyde pointed out that it is not my vocation. My vocation, is to serve Christ! I have a lifetime of experience and education that prepares me to do my job, and I can do that pretty well.  My only qualification and power to engage in my vocation however comes from the Holy Spirit. Pastor Clyde challenged me to really think about what my vocation means and I would love to tell you I have some deep new truths to share about that, but I am a “big picture” “bottom line” kind of guy. The only word that comes to me as I consider what it means to truly embrace my vocation to serve Jesus is “willing”.
I am not a gifted evangelist, I cannot preach or teach, and while I continue to seek God’s truth in his Word, I am as biblically challenged as anyone else. I can’t do anything to instantly change those realities but in this moment I can make a conscious, prayerful decision to be willing. Willing to do what?? I guess willing to do anything that I believe serves Christ, and for me that simply begins with meeting people and helping them wherever they are. Does washing windows or scrubbing toilets count then in my vocational pursuits? I believe they do if those simple acts help one person feel better about where they live or who they are. More importantly, those actions serve my vocation if it helps one person draw closer to Jesus. The big picture or bottom line for me is a question from the prophet Isaiah. I heard the challenge from two Pastors in different cities this week. Does that mean it's a message I should pay attention to? God asks the question…Who then shall I send??
Here am I Lord, send me!! Send me to visit someone in the hospital. Send me to the store or the bank or the Social Security office. Send me to help someone find a relative, to get legal help, offer  a ride or fix their car. Send me to pray with someone, and yeah, send me to scrub the toilet.
It is an honor and a pleasure to do my job, but I am challenging myself and I guess anyone else who takes a moment to read this, to be willing to truly engage in my, or our vocation. I want to be willing to go and do whatever serves Jesus today, and I hope and pray I can see and grab those opportunities as they come. Here am I Lord, send me!

Scot Morris
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

16 October 2012

Southside Church Kids for Christ TPS Open Door Mission

To most of us toilet paper is one of those things we don’t talk about much but really appreciate. The Kids for Christ group at Southside Christian in Council Bluffs decided to let a lot people know how much toilet paper is needed at Open Door Mission. They made flyers and biked all over their neighborhoods asking for donations. They were hoping to get some extra rolls besides what they brought to church.

They were surprised to find out how responsive people were; they would hear thuds on their front porch and find packages of toilet paper had been dropped off. They were so successful that they filled the trunk of my car and most of the back seat! That was 117 pounds of toilet paper! They are already planning on making the drive next year more successful-they want me to have to make 2 trips to collect all the toilet paper for Open Door Mission.

These young people were so excited that they had done something to make a difference in the lives of others. They had had fun doing the Toliet Paper collection as a group. They experienced sheer joy seeing how their efforts piled up and then had to be stuffed into my car. They learned that helping others is not just the Christian thing to do it can be fun. What would your youth group or organization like to do to make a difference? Give me a call today at 402-422-1111

Maggie Cope

15 October 2012

Whoever is kind to the needy honors God

I work in the administration building in the development department. My job is a pretty “behind the scenes” kind of job. This past Friday, I had the opportunity to help with a program called Streets of Omaha. The purpose of this program is to help people in their homes and on the street by providing them with sack lunches. Every Friday hundreds of sack lunches are made and then delivered to people all over Omaha. Friday was the second time that I have helped make the lunches and deliver them.

I had a really great experience both times and I think it would be hard to go home at the end of the day unchanged. I was amazed how thankful people were for something that seemed so simple to me. On many of our stops, we were greeted by lots of small children with huge smiles on their faces. In addition to giving out the lunches, we also gave out tracts and Bibles. I was surprised how eager and grateful people were for a Bible. There was a man who did not want a lunch but just wanted a Bible.

He said that “the Word was the only food that he needed.” A couple of men we stopped to talk to on the side of the street said they really needed a toothbrush. We happened to have a couple new toothbrushes and toothpaste in our van that we gave to them and they were very happy. There was also several people who asked for prayer. We were able to pray with a woman outside of her apartment and others just asked that “as we lay our head on our pillow tonight, we would think of them on the streets, and pray for them.”

I am very thankful to be a part of what God is doing at the Open Door Mission. Tonight as you lay your head on your pillow, think of those who are on the streets. Think of those who are hurting and hopeless. Ask God how He wants you to help them.

Proverbs 14.31 - Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Ryan McDowell
Open Door Mission

11 October 2012

Morning Time with God

Psalm 13:5 "I trust in Your unfailing love and my heart rejoices in Your salvation."
I can honestly say that I love getting up in the morning and coming to work at the Lydia House! It is so refreshing to enjoy my job, my co-workers, and the residents. My favorite thing about my job is being able to share God's word, while also being encouraged by the determination of the residents that we serve.
My day tends to be very busy, but I wouldn't change it. The morning time proves to be my most rewarding; my co-worker Mandy and I start the ladies off with prayer at 7:30 and devotions at 8. We have a great time doing this because it really gives us time to answer any questions that the ladies have regarding Jesus and His plans. The photo I have included are just some of the women who attend devotions on a regular basis.
Part of my job includes working with the residents in maintaining room cleanliness and organization. I am currently seeking some donations, such as; tubs with lids, 3-drawer plastic organizers (larger size), and rugs to help the residents give their rooms more of a feeling of home. Thank you in advance for volunteering, donating, and especially praying.
Rachael Hillebran
Lydia House Day Supervisor

10 October 2012

Rearview Mirror

As I was driving to work this morning I made sure I was following all the laws. The reason why…because when I looked in my rear view mirror there was a police car right behind me. So I did what everyone does in a situation like-I did what I knew was right. That got me to thinking how would we live our lives if we lived like Jesus was always in our “rearview mirror”?

We all know Jesus has told us to care for the needy but are we doing it. Working at Open Door Mission I see so many needs every day. We have great community support but the needs are growing daily as more people seek help. Can you help us meet the needs in poverty or that are homeless? Can you clean out the winter clothing you no longer use & donate so someone else can be warm? Can you come volunteer to help fix & serve a meal? Even though I work here I am blessed to volunteer at Open Door Mission too. Would you do a food drive so we can continue to feed over 2,000 a day? Jesus remembers what you do not just what you should do. Is Jesus in your” rearview mirror”? Call 402-422-1111 today or visit www.opendoormission.org to see how you can help make a difference at Open Door Mission.

Betz Woodhull

09 October 2012

My Own Little World

My name is Amy Buss and I am the Human Resources Director at the Open Door Mission. On the way to work I heard the song: My Own Little World by Matthew West. Here is some of the song.
Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
Outside the car, saw a sign, said "Help this homeless widow"
Just above this sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, "God, what have I been doing?"
So I rolled down my window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there's
Population two
What if there's a bigger picture
what if I'm missing out
What if there's a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world
Start breaking my heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives it’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and we sometimes we don’t take the time to reach out to others. Many people come through Open Door Mission doors because they lost a job, a loved one, a fire destroyed their house, domestic abuse or so many other reasons. We might not ever know why they are here but we as staff are blessed to be able offer a warm meal, and a place that is safe for them to lay there head . In 1 John 3:17-18 it says "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." We don’t know what the people we serve are going through but we can show them the love of Jesus and to me that is the best gift of all.

Perhaps you feel a tug to get involved at Open Door Mission. Visit our volunteer page today and learn about volunteer opportunities. I look forward to seeing you around here soon!
Amy Buss

08 October 2012

Millard West DECA is “on a Mission for the Mission”

Watch out corporate America there is a DECA group at Millard West that will be giving you a run for your money soon. These 3 DECA leaders, Jessie, Azure & Presley, are “On a Mission for the Mission”. They are developing a series of drives to benefit Open Door Mission this school year. I spent an hour being amazed at how well they have planned everything out and all the great ideas they have. The students at Millard West will be well aware of the needs and opportunities to volunteer at Open Door Mission.

It is so wonderful to work with teenagers that are making a difference right now in their community. These young ladies are using their talents, future goals and hearts to reach out to a population most teenagers don’t even realize is in need of help and the number is growing daily. Parents, administrators, teachers and students of Millard West please support DECA as they lead in compassion and caring.

05 October 2012

Winter Coats are NEEDED!

The days are getting shorter and colder and this means one thing to any parent.  It’s time to go coat shopping!  For most families this can be a challenge financially, but imagine worrying about 80 kids instead of 3!  As the Children and Youth Director it’s my job to make sure each child in the Lydia House has a winter coat, pair of gloves, hat, and scarf.  This means collecting coats as early as August from our Timberlake Outreach Center and digging through storage hoping to find extra coats leftover from last year.
While many of our kids are now ready for winter, we still have a desperate need for infant and toddler sized coats since almost 50% of our 80 Lydia House children are 5 years old and younger.
As you prepare for the winter season in your home, please think of us as well.  Any donation would be greatly appreciated by our the Lydia House residents and their children.
Rachel Fisher
Children & Youth Director

04 October 2012

LIving Up to Her Potential

Almost daily I am inspired by the people around me here at the Open Door Mission Lydia House.   I have the awesome privilege here to be apart of something so much bigger than myself.  I watched first hand how one young woman clung to the promises of the cross and daily surrendered her life to a bigger vision.  In August she was released from jail for drug charges. During her time served she was attending bible studies and overcomers AA meetings. She rededicated her life to the Lord and trusted His plan.  In that trust she moved into the Lydia House after jail to get her feet back under her.  Within  2 weeks she was working full time as a waitress in a small cafe and attending meetings 3-4 times a week all on her own...with no vehicle.  She was determined to live up to her full potential.  In another 3 weeks she had saved $900.00, found an apartment from one of the cafe regulars as well as bought a very inexpensive car, also from one of her regulars.  So in total she was here 5 weeks. She worked so hard and was always trusting in God's future plan for her.  I think it's often easy to want God's plan but yet not put the hard work and effort into that plan and God most definitely asks us to do that.  God used this young woman to inspire and encourage me in my own journey. 

Tami Gumm

01 October 2012

Has Risen

Intersections are landmarks often overlooked in today’s hustle and bustle society. In times past travelers could go for mile and miles before choosing which turn to make at the fork in the road. Not true of today’s travelers. Every hundred feet there are corners. The chooses are so many we pass intersection after intersection oblivious, unaware of where this turn or where that turn will take us. Having too much information to take in we are tunneled-vision, we march on. We seem to wear blinders, attempting to avoid distractions from the world outside.

Today I find myself standing at a particular intersection, Locust and 20th St., and I am fully aware of what is going on at this corner. No blinders here. I’ve stood here before, years ago. I marvel at the sharp contrast of then and now. Back then at this intersection stood an undeveloped wooded lot. I use to sit here on fallen trees, homeless and confused.

There were no sidewalks or level ground. Back then, unlike now, there was not much activity here, just me and a few other lost souls. A block to the east was a dingy grocery store, obviously in the twilight of its life. Every now and then you might see a customer go in or out. Beyond the store stood several shacks that reminded me of Little House on the Prairie.

But now just as Jesus rose from the grave to save and change lives of the fallen, so has the Open Door Mission. Today at this intersection and on this corner are signs of life everywhere, no longer the undeveloped wooded lot. But in its place has risen the Lydia House, a facility dedicated to rebuilding the lives of 300 fallen women, children and families. And to the east there is no longer a dying grocery store but in its place stands the Timberlake Outreach Center, a vibrant and activity-filled center for the homeless and near homeless, a place where the financially challenged of the community can come and make ends meet with food, clothing and furniture. And no longer are the Little House on the Prairie shacks, but in its stead there has risen the Permanent Supporting Housing Building, 41 two and three bedroom apartments. Here, those with low income can live in a safe, clean and affordable environment. Standing here I look in the distance to the south and rising out of the ground is the brand new Garland Thompson Men Center, a facility dedicated to housing the homeless fathers, sons and brothers of our community. This facility provides food and shelter to 300 men. Attached is the brand new Rebuilding Lives Center, a facility dedicated to offering life saving programs to our vets, chemically dependant, and disadvantaged men. Wow, much has changed at this intersection. There are volunteers, clients and staff everywhere. People are moving and things are getting done and I am thankful I can see it.

Here, as I pause long enough to remove the blinders of busyness, I can see many are doing much to usher in GOD’S kingdom come here on earth.

Jesse Powell

29 September 2012

Walking and a talkin

We had a walk-a-thon this past weekend and let me tell you it was a hit. The weather alone blew previous years out of the water and walkers rained in on us. Why? In past years it either blew heavy winds or rained hard on our event day. So it was a blessing to have perfect weather. The past 3 years i have walked the mile talking with people the whole way. This year I was tasked with taking people on tours. Understand this, I like giving tours. There is so much going on at the mission, and so many programs to talk about, that my tours are an hour and a half of laughs, ahaa moments and smiles. The down side is that I was required to trim it back. I had to pack all that great info and talking into a half hour. WHAT?! "Ok, I can do this!" 
I was able to trim and cut, and cram info in while walking and cut my tours down to an appropriate length (30 min exactly? Probably not, but SHHH don't tell Candace). It went well. I had some awesome groups very excited to learn about the mission and what we do. At the end of the event, I was pounding some amazing Chicken Tortilla soup from Dave and Busters, when someone asked if i would do the last tour. "Oh yeah, end of the day, no time constraints (to a point)!" I was able to take these 4 ladies on a tour of the mission and really lay it on thick. They were pumped. So much so, I thought they might be pulling my chain a bit. But they were excited because they learned enough to be able to refer people that use their ministry. They were asking about the TOC and how people can get connected there. They asked for specifics on how to get people started on getting into the PSH. It was a great refreshing time spent with some other Kingdom workers. 
Sometimes we might get this island mentality about the ministries we have or work with. But I have to keep in mind we are the Body of Christ, not an island of hope. We can tap and refer, and use other ministries just as they do ours. It is a great blessing to know poverty and homelessness is not laid at my feet. It is not laid at the feet of Open Door Mission. It is a challenge inherent in the Body of Christ. With how many people there are in the Body of Christ, man we can do this. We can answer the call our God put on our lives, and jump right in to help. We could sure use you here at Open Door Mission. Hope to see you soon! Would love to walk and talk with ya!
Taylor Clinch

28 September 2012

Crosswinds Apartments Responds to the Need

Crosswinds Apartments saw the need and responded by sponsoring a Toilet Paper drive for Open Door Mission. The residents donated over 40 pounds of toilet paper. Open Door Mission appreciates the response and generosity of the Crosswinds residents. The best thing was that Scottie said they would love to do some more drives for Open Door Mission. I am thinking that Project Santa or Christmas Bells would be a good one for them.

27 September 2012


Life is full of many great activities and opportunities that come our way. If you are like me, those activities very quickly fill your calendars. As our calendars fill up it seems like we are always in the “hurry scurry” mode trying to get everything on our calendar, and to do list, accomplished. I wonder how many of us, during these “hurry scurry” moments keep our eyes wide open to others around us who may be hurting, or need a helping a hand.

Recently I was driving down a very busy street here in Omaha on a Saturday morning, trying to get through the traffic and get to my next destination point. As I was moving along something out of the ordinary caught my eye. I noticed an elderly gentleman walking down the sidewalk wearing hospital scrubs, a hospital wrist band, carrying a hospital laundry bag, and pushing a very nice wheelchair. Now for some reason this sent up a big “red flag” to me, but evidently not to anyone else driving their vehicles down this busy thoroughfare.

I had a decision to make. Was I going to just keep on driving like everyone else, or was I going to delay my plans a few minutes in the chance that I might be able to help someone who may have not even known they needed to be helped. Fortunately, I made the decision to pull off the road and call 911, reporting what I saw. I decided to stay in eye sight of this elderly gentleman until the police officer could arrive and handle the situation. Once the officer arrived and had spoken with the gentleman I pulled next to the cruiser and asked if the man was okay. The officer told me the man had walked away from one of the nursing facilities in the area, and that they were going to take him back where he would be safe and secure.

My mind began to roam as I wondered how I would have felt if this had been my father, and no one on a busy street had cared enough to stop and investigate.

Recently, we heard the story on the news of the 67 year old man travelling by train who never showed up at his final destination. Upon investigating into this matter the police questioned others who had been on the same train. Witnesses reported that they had indeed seen the man on the train and that he had seemed confused and disoriented. The investigation ended with finding the man’s body somewhere on the ground between eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. How different this story could have ended had someone on the train stepped out of their comfort zone and tried to assist the disoriented man. A life would have been saved; a family would not be mourning the death of their loved one; fellow passengers would not be wondering what more they could have done to have changed the outcome.

Friends, as we move through our busy day to day lives, let’s strive to keep our eyes wide open to hurting people. Let’s look for opportunities to help a brother in need and extend our hands, even when it may not be convenient or might place us in an uncomfortable situation. Hurting people need a helping hand to come along side of them and protect them. When we have the ability to be those hands, let’s keep our eyes wide open until the task is completed.


26 September 2012

Prayer Wall

1 Peter 5:7 “7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for YOU.“

You are so very special. Your gift of time, treasures and talents make it possible for us to care for the Heartland’s hungry and homeless 24/7/365. Thank you for being there for those that are hurting. Thank you for being there for us to help meet their needs.

Now did you know that we want to be there for YOU? Did you know that we have prayer warriors willing and able to lift YOU in prayer? We know that you are a real person with a real life and real needs of your own. Believe it or not, there isn’t much that separates you from me or the men, women and children we serve.

We have all been made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and we all encounter real-life circumstances that can wear us down. And we are all called “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). God’s Word says that “you have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). So ASK!

If God is laying something on your heart- a job, healing, a family need- please let us know. It is our desire to minister to YOU. Our staff would be happy to add you to our prayer list. Or feel free stop by one of our facilities and ask to be added to the Prayer Wall. We have one in every building! You can even fill out a prayer request form online on our website at www.opendoormission.org or call us anytime at 402-422-1111.

We serve an AWESOME God that cares for YOU! (1 Peter 5:7 ) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Victoria, Executive Assistant

25 September 2012

WorkNet Express

Isn’t it exciting to see someone’s eyes light up when they discover that their passion is an attainable goal? This is what happened to Ashely during my WorkNet Express class. It was the first night of class and I had only 1 student show up. I was trying my best to remain positive, but I had planned for 15 students so it felt like a let down. Instead of lecturing at the front of the classroom like I had planned, I pulled up a chair to her table and started the class. In that hour I learned that she not only had the passion to be a journalist, but that she was a very good writer. The poetry that she shared with me was engaging and intriguing. She had a special knack for putting her thoughts on paper. The more we spoke the more excited we became about her possible future as a writer. I am not sure if she would have spoken up about her passions to write had the class of 15 shown up. Praise the Lord for orchestrating the right people in the right place, or out of the right place, at the right time! It is truly rewarding to help people discover and move toward their dreams.
Noelle Pee

24 September 2012

Seeing God answering Prayers

Here at Open Door Mission we have the New Life Recovery Program.  This is designed specifically for men who have issues or addictions with Alcohol and/or Drugs. 
During the week the Program men have early morning devotions. Recently on a Friday morning one of the men suggested they pray for the Men's staff to be blessed and that the staff"s efforts with the other emergency men would be fruitful and well received. On the following Monday some of the Program men were very excited to share the results of their prayer request. When they asked certain staff members how their week-end went, they were told that if was one of the best and most productive one's they had in quite some time. The program men were very blessed to discover that God really is "no respecter of persons", and is interested in answering our requests in His time and in His way. The men were blessed to discover that they could be used by the Lord to share their love & concern with others in specific ways. We as a staff were pleased to see the men "grow" in faith and practical application of the truth, "love your neighbor as yourself."

20 September 2012

The Power of Education

“Education is the most powerful weapon
which you can use to change the world.”
                                                                                      ― Nelson Mandela

As Learning Center Director at Lydia House, I constantly see people who feel as if nothing can change their world. The world has beaten them down and taught them lessons that cause them to feel as if they have no hope. My job in the Learning Center is to not only teach some basic skills but encourage our residents to have hope that things will get better. One of the joys of my day is to hear someone say that they succeeded at something, whether putting in a job application or studying for their GED. I encourage people to come tell me their frustrations so we can turn what is weighing them down into something that builds them up.

I cannot do this job alone and have been blessed with wonderful volunteers who help me and our residents immensely. I have tutors who come in and work with a few of our residents who are working on achieving their GEDs. Thanks to the tutors our residents are finding success and feeling more confident in their ability to attain their goals. The world is being changed one person at a time here at the Learning Center at Lydia House. IF you have a heart for Education and would like to have a volunteer oppourtunity please contact Open Door Mission's Volunteer Department at volunteer@opendoormission.org.

Colleen Freeman, M.A., PLMHP
Learning Center Director
Open Door Mission
Lydia House