31 January 2012

Hearts are being changed at Open Door Mission

If you have not visited in awhile, you must! Just driving by you will see our amazing new Lydia House women and family shelter, the Permanent Supportive Apartments, and the in-construction Garland Thompson’s Men Center and be assured if you see any open space – Candace has a plan for that too! When you drive by you see clean streets, repaired buildings, shinny windows, and manicured lawns – you see our surface.

But what I love about serving at Open Door Mission that the surface is not what it is all about. What go on behind our walls - what goes on in the heart - is the fun and the call of our ministry.

Last week a woman, a potential Permanent Supportive Housing resident, came to my door unexpectedly. Our conversation started out casual, she asked a few questions about her application, but then she just broke down. She said that she really did not know why she came to Open Door Mission that day, other than the fact that she ‘knew something was different here and she needed to be here.’ What an honor to listen to her as she shared that earlier in the day her son had been sentenced to 40 years of incarceration, though she knew the sentence was fair, she was in so much pain from mourning for the lost of her ‘baby’. She just kept saying over and over that she needed to be here – she wanted more in her life – she wanted peace. What joy to be able to share with her about the peace Christ provides and pray with her.

And in God’s great timing her application was completed and approved the next day and she moved in to her own apartment. Today she has a safe-affordable home as well as assurance she has a home for eternity!

Ronda Nelson
Housing First Director

30 January 2012

Anything not done in love is done wrong

I recently heard the phrase, “anything not done in love is done wrong”. Here at Open Door Mission as we connect with our homeless and near-homeless friends it is so important for us to do all we do out of a spirit of unconditional love. You see, unconditional love is a love that reaches out to others without placing conditions on them. If my love for others is conditional, then the way I love others is the wrong way to love.

I Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Whether I am a volunteer or in a paid staff position unconditional love should rule in my heart and my actions. If unconditional love does not rule, then what I am doing will not have a lasting impact on lives that so desperately need to find hope.

When we see through eyes of love we begin to see people as God sees them, not as man sees them. When we begin to see the hungry and homeless through God’s eyes, we see past the surface and are willing to do all we can to give meaning to hearts that are broken. We become willing to give, to touch, to embrace, and to connect with the person because we know that love, God’s love, is deep and can make an amazing difference in a life that needs to be transformed.

No matter where a person comes from, what they have done, or what they look like……love them deeply, because “anything not done in love is done wrong.”

Celeste Norman
Heartland Hand Coordinator

27 January 2012

History is Calling Me

We all fade into history
And we all carry a legacy
What will mine say of me

History is calling me
I fought what I thought
A good fight of my own might
Without GOD even in sight

History is calling me
Young and full of strength
It made no sense
To negotiate, cooperate or delegate
Just annihilate and devastate

History is calling me
Now I am aged
No longer full of rage
Forced to be still
I can see GOD’S will

History is calling me
How do I correct my legacy
I desire to go peacefully
Into eternity
But I need a Savior to speak for me

History is calling me
Before victory can be won
I need someone to undo the damage
I have done

History is calling me
I need someone to speak for me
To justify my sinful legacy

History is calling me
To the Father from the Son
I need my Savior to proclaim
Let his victory rest upon
What I have done

History is calling me
Thank you Father for sending a savior
To rectify my sinful behavior
All I have to do is believe
And I can receive
A clean legacy

History is calling me
LORD thank you for allowing me
To go into eternity
Peacefully and sin free

History is calling me...

Jesse A. Powell
Garland Thompson Men's Center
Emergency Services Intake Worker

24 January 2012

“Ministry happens in the interruptions.”

If you’ve ever worked in ministry before, chances are you have heard this phrase. It’s a cliché because it’s true and I constantly find myself re-learning this truth. As the Children and Youth Director, a large part of my job includes planning and supervising afterschool activities. During one activity I was interrupted by a disruptive child. I pulled the child out of the activity and began to talk with them. As they opened up to me, I discovered that they were being bullied at school and struggling with their grades. That night I was able to sit down with the parent and discuss different options for dealing with this problem. All of us left encouraged and a little more hopeful about the situation.

As I reflected on what happened that night, I thought about the many other ways I could have handled that situation. If I had viewed the misbehavior as an interruption rather than an opportunity for ministry, we wouldn’t have made the progress that we did. My prayer is that we would be more willing to set aside our schedule and reach out to those hurting around us. All it takes is a willing heart and open eyes.

God bless you and thank you for your support of the Open Door Mission

Rachel Fischer

Children & Youth Director

20 January 2012

Volunteers, Volunteers, Volunteers

What do you think of when you hear the name Timberlake Outreach Center? Many will say prevention, helping to keep the near homeless and people living in extreme crisis in their home. And that is very true, but we couldn’t do it with out the help of our volunteers who come to the Timberlake Outreach Center on a daily basis to help us prepare for the hundreds of shoppers who come through our doors for help.

We have regular volunteers like:

  • Ruth has been volunteering here for over eight year. She comes in three times a week to help stock and replenish the house ware and bedding areas. Along with Ruth, many others help on a daily, weekly, monthly, or once a year basis.
  • Louis and Steve help at the front desk and do a variety of other things for us. Louis has been volunteering for over 6 years and Steve has been volunteering three days a week for over two years now. Along with these two men we have Hester, Linda, Patty and Shirley, who come in weekly to help at the front desk.
  • Our data entry ladies are faithful to come in each week and help us keep up with all our data entry. I am so grateful for all their help. Rose Marie has been volunteering for the Open Door Mission over six years and I don’t know what we would do without her. Along with Jean, Kathy, Karen, Shirley, who help us keep up on a daily basis, Steve helps when we fall behind.

The work at the Timberlake Outreach Center is unending. There is always area’s to clean, clothes to hang, books to put on the shelves, houseware and kitchen items to put on the shelves, and furniture to move. Replenishing our stock and keeping our place clean is a big job and we couldn’t do it without the help from people like you who volunteer. Whether you choose to volunteer by your self, with a friend, in a small group or large group for our big project we want you to know how much we appreciate your help. So we thank you for volunteering and partnering with us in helping prevent homelessness.

If you have been thinking about volunteering please go to our web page by clicking on Volunteer and sign up to have your orientation and tour today.

May God bless you for partnering with us to better serve the homeless and near homeless at the Open Door Mission.

Joyfully serving Jesus,

Judy Collins, Director of Timberlake Outreach Center

19 January 2012

You are my lamp O Lord

"You are my lamp O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light."
2 Samuel 22:29

Approximately a year and a half ago , I wrote a story about a man named Dave from my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa. Dave has lived in the throes of alcoholism for the past twenty five years. He has been asked to leave his home and his jobs. Desperate, he began to believe Satan's greatest lie - that the world would be better off without him. The Holy Spirit led my son and I to him that day. Three days later he was standing in my office at Open Door Mission, to join the New Life Recovery Program.

I would like to say it went smoothly - but it did not. Dave was caught drinking during his stay, and after three months made a decision to leave. We don't always know what happens to our brothers that leave prematurely , but I heard back from Dubuque that Dave was drinking. I received a call yesterday that Dave is in ICU with a severe case of pancreatitus and liver failure. They are giving him a fifty per cent chance of survival. They won't give him a liver because of his history; but he wouldn't be strong enough for surgery even if they would.

After getting this report, the young lady told me how much Dave appreciated the Open Door Mission, and all they had done for him. She went on tell of Dave speaking about his new found relationship with Jesus Christ. She told me they studied the word together, and prayed together.

Recovery looks different for everyone, it doesn't always happen the way I think it should. I am so thankful the one that sits on the judgement seat loves unconditionally through his Grace given so freely. I am thankful that in all the darkness in Dave's life , our Saviour's light shines through. Please hold Dave in prayer as you read this, pray this stronghold of alcohol be forever removed.

Pat McKernan
Garland Thompson Men's Center Director

18 January 2012

Thank you Volunteers and Partners

My husband and I were blessed with a wonderful vacation last week. I say blessed because we really needed a break, and everything about it was just perfect. The time, the place, the weather, and even the restaurants we stumbled upon were just wonderful. The time off gave me a chance to rest and reflect on the past year at Open Door Mission, and I am again amazed by challenges and opportunities God presents, as well as the unbelievable resources He provides through his people.

We had thousands of volunteers working at the Mission through the Thanksgiving and Christmas Seasons, and right into the New Year. Looking at efforts like Drumsticks on Wheels, and Project Santa from this side, I shake my head and wonder how we did it. We saw Thanksgiving meals and Christmas toys provided for thousands of families needing a little extra help. In the New Year we were blessed by three semi-loads of diapers, that were delivered on the coldest, and windiest day of the winter so far, but in only a couple short hours, the trailers were empty, and our cupboard was full. Even preparing and serving daily meals for our residents and guests, or getting donations on the floor of the Outreach Center so friends can get what they need, can seem like impossible challenges At the end of each day though, people have eaten well, and their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs have been met. How is it possible?

A week of rest allowed me to reflect on that question with amazing clarity and answer it with confidence. We can do what we do, only through the power of God, and the efforts of you, his faithful people. You, the faithful volunteers come to Open Door Mission every day, sometimes by the hundreds and even thousands, to serve. You allow our challenges to become your challenges, and then you rise up to meet them, and whether you realize it or not, every day you are blessing those folks who are homeless, nearly homeless, or struggling to make ends meet. So from our whole team I say thank you! I am not overstating it in any way when I say that we simply could not do it without you, and we love and appreciate each and every one of you!

Cris Morris

17 January 2012

Reunification of families!

I LOVE the growth taking place inside the Lydia House! The changes in the women, moms, children, teens, dads, it’s all exciting to witness. Just this week we had an amazing number of moms having visitations with their children. Reunification of families is a goal for the Lydia House and it is happening more and more each day. Lives are being changed, rebuilt and reunified at the Lydia House. Let God live long enough in a heart and it has to begin to change. Please continue to hold these young families in your prayers.

Kate Fischer
Lydia House Director

13 January 2012

I Love my Job

If you read my Face Book or Open Door Mission Blogs you know I truly do love my job…even when it “encourages” me to stretch my wings. My job is to let the community know Open Door Mission’s needs and how you can help Open Door Mission meet the needs of many hungry and homeless men, women, and children in the Heartland.

I love speaking to children and youth, they are so compassionate. Boy Scout Pack 377 is one of my favorite groups because; one; they collect coats for us every year and two they are just a fun group to be with. This year they gave me a challenge-they would collect coats but I had to take a pie in the face at the awards ceremony! How much do I love my job? The accompanying picture should be worth a thousand words… I will do anything (well almost anything) if you will do a drive for Open Door Mission. Pack 377 got me good-three pies and lots of coats for those in needy of something warm during a cold winter. I just love my job!

Would you like to help Open Door Mission help those in need? Please call me about doing a drive. Call me if you would like to have a speaker for group, business, school or organization. Call me if you want to know more about Open Door Mission. I am Waiting to hear from you.

Maggie Cope
Communications Coordinator

10 January 2012

The Power of Presence

If anyone can understand the power of presence, it is Jeff. He grew up in a traditional home with a mom that remained a faithful constant in his life. Her presence provided Jeff with stability in the face of an absent father. Jeff’s father worked hard and drank harder. He introduced him to alcohol at age eight and he enjoyed the crass camaraderie of his friends as they laughed at how the young boy responded to the substance.

At the age of ten, his father’s medical disability brought him into the home 24/7. His father’s powerful presence, however, was of a different kind—peace ended in the home front. Jeff longed for his father’s approval, but his workaholism and alcoholism opened a door for Jeff that led to low selfesteem and rebellion. He tried everything to earn his father’s approval. As he states it, “I was viewed as a man. I worked 40-hour work weeks, went to school fulltime, knew no curfew, drank, and smoked just like any grown man. The community I grew up in Northern Missouri was small and known for alcohol and drug use. By age 15, I was an alcoholic. I went to work drunk only to go home and drink until I passed out.” In 1996, he received a 20 year sentence for assault and battery. It was in prison that Jeff came to know Jesus. He was released after five years and started going to church. For the next seven years, his life was good until his wife left him. “I walked away from everything,” he says, “jumped on my motorcycle with my retirement savings and blew it in six months on alcohol and drugs. I went from making good money to sleeping behind dumpsters.”

About a year and a half ago his father died and three months later his mother died. He was in and out of the hospital for attempted suicide or alcohol poisoning. After having a seizure, he agreed to go into a long-term treatment program. “Before I knew it,” he says, “they put me on a bus and when I arrived in Omaha, John Lindsey Garland Thompson Men’s Center Case Manager picked me up and brought me to Open Door Mission.”

New Start…New Neighborhood

“I have been in other programs before but the community here is different,” he says. “I am not the man I used to be! It truly is a life transformation!” At first, it was only the drug testing that kept him in line. Eventually, the staff and residents began to show him the real power of presence. It was the small things. One day, a fellow program member handed him a Life Application Study Bible. “I don’t know when it happened,” he says, “but now I wake up around 5:30 am and read my Bible until 7:15. Open Door Mission has given me the gift of peace and happiness.”

Presence is powerful. It has the potential to bring life and it has the potential to lead to destructive cycles. We want to say thank you to all who give of their time and talent to be physically present and serve here at the Mission. Your presence is powerful and it is effective to help people move out of the destructive cycle into the life transformation.Your gift of time, treasure, and talents make a difference.

Written by,
Tara Rye
Open Door Mission Volunteer

05 January 2012

Lives being changed everyday at Open Door Mission

I have been at Open Door Mission for almost 12 years. From 1999 to 2007, I have the awesome privilege working directly with the many hungry and homeless men, women and children. I was on the front lines and seen God change men, women and children's lives all the time. It was so awesome people everyday realize that God loved the so much HE sent Jesus to die for them.

Since November of 07, I have been working in the administration side of this ministry. There have been days and sometimes weeks that I have not be able to be in the Lydia House or Garland Thompson Men's Center. I did not always get to see first hand what God was doing but I know HE is continuing to changed lives.

Over this past year, I have had a wonderful opportunity to teach a class to the men in the New Life Recovery Program. I have been able to see men that I have known for the last 12 years finally come to know Christ and it has been such an awesome time. This past Wednesday, I walked into class to teach. There were 3 new men that have recently joined the New Life Recovery Program, men that I have never met before and did not know. As class began and I learned about these men and I asked them "what brought you to Open Door Mission and what made you decide to join the New Life Recovery Program". One of the men looked at me and stated "I have tried all these other programs but nothing has helped. I knew your program was centered around Christ and that HE could change my life"

As I left that class the other day and went back to my office I began to be so thankful for the many faithful supports of the Work that God is doing at Open Door Mission. If you would like to know who you could partner with Open Door Mission to offer Hope for a New Life please visit www.opendoormission.org

04 January 2012

Winter Warm Up Drive

I know if you stepped outside today it might not feel like it is winter. The high today is going to be 51 and tomorrow will be 58 but I know that cold weather is coming soon.

Everyday Open Door Mission is providing preventive services to many low income families and individuals at the Timberlake Outreach Center. Families and individuals can come once every 30 days to receive free clothing, free diapers, free pantries, free household items, and free furniture. This supplements their income empowering them to remain in their own homes and prevent homelessness.

Right now Open Door Mission is in need of winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, fleece blankets and space heaters. Here is how you can help!

Would YOU be willing or organize a Winter Warm Up Drive at your school, business, church or civic organization? Please visit opendoormission.org and sign up your winter warm up drive today.

Or you can also bring your donations of winter clothing, fleece blanks and space heaters directly to Open Door Mission's receiving area in the back of the Timberlake Outreach Center located at 2107 E Locust St. They are opened Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM and on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

03 January 2012

Open Door Mission needs YOU

The holidays are behind us, but the hungry and homeless remain with us. Thank you for an extraordinary season of help and hope.

As your fill your calendar with plans for 2012, I am challenging you to set aside 2 hours every month for volunteering at Open Door Mission. That's right, just 2 hours a month can make a HUGE difference, because TIME changes lives.

The men, women, and children who walk through the door of Open Door Mission are hungry for more than just food. They also crave help and new life. So, we provide food for hungry people. We serve more than 1,700 hot meals every day. We provide warm safe shelter to more than 400 men, women and children. We offer preventive measures to 250 families living in poverty. And even better we offer Jesus; because only HE can satisfy spiritual hunger.

But we can't do this alone. Open Door Mission needs You; your time, talent and abilities. Help us serve hungry and homeless people, and help us change lives. Visit opendoormission.org and sign up to have your orientation and tour today.