31 December 2013

The lighting of a fire!

In the Adult Learning Center I see a wide range of educational attainment and ability. We have people that can barely read at a 3rd grade level and then we also have people with a bachelor’s degree. At times, trying to meet the educational needs of such a wide range of abilities can feel a bit overwhelming. Recently I came across a quote that has helped put things in perspective for me.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire” William Butler Yeats

This couldn’t be truer for the adults in our learning center. The absolute best moments of my job happen when someone suddenly “gets it”. Sometimes it is a sudden understanding of fractions and other times it is simply a belief that “I can do this”! Regardless, a fire has been lit and that person feels just a little bit more empowered to accomplish their goals. I am so grateful to be a tiny part of the monumental changes that people make every day.
Vickie Gregorio, Learning Center Director, Open Door Mission.

27 December 2013

Providing Hope for the Homeless

One of my favorite things about working at the Open Door Mission is getting to know the staff. This past week while I was in my office responding to emails and getting caught up in all of the Christmas events, one of the staff members who works the overnight shift stopped by to say hello. We chatted for a while and she shared her incredible story with me. 

It happens often that I am reminded of the way God orchestrates our lives. He loves us all and knows us all so well that he would put time into planning the encounters we might have. If you were to look at all the staff at Open Door Mission, you'd see many different stories from all different walks of life. There are people of different ages and experiences with different talents.

What's amazing to me is that God can take all of these differences and make them into a great team of people with one goal: providing hope for the homeless and needy. No one's story is too messy or not messy enough. He's able to use all of us. As cheesy as that sounds, it's the truth. He's ready and willing to use anyone. 

Erica Julsen

18 December 2013

God is doing great things in the Garland Thompson’s Men Center.

 I had the privilege of working with a young man that found himself in a situation of homelessness, having no family or friends in Nebraska he felt alone and hopeless; but with prayer and encouragement things began to change for him. He said he just wanted to work, go to school, and get his own apartment. He said that he needed to be able to focus that in the past he had let his peers influence him and that affected his school grades.   He had come to the realization that roommates were not good for him. With a little guidance and lots of determination on his part he is now currently enrolled in college fulltime, he is working part-time, and he has moved into his own apartment.  This is just a sample of the great things God is doing in the lives of the men staying in the GTMC.  I am so grateful to everyone that has help to make positive changes in this young man’s life; everything that you have donated has helped to bring about his success.  Thank You!
Jeannette Blackstone, Resource Specialist
Garland Thompson’s Men Center, Open Door Mission

17 December 2013

God is a redeeming God.

It's funny how God uses you when you least expect.  While on my break I had the privilege of listening to a young woman share with another staff member what is going on in her life.  She had just started the New Life Recovery Program and was excited to grow in Christ but also had some very real struggles that she was working through.  I listened silently for about 15 minutes until I felt God tell me to speak up.  I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles and what I had learned.  Afterwards she thanked me for what I said. 
Later as I reflected on that conversation, all I could do was praise God.  God is truly a redeeming God.  He takes our suffering and struggles and redeems them, not only for us but for others.  In God's eyes, nothing is wasted and everything can be made new.

Please pray for perseverance and strength for all of our programmers who are daily choosing to pick the hard, narrow road over the easy, wide road.  
Rachel Fischer
Child and Youth Director
Open Door  Mission

16 December 2013

Generousity of Others

My name is Sarah Erwin, and I serve as the Heartland Hands Coordinator at Open Door Mission. This is my first Christmas season working here, and seeing the great need of others during the holidays has reminded me just how blessed I’ve been over the years. I have never wondered whether we would have a holiday meal of turkey and all the trimmings that year, because my family always did. I never spent a Christmas wondering if I would get a gift that year. I just knew that I would. It is amazing how I take these things for granted.
One thing that I absolutely love about the Christmas holiday is that, for a short time, most people focus on how they can give, rather than what they can get. I love seeing the generosity of others displayed; especially through the gifts of our donors at the Mission. They give gifts of time, gifts of finances, or by encouraging others to participate in drives to collect clothing for those in need. And this is how I know that these gifts are making a difference: I personally see the joy on our guests’ faces when they realize they’ll get a Christmas present this year, some of them for the first time in their lives. This alone could be life changing, but even more so because every gift is shared with the love of Christ and the message of His saving grace. That is what someone gives when they give at Open Door Mission. Material possessions can so easily be lost, but the gift of Christ lives on in our hearts forever. 
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,    and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6
Sarah Erwin
Heartland Hands Coordinator, Open Door Mission.

13 December 2013

It's the Little Things

It’s the Little Things


As I left for work this morning, I couldn’t help but count my blessings.  It’s the little things in life we so often take for granted…a safe bed, a warm shower, a roof over our heads, transportation, food…it doesn’t seem like much but to the homeless we serve, they are true luxuries.


Imagine life without a home.  Imagine living out in the brutal cold.  Imagine not knowing when you will have your next meal.


This is the reality so many men, women and children face.  But thanks to the kindness and generosity of our community, they can be rescued from these harsh conditions as they receive HOPE at Open Door Mission. 


Now a single mom can read her son a bed-time story as she tucks him into a bed, a veteran can enjoy a hot meal for the first time in days, a homeless man can shower, shave and seek employment….all the little things. 


Because you gave homeless men, women and children can experience the love of Christ and see his grace lived out every day.  Because you gave, they can enjoy all the little things that mean so much.


God BLESS you for caring,


Victoria Leuthold

Executive Assistant, Open Door Mission

12 December 2013

My Mission here at Open Door Mission

"Praise God from whom all blessing flow" and the blessing have been so great having the opportunity to be employed here at the Open Door Mission Ministries. My testimony is I've been seeking employment here since 2003 and finally was hire in January 2013. God's grace and mercy has allowed me to witness miracle's and play a small part in the recovery field addictions here. God's mighty acts of lovingkindness has enable me to encourage, influence and persuade others who suffer from alcoholism and other addictions. As humble as I know how to be I am ever so grateful, thankful and appreciative to be able to work side by side with other Christians and be a working creative vessel of honor to God and what he does through children of the most High God. My mission here is to exalt the Savior, and to edify the saints, to evangelized sinners and to elevate society and I try to always be mindful of this through my praise, worship and ministry as a soldier in the army of the Lord. I've have my marching orders. The steps of a good man is ordered by the Lord. Thank God for his faithfulness here at the Open Door Mission, it show's in my life and the life of all those who walk through these doors looking to serve and, also those seeking to be served.

Ronny Moore
Evening House Supervisor, Garland Thompson Men's Center, Open Door Mission

11 December 2013

God's Presence!

The best gift of all is…
Christmas is the Messiah’s light overcoming darkness
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2)
As we are in this Christmas season, a lot of people have no hope, joy or light of any kind in their life right now. They have no home, job, car… let alone any money to buy presents for their kids and families. For whatever reasons they come here to the Open Door Mission, I pray that the second they step through the doors, they feel nothing but the PRESENCE of God in this place. I know that Christ’s love abounds here and people who have been living in darkness can experience being in the presence of God and experiencing His grace, mercy and forgiveness by receiving Jesus into their hearts.
After all, isn’t that why we celebrate Christmas? To tell people about God who loves them so much, He gave His only son to die for them so they could have eternal life with Him someday?
The birth of Jesus, His death and resurrection has made it possible for all who believe in Him to NOT have to walk in darkness anymore, but can have true freedom in Christ, have full access to the presence of the Light of the World…Jesus Christ our Lord!!! Hallelujah!!!
Through all of the hustle and bustle during this time of year, please don’t forget to take some time every day in the sweet PRESENCE of God allowing him to fill you to overflowing so that you can be a LIGHT shining for Jesus during this most celebrated time of year!!!
Merry Christmas everyone!

10 December 2013

Learning why you volunteer

Leading Volunteer Orientation three times a week provides me with the blessed opportunity of meeting a wide variety of volunteers.  As we tour the campus, my favorite question to ask individuals is, “Why do you want to volunteer?”  The answers vary greatly, and many of them are truly inspirational.

Just last night a woman shared with me about her grandmother’s stay at the Lydia House.  Open Door Mission helped her take care of her grandson, empowered her to receive her GED, and introduced her to Jesus Christ.  It is through His help that she has now been sober for six years.  The grandson, after receiving tutoring help, has been on the honor role ever since.  Now this woman wants to donate her time to Open Door Mission because she has seen, in her own family, the powerful work God is doing among our residents’ lives.  What a powerful testimony!

Beatrice Kruse
Volunteer and Partner Administrative Assistant

05 December 2013

We can do anything through him! :D

The book of Philippians Chapter 4; Paul talks about how he wanted to make peace between two people and how he lived and still praised God for everything he had done because it was done with a purpose/reason. He also talks about some of the things that he had gone through and regardless of anything that he was still that same unstoppable leader.
 Paul was a man of his Word. He walked and practiced what he preached. Even in rotten times he was still able to maintain his faith and that same passionate fire for Jesus. He was able to teach his followers and challenge them to still maintain that same relationship with God. He told them to put to practice what he had taught them to empower them to do those things.

Paul was one of those leaders who were unstoppable. With a positive attitude, Paul had the mind to make it. With a mind and heart like that is why he so rightly stated, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Even though Paul was encountered with a lot of suffering and persecution he demonstrated a state of heart and mind that made him God’s kind of leader. Anyone who adopts a similar attitude and heart becomes a similar unstoppable kind of leader.

I am currently serving at the Lydia House as a Family Support Worker. Sometimes it gets tough. Dealing with people isn’t as easy as it looks. You want the best for them and want them to make good choices that all you can be to them is a leader. Some people have gone through suffering and rejections. It gives us a chance to be like Paul where we can and will become this type of leader for those who need it; to be that example to those who have a hard time in what they are doing. We can be that reason and hope for them to continue and to teach them what is right and to be that leader of excellence and example of awesomess in them. Will it be hard? Yes. Is it going to be easy? No. But one thing that is true is that we are never alone. Sometimes our insecurities they try to hold us back, but note one thing and know it, you're made for more.

Paul did so; he was going through some hardcore suffering and problems and was able to be of testimony to his followers and teaching them as well. If you think you can't or it’s too hard or whatever the excuse is? DON'T because YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS YOU! =)



Lydia House – Family Support Worker, Open Door Mission

03 December 2013

A Sense of Belonging

As a Christian, my knowing that I belong to Christ is strengthened as I read His words to his disciples as he was leaving them,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:1-2
These words comfort me, for I know that Christ is preparing my place in heaven because I have accepted Him as my savior.  I can only imagine what that day will be like, but I smile as I think about it as when my Grandmother made preparations for my holiday visits.  The warmth I knew as she welcomed and loved on me is priceless and especially during the holidays, when my heart longs for those times.  But, Christ’s words may seem hollow and meaningless if a person does not have a relationship with Him and it can be hard to understand and accept God’s love and plans, if a person has not experienced kindness and love by another in there life.  Sadly, this is the situation of most that we serve at Open Door Mission.  They come without a sense of belonging or welcomed by anyone in the world.
The joy of ministry in the Housing Department is that amongst the paper work, audits, and deadlines of my days, my number one responsibility is to be welcoming.  It is a great day to see a smile when a person comes into my office burdened with the insecurity of homelessness and they leave knowing that we have been preparing a place for them.  Great to know that my co-workers and Open Door Mission volunteers will continue to show acts of kindness in the days ahead.  My prayer is that through these acts of love, our guest’s hearts will start to heal and that they, too, will come to accept Jesus as their Savior.  That His words of promise will no longer sound hollow, but will bring a guest comfort and an assurance that they belong in Christ’s kingdom. 
Thank you for being a part of Open Door Mission, sharing your love to many!
Ronda Nelson.  Housing Department.  

02 December 2013

Why I came to Open Door Mission, and why I choose to stay.

Back in 2011 God laid it on my heart to inquire again about the Open Door Mission.  I had thought about in 2009 and I never went through with it.  Because you see at the time I was working as a nurse, I wasn’t sure leaving the nursing field was a bright idea.  But God (as you may already know)  had other plans for me.  God immediately opened the door when I reached out to the only friend I knew at the time that had Open Door Mission connections.  I was hired within a week. 

Two years later I am still here, and while I have changed departments, my love for those we serve and the reason I am still here has never changed.  I believe in the God of second chances.  I believe that God is the reason lives are changed. I believe that His will is being done here on our campus.  I believe in our leadership and that they are also here to further the Kingdom.  And I believe that our foundation and why we do what we do is firmly rooted in the work of King Jesus, the Most High God.


Jeremiah 17:7-8

7”But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

    whose confidence is in him.

8 They will be like a tree planted by the water

    that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

    its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

    and never fails to bear fruit.”


Tami Hungerford, Public Relations Assistant

Open Door Mission.

27 November 2013

Prayer Power


“Prayer is important.” As my experience in full time ministry expands, I am more and more aware of this truth.  It isn’t a plattituted the pastor says to get people to do another action. It is an essential component to the progress of the Kingdom of God.

We as servants and workers of the harvest cannot make it without we ourselves doing this. We have to have that lifeline in place to the Father of the Heavenly Lights. We can only survive for a short time with our breaths (prayers) held in before we collapse, passed out. Without our communication with The Mighty Counselor we become fatigued and exhausted and our “cup” runs dry. We NEED our communication with our father.

We as servants and workers of the harvest cannot thrive without having this done for us as well. Intercession and uplifting is essential to our “body” being strong. The head cares what happens to the foot and vice versa, because without one another there would be death and great pain. Same is true in our everyday lives. God pushes us to pray for our brethren, and we are compelled to call out to God for others. We see struggles and want to be sure to cast the concerns to the courts of the most high that his mighty hand would be at work.

So as I move forward in life and ministry, prayer becomes more paramount. I hope that you too see this in the Word and begin to dive in to the communication with God. He texts too! I have found writing out prayers is very focusing as well, as it forces one to slow down and be engulfed in what you are doing even more. I now understand the saying, and now say it “I covet your prayers.” As do we all here at Open Door Mission. Be it the guests we serve, the volunteers that help, or the staff that labor, the covering you can provide is…. Important (to say the least).
Taylor Clinch
Permanent Supportive Housing Director, Open Door Mission

26 November 2013

YOU...make the difference

This is a very busy time of the year at Open Door Mission. More men, women and families are seeking help to feed their families, provide safe shelter and even find gifts for their loved ones.

I have the opportunity to see the generosity of our donors and volunteers as the Development Department processes each donation and every volunteer hour that is given. Without YOU, Open Door Mission could not help all the men, women and children that come through our doors.

I just want to say, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your generosity in helping those we serve.
Linda Gunderson
Development Supervisor, Open Door Mission.

22 November 2013

14 years later, why I choose to work at Open Door Mission.

Hi, my name is John Lindsey, and I provide mental health and recovery services – therapy and recovery classes with men and women in our life changing programs – the practical outworking of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is my fourteenth year.

I often kid the students in my relapse prevention class, that they are human, even though they have worked long and hard at earning the moniker of being an addict or alcoholic.  Addressing addiction and recovery requires having an accurate understanding of addiction so we practice recovery appropriately.  If addiction is merely about doing a substance or activity in a compulsive way, then recovery is stopping those patterns.  But if addiction has hijacked our whole way of living life, then recovery must address every area of life. 

In my first description of addiction and recovery, abstinence is the goal – doing whatever it takes to not use or engage in a compulsive activity.  As important as this is to start recovery, what the outcome we want and they want?  Let isn’t it “life change”?  That is what I find so exciting working at ODM, we address recovery in the context of eternal life – knowing the Father and His Son Jesus Christ; learning to experience life in all its fullness! How do we do this?  Through the instruction, reproving, correcting, and training of life skills, recovery skills, and spiritual disciplines. 

John Lindsey
Care Coordinator, Garland Thompson Men's Center
Open Door Mission

20 November 2013

Why I love the Holidays.

Things I am Thankful for….

I LOVE the holidays! For most people it means getting together with family and friends, eating amazing food and sharing in wonderful fellowship that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It also means sometimes losing sight of the real meaning behind it all. Here are the things I am thankful for….     

Gods Son - Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

God’s Love - Matthew 22:37
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 

God’s Forgiveness - Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Gods Promise - Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Amber Briggs
Receptionist, Open Door Mission

18 November 2013

Here for a reason.

My name is Shawntel Scaife and my mission began here at ODM for 1 year, but I am just getting started.  I started off on the overnight shift but soon moved over to our Woman and Family Crisis Center in which, I quickly grew to love. Our crisis center is usually the first stop our woman make when requesting services from the Open Door Mission. These individuals are usually sad, tired, depressed and hungry when they walk through our doors. I find myself praying, consoling, and often times crying with them.  My heart breaks for them especially the children so that is why I dedicate myself to trying to meet each and every one of our guests needs in a timely manner.  Many of my days are long and stressful but I still look forward to returning the next day to do it all over again. I know that God has put me here for a reason and I am living purposely in his will.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Shawntel Scaife
Women and Family Crisis Center/Lydia House, Family Support Worker, Open Door Mission

14 November 2013

Praise to our Father for the privelege to work here at Open Door Mission.

I am so grateful to be a part of the team here at the Open Door Mission. Today a young man came back after Church. He asked to have a private conversation. We went to my office and he shared how God spoke to him at church, with wet eyes. He has an estranged relationship with his dad and wants to make things better with him. We talked and one of the things I was able to share is how we have an estranged relationship with our Heavenly Father.

He shared that a couple of days ago something happened and God came into his life. I was able to share a clear gospel to him and he was able to say that in Jesus Christ he knew he has salvation. 

How exciting to be in the thick of things coming at us at a high rate of speed and God gives us those moments to minister to peoples hearts.  Praise God for the privilege to be here at the ODM.
Greg Johnston
Intake/Case Worker, Garland Thompson Men's Center, Open Door Mission.

12 November 2013

One Person At A Time

It had been a busy evening signing up our Open Door Mission guests for this year’s Adopt-A-Family program.  As I sat at the table with my laptop entering the clothing sizes, and wish lists of each person that came to my station, I observed a gentleman coming my way after waiting his turn in line.  His steps were a bit slow, and his head was shaking involuntarily due to some type of physical condition.  The expression on his face was pleasant as he gently smiled at me when we made eye contact.  As I started asking him his clothing sizes, he struggled to get the words out as he diligently focused on forming the words to answer my questions. 

 After gathering the initial information I needed, I then asked him to tell me 3 things other than clothing that he would like to put on his wish list.  I could tell that my question caught him off guard.   He thought hard and then finally said,  “All I need is a stocking cap….and some gloves.”   I told him that those items would be included in his clothing list, and then I gave him some suggestions of things he might want to put on the wish list.  I mentioned a wallet, which perked him up a bit as he slowly pulled out his wallet and told me that the wallet he had was 11 years old.  I added a wallet to his wish list.  I then asked him for another item to add to his list.  It was at this point that tears started streaming down his face and he said, “I have never had anybody ever ask me what I want for Christmas before.”  As I saw the sadness in his eyes, my eyes also filled with tears.  I hurt deeply for this man and realized just how much many of us take for granted.

 A Christmas list is so common place for most of us.  Just this morning I received a text from my adult son asking me if his dad and I knew yet what we wanted for Christmas.  Yet, this man had never had anyone ask him this question before.  Before, that is, he came to Open Door Mission.  God allowed me the opportunity to have this man come to my sign-up station.  I believe God brings these “special” moments into our lives for a purpose.  When this man left my station I knew that my husband and I were going to adopt him for Christmas!   I think of him often.  I ask about him. I pray for him.  Now, I am looking forward to shopping for him and bringing him a smile when he opens his gifts on Christmas.

As you go through your day, watch for the opportunities God places before you.  We all can make a difference….one person at a time.
Celeste Norman
Special Events Coordinator, Open Door Mission

08 November 2013

See what's new at Open Door Mission...Community Garden and Aquaponics!

This is WOWT, Channel 6's report last evening.  Jason Green, Director of Operations, and his team built our latest project, check out the report on our 2013 garden and aquaponics.

"Over the summer, the Open Door Mission turned to gardening to help put food on the table. The winter menu might feature fish. The Mission serves approximately 2,100 hot meals for the needy every day. It’s a challenge keeping pace as the need grows and assistance programs diminish.
Last summer, the charity turned to the soil. Their first garden was productive, producing thousands of pounds of food but the growing-season is limited to a few months out of the year.
With a chill in the air, the creativity moved indoors. That’s where you’ll find the Aquaponic Hydroponic System. While tomatoes bask beneath lamps up above, tilapia swim in the waters below. The water provides a home for the fish and nourishment for the tomato plants.
Candace Gregory said, “Every little bit adds up to make a difference because we change lives one person at a time, and we believe hope begins with a meal.”
The Aquaponic Hydroponic System is also serving as a great educational tool for the kids.
The Mission hopes the tilapia will be big enough to eat in a few months."
Alex Hassel
WOWT, Channel 6 News

Click here to view the news clip

06 November 2013

It's the little things that make the difference.

How blessed we are by the faithful volunteers that come and shine their light here.  To walk down to our break room and see the bright smiley faces these volunteers is truly such a joy.  It is so encouraging to see and be reminded that people helping people is still ingrained in people.  BeNeca Ward, Author Of "3rd Generation Country, A Practical Guide To Raising Children With Great Values", puts it best, “One value that was sewn into the stitching of our character at a very early age had to do with our responsibility to help others....We were expected to be of assistance to our neighbors... “Being neighborly”... was synonymous with being kind, friendly, and helpful to our neighbors and something that we were encouraged to do on a regular basis through firsthand experience. It was a bit like mandatory community service.”
Rolling utensils for our guests to eat with may seem a waste of time for some, but to us here at Open Door Mission it is essential.  Thank you to the tenants of Pacific Springs Retirement Village for offering your time and smiles to help us.  For more volunteer opportunities please visit our website at http://www.opendoormission.org/volunteer
Tami Hungerford, Public Relations Assistant at Open Door Mission 

04 November 2013

God's ability to rise above our own worries

Ever met with all-consuming fear? Ever eyed anxiety in the face?
Recently, I did just that.
Day after day in serving at the Open Door Mission, I get to build relationships with wonderful people. Often the people we serve are stuck in unhealthy patterns. Some are just trying to cope in whatever way they know. Some are breaking the cycle of addiction or abuse and do well for a while, then seem to hit a rut, become overwhelmed, or meet a trigger that creates a setback. There are just so many potential setbacks.
I realized in speaking to one of our guests several early mornings in a row that her anxiety was causing God to be so very small in her life. When she was wringing her hands in worry and completely consumed with the details of her recovery and the steps required to get there, she was stripping God of His very able power in her life.
May we open the grip on our worries and lay them at the cross!
Kathy Swartzfeger
Overnight Support Worker

01 November 2013

T. A. W. G.

 Time alone with God is the most precious gift we can give to the Lord…time that is not rushed, time that is not given out of a sense of duty…rather given from a heart that is so in love with Jesus….YOU CAN’T WAIT TO BE IN HIS PRESENCE and lavish your love on Him!!!
God has designed us to enjoy Him above all else. He wants to occupy every part of our heart and to be everything we would ever want or need. It’s in His presence your anxiety turns to peace…it’s in His presence that your fears turn to faith…it’s in His presence that God whispers in your ear, “I am all that you need.”
God deserves the BEST of your time! The enemy will do everything in his power to distract you…DON’T LET HIM!!! God is so faithful to us…He delights in our faithfulness to Him!
Give God your best…He’ll do the rest!!!
 In His Grip

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Matthew 6:33 

31 October 2013

Celebrating Birthday by Serving Others

As a volunteer coordinator, I get to meet some of the most interesting people. We've had volunteers from all over the world come just to serve the homeless in Omaha. Over the summer, I got the privilege of working with one group from Germany and another group from Hong Kong. We have international students from Creighton University come help us out regularly. There's also the many that come from all over Omaha, just to help hang clothes or serve a meal. With all the people I meet, it's hard to remember all of the names or what they do. Every so often though, I meet someone who is hard to forget.

About a month ago, I had a group of girls come in to volunteer on a Saturday afternoon during our time to prepare for dinner. Four girls who were so excited to do whatever we needed. As I asked them to chop carrots and help us pan up food for dinner, they told me about their day.

Two of these girls were celebrating their birthday, and chose to serve others with their time and resources that day. It didn’t just start and end by helping us at Open Door Mission. They had already stood outside at a gas station pumping gas for people, given blood, and donated food. When they were done helping us out, they were going to do even more.

How often do young adults decide to do something to bless others? In a world where children are almost raised with an attitude of entitlement and selfishness, it was so refreshing to meet four young ladies so excited to give back. It was a blessing to work alongside these ladies, as it is to work with all of our volunteers. I’m so appreciative to have such dedicated people helping us do what we do here. 

Erica Julsen

30 October 2013


This past weekend we celebrated with 21 Open Door Mission program graduates. In the midst of their comments on achievements, hopes and dreams, and bright futures, many expressed deep gratitude for the kindness and generosity shown to them while on their journey--- hospitality.

Hospitality goes beyond providing for basic needs.  It’s receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.  The heart of hospitality is service. It stems from gratitude for blessings that have been given and a desire to give and share those blessings with others.  It takes shape with kind words, respect, good conversation, attention to detail, a hug, personal time, and actions that go above and beyond the expected. Above all, it provides community.

Like our graduates, I am thankful for so many volunteers and staff who routinely provide kindness and generosity each and every day to our guests--- Five-Star hospitality.  

Rachel Gillespie
Senior Development Officer

23 October 2013

Blessed by the faithful support of our donors.

This past Sunday, Open Door Mission hosted a special event, the Ladle of Love Festival, in the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. I just started at Open Door Mission this August, so this was my first time working at the Ladle of Love Festival. Walking into the dining hall at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center, you were overwhelmed with the smells of 20 different amazing soups made by local chefs, who all generously provided their talents and time to make soup and serve it at this event. In the front, there was a beautiful display of artwork made by the women and children of the Lydia House. And last but not least, the Prairie Gators band filled the room with joyful Cajun music, putting a bounce in your step as you headed to the serving tables to get your soup.
As I served at the front, helping people get registered and signed up for door prizes, I was overwhelmed by the number of supporters that came out to show their love to Open Door Mission and our guests. From the many volunteers that came to do art projects with the children, serve soup, and bus tables, to the many donors who showed their support by bringing friends and family with them to the event; Ladle of Love would not have been a success without them. I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks to our supporters, and remind them that they are a vital part of our ministry.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Thank you for loving our guests and for serving Jesus!
Sarah Erwin
Heartland Hands Coordinator


22 October 2013

God's love for the least of these...

The Garland Thompson Men’s Center
 I am blessed to serve the people that happen to find themselves in the Garland Thompson Men’s Center Emergency Shelter.  I truly believe that God allowed them to enter the doors of the Open Door Mission by Divine appointment to interrupt their current focus in order for them to see God’s love for them.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with a man and after receiving help he said “You know when I first came here I didn’t know if I could make it, I was so scared, and I was afraid to knock on your door.  But I came in here to talk and you listened to me, I have never had someone to listen. You know when I told you that I was messed up and I’ve done some offal things, I thought you were going to tell me to get out of your office; but you didn’t.  When you said have you asked for God’s forgiveness? And I said yes, then you said then who am I? WOW! I could not believe it, someone that wants to help me.”  This man had not been on mental health medication since his arrival over two weeks ago, and mentally he was fragile and too afraid to ask for help.  We work to get him the help, support and medications he needed and today I saw him smiling.  We spoke briefly and   he said “I was able to sleep last night, I’m still afraid but I slept.  WOW!”   I said look how God is showing that He loves you and He heard your prayers.  He said “ Man that blows my mind.” Tears slowly rolled down his cheeks and he said “you know I go to Chapel every evening and I am so thankful and it all started right here.”   God continues to show His creation that He loves them and I stand in awe of the Awesomeness of God and the great things He is doing in the GTMC.

Jeannette Blackstone
Resource Specialist, Garland Thompson Men's Center

21 October 2013

Blessed by God's work at the Open Door Mission

I am privileged and very blessed to work in the greatest most compassionate place in all of Nebraska here at the Open Door Mission. I have seen many miracles and I see the best is yet to come. I work with the greatest of true genuine Godly men I have ever witnessed here at the Garland Thompson Men's Center and I am learning awesome stewardship and tremendous leadership from the very best I have ever seen in the Kingdom. A True example to follow, learn, apply and teach anywhere where God may send me or anyone of us. Our clients are always happy and they always express a level of blessed gratitude that shows in their countenance. I have heard them say that they do not get the kind of Love (Agape) anywhere else except through here at the Open Door Mission. I believe this is because, we have the best team that represents Jesus more now like never before. Our prayers are being answered. Let our Love for the hurting continue to increase and expand. God is doing something so great here I believe it will leave an awesome legacy for others to aspire to. 1ST COR 13:13  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Rey Rios
Day Support Worker, Garland Thompson Men's Center

18 October 2013

Palms...A poem from a guest.

In the learning center, our adult learners submit creative writing papers. One particular student happens to be a poet and recently submitted a poem that so clearly painted a picture for me of what life is like for so many that we serve. With her permission I have shared it here.

I’ll never forget the smell of the halls
The burning summer heat
And quick transitions to fall
I’ll never forget the homeless’ face
And the power of Prayer in this place
I’ll never forget the battle I feel
When satan opens wounds that Jesus has healed
I’ll never forget being surrounded
Being supported and being grounded
Feeling joy and feeling grief
I’ll never forget my minds relief
For where my treasure is there my heart lies too
I cling tightly to the trinity’s truth
I’ll never forget shelter living
Real blessings and how God is giving
I’ll never forget being afraid to let go
The catch is worth the fall I know
I’ll never forget feeling God like calm
Knowing nothing can take me from His palms

The talents of this young woman are currently helping her to work through her own pain and addiction. One day God will be able to utilize this talent to encourage the hearts of so many more.

God Bless,

Vickie Gregorio
Learning Center Director

17 October 2013

Have you heard about a program we offer...Worknet?

With ever advancing technology the world around us is changing. With that in mind, the class I have taught for the last 2 ½ years is changing as well. WorkNet has now integrated computers to our curriculum. WorkNet is a job readiness program that helps people with significant barriers to employment find jobs. Our curriculum is comprised of 10 workbooks and now a supportive, and interactive, internet based website. This small addition to our program has allowed the students the opportunity to become more familiar with technology and the ability to take personality and job assessments. This has allowed them to become more focused on finding a job that fits their unique personalities and uses the skills they possess.
Worknet Director
Noelle Pee

16 October 2013

In need of your help!

Autumn is finally here and the stifling heat is behind us!  Many people are relieved to finally be able to turn off the air conditioning, but for some this relief is accompanied with fear.   How will I buy my child a coat?  Where in the budget can I find room to pay for hats, gloves, scarves, and boots?
In the Lydia House and Crisis Center alone, we have almost 150 children and youth who need a winter coat, hat, scarf, and pair of gloves.  Whether newly-born or about to graduate high school in the spring, all of our children and youth are in need of your help. 
Please donate your new and gently used winter clothing to the Timberlake Outreach Center and get our kids prepared for winter. 
Thank you for your support and may God bless you in this coming season.
Rachel Fisher
Children & Youth Director

11 October 2013

Why we love our volunteers!

Being a part of the Volunteer Department, I have the privilege of working alongside groups of all ages, sizes, life stages, and motives.  It is a special honor to host church groups from all over the area, looking to donate their time and be Jesus to our guests.

We have four specific Omaha churches that have agreed to bring a group down one Saturday morning a month as a part of our Saturday Serve outreach.  The impact these volunteers have is phenomenal.  Not only do they bring a Christlike attitude and work ethic to their tasks, just their presence brings refreshment to our staff and residents.  How powerful it is when these groups lift Open Door Mission up in prayer!

                A further blessing comes in members from these churches that go above and beyond that monthly Saturday Serve commitment.  Some of these members are highly involved in our Friends of the Friendless Volunteer Club.  Others work to get the children of their church’s Christian school involved in volunteering, teaching them to pray for Open Door Mission in the process.  Still others encourage their church’s small groups to come volunteer together.  Saturday Serve events are just a catalyst for all the ways in which these churches help us out!

We are so grateful for these Christian brothers and sisters that hold special events, bring other groups to volunteer, are steadfast and reliable, and pray daily for Open Door Mission’s ministry.  It is such a blessing to witness Christ’s Body coming together to help those for whom God’s heart breaks.  Christians are powerful when we join forces!
By Beatrice Krause
Volunteer and Partner Administrative Assistant

10 October 2013

Seasons...in every capacity.


As we are in the transition from summer to fall, we are acutely aware of the changing seasons. Here in Nebraska we are very familiar with the four seasons, although maybe not always appreciative of what each brings. What we sometimes forget, however, is that we as individuals also go through seasons. Seasons of plenty, of scarcity, of hope, of doubt. And while the change from summer to fall is marked by the drop in temperature and rise in candy sales, the transition from security and stability to dependence and instability is less noticeable.

I receive calls from mothers who are not homeless yet, but they are one paycheck away from losing their apartment. Single women who turned to drugs to cope with fear. Whatever season these women are in when they reach our doors, our goal is always to provide hope for the next one.

We could not do that without your prayers and supports throughout the years, so we thank you. Every hour and every donation lets us provide shelter for over 300 individuals, meals, and community support services to the Omaha area metro, whatever the season.

Amanda Vanderpool

Housing Department, Lydia House

There is a time for everything,
                                and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

08 October 2013

Always has a smile...

Being in the Volunteer Department, I get the privilege of meeting and working alongside many different people from all walks of life. There is a family that comes in every Wednesday evening to serve dinner, and they always have smiles on their faces when they get here and when they leave. We have different church groups that come in once a month or every other week to help us out. There is one group of ladies who come specifically to make sack lunches, and they bring their own supplies to do so. One of my favorite things about my job is getting to know the volunteers and hearing about their lives. 
On Wednesday evenings there is a small church group that comes to serve in the Timberlake Outreach Center together. They bring all the kids and always seem to have a good time sorting through the bread, putting housewares on the shelves, and even folding all of the donated bedding. While talking with one of the adults, I got the opportunity to hear about what God is doing in her and her husband's life. She currently is a director for a day care that has four different locations, but for two years now God has been pressing her to give up her job and help run her husband's painting business. She shared with me that she ignored God for a long time, knowing that giving up her job meant potentially facing financial hardship. The painting business is not the most reliable, and the day care has been their main source of income. But God is persistent! She has made the decision to TRUST the Creator of all to provide their every need. 
I used to think that the only way to share Jesus' love with those around us was to preach to them or get them to church. As I've grown in my relationship with Him, I have learned that many times your life tells the story far better than words will. This volunteer's willingness to give up the one thing that provides her family with worldly security will be honored by God and inspire many others that see her sacrifice.  
By Erica Julsen
Volunteer Coordinator/Timberlake Outreach Center, Open Door Mission.

30 September 2013

God will use us in His time!

I started to think after I got out of recovery that I would be of no use to anyone or I would have to wait years for God to use me. I was so wrong. I work over nights at the Lydia house and I couldn’t tell you how much our guests have impacted me and hopefully how much God has impacted them through me.

One Friday night I got called over to the crisis center to talk to a lady who was having anxious thoughts and
couldn’t sleep. She is pregnant for her first time and wanted to smoke a cigarette. I went to talk to her, to maybe help calm her thoughts so she wouldn’t have to smoke. Her voice was so soft and shallow; I mostly nodded and asked her to say everything twice. She started to say that her husband wasn’t taking his medication properly and was nervous and scared for him. We eventually went outside so she could smoke a cigarette, because I know when you are in a dark place the only things that help are the things that you are used to. When we got to talking outside, it became what I would call a normal down to earth talk, but God was using me and I had no clue because I thought I made her feeling of anxiety worse. We talked about how she is a practicing muslim and how she fell away from God and the religion is too “loose” for her. We talked for a little longer about different things that have happened to her for to fall away from God; I asked if I could pray for her before she went back to bed. She said no because our talk was so deep it felt like a prayer to her. The next day was Saturday and my sister asked me if I wanted to help serve dinner that day in the kitchen at the mission. I thank God from the bottom of my heart I was there. I saw her and she told me I changed her, I said me? She said the talk last night gave her hope and she felt as if her unborn baby was saying to change her ways. I reassured her it was not me and it was God! She said she was going to rededicate her life to Christ today in evening chapel. I said what are you waiting for, what about right now? God gave me the privilege to be with her while she did this. We humbly fell on our knees and asked God to have mercy on us and forgive us.

All the glory to God for He uses people when they don’t think they can be used. Sometimes He uses them and they don’t even know it.


24 September 2013










23 September 2013

It’s good to be seen

While I was job shadowing my first week at Open Door Mission I had the privilege to shadow Noelle Pee in the WorkNet Program. On this day the group was graduating from the class. We took a trip to Costco to pick out a cake for the graduation ceremony and were treated to lunch while we were there.

After a genuine conversation with one of the graduates, we found we had a lot in common. By the time the graduation ceremony ended I knew I would never forget this man.

In the months that have passed, I see him from time to time. He always greets me with a “Hello, it’s great to see you!” and I say to him, “It’s great to see you too!” When I served him dinner last night, we had our usual greeting, and then he added.… “It’s good to be seen.”

The impact of his statement left me wondering….  

How many people walk through this life and feel invisible to everyone around them? Now add being poverty stricken, hungry & homeless. At the Open Door Mission we face these issues head on and are doing our best to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. 

Deuteronomy 31:8  "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

No matter how invisible or alone we might feel God is always with us. He longs to have a personal relationship with us. He is patiently waiting for you to accept Him into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior.

As for my friend who made me see things from a different perspective. I see you, I thank God for you & I’m so glad you stayed for the blessing! 

2 Corinthians 5:17  "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."


Amber Briggs