29 September 2014

Coordinating Care at Open Door Mission

Hi, my name is John and I provide mental health and recovery services at Open Door Mission. These services are mainly 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 fifteenth year.
Helping people take action for their lives can be frustrating, though when they do it is so fulfilling.  Recently a man (whom I will call Brad) experienced a stressor, and handled it in a different way than he would normally do.  I teach the concept of “recognizing the sequence of events that leads away from stable recovery.”  Brad was able to be aware of his situation, and was able to think through the event without reacting, but by taking things step by step.  The excitement in his voice as he shared his victory was such a blessing.    

It reminds me of James 1:2-4, where the author reminds us that we can “Consider it joy as we are going through a trial,” for whenever we remember to practice patience, God will turn that trial into a faith experience, resulting in our maturity!  Having a plan is essential as we walk by faith.  
God ‘s grace doesn’t work in a vacuum. He allows trials so that when we are open to His grace, it will empower our thinking, feeling, behaviors, and relating skills to respond rightly, as we surrender to Christ’s presence, purposes & promises! Growth is not automatic; it takes persistence. Please pray for the men and women in our programs that they will apply the truths and skills presented in our classes each day.

Care Coordinator 

26 September 2014

The Three P's

God has laid it out to me lately. He has laid out His desire for my character to be more conformed to Him specifically on 3 different fronts. I need to be more Patient, consider HIS Perspective, and Pick people up (well it would be Encourage, but it didn’t start with a “p”). It is easy to forget each of these key areas, not only here at Open Door Mission, but in our daily lives.

Patience - We demand progress and change to happen on our time table and in our design. We don’t wait on God and follow His path; we smash our hands down and stomp our feet and scream, “We want it now and our way!” God is the BEST at timing (I can’t wait to hear more of His jokes) and just plain perfect at His planning. Whether it is pushing people forward in their lives, finding “the one,” or getting that perfect job, His timing is best.  We need to wait on it, not nag for it to be ours.

Perspective - I need to consider the perspective of others. Not only people I am working with, but God’s. People look at things differently and come from different pasts. The more that I remember that, the better I can minister to people’s needs in a way that they will see Christ.

Picking people up - Picking people up is our job as Christians. Satan tears them down, God will convict people, and we are sent to pick them up and turn them to Him once again. It is easy to be critical and talk about what needs to be improved. We can zoom in on the progress needed and let the progress made be blurred. God has reminded me to celebrate victories with people as often as possible. Dance in the light, because the light itself is what conquers the darkness, not our fight.

So be you working at Open Door Mission, or doing ministry at your job… remember the 3 p’s (or the 2 p’s and an e)

Permanent Supportive Housing Director

24 September 2014

God Knows All

A determined women walked to our Timberlake Outreach Center today for her Lydia House application appointment. She walked all the way from Chubs which is a few blocks away in the rain and she is 8 months pregnant! I was just telling her that I would figure out a way to get her back home when Phil walked into my office. Phillip,Open Door Mission's shuttle driver.This was a tangible way to demonstrate that God knows her needs before she even asked.  

Admissions Director

23 September 2014

The Misconception of Homelessness

Every day is a new day at Open Door Mission. I never tire of visiting with our supporters, telling the Open Door Mission story or seeing God work right before me.....I just have to share about this visiting group.

Wow, the PEO ladies group from Treynor, IA. was amazed from start to finish as they arrived on the Open Door Mission Campus at 6 p.m., this evening.

They could not believe how clean the facilities were or how friendly the homeless were to them...blown away by the homeless holding doors open for them, saying, "welcome."

Many of them were in tears about their inaccurate perception of the homeless and shared with the group how much they had learned from our time together. 2 of the ladies shared they would be making substantial year end gifts to Open Door Mission and challenged the others to make HOLIDAY season gifts. I was humbled to see God work in these ladies lives right before my eyes, softening their hearts.


18 September 2014

Our Community Garden at Open Door Mission

Our garden season is slowly winding down, unfortunately. One of the big joys of my job is watching something grow from a seed. Squash, lettuce, watermelon, radishes, and so many more...they all start from something no bigger than a mustard seed. Then, bam! You have a beautiful green plant with some gorgeous flowers on it producing fruit! You know God is in the mix; only He could create something like this! 

There is still a lot to harvest -- squash, watermelon, and we're gonna try for one more round of radishes! And of course, what would a garden be without weeds? I thought they were gonna get the best of me, but was blessed with a group of volunteers that pitched in and helped pick every last one of them! Praises!!! Here is to good gardening!  


Gary Strubing

17 September 2014

Cherished Teddies

Several years ago I attended a church that took part in an annual district women’s retreat. Any church in the district that had participants at the retreat were asked to put together a themed basket. There were a multitude of themes filling the baskets with books, chocolate, gardening supplies, teddy bears and almost anything else that could be created. These baskets were used as centerpieces on the tables and then randomly raffled off during the retreat.
Each participant’s name was placed in a bowl for the raffle. At different breaks throughout the retreat a retreat organizer would walk up to a table that had a basket, draw a name and the basket would be theirs.
I like teddy bears, chocolate and roses. At one retreat the organizer approached a chocolate and teddy bear themed basket. She chose my name from the bowl, remember…randomly. I was very excited. I love winning things.
In investigating the contents of the basket I found a small ceramic teddy bear wearing a hat decorated with roses. This is a “Cherished Teddies” brand in which they are each named at the time they are made. Turning my bear over I saw that her name is Janet.
Random? God is interested in even the smallest details of our lives.

Janet Henderson 

16 September 2014

Aquaponics at ODM

We now have two aquaponics beds on the Open Door Mission Campus.  There has been a great deal of learning involved in this process.  We are successfully growing romaine lettuce and white Nile Tilapia.  If you are not familiar with Aquaponics, it is the process of using nutrients from fish waste to grow healthy plants.  The plants clean the water and make it healthy for the fish.  All solid material is stored on the bottom of the grow bed, and therefore the water is crystal clear.  We just planted some romaine starts in our second bed, and will have up to 60 lettuce plants every 6 weeks year round with minimal ongoing expenses.  Here is a picture of the cycle, and of our newest bed with some baby romaine.  If you would like to see this or anything else going on at Open Door MIssion, please visit www.opendoormission.org/volunteer or call 402-422-1111

Jason Green, Director of Operations 

15 September 2014

New Life Recovery Program

On Saturday I was privileged to be able to take (10) of the Program Students to Lincoln, Ne., for an all-day Conference.  This proved to be an "eye-opening" experience for the men.  Most of the men did not
Realize that there are about 200 Million Christians suffering persecution today.  They were deeply touched, and I am hopeful they will become

Faithful prayer warriors and intercessors, on behalf of the Christians in chains---Hebrews 11:3.

-David Eischeid
Day House Supervisor 

11 September 2014

Praises to The Lord

It was a very busy shift the other night at the Garland Thompson Men's Center. A lot of small things came up to impede intakes, and was a real test of giving the shift to God and letting Him direct the night. It was like walking through sticky mud. Then a man sat in front of me in my office for an intake. He was a believer who has back-slidden for a couple of years. We talked about God's forgiveness and 1 John 1:9 -- "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness." I asked him if he wanted to do that and he did. We had a precious time of prayer. He said afterwords that he felt a lot better about his situation and he is planning to join the New Life Recovery Program as well. 

Praise God for your prayers and the part you play in this ministry that meets people right where they are at.
Greg Johnston
Intake/Case Manager

Welcoming Christ

Once again I had the privilege to pray with a man tonight. He knew he was away from Christ in his life and prayed to get things right with the Lord. This happened tonight during a very busy shift. There was spiritual warfare all day long and staff was praying. I appreciate that we fight the spiritual battles through prayer around here. God bless all of you prayer warriors.

Greg Johnston
Intake/Case Manager

10 September 2014

The New Year

I came to the Open Door Mission in January 2014 and I am still on a mountain top high.  I was broken from many years of working in the secular world and denied the ability speak about my God.  I am now excited to be able to come and work each night in the Garland Thompson Men's Center.  I have the honor to not just work with and serve the men there but to also worship with them.  It is heartwarming and humbling that they come and speak with me and ask will you pray for me?   I am able to stop right there and not only pray for them but also with them and feel Gods presence.   What a blessing that I have been allowed to serve God in this capacity.

Darryl Price
Night House Supervisor

Isaiah 43

Isaiah 43 is a beautiful passage of scripture where God is reassuring his people that he is there for them always, and reminding them about all of the ways that he has been there. I recommend reading the full chapter but will focus on just one verse here. Verse 2 says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”. This scripture is so encouraging, not only because it shows how God protects us but, it also says when you pass through the waters, and when you walk through the fire. We will face difficult situations. God is letting us know that in advance, but he will be there in each one of those situations to carry us through! Thank you God, for always protecting us even when we may not be aware of it. Thank you for protecting us even when we think we do not need it!

Vicki Gregorio

09 September 2014

Grace of God

KGOR brought to us a young, 20 year old woman who had slept in their parking lot. I had the opportunity to talk with her and discovered that her father had kicked her out of the house in one of his drunken stupors. She walked until she found a park bench and sat down. That is where the employees of KGOR found her.

She was brokenhearted and hungry. We were able to provide her a warm meal and hear more of her story. When she left to live with her father she felt she hurt her mother deeply and had not spoken with her in a few years. I gave her the opportunity to call her mother where she was welcomed with open arms and the relationship was restored. Mom was struggling too but wanted her daughter to come home.

We made a stop by the Timberlake Outreach Center to pick up a food pantry and other items. With much food and bread in tow we dropped off a daughter to the longing arms of a mother. The daughter just kept saying it was not a coincidence that God placed her on that park bench. After a couple of weeks of getting to know Mom again she is planning to come back to the Lydia House to do the New Life Recovery Program.

There are no coincidences only God's gracious plans. 

Kate Fischer
Health & Healing Clinic Director

08 September 2014

Hand of God

The hand of God is still moving upon the heart and mind of man! Thank You Jesus!  One of the men living in the Garland Thompson Men’s Center saw me in the hall and walked up to me and said “I don’t understand, what is going on.”  When I asked him to explain; he was very confused and said “it a conspiracy”.  This man was experiencing a psychotic episode and this is the first time it had manifested where we were able to understand what was going on with him.  After working with him for a few days he was able to get the help he needed.  He had been resistant to the idea of going to Church or even praying.  But, after  becoming stable things changed.  I had been off work for a while due to illness, and when I came back he was the first person to say “Ms. Jeannette I’m glad you are okay, I’ve been praying for you.”  I said thank you for your prayers because God does answer our prayer and he said “yes He does.”  I’m excited to say that this man now has his own apartment, has a regular Church home and comes to visit the Mission  to say hello and let us know he is still doing well. 

Jeanette Blackstone

06 September 2014

The Gratitude list

One day I was feeling grumpy because there were several situations that did not go as I had wanted them to go. It seemed God was not listening to my demands (strange, right?). I was feeling frustrated with just about everything. In an effort to get out of my funk I decided to write a list of 5 things I was grateful for, and that was exceptionally difficult to do that day!

I had the opportunity later in the day to share my list with a student who was in a similar grumpy state. We were both so encouraged by this exchange that we have made it a daily routine. We hold each other accountable for coming up with at least 5 things that we are grateful for. It sits on my desk where it is always in my peripheral vision. Currently, I have 75 unique items on the list. That information alone is something to be grateful for!

I encourage you today to find a gratitude buddy and start your lists!
Vickie Gregorio
Learning Center Director

04 September 2014

New Life Recovery Program

I have the privilege of discipling the women in the New Life Recovery Program.  Many of the women are experiencing crisis beyond anything we can imagine.  For much of their lives, they have been on their own and had no one to process the horrific things that have happened in their lives and the emotions they have from it.  Now, walking through recovery, they have to face the choices they have made throughout their addiction and the repercussions of those choices, sober.   Their emotions are real and raw.  This can be extremely discouraging for them and they are completely vulnerable to attacks of the enemy.  But, as they begin to learn about, understand and eventually come to KNOW the God that LOVES them more then they can fathom, they begin to experience VICTORY!  
Once a month, I lead chapel and have some of the ladies share testimonies of what God is doing in their LIVES.  Its a powerful thing to see them declare God's loving kindness and GRACE in their own lives -- and giving Him the glory for it!  Last month, Sharon shared her testimony of how she had suffered from panic attacks and anxiety since she was 7 years old.  She has taken much medication just to cope.  Since being encouraged and challenged to take ALL things to the LORD in prayer, and to not be anxious for anything, she has experienced His Presence and POWER in those moments!  She has learned to press into God and has received the promise of His PEACE which surpasses all understanding, even in the midst of intense trial (Phil 4:6-7)!!  God is so good!!

Ps 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Tanya Franck

03 September 2014

We MUST Thank God

Isaiah 43 is a beautiful passage of scripture where God is reassuring his people that he is there for them always, and reminding them about all of the ways that he has been there. I recommend reading the full chapter but will focus on just one verse here. Verse 2 says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”. This scripture is so encouraging, not only because it shows how God protects us but, it also says when you pass through the waters, and when you walk through the fire. We will face difficult situations. God is letting us know that in advance, but he will be there in each one of those situations to carry us through! Thank you God, for always protecting us even when we may not be aware of it. Thank you for protecting us even when we think we do not need it!

Vicki Gregorio

02 September 2014

Planting Seeds

Sometimes we wonder why; but always remember God is in control. 

Recently I saw a woman in the lunch line that I have known for years. As I approached her I could smell the alcohol. I gave her a hug anyway and asked her when she was going to come in and stop the abuse she has struggled with for years. "You would like that wouldn't you, Kate? I know I need to, and one day I will and I will be somebody and you will be proud of me." I told her she wouldn't be somebody someday because she already is somebody in God's eyes. She is already a child of God and He wants her to come home. She is a beautiful woman needing guidance, faith, hope and love. She had a tear in her eyes when she looked up at me and said, "Really Kate? I ain't never been nobody. You make me feel like I could be somebody." I asked her to join me at my table after she got her tray. She said she would, but then sat with the men she was with. She left without me seeing her again. 

Please pray for my friend. Seeds were planted and watering needs to take place. 
I have to remember that God is in control and He given us the choice to follow Him or not. 

I place my friend in His hands. Praises be to God. 

01 September 2014

Life in the Lydia House

One of the fathers living at the Lydia House, related this story to me recently.  His son came to him one day to announce that he had asked the Lord to give him a new skateboard, and the boy told his father that the Lord had told him that he would answer his prayer.  So he confidently waited for the answer to arrive.  One day when he was playing at the local skate park, a man drove up in a pick-up truck and asked him if he was serious about skateboarding, and if he was going to keep trying to get better.  After the boy assured the man that he definitely was, the man went back to his truck and pulled a brand new skateboard out, gave it to him, and drove away.  This story illustrates that God is interested in even the small details of our lives, and if we have "child-like" faith anything is possible. 

David Eischeid
Day House Supervisor, Open Door Mission