18 March 2016

Congrats are in Order

     I want to take this moment to congratulate a recent WorkNet graduate Chris for getting hired recently at a pizza restaurant!
     Congrats also to current WorkNet student Kari for getting hired last week at a sandwich shop.  Kari actually set a WorkNet record, at least since I became the Director, by getting hired on just the third day of class!  What an inspiration this is for her fellow WorkNet students!
     More congrats are in order to Jeremiah for getting hired at a gas station.  We also have some graduates and students with upcoming interviews, or who are waiting to hear back from employers.  Please keep them all in your prayers, and praise be to God for His blessings!

Gerry Ford
WorkNet Director

17 March 2016

True Tradition of St. Patrick

     Today is St. Patrick’s Day!  A day of leprechauns, green clothes, four leaf clovers, and pinches (for those not wearing green).  It can also be a day of green beer and drunkenness for many, an excuse to drink in access.
     The true purpose of St. Patrick’s Day is to commemorate the death of Christian missionary, St. Patrick.  Born Maewyn Succat, St. Patrick was kidnapped by a band of pirates from his native and of Britain at the age of 16.  After six years of slavery, he escaped to what is modern day France.  There he devoted his life to the Lord as a Monk, taking the name of Patricus or Patrick.
     Following the Lord’s call, Patrick traveled to Ireland as a missionary to the island’s tribes.  His personality and love for the people helped to abolish their pagan rites and bring people to the Lord—having a greater impact than any before him.
     The three-leafed clover was St. Patrick’s metaphor to explain the concept of the Trinity (three in one—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  His faith brought Christianity to the Irish, and brought fame to his name.
     So what if today, instead of indulging, we look to St. Patrick’s example?  He reached out to the friendless, those who had never accepted to Gospel.  He cared for them, cared about their salvation, and reached out.  Let us too, reach out to those who are less fortunate, to our neediest neighbors.  And in so doing, carry on the true tradition of St. Patrick.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

16 March 2016

Joining Together for the Homeless

     Look what Don and his group of volunteers are making at Pacific Springs.  They have all decided to join as a team to make mats out of plastic bags for those living on the streets.  Some people are collecting the plastic bags, others are making plarn, and still others are crocheting.  They are all working together to make a difference for the homeless, giving them a bit of comfort and HOPE.
     What a great reminder that we are stronger together!  And our efforts are multiplied when we join as a team.  Thank you, Pacific Springs!

Candace Gregory

11 March 2016

You Are Not Disqualified

     Recently, I was meeting with a client during our weekly community interviews.  We were going over general rules and what it is like to live at the Lydia House.  As she asked her questions, she became intrigued when she learned how centered Open Door Mission is around Christ and God's word. 
     She asked, "So if I lived here would I be able to join a Bible study?"
     I responded by saying that of course we would love to see her do that. 
     She responded hesitantly, "Would I still be able to even though I have a disability?  I've been told I wouldn't be good at that since I have trouble learning and remembering."
     My heart instantly broke for her.  The shame she had in her voice as she explained her disability led me to so many emotions.
     I wish she could see herself as God sees her.  I wish she knew God's heart for the disabled.  I wish she knew how much God loves her, despite all the lies she believes about herself.  I wish she knew how He wrote the Gospel for her!  So many "wishes," but mainly my heart wanted her to know that she is not disqualified from knowing Christ and what he did for her.
     It led to a good conversation, and I prayed she would leave encouraged.
     Now flash forward to last week when this guest was moving into the Lydia House.  She stopped by my office, explaining that she was getting her stuffed moved in and quickly letting me know she still wanted to join a Bible study.  The gleam of hope that lit up her eyes was something I did not see the last time.  I was able to give her a Bible we had on hand.
     Today she talked with me again.  She said she got a list of different Bible studies she could join from her case manager.  I am thankful to work alongside godly people, thankful that I know her case manager will be guiding her patiently as she processes everything.
     I pray that this woman will see God intervening in her life, and that she will experience His love for her.  Will you join me in this prayer?

Lindsay Wyant
Leasing Specialist

10 March 2016

God's Vision for Community

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  –Romans 12:9-16a
     At Open Door Mission, we are BLESSED to all be followers of Jesus!  To me, this verse encapsulates all that we are able to do as staff at the Mission.
     We are able to share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  We are able to encourage and honor one another.  We are able to work with zeal towards being the best follower of Jesus and the best worker we can be.  We are able to devote our lives to prayer, assuring that God reigns in this place.  We are able to love sincerely.  We are able to practice joy in hope and patience in affliction.
     Know that these verses are my heart for all connected with Open Door Mission--staff, volunteers, donors, guests, and friends.  God has brought us all together as one community, and this is His vision for what community is to look like.  Please join me in praying this over Open Door Mission.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

09 March 2016

You're Hired!

     One of Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program students, Linda, was hired at a fast food restaurant last week!
     She is excited, but nervous about starting her position soon.  Please lift her up in prayer, asking that she will lean into the Lord when she feels anxiety or doubt creeping in.
     What a pleasure it is for us as staff to congratulate her and give her encouraging words!  This will be a great new chapter for her.  Progress like this in our guests’ lives is just the encouragement I need to continue investing and believing in our programs.
     I am positive that in the next few days, we will have more news of our guests being hired.  Praise God for His blessings and how He is working in these men and women's lives.  All the credit goes to Him!

Gerry Ford
Worknet Director

08 March 2016

Hope is Being Inspired

These are just a few of the many women whose lives
are being changed by safety, love, and encouragement
at Open Door Mission's Lydia House.
     I am not usually the one to share my experiences, but what happened last week is so encouraging that I have to share.
     I was meeting with a single woman applying for the Lydia House, and she shared a bit of her story with me as we filled out her application for a room (she was currently staying in our emergency shelter).  She expressed her deep love for Open Door Mission and everything we do for the community.
     This woman talked on and on about how she loves feeling SAFE, LOVED, and ENCOURAGED at the Mission!  Since coming to Open Door Mission, she has made so many awesome friends and has a deep trust in the Lydia House staff.  This is helping her feel like she can get back on her feet again—HOPE is being inspired.
     Let me shout out to the Lydia House staff for creating such a GREAT environment!  Thank you for caring for our guests unconditionally, as Christ would.

Adely Cooklin
Leasing Specialist

07 March 2016

GED Graduate

     Rejoice with us!  Your support not only provides basic needs like nutritious meals and safe shelter, but also inspires HOPE for lasting change!  All of Heather's hard work in the Learning Center paid off yesterday - YOU are looking at Open Door Mission's most recent GED graduate.  Opportunities lead to empowerment at Open Door Mission.
     Thank you, Heather, for allowing our team and volunteers to be encouraged by you!  She has worked very hard for this achievement, overcoming many challenges along the way, and it’ll be exciting to see what God has in store for her next.

Anna Razamozova
Learning Center Director

04 March 2016

Taking Turns to Volunteer

Open Door Mission is so grateful for our faithful kitchen
volunteers, who help us serve over 2,000 hot, nutritious
meals daily!
     After work last week, I decided to go over to the kitchen and spend time with some of our guests and volunteers.
     I met a girl from Utah named Halee who was volunteering.  As we were talking, she made this statement; "Coming to volunteer at Open Door Mission has really impacted my life, each time I look forward to coming to serve.  It has made me more thankful and has touched my heart." 
     Another volunteer told me, "It’s good to serve because it’s good to help others.  But it also warms our hearts." 
     The leader of this group said, "Our girls love serving at Open Door Mission so much that I always have to draw names for who can come." 
     WOW.  Now that’s pretty awesome!  These young ladies LOVE volunteering and serving at Open Door Mission so much that they have to take turns! That makes me super proud of the organization I am privileged to be a part of.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

03 March 2016

Starting a Fire

     This past weekend, one of my lovely coworkers invited me to a 320 Passion Conference for teens and young adults at Glad Tidings Church.  I brought two teens from my conservative Baptist church, and they left that night on fire for Jesus.  You could feel the presence of God in the church and in the people.
     I ran into Jenny who is one of our most faithful kitchen volunteers, and she had brought some men from Open Door Mission to the conference.  Jenny shared with me that a couple of these men went up and got saved!  Praise the Lord!  Jenny was crying with joy, and it was very touching to see.
     God is good, and I just had to share.

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

02 March 2016

God is Proud of Me

     One of our WorkNet Program graduates, Jason, recently accepted a job as Activity Manager at a senior center.  Jason feels God is calling him to work with people, making this a great opportunity for him!
     I spoke to him a little at lunch.  He had called me over to his table to tell me the good news, and he was so proud of himself.  This wasn’t toxic pride, but the glow of knowing God is proud of him.  Jason was proud because he was following his heart where he felt the Lord was leading him instead of chasing money or notoriety.
     It was very humbling to see his joy and hear his infectious speech.  It appears to me, that he continues to be changed daily.  I hope and pray that Jason continues on the awesome path that God is laying out before him.

Jennifer VanLaningham
Administrative Assistant

01 March 2016

The Story of Patrick...Part 2

     Patrick returned again, and this time he was belligerent.  He was muttering under his breath, and making all of us at the store nervous.  Also shopping in the Center was a woman and her children, so we did not feel comfortable with Patrick being around them.  My director took action, and with the help of a volunteer, compelled him to leave. He resisted, but eventually left.
     That was one of our moments since opening the Family Outreach Center.
     A couple of weeks ago, Patrick came in again.  He was looking for some dress clothes.  I was the only staff working at the time, which put me on guard, watching as he walked around the Center.  But then Patrick asked me for advice about what might match, and my heart softened.  He had picked a pair of pants, and I was able to help him find a nice shirt to go along with it.
     I asked Patrick what the suit was for, and he admitted that he had a court appearance the next day for possession of drugs.  He didn't know how he was even going to get to the courthouse.  As we talked further, Patrick apologized for his behavior the last time he had visited.  His humility opened the door for me to pray for him, for the whole situation. 
     Praise God for the way He changes hearts and minds.  Although this story doesn’t have a happy ending, I know there’s still more to come in Patrick’s story.  God is working on His heart.  Please don't forget to pray for Patrick, wherever he might be. 

John Michael Den Hartog
Homeless Prevention Manager