27 May 2016

Another Chance at Lasting Change...Part 2

     So he tried to be "smarter" about his drinking, but the problem was still growing.  One day seven years later, while driving home from work with an open beer in his cup holder, Eric got in a terrible accident.
     He crossed the freeway barrier and t-boned another car.  His car was completed totaled, but the others were okay and all Eric received was a busted lip.  When he came to, Eric’s first thought was, “Where’s my beer?”  It was time for a change.
     They took Eric to county jail where within two weeks he received divorce papers from his wife.  In a flash he had lost everything:  his wife, job, car, respect of his community.  Everything was taken away, and Eric realized he was doing something wrong.
     The judge sentenced Eric to 3-5 years for his DUIs, saying, “I’m sending you to get help.”  In prison Eric attended a substance abuse class, which is when he first let the Lord into his life.  Now that he was sober, he could think clearly about what matters most in life.  So when Eric was released on parole, he chose to move to Open Door Mission.
     It was there that he really let God take control.  Eric joined the Journey to Work Program, and really appreciates the honesty of the Bible-based program.  “It’s not easy, but you can be real here,” said Eric.  “Because everyone else will be real too.  The staff are really here to help, and they don’t let you fake your way through things.”
     Eric is set to end his parole in June and graduate in July.  He feels God is calling him to return to school to become an abuse counselor.  After his second chance, he is following God’s will to give back.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

26 May 2016

Another Chance for Lasting Change...Part 1

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.  "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  --Jeremiah 29:11

     When Eric saw these words written on the walls of Open Door Mission’s dining room, he literally said aloud, “Really?”  As he re-thought his life, it was undeniable that God did have a plan for him.  It was there in that dining room that Eric told the Lord, “Let’s go with Your way because my way has only lead to ground zero.”  He hasn’t looked back since.
     Eric grew up in Philadelphia, with a mother and an absent, abusive father.  As soon as he graduated high school, Eric joined the Military.  There he served for six years, working in Artillery with the big cannons.  This was a valuable experience, and Eric says it was a mistake to leave so early on.
     “The Military taught me a lot about getting along with people, about other races.  There’s only one color in the Army—green…It was also my first experience learning that there are good and bad people everywhere, no matter what country and what race.”
     After returning home to Pennsylvania, Eric soon moved to Omaha to visit a friend.  Although Eric was taking care of his responsibilities, he began drinking more and more.  That was when Eric received his first DUI, then his second a couple of years later.

Read the rest of Eric's story tomorrow...

Beatrice Jones
Marketing Coordinator

25 May 2016

Power of a Testimony...Part 3

     Please read the rest of Shawn’s testimony.  He has some real nuggets of truth!

In summary, I have been doing great since I came to Open Door Mission, and I am very thankful for everything that they have done for me.  I have been here for five months, having come straight out of prison.  I believe strongly that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I am doing great on parole.  My parole officer actually likes me and is very proud that I am about to graduate the Journey to Work Program.
I have realized the things that are most important in my life now, and that is having God and my family present in my life.  I also want to be a good father and find the best employment opportunities to take care of my family.  I never want to sell myself short again.  I want to be the best I can be in every way possible.  I really hope that you know you have been a blessing in my life.  Thank you.

     What a story!  It truly is a blessing to know that his young man is reaching out to his family, with aspirations to positively impact their lives for the Lord.  God is good!

Candace Gregory

24 May 2016

Power of a Testimony...Part 2

     Yesterday, I shared a testimony a recent graduate had sent me.  Today, I’d like to share a testimony from someone currently in Open Door Mission’s Journey to Work Program.  May his story inspire you!

My name is Shawn and I am writing this letter to thank all staff, donors, and volunteers at Open Door Mission.  I am thankful for everything that the Mission has done thus far to help me rebuild my life, allowing me to continue to reconnect with my family.
I am currently employed party time, and am very lucky that my boss is willing to take me to and from work.  My brother is offering me another great job landscaping as soon as I have a car and license, and I would really like to pursue this.  Landscaping is something I really enjoy and am becoming very passionate about.
I have a father that lives about 40 minutes away.  I haven’t spent a lot of time with him throughout my life, but we are really starting to connect now.  I really value the relationship that we are building.  I take my son out to see his grandpa as much as I can.  My dad is in his sixties and really appreciates when I can come out on the weekends and help with some of the upkeep on his farm and properties.

     Read tomorrow to hear the rest of Shawn’s powerful testimony!

Candace Gregory

23 May 2016

Power of a Testimony...Part 1

     Every once in a while, I’ll get a note testifying to lasting change a man or woman has received through Open Door Mission.  These touch my heart, they keep me going.  I wanted to share this one with you.  It is a note of gratitude from a past graduate, named Kevin.

I am writing you as a graduate of the New Life Recovery Program.  I am grateful for everything Open Door Mission has provided me: a safe place to live free of drugs and alcohol.  Being at the Mission taught me to love God, that God loves me, and to love my fellow man.  I thank all staff, volunteers, and donors for this.
Recently I have gained part time employment, able to work 20 hours a week.  I have been offered other employment at two other companies, and I’m excited to see where God takes me.  My prayer is that I can continue my growth as a Christian man and be a productive member of society.
Thank you again for this incredible second chance, and God bless you all.

     What a blessing this testimony is!  Never hesitate to share the story of God’s moving in your life.

Candace Gregory

20 May 2016

God Bless This Marriage

     Recent graduate Dean has been with his significant other for twelve years.  We talked in case management about honoring God, and one day I posed this question to him: "When are you going to marry her and make it right in the eyes of God?”
     Apparently God used our conversation to bring conviction, and a desire to make Dean’s relationship right.  He saved up, bought an engagement ring, and before his graduation they were united in marriage.
     My prayer is that God may bless this marriage, and the steps Dean took to honor Him.

Russell Janssen
Case Manager

19 May 2016

The Lovely Ladies of the Lydia House

     Just a quick update on our Mother’s Day celebration last week!  It was an awesome morning with so many friends.  For me, it is always an honor to share from God's Word, and I shared on God's love for us.  I also ministered in music with two of my mum’s favorite songs, She Loved and Handful of Weeds.
     God is so good!  More than twelve ladies asked for prayer for strength to live for the Lord and to say NO to Satan's temptations.  Eight ladies accepted Christ as their Savior!  Please pray for our lovely ladies of Lydia House, that they will seek God for HE has the best for us.  Let them not settle for Satan's sloppy seconds in life.
     Thank you for all of your prayers!

Candace Gregory

18 May 2016

Working as a Team

     Last week, I was overwhelmed by how much the Open Door Mission family works as a team.
     78 sixth grade students, their three teachers, and four parents came to see Open Door Mission.  Thanks to Travis in the IT Department, they were able to watch a video about the Mission in the chapel.  Thanks to the Hospitality Department, they had a lunch that many declared as being “the best.”
     These are children from a school that is considered high risk, inner city.  One young man told me, “Thank you, I haven’t been this full of food in a long time.”  The teachers said that for many of the children, it was like a holiday meal for them.
     Thanks to the men who stayed after their meal to talk to, engage with, and smile at the kids, they felt so welcomed.  I am especially grateful for Johnathan who drew pictures for the kids.  He also took time to talk one-on-three with some boys that needed to hear about the importance of education.
     Thanks to Rachel who spoke to the kids at Lydia House, they were able to understand some hard facts about being a homeless kid.  And thanks to Alexandria, who helped me split the kids into two groups, we were able to give them a whirlwind tour before the buses came.
     So many of the kids talked about how Open Door Mission wasn’t what they thought it was going to be.  Some children asked if it was really true that you didn’t have to live at the Mission to get clothes or food (all the bread impressed them).  Many asked how old they had to be to volunteer or would it be okay to tell other people about us.
     It was only because of so many people coming together that these kids’ eyes were opened to the truth at Open Door Mission.  These are the people I am privileged to interact with regularly, but only because all of you work hard every day changing lives.  Thank you!

Maggie Cope
Community Relations Coordinator

17 May 2016

KFAB Kids to Kamp Radiothon!

     Today is the KFAB Kids to Kamp Radiothon from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.!  So, tune into 1110 AM or www.kfab.com to hear heartwarming updates of our homeless children's plans for summer.
     Thanks to you, these darling sweethearts are going to Kids to Kamp. You can make a difference TODAY!  For only $49.00, a homeless child can go fishing, swimming, do arts and crafts, feel God's love, and so much more this summer.
     We have at least 72 homeless children waiting to be sponsored for a week of Kamp, so please call 402-898-4673 or visit www.kfab.com today!  Listen for match money throughout the day, which would DOUBLE your gift!  So $49.00 for one homeless child to go to Kids to Kamp is really two.
     Please pray that we match every dollar so our Lydia House children can have an awesome summer.  God bless!

Candace Gregory

13 May 2016

On the Streets...Part 2

     Then Tabitha said, "Jessica, I used to be the one eating off of vans delivering food, and now God is using me to bring hope to people that have been where I have been.”
     I could see tears forming in her eyes and she became silent (if you know Tabitha, silence from her is a rare thing).  God was speaking to her heart at that moment.  You could tell at that moment God was showing her how much he loves her!
     I stopped the van, grabbed their hands, and we prayed.  We thanked God for His grace, His love, His acceptance of us, His love for us, and for changing us with his Love!  We thanked Him for the opportunity to be His hands and feet. 
     Today I was blessed!  Blessed to experience not only people on the streets lives being touched, but to see the lives of two women here at the Lydia house whose lives are being transformed.  Hope for lasting change!
     These women were shown that God uses our mess for greatness, if we let Him.  God transforms the willing and He will continue to work in these two ladies’ lives because with willing hearts they pleaded today, "God use us."  WOW! 
     As we got out of the van at the end of the day, they hugged me and said, “We are willing to help whenever you need someone!”  On top of all of these blessings, I got to see their servants’ hearts!  Thank you, Jesus, for Your out pouring of LOVE!
     I hope this blesses all of you as much as it has blessed me!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

12 May 2016

On the Streets...Part 1

     I wanted to share a God-sized story with you all in hopes that it will bless you as it did me!
     Without a doubt I know that Leanne and Tabitha were hand-picked by God to go on Streets of Omaha today.  Not only did these ladies completely shine the love of Jesus to everyone they encountered, but they felt the presence of the Lord in their lives through this experience.
     Leanne happened to be from the area we delivered lunches to, and she told me how she felt that God had brought her here today to remind her of all He has done in her life.  She said, "I was arrested right here."  And God was moving as a man in that same area she had pointed to flagged us down to ask for a sack lunch.  I should mention that in all the months that I have done Streets of Omaha, I have never seen anyone outside this building or even walking down this street!  This meant so much to Leanne.  She saw the mess she once was in, and then felt the presence of God changing her.  As she handed the man his sack lunch, he smiled and said, “God be with you.” 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

11 May 2016

Be Ready for What You Ask God For

     This morning as we opened the Council Bluffs Outreach/Donation Center, Phil and I were asking our Father for people to encourage and give hope to.  Shortly after this prayer, we saw Him at work.
     A young man was waiting at our front door so we invited him in.  Right behind him stood two other young men.  I asked the first man what we could assist him with, and he said he wants to get off the streets and have his life back.  I asked him if he knew about Open Door Mission, and then the two other men stepped into our conversation.  They had both been part of the recovery programs at the Mission and spoke about what a great place it was.  Both men explained that they were now sober and had gotten their lives back through the help of Open Door Mission. They told him it would be the best decision he could ever make.  They also warned that the program won’t be easy, but it’s worth it!
     He is now being picked up by our van to start fresh in Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program.
     Pray for Jeff as he is weary and tired but ready to have his relationship with God back on track and his life on a new path to freedom.  Isn't God AMAZING ?  He hears our prayers!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

10 May 2016

8.5 Miles in the Rain

     I was following up with a gentleman that leads Chapel monthly, and his e-mail response warmed my heart.  Praise God for faithful volunteers that partner with us to Change Lives--all for the Glory of God!

     Dear Amy: Greetings in the Lord,
     Thanks for the follow-up.  We had a very nice chapel service.  About seven people came to pray with our prayer coworkers at the end of service.  One of them asked to be baptized, so I referred him to Glad Tidings Church where a baptism service was being held that next Sunday.
     He rode his bike early in the morning (8.5 miles in rain), arrived by 8 a.m., attended a baptismal class with the pastors there, and was baptized at around 10 a.m.  He plans to keep coming every Sunday, and even join a small group. Praise the Lord!!!

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

09 May 2016

Best Kind of Report

     There is nothing better for me than to hear these kind of reports from the community.
 A bonus is when a radio personality gets treated so well by a staff member that they talk about Open Door Mission, our ministry, and how awesome our team is during their radio show all day!  WAHOO—this shout out is for Jesse!

Hey Candace!  I wanted you to know that I dropped off 82 pounds of girls’ clothes, board games, and linens yesterday at the Elkhorn Outreach/Donation Center.  I have to tell you that the staff member there, Jesse, was AWESOME!  I pulled up at 5:33 p.m. and I figured it was closed, but then the door opened and Jesse came out to greet me with his big wagon.   He was so pleasant and friendly.
Then all of the sudden you see like three or four more cars coming up to the door.  He said, "Soooo...did y'all meet at the gas station and decide to come today?"  Hilarious!  He was so pleasant and so appreciative of all of our donations.  Great guy!  Thought I'd let you know.

     I am thanking God for the staff members He has blessed us with, especially for Jesse!  Thank you to all of you for being Christ to our donors, volunteers, and guests.

Candace Gregory

05 May 2016

Lifting up my Prayers

     I wanted to share a snippet of my prayer life with you all.  In the evening, I pray for Open Door Mission staff, guests, donors, volunteers, and friends.  I start the morning that way, too!
     I pray for our Graduation Ceremonies, that they reflect the power and healing of God's work at Open Door Mission.  May HE be glorified as testimonies are shared.
     I pray for even the smallest of details that Open Door Mission staff take care of, from AV to thank you letters, to peeling potatoes.
     I pray for each of the students in our life-changing programs, that God will give them comfort, peace, and strength to continue through until Graduation.
     I pray for any who come to Open Door Mission (guests, donors, and volunteers alike) that may not know Christ as their Savior, that their eyes and ears would be opened, and that their hearts may be softened to acknowledge the need for Jesus in their lives.

Candace Gregory

04 May 2016

Middle Years Programme

     My niece Bailey has come several times to volunteer at Open Door Mission.  She chose to focus on Open Door Mission for her International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) Personal Project at Millard North High School, and I wanted to share it with you all.
     The purpose was to inform people about the Mission through her art.  She also created a PowerPoint as part of this project.  I am so proud of her, and it was such an honor to know that volunteering at Open Door Mission inspired her to tell others about this ministry to our community.  

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

03 May 2016

Changing Lives

     God is changing LIVES!
     When our guests at Open Door Mission walk through our doors, the words I hear them use to describe themselves are, “Hurting…broken…abandoned…lonely… lost…burdened…forgotten…”
     But, when our program graduates walk across the stage in cap and gown at graduation, they are Loved!  Cherished!  Free!  Found!  Accomplished!  Determined!
     Our guests at Open Door Mission find hope and faith in Christ! I know we as staff are all proud of our graduates for their dedication and perseverance.  And I am blessed to be able to hear the testimonies of these changed lives and shake the hands of the graduates.  I know I am forever changed because of them!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

02 May 2016

Free of Charge!

     Often students in our life-changing programs share with me that they have tried other recovery programs and failed.  Sometimes they did not have the insurance or the cash to qualify for a recovery program.
     Praise God that Open Door Mission provides an incredibly successful, residential, Bible-based, 12 Step recovery program for our guests FREE OF CHARGE because of so many faithful supporters in the community.  People come to Open Door Mission because they are hungry for food, BUT they are Hungry for New Life, too!
     Thank you to all who allow these programs to exist—from donors to volunteers to staff to, of course, our Lord.  It’s exciting to see each day what God is doing in the lives of these men, women, and children.

Candace Gregory