29 July 2016

Powerful Lyrics

     There are so many good Christian songs with powerful lyrics available to listen to nowadays.  Sometimes I find myself tuning out the words, but it’s worthwhile to actually listen to these songs once in a while.  To pause and let the words wash over you.
     We sang this one in church a couple of weeks ago, but it has stuck with me.  It brought me back to a simple, basic thought.  I encourage you to read the lyrics, and let their truth sink in.

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
Everything to God in prayer.

Janet Henderson

28 July 2016

Lemonade Stand

     These girls are Ellie and Layla.  They heard about Open Door Mission’s urgent need for bottled water during the hottest days of the year, and decided to make a difference.
     So with a little help, they built a lemonade stand to raise money.  All money raised was used to buy bottled water for Open Door Mission, which funded 30 cases of water!  Way to Beat the Heat!
     This shows how each person can help the hungry and homeless in his or her community, no matter how young!  Thank you, Ellie and Layla, for reminding us of this!

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

27 July 2016

What am I Passionate About?...Part 2

Continued from yesterday, 7/26.

     We need each other.  We can't get through this life alone.  Sometimes we believe the lie that we don’t need others, but the truth is that we need to spur on one another toward love!  God made us for each other.  Yes, it's messy.  It's not perfect.  But it's so beautiful and filled of GRACE and MERCY.  That points us to Jesus every time.
     I am reminded of Paul and his attitude:
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! –Acts 28:30-31
     I love Paul's boldness and perseverance.  I want to be like Paul, pointing others to Jesus every chance I get.  We don't proclaim the Kingdom of God to others to get glory.  We win others to Christ, so God gets all the glory.  Our actions, attitude, character, and words show the world that although we live in the world, but we are not of the world!  Because when God gets the glory, we see hearts changed, beating only for Jesus!
     I am encouraged, through the sadness and brokenness, that we can change the world just by pointing others to our passion for Jesus!  We can be/are the light! 

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

26 July 2016

What am I Passionate About?...Part 1

     After I finished my workout this past weekend, I was getting ready to leave when one of the gym employees said, "Miss!  Miss!  Wait!"  He ran over to give me a free seven-day pass to invite a friend in hopes that the friend would join the gym as well.
     His excitement and passion about me inviting someone and possibly joining the gym was infectious.
     As I walked out of the gym, I couldn’t help but think, “Am I this passionate about Christ?  About sharing how amazing Christ is in hopes of winning more to the Kingdom?”
     The truth is that at times I could be better about boldly sharing my faith with others.  It then brings the question, what is my passion?  Is it the Lord Jesus Christ?  We are all passionate about something, and it comes out in what we tell people in conversations.  Do we bring up the latest movie released, the newest restaurant, or what Jesus has been doing in our lives?  God’s will is not that we keep our faith secret and private!
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  –Hebrews 10:24-25

     To be continued tomorrow, 7/27.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

25 July 2016

Angels From God

     "You are such a blessing to us who find ourselves living on the streets,”  said a man who was sitting on the corner of a building.  He had nothing but the clothes on his back and an empty cup.  “You are like angels sent from God to look over us."
     We were able to give this sweet man some lunches, bottled water, hygiene items, and a pair of shoes that we had in the van.  He smiled with gratitude and allowed one of our volunteers to pray with him.
     You see, to us it may be just a few items in a bag, a cold water, and a smile.  But to the people on the streets that we serve, these items are much more than that.  To this gentleman, it was a sign from God that he is loved and cherished. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

22 July 2016

Jesus is...

     As I work full time in ministry, here is what I am reminded of about Jesus:

Jesus is know as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53)
Jesus is known for his calmness (Mark 4:38)
Jesus is known for his compassion (John 8:11)
Jesus invites people into his family (Matthew 12:49)
Jesus is gentle (Mark 10:16)
Jesus is loving (John 13:34)
Jesus is empowering (Matthew 28:18)
Jesus is emotionally invested in his calling (Luke 22:44)
Jesus is forgiving (Luke 23:34)

     We are called to be like JESUS, so that others can see JESUS, so that others will know JESUS!  Because we are promised that we will be like Him (John 14:20).     I hope you revel in your journey! 

Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director

21 July 2016

Whose You Are

     Recently I found this quote by one of my favorite authors, Lysa TerKeurst.  She says, "Each day, let God whisper into your heart the truth of who you are - and Whose you are.  Filter the opinions of others through the reality that just because they think it, doesn't make it true.  Be brave enough to accept the negative feedback as a possible call to action, BUT not a definition of your identity.”
     There is no shortage of prayer requests at Open Door Mission this week.  The heat, the health of several friends, the state of unrest and violence in our country and world…the list is long.
     But the list of praises is equally valuable.  We are grateful for a successful Christmas In July event, baptisms, available water and boxed fans to give out, and so much more.
     So may we focus on the truth, aim to grow, and never stop praying.

Candace Gregory

20 July 2016

Watering the Seed

     Last week I met Bob at the Council Bluffs Family Outreach/Donation Center.  He lives at another shelter in Council Bluffs.  He has no family connections, and was just diagnosed with stage four bone cancer and given only five months to live.  Chemotherapy is not an option.
     Open Door Mission family, will you please pray for Bob?  He allowed me to pray for him after he shared his story, and I shared about God’s love and plan for his eternity.  Through tears, he told me, “I never knew He loved me like that.”
     Not ready to receive Jesus yet, Bob left with a seed planted in his heart.  I know our prayers can water that seed so that the appointed time will come, and someone will lead him into the Kingdom.  Let’s join together in agreement!

Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Manager

19 July 2016

Christmas in July

     God is SO GOOD to us at Open Door Mission!  This past week, we had several issues with our website this week, making it difficult for volunteers to sign up for our Christmas in July event this last Saturday.  But we were able to plug the need on social media and on KFAB, which was such a blessing.
     After all of that, we ended up with close to 300 volunteers!  The members of the community who came were blessed with lots of items for their homes along, some awesome and warm letterman jackets, and so much more.
     And of course behind the scenes of this big event were many faithful and hardworking staff members.  It takes so much coordinating and teamwork to have a successful event like this, and we would not have pulled it off without many staff members’ leadership and diligence.
     So THANK YOU to the following departments: Receiving Area, Timberlake Outreach Center, Kitchen/Hospitality, Program, Leadership, Volunteer, Development, and IT!  I just wanted to say that God is amazing and puts people right where He wants them.  I am thankful to be a part of the Open Door Mission team and all that is happening here!

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

18 July 2016

CHI Health Fair

     I want to send out a special, “Thank you!” to all of the CHI nurses and Healthcare Professionals who came this weekend to help put on the most fabulous health fair!  We had guests from all of Open Door Mission’s programs, as well as people from the community come in and take part in health fair.  They all received valuable information and training as to how to stay healthy and how to keep their children healthy!
     We could not have held this event without the wonderful team at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center helping to set up and take down.  So thank you to them as well!
     Before they headed out, CHI donated several cases of water, packs of new underwear, packs of new socks, and several blood sugar meters.  They are truly a blessing.

Kate Fischer
Free Health & Healing Clinic Director

15 July 2016

Dangerous Temperatures

     The heat waves that land in our area can be terrifying.  Some days by noon, it feels like 108 degrees outside, lasting well into the evening.  Other days it can reach 100 degrees by 10:00 a.m.
     My heart is heavy for the mentally ill and chemically addicted during these times.  This summer has been deadly to the homeless on the streets, already taking the lives of more than I can ever recall.  Pray for those lost souls.  I am grateful that our Men’s Ministry staff have been trained on how to help the dehydrated homeless found on the streets.  They have prepared for such times as these.
     I am also grateful for the air conditioning, bottled water, and cool showers we have available for all homeless men, women, and children who enter, seeking shelter from the heat.
     Remember this in all situations:
Be Jesus,
So others can see Jesus,
So others will want to KNOW Jesus!

Candace Gregory

14 July 2016

Started With a Sack Lunch and a Smile

     I know that the question, "What is happening in our Streets of Omaha Program?" has been in some of your minds.  So I would like to take this time to give you some Streets of Omaha Intel. 
     God is really doing some amazing things on the streets of Omaha.  I wanted to take this time to share one specific story with you, even though there are many more that I could share.
     It was a hot Omaha day and David, like many of our street friends, was hot, tired, and hungry.  We saw him sleeping on the sidewalk two weeks ago.  I was setting a bottle of water down next to his back pack and he opened his eyes and looked relieved!  The volunteer with me and I spoke with him for a while.
     David is not from Omaha, so he had never heard about the Mission before. I told him that he is more than welcome to come be our guest.  We told him about how important he was to God.  We gave him a lunch, some bottles of water, and the phone number for the Garland Thompson Men’s Center.  I told him to call us when he was ready to make the choice to find shelter, a hug, and a prayer.  We told him when and where Open Door Mission Shuttle Van stops several times a day.
     Just as we prayed, David made his way to the Mission’s doors a couple of days later.  To him, it wasn't just a lunch.  To David, coming to Open Door Mission was much, much more—it was a fresh start.  When I saw him that day, he came up to me and gave me a big hug. He thanked me for taking time to speak with him, asking that I pass along thanks to our volunteer.  I told him that it wasn't us, but God who sought him out, Who loves him so much more then he could ever imagine.
  David told me about how the Men’s Center staff welcomed him and treated him with kindness.  He said he felt listened to and cared for.  He looked happy, rested, and safe.
     This is just one story of what is happening in our Streets of Omaha Program.  God is moving in a mighty way here at the Mission!!
  To think that for David, lasting change all started with a sack lunch and a smile.  God is GOOD!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

13 July 2016

His Daughter

     When I pray every morning, I always ask God to help lead me to be a better wife, mother, and friend.  Lately though, I’ve been feeling as though I have plateaued in my walk with Christ.  It is as though I am at a standstill, so I started searching for answers by reading lots of books.  I’ve tried Girls with Swords and now I am on Lioness Arises.
     After reading last night, it hit me: I am not going to God with the right words.  Yes, it is very important to be a Godly mother, wife, and friend.  But above all of that, first and foremost, I am His daughter.  I had forgotten that, and it lead me to start thinking of what it means to be truly be a "daughter."
     A good daughter is loyal, unconditionally loving, a servant who honors His plan, and protected.  I have plateaued because I do what I think He wants me to do, and am not always listening to what His plan is.  It is very easy to forget that our lives should be all for Him.  Everything is to glorify Him.
     We all have struggles, we are all a mess, no matter how well put together we may seem on the surface.  Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it is not there.  That is why we have our testimonies, to remind others that yes, I have been there, done that, and I survived.  So will you, because you are His daughter or son, and He wants to protect you.

Corey Jordan
Development Associate

12 July 2016

Making a Difference

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
–Philippians 2:1-4
     At church on Sunday, my pastor preached about when Jesus was here, He left the world better than He found it.  It really convicted me and made me think, “Am I leaving the world better than I found it?  At work, at home, and in the community?  How can I do this better and follow in the footsteps of Jesus?  How can I serve others and humble myself more?”
     These are just some thoughts that have been in my mind recently.  It is important to be conscious of these questions, because making a difference like Jesus did doesn’t happen on accident.  It is the result of much care, attention, and intentionality.
     Open Door Mission is a special place as it's the only place I've worked where I have coworkers who genuinely want to serve each other.  What a blessing!  Let's continue to keep our eyes open to make this world better and better each day.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

08 July 2016

Sunday Morning Devos

     Every Sunday morning, I lead a devotional with the men in the Emergency Services at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center.  The guys are calling it my ten minute devotional because "it heats up fast!"  We usually have good attendance, good attention, and good responses.  Below is a sample of one of my recent devotions, focused on the story of Zacchaeus:

Luke 19:1-10
     Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.  There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. (Romans allowed him to add whatever fee he chose)
     He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short (we are all deficient in some way) to see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.  (INVENTIVE- made an effort.)
     When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. (HE KNOWS YOUR NAME!) “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” JESUS INITIATES RELATIONSHIP with us!
     Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.  But the people were displeased.  “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.  (JUDGMENT. JESUS LOVES ALL SINNERS, NOT JUST THE ONES YOU LIKE!)
     Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”   (WHY THIS CHANGE OF HEART?  REACTION TO GRACE, GOD’S GENEROSITY!)
     Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”  (HOW WAS Z. LOST? WHAT HAPPENED AT LUNCH WITH JESUS? WHO IS LOST?)


     This is just an example of the truth we share with our residents.  Pray that these Bible studies and words from the Lord would never fall on deaf ears, but rather convict, encourage, and transform these men’s hearts.

Jim Settle
Case Manager

07 July 2016

Tender to the Gospel

     During shift change a week or so ago at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center, I was informed of an argument between a husband and wife earlier in the day.
     So my coworker and I called the husband to the intake office to talk with him about it.  It did not take long to see this man was very tender for the Gospel.  His family’s stressful situation was the main root of their argument.
     I was able to share Romans 5:1-5 with him, and transitioned to his personal need to have Christ in his heart.  He admitted to knowing about Jesus, but not knowing Jesus in his heart.  We all prayed together, and this man left our conversation with assurance of his salvation and hope for his family!
     Please keep this man and his family in your prayers.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  –Romans 5:1-5

Greg Johnston
Intake/Case Manager

06 July 2016

I Have to Let You do It

     I was privileged to watch something amazing happen.  God is on the move.  One of my tenants has been wavering in his faith.  He has gone from not ever wanting to go to church to considering it.
     Recently I asked him, “Would you be willing to go to church if you have transportation?”  He replied, “Let me think about it and I'll get back to you.”
     A couple of days later, this tenant went to the grocery store and returned saying, “I have to tell you something amazing that happened!  I was getting ready to pay my groceries with my food stamp card, but the cashier told me there was no money on it.  I started to pull out my credit card to pay for the groceries when the lady behind me said, ‘Sir, I would like to pay for your groceries.’  ‘I have to let you do it,’ I said.  Afterwards, I asked if I could give her a hug and she agreed.”
     After he had finished telling this story, I asked, “Do you think this is God seeking you out?”  He said, “Yes, I think it was from God.  What is so amazing is that God knew exactly where I would be at that time.  It's so amazing! “
     Here is someone whose heart was turned away to the point of refusing to talk about Jesus.  Now, he is literally praising the Lord!  God works, prayer works.  At times we see baby steps only, but let's praise God for the baby steps too!
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.  –Isaiah 61:1
     We are placed here for a purpose and that is to share the GOSPEL.  Let's live that out in our words and actions.  God is on the move for eternity.  Let's proclaim the good news to the poor!  Be encouraged, friends!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

05 July 2016

Balloon Release

     I teach a class for the Lydia House women in the New Life Recovery Program.  Recently we did an object lesson, where the ladies wrote things they wanted to make peace with on little sheets of paper.  These papers were stuffed inside lots of balloons, which we blew up, and then released in the wind.
     We said the Serenity Prayer as they were released.  Praying that this symbolic gesture will grant peace to many of these women.

Tina Murray
Case Manager

01 July 2016

Praises From the Warehouse

     For those who may not know, Open Door Mission has a large warehouse to store canned food, food pantry boxes, blankets, and other supplies until they are needed.  Party of my job is to ensure we have accurate inventory in the warehouse, so that we know what our urgent needs are (currently it’s water!).
     So I, being a nerd, prayed for a tablet to be donated that we could use to help streamline the warehouse inventory process.
     The Lord's timing is so good in all circumstances!  Shortly after the IT Department was able to figure out how to get WiFi in the steel trap called the warehouse, we received the donation of a brand new (older model) tablet.  Despite its age, we were able to upload our program, and my staff is currently using it to update the inventory!
     By streamlining this process, we save on time and resources, both of which can be put to better use.  Not to mention, our inventory is more accurate than ever, helping us be better stewards of all Open Door Mission’s supplies.  What a blessing!

Joshua Smith
Gift In Kind Director