31 October 2016

It's That Time of Year Again...Part 1

     Like most people, the holidays are my favorite time of the year!  Next week in the Lydia House we will once again put our "What are you thankful for?" box at the front desk.  Guests can put what they are grateful for in the box, and as staff we get to read these snippets and be inspired by the level of gratitude in our ladies!
     This morning I was talking to some of our Lydia House ladies, and the conversation turned to a discussion about the condition of our hearts.  I brought up this verse:
Above all else, Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  –Proverbs 4:23
     I told them that this does not mean to close off from other people, but to be aware of what we take in and who we allow to have our hearts.
     They talked in depth about what was in their heart, both good and bad.  I shared things that I myself have kept buried inside for years.  We all shed our fair amount of tears and when we were almost done I asked them to get a jump on this Thankful season and write down what they are grateful for.

To be continued tomorrow, 11/1.

Shelly McCullough
Day House Supervisor

28 October 2016

Wheels for Hope

     Did you know that Open Door Mission accepts donated vehicles?  When someone donates a vehicle, that person is providing a huge blessing for an Open Door Mission program graduate and their family!
     These photos are of two wonderful and hardworking ladies who recently received some wheels!  What a blessing!

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

27 October 2016

A Psalm A Day

     I have been reading a Psalm a day, along with my regular devotions, for several weeks now. Today, I was in Chapter 77 where the author wonders if God is still merciful and loving.  He even questions whether God is as compassionate as He once believed Him to be.  The author is in complete anguish, confused about why he is going through his trials.  Doubt is creeping in, and he wonders if God is changing.
     But then the Lord reminds him of the previous miracles and good works that He has done in this man’s life.  God lifts the author out of his doubt.
     So how can I apply this to my life today?  I am battling a cold, which turned into strep throat, and that turned into bronchitis.  God convicted me that I was burning the candle at both ends.  History always repeats itself when I get run down emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I need to trust God that HE has it under control—EVERYTHING.  I need to trust others whom God has entrusted, too.  Trust in God the one who promises to give us life abundantly.  Who is your trust in, today?
     As we go into the busy Holiday Season, do not let Satan distract you from the opportunity to share the Gospel with others.  BE Jesus, so others can SEE Jesus and want to KNOW Jesus.

Candace Gregory

26 October 2016

Microwave Message

     One of our Men’s Emergency Center staff members, Jim, does a wonderful job of connecting with the homeless men who come through the Mission’s doors.  He shares a wonderful, unintimidating "Microwave Message" devotional with these guys.
     In only 15 minutes, he shares a passage, asks questions, and invites questions.  By the end of those 15 minutes, these men are connecting the Word, Jim, and each other.
     Jim embodies what our ultimate goal at Open Door Mission is: Be Jesus, so people can See Jesus, so people can Know Jesus.

Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director

25 October 2016

And the Gold Ladle Goes To...

 This past weekend we had our Annual Ladle of Love event, and I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make it such a success!
     Alexandria and Rick helped to coordinate pickups, Josh and Scott helped haul tables, Pat and his team helped prepare the Dining Room, men and women in our programs helped bus tables, and the kitchen staff helped make sure all the soups were hot and ready to eat.  That’s not all!  I’m grateful for all staff that attended our event on their day off with their families!
     We had a record-breaking 27 soups from very generous chefs across the area.  The competition for the bronze, silver, and gold Ladle of Love Awards was fierce!
     If you were unable to attend this year, be sure not to miss this fun afternoon next year!

Victoria Leuthold
Director of Development

24 October 2016

HOPE for Lasting Change

     I had a gentleman come to the Men’s Emergency Center tonight who is originally from Council Bluffs.  He has quite a story of emotional abuse, and admitted that he had recently quit taking care of himself.  At that time did not want to live due to his home situation which was leaving him feeling worthless.
     It's always amazing to see how God can lead someone to the right place and right person at just the right time.  As he continued his story, the man talked about how he had visited the Council Bluffs Family Outreach/Donation Center, and that one particular staff member there was so kind to him.  He was amazed to be treated kindly, to receive free clothes and food, and to be treated like a person who matters.
     This encounter gave him the courage to come to Open Door Mission’s main campus, seeking lasting change.  At this time he, is considering joining the New Life Recovery Program to gain skills for getting out of and staying away from his current self-destructive lifestyle.  Please pray that he chooses to stay and that the Lord continues to work on his heart!

Daniel Jones
Intake Coordinator/Case Manager

21 October 2016

Mindy C. and her GED

     Please join me in congratulating Mindy for obtaining her GED!  She has worked hard on it since starting the New Life Recovery Program in February.  After months of preparation and studying, she took the last three tests (back to back, yesterday and today) and passed them all with amazing scores!
     Mindy was in the most recent Graduation Ceremony, with a GED certificate in one hand and a New Life Recovery Program certificate in the other!  Please keep her in your prayers for God's continued guidance in her life.  Thank you!

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

20 October 2016

Seeing More Clearly

     Dr. Matthew Taylor from Ideal Eye Care in Council Bluffs has been volunteering at Open Door Mission’s Free Health & Healing Clinic.  He works with our guests to help them see more clearly, and boy is it a blessing!  Dr. Taylor does an eye exam and gives them the prescription for their glasses.  Then, Prevent Blindness works with our guests to help them get their glasses.  It's a great partnership that helps our guests see clearer so they can SEE clearer. 
     Oh, and a side note: a couple of weeks ago, after spending the morning in the clinic, Dr. Taylor dashed out to the golf course for the A United Golf Tournament! What a guy!

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Free Health & Healing Clinic Director

19 October 2016

The Strength God Provides...Part 2

     We should also ask while serving, “Do I serve with the strength God provides?”  For if we serve out of our own strength, we will grow tired and weary, eventually burning out.  But if we serve with the strength God provides, we will be rejuvenated, refreshed, and pouring over with the love of Christ. 
     The overall theme I have learned is that living for the Lord requires a stance of humility.  I can say these verses, but if my heart is prideful, I am not apt to listen.  Conversely, if I humble myself and say, “Okay God: I humble myself because you know better,” then I will see God show up every time.
     My prayer is that in this approaching busy holiday season at Open Door Mission, our words be the words of God.  That we would make time and room for God!  That we would stop and praise the Lord, even if we have a to-do list a mile long.  That we would serve in God's strength.  That we would humble ourselves and say, “Lord, may You have Your way.  And would You help me to serve in Your strength, not my own! I need less of me, Lord.”
     I am praying that we would have testimonies to share with each other how God has shown up, and that we will point more people to Jesus in all situations!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

18 October 2016

The Strength God Provides...Part 1

     I was reading this last week and found it encouraging!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.  –1 Peter 4:10-11
     What stuck out in this passage to me is that we are to use whatever gifts we have received to serve others.  We should not envy gifts others have been given, but be grateful for those God has given us and grateful that they can be used to serve others.  Through this attitude, we are being faithful stewards!
     Also, verse 11 talks a lot about humility.  God calls us to humble ourselves and ask honestly, "Would our words be the words of God?"  Pray that we would speak the word of God.

To be continued tomorrow, 10/19.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

17 October 2016

Do not be Afraid

     As I walked to meet a man standing on the side of the road with a sign in his hand, something about his eyes touched my soul.  I could see brokenness, despair, and defeat in his eyes.
     A volunteer from Lifegate Church named Jim must have seen the same look.  He instantly gravitated to the man, and within minutes they had begun sharing stories of life together.  They soon came to find out that Jim and this man had similar stories.
     As Jim spoke with our new found friend, I could hear the compassion, understanding, and love in his voice.  I stood back and watched the two men converse for roughly thirty minutes.  Jim reached out his hand, asking if he could pray, and in response the men reached into his pocket and pulled out a medallion that said "Do not be afraid for I am with you always."  They both smiled and together we prayed. 
    The man told us that he knew God is always watching over him because whenever he reached a time in his life where he felt alone, God sent someone or something into his life as a reminder that he is never alone!
     As Jim and I walked back to the van, we prayed for our new friend again.  God has a perfect plan for this man.  We may not know what it is and we may never know or understand it.  But we will continue to be the facilitators of God’s grace and love.
     We would love to have you come and be a part of Open Door Mission’s Streets of Omaha team where you can share the healing love of Jesus to the broken. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

14 October 2016

Cooking With Marilyn

     A couple of evenings ago, a volunteer named Marilyn came to the Permanent Supportive Housing Building for a fun night!  She taught some of our tenants how to make an easy soup recipe, and afterwards we were all able to enjoy the finished product!
     Our volunteers are amazing at Open Door Mission!  It is so fun to have fellowship with others, learn something new, and see volunteers use their unique gifts to bless others.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

13 October 2016

Busy in Council Bluffs

     Recently I stopped by to visit Open Door Mission’s Council Bluffs Family Outreach & Donation Center and found a lot happening!  The parking lot was full, there were six needy families shopping for essentials inside, and there was a volunteer sorting through donations in the back.
     On top of all of that, our wonderful staff member Phil was helping several more ladies at the front desk, checking them in so that they could go shopping as well.  Way to go Phil!  What a blessing this is to see our newest Outreach Center so full of life, a vibrant place where the Gospel is being shared.

Steve Frazee
Senior Programs Director

12 October 2016

Nine Years...Part 2

     Every job at Open Door Mission is part of the hands and feet of Jesus.  Thank you to all staff members for your servant hearts, hard work, and love for Jesus and the Mission’s guests.  Open Door Mission is blessed to have YOU be a part of this amazing team.
     Thank you for being a part of my journey these past nine years.  If you have worked for one month or nine years, each one of you has been a blessing to me.  I am looking forward to what God has in store for us over the next nine years at the Mission.
     Let me say this: hold on to your hats because God is on the move!  Have you seen what He has done just in the years since I have been here?  This is just the beginning of what God is doing at Open Door Mission!
     This photo is a bit of Mission history.  During construction of the Permanent Supportive Housing Building, we had to walk through Fleet Pride’s back gate to get to the Administration Building.  It was during the rainy season, making the gravel road very muddy.  So I wore these cute boots almost every day!  Just a reminder of how much God has done. 

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

11 October 2016

Nine Years...Part 1

     I love this quote, "When God nudges our heart beyond what we can manage and manipulate on our own, we have an opportunity to act on the faith that we profess to believe.
     God can handle every situation we face.  He is the very essence and definition of what is good.  He will always do what is right and we can trust Him to ultimately not let us fall or fail.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  –Hebrews 11:6
     Nine years ago, I took a leap of faith.  I was asked to lie by my old employers, so I left my job without having another one.  But God provided for me.  He had a plan for me.  I doubted Him for months, but when I finally laid my life down at His feet in complete trust, He gave me a job in full time ministry.

To be continued tomorrow, 10/12.

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

10 October 2016

Ready for the Winter

     The weather hasn’t turned very cold yet.  Because of that, it would be easy for us as Open Door Mission staff to only think about what we need right now.  But, just as Joseph was placed by God in a position of power in Egypt to help save many lives during the unforeseen famine, God has used an AWESOME donor to drop off boots for this winter!
     Look at this photo!  It’s only one of several sections of boots.  Nearly all of these boots are new, sized together, paired, and organized neatly and ready for homeless men this winter.  To my knowledge, Open Door Mission has never had a blessing like this before the winter season even begins!
     I have seen sizes 9.5 to 13, but there are probably many more I haven’t seen yet.  Please lift up a praise to our God for covering us from HEAD TO TOE!  He always provides, and He sure is smart!

Taylor Clinch
Rebuilding Lives Center Director

07 October 2016

Vessel for the Lord

  Take a look at this beautiful sight!
  Jennifer, our Programs Administrative Assistant, was helping this young man who lives in Open Door Mission’s Permanent Supportive Housing building with his homework one night after work hours.  I hid around the corner listening to her speak patiently, calmly, and with so much love.
     It is such a joy to work in a place where we can just love on people.  Jennifer does that so well, and she is a perfect example of what it means to be a vessel for the Lord.  Despite the late hour and her pile of work, Jennifer took the time to just love on this young guy!
      Thank you Jennifer for being a great servant leader, and thank you to all other staff who love our guests so well!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

06 October 2016

Two Right Decisions

We must trust God's perfect timing!
     Recently, a gentleman who I’ve gotten to know during his time at Open Door Mission over the last two years has made two right decisions.
     First decision: to join our New Life Recovery Program and finally find lasting change.
     Second decision: even better than the first is that he decided to ask Christ into his heart!  Now he has begun a whole new life journey.
     Praise the Lord for His grace and how He waits patiently, so that "...none will perish, but all will come to repentance".
     It is hard to see a man come in for help and leave, multiple times.  But this moment we are in is not eternity.  The One who holds Eternity in His hand, also holds each of our guests.  In our frustration, God gives us patience in assuring that He knows the moment when each guest will be ready to step into life change.

David Eischeid
Discipleship Counselor

05 October 2016

Another Hire!

     WorkNet graduate Stacy was hired by a local motel chain!  She will start in the next few days.  Stacy is paroled here and will be returning to her hometown in November where she has been offered her old job back, but it’s exciting for her to be able to work until that time.
     Stacy has mentioned to me that she has built some great relationships during her stay at Open Door Mission, and is so grateful that our programs are Christ-centered.
     I'm happy for her and love to see in Stacy that what we do as a team, from floor support to senior leadership, has a positive effect on the people we serve!  Her life is forever changed since coming to Open Door Mission, praise God!

Gerry Ford
Worknet Director

04 October 2016

Little Lights of Christ

     Last week, Christ Community Church’s first through fifth grade students donated 260 pounds of bottled water and granola bars.  Each was hand-wrapped in memory verses, each verse picked for its message of hope and life.
     Thank you to Christ Community Church’s young students for their love and concern for homeless men, women, and children.  These granola bars and bottles of water will be handed out to people on the streets living in great darkness.  May each verse be a little light of Christ.

Jason Green
Director of IT and Facilities

03 October 2016

Prayer Request

     The Streets of Omaha team has been serving a young lady who lives on streets for a few weeks now.  Whenever our van encounters her, we hand out sack lunches and water, prayer for her, love on her, and make sure she knows that Open Door Mission is here for her when she is ready to come.
     This woman is also pregnant, and last week I was surprised to see her come into the Mission’s Free Health & Healing Clinic.  Apparently she has been having some difficulties in her pregnancy, and is worried about having a miscarriage.  She has never been to Open Door Mission before, or to any other for that matter, so this was a big step for her.
     The volunteers at the Clinic decided she should be taken to the hospital to get some much needed care.  Please pray for her and her child.
     Before they took her to the hospital, she said this to me, “I can't do this anymore.  I can't be homeless.  I need help."
     So also please praying she decides to stay at the Lydia House.  She seemed scared, but we know that she is in God’s hands. Please pray for this precious young girl.

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator