28 April 2017

I Serve Because I was Served

     Sometimes people ask why I work at Open Door Mission, and the answer is close to my heart.  I am blessed to have experienced both sides of Open Door Mission—as a guest and as a staff member—and I love both sides.  Words cannot explain the thankfulness that I have for the work that is accomplished at the Mission.  I believe that each staff member was handpicked by God for their position in their season.
     I have been given a new life and HOPE from the staff/volunteers to become a better person and to build a relationship with God.  That is something that was missing in my life before coming to Open Door Mission.  I came from generations of abuse, violence, alcoholism, addiction, and hopelessness.  I am absolutely certain that I would not be the person I am today without the guidance and love I received from the staff and volunteers while I was going through the program.  Even today, I am still encouraged by staff and volunteers!
     I will be celebrating five years of sobriety in June.  I have built a relationship with Jesus and He IS my Lord and Savior.  That is what has made the difference.
     I was brought back to Open Door Mission as a staff member to serve God and be His vessel to those who are still hurting and in conflict.  This could be answering a phone call, smiling at a person on campus, helping unload vehicles of donations, assisting someone with paperwork to move in, telling someone they are loved, or listening to the ladies in a small group.
     No matter what God calls me to, I know I work here for God’s purposes, not my own.  He gives me the strength to inspire hope in others I come into contact with.  He makes each divine meeting and hand picks people to be where He wants them.  
     I am eternally grateful for the staff, volunteers, and donors that make this place possible.  This is not just a job.  We are able to see life changing miracles all around us.  It is a privilege.  My coworkers and I are able to pray for and encourage each other.  I cannot begin to explain the blessing it is whenever I am about to pray to our Father with someone in need.  Guiding them towards a relationship with God and sharing my testimony of how He has made me a product of grace is wonderful.  
     I serve because I was served.

Cynthia Mier
Housing Admissions

27 April 2017

Congratulations are in Order

     Please join me in congratulating Lydia House guest Kelly on obtaining her GED!  Last Saturday she also graduated from the New Life Recovery Program AND walked the stage as a High School Graduate!
     She has worked very hard the past 8 months to get sober and make a lasting change in her life.  These accomplishments are well earned!  Kelly plans to start studying Medical Billing and Coding next semester at a local community college.
     Pray for her to have continued sobriety, boldness, and motivation.  And also pray for our other guests, that they may be inspired to make a lasting change in their lives as well!

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

26 April 2017

There's Love Here...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday, 4/25.

     “Because that process of jail, then a judge, then a different recovery program, then another arrest, then another hearing, finally brought me to Open Door Mission. And you know what made the difference?
    “There’s love here. But for the love of everyone here, especially Pat (Director of Men’s Emergency Services), I could have chosen to return to a life of addiction, poor choices, and the lack of character that nearly took me out in the first place.”
     Today, Matt is determined to pay it forward in love. He leads a Bible study. He’s a greeter at the church he attends. He has a special joy in encouraging youth to make decisions that honor God and build character.
     “Someone from church needs to do life with kids, so they understand that Jesus is present in every area of their lives. There needs to be someone who plays ball, or talks with them over a soft drink, or skips stones on the river – whatever – who shows them that inviting Jesus into everyday life is good stuff.”
     Your support of Open Door Mission has encouraged Matt to pursue a career in addiction counseling. “I’m a people person. The Mission helped me get into vocational rehab as well as The Urban Ministry Institute to pursue my degree in counseling.
     “There’s love here. I’m loveable now. And I love and help others. In return, that helps me.”
     Thank you for making it possible for Open Door Mission to help Matt.

Steve Wamberg
Director of Advancement

25 April 2017

There's Love Here...Part 1

     When you talk with Matt, you see a man at peace. He breathes evenly. His voice is steady. He almost glows when he mentions God and His faithfulness.
     It’s hard to believe that, seven months ago, Matt lost both parents in a three-week period. A recovering meth addict and a new Christian, Matt had come to Open Door Mission just one month earlier to continue his journey to recovery.
     “I was clean and, after 14 years of addiction of one kind or another, actually wanted to stay clean,” said Matt. “My parents gave me a good childhood. They did what they could to help me each and every step. I was the youngest of five kids, and had all the benefits of being youngest. It truly hurt to lose my mom and dad.
     “If there was any time I might have returned to life as an addict, that was it.”
     Matt has no complaints about his early life in northwest Missouri. His dad worked for IBM. His mom kept house. If he hadn’t tried alcohol in junior high, Matt might have a totally different story to tell.
     “I kept drinking from about age 12 on. I added weed as a habit in college,” said Matt. “Then I started on methamphetamines. It took me all those years being miserable to understand that God was really helping me out when I got busted.

To be continued Wednesday, 4/26

Steve Wamberg
Director of Advancement

24 April 2017

Love of Chocolate

     She walked to our van with her head held down.  One of our Streets of Omaha volunteers got down to her eye level and asked if she wanted a chocolate bunny.  Her head shot up and this sweet little girl said, "I am four!  I love chocolate!”
     We all smiled and gave her a chocolate bunny, and immediate she opened it.  Her eyes were glowing with pure excitement!  She asked us lots of questions and talked to us about her favorite things to do.  As we all loaded back in the van, having handed out sack lunches, bottled water, and chocolate to everyone in the area, she ran into one of our volunteers’ arms saying, “Thank you for my chocolate!”
     As we drove away, we could see her sit next to her mom on the front step of her house.  She waved to us as we drove away.  We left away feeling honored that we were able to meet her.  I hope she was able to get a glimpse of what the world should be like—people reaching out to others, smiles all around, lots of laughter, and new friends.  Today we made a new friend, and we are so thankful for that opportunity!
     Our Streets of Omaha volunteers make a difference in the lives of people every day!  The Streets of Omaha program is spreading the love of Jesus one sack lunch (and chocolate bunny) at a time!

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

21 April 2017

Impromptu Devotionals

     The other day I was walking from the Administration Building to the Timberlake Outreach Center.  When I entered the Receiving Area, I found a group of guys from the New Life Recovery Program standing outside in gorgeous spring sunshine.  They were circled around two of our staff members, Scott and Shawn.
     As edged a little closer to eavesdrop, I heard these men sharing from Galatians 5:13-17.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  –Galatians 5:13-17
     Scott and Shawn were willing to take time out of their busy work days to share encouraging truth with these men, to share wisdom God has granted them through their own experiences and trials.
     This is what I love about this place!  Thank you to all staff, volunteers, and donors who take the time to invest in our men, women, and children.

Joshua Smith
Gift in Kind Director

20 April 2017

Striving for Excellence

     Every day I get the opportunity to be an example at Open Door Mission by ministering to the men on campus.  Getting to know them and their story is such a blessing as this gives them a chance and an opportunity to open up, share their feelings, and, express what they want to accomplish while at the Mission.
     When I see them as we cross paths or when we have a face to face conversation, I see huge smiles or the tears of happiness as the men tell me how much they have grown in their faith.  I can tell they are finding what they have been searching for in their personal journey and just how much they feel loved and cared for by God.
     Watching the men strive for excellence in everything they do by putting their best foot forward is daily blessing.  What makes this extra meaningful is I teach a class for the men one day a week and lead morning devotions for the men one day a week.
     It doesn't stop there.  The program is a wonderful opportunity for men to get connected with God's word and how to make that positive change in their life that they have been longing for.  The New Life Recovery Program takes their journey with the Lord to the next level.  This program is a stepping stone for them to start being independent and back on track.
     Several of our men are looking forward to graduation which is this Saturday, April 22, at 10:00 a.m. at the Garland Thompson Men's Center, (2705 N 20th St E Omaha, NE).  Students graduate from the program when they have completed all requirements.  I see firsthand the positive changes in lives every day, and I know God is at the center of it all!  
     God is at work changing the lives of MANY men, women, and children at Open Door Mission!  I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful ministry. In Christ's Love, EVERYONE is SOMEONE!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

19 April 2017

Innovation and Competition

     As Gift in Kind Coordinator, I get to meet with many groups—ranging from businesses to churches to classes to Girl Scout troops to everything in between—who have decided to bless Open Door Mission with drives.
     I would like to share how a little ingenuity, compassion, and (of course) competition brings great blessing to Open Door Mission.  UBS Financial Services had total participation of their 40 employees in a team challenge that led to lots of fun and laughter.
     Team names were the No Namers, Comfort Collectors, Hot Buttered Leprechauns, and (the winners!) Gordo’s Do Gooders.  Together, UBS collected 7,763 personal care items for hungry and homeless men, women, and children at Open Door Mission!  They had to use chairs as carts as there was so much stuff.
     A big, “Thank you!” to UBS for their innovative way of supporting Open Door Mission!  How can your company, small group, class, or family make a difference?  Don’t be afraid to dream big and make it fun!

Click here for more information about drives.

Maggie Cope
Gift in Kind Coordinator

18 April 2017

LOOK...Part 2

     Annie F. Downs then discussed how there is a difference between having a personal relationship with Jesus and working for God in employment/vocation.  Sometimes from working in ministry we are too tired, too exhausted to spend time alone with God, just meditating on His word, reading the Bible, and hearing from Him.
     Sometimes it's easier for us to say, “I shared Bible verses, I shared the Gospel today, so I'm good.  I'm just too tired today God.”  Sometimes we wish we could hear from God, but just are too tired from the day to take any time to actually hear.
     What matters to God is that we spend time with Him.  We can come as we are, tired or fully energized, or in between.  Yes, we need to be obedient to do His will and for some that means full time ministry.  But if our relationship with God suffers, our ministry often suffers as well.
     Would you make it a priority to spend time with God and look for Him?  I don’t mean read just to get it done, but to actually look for God in scriptures, ask questions, study, and enjoy who He is.
     I have learned and will continue to learn that when I spend time alone with God, He shows up hugely in my ministry at Open Door Mission.  I don't seek out people, but God places people in my path and I share what He wants them to know.
     Would we be people who look for God in everything we do?  Would we LOOK for Him in our day to day life, in scripture, in what He does?  Would we be encouraged that if we have fallen short, that we can still come to God's feet?  Would we pray, "God help me look for You, help me see Your Word as living and active and I pray it would come alive in my life daily."
     God is so good because He is always looking for us, no matter where we are.  We matter, you and me because our God would leave the 99 just to find the 1.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

17 April 2017

LOOK...Part 1

     A couple of weeks ago I was able to hear Annie F. Downs, one of my favorite Christian authors, speak at Lifegate Church’s Brave Event (a women’s conference).
     She discussed the word LOOK in the Bible, explaining that it is an active word meaning attempting to find, seek. 
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.  Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  –Psalm 34:4-5
LOOK--Here we see that looking changes us.  When we LOOK to the Lord for help, will be radiant with joy.  It will change us internally and physically as it says no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized Him as He was breaking the bread.  And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” He said.  But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!  “Why are you frightened?” He asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?  Look at My hands. Look at My feet. You can see that it’s really Me. Touch Me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”  As He spoke, He showed them His hands and His feet.  –Luke 24:36-39
LOOK--Jesus is telling them to get active about believing that I am what I am.  Look for Jesus to be the savior that you needed.  He always shows up because He knows we are always looking!
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”  –Matthew 18:12-14
LOOK--Jesus looks for us.  He is looking for you!  He would forsake the 99 just for the 1.  We all matter!
To be continued Tuesday 4/18.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

13 April 2017

What Easter's All About

     This weekend we will celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead!
"Christ suffered for your sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit."  --1 Peter 3:18
     In this time leading up to Easter, please remember to pray for the homeless - that God would grab a hold of their hearts and bring them home. He loves them - every single man, woman, and child - enough to send His Son to die for them. Pray that more people than ever would find salvation in Jesus!

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

12 April 2017

Celebrate Recovery

     I take a group of guys to Celebrate Recovery at Sojourn Church in Council Bluffs on Thursday evenings.  One of the guys who comes is named Caleb.  He has been in and out of Open Door Mission’s programs a couple of times, but his addiction still had a hold of him.  This time it seems different, though.
     Last Thursday we had a good meeting, and on the way back we were talking about assurance of salvation.  Caleb had a number of things he knew he needed to get right with people.  I shared he did not have to clean up his life before he can have assurance with God.
     “Come by faith, just as you are,” I said.
     I shared the Gospel with Caleb right there in my truck, and he prayed to accept Christ.  Hallelujah!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

11 April 2017

The Next Best Right Step

     I would like to lift up in praise that out of our most recent group of WorkNet students, three students have full-time employment, one has part-time employment, two are continuing their education with a direct path to employment, and one plans to volunteer and improve their physical health.
     There are a few remaining members of this class seeking employment and direction for the next best right step on their path.  So please lift them up in prayer for God's providence and guidance in their search.

Daniel Anderson
WorkNet/Vocational Director

10 April 2017

The Blessing of a Car

     My name is Angela and I recently graduated from the New Life Recovery Program.  A week after graduation, the van I owned blew up and I had to sell it for scrap.
     I had put a lot of wear and tear on my van by giving rides to women and children at the Lydia House to and from doctor appointments, stores, and etc.  I wouldn’t change that for the word.  I love the families that I’ve met here and cherish the wonderful relationship I’ve had with them.
     Currently, I’m working a full time as a cashier in Council Bluffs, and it has been difficult getting to work without a car.  My goal is to return to school and finish my cosmetology license, but that wouldn’t be possible without my own vehicle.
     Then, last week, I was blessed with a car!  There were tears in my eyes as they handed me the keys to this blessing of a car.  I just want to say, “Thank you!” for all Open Door Mission and the Lydia House does!  You have put so many smiles on so many faces since I’ve been here.  What a blessing.

New Life Recovery Program Graduate

07 April 2017

Update on Jane Doe

     I have an update on Jane Doe!  A couple of days ago, she came to Open Door Mission for lunch.  Sarah and I were able to talk with her, and she told us that she wanted to stay at the Mission.  Jane was clearly very hungry and even got seconds of her meal.  We gave her many smiles and hugs to help her feel welcome here.
     When I asked her what happened at the hospital, she danced around the question.  I know that staff members took her to the hospital, but I asked her if she had stayed.  She lowered her head and said, “No.”
     Jane has many bruises on her face and neck.  Her voice is still very quiet and she has difficultly speaking.  She said I could go back to work as she finished eating and that she would let me know when she was ready to get checked into the Lydia House.  A couple of minutes later, I watched her go out the back door to catch the shuttle for downtown.
     Please pray for Jane.  She is seeking and knows she is safe at Open Door Mission.  She is afraid of the unknown however, and fear of the unknown is a tool used by Satan.  Pray that she feels the presence of our Lord working around her so she can find her way back to a place at the Lydia House.

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

06 April 2017

The Power of a Testimony

     This weekend, we had a memorial service for Gary, one of our guests who passed away suddenly.  Afterwards, one of the guys in the New Life Recovery Program came up to talk to me.  He said he did not usually get emotional at funerals, but there was something special about what he heard that day.
     He talked about wanting to get closer to God.  The more we talked, the clearer it became that this man was basing his closeness to God on what he needed to do rather than putting his faith, hope, and trust in what Jesus did for him.
     I shared four simple things with him: God is a holy God, man is wholly full of sin, one day we will all be judged, and that Jesus bore our judgement on the cross.  We discussed these things and he understood what I was saying.  He decided to put his faith, hope, and trust in the work of Jesus Christ.  After we prayed, he knew that he has eternal life in Christ!  There was a genuine smile on his face that wasn't there before. 
     Praise God that for using used the testimony and memorial of Gary to bring someone into the Kingdom of His dear Son! 

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

05 April 2017


     I am constantly blown away by the generosity of our volunteers and donors!  Last week, students from Wahoo Middle School came to volunteer.  They helped make sandwiches and sack lunches for our Streets of Omaha ministry during the morning food prep time!  Aside from volunteering, they also stayed for a tour of our campus AND donated 234lbs of cereal and breakfast items!
     A big thank you Wahoo Middle School and to all Open Door Mission volunteers!  If you’d like to volunteer during the Food Prep time, Walk Ins are Welcome!  Click here to learn more.

Amy Harvey
Volunteer & Partner Director

04 April 2017

Jane Doe

Some of the Free Health & Healing Clinic's wonderful volunteers.
     The Lord knows her real name, but Jane Doe is the only name she would give when she came into the Free Health & Healing Clinic last week.  She had been severely beaten twice in two days and had finally gotten away from her abuser.
     When Jane saw the volunteer doctor in the clinic, he advised her to go directly to ER as she has several broken bones.  One of her broken bones was on the leg she limped on to come into the clinic.  She also had a partially crushed voice box and was barely able to speak.
     I was able to get Jane a sack lunch and drink while we waited for the van to be pulled around.  A male and female staff took Jane to the hospital, and on the way the female staff, Sarah, shared her story of salvation.
     As they were helping Jane out of the vehicle, she thanked Sarah for sharing her story and said it gave her hope.  Sarah held Jane’s hand and encouraged her.  It is no coincidence that Sarah rode along to the hospital.  Seeds were planted in Jane’s heart and we know that she is in our Father’s loving care.  I do hope she comes back to see us. 
     Please pray for this precious soul.  I don't know how she knew to come to Open Door Mission’s clinic, but I am praising God that she did.  He is the one that guided her steps.

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

03 April 2017

The Miracle Baby

     Would you join me in lifting up my 2911 client, Nya, up in prayer as she is going to be induced for labor on Wednesday?  Her story is so special!  Her last pregnancy was very rough.  When she gave birth, she lost too much blood and the doctors had to break the arms of the baby to get him out.
     Because of this, when she found out she was pregnant again, her doctor told her she needed to get an abortion.  She was told that the baby would not live to full term and that Nya herself would most likely die.
     The doctor said she was too weak to carry this baby and scheduled an abortion date for her in September.  She didn't want to go, but her husband talked her into it.  In the parking lot of the hospital last September, Nya refused to go inside for the abortion.  
     She prayed over a new list of doctors and picked a lady at another hospital.  When Nya finished telling the new OB her story, the doctor shared that she herself believes in Christ and prayed for Nya!  This lady told her that God can see things that doctors aren't even smart enough to see themselves, so Nya was wise to listen to God in her decision.
     The baby boy in her belly has reached six pounds, is active and kicking, and is very healthy!  The doctors have Nya taking extra iron so she will be as strong as possible for the procedure.  She is going in for a c-section as that is the smartest way for her to give birth with her high risk pregnancy.
     The couple has chosen the Sudanese name for the baby of Chudiar, which means "don't worry."  This is such a testimony of the miracles God has up His sleeves!
     Another praise is that Nya was in need of a crib.  After searching around the Timberlake Outreach Center this afternoon, I found one in good condition!  God truly sees every need and He has been with Nya through all of this.  Thank you for your prayers.

Kristin Boll
Community Case Worker