31 May 2017

Getting My Life Back On Track

     My name is Crystal, and I have been at the Lydia House since last June.  Since then, I have completed and graduated from the Journey to Work Program, and the change in me is huge.
     Not only have I been sober for months, but I am working full time, going to college full time, and am raising a beautiful 11-month-old baby girl on my own.  This wouldn’t be possible without the skills I’ve learned from Open Door Mission staff and volunteers.  Thank you for helping me get my life back on track!

Open Door Mission Graduate

30 May 2017

Making Mission Possible a Possibility

     Can you walk? If so, you can run! If you can hit a few “This Weekend Only” or “Biggest Sale of the Year” sales in an hour this weekend, then you can run or walk a 5K! Open Door Mission’s and Runza’s Mission Possible 5K/10K is coming up on Sunday, June 4! 
     Still hesitant? Let me paint a picture for you. Here’s your chance to make a difference! Maybe you need a difference in your workout regimen that has become dull and boring. Or maybe you are just starting a workout routine? Running and walking are great for increasing endurance, sculpting strong lean muscles and torching major calories! 
     But the difference you’ll be making extends much farther beyond a new hot body. Did you know that there are approximately 12,500 5K races across the country every single year? And guess what else? The majority of these races are attached to a specific charity or notable cause. Amazing right? Be a part of this movement!
     Speaking of movements, did you know that an average wolf pack (yes, the four legged animal) consists of 12 wolves? Why? Because they are smart! Rolling solo is not only boring, but it also makes you a huge target for predators. Here I think of “predators” as excuses for not running a 5K. So get your “pack” together! Accountability is everything when it comes to achieving a goal. Just imagine the bonding experience you can have with your friends and family while training for and running Mission Possible 5K/10K! 
     Think about it: how often do you get the chance to break a sweat, achieve a personal goal, and feed hungry men, women, and children in our community all at the same time? So make it bigger than a race, than you, or than me and truly make a difference in our community!

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

26 May 2017

From Graduation to Full Time Employment

     I graduated from the New Life Recovery Program in September of 2016.  Upon graduation, I was able to land a steady 38 to 48 hour per week career at an area packing company.  As a Finishing Inspector, I make sure packaging for the food and product cartons is suitable for consumers.  It’s rewarding to have full time employment. 
     If it weren’t for Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program, I would not have gotten this job and been able to pay off my child support.  I was also able to have my driving privileges recertified and officially gotten my driver’s license.  
     Thank you, Open Door Mission!

Open Door Mission Graduate

25 May 2017

Today I Will Make A Difference

     Today as I woke from my slumber, I stumbled into the bathroom to continue my everyday morning ritual and my eyes were awakened by the things I sometimes take for granted. I am blessed with the basic necessities in life….safe shelter, a warm bed, a hot shower, a toothbrush,  clean clothes, and shoes on my feet. I am fortunate to have reliable transportation so I can get to my job at Open Door Mission. 
     I had a career prior to choosing to work at Open Door Mission, but something inside me was pulling me to give back to the people who are hurting and less fortunate. It was something I could not ignore, no matter how much I tried. I was content with my current position, but I just could not shake that feeling from my heart. I was volunteering one evening a week at a local homeless shelter, but this ache was real. It was God calling me.
     Imagine life without a home. Imagine life without basic necessities. Imagine your children.  Imagine living outside in the rain and cold. Imagine not knowing where your next meal will come from or when you will get a chance to eat again.  I felt called to help these people.
     You know you are living a Godly life when you say yes to God when He calls you to do something, especially if you don’t have a clue how it will all go down. I believe Gospel living is very much like running a marathon. You can train, plan, eat well, give all your blood, sweat, and tears, and still feel like throwing up when the gun goes off. You can stumble and even fall down a few times. But whatever your delightfully impossible call from Him may be, you can bet that God is going to meet you every step of the way. Crossing the finish line is worth it all. 
     Every day I come to Open Door Mission, I pledge to myself that I Will Make a Difference TODAY!

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

24 May 2017

Omaha Gives!

     Today is Omaha Gives, the 24-hour charitable holiday!

     Who does your $10.00 gift support today?

The Hungry.

Your Neighbors.


Domestic Violence Survivors.

Those Recovering.

Those Who've Experienced Lasting Change.

     How can you make a difference?

Be a donor.  Make your $10.00 gift today at http://www.opendoormission.org/news-and-events/omaha-gives/.

Be an advocate. Share about Open Door Mission and Omaha Gives today!

Be a volunteer. Come down for our record-breaking food pantry party today!  Visit http://www.opendoormission.org/o-g-pantry-party/ for more details.

     Thank you for your support!  Be sure to follow us today for updates.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

23 May 2017

I Began to Dream Again...Part 2

Continued from Monday, May 22.

     My short term goal is to finish my Bachelor’s degree in English.  I dropped out my senior year when my substance abuse began to fully take hold.  This degree will open up many more opportunities, and it is a crucial step towards another compounding ambition. 
     I dream of acceptance into the Peace Corps to be an English as a Second Language teacher.  The Peace Corps is improving the world.  I wish to be a part of this global edification.  The skills I learn overseas will not only positively impact others, but they will also help me grow into the man I hope to become – a man that will one day get his accredited teaching degree and touch the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of youth.  By imparting knowledge and wisdom to these students, and by filling them with love and hope, I will be relaying the same message the New Life Recovery Program gave me.
     I have already made great strides to achieving these endeavors.  I recently gained employment with a local company that provides a wonderful benefits package.  In fact, they offer employees $25,000 over four years for college tuition!  I have also filled out the FAFSA and applied for a Vocational Rehabilitation Scholarship.
     All things considered, the financial aspect of finishing college may be completely alleviated.  I am elated that this allows for less financial stress and more room to learn and grow as a student and employee. 
     I would not have gotten this job without my life change at Open Door Mission.  The Mission staff led me back to God and helped me adopt a new attitude: No matter how I feel I will get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.  It is a new dawn.  It is a new day.  It is a new life for me, and I am feeling hopeful for the future. 

Open Door Mission Guest

22 May 2017

I Began to Dream Again...Part 1

     Eight months ago my life began to take a drastically positive upswing.  At that time I was succumbing to an intense drug and alcohol addiction – spinning my wheels, going nowhere.  My family life was crumbling, and my outlook on the future was dim at best.  I became powerless to my vices and developed an out-of-control lifestyle.
     On August 22, 2016, this all began to change as I walked through the doors of the Open Door Mission and was accepted into the New Life Recovery Program.
     As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, my desire for a new way of life began to grow.  Small hopes soon began to spawn larger goals.  In the beginning these goals seemed insurmountable; my mindset was defeated, but not hopeless.  The Open Door Mission staff members helped me work through my issues and victim mentality.  Once I began to take ownership of my life’s problems, they began to lose their power over me.  Progress was made, goals were reached, and I began to dream again.
     All that I have gone through to get where I am today is actually a blessing in disguise.  My lows groomed me for living out my life’s true purpose.  I have lofty dreams these days – dreams full of passion, fueled by a desire to give back and to influence others as positively as I have been influenced.  These dreams will take time, dedication, and the help of God to come to fruition.  I am determined to make these dreams a reality.

To Be Continued Tuesday, May 23

Open Door Mission Guest

19 May 2017

Baby in One Hand, Homework in the Other

     Jessica obtained her GED!  She worked hard on it for the past seven months.  During this time, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Serenity, but continued to work towards her goal. Every day she would come to the Learning Center with have her baby in one hand, homework in the other, and a big friendly smile on her face (no matter how hard the math assignments got!).
     Her persistence, hard work, and positive attitude were contagious throughout.  So we are all so proud of Jessica as she celebrates this great achievement!  Her future plans are to enroll in college to obtain a Criminal Justice degree.

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

18 May 2017

Giving My Son The Home I Never Had

     “I was broken and torn apart,” said Kelly.  “One day I saw my brother had called me a ‘junkie’ on Facebook, and that opened my eyes.  Something needed to change.”
     Kelly never got the chance to be a child.  Her mother was addicted to drugs, her father absent and strict, which meant that she was vulnerable to abuse – emotional, mental, and physical.  At 15, Kelly was kicked out onto the street after a falling out with her mother.  The years of running the streets that followed are now a blur.
     “I dropped out of school, hung out in the park during the day, and couch surfed at night.  But whenever I couldn’t find a place to stay, I would sleep on a park bench.  It got so cold some nights.”
     Addiction to marijuana and meth overtook Kelly’s life as she had run ins with gangs and was in and out of jail.  Things began to change, though, when Kelly had her son.  He moved into Kelly’s brother’s custody by Child Protective Services, but Kelly had to get him back.
     After trying a couple of programs, Kelly finally gave the New Life Recovery Program at Open Door Mission her all.  The program was intimidating – especially the requirement to give up smoking – but she knew the Bible based material and the longer program structure were what she needed.
     Two weeks into her recovery, Kelly accepted Christ into her life, and she’s been changing to look more like Him every day since.  Three months into her recovery, Kelly got her son back.  “It was hard to learn how to parent a two-year-old, but the staff here really helped me…It was so good to be with my son again.”
     Today, Kelly is ten months sober.  She has her GED, graduated from the New Life Recovery Program, and has many job opportunities open to her.  Classes start at a local college soon, where Kelly will study certified electronic health records.
     “I spent nine months in the program,” said Kelly.  “That’s a lot.  But it was the time I needed to grow.  Without that time and structure, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
     Kelly has been saving her money to purchase a home for her and her son, and will be moving soon.  “I’m breaking the cycle here – it ends with me.  I don’t want to live the way I learned.  I’ve learned how to forgive and I’m proud to have achieved what my mom couldn’t.  I’m giving my son the home I never had.”
     Thank you for allowing homeless mothers like Kelly a chance to break the cycle of homelessness in their families as well as a fresh start as a mother.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

17 May 2017

Agape Love...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday, 5/16.

     When we truly study scripture, the words come alive.  Agape love is sacrificial love.  When we truly live this sacrificial love, that's where we meet Jesus in a real and tangible way.
This is agape in the Greek language.
     Now sacrificial love does not mean going around telling people "I'm sacrificing for you, so appreciate me."  No, it's something internally that you are aware of.  It's denying ourselves, taking up our crosses and following Jesus (Matthew 16:24).  When we truly experience this and walk this out, our heart changes and we start to see people the way Jesus sees people.  We are connected with God in such a real way. 
     The Good News of the Gospel is even if we've failed or fallen short, we can come humbly come to Jesus' feet and ask him to put people in our path He wants us to show His love to.  The Good News of the Gospel is it's never too late to be obedient to what God may be calling you to do!
     I encourage you to think about this: do you have a difficult person in your life that is hard to love?  If so, would you pray for them, ask God to humble yourself, and ask God for tangible ways to show you love them.  In turn, you will be showing Jesus to them!
     Would we be people who do not complain about people, but instead love them like Jesus loves us?  Would we be people that truly live out the Gospel every day and live out what sacrificial love looks like tangibly in our own lives?  I pray our hearts would be stretched wide and it would minister to us as well as the people we serve!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

16 May 2017

Agape Love...Part 1

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  --Matthew 22:35-40
     The great commandment is to love God and love others.  Hearing this sounds like a huge undertaking.  How do I love God and love others?  Maybe you are thinking, I love God, but loving others is really hard.  Or maybe you think, this is for people who are good at this, but I'm not…
     This is the great commandment, and it applies to more than just those who work in full-time ministry like we do at Open Door Mission.  This is the great commandment for all believers. 
     The Greek word for love in these verses is agape.  Jo Saxton sheds some light in a
Jo Saxton is a pastor, Christian author, and speaker.
sermon about what this agape love means.

"What does your love say about you?  It’s easy to love people who are like you.  Love-agape is sacrificial love.  What does your sacrificial love look like?  It’s more than baby-sitting.  Sacrificial love costs you.  It may cost you to make friends who are the lost, lonely, least and lonely, is that your example?  It may be someone you disagree with politically.  Can you disagree without being disagreeable or do we have to fight it out with hashtags on Facebook?  What does our love look like?  Cornel West says justice is what love looks like in public.  What does your love look like to the people you disagree with, people you don’t like, people with whom you don’t want to spend time, and people who occupy your time?  Sometimes the thing the Lord is inviting us to will stretch us into more.  You will find your heart will become bigger than it expected.”

To be continued Wednesday, May 17.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

15 May 2017

Grateful for Open Door Mission

     I would like to thank Open Door Mission for allowing me to heal and grow as a man, father, and child of our Most High God.  I now have the privilege to be part of a church plant in a North Omaha community where I will be able to establish and nurture significant relationships. 
     Through the grace of God, I was recently offered a position with a painting company.  And I was recently given a car through the Chariots of Hope program at Open Door Mission, which will help me get to and from work.  Though I currently receive Social Security Disability, it is my goal to phase into complete and full self-sufficiency.  I can only do this through the full and active grace of the Holy Spirit which dwells within me. 
     Thanks to Open Door Mission, my relationship with my young son is growing and I am able to see him more often.  I hope to model a Christlike life for my son – we all know children are our future.  I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve received at Open Door Mission.

Open Door Mission Guest

12 May 2017

I Have Become a Better Man

     My name is Justin, and I graduated the Journey to Work Program this past February.  I first came to Open Door Mission from prison.  Last July, I was paroled here and joined the Journey to Work Program right away.  I was in the program for seven months before I graduated.
     During those months, I received my GED and found a full time job.  Now I am working, going to doctors’ appointments, and visiting my two young sons whenever possible.
     I thank the Lord every day for putting Open Door Mission in my life.  By going through this program, I have become a better man. 

Open Door Mission Graduate

11 May 2017

Different Facets of the Gospel

     Something I’ve noticed throughout my years as a Christian is that the more times and ways the Gospel is presented to me, the more clearly I see the different facets of the story.  Just like a diamond.  And depending on what is happening in my life at the time, different parts of God’s character mean more to me.  So don’t grow weary in continuing to share the Gospel!
     Every bit of love, kindness, forgiveness, and grace we bless others with is a like a drop of living water to replace of that "stinky water” of sin.  When ministry gets hard, we can remind ourselves that, "I'm sacrificing for you so you will appreciate/LOVE the Heavenly Father who has transformed me with His love so I can love you.”  Let us beware of the attitude of deserving praise for our service.  
     We are the earthly hands and feet and HEART of Jesus.

Sonya Holland

10 May 2017

Confidence Boost

     A little while ago, two of our New Life Recovery Program/Work Net students Dal and Kelly went to Authentic You for haircut and makeover!  Both are trying to find the next best steps towards achieving their long term goals.  So the makeovers were a huge encouragement.  With this boost of confidence, they are ready to face any interview!  Check out their transformations below:

Daniel Anderson
Work Net/Vocational Director

09 May 2017

A Fresh Start

     I can never repay all of the blessings Open Door Mission has given to me.  Before coming to Open Door Mission, I had no hope or direction and my mental health was overwhelming.  Since joining the New Life Recovery Program, my relationship with God has grown more than ever before.  I was given the opportunity to address my mental health issues and have come to the realization that I am a good person who is capable of having friends. 
     Since my fresh start at the Mission, I am able to attend NA meetings, set up doctor/mental health appointments, go shopping, and get involved at church.  I am also currently seeking part time employment.
     I am most grateful for everything the Mission has done to help unify me with my children. Without their generosity, my outlook on life would still be bleak.  Thank you for a second chance at lasting change.

Open Door Mission Guest

08 May 2017

How to Continue in Full Time Ministry

     Over my 8 years at Open Door Mission, I have worked with many different groups of people within our organization, including volunteers, kids, women and families, and now single men.  No matter my position, I had to engage in the area I was assigned and actively look for ways to plug that area into the overall ministry of the Mission.  This ranges from sorting mass amounts of donated Christmas toys in a warehouse, praying with a man/woman, or sharing the word of Jesus.  I find value in each.
     My motivation for whatever I am doing comes from the fact that I value what we are doing at Open Door Mission.  Open Door Mission is making an impact for Christ daily, and whatever task I’m assigned is thus valuable because it works towards the greater purpose.  If I do not measure what I am doing as valuable, then I will not be able to continue doing it cheerfully. 
     How did Stephen in Acts 7 have the motivation to continue down his path, facing certain death?  He was not concerned about his earthly existence, determining instead to stand firmly on the side of Jesus Christ, no matter the consequences.  He saw what he was doing as valuable.
     EACH part of the body is valuable for the whole of the function.  If I lose sight of that, that is when I get the most discouraged.  Does the foot always like to be walked on?  No, but the body isn't running without it.  I have found that I must re-engage with the larger picture regularly to be sure to remain motivated. 
     Another key tool for me to remain motivated to serve others daily is trusting in God and the seasons He walks me through.  I do not always feel motivated, but God calls me to press into him more and more for that motivation.  He wants me to trust in His plan, even when everything seems off and my "feelings" are seemingly confirming it.
     When we remember that God allows us to go through seasons, we don't get too comfortable in summer and we don't get too hopeless in winter.  We appreciate spring more and the blessing of new life it brings.  We also notice the signs of fall, and oddly, begin to appreciate it as well. 

Taylor Clinch
Rebuilding Lives Center Director

05 May 2017

God-Given Checklist

     I read this during my lunch break recently, and it encouraged me so I wanted to share.  It is from She Reads Truth Study.
"Before we close our Bibles today, let’s look at one more list. In Colossians 1:12, Paul reminds us of the incredible blessings we have as followers of Christ:
We share in Christ’s inheritance.
We are rescued from darkness.
We are welcomed into Christ’s Kingdom.
And we have received redemption from sin and death!
Now, that is a list we can all get excited about!  It is the list that has been fully checked off by Jesus on our behalf.  None of our shortcomings can subtract from it.  May we cling to Him today, trusting that we are worthy because of His saving work in us."
     When we look at our checklists today, let’s look at this first.  It is a good reminder of all that Jesus has done for us, and that none of our shortcomings can subtract from it.  Let us do God’s work from the stance of who we are in Christ.
     I know that when I am doing work from the stance of Jesus, when I stop and reflect on His word, I get more done, am more productive, and am amazed at how God shows up hugely every time.  I pray we would have time to meditate on God’s Word today and remind ourselves of the truth that is in Jesus!  That is my prayer for us all today!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

04 May 2017

Salvation This Very Day

     Today I was able to meet with a man in Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program named Russell.  He was thinking about leaving the program.  I had spoken with him about this earlier, and told him I wanted to talk with him more.  So he caught up with me, and we had a wonderful discussion.
     I was able to share with him while he was able to really pour out his heart.  He knew about Jesus but he did not know for sure he was saved.  He actually said, "I know I am not saved."  We talked and I shared the good news of Jesus Christ.
     There came the point in our conversation that I asked him, "Is there any reason why you would not want to ask Jesus to be your Savior?"
     He said, "There is not."
     We prayed together then he prayed and confessed his sins, asking the Lord to save and forgive him.  Afterwards I asked him again, "Do you know if you have eternal life or not?"
     He said, "I don't."
     I reminded him of the verses we read and it was like a light bulb turning on.  He smiled and said, "Yes I do!"
     The Devil was trying to keep him in his old programming.  But the Lord deleted the old programming and gave him assurance in that very moment. Hallelujah for the power of the Gospel!

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

03 May 2017

Promotions Night

     Promotions for students in the life-changing programs are an important part of the process.  Joining the program is the first step towards making that life change.  After that, there are different levels in the program, and every month we have a night to celebrate those who have moved on to the next level.  That night is Promotions!  The men and women in our programs strive for excellence to achieve those goals.
     I recently attended a Promotions ceremony.  The men and women honored in these ceremonies have grown in many areas and have achieved many personal goals.  Some of the students receive special recognition.  One of these awards has been voted on by their peers and recognizes a specific area where one that man or woman shines and is making a difference.  The other award is a staff nomination for which man or woman went above and beyond in the program.
     This night is a time for lots of celebration and recognition of the men and women who are ready to and already are making a difference for themselves and others.
     To see smiles on the faces of these men and women who have come so far is more encouraging that I can express.  In class, I make sure to tell the guys that they are important and that God has a plan for them.  I encourage them to keep their heads up and to keep working towards Graduation!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

02 May 2017

Helping My Neighbors

     My name is Kayla, and I started to volunteer at Open Door Mission because I wanted to use my extra time to help my neighbors who need food, shelter, and safety.
     I quickly found that it is easy to volunteer each week because these neighbors are so kind to me when I drop off supplies at the Timberlake Outreach Center, and they appreciate anything I give them. Some of these neighbors come to the Mission with the clothes on their back, and that’s it! This truly makes me appreciate everything I have in life and makes my troubles seem much smaller.
     I volunteer in the Development Department because I have extensive experience with media relations, event planning, and grant writing. For the first few weeks, I updated the free Omaha and Council Bluffs community calendars with all of the Open Door Mission’s upcoming events. I have taken inventory of supplies, written auction item receipts, gave feedback on their newsletter, helped with the Runza campaign, and distributed posters and flyers. The Development staff members always welcome me, make me feel appreciated, include me for their staff gatherings, and make great use of my time.
     What skills have you learned throughout your career? I guarantee the Mission could utilize your time and efforts. Perhaps you could volunteer for an hour each week or for one of their special events? Open Door Mission will add value to your life, and I’m certain you’ll make new friends along the way!

Kayla Zebrowski
Open Door Mission Volunteer

01 May 2017

My Part of the Ministry

     I love being a part of Open Door Mission’s Marketing Team!  The main part of my position involves supplying information to all satellite campuses (our three Family Donation/Outreach Centers) and updating communication boards around Open Door Mission’s main campus.  We want to get news out to donors and volunteers, and share what exactly we do at the Mission.
    I also get to collecting prayer requests from our guests, volunteers, and staff from the "Prayer Walls" we have in each building on campus.  These are available for everyone to use when they want to express a prayer request or personal praise that is on their heart and mind.
     These are special parts of Open Door Mission's ministry that I get to be a part of, but it doesn't stop there!  The sky is the limit of how someone can be a blessing here by serving in some way shape or form.  
     Check out our website and "Like" us on Facebook to find out how YOU can get involved and make a difference TODAY!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator