31 August 2017

Be Merciful

     Whenever people hurt or disappoint us, our human nature leads us to dislike them because of their shortcomings. But God’s desire for us is to love all people, including our enemies. 
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48
     If people can see love in your heart, instead of anger and judgement, that will give them  evidence that Christ is working in you! One of the greatest privileges we have in life is to follow His example, and we can do that by being generous in spirit and by giving mercy to others as they need it.
     When someone hurts or offends us, it is easy to make a list and keep count of everything they’ve done wrong. But God is asking us to be like Him. In Lamentations 3:22-23 it tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning. In Isaiah 43:25 He says, “I will blot out your transgressions and remember your sins no more.”  I have learned the best thing we can do for ourselves is to let go of the hurt…to lose count of how others have wronged us…and leave the past in the past.
“Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:36-37
     We reap what we sow and whatever we give away to others is what we’ll receive in return I believe. If you want mercy, then sow mercy! If you need a friend, then sow friendliness! If you have financial needs, then look for ways to meet someone else’s needs. The truth is when we sow mercy, we reap a harvest of peace, joy, and healthy relationships. We also take a giant step forward spiritually. Choosing to do what is right (even when it hurts) causes us to grow and mature in an amazing way. 

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

30 August 2017

What I Learned in Paris

     Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. For that reason, my husband and I love to travel. Experiencing new cultures, seeing new sights, and stepping out of our comfort zones truly brings things into perspective. It helps us align closer with the Lord’s heart, not just for ourselves and our country, but for all peoples throughout the world.
     This summer, we were blessed to travel to Paris – the City of Lights. It was beautiful, every corner breathtaking and Instagrammable, and oh so inspirational. The culture was refreshing. But one dark spot in the City of Lights was the shocking homeless population.
     As soon as shops closed their doors, a homeless person would take shelter on their stoop. Walking down the streets, doorway after doorway had turned into a home for the night. In the heart of the busy Latin Quarter where we stayed, each night we saw a single mother with four small children lay out a bed of two blankets on a street corner. She tucked them all in, and they’d fall asleep in the chaos of Parisian nightlife.
     When we returned home, I did a little research about homelessness in Paris. According to INSEE, 141,500 people were living without shelter in 2012, an increase of 44% since 2001. In Paris alone, that increase was 84%. Women account for 38% of this homeless population and around 30,000 children have no home.
     The image of that mother and her four children has stayed with me throughout the weeks since we left Paris. No matter where you travel to across the world, the Lord’s compassion for the brokenhearted remains the same. While I struggle to recognize every member of our life-changing programs at the Mission, God knows the number of hairs on each and every person’s head. He is sleeping on the stoops with the thousands in Paris. He is beside those taking refuge under bridges here in Omaha.
     So in a time when disunity among nations is on the rise, as Christians let’s remember the calling that binds us all. Let’s be compassionate to the brokenhearted.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

29 August 2017

Sunday Devotional

     I get to lead short devotions with the men in our Men’s Emergency Center each Sunday, and wanted to share an example of what those devos are like. Hopefully you’ll receive some revelation and encouragement for this:

Jesus healed Bartimaeus because of his faith.
Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. –Mark 10:46-52

  1. Why mention that Jesus and His disciples both came and left Jericho in the same verse? Why not mention just one of the two? (old city vs. “modern” city of Jericho, Jesus attracted yet another large crowd in Jericho)
  2. What was Bartimaeus’ reaction to hearing that Jesus was near?
  3. What was the crowd’s reaction to Bartimaeus? Why do you think they had that reaction?
  4. What was Jesus’ reaction to Bartimaeus?
  5. How do you think the crowd felt when Jesus told them what to do, after they had just been rude to Bartimaeus?
  6. How would you feel if your authority had just told you to go back and be nice to the person to whom you were just rude?
  7. What stands out in Bartimaeus’ reaction to what the crowd told him? Why do you think that was the reaction?
  8. How would you feel if you found out that Jesus wanted to see you?
    • Jesus does want to spend time with you. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that he sent Jesus to die for the punishment of our sin, and that whoever believes in God’s gift through Jesus will have everlasting life with Him.
  9. Why did Jesus ask Bartimaeus His question in verse 51?
  10. Why did Bartimaeus call Jesus Rabboni / ”My Master?"
    • What would you call Jesus if He were to ever speak to you?
  11. After Bartimaeus tells him, Jesus gives him a huge encouragement but also works a miracle. What was it? (heals him simply because of his faith)
  12. What was Bartimaeus’ reaction?
    • What is your reaction to Jesus?
    • Are you waiting for a huge miracle to follow Jesus? What if that miracle never comes? Will you still follow Him? Bartimaeus already knew who Jesus was, and the first opportunity he had he went to follow Jesus. Will you follow Him?

     We share the Gospel freely, providing every opportunity for men, women, and children at Open Door Mission to accept Christ. But we never force the Gospel on anyone. It is all invitation!

Bob Blank
GTMC Support Worker

28 August 2017

Healthy Discipleship

     Last week, David blogged about a conversation with a man in our New Life Recovery Program named Gary. I recently met with Gary, and wanted to share a little about the progress he has made.
     When I met with Gary, he told me about his meeting with David. He said the two of them ended up talking for two and a half hours, though it only felt like 15 minutes. He had been dealing with a grudge and hatred towards God because of his Mom’s death. This lasted for over 20 years.
     After talking with Pastor David, Gary was able to let the burden go and open his heart to God. He no longer resents God, but loves the Lord. He can't understand it, but he knows he believes in the Lord.
     On Sunday, Gary attended Calvary Church. The Pastor talked about throwing rocks at a house. Gary said someone from behind him grabbed his shoulder and said, "We've thrown a few rocks haven't we." That man was Pat, our Men’s Emergency Services Director. Gary said he had to laugh, and laughed as he shared this story. It is clear to see that Gary is genuinely enjoying the program now. 
     Together we went over his memory verses, and he seems to be doing well. I also talked to him about being baptized. I encouraged him to read Romans 6 and also talk with people he trusts about making this decision.
     The reason I am sharing this is to encourage you that people’s lives are being transformed over here. And it’s not just a one and done experience, but rather a journey. And Open Door Mission staff members are here to walk these men and women through each step of that journey. That’s called discipleship. And Gary’s growth, his movement towards considering baptism is a sign of healthy discipleship!
     I did nothing but listen to what Gary had to say. The Spirit of God was in my office with us. He was genuinely excited, unable to contain the joy of the Lord. 
     Let's give a shout out for Gary, the Lord, David, and all Open Door Mission staff members and volunteers who are discipling every day. And thank you to all who have prayed for Gary. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

25 August 2017

Robotics Club

     A group from Blair came to put on a robotics club for our Lydia House kids, and they did an amazing job! The kids had a blast and it was planned and laid out very well! The students (middle and high school aged students) were great with our kiddos and made everything age appropriate.
     Nicholas especially had a really great time. The group's leader plans to help Nicholas find robotics opportunities through his school. They talked about doing a night like this again sometime, and we hope they do!
     What a cool opportunity for these children to experience something they may not have otherwise gotten to experience. Thank you to these students for caring for our kids!

Lacey Krager
Family Support Worker

24 August 2017

Our Burden Bearer

     We have a student by the name of Gary, who came to us very burdened by bitterness. His mother died when she was only 50, and Gary just could not handle this loss so he turned very bitter toward God.
     Gary describes his mother as a pure woman who was his best friend, and he saw no reason why she should have passed away in 1994. He carried this anger and bitterness as heavy baggage on his shoulders for the last 23 years.
     The Lord, through His love and sovereign ways, led Gary here, and he was finally ready to have the Lord Jesus remove this horrible burden. Now Jesus is HIS burden bearer. Gary is a NEW man who is experiencing the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of a life filled with joy and peace that no one can take away. Please continue to pray for him as he lives as a new creation IN CHRIST!

David Eischeid
Discipleship Counselor

23 August 2017

Attitude of Gratitude

Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining…Complaining is dangerous business. It is easy to complain. We likely do not realize how much we do it. It can damage or even destroy your relationships. I believe it can be one of the most challenging things to overcome. – Philippians 2:14

     Remember that every word you speak has some kind of effect. Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue (our words) have the power of life or death in them – the way we speak really does matter. So it makes sense that we should avoid complaining at all cost. I think of complaining as the enemy’s language. When we do complain, we open the door for him to come into the situation and cause trouble. Praise and thanksgiving is God’s language. 
     Complaining comes from an ungrateful, prideful attitude of the heart. It causes us to feel that we should not be inconvenienced or have bad things happen to us. 
     I’ve learned (and strive to remember) that there is a better approach! I now try to look for the treasure in every trial. The truth is I’ve done most of my spiritual growing during the hardest and most painful times of my life. The trials of life have caused me to press in to God. And as I have done that, He has changed me. He’s helped me develop an attitude of gratitude and humility, which has brought real freedom into my life. Real freedom is being able to not have my way and still be just as happy as if I did. 
     It’s a difficult process getting to the point of having real freedom. But it is worth it. We just need to accept that gaining spiritual maturity is going to hurt. Growing in God is not always comfortable. There are times of sacrifice involved. And there will be times when God will ask you to do things and you’ll feel that you are neither equipped nor ready to do what is being asked – but He will give you the grace to do it.
      Let’s make it our goal to have a constant attitude of gratitude. Resist the temptation to complain but instead praise and thank God for who He is and all He’s done for us. By God’s grace and through His strength, we can overcome complaining and live each day with a joyful and thankful heart. 

May these words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

22 August 2017

College Ready Scores

     Please join me in congratulating Eunice on obtaining her GED! She worked hard, studied diligently, and passed with college ready scores on most of the test subjects! So after completing the New Life Recovery Program, she plans to start college, majoring in either Historical Literature or Epidemiology.
     While she continues the program, Eunice has volunteered to help tutor other women in their GED work to help them reach their goals. She is a great blessing to us!

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

21 August 2017

Less Than a Fast Food Meal

One nutritious meal at Open Door Mission costs less than a
cheap meal at a fast food restaurant.
     Have you ever tried to forget about food even when it's so accessible to you? For most people, a quick run to a fast food drive thru or a gas station is a weekly habit. For most people, paying five dollars for a fast food meal is pretty simple as well.
     For the hungry and homeless men, women, and children who come to Open Door Mission, even five dollars is out of reach. But did you realize that $2.15 provides one entire nutritious meal? On a daily basis, individuals and families staying at Open Door Mission are fed three nutritious meals, and lunch is open to the entire community.
     The kitchen staff and wonderful volunteers are busy preparing 2,300 meals so no individual goes hungry.  Because of YOUR continued support, the Mission can provide one meal at a time. HOPE begins with a meal, and then so much more follows.  
     God is blessing the Mission daily and it's our donors who make it all possible. THANK YOU for giving to the Mission and may God's love pour over each of you and may you be blessed!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

18 August 2017

Celebrate Who You Are

      This morning, I was reading in Corinthians about the gifts that God has instilled in and promised to each one of us. As I thought about the scriptures I was reading, I began to wonder what may be inside of me that God is still developing. What gifts am I not aware of yet? At the same time, I thought about how easy it is for us to focus on what others have and what others are doing, while completely overlooking the potential in our own lives. 
     God has given each of us special gifts. There are special talents and gifts inside of us that are waiting to be developed. Think about where you were five years ago or even last year. You probably are not the same person, and of course, you will continue to grow as time goes on. We should not compare ourselves to others or think, “I don’t have the talent like that person does, so I’m not as important.” The truth is that we are all important, we all have a part to play in building His kingdom, and we need to learn to love who we are. 
     Remember that we are all growing and changing every single day. God has given each of us special gifts. Everyone carries tremendous value in this life. Get excited about seeing your life unfold! Celebrate who you are today, and who you are becoming in your future.

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

17 August 2017

Ability, Skill, and Craftsmanship

JR Vassar is a pastor at Church at the Cross in Texas.
     JR Vassar said the following in his “Work as Worship” sermon: "Is the spirit of God only concerned if you help teach the bible better, keeping your behavior in check, producing the fruit of Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control)? Is the spirit of God only concerned about helping you tell others about the Gospel? Or may the Holy Spirit want to give you ability, intelligence, craftsmanship, skill? I think the Holy Spirit can give wisdom in solving problems to people in their workplace, make wise decisions to move the company forward, and can help you deal with crisis in work. In doing so, He can give you such wisdom and such excellence in your job that it elevates a person to a position of influence in their companies and in their domain. The Holy Spirit wants to give you skill, creativity, and problem solving abilities, and He wants to do this in such a way that you may be elevated to a position of influence. God wants to give skill to His people that they may actually do their jobs with excellence and not live in obscurity. We need to show people how valuable our work is and how we are doing it so the glory of God flourishes. All of life can bring glory and honor to God, but with that there must be increasing dependence on God to get to this point."
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. –Colossians 3:17
     I pray this will encourage you today.  Our work matters for the glory of God.  Whatever we do is worship to the Lord to show Him that our work matters.  When Jesus died for our sins and rose again, he sent the Holy Spirit as our helper.  We have the Holy Spirit daily, not just to study the Bible well, or share the gospel well, or to be "super-spiritual," but for everything we do!
     Whether it’s receiving a donation, giving a guest a toiletry item, typing up an expense report, typing monthly reports, sharing the Gospel, explaining a Bible verse, or giving wisdom to solve a crisis situation, all of this can show God's glory. God's glory is shown when we do this with excellence! We should not be working just to check things off our list, but do them well!
     I pray that we would know that we are given ability, skill, intelligence, and craftsmanship to do our ministry well.  Because when our individual ministries flourish, the Mission as a whole flourishes.  If you don't know what God has given you as ability, skill, intelligence, or craftsmanship, pray and ask Him.  Because God has given us all lots of things!  Our work here at Open Door Mission is a huge testimony of God's goodness to us, our coworkers, bosses, family, friends, and the world. We have major influence to those people that surround us, so let's use our influence to bring more into God's Kingdom!
     I pray that we would be people that do everything for the glory of God and know that doing the everyday tasks will change eternity forever!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

16 August 2017

Ready for What's Next

     I’ve just come back from a trip home, and I’m glad to be back – refreshed, renewed, and ready for what’s coming. I am truly excited about what God has in store for several areas of ministry this fall and winter. Those areas include:

- The intentional ministry direction of the Timberlake, Elkhorn, Council Bluffs, and South Omaha Family Outreach/Donation Centers
- Upcoming graduates and new students enrolling in The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI)
- The garden harvest this spring and summer along with possibilities for fall and winter with the greenhouse
- The revamping of Guest Services and the Receiving Area this fall at the Timberlake Outreach Center
- Spiritual growth and healthy community building activities for students in life changing programs
- Revamping of intentional ministry happening at the Lydia House
- The team that God continues to blend together one by one in every area of the Open Door Mission ministry. It is simply amazing and something that only God could orchestrate.

I could go on and on, but these were areas God brought to mind during my trip. What are you excited about seeing God at work in?

Thought:  The view from every ministry should be from the perspective of Christ on the Cross at Calvary. (Brian Murray)

Candace Gregory

15 August 2017

At the Eleventh Hour

Photo by Doug Walters on Unsplash.
     It ended up being one of those busy nights at the Garland Thompson Men's Center. I got things wrapped up and handed off to the night shift staff members, and was preparing to head home.
     That’s when Kyle comes in, at the literal eleventh hour. He sees me and tells me, "I'm ready to surrender my life to God, Grandpa.” He looked like he had been through the grinder. You could read discouragement all over his face. 
     What am I to do? I thought I was ready to go home, but turns out God had different plans! We went into my office and talked about what it means to surrender to God. I shared with him that God is a Holy God and we are wholly sinners. God will judge sin. But Christ took our place on the cross, and in doing so He took the weight of our judgment.
     I asked him if there was any reason he would not ask Christ to save him. He said, “There is not." He prayed and afterwards he knew he had eternal life in Christ. Hallelujah!
     Sometimes God’s timing isn’t convenient. His plans don’t fit into our plans. But it is so important to be open to what He’s calling you to, because the salvation of lives is on the line! I was willing to go an extra hour without sleep to be sure I’ll see Kyle in heaven for all eternity. Strive to be adaptable when God places opportunities in front of you.
     Keep Kyle in your prayers.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manger

14 August 2017

"Why do You Care About Bums Like Us?"

     As we approached a group of gentlemen sitting on a couch in the middle of an empty lot, I instantly felt warmth in my heart for them. Their smiling faces and sincere thank yous came from somewhere deep down inside these men's hearts. It was almost as if they were telling us a story of their struggles through their tears.
     I couldn't take my eyes off of this one particular individual that they call Cuba. He ran up to our group and shook all of our hands very humbly. I looked over and saw a huge tree with a hand-made tree swing. Cuba noticed that I was looking at the swing and asked if I would try it out. I agreed to take a little swing, and as I did the laughter and joy coming from the group we were serving put a smile in my heart. 
     As I got off the swing, Cuba asked me, “Ms. Jessica, why do you care about bums like us? Why did you take the time to swing with us?”
     I instantly had tears running down my face and I said, "Cuba! You are not a bum, you are very special to me and to God! He sees your pain, He knows your struggle, and He sent us here to remind you of His perfect love for you. This alcohol will never love you back. It only destroys. Jesus is the cure.”
     I looked over my shoulder and saw a few others listening. We shook hands and as we got in the van, Cuba was pondering this conversation but He wasn't the only one. Many of our volunteers were touched by Cuba and found that they had compassion and love for a man they had just met.
     Cuba received food, water, some soap, and socks during our Streets of Omaha stop. But above everything, Cuba got to hear about our Father’s love for him and through us see the proof of that love. We were sent by God to remind Cuba how much he is cared for, that God sees him, and that God has never left him.
     The streets of Omaha volunteers get to do this every day. They get to remind people how precious they are to Jesus! We do this one sack lunch at a time. What a blessing it is! 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Program Coordinator

11 August 2017

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

     YOU SHOULD BE HERE!  What kinds of things are you doing to keep busy this summer? Are you passing the time by having friends over or doing outside activities? Maybe it's going to the city pool for the day, just hanging out and enjoying the company of others.  
     Or are you wanting to step out of your comfort zone this summer? Why don’t you try volunteering for just two hours during one of your summer vacation days?  Open Door Mission is the place to be!
     There are many ways to volunteer and be the hands and feet of Jesus by blessing the hungry and homeless.  Did you know that Open Door Mission is donation driven?  Thousands of volunteers donate their time and talents all year and YOU can be a part of this great opportunity.  Open Door Mission offers a volunteer orientation every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and every Saturday at 3:00 p.m.  Click here for more information.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. –Acts 20:35
     There is always room for more volunteers to work alongside our staff and bless the hungry and homeless.  With your help we can break the cycle of homelessness and poverty and give HOPE for a lasting change!

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

10 August 2017

Clean Towels

     I pulled some clean towels out of the dryer and started folding them. My four year old that was playing with Barbies and baby dolls next to me and obviously had other ideas. 
     Here is what I now know about clean towels, taught to me by my little girl:
     You can pile them up and jump into them (at least you can if you are the size of a small child). You can wear them like capes and run around. You can throw them on each other’s heads and play peek-a-boo. You can use them as blankets, pretend to go to sleep and then jump up and say, “Good morning!” You can hide small toys in them and then try to find them.
     Here is what I learned from this experience:
     We limit things with labels. If I label this rectangular piece of cloth material, then it serves one function. But when I let go of the label, it can be most anything at all. My prayer for all of us is that we let go of the labels and approach our experiences with an open mind and heart. 
     Recently I was reading the story of Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, and how Jesus picked him out of the crowd, from up in a tree, to be a guest at his house. Jesus knew he was a man many people despised and many labeled as a sinner. However, he was an example of Jesus’ mission to bring salvation to the lost, of seeing people for more than just their mistakes. Zacchaeus caught a glimpse of mercy and grace and had to make a choice.
     When our neighbor loses their job, home, car, other possessions, or even possibly their family, often we label them. Cast judgement on them. It is my prayer and desire that instead of labeling my neighbors, I be more like Jesus! I am thankful and blessed to be serving at Open Door Mission, to be a part of bringing salvation to the lost.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’” – Mark 12:30-31

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist

09 August 2017

Learning to Live for Christ...Part 2

Continued from Tuesday 8/8.

     “What really inspired me was the story of my parents,” said Matt. “There were two endings. My dad was in the program, but relapsed and then passed away young.  My mother stayed sober and living in Christ, and now has an amazing life.  It was right in front of me – two possible outcomes to my life.”
     Though the program wasn’t easy, it helped Matt realize his need for God’s overall control in his life.
     “It’s like I have this spiritual battery,” said Matt, “and throughout the day the life gets sapped from it. So I stay connected to God with little prayers. I’ve found a church where I can finally fit in. It feels like family.”
     Matt was a part of the New Life Recovery Program and is currently working towards furthering his education. His goal is to work in music production and sound engineering.
     “If it weren’t for Open Door Mission’s donors and volunteers, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn how to live for Christ,” Matt said. “I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
     Thank you for giving people like Matt a chance to find refreshment and new life in Christ.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

08 August 2017

Learning to Live for Christ...Part 1

     Matt knows what dark times look like. His spirit was thirsty for Living Water, but he looked for life in drugs, violence, and other religions. It wasn’t until he actually met God that Matt felt cherished and sustained.
     As a kid, Matt grew up in a broken household. Both of his parents struggled with substance abuse, and their family even lived in the Lydia House for a while. Matt never learned how to express himself and cope with his feelings. He became very angry.
     His first incident of violence was at the age of 12, and Matt went in and out of youth programs, drug programs, and prison ever since. But it was in prison that he truly met the Lord.
     Someone encouraged him to listen to Christian radio, and a Chris Tomlin song came on.  “Our God is greater, our God is stronger. God, You are higher than any other.”
Matt was undone, and gave his life to Christ in that moment. His troubled mind finally felt refreshed.
     The road to sobriety was still long, though. Matt was paroled to Open Door Mission, which he knew about from his parents’ time in the program. Despite his relapses, the Open Door Mission staff believed in him, and he was able to continue moving forward.

To be continued Wednesday, 8/9.

Beatrice Jones
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

07 August 2017

Wrestling With God

     You know how Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32? It was an all-night wrestling match. In the end, God touched Jacob’s hip socket and in the process also touched his life. No longer was Jacob the rascal he was before the wrestling match. God changed his name to Israel, and his people changed the history of mankind.
     Recently, I spent a few hours in my office with a man who reminded me of Jacob. He was determined to live his life to where one day he would be good enough for God. I kept sharing the promises of eternal life through Christ Jesus alone as answers to each of his excuses.
     He finally broke. He confessed his sins and called on God to save him. Hallelujah! Pray for Todd and on-going conversations with him. May he be as changed as Jacob was after his encounter with God.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

04 August 2017

One Meal at a Time

     Sack lunches are a blessing for the men, women, and children at the Mission who may miss a meal time due to work, school, or personal appointments. These lunches are made in a mass quantity by volunteer teams to ensure we always have plenty.
     The Streets of Omaha ministry at Open Door Mission also delivers these sack lunches to the hungry and homeless. Each lunch includes a sandwich (lunch meat or peanut butter and jelly), a salty snack (chips or crackers) and a sweet snack (granola bar or cookies).  
     Volunteer teams are great when it comes to assembling sack lunches.  Over 1,000 are made and ready to deliver in just a two hour period.  I love watching this ministry grow every day and pour out the love of Jesus to everyone in need!  So, thank you to the wonderful volunteers for the work they do with this awesome ministry by providing one meal at a time.
     If you’re interested in volunteering, click here to learn more.

Rick Ziegler
Communications Coordinator

03 August 2017

Jessica's Testimony...Part 2

Continued from Wednesday, 8/2.

     I managed to get pregnant soon after that with our daughter. However, because my body wasn’t completely healed from the accident, my body couldn’t handle it. My water broke at 22 weeks, and I buried our second child on my birthday.
     I was told I couldn’t have children again, which killed me inside. I hated God and wanted nothing to do with Him. I was so angry with Him. I held that grudge for a long time. The next few years were a blur with a lot of sleepless nights.
     I had run-ins with the law and did my fair share of time in jail.
     In 2011 we got pregnant again! This time I carried our son to full term and gave birth to a beautiful little boy. However, I eventually lost my rights to him because I was so lost in my addiction and did not want to get clean. Things didn’t work out with his dad, but I am so thankful that his dad cleaned up and could get our son back. Mother’s Day of this year was the first time I’ve seen my son in four years; it was very emotional for me.
     In April of 2016, I found out I was pregnant but was still an active user. I quit drinking, but my pregnancy was rough since I was in and out of jail. September was my breaking point. I was sleeping in a car, six months pregnant, and asked myself, “Is this really how I want to bring an innocent child into the world?” I quit shooting up, but still continued smoking all day, every day.
     I begged God for forgiveness and asked for strength to do the right thing. On September 13, 2016, I showed up at the Lydia house broken, scared, and pregnant. It was the hardest yet smartest move I’ve ever made. I am grateful God pushed me to come here.
     Since I’ve graduated the program, I’ve received my GED, moved into Restored Hope, and strengthened my relationship with God. Along the way I’ve met so many women that have impacted my life in one way or another. Every one of them has a place in my heart.
     Thank you Jesus for a brand new life!

Open Door Mission Graduate

02 August 2017

Jessica's Testimony...Part 1

     I was born in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Growing up my life was pretty normal. Both of my parents had jobs, and they’re still married today. Around the age of 13, I started smoking cigarettes and weed and I hanging around with the wrong crowd. At age 14, I started dating guys who were mentally and emotionally damaging to me.
     When I was 17 years old, I had my first baby girl. I married her father, but after the marriage, he changed completely. He was no longer the man of my dreams. He turned into someone completely different overnight. I had no idea who that man was. He abused me in every way possible. I was divorced by the time I was 18.
     After the divorce I started using meth every now and then. It wasn’t consistent, but my drinking was out of control. There were many nights I can’t remember and several times I woke up not knowing where I was or how I got there.
     In 2005, I met my son’s dad. It was a roller coaster ride. I was with him for eight years and still love him today. Back then, we were both addicted to meth but able to maintain some kind of normalcy. In 2009, I was expecting to give birth to our first child, but that February while I was pregnant, I had a tragic accident that killed our son instantly. I buried him on Valentine’s Day.

To be continued Thursday, 8/3.

Open Door Mission Graduate

01 August 2017

First Day of School

     Do you remember your first day of the new school year as a child? I do. I remember the pencils sharpened perfectly, the array of brilliant colors in the new crayon box, and the stiff new backpack I wore proudly. I recall wearing my new outfit to start the year off fresh, the new socks, and the gleaming brand new tennis shoes that I was not allowed to wear until this much anticipated day. I can still remember how loud my heart pounded in my ears as I walked into my classroom on that first day.
     For the school aged children that are in need, however, this day can be very much the opposite. The instability that accompanies poverty puts stress on parents, spilling over to children. Instead of excitement, it is increased anxiety and pure panic that encompasses this day. Many of these students experience worry and fear. Not having the needed supplies for success can sometimes attribute to these children not fitting in, being targeted by bullies, and ridiculed by classmates. 
     This school year, Open Door Mission would like to give students a fresh start by sending them off to school with all the school supplies they need to help ease these fears. And it is a blessing to have enough for the whole school year. Would you please consider putting a smile on the faces of these children by donating back to school supplies?
     Click here to learn more, and together we can create HOPE and initiate a successful school year!

Dawn Lindsey
Communications Specialist