31 October 2017

The Difference at the Timberlake

     The Timberlake Outreach Center underwent a lot of renovations this summer, both the building and the way we provide services. And since opening, it has been such a blessing! I wanted to share with you some of the comments that our guests at Timberlake Outreach Center are saying:

“The place looks beautiful, clean, inviting, and peaceful.”
“The shopping time is pleasant and calm.”
“I was able to find what I needed.”
“I feel blessed and grateful for this place.”
 “This is nice and amazing, it looks good.”
“I love the purple color.”
“You have done an amazing job, everything looks good, I want to thank you and congratulate you all for what you have done.”
“It makes me feel blessed to come here.” 

     One day I even saw a lady who starting crying just to see the difference when she walk in. These are just a few of the comments we’ve received, and I will continue to share with you everything that is happening at the Timberlake Outreach Center.
     I also wanted to take time to say THANK YOU! Thank you to all of our staff members, students, and volunteers who worked so hard to make this possible. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It feels like I just started a new job, and I really needed this. We have prayed, laughed, and cried with our guests—and it has only been two weeks! I can't wait to experience what else God has for us.
     I am so blessed to serve at Open Door Mission’s Timberlake Outreach Center. Let's help each other by loving one another. Let's keep praying. Let's encourage one another. Let's be obedient to the Holy Spirit. Our gifts are for God's glory, so here are our hands, feet, hearts. We offer our whole body, spirit, and soul for You, God, to use us as You desire.

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

28 October 2017

Congrats Are in Order

     The smile on Junior's face says it all: he obtained his GED! Something amazing is that he accomplished this in less than six months. For those six months, Junior persevered through various challenges, but never gave up and kept on studying hard. His next step is joining a Christian college.
     Also this upcoming Saturday, October 28 we will have a graduation ceremony for all of our life-changing program students who have completed their programs. Don’t miss it! Click here for more information.

Anna Razamazova
Learning Center Director

27 October 2017

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

     Recently, I visited Covenant Presbyterian Church and was visiting with the Associate Pastor. He shared a story with me that illustrated how far God's reach is, and how he cares for the most broken from the abundance found miles away. 
     The church had funded and built a hospital in south Sudan. This area yielded a variety of human needs, but a hospital was critical. Because Covenant is a partner with us, we donated 5,000 pounds of clothing that was then sent to this hospital to be distributed to the needy. It's amazing to me that God uses relationships in ways that we never expect, but he definitely has the plan.

And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

     Very cool that Open Door Mission can have impact so far away. He's got the whole world in His hands!

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

25 October 2017

Blessed Assurance

     A couple of weeks ago Mark met with Open Door Mission’s Discipleship Counselor, David. During this meeting, Mark found salvation in Christ! A couple of weeks later, I was meeting with Mark for discipleship, and this is where team work comes in. Mark was in need of a boost of encouragement about his salvation. Here is my discipleship note I entered in the Discipleship assessment after our meeting:
     I met with Mark tonight. Though he has prayed and asked Christ into his life, he was still unsure of if he had eternal life. We talked about that. I went through a number of verses with him that spoke about having eternal life in Christ. I shared John 1:9, Romans 6:23, and 1 John 5:12-13 among others.
     I asked, "Do you have a pair of glasses on your face?" He did, by the way. He answered, "Yes I do."  I went back and forth with him about his assurance that he had glasses on his face. He knew he did! We went over the verses mentioned earlier, and it was like a light bulb went on. He beamed and stated that he knew he had eternal life! 
     We are here to hang in with our people in the program. They need us to be patient with them and pour the truth of God's Word into their lives. Praise God for the assurance of our salvation. Please keep Mark in your prayers.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

24 October 2017

Prayers Being Answered

Would you consider volunteering with John Michael at Open Door
Mission's South Omaha Family/Outreach Donation Center? Walk ins
are welcome Tuesday-Saturday!
     One of my clients has come to our center a few times and received some items. However, last time she came, she was terrified. She said that a friend had taken $500 she had needed for a court fine in four days. Her worry was compounded by the knowledge that the judge had already given her a six-week extension on paying that fine. She and I prayed together that she wouldn’t go to jail and that God would provide.
     She came in recently and told me that the judge had given her another three-week extension. She had come because she was worried and stressed about getting the money since she doesn’t have a job. She said she could have gone to someone else, but she felt like something—or Someone—was leading her here.
     I prayed with her, and both of us felt the sweet presence of the Lord. 
     Keep this woman, Sara, in your prayers if you could. I would love for us as a Mission to be able to join together and watch God provide for her in miraculous and astounding ways. 

John Michael Den Hartog
South Omaha Outreach Manager

23 October 2017

Servant-Hearted

     I was listening to John 13: 1-17 today. It reminded me of what Jesus calls us to do every day. In the beginning of John 13 he washed his disciple’s feet. Jesus was doing this knowing that his hour would soon come. Knowing there was suffering to come, and he served others regardless. These verses spoke to me today.

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” –John 13:15

     I want to be a servant like Jesus, and I want to be more like Jesus, but my actions do not match up with my words. I can tell how much my actions and words match, because if God calls me to do something that isn’t as fun, I ask myself, “Do I find someone else to do it, or so I submit to God’s authority?”
     Jesus served his disciples even though he knew he was about to die and suffer for us—it makes me ask, “Do I rationalize that I have done a lot of hard things today, so maybe this is for someone else?” Jesus served willingly and gladly, and when I serve, do I do it with a smile, or is it forced? Is my heart truly at peace? 
     As I read this, I learn more and more what it means to truly be a servant like Jesus. I meditate on the depth of what Jesus did for me and others. Being servant-hearted is not a title to be worn, it is a life to be lived out in word and deed. Would we be people that are an example of Jesus, and when people see us, do they see Jesus?
     Be encouraged, dear friends. The beauty of the gospel is even if we have fallen short, we can come to God humbly and ask him to teach us how to serve like Jesus. The beauty of the Gospel is Jesus who died for us, so we could have abundant life now and for eternity. As we imitate Jesus, we experience the fullness of His joy!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

20 October 2017

Freely in Jesus' Name

     As I'm writing this, a lady named Mary is sitting at my desk eating pizza. She just walked into Open Door Mission’s busy Council Bluffs Family Donation/Outreach Center without any pants on.
     Mary was brought in by a kind lady who saw Mary on the side of the road and brought her in.  She has no shoes and some broken toes, and smells very strongly of urine. Quickly, I found her some pants, shoes, and another shirt. She's eating pizza and sipping some hot coffee.
     The selection in our Outreach Center is little thin, owing to a couple of very busy days in a row. But all that mattered was trying to get Mary some dry, clean things and making sure that she has more dignity than when she came in.
     Please pray for us over here in Council Bluffs as we try to be Jesus to each and every person who walks through our doors. We are so grateful that we can offer necessities for free in Jesus’ name to our neediest neighbors like Mary. That is thanks to donors like YOU, so thank you for making a difference!

Jessica Andreasen
Council Bluffs Outreach Manager

19 October 2017

At the Foot of the Cross

     In my time working here I am sometimes surprised when we seek the Father and He shows up. I don't know why that still surprises me - because I pray in faith. Maybe the word is humbled and not surprised. Still, it is always amazing. I believe that I speak for every single staff member when I say that we feel so blessed to be used in the healing that happens here. Nowhere have I seen His hand so clearly. His heart is truly for the hurting. The stories that are shared by our guests are sometimes so tragic that they are haunting. They are frequently eye opening, and usually heart breaking.
     Yesterday, I was teaching a class for our program women and the topic was forgiveness. That is a very tough topic for some of the guests here, given their back grounds. In the process of this discussion, four women in a room of about twenty disclosed that they had been sexually abused as a child. Some involved very close family. One woman asked me how she could forgive that?  The only answer that I had was "bring it to the foot of the cross, and lay it down". Some of the program ladies joined me as we put a hand on her shoulder, and began to pray. God showed up. You could feel His presence. There were many tears afterwards, and many hugs. There was a sense of release, hope and sisterhood in that room.

"…Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart."  --Jeremiah 29:12

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

18 October 2017

Renewing of Your Mind

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  – Romans 12:2

     I always enjoy taking ladies from the Lydia House along with me on the Streets mission. It's great to hear about their transformation as they have overcome many tough obstacles. On this particular day, one of the ladies inquired about a young man from one of our regular stops. Later that day, we visited this young man and had a conversation with him about his day. When we got back in the van to return to Open Door Mission, that same lady said, "he's so sweet. The world hasn't gotten to him yet."
     For her, it may have been a general statement but for me, it meant so much more. We serve people from all walks of life on the street, seeing how "the world got to them." Romans 12:2 states, "do not conform to the pattern of this world," which I see daily, those who have done just that. The ways of the world has nothing to offer us BUT GOD, offers us eternal life with Him. Let's set ourselves apart as images of Jesus and let the ways of the world go so that we will be able to, "test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." The world can only get to you if you let it.

Misti Mitchell
Volunteer Coordinator

17 October 2017

Serving Others in Need

     Every once in a while, some of the ladies at the Lydia House have the opportunity to cook for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. It is always a blessing to get off campus and serve others in need of help.
     I'd like to give a HUGE shout out to our Hospitality Director, Brian Springer, for always helping us gather up the food we need for the meal cooking! Today I also got a lot of help from James over in the kitchen. Thanks you guys! 
     Tonight the ladies made homemade gravy, then shredded chicken and poured it over mashed potatoes or stuffing. We also steamed some veggies and had fruit cocktail! They all had a great time. A couple ladies even learned some cooking problem solving skills after burning the mashed potatoes... Oops ....Turned out great though!




Lacey Krager
Family Support Worker

16 October 2017

Grand Re-Opening

     I have had the privilege to be a part of a restructuring plan at the Timberlake Outreach Center. Through this I have been reminded of what God is doing in and through the Open Door Mission. Our leaders have seen the talents and potential in our program men and given them opportunities to give back; these men have found purpose and now feel alive again. God has a plan and future for all of them.
     I have witnessed men and women that have gone the hard road, lost much, walked through healing in Jesus and now are leaders at Open Door Mission! You all inspire us and give us hope. I have met some in our community that we loved, cared for, given resources and spiritual direction to, and who are now working and living less dependent on the hand outs and more on Him!
     It can be hard to see in the day to day what He is doing, but if we step back He will show us His plans and His desire. I have been reminded that His desire is to have our hearts, to renew our minds, and to rely on His strength. Our love for Jesus changes the landscape of our surroundings! 
     Thank you to all the wonderful staff members that allow Him to flow in and through you into this place. We can trust Him in everything. His Word promises that He is able to do more than we can ever imagine. He loves you all deeply!
     Also, the Timberlake Outreach Center just re-opened to shoppers last Friday. Here are a couple of photos:








Laura Keen
Outreach Program Director

13 October 2017

Love Your Neighbors: Lives Worth Changing


     When you see Cynthia today, you see a Jesus lover and follower; a leader on Open Door Mission’s campus. 
     Growing up, Cynthia’s life was filled with chaos. “My family was really into partying.  Nothing was routine. I felt unsafe.” At the age of nine, Cynthia began drinking and smoking marijuana to numb the pain.  When Cynthia was twelve, she began to sell drugs.
     Any sense of peace eluded Cynthia, even when she became a mother, but a change was coming. “I was tired of selling drugs. I made a huge mistake, was arrested, and thought I’d never see my kids again. 
    “Yet, I started to build a relationship with Christ in prison. I started feeling something I’d never felt before. And when I left there, I applied to Open Door Mission's Lydia House for their Bible based recovery program. I was accepted! The program gave me so many skills, broke down so many walls, that I felt like I actually had a chance at life—to be a successful part of a community.”
     Today Cynthia, Open Door Mission’s Housing Admissions Specialist, lives a life filled with gratitude to God and others. “I just want to say thank you to God and each donor from the bottom of my heart.”
     For Shawn, the wild life became a pattern that defined him from his childhood through life as a young father.  “Neglected. Empty--that’s how I felt as a child. I was like a free range feral kid. I got married at 17. I had a lot of anger issues; there was a lot of fighting.”  Along the way, Shawn began using meth. After a stint in prison, Shawn replaced meth with alcohol.  In 2013, Shawn and his second wife split up – and Shawn ended up having custody of his four kids.
     That’s when he turned to Open Door Mission. “I came into the program thinking, ‘I’m a grown man, and you can’t show me anything.’ But with a firm hand, they were guiding and directing me.”
     Shawn finished the program job ready and sober. “Two years later, I applied to work here at Open Door Mission. Shawn is a Maintenance Technician. Every job here is part of a ministry. I’m investing in people like people invested in me.  
     “I cannot express all that is in my heart for the people who cared for me—staff, donors, everybody— when I did not care for myself.” 
     Not every student who graduates from an Open Door Mission program returns to work at the Mission as have Cynthia and Shawn. But each person we reach is a life worth changing for a better future. Thank you for your care and generosity that helps ensure that those we serve receive the practical, relational and spiritual care they deserve.

Steve Wamberg
Director of Development