28 November 2017

Hope for Lasting Change

     One of my favorite things to be a part of is lasting change in our men’s lives at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. I have been able to see one such man, Hayden, changing right before my eyes, and it has been a pleasure. Hayden has chosen to step aside and allow the Holy Spirit to make him the leader God intended him to be.
     He gave his life to the Lord last week, and I was blessed to baptize him! A couple days later, Hayden received is GED! It’s amazing to see what God can do in the life of one who trusts everything to Him.

Pat McKernan
Garland Thompson Men’s Center Director

17 November 2017

Prayer at the Mission

     Prayer is so important at Open Door Mission! I LOVE seeing our life changing program students praying for one another. This picture was not taken at church, in a classroom, or even behind closed doors. This time of prayer is taking place in the lobby of the Lydia House—right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the day!
     Sometimes it brings me tears of joy to hear that our staff members are intentionally reaching out with the simple question, “How can I pray for you today?” It’s amazing what God can do with one simple phrase.
     Because of this question, one of our staff members was able to hear one lady’s powerful testimony. This woman is from Africa and she stayed at the Lydia House for one year. We helped her get her green card and get back on her feet. Since moving out on her own, she and her two kids have been living on their own and she is employed full time! At times, she still needs a little support, but is doing well and is homeless no more!
     Say a prayer today because GOD is listening. 
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. –Colossians 4:2

Candace Gregory

16 November 2017

Preach the Word

     In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul charges Timothy to,

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season.

     One night at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center, our Health Care Case Manager Greg came in to get something quickly from his office. While here, he learned that for some reason there was no chapel team scheduled and that staff hadn’t gotten a chance to cover it due to some other issues that had arisen. 
     Without missing a beat, Greg got on the building’s speakers and announced that he had a sermon ready! And then he went and lead chapel! You can bet that he was preaching the Word.
     This man is a walking embodiment of 2 Timothy 4:2, and an encouragement and challenge to many of us in the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. Love him!

Jeremy Settle
Case Manager

15 November 2017

Simple Acts of Giving

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” –Acts 20:35
      A couple of weeks ago, I had my first experiences leading the Streets of Omaha team on a rainy day. Boy, is this a change from the sunny days I'd experienced up until then!
     While at our first stop, a guy approached the van asking for a jacket or a blanket to keep him dry. Without hesitation one of our volunteers, Suzy, took off her jacket and gave it to the man.
     Later, we had two additional individuals asking for umbrellas and Suzy along with another volunteer, Jane, both gave their umbrellas to those in need.
     I have read Acts 20:35 plenty of times and know in theory that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But today I got to see volunteers putting that Scripture into action! The Son was shining in their hearts, even in the rain!
     Thank You, Jesus, for showing Yourself true and mighty through three simple acts of giving.

Misti Mitchell
Volunteer Coordinator

14 November 2017

One Liners

     The other night, I met with Jack for discipleship. He is doing well, in the middle of the Intermediate Level of the New Life Recovery Program, which means he has lots of Bible packets to fill out. I have been enjoying reading his answers. If you put them together, it would be a well-written testimony.
     I also am going through his memory verses with him. He tells me he can't memorize them, so he writes each one ten times. One of his verses was out of Proverbs. His translation was a one liner. In my NKJV it says,
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. – Proverbs 25:28
     I challenged him to quote this verse without looking. He did perfectly. Then I taught him another verse that was a one liner, John 11:35 (Jesus wept). Again, I challenged him to recite this verse. He nailed it! Then I told him even big verses are full of one liners. It may be three or four sentences, but they are one line at a time. Jack smiled. 
     I share this because I want you all to know how personable these times of discipleship are. It is good stuff. Keep our program men and women in your prayers. The program should be encouraging and even fun. Praise God that we get to do what we do. 

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

13 November 2017

Happy Birthday, Open Door Mission!

     There is so much to celebrate this month! The famous Omaha Woodmen Tower was lit up purple just three years ago to recognize Open Door Mission’s 60th Birthday. Three years? It seems like just yesterday!
     Two years ago we opened our South Omaha Family Outreach/Donation Center that now serves more than 200 needy families every week.
     God is good, and it is good to take moments to thank Him for big milestones like these. Praying for more exciting blessings to come in our 63rd year!

Candace Gregory

10 November 2017

Thankful for a Father's Love...Part 2

Continued from Thursday, 11/9

     John went into another downturn after his father’s death. He fell back into the cycle of
addiction. His part time restaurant job barely covered his expenses. But it was there that John ran into David Eischeid, an Open Door Mission staff member.
     "Just being around Dave woke me up. And he was patient, consistent with me. He reminded me how much better life was when following our
Heavenly Father, and he asked me to think about coming to Open Door Mission.
     “I came to the Mission. I got here, I got sober. I’ll work to get my CDL back. My daughter and her family just moved into town. I’m blessed to have the chance to get to know my grandchildren.
     “I'm thankful I made peace with my earthly father before he died, but it took my Heavenly Father to show me how to love. This is a safe place to take time to reconnect with my Lord God. God bless everyone who works with me here, and thank God I found Open Door Mission.”
     Thank you for providing a place for John and so many others to find the love of our Father in heaven!

Steve Wamberg
Director of Development

09 November 2017

Thanks for a Father's Love...Part 1

     John was on a search throughout his childhood. “I had the material things I wanted, but I never felt I could please my father. I never heard him tell me he loved me. My father was my hero, and as a young boy that distance was devastating.” Before long, John discovered that he could get his father’s attention quickly if he misbehaved.
     “I gave up trying to be good,” John remembers. “Getting into trouble gave me more contact with my father than I had if I did well.” Just as John was entering adolescence, a family member abused him sexually. “I lost my innocence. That little secret drove me into isolation."
     As a teenager, John was still having issues creating healthy relationships. He began to numb himself with alcohol and marijuana – a habit that continued through high school and into a promising career in auto body repair. A few years after he’d launched his career, John found himself divorced with the custody of an infant daughter and back living with his mother.
     Wanting to make a fresh start, John joined the National Guard. During basic training, he became sober, healthy, and excelled as an infantryman. He returned home ready to make positive changes.
     A job he was counting on fell through. John experienced long cycles of falling apart, then doing well, then falling apart for years at a time. He added crack cocaine to his addictions. John’s drinking cost him his CDL. He wasn’t always in a good place, but a miracle unfolded: John and his dad reconciled in the months before his dad died.

To be continued on Friday, November 10

Steve Wamberg
Director of Development

07 November 2017

My Friend, Clifton

     This is my friend, Clifton. He had a great laugh and was a wicked chess player. Our first meeting together was not all smiles, however. In 2001, I was meeting with the men in the chapel of our old Men’s Center. Clifton jumped up on a chair - all 6'4'' and 250+ pounds and loudly shouted, "I demand a recount. I want Steve Gregory to be in charge - he's the boss."
     I said, "Mr. Pope, sit down right now." Clifton was homeless, but after being at the Mission got back on his feet and a found a home. BUT he always registered for Thanksgiving assistance. Every year is has been fun to catch up.
     This past Saturday, the Open Door Mission team registered thousands of families for a frozen turkey and a fixin’s box. Thank you for your prayers for the team that greeted and served our friends that are #homelessnomore, but still struggling to make ends meet.
     Please continue to pray that Open Door Mission has enough turkeys and non-perishable foods for every household in need. Rejoice with me for Clifton…he truly is #homelessnomore as he is in his heavenly home.

Candace Gregory

06 November 2017

Open Door Mission Celebrates Program Graduates

This article is taken from Strictly Business Omaha. Click here to view the original article.

     On Saturday, October 28, Open Door Mission celebrated New Life with nine graduates. The ceremony took place at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center Chapel in Omaha. These men and women received Certificates of Completion during a cap and gown ceremony. For most, it was the first time they had experienced a cap and gown graduation. After the service, a reception honoring the graduates and their families was held.
     A recent Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion report featured Omaha, the Open Door Mission, and other faith-based organizations responding to homelessness in Omaha. Open Door Mission President/CEO Candace Gregory said, “Based on its findings, the Baylor study projects that the students who graduated will likely benefit Heartland taxpayers $21,745 each in savings on social services and from increased income tax revenue. That’s $282,685. Yet their changed lives, of course, are infinitely more valuable.”
     Open Door Mission is a Gospel rescue mission providing basic needs and life-changing programs for hungry, homeless, at-risk and addicted people in the Heartland. Now in its 63rd year, each day Open Door Mission offers 816 safe shelter beds to homeless men, women and children, serves over 2,300 hot, nutritious meals, and provides preventive measures to keep 275 individuals and families in their homes. For more information, please visit www.opendoormission.org.

03 November 2017

Praises for Disciple Making

     My heart here at Open Door Mission is once guests know Jesus and have personal relationships that they would be in community with other believers and be disciple to grow in their faith. One of my female guests has felt hurt by women in the past and was not ready to live life with other women. I talked with her about being in community with other women and why it is so important for my spiritual walk. It’s such a blessing, and I want her to enjoy that too. I would talk to her about what living out our faith daily looks like, and how being mentored has helped me to grow and know the Bible. I told her sometimes it’s as simple as asking someone at church to read a Christian book together or be intentional about reading the Bible together. 
     She took a step of faith and asked a friend to study the Bible with her intentionally and read a specific passage to discuss it and grow together. At the same time, she started attending church, but cannot go to their study due to time conflicts. The church told her we will find a woman who wants to do the study with you one-on-one, because they wanted her to be a part of it!
     Praise the Lord for pouring out his love on this guest through the women that reached out to include her. What a testimony that God can take something that was hard in a person’s life and use it to redeem and bless His people, to show his people that they are loved, cherished and wanted by Him and the community of believers!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

02 November 2017

In the Fire

Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. – Deuteronomy 4:12
     I've heard stories from those we serve on the streets about their times in the "fire." By in the fire I mean when they are surrounded by the "flames" of the world that engulf them. Though I cannot relate to some of the things they speak of, I have also been in the "fire" many times in my life. What I have learned, though, is that God is always with you in the fire—what a blessing! 
     How PERFECT is our Father, a Mastermind in that He created mankind in His own image! So when we are ministering and loving on those we encounter on the streets, they are seeing a reflection of God, and we have the privilege of reminding them that they are also God's children.
     God can speak to those in the fire, and He can be seen through us. He knew exactly what He was doing when He created each and every person. 

Misti Mitchell
Volunteer Coordinator

In Conflict Management Class

     I recently had the opportunity to spend an entire afternoon doing something that I love to do - talking with, and ministering to a woman who was just getting ready to graduate from our New Life Recovery Program. But this wasn't just any programmer. Lisa was special to me.
     The Lord had laid her on my heart the day that I first saw her in my Conflict Management class. I remember her sitting in an out of the way corner, and trying not to be seen. Her head down. Her hat on. For whatever reason, my eye kept being drawn to her.

     When she finally came up to the table at the end of the class to have her sheet signed, I stopped. I turned to her, and looked into her eyes. I gently placed my hand on the top of hers and said "How ya doin' sister"? She replied, "Fine" and looked at me quickly with a half-smile but looked back down. I asked if she wanted me to pray for her in any way, and she replied, "Nope, I'm okay." She grabbed her sheet and left the classroom. 
     Once the classroom emptied out, I was surprised that she came back. "I think I left too soon," she said. I turned my chair and pulled one up for her right across from me. As she sat down I grabbed her hands and asked her if she knew Jesus. We talked and I told her how much He loves her and wants the very best for her if she will only trust Him with her future. I prayed for her right there. That was nearly a year ago. 
     When I saw Lisa recently and had the time to talk with her, it was hard to believe that it was the same person. Lisa told me that she has never been more content, or felt more at peace. Her wisdom, and ability to trust the Lord in all things was just astounding. The Lord had done an amazing work in Lisa. This is why we do what we do. Changed lives that have eternal value. All glory to Him!

Meredith Seaman
Heartland Circle Coordinator

01 November 2017

Calling Future Staff Members!

     Open Door Mission is looking for new amazing staff members, and we were wondering if you could help.
     Do you know a good candidate for our Rebuilding Lives Center Case Manager position? He/she would work with our men who have graduated one of our life-changing programs (New Life Recovery Program or Journey to Work Program) and are living in an apartment. 
     Maybe a  you know someone who could be a Volunteer Coordinator. What a fun ministry to work along volunteers—you get paid to have fun! 
     We are also looking for movers and shakers…also know as Family Support Workers for the Lydia House. These staff members work with our guests, ministering to them, helping with life skills, and having fun. 
     Maybe you know someone who wants to work in the evenings or overnight alongside our guests at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center?
     Or do you know a college student looking for part time hours? The Lydia House and Garland Thompson Men’s Center could use them for open shifts. 
     We are looking for ministry-minded men and women who LOVE Jesus to join our team.  Please have them check out Careerlink for our latest job postings.  

Amy Buss
HR Director