18 December 2018

Toy & Joy Warehouse

     This is the project that the team has been hard at work at for the last few weeks. They transformed the warehouse into the Toy and Joy Shop. It looks amazing. A special thank you to Amy and Jason and their team’s and hundreds of volunteers. 2018 Project Santa has already served over 1,000+ needy children! 







Candace Gregory
President/CEO

17 December 2018

Project Santa Toy Drive with KFAB & KGOR

     Thank you to everyone who dropped off new toys for Project Santa during our remote broadcast with NewsRadio 1110 KFAB at Dingman’s Collision Center (144th and Industrial) today. You can still donate toys through the end of next week at Dingman’s and other KFAB Project Santa drop off locations or bring them to our Timberlake Outreach Center or Elkhorn Donation Center.







Kristen Dineen
Public Relations Coordinator
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14 December 2018

A New Life

     My name is Erick Gomez. I was born and raised Omaha, Nebraska. I lived with my mom Lorraine, stepfather Ines and four sisters. When I was a child, I was abused physically by my stepfather. I felt he did that because I was not his biological child. So, I moved in with my great grandparents Eva and Frank. I then started to attend church almost every Sunday with my grandfather. He also happened to have a terrible drinking problem. 

     One Sunday when I was 12 years old, my grandfather and I attended church and afterward he took me to my mom’s house so he could go to the bar and have a few beers. I argued because I did not want him to go, but he did anyways. Later that day, my grandmother sent my cousin to look for my grandfather because he had not come home yet. He looked everywhere. When he finally found him, my grandfather was unconscious and bleeding from his head. We found out my grandfather fell down the stairs and cracked his head open. He lost his memory, could not walk and he barely talked. 

     That really hurt. I began to smoke marijuana, drink alcohol, hang around gang members, and involved myself in criminal activity. By this point, I was moving from friend’s house to friend’s house. 

     When I was about 16, I got very sick and my mom, who I was staying with at the time, thought I had a flu so she gave me some flu medicine. A couple of days later, I couldn't walk or hold my head up. My mother saw how bad I looked and took me to hospital. They had to do emergency surgery and the doctor said if I was a young kid or an older person, I probably would have died. I then had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. 

     One day when I was at my mom’s house, she received a call from my grandmother saying my grandfather has passed. That really hurt me bad. I once again started drinking, smoking marijuana and doing methamphetamine. I then joined a gang in south Omaha and dropped out of school. This caused me to move in with one of my friends. I met a girl that lived across the street from him named Clair. Together, we had my first child, Alivia. That made me slow down a little and I began to work and try to start a family. 

     One day, I received a phone call from my mom saying my grandma Eva had passed away due to her age. I did not take that very well and started on my drug addiction again. I began to shoot methamphetamine up and not being at home like a father should. 

     I went to jail a lot. But this last time they were going to send me to prison for 2 to 5 years for stealing a car and fleeing from the police. I was in jail and my girlfriend and my daughter came to visit me. She told me enough was enough. They were not going be in my life if I did not change. 

     After that, I switched into the cell called God mod. I began to read the Bible, attend Bible classes and learn about our savior Jesus Christ. 

     It was December last year I spoke with my lawyer and asked if I could go to a drug program instead of going to prison. On December 21st, they called me for court and the judge gave me a signature bond to Open Door Mission. I could not believe it! My prayers began to get answered. 

     I arrived at Open Door Mission ready to change my life and continue to find Christ. The blessing began for me. I found my grandfather, John, on my dad's side of the family which I have not seen since I was a little kid. We have a great relationship and he’s in my life, my daughter's and my wife's. The last Saturday of October I got my GED and also got married to Clair. I am also planning to attend college to learn a trade in HVAC. 

     My life is finally coming together. I am a great husband, father, stepfather, and a leader in Christ for my family like I was raised to be.  I want to thank Open Door Mission for everything they have done for me and my family. I would also like to thank my wife, mom, step-dad, and my brothers and sisters of Christ. I would like to close by reading one of my favorite bible verses Psalm 19:14. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight Lord my rock and my redeemer.







Erick
New Life Recover Program Graduate
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13 December 2018

Channel 94.1 Visits the Lydia House

     A photo shoot with babies and toddlers - what was I thinking?? Thank you to Channel 94.1’s team for ALL their smiles. YOU can pick up your special Christmas Card when you drop off your Diapers on Friday, Saturday or Sunday at the Linden Market Hy Vee at 132nd and Dodge. 







Candace Gregory
President/CEO
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12 December 2018

Olive Garden for Dinner

     Christmas Season, the season of giving which started with gift of Jesus over 2000 years ago. We now find new ways of celebrating that gift with gifts from our heart to those God has placed in our lives. The wonderful folks from the metro area Olive Garden Restaurants came to us to serve their wonderful cuisine to our guest. The staff made the desserts they served tonight. 







Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director
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11 December 2018

Toy & Joy Shop

     Piper is busy filling the stocking stuffer bins! The Open Door Mission’s Project Santa’s Toy and Shop served more than 1,000 children in its first 2 days! Could you donate just 2 hours of your time - they need us and we need you! Visit www.opendoormission.org and click on the Holiday Volunteer button.







Candace Gregory
President/CEO
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10 December 2018

Shop with a Cop

     Thank you to the Omaha Police Officers and Walmart for a successful Santa's Shop with a Cop event. Helping make this Christmas one to remember for the children staying at Lydia House. The children got to pick out clothing and toys they would enjoy.







Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director
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07 December 2018

A New Life

     HEY NOW! My name is Mark and I came to the Open Door Mission one year ago. I lost my self-respect, my family, my child, and my car. I was tired of getting high, shoplifting, and asking for money. I hurt my mother and father to the point that they would not talk to me. With all of my options used up, I came to the Open Door mission and joined the New Life Recovery Program. 

     For the first time in my life, it was up to me and I wanted to change my life. I had never opened up the Bible or even had Jesus in my life. As time went on, I learned more and more about His grace and mercy. All I had to do was accept the free gift that was always there. At the Mission, I learned to pray and read the Bible and build a fellowship with my brothers that are true, meaningful, and real. Also, through the testimony of others, I learned of their struggles as they learned of mine. The Mission kept me busy working and learning about Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. 

     As time went on, God began to renew my heart and mind. I was baptized on April 8, 2019 at City Light in Midtown. I became a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come. I pray everyday for his guidance and truly believe I cannot do this alone. Blessings come every day in Christ Jesus and I believe that He has a plan for me.

     I plan on staying here at Open Door Mission and joining the Urban Ministry Program and also get a job. I believe I need the structure and continued sober living environment. I will succeed in this life and will be prepared for life everlasting. Thank you to Jesus and Open Door Mission for saving my life. 

     I will sign off with my favorite bible verse which is Matthew 5:9. "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." 

     I would like to dedicate this day to my daughter Jenna, who was sadly killed in a car crash 4 years ago. 







Mark
New Life Recovery Program Graduate
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05 December 2018

Toy & Joy Shop

     Yesterday marked a big milestone for Open Door Mission: The first day of the Toy and Joy Shop. I was asked to help from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. and what an experience that was! In total, the Toy and Joy Shop served 550 children, and getting to be a part of that process was truly an honor. 

     As I was standing with the men and women awaiting their turn to shop for their children, they would share with me a little bit of their story.... 

"The father of my child left and it is just me looking after our son. I  am really struggling being able to afford all of it." 

"I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. As a single mom, I can't keep a job and I do not have any money to put Christmas presents under the tree." 

"I graduated from the New Life Recovery Program and Open Door Mission is the reason I am still standing here, but I am having trouble finding housing. I am so thankful for everything that you have done and continue to do for me." 

     These are just a few snippets from different testimonies I was able to hear yesterday. What a blessing! 

     My heart was overflowing with gratitude, because the employees of Open Door Mission could NOT do this without the help of our community. Thank you to the donors who stock the shelves with toys, thank you to the volunteers who help make things run smoothly, thank you to the prayer warriors who bless this place, thank you to everyone involved who make this event happen for boys and girls in need. 







Lauren Catlett
Digital Communications Coordinator
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03 December 2018

Christmas Is Coming

     It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Lydia House! Thanks to this little guy for helping us decorate the tree. What a blast! 







Lydia House Staff
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30 November 2018

The Armor of God

     My name is William Knudsen. I was born in April of 1969. The first 10 years of my life I
Witnessed and was subjected to mental, physical, and sexual abuse and violence no child should ever see; as well as the death of my mother, due to drugs and alcohol. As a result of this, I was put in group homes, foster homes, and reform schools at the age of 8. As an adult starting at age 18, I began the first of my 7 prison numbers, accumulating approximately 17 years of my adult life locked up. I was roaming through life, broken as broken can be, and lost in the world of chaos that I created. Last year in February, life started taking a different turn for me. While in jail, my eyes began to open to the word of God. I was led to Romans 7 where Paul talks about the struggle with sin. And as I began to look more closely into the contents of the Bible, the words came alive for me. I saw all my struggles in life were there.

     Wanting to understand more, the more I studied, the more answers I received. In my immaturity, I found out how easy it is to take back my will after giving it to God. Three months back into my addictive sinful behavior, I was once again involved in an incident that would almost cost me my life.

     On October 6, 2017, I was life flighted from Norfolk, Nebraska to Omaha with a collapsed lung from three stab wounds to the back and a would-be fatal stab wound to the head where the knife was broken off and lodged through the skull. In order to remove the blade, a piece of my skull had to be removed with it.

     By the grace of God and his amazing healing power, I found myself here at Open Door mission exactly 30 days later. As we learn that nothing is coincidence, I must share how fast this happened. 6 days in the hospital, 11 days in jail, and I picked up an application for the New Life Recovery Program. When I called to bring the application in, Pat told me, " Bring your things and be ready to start." I was amazed at how quickly this was happening. I also remember my Parole Officer telling me, "Don't think you are going to wait 2-3 months to get in to a program." So, reluctantly, I showed up November 6, 2017 to start my new life.

     After a few days here, I sat down with my case manager and explained to him that this was not what I was expecting. So, Jake told me to give it a week. If I still feel the same, we will try finding something else. After a few more days, I forgot all about leaving. I immersed myself into classes and studying the word. Another 2 weeks and I unexpectedly received the Running the Race award. So, to better understand what this meant, I read how Paul describes running the race. And being a long distance runner, I immediately understood perseverance. And for me, it was always a push to the next mile. Life is the same way.

     Before I knew it, I began to see the blessings Pat talks about, such as the restored relationships with my son, my daughter, and as well as the relationship with their mother, as well as my family, who I hurt with my behavior.

     God has blessed me. I program that paid $85,000 to cure my Hepatitis C. He has blessed me with the ability to be able to hike up a 14,000 ft. mountain, and the feelings and emotions of that are beyond words.

     But most of all, he has placed in my path a support team of Godly men and women to help me continue my walk with him. 

     It didn't matter that this took eleven days shy of a year to achieve this goal to graduate, because now I have committed myself to the next two years with Steve Frazee, Open Door Mission's Senior Program Director, in the TUMI Urban Ministry program so I can learn how to minister and be a productive disciple for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And I thank him for each and every member of staff at the Open Door mission. 

     It is difficult to pick a favorite scripture when so many have meaning for me. But every day is a battle. There are things from my past that still need worked on, there are people who still remember the old me and are still going to condemn me for these old ways. So every day I must armor up with the whole armor of God. 

     So I will leave you with Ephesians, 6:10-18, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.







William
New Life Recovery Program Graduate 
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29 November 2018

Thank You

     Thank you so much for awarding me with a vehicle. Having my own transportation to and from my new job is a real blessing. It makes my life so much easier. I know that there is a lot of responsibility that comes along with the car and I am praying that I will use it only for the right purposes. 
     The Open Door Mission has done so much for me. I've learned so much here and now i'm getting little opportunities to give back, like giving my testimony and helping lead our new Fresh Hope group. 
     Thank you for giving me chances like that to give back. I will always remember the generosity that you have shown me. 







Brad
Open Door Mission Guest
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27 November 2018

Friends of the Mission with Terry

     Friends of the Mission is always a fun time with lunch provided by our
community kitchen chefs, getting to hear first hand what is happening at Open Door Mission and also a testimony from one of the men or women in the New Life Recovery Program. A big thank you to Terry for sharing his testimony and what the Lord has done in his life! 







Lauren Catlett
Digital Communications Coordinator
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26 November 2018

Above and Beyond

     A few weeks ago, we hosted our annual Chick-Fil-A canned food drive, where you receive a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich for three canned goods. 
     This is Marty at the Chick-Fil-A in Papillion. A customer gave him money to buy some cans for us...last week. So Marty went out during his lunch break to buy cans for the Open Door Mission!
That is above and beyond!







Josh Smith
Heartland Hands Coordinator
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21 November 2018

New Vehicle

     Please join me in congratulating and praying for Kelly & Jennifer as they received a vehicle today!  This is super exciting and will really help create some new opportunities for this family!





Amy Harvey
Community Relations Director
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20 November 2018

Lydia House Success Story

     One of our past guest’s stopped by the Lydia House, today. She wanted us to know that she
appreciates the Lydia House. She has stayed sober since she left, has her own apartment and job. She has custody of her children. She also graduated the Hero program at Stephen's Center. She told Shelly numerous times how much she appreciated the staff here. She said we were tough, but we supported her! She also said that in her past, she had grown so accustomed to breaking the rules, she had to completely learn a new way of thinking. She let me know that she broke her share of rules here, but is grateful that we did not put up with it. 

     She now says that she takes it day by day, but still shows up and "does it" I thanked her for coming back to tell us! We need to hear the good news❤ this is such a good report from Shelly the Lydia House Overflow Case Manager. 







Candace Gregory
President/CEO 
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19 November 2018

Timberlake Outreach Center

     Thank you to those staff members who have joined us in guest services this past week. So many have been blessed through you. Thank you!

     I just  want to share something that I overheard yesterday. George has checked in guests all day. At the end he Was thanking a volunteer for her help in the manna pantry and he asked her if she knew those that she helped? He continued by telling her “ you helped a woman with lung cancer, a family that just lost everything, a man who just took in two foster children, one that had wanted to just give up and many more! 

     Both the volunteer and I were touched and gently reminded that those that come through our doors have a life story with great need. What George gave  to those guests was a prayer of blessing and of hope and a moment of his time to listen and show compassion. Those prayers unlock the door of Heaven and let the Love of Jesus flow into lives of those we serve. 

     There are those all around us that need a prayer and someone who cares. Thank you all for making Jesus known in your place  at ODM and beyond. His love changes everything!! 

Blessings to you all. 







Laura Keen
Homeless Prevention Director
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09 November 2018

From Dark to Light

     I came to the Open Door Mission February 14, 2018. That was the day I had
enough of what I now call, "the old me." I no longer recognized who I was anymore. I had transformed slowly into a person who was ashamed of the person I had become. I was as far as I could be from God. I no longer felt the Holy Spirit within me. I was living up to my name of "The Boogeyman". I no longer felt conviction for anything bad I was doing at this point in time. 
     I came to the Open Door Mission broken, hurt, and full of broken promises. I remember beforehand at my house I was so tired, hurt, addicted, ashamed, and full of misery that it brought me to my knees. I cried out to God to please forgive me for all that I had become. To please show me mercy and grace even though I didn't deserve it. That pain I felt was indescribable. I had never felt that before in my life. God heard my prayer; he lifted that pain and gave me the strength to pick myself up from the floor. I will never forget that day and now is the rock in which I stand to never go back. I learned firsthand that day how forgiving God is. I did not deserve His grace, yet had never forgotten about me. He was just patiently waiting for me to get tired of the way I was living. 
     I will be forever grateful to God for forgiving me and allowing me a second chance at life. I show just how grateful I am everyday by living each day that I wake up with breath, for him. I strive each and every day to do his will and try my hardest to fulfill my purpose that he has in store for me. I know that I fall each and every day but that's okay. God has showed me that he is okay with that because I am not perfect. He just wants me to make an effort everyday on building a stronger connection and relationship with him. Through that, he teaches me the lessons that I need to learn and in return, I gain so much knowledge and wisdom. I truly believe now that I have a purpose and that feels so good. That feeling is the fuel that I use to persevere through the trials that I fail at so many times. That feeling is the reason I pick myself up and dust myself off no matter what. I know that in whatever I do from now on, God has my back. He has my best interest at heart. 
     For the first time in my life, I am excited for my future. My favorite quote by man has to be a quote by Mark Twain which is, "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why." My favorite scripture has to be Isaiah 41:10 "fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand." Both I believe I have experienced firsthand. When I feel down or discouraged, I look up and remember how far I have come in my journey. It brings a smile to my face. I no longer feel stressed, depressed or anxious. I feel such a peace nowadays. It's a good feeling having God in control.
     If I could give one piece of advise to someone that just made the decision to turn their life over to God, it has to be that God is looking for availability, not ability. Our talents will never impress God, but our submission will get His attention. You learn that lesson and you will hit the ground running . Prepare yourself because your life is going to be full of blessings and you will be a blessing to others, you watch and see. If someone with as dark of a past as I have can change their life, hope is not lost. Anybody's chains can be broken. It's up to you if or when you've had enough. Make the change and commitment. God is always waiting patiently. The next move is yours. What will it be? 







Angel Diaz
New Life Recovery Program Graduate.


08 November 2018

Providing Hope

     Once living at Open Door Mission, Kristi is now helping others in need at Open Door Mission...Providing Hope for a Changed Life.







Maggie Cope 
Gift In Kind Coordinator

07 November 2018

Sons and Daughters of God

     This is the season when it gets tough. Some days for our guests, and some  are tough on staff. I can't tell you how important it is to be filled up with the word of God on a daily basis. As I was spending time with the Father last night, he shared something with me that I would like share with all of you. God speaks to me in acronyms all the time and he said, "Do you know what son and daughter mean?"

Serving
Other
Needs

Doing
All
Under
God's
Hands
That
Elevate
Righteousness

I hope this brings encouragement to all as we serve a good, good Father.


STAY BLESSED!!!







Damien Wilson
Men's Support Worker
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06 November 2018

Compassion Fatigue

     This was sent to me from a wonderful volunteer and I hope you all will be encouraged by it. 

From Today’s Daily Bread

Compassion Fatigue
Bill Crowder


When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

Matthew 9:35–38
Jeremiah 24–26; Titus 2

Anne Frank is well known for her diary describing her family’s years of hiding during World War II. When she was later imprisoned in a Nazi death camp, those with her said “her tears [for them] never ran dry,” making her “a blessed presence for all who knew her.” Because of this, scholar Kenneth Bailey concluded that Anne never displayed “compassion fatigue.”

Compassion fatigue can be one of the results of living in a badly broken world. The sheer volume of human suffering can numb even the best intentioned among us. Compassion fatigue, however, was not in Jesus’s makeup. Matthew 9:35–36 says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Our world suffers not only from physical needs but also from spiritual brokenness. Jesus came to meet that need and challenged His followers to join Him in this work (vv. 37–38). He prayed that the Father would raise up workers to respond to the needs all around us—people who struggle with loneliness, sin, and illness. May the Father give us a heart for others that mirrors His heart. In the strength of His Spirit, we can express His compassionate concern to those who are suffering. 


You can make a difference.







Laura Keen
Timberlake Outreach Center Director
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05 November 2018

Thank you, Pops!

     Scott (Scotty to me, Pops to everyone else) received this card from a Marian High School student. He is always helping out with staff and volunteers with a smile on his face and servanthood in his heart. I am so thankful that an outside group recognized him in such a beautiful way. Just added to his smile. Keep being Jesus to others can see Jesus and know Jesus. Way to go, Scotty!







Kate Fischer
Health & Healing Center Director
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02 November 2018

Who Are You Imitating?

     We are all imitating someone in this world.  What does being an imitator mean?  It means to copy the behavior or actions of another (dictionary).  Who are we copying?  Are we in love with the culture around us and just imitating famous people we admire? Are we imitating famous Christians even? Or, are we imitating God?  Ephesians 5 calls us to imitate God. 



     Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them--Ephesians 5:1-7

     When I look at my own life I ask myself, do I imitate God.  Do I know God?  Can I imitate someone I do not know?  Am I making time to truly know who God is?  How can I know more of God, in order to imitate God more?  Am I living a life of love to be imitated? (IF: Equip Bible Study)

     Am I a good witness to those around me that don’t know Christ?  Am I imitating a famous Christian or am I imitating Christ?  Am I making time to be in God’s Word everyday. Not just read it, but actually be present reading it.  Through the busyness of full-time ministry, I sometimes get so wrapped into the day to day, that imitating Christ gets pushed to the side and I find myself saying, “When I have more time, when I get more sleep, when life slows down….etc.”  Do the words I speak bring life to those around me? Am I filled with thankfulness, or am I dragged down by the hard days of full-time ministry? 

     This passage just points to Jesus.  It points to the fallen-ness of humankind.  We struggle to imitate God; we don’t always speak life and are not always thankful.  But the Good News of the Gospel is we don’t have to have it together.  We have a personal relationship with Jesus who died for our sins, rose again and saved us!  With Jesus, we can imitate God; rearrange who we are to join where He is (Jo Saxton).  Once we take our eyes of ourselves and just look to Jesus, our only response is gratitude (Sissy Mathew).

     I pray we would be people that would imitate Christ and be known for imitating Christ.  I pray we would look internally and rearrange who we are to be where God is.  Would we not just get dragged down by the stresses of everyday life, but instead be people who exert thanksgiving, even during the hard days.







Trudy Woodward
Lydia House Director
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01 November 2018

College Possible

     Last weekend, we were blessed to have more than 1,000 hours of service donated by College Possible high school students. 
     “Open Door Mission was thrilled to be partnering with College Possible as providing HOPE for others is a core value for both organizations,” said Candace Gregory, President/CEO of Open Door Mission. “The student's impact will have a ripple effect on the community that will stay with them into their careers which will lead them back to volunteerism, again and again. WE are grateful for the more than 1,000 hours of service being donated that will leave a College Possible hand print all over the Open Door Mission Campus.”







Kristen Dineen
Public Relations Coordinator
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31 October 2018

Bellevue Schools

     Thank you to the Lewis and Clark Middle School "Builders Club" and the Bellevue West High School "Key Club" who volunteered and donated items at the Timberlake Outreach Center. We love watching school-aged children get involved at the Mission. It's really awesome that kids not only care about the community but want to help us empower men, women, and children to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.  







Garrett Ross
Volunteer & Partner Director
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