31 January 2018

Working for Food, Not Begging


     Meet Chris, a current student in Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program. He walked through our doors after living homeless for four years. He survived using a cardboard sign asking for food but desired a better life. He would agree that he has found hope for lasting change right here at the Mission. He says, “Open Door Mission gives me a roof over my head, food in my belly, and clothes on my back. What else could I possibly ask for? God is providing all of my needs right here.” Because of the HOPE you provide, Chris no longer has to beg for food, he has the opportunity to work for it.

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

30 January 2018

Deliverance for the Oppressed

     I just met with a young man who had some early exposure to demonic activity, which led to his involvement with drugs at the age of 15, particularly meth. This took him on a 16-year downhill journey of creating drug potions, casting spells, and serving the devil.
     Last Saturday morning as he was walking the streets, he came by a Catholic Church and knew he needed to go in. Upon doing so, he opened the Bible and found himself reading about how Jesus promised to deliver the oppressed. Right then and there he realized he needed to get some serious help.
     He had stayed at Open Door Mission earlier in the year for a couple weeks, trying to recover and earn enough money to get his own place. So he immediately knew where to go to get help. Now he knows that Jesus Christ is more powerful than the devil, that God the Father has a great plan for him, and that he can now start walking as a new creation IN CHRIST.

David Eischeid
Discipleship Counselor

29 January 2018

Understanding Truth Behind Cliches

     My name is Malin and I’m very grateful to be a part of Open Door Mission. Over the past several months, I’ve been a in the New Life Recovery Program, taking classes and working on myself to achieve a new life. My main reason for being here was to have a closer relationship with God. Helping people and giving back are real passions I have for doing God’s work.
     My hope is to soon receive a car so I can drive to work, A.A. meetings, and attend church. It would help me, but I could also use it to help others.
     Someone once told me that giving was better than receiving, and I thought it was a bunch of hoo-haa. Back then quotes like, “Take it one day at a time,” and “Give it to God” also seemed like cheesy clich├ęs. It was only until recently that I began to understand the truth behind them. I’m still learning stuff like this, but I truly want to live a life of serving others.
     Thank you for letting me be a part of the New Life Recovery Program. I appreciate all the employees and volunteers at the Mission. I’m grateful for friendships I’ve made with employees and fellow students alike.

Malin
Open Door Mission Graduate

26 January 2018

The Right Thing to Do

     This is Meri. She has been volunteering her time three times a week at our Family Outreach/Donation Centers for three and a half years. When asked why she donates her time, she simply replies, “It’s the right thing to do.” Thank you, Meri for changing lives through selfless servitude!
     To learn how to get involved as a volunteer, click here.

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

25 January 2018

Salvation Through Conflict Resolution

     I have been working with a gentleman in the New Life Recovery Program named Eric for about two weeks, trying to be a light for him. Last week we had a little minor conflict, so we sat down to discuss resolution to the problem. Eric felt really bad about what had happened, and the next day he came back to apologize to me. He said that in the past he wouldn’t have felt bad about his actions, and that this feeling was new.
     This was my chance to share how God guides us and convicts us when we do wrong because He wants more for us. Finally, later that day, I had the honor to pray with Eric and he invited Christ into his heart as his personal savior!
     In my new position in the Receiving Area, I have prayed with residents who were struggling, a donor who lost a wife, and a donor who lost a child. And now He used me to lead Eric to salvation–praise God! These are all proof that God uses each and every one of us, putting us where He can best use us.

Shawn Bartlett
Receiving Area Manager

24 January 2018

Serving and Being Served

Opportunities for volunteers to serve guests at Open Door
Mission are always a blessing, from Christmas to
New Year's Eve.
     As our New Year’s Eve Brunch ended, I looked over at one of our residents from Permanent Supportive Housing, Kathryn. She was saying thank you to a volunteer for her service. Then she walked outside to head back to her home.
     What I saw next just melted my heart: Kathryn stopped outside the door, stood there for a minute, and then asked to come back in to the Community Kitchen. She walked up to a volunteer who had served her meal and said, "I wanted to tell you that you are very beautiful and thank you for serving me today.” She then gave her a hug. The server got a shocked look on her face and hugged Kathryn back.
     The rest of the morning I observed this woman and noticed that she was having a hard time getting over the interaction with Kathryn. After the meal was over, I sat down with her and asked how she was doing. She then burst into tears, saying that lately she was having some self-esteem issues and that part of why she was serving today was to get out of herself. So when Kathryn told her she was beautiful, it went straight to her heart. She said, "I came to serve people and in return I was served in a bigger way then I could have ever imagined.”
     I prayed with her, hugged her, and reminded her that she is important to God. I don’t know why Kathryn felt led to tell this woman she was beautiful, but I really feel that was the Holy Spirit moving in Kathryn. This volunteer was truly blessed, and I know that Kathryn was blessed to be a blessing to others! I am reminded once again that it doesn't matter why people come to Open Door Mission—God will move in their lives. Lives are changed every day, including the lives of guests, residents, volunteers, and employees.
     As I reflect on 2017 I think of all the moments and people that God has touched and changed here. I think of employees’ hard work and dedication to serve those in need. I think of the growth in me as well as in those around me, and I am thankful for the opportunity to work at a place where I can share Jesus with others. 

Jessica Coffey
Volunteer Coordinator

23 January 2018

The Potter and the Clay

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
We are all the work of Your hand. –Isaiah 64:8

     This week I have praying more for divine appointments, and the Lord has responded with MANY appointments! Please pray for the guests and tenants we serve at the Permanent Supportive Housing building. I have had many come sharing pain and tragedies in their lives, which provides the opportunity to literally pray without ceasing—every hour I have been praying for someone!
     It has been such a blessing to have this opportunity for prayer. There are countries and even American companies where you aren’t allowed to pray, but we can do that openly at Open Door Mission! It reminds me too, that we are the clay and God is the Potter. He directs us throughout our day for the purpose of that day! We don't tell God our plans, He tells us His.
     Even though stopping to pray may mean that I don’t accomplish everything as quickly as I wanted, merely being a vessel used by God is a privilege. God doesn't have to use us, but He chooses to. And it's awesome to see Him working!
     Bob Goff says, "Don't let your plans decide your purpose, the clay doesn't tell the potter what it will be."
     We are merely just clay, being molded by God. I never thought I would end up in full-time ministry at Open Door Mission, but God called me here. I pray we are people who allow the potter to mold us into the men and women He wants us to be. The Good News of the Gospel is even if we've blown it and put our priorities above God's, if we humbly come to His feet He will continue to mold us into who He has designed us to be! Jesus came so we can have eternal life, and He is the Hero of the story.

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

22 January 2018

Snow Day!

     Last week’s snow day at the Lydia House started with an extra-long Devotional time with one of our staff members, Lisa. The ladies LOVE studying the bible with Lisa!
     After that we did some deep cleaning. The Learning Center, Fitness Center, Work Net Room, and Classroom have never been cleaner. We cleaned, listened to music, and laughed!
    After lunch and a 12-step meeting, we had game time! Women and families had a blast together, playing games and staying warm inside!
     The house is clean, quiet, and happy. Thank you God for this snow day!!








Vickie Gregorio
Lydia House Director

19 January 2018

"If it Weren't for You...I Would Still be in a Tent."

     Every morning, I pray to God that He uses me to touch someone's life. I want to be a vessel for Him, used and directed to bring the peace and joy He so freely gives to others.
     In one of my earlier blogs about the Streets of Omaha ministry, I shared the story of "Uncle." Uncle has since left his tent, reconciled with his son, and moved in with him. Now he gets to spend each day with his son and his two beautiful granddaughters.
     When I saw Uncle last week, he had the biggest smile on his face and a glow like no other. I embraced him and told him how happy I was to see him. As he talked about the weeks since we had last seen each other, he began to cry.
     I gave him a tissue and he looked at me with tear-filled eyes and said, "If it weren't for you, checking on me daily, praying for me, and giving me advice on ways to control my anger issues, I would not be here, out here enjoying my life with my family. I would still be in a tent on the street. I am so thankful for you and your heart! You truly care for me and I love you for that! Keep doing what you're doing, taking care of people. You touched my life!"
     As he spoke these words, I cried! God used me to help Uncle with things he needed to be reconciled with his family. God is so amazingly and absolutely DIVINE! Sometimes we don't understand what He is doing or why, but it ALWAYS works for the greatest good! I am so grateful to witness how he places us where we need to be to change others, which often changes us too! Thank you God for this opportunity!

Misti Mitchell
Volunteer Coordinator

18 January 2018

Discipleship

     This is so awesome, to see one man from our life-changing program investing in another man in the program through love, discipleship, and prayer! Imagine if each one of us would invest in just one other person what a difference our family, our community, and our world would be!

Pat McKernan
Garland Thompson Men’s Center Director

17 January 2018

YOU Provide More Than Just Cardboard

     This is our friend Dwayne. He has been homeless, but currently resides at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center. Cold days like these remind him of his time on the streets. Cardboard often saved Dwayne's life as he used to construct shelters from the wind or even start cardboard on fire for warmth.
     He is thankful for how the Mission provides more than just cardboard for its guests, including himself! He sees so many opportunities for people to get to know God at Open Door Mission.
     “Hats off to the staff at the Garland Thompson Men’s Center who are always planting seeds for those who are, ‘Asking, seeking, and knocking,’" said Dwayne.
     Thank you, Dwayne for sharing your experience with us.

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

16 January 2018

More Than a Christmastime Miracle

     Open Door Mission and the Lydia House have been blessed by the faithfulness of the Omaha Police Union to invest their time and money to develop relationships with children desperately needing to engage with positive role models.
     There have been hundreds of friendships established through one evening together during our Shop with a Cop program, but it can end up being so much more than a few hours. There are countless stories that often go untold of officers following up with children on their own time, embrace them into their own family outings, and spending their own time and money on the children's needs and wishes.
     I’ve even heard of these friendships lasting a life time, with officers attending high school graduations, going on college visits, sitting in the family section at weddings, attending baptisms, and etc. Shop with a Cop/Santa's Cop program is all year long for many of these men and women in blue.

Click here to view KETV's story.

Candace Gregory
President/CEO

12 January 2018

Life on the Streets of Omaha

     With snow and cold temperatures on their way, seeking shelter might be the difference between life and death for those living out on the streets. Will you join us in praying for each individual, that they would seek shelter at Open Door Mission, or somewhere they can be safe and warm?
     We ask if you see someone on the street in the snow, contact the Mission and let the Garland Thompson Men’s Center know the location of the person – a staff member will go make sure the person is okay and offer a ride to safe shelter!
     These are photos of real shelters our Streets of Omaha team found while serving meals and hygiene items. With cold weather setting in, more homeless men, women, and children living on the streets are seeking shelter. This provides us with the opportunity to take care of them physically, mentally, and spiritually, sharing the love God has for each person who walks through our doors.
     If you’d like to help homeless men, women, and children find a warm place to stay and the care they so desperately need, please consider donating hats, gloves, blankets, or space heaters? Click here to learn more. 

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

11 January 2018

More Than Just Surviving the Winter...Part 2

Since her interview, Rowena gave birth to a
healthy baby boy!
Continued from Wednesday, 1/10.

     After a tough winter, Rowena met her present spouse. He had also survived a winter on the streets. They were staying with friends most nights through the summer, and had decided to do what was needed to secure jobs and their own housing. By the fall, they’d both come to Open Door Mission to stabilize their lives.
     The Mission has been a huge blessing to both her spouse and to Rowena, who just recently gave birth to their son. “We are not worried about shelter this year. Having hot meals and clothing as the weather gets cold is such a tremendous blessing! I can’t imagine myself being ready to give birth and being out in the cold. Thanks to Open Door Mission and Lydia House, I don’t have to. 
     “God has truly blessed us. I believe God has always had my back. But now I know He has made things work together for my good. I know God can make His plan for me work, even through bad things. God relocated me to Open Door Mission for a reason. I believe that the reason was simply so the Mission could help me at this time in my life.”
     Rowena and her spouse plan to make the most of their new start at Open Door Mission. “I pray that our child will never see or experience the hardships we have. We hope to be in a house or apartment soon. Very safe, very stable—and sheltered from the bad weather."
     Thank you for your part in bringing Rowena out of life-threatening cold, and into the warmth and safety of Open Door Mission this year!

Steve Wamberg
Advancement

10 January 2018

More Than Just Surviving the Winter...Part 1

     For Rowena, it was quite a journey from a secure job and a warm house to the freezing streets of Omaha.
     “I spent 2016 down and depressed,” Rowena recalls. “I was using drugs. I lost my job. I lost my housing. My relationship with my family was strained. They didn’t want me around anymore. Then my mother went through the legal steps to take custody of my son. 
     “I was homeless and completely on my own when the really cold weather hit last year. And when that weather came, every waking minute was all about surviving the cold. It was scary, not knowing if you’d make it through the night. 
     “You had to layer your clothing, at least three layers deep. You covered as much skin as you could. That’s why socks, hats, and gloves are so important. Any exposed skin could mean frostbite. You’d try to find a closed-off area that blocked the wind and wasn’t wet. Sometimes people would try to prey on each other just for heat, so it was important to find people you could trust. You could help each other stay safe.
     “And cardboard. Dry cardboard between you and the cold ground can save your life. Cardboard can block the wind and even act as a blanket when you need it to.”

To be continued Thursday, 1/11.

Steve Wamberg
Advancement