28 February 2018

Freed From Wickedness

     The other day I met with a young man who has parents of African descent. His father is from Liberia, and the family that he came from still lives there and actively participates in the spiritual beliefs of this country, including: witchcraft, voodoo, and other superstitions.
     This young man was deeply drawn in to these practices when as a teenager he lived in Liberia for two years, and was also abused by his relatives during that time. He said that the country deals very severely with teenagers that get in trouble. He had some bitterness toward his parents and his father's family because of these very painful and difficult experiences.
     Today, however, he found freedom in Christ for his own sins and the power to give forgiveness to those who have hurt him as well. When we talked about forgiveness, he remembered that Jesus said from the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do". Now he is beginning a new journey of faith, and he now knows that the power of Jesus Christ is stronger than the power of the enemy. Praise the Lord, for setting us all free from our old ways!

David Eischeid
Discipleship Counselor

27 February 2018

King of my Heart

     As I am listening to the song King of my Heart, one of my many favorite songs, I came across this article. What a good reminder that we need to strengthen our spiritual hearts! It’s easy to get caught up in life and not take time every day to pray and dig in God's word.
     The past year I have been intentional about growing in my prayer life, and noticed that I am less anxious, have more peace, and have seen many mountains moved in my life and others’ lives. I pray this year that you will be bold in your walk with the Lord, that He moves mountains in your life, and that your prayer life grows deeper and stronger than ever before.  
     Thank you for being a servant leader at the Mission, whether you’re a staff member, volunteer, donor, or friend. Your love for the Lord and all you do for our guests is so important. The Lord is on the move at the Mission and this is going to be a year filled with many blessings.
     This is the article by Vicki Heath:
Just as there are certain exercises you can do to strengthen your physical heart, there are spiritual exercises you can do to guard your spiritual heart. You’ll be amazed at how a few simple, small steps can have a huge impact on your emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing.
One of the greatest missionaries of the first century knew the importance of guarding your heart. Paul spent a lot of time in jail, getting beat up and running from town to town in order to tell others about Jesus.  How did he keep from getting discouraged?  He lets us in on his secret in a letter he wrote to his friends in a city called Phillipi:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:6-7
Being consistent in prayer and thanksgiving helps to guard our hearts. When we pray, we are yielding our hearts to God. When we give thanks for all our circumstances, we are yielding our minds to God. The anxiety or stress that causes our physical hearts to go bad is replaced with peace when our hearts and minds rest fully and completely in God’s care.

Amy Buss
HR Director

26 February 2018

Lessons from 'Night'

     I attend high school, and there are many people that speak horribly and disrespectfully to each other. As I recently read Night by Elie Wiesel, I have realized that speaking to others in this way is not okay. However, ending hatred will be nearly impossible to do. But there are things that I can do in my community to spread hope and love instead of hatred.
     Giving new or gently used clothing to the less fortunate, or even giving food, matters a lot. Giving the ones without a home a home at night when it is freezing cold, or giving women who have been abused a place to stay is such a great thing.
     I truly appreciate what Open Door Mission does for helping the less fortunate. I cannot think of a world without Open Door Mission or other organizations like this that are doing things for others instead of glorifying themselves. What Open Door Mission is doing positively is showing me how divided Omaha is. It frustrates me when people make fun of others for not having as much as they do. Usually it is not their fault that their parents got them in this situation, and we should pick them up instead of shaming them.
     Open Door Mission is a great opportunity to volunteer and a good place to give to people who need it more than us. I hope that Open Door Mission continues to show there is good in the darkest corners of Omaha.

Open Door Mission Volunteer

23 February 2018

God Moved Me to Move Me

     My name is Jeremy and I’m 32 years old. I was born and raised in Southern California, and have lived in Nebraska since 2013. A lot of people ask me why in the world I would move to Nebraska from California, and the reasons are complicated and misguided. Now I believe there is more powerfully simple reason for my move: God wanted me to come to Open Door Mission.
     I have always had a strong relationship with God, but in the last nine months that relationship has grown even stronger. I have learned that I am not the perfect person I always thought I was. I now realize that I’ve spent a lot of time justifying my actions, making excuses, and placing blame on others.
     Going through the New Life Recovery Program at Open Door Mission really opened my eyes, and I’m thankful that God brought me across the country for this.

Open Door Mission Graduate

22 February 2018

How Can he Not Seek Vengeance?

     One of our staff members, Dillon, asked me to talk with one of our men in the New Life Recovery Program named Varney. He had Varney waiting in the conference room, so I entered and asked Varney what was going on. Varney read to me the verses in Genesis of all Joseph endured. Then he asked me why Joseph did not seek to get vengeance on those who did him wrong.
     As Varney was reading some of the commentary on Joseph's story, tears came rolling from his eyes. He told me about how his mother and father in Africa had abused him growing up. What Varney described was terrible, and it is very difficult to understand how parents can treat their children in unconscionable ways.
     I told Varney that I could not even begin to know how to speak to the wrongs that were done to him, but I did share the Gospel of Christ with him. I told him that he has a Heavenly Father that loves him and that God sent His Son Jesus to die for us on the cross. I shared with Varney that all humanity is lost in sin. We all miss the holy mark with God. We discussed this back and forth and Varney came to the place that he asked Jesus to forgive him and come into his life. 
     Praise God for Varney's salvation. Please keep him in your prayers.

Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager

21 February 2018

Servants' Attitudes

     I wanted to take a moment to recognize the men in our New Life Recovery and Journey to Work Programs for helping out so much around the Mission! I’ve seen men helping with snow removal, cleaning dorms, serving lunch, making sandwiches and sack lunches, and so much more. What’s even better is they always have great attitudes about helping out.
     The other week, the program men they made 12 big bags of sack lunches (40 lunches in each bag) and four trays of 70 sandwiches each! What a blessing this was!
     It’s always great to work alongside the program men because I get to share about why I came to do ministry here. God is faithful to provide divine appointments so it’s up to us to not miss them! 

Brian Springer
Hospitality Director

20 February 2018

Greet One Another

     I am reading She Reads Truth Romans Study. It has been a challenge for me as Romans is hard for me to fully grasp.  Today I read Romans 16:
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. – Romans 16:1-8
     As I read this passage I was just thinking of all the people Paul greeted in this letter and his encouragement as to why we should greet them. It reminds me names matter, that individuals matter in the Kingdom of God. It reminds me that Jesus is the common denominator to all these people.
Jesus Christ brings unity between us all. No matter what ages they were, what hobbies they had, they could greet and serve each other because of Jesus!
It’s easy to misread the Bible as “The Book of People Who Had It All Together,” when really, there’s only one Hero in this story. The simple truth is that we all need Jesus, and we all need each other. In Romans, Paul emphasizes that God’s plan is Good News, but his writing isn’t just for well-versed theologians—it’s for ordinary, faithful people living in small, unseen obedience. It’s for us. If you are in Christ, your name is written there among the greatness and glory of God’s plan.  -She Reads Truth Blog Day 39
     It makes me think of what who I would greet if I was Paul: how would I describe the people around me?  How would Paul described me?
     Am I greeting others and finding tangible ways to help my brothers and sisters in Christ? Or do I compare myself to them? Do I complain about others, or do I focus on what the Lord has given me to do and do it with a grateful heart? Do I work hard in the Lord, or do I just barely try, hoping no one will notice? 
     The Good News of the Gospel is we don't have to strive to prove ourselves worthy to God. We have a perfect Savior Jesus who died on the cross for our sins so we would have eternal life. When God sees us, He sees the blood of Jesus poured out for our sins. So even if you read this and think, "I don't greet others, actually I get annoyed by Christians," you can come humbly to God and ask Him to change your heart. Pray for tangible ways to serve one another. I think when we serve God and love each other while serving, God's Kingdom is furthered more than we can ever imagine! I pray we would be people who love our brothers and sisters in Christ and greet each other with a grateful heart!

Trudy Woodward
Permanent Supportive Housing Director

19 February 2018

Inspired by Passion

     Thank you for serving the homeless population in Omaha. Each night, nearly
2,000 people in Omaha are without food and shelter, and Open Door Mission helps care for these people. The team at Open Door Mission does amazing things to fight against some of the major problems in this nation like homelessness, poverty, and hunger. You all have helped countless people, created jobs, and provided volunteer opportunities.
     Your mission to end the cycle of homelessness and poverty has impacted many lives. As regular volunteers at the Elkhorn Family Donation/Outreach Center, my family and I have witnessed the impact on a community with needs. I have watched generous people give away clothing and personal items that will in turn improve the lives of struggling others in the community. A simple pair of jeans can give hope to someone in need.
     Open Door Mission works tirelessly each day to help others. It’s amazing how many people you impact and help. I am sure there can be some frustrating times in this job, but know that God will bless each staff member for their efforts to end homelessness and poverty. Someday I hope to be as passionate about my career as the Open Door Mission staff.

Open Door Mission Volunteer

16 February 2018

Now a Graduate!

     My name is Dal. I started this journey at Open Door Mission after being unsuccessful at a couple of other treatment facilities. I joined the New Life Recovery Program and was doing pretty well until I had to leave for 30 days because I could not quit smoking. I restarted the program after than month and am now a graduate! I entered The Urban Ministry Institute program which upon completion will give me a two-year Associate’s Degree in urban ministry, I look forward to continuing that program over these next two years.
     I want to take a moment to thank the staff and many volunteers here at Open Door Mission. Your hard work and efforts have not gone unnoticed. One of my favorite biblical passages reads,

He has shown you, oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? –Micah 6:8

     Thank you for giving me a second chance.

Open Door Mission Graduate

15 February 2018

This Drug-Addicted Lifestyle

This drug-addicted lifestyle
You thought would fit you
Losing sight of faith, family and love
You were willing to give it all up for one hit of that drug

You were 18 when it first happened
Alone with someone who took advantage
In your mind you wanted to scream, fight, shout
But the meth overpowered you
There was no help
18…such a young age to lose all of your hope
Satan had a laugh as you darkened your soul
You let this moment define you

For years you sought that high
It ultimately consumed you
But from this moment on
Are you going to sit here and wallow
Or will you let God in and change tomorrow?

Open Door Mission Program Student

14 February 2018

Hearts of Hope

     Each February, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Open Door Mission highlights Hearts of Hope. Hope comes in many forms here at the Mission: a donation for the Hearts of Hope Baby Shower, a drive being held to collect items for Hope Totes, volunteering your time, or a monetary donation to those in need. YOU can provide hope for those who need it most.
     Thanks for all you do for the hungry and homeless men, women, and children at Open Door Mission! From a smile to a prayer to a donation, you are inspiring hearts of hope this Valentine’s Day!

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

13 February 2018

Promotions Night!

     I had a student come to me after our most recent monthly Promotions Ceremony and tell me that it’s his favorite part. He went on to explain that when you’re in the program it’s difficult to see your achievements on a day to day basis. But each month at Promotions, it’s a great way to see how far they have come. I can feel God’s love wrapped all around us here.
     That night a student named Josh gave his testimony, and it was the most heartfelt one that I've had the opportunity to hear. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. These testimonies give students a taste of how life can be, and just what we should be living for—Jesus our Lord!

Shawn Bartlett
Receiving Area Manager

12 February 2018

Providing a Safe Place

     I appreciate what you at Open Door Mission do to help people in need. Because of you, many people are able to have the assistance they need and deserve. People who at a time couldn’t work are able to be put back on their feet. Thank you for providing a safe place. I wish more people were aware of how important it is to provide funds to your organization and to volunteer.
     The organization brings all kinds of people together to help each other and accepts all. It is uplifting to see people being so kind to others and putting their needs before their own. I have volunteered at the Mission before and have seen the love and compassion that people show each other. The people who are there aren’t shunned or discriminated against for going through hard times and are shown respect. That is one of the best parts of Open Door Mission.
     The cycle of poverty and addiction is ended because of the empathy and compassion that your organization shows. There is a sense of hope for the future in Open Door Mission. It provides for families and makes everyone there feel loved and welcome. It is very necessary for our city to have a place that has its doors open to all. Thank you for your contributions in making our society as kind and loving as it can be.

Open Door Mission Volunteer

09 February 2018

"By Being so Broken I Was Given a Gift"

     I feel very blessed to be standing up here today. The two things I am most grateful for are a renewed sense of purpose and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
     I would like to thank the entire staff here at Open Door Mission for all their help and wisdom. John Lindsey in particular helped me with a few personal struggles concerning faith. Thank you.
     When I arrived at Open Door Mission, I was spiritually bankrupt. I had experienced financial devastation and the need to rebuild after a prior marriage and divorce. When my wife passed away in 2015, I experienced a hopelessness I never imagined.
     I did not see a purpose in life. I could not find a reason to exist merely for the sake of existing. Although I did not consider myself to be suicidal, I was drinking so much that I was hospitalized several times. I often went to bed hoping that I would not wake up.
     In a strange way, by being so broken I was given a gift.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” –Matthew 5:3

     I have found hope again here at the Mission. Not because the things I lost have been restored, but because the things I value have changed. I can feel the Holy Spirit inside of me. I love spending time in the Word. I know that if I can stay out of God’s way and let Him run the show, He has a plan for my life.

Open Door Mission Graduate

08 February 2018

Five Years of Sobriety

     I have completed the New Life Recovery Program, and have since been spending time with my daughter and my grandson, and working towards getting my Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). My desire is to be an independent, productive, and exceptional member of society.
     I am just a couple of months away from celebrating five years of sobriety and feel that I’m ready to give back some of the hope and faith that I have gained since walking through the doors. I began a long journey of self-discovery and faith, and all that hard work has taken me away from the hopelessness of addiction and incarceration.
     Words could not describe my gratitude for the blessings I’ve received at Open Door Mission, and I want to be a light in the world in return.

Open Door Mission Graduate

07 February 2018

32 Years of Serving

     I started ministering as a volunteer at Open Door Mission in August 1986, meaning this year will mark 32 years of serving! I was 46 when God opened the door for me to minister through music and the sharing of His Word. Now I'm 77 and God is still giving me the strength to minister for Him through Open Door Mission.
     I gave my life to the Lord in May of 1981. Prior to this, I sang in bars and nightclubs, but God delivered me from alcohol and an addiction to gambling, setting me free as soon as He became my Savior. The gifts that He gave me were no longer to be used for man's applause, but to sing for His glory and share God's Word with those who need hope.
     I felt lead to share how God is working in the chapel service. Last week, a young woman Elsa came forward to receive Christ as Lord and Savior! One lady and six men came forward making recommitments, asking God to renew their walk with Him! Since May 2017 there have been 16 commitments and 23 recommitments to Christ. Praise God!
     I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve at Open Door Mission, to be God's hands, feet, and voice for His glory. I pray for 30 days for each person. I get their names as they are not just faces to me rather, people who are now my brothers and sisters in Christ.
     I pray and thank God for Open Door Mission’s staff members, for their hearts for the homeless and devoted love for God. I'm so thankful that we can provide physical and spiritual food to those in need.

Open Door Mission Volunteer

06 February 2018

Saturday Morning Clinic

     I was blown away by a recent amazing Saturday Morning Clinic we held. A group of several medical professionals came to volunteer at our Free Health & Healing Clinic, and it was such a successful day that we had to put people in overflow makeshift exam rooms! Besides our two exam rooms, my office was used for pediatrics, and the area behind the reception desk was used to check vitals. All spaces were used today. It all worked out and everyone was treated for their ailments and then covered in prayer. 
     What a blessing this group was. And thank you to staff for getting the word out that we were open for free visits. We will be doing it again soon.

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health & Healing Center Director

05 February 2018

More Than Cardboard to Keep Warm

     David has been homeless on and off for four years. He mostly stayed in the woods, using cardboard as a base, piling leaves and brush on top to keep dry and warm. But this was only sustainable for so long, as he had an alcohol and prescription pill dependency which landed him in trouble and unable to see his daughter and 2 year old grandson.
     He decided to make a change and enroll in the New Life Recovery Program. Since then, he has re-invited God into his life, is sober, and is getting re-baptized. He says, “I am doing this for me, so I can be in the lives of my daughter and grandson.”
     David also adds that Open Door Mission has shown him he is worthy of having a decent life, and he hopes his story can change people’s lives. We pray you hear David’s story and are touched by what God is doing here at Open Door Mission. He changes lives every single day and we want to thank you for being an important part of this Mission!

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

02 February 2018

A Change in the Atmosphere

     About a month ago, I was a little discouraged with my prayer life. But I continued to trust the Lord each day as I came to work.
     There was a guest here that was making great strides in seeking sobriety and loving his relationship with Christ. One day I was greeted by him, but not with the usual excited joyful greeting that he gives. Instead there was a sadness that written all over him. I talked to him for a little bit, and even by the end of the conversation he didn’t seem encouraged.
     A few hours later, this man came into my office and broke down crying. He was struggling with loneliness and was feeling lost.  I honestly do not remember the specifics about any of what the struggle was, but I do remember what the Holy Spirit did that night.
     After we had talked we prayed, and the Holy Spirit fell. I prayed first and I could feel the Spirit, but it amplified (it seemed like 10 times), when this man started praying. But the thing of it was that he did not use fancy words or long phrases. He spoke to His Lord in short statements of what he wanted deliverance from. It was how he felt and the fact that he was giving all of it to God that changed the atmosphere.
     As he prayed, the Holy Spirit moved in such an incredible way that by the end, both of us were left in silence and amazement at how the Holy Spirit had calmed all of the negativity that this man was feeling. He said he had never experienced anything like that before.
     It left me feeling encouraged in my walk and left him feeling peaceful and calm. It’s amazing how God moves in this place, both in using Open Door Mission to provide for people’s basic needs, but also in ways that you never would expect.

Corey McClain
RBLC Floor Support Worker

01 February 2018

A Shoe Without a Sole

     A few weeks ago, a man came to the outreach center in Council Bluffs,
limping, asking for a new pair of shoes. It was not until he started putting on the new pair of boots that we saw what he had been wearing before: one shoe was completely missing a sole. After receiving some food, he was out the door leaving behind his old boots and walking a little taller. Without your donations/gifts, serving people like this man would not be possible. We thank you for your continued support of Open Door Mission’s goal to provide HOPE for those in need.

Zach Shackelford
Council Bluffs Homeless Prevention Coordinator