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.

New Life Recovery Program Graduate 

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. 

Open Door Mission Guest

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

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

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

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

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

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?"



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


Damien Wilson
Men's Support Worker

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

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

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

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