Stories of Hope
Family is Worth Fighting For
Lisa talks with passion about the ministry God has given her at Open Door Mission. “What I love about the New Life Recovery Program is that there’s not an unrealistic pressure to get through it. People have time to see the miracle God is doing in their hearts unfold.”
When Lisa encounters families on the job at the Lydia House, she speaks from experience. Fifteen years ago, she was recovering from a life of abuse and addiction as a young mom with her own family at Lydia House. Today she knows that God is using that experience, from a tough time in her own life, to help other families tackle the challenges they face.
“God Help Me”
Larry found himself in the back of a patrol car on his way to a holding cell. When he was pulled over, his car was filled with guns and drugs. As the officer ran Larry’s license to confirm who he was dealing with, Larry could only think, “How many gun charges do they have on me already?”
Larry uttered the only prayer he could think of while being arrested: “God, help me.” By the time he was at the police station, he determined to use his phone call to get in touch with his Aunt Mona. She didn’t beat around the bush.
More Than Just Surviving the Winter
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.
The Christmas Gift of Faith & Family
Russell would be the first to tell you that he didn’t feel like he was a “match” for Open Door Mission.
“Violence and drugs brought me to Open Door Mission. I was court-ordered to do the New Life Recovery program. I knew right away that I wasn’t ready to go through a Christian program, so I told my attorney to find a different treatment center for the court order.”
That began a waiting period for Russell. While he waited for a phone call from his attorney, he talked with his sister. She asked, “Russell, why don’t you try something new? Something you’ve never done before?”
Thanks for a Father’s Love
John was on a search throughout his childhood. “I had the material things I wanted, but I never felt I could please my father. I never heard him tell me he loved me. My father was my hero, and as a young boy that distance was devastating.” Before long, John discovered that he could get his father’s attention quickly if he misbehaved.
“I gave up trying to be good,” John remembers. “Getting into trouble gave me more contact with my father than I had if I did well.” Just as John was entering adolescence, a family member abused him sexually. “I lost my innocence. That little secret drove me into isolation.”
Love Your Neighbors: Lives Worth Changing
When you see Cynthia today, you see a Jesus lover and follower; a leader on Open Door Mission’s campus.
Growing up, Cynthia’s life was filled with chaos. “My family was really into partying. Nothing was routine. I felt unsafe.” At the age of nine, Cynthia began drinking and smoking marijuana to numb the pain. When Cynthia was twelve, she began to sell drugs.
Any sense of peace eluded Cynthia, even when she became a mother, but a change was coming. “I was tired of selling drugs. I made a huge mistake, was arrested, and thought I’d never see my kids again.
A New Creation
Sarah is graduating this Saturday. There was a time when that day didn’t seem possible. But Sarah’s story is one that demonstrates that our God gives second chances, that He has already won the battle. One of her favorite verses, 1 John 4:4, says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Although God knew the ending, Sarah still had to go through the battle.
Childhood wasn’t easy for Sarah. Her parents divorced when she was eight. Sarah’s mother fell into a drug addiction and they lost their home. Life was never stable. Sarah lived with her grandpa, her aunt, even with a friend whose parents she paid rent to.
Learning to Live for Christ
Matt knows what dark times look like. His spirit was thirsty for Living Water, but he looked for life in drugs, violence, and other religions. It wasn’t until he actually met God that Matt felt cherished and sustained.
As a kid, Matt grew up in a broken household. Both of his parents struggled with substance abuse, and their family even lived in the Lydia House for a while. Matt never learned how to express himself and cope with his feelings. He became very angry.
His first incident of violence was at the age of 12, and Matt went in and out of youth programs, drug programs, and prison ever since. But it was in prison that he truly met the Lord.
Remember John? A Miracle of Restoration
John talks about the moment like it just happened: “I was talking to Eric, my father-in-law. I listened for anything that could change me, when God gave him the words that would make all the difference.”
That was the day John was deciding whether to get help to kick his addiction to painkillers and marijuana. It was the day he was figuring out whether he wanted to recover for the sake of his wife and twin babies. It was the day he heard Eric say, “John, you have two choices. Five years from now, do you want your friends and family and kids to say, ‘Remember John and how he used to be in our lives?’, or ‘Remember that time in John’s life when he overcame so much?’”
Giving my Son the Home I Never Had
“I was broken and torn apart,” said Kelly. “One day I saw my brother had called me a ‘junkie’ on Facebook, and that opened my eyes. Something needed to change.”
Kelly never got the chance to be a child. Her mother was addicted to drugs, her father absent and strict, which meant that she was vulnerable to abuse – emotional, mental, and physical. At 15, Kelly was kicked out onto the street after a falling out with her mother. The years of running the streets that followed are now a blur.
“I dropped out of school, hung out in the park during the day, and couch surfed at night. But whenever I couldn’t find a place to stay, I would sleep on a park bench. It got so cold some nights.”