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Friday, February 09, 2018


Dr. Michael James


Missions at which the MLC group served in Omaha:

The Beautiful Gate
Abide Network
The Hope Center
Open Door Mission

All of us were able to attend each of the above-listed Christian organizations.  In some instances, we were split into groups once we arrived.

The Beautiful Gate.  The day we arrived, we went to The Beautiful Gate, a street church located in North Omaha.  We were able to hear their story and the stories of several people that attend the church. They told us of their struggles with drugs and alcohol and how this church is able to give them a free meal, a clean outfit, and a safe place to sleep.  The church serves many homeless people and while there, we prayed for a gentleman that was going in to have some toes amputated due to frostbite.  We then walked around Omaha and prayed for safety and resources for the church and for the neighborhood it serves.  During the walk, we came upon a gentleman named Ray who had just left the doctor's office and had been told he didn’t have much time to live.  He has cancer and was given 4 months to live -- but that was 3 years ago, and each doctor's visit he’s told it will be soon.  It was a beautiful thing to see our students talk with him, ask questions, and then gather around and place a hand on him as they took turns praying for him.

 Abide Network.  The second night, we participated in youth group at the Abide Network.  Our students were split up so some went either with the adults, teens or children.  Candace James and several of the girls worked with the children; Dr. James went with the teenagers to a youth group meeting.  Abide provides a free meal, safe environment, and fun for the kids!  They have recently acquired the building which is assigned for the children, so they are just starting to organize a craft and Bible study for them.  We played games, sang songs, loved on them, and let them be kids!  Pictured below is Kylie Klassen participating in a music battle!

Hope Center.  On the third day, we went to the Hope Center and painted planters in bright colors to make the outside fun and uplifting.  We also fixed and painted picnic tables as well as some bleachers.  The Hope Center offers a safe and fun environment for kids to come and hang out by playing games together and roller skating as well as offers assistance with school work.  Pictured below are Bryce Adrian, Dr. James, and Jamison Carter doing repairs at The Hope Center.


Open Door Mission.  On the last day, we worked at the Open Door Mission.  We were given a tour around the complex and were shown the family quarters (for either a single mom/dad or both), the single ward, and the children’s playroom, as well as rehab facility.  They also offer affordable and safe housing.  We all helped prep and serve food and took time to sit down and have deep conversations with some of the patrons. We also had the opportunity of praying for them. 

We were proud of our students and their constant willingness to help out, be compassionate and show Christ's love for each and every person we encountered.  In particular, at Tuesday night's youth group, a 14-year-old girl showed up.  Everyone was quite surprised as she had run away from home two weeks earlier and no one had seen her.  One of our students connect with her and they've been communicating via social media ever since.  Our student has had a difficult home life as well, but she's overcome those difficulties and was able to mentor this young lady from Omaha in dealing with the struggles she's facing.  It was that type of connectedness we were attempting to foster on this trip.  Pictured below is our group at the Open Door Mission.


As you are well aware, Hannah Stoesz, who attended MLC, was killed last year by a wrong-way driver on I-90.  According to her parents, Jerome and Marilyn Stoesz, the mission trips were her favorite part of attending MLC.  In honor of her, they donated $2,000 to the mission trip and we were able to use that to further bless the ministries we visited.  Each of the four ministries received a check for $500 in memory of Hannah.  For the Hope Center, this was particularly meaningful.  The founder of the Hope Center, Ty Schenzel, and his wife were killed in 2015 by a wrong-way driver on I-90.  Pictured below is Dr. James giving the gift to this ministry.

On a Personal Note.  My family and I lived in Omaha from 2002-2013.  It was wonderful to see how these organizations have improved North Omaha and are changing the lives of the families and children in the area.  The neighborhood is cleaner and has a greater sense of togetherness that was wonderful to see.


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