Opening our hearts to relationship, opening our hands to give and opening our homes to welcome the stranger have been a pattern among Open Door folks.
Our people come from all walks of life, and we are joyful followers of Jesus. Here are a few of our stories.
I spent my youth in foster care, moving from family to family. I had given up on God at this point. I had tried to find God and be successful on my own, and it hadn’t worked. Then when I was 16, I had a dream. Jesus was asking me if I believed in him. Shortly after that dream I was interviewing with a new family, and they had this giant field out back. I went into the field while they talked. For some reason, at that moment, I confessed out loud to God that I couldn’t do things myself. I said I was sorry. And God accepted me. I decided to follow Jesus.
I did not grow up going to church. I did not really think much about it until one day, my friends Darrell and Arlene invited me to attend Open Door. As I listened to the message by John Withers, it was like somebody smacked me in the back. It was the voice of God speaking. The Lord wanted me to come to Him. So, not long after that Sunday, I repented and decided to follow Jesus, and John baptized me. I was a little afraid John would drop me, but he didn’t. That was 18 years ago, and I have been coming on Sunday ever since.
The church is my family. Sally makes me chicken noodle soup. Darrell and Arlene give me a ride. Lavada has cleaned my house some and taken me places. I love Open Door. It is like Jesus said, “Those who do the will of God are my brothers and mother,” my family.
I just want to remind you that these 18 years of faith began with somebody inviting me. Maybe you can come with me to church sometime.
About two years ago, I was at a very low place. I was sitting in my car at the community inn, where folks stay if they are homeless. I had no money, no food, no gas, nothing to drink. I was ready to give up on life. I felt like I was broken, and I let myself down. I had no hope.
In that moment of brokenness, I remembered Jesus. My dad had taught me about Him as a child. So I prayed, “What should I do?” God told me, a voice inside me came, and said, “Read your Bible.” I opened it and read Psalm 108. As I read, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit again. The Spirit spoke: “It’s going to be OK my child, just believe.” After I read three times, I thought to myself, “He hung on the cross for me, shed His blood for me.”
The next step was to find a church to keep hearing the Word. I ended up at Nathaniel mission. That helped get me started. Then I came here and found peace and a family. My Christian family here has helped me get through. When I was down low, God reminded that I was still His child. Even though I was broken, I was chosen.
I would like to share some of my story with you. Growing up, I always had a picture of Jesus on the wall. But Jesus was just the picture. I didn’t really follow Him. I thought just believing was enough.
Well, that thinking led to a hurtful lifestyle. I got into trouble for marijuana and ended up in jail. While I was in jail, I met a preacher named Tom, who was in jail for drugs, too. He loved the Bible, though, and started a Bible study in jail. He eventually got me to go, and I read the Bible 90 days straight. I decided to follow Jesus.
Soon as I got out, I was homeless. I backslid again and left the authority of Jesus. Well, after some time, I ended up in the E.R., because I got shot. This experience caused me to repent and follow Christ again. Open Door let me live in the building a while. Now I have a church family, I quit drinking, I want to keep growing, and Jesus is more than a picture on the wall.
My name is Jetti Bach, and I have been a member of Open Door for a few years now. Over the past few Sundays, I have heard some folks talk about their desire to quit smoking. I want to share a brief story about that.
My nephew Nathan struggles with health problems, one of them being diabetes. For years, he has struggled with smoking which causes major problems with diabetes. I have been caring for Nathan his whole life, and I have asked prayer for him numerous times here at Open Door.
Well, one of the things we prayed for Nathan was that he would quit smoking because it was hurting him so bad. About a year ago, a doctor came in and told him he would die soon from cancer, and smoking was a big part of that. Well, Nathan decided to quit immediately. He quit cold turkey. And I believe our prayers for Nathan working with the Spirit helped him have the strength to quit.
He has been smoke-free for over a year now and I thank God, and Open Door, for helping Nathan leave smoking behind, and I believe He can help you, too, if you want it.