Thursday, September 25, 2014

I have been home from Tijuana now for several weeks and just about caught up with everything that waits for me when I am gone.  

Homicides are significantly down this year and many of the First Responder PrayerWalks have been quite large where God has again given us great favor in the midst of tragedy. 

Last week the owner of JR's Jewelry was killed in a robbery and when I announced the PW, we had no contact with the family, yet over 40 family and friends showed up and as God gave us instant favor we had a precious time remembering Jim and praying with his widow, kids and grand-kids. They shared how much they were encouraged by the response and support from our team and the community. 

Above is a picture from the Omaha World Herald...Click here for more OWH pictures. 
For a News Video, Click here, then select "Jim Minshall Remembered" from the video bar below the picture.

A few days ago we had one of our largest Homicide PrayerWalks ever where 16 yr old Johntavious Swift was shot and killed just after getting off his school bus...More on that next Update or check my PrayerWalking Blog in the next day or so.

Tijuana Trip Report:

Sheryl writes so much faster and creatively than me… so this time she’s going to try writing our report without having actually been there!!

This is the first time in several years that Dave has gone and Sheryl has stayed home. Because she’s still not walking following a foot surgery in mid-August, the trip was impossible for her to make this time. However, on the home front friends and family dropped in or stayed over so that she had all the help she needed to get through the week. It was a long week, though, and we’ve decided it’s much more fun to make these ministry trips together.

Upon arrival, Dave “rested” in the San Diego airport for about 6 hours before meeting up with Pastor Jesús Rodriquez,
My hotel room window is a great place to pray over Tijuana
who was having issues with a borrowed car’s security system that had locked everything up. That airport is not a particularly great place to hang out, but the by-word for missions is “flexible”, as we all know by now. They crossed the border that evening, and Dave got settled at the hotel where we always stay in downtown Tijuana. They know him by name after about 12 years of regular trips, and pretty much treat him like royalty….actually, more like a visiting uncle! We’ve outlived several hotel managers, and one of our favorite desk clerks is having a baby next month – which she was very excited to tell us about!



It wasn’t long before Dave learned that he was to be the primary speaker at a conference of young leaders working with the Awana program in a number of churches in Tijuana.

This was a group of new contacts, and an exciting time to be able to pour into these young men and women many new ideas on ministering from a place of JOY to the hearts of the children in their programs. In spite of short notice, the Lord was faithful to give the word and the scriptures that were appropriate to the situation. 


On Sunday we were back with our Nigerian friend Femi Awodele, who leads a ministry called Christian Couples International from here in Omaha. Femi did a conference to train church leaders in strengthening marriages.

Femi's material was so well received that they begged him to return in January to teach again at another conference that they will arrange for him. We’ve seen over the years that the pressures on pastors and their families where we’ve worked cause many of them to break apart. This was confirmed by the reception given to Femi and their assurances that the material was presented in such a way that it took root in their hearts and will be changing their relationships. It was rewarding to know that many who we love were being ministered to in deep ways by another friend from Omaha.



Over the course of the weekend, both Dave and Femi had opportunity to speak in area churches, including el Niño that we’ve previously told you so much about. The drive out there is always a cultural experience in itself, as Sunday is market day in el Niño and surrounding barrios. So much to see and do!




After Femi left, Dave had additional opportunity to teach on Prayerwalking to another new group of pastors at a church
where we taught on “Hearing the Voice of God” last year. They were excited to grab onto this simple technique, and before the evening was done, they had prayerwalked the entire neighborhood around this church…..and taken a practical experience of hearing God back to their own churches.

As with all cities and ministries, there is the ebb and flow of opportunity for the Kingdom. Tijuana at this time is experiencing some difficulties among leadership in the Pastoral Alliance, just as we’re told in the book of James…..each one seeking his own way. As you pray for these men and women, ask the Lord to bring an indivisible unity among them so that the Kingdom of God can be advanced in that place. Economic difficulties have impacted many of our Christ For the City leaders in Tijuana this past year.
Orphanage founders Eduardo & Ana Mendez with Pastor Jesus & Rosa



Children from our two orphanages will be combined into one home, and the other will be rented out to another organization to house more children….this because of a lack of funding this past year.

Pastor Rodriquez, our CFCI Co-Director in Tijuana has had a very difficult year financially and is presently looking for employment to help support his family in addition to his ministry work.  His vehicle is in such bad repair that it’s not even legal to bring into the States. Please pray with us that the Lord will provide for these immediate needs, and if you should feel led to help in any way, just contact us.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. Both 
Step Up to Life and Fresh Start continue to flourish and are being used by pastors and leaders all over Mexico now as a result of training that we've been able to bring to Tijuana. Churches all over the city are prayer walking their neighborhoods, and dozens of new churches are being planted – both by eager young evangelists, and by established mature pastors. 

It’s wonderful to watch, and we’re thankful to have been a part of it because of your faithful investment there. One day it will be an incredible time to meet those who have come to know Christ and whose relationships have been healed because of your gifts that made it possible.

Future plans include another return trip towards the end of January to maintain long-term relationships, cultivate new relationships, conduct another marriage conference, and teach wherever the Lord opens doors.






Oh, by the way….as you can see, Femi enjoyed our favorite taco shop! 









Thanks so much for caring and praying for us! 
Information on personal support is to the right and in the Partner tab above. 

We thank God for you and pray God’s Blessings on you so please keep us updated on what is happening so we can pray specifically…

Dave & Sheryl

Monday, August 25, 2014

Where did the summer go? Here we are at the end of August, and once again the kids are back in school, and Fall is just around the corner. It’s been some time since we’ve updated you, so this letter is long past-due. The middle of a very hot spell seems a good time to stay inside with the air conditioning, and catch up on all our news from Omaha. We write our updates together so sometimes Sheryl is sharing and sometimes Dave.

Our most recent “adventure” has been dealing with a foot surgery Sheryl had done on August 8th to correct an old injury. Walking very far had become quite challenging, so it was 
time to address this. Since the foot surgeon assured her he wasn’t doing it to “make her foot pretty”, the assumption is that the pain will be relieved and life will get back to normal. The procedure left her non-weight-bearing for 6-8 weeks…3 down and 3 more to go!
Doctor's Check-Up

Sheryl would admit she is a less than cheerful patient and hates it when she can’t take care of herself. She survived the first two weeks with the help of pain meds, lots of sleep and staying mostly in bed. In the process of learning to get around the house with various and sundry equipment, she has overcome some minor “ambulatory” challenges….including falling off the crutches and tipping over backwards in the wheelchair! One might attribute that to overdosing on pain meds, but alas! It was pure lack of coordination…and provides everyone a good laugh at her expense!

Dave’s next trip to Tijuana will be September 3-10, so we’re in the process of making all the arrangements to have people check in on her while he’s gone, and to let the dogs in and out, since she won’t be doing the stairs yet at that time. Please pray all that goes smoothly and that she doesn’t try anything daring while he’s gone!




Most of you know that Dave has been doing youth canoeing trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area between Minnesota and Canada since 1975. With 40 trips and over a 1000 campers, we saw a lot of spiritual impact when kids got away from all the distractions in our culture. 
Along North Shore of Lake Superior  (move mouse over pics to enlarge)
A great place for a special time with the Lord


Our kids grew up as part of those youth groups, but with each year maybe my last, this year was very special for me, as I took six of our grandkids, along with my son-in-law, to spend a week without TV, Smartphone’s, etc. on a beautiful island campsite in the wilderness. In our Bible times, I was challenged by their questions/insights and very blessed by their desire to understand how the Bible speaks into our current culture. 



God’s Favor in Omaha:
Last week Dave led the 17th First Responders Homicide PrayerWalk during 2014, compared to 36 at this time last year. This is an encouraging statistic, along with lower assaults with a weapon. While violence in our nation’s cities is becoming more rampant, both church and civic leaders here in Omaha are realizing that God answers our prayers, and our unity there truly changes our city. We have organized over 300 PrayerWalks with Omaha 360 since 2007, and our network has received national interest as we are applying what we have learned.

About a third of the Omaha 360 Violence Intervention and Prevention network participation is “Faith Based,” and when people get out of their pews, follow God, and bring the power of prayer and obedience into the streets we are experiencing God’s Favor in amazing ways. There are Community leaders, City Officials, Police Captains and the Mayor’s Staff at almost all of the PrayerWalks. Mayor Stothert has been to many PrayerWalks, and Dave is on the lead team for the Mayor’s Faith Community Task Force.

Many of the First Responders Homicide PrayerWalks have been attended by large groups of the victims’ family and friends--many of whom are unchurched. The Bible says to “Grieve with those who grieve”, so we do that first, thereby opening hurting hearts to receive ministry care. Without intentional planning, First Responders have become “Community Pastors.” One of my next priorities is to find creative ways to help connect in more local churches.

Mentoring:
Over the last few years God has brought Sheryl and me a steady stream of mentoring relationships with local leaders who are walking where we have walked. We’ve had the privilege of passing on insights, lessons and encouragement, speaking into the next generation of leaders here. We don’t feel it is wisdom to share their names and situations in our Ministry Updates, but this is a great joy to us, and our ministry will be shifting more and more in that direction as the Lord gives opportunity.

Tijuana:

Sept 3-10th Dave will be in ministering in Tijuana. The primary purpose of this trip is a marriage enrichment training conference for church leaders Fri-Sat with our Nigerian brother Femi Awodele   
www.christiancouples.org

Sheryl isn’t going this time, due to the surgery, but I will be going early and staying after to follow-up our Spring trip training's in "Step Up To Life" and PrayerWalking and also have some meetings with leaders. You can see more on our Tijuana trip last spring in the previous blogs below.


Femi is covering our expenses while he is there but I need to raise about $1000.00 to cover my trip expenses. Support info is in the right column or in the Menu tab above.

Prayer Requests:

  • This trip is a step of faith especially, as like most ministries, our support had a significant summer drop last month. Please pray for the trip expenses to be met, and that we have enough support for September.
  • Please pray for me on this trip and for Sheryl here at home. I will be sending out regular trip updates. Our grandson, Caleb will be staying here nights and other family and friends will be checking in on her. 

Thanks so much for caring and praying for us! 
Information on personal support is to the right and in the Partner tab above. 

Help with the Tijuana trip can be sent through our regular support 
then send an email to dave@cfci.org for its designation.


We thank God for you and pray God’s Blessings on you so please keep us updated on what is happening so we can pray specifically…also never hesitate to call in a crisis…even in the middle of the night. 

Blessings, Dave & Sheryl

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ever notice how time seems to be going faster? I used to think it was God’s grace for old people so they didn’t get bored with being old. However, since we’re not yet old, and time is STILL going faster, that must not be the reason! We’ve been home from Tijuana a week, and finally have time to finish reporting on that trip. Dave may have brought back another viral bug...but that goes with missions...


The second half of our week in TJ proved to be most interesting, and probably most fruitful. You may remember that Dave trained a group of eager young evangelists in using Step Up To Life last Fall when we were in El Niño. We met with them Thursday to share and answer questions for them. They very much wanted Dave to do another training time with friends from their area – La Morita—but it wasn’t on our schedule. However, before we knew it, they had contacted everyone, found a church to meet in, created and distributed flyers, and posted it on FaceBook! So, obviously it was now on our schedule!!



Saturday evening found us in a small church in La Morita – a community bordering El Niño. About 25 people were there, zealous in evangelism and eager to learn how to use this tool! They go out every weekend, preaching on the streets of the community, visiting the AIDS Hospice, the Rehab centers, the Youth Corrections facility, the prisons and jails, the Hospitals, and sharing about Jesus every chance they get! 

Dave has now personally trained about 35 of these young adults in using Step Up To Life, and they are multiplying faster than rabbits! They are teaching this tool in their own churches people, and the Word is spreading all through those incredibly poor communities bordering Tijuana proper.



We recorded a sharing time with both Angel and Joe, and Dave will soon have that edited and available. Their personal stories are amazing journeys to Jesus, and they are now bringing everyone they can persuade to His love. Thank-you beyond words to Pastor Elmer Murdoch for hearing this from the Lord so many years ago. If you’re not familiar with Step Up To Life, please check their website at www.stepuptolife.com to get acquainted with this evangelism tool.




Friday evening and Saturday morning, we spent time with several congregations in Rosarito (just SW of TJ along the ocean), working with them on strategic Prayerwalking, and planning with them on how to reach their city effectively. Pastor Fernando is one of the most gifted worship leaders we have ever been blessed to work with, so their services are always a treat for us to participate in.



Sunday morning, Dave preached at Lo Mejor del Trigo Church in el Niño which is on the opposite side of TJ from Rosarito. Pastor Jesús drove around the south side of TJ through some amazingly beautiful parts of Baja Mexico.

Pastor Daniel Nunez and his wife planted "Lo Mejor del Trigo" which means "Best of the Harvest" and this mother church has planted 30 daughter churches. We had a great time of sharing with these precious people again. Pastor Daniel’s mother attends there and is a precious mother in the faith for all of us. 







Monday morning found us meeting with a Pastors’ small group where we have many friends, with whom we have prayed and ministered many times. There is a lady pastor there who is 80 years old, and informed me that she attends Zumba classes regularly….it keeps her moving!! For those of you who don’t know, Zumba is somewhat like Jazzercise on steroids! She is full of the love of Jesus and a joy of life. She and her husband built the church there many years ago, and when he went to be with the Lord, she continued to pastor – although now has a staff to assist her.


The expenses for this trip were pretty well covered, and we thank each of you who helped specifically with this. Your Kingdom investment in our ministry continues to bear fruit both here and in Mexico.


Blessings,
Dave & Sheryl

Friday, March 21, 2014


Greetings from sunny Tijuana, where there is no snow on the ground, and Spring has definitely sprung! Flowering shrubs are beginning to bloom everywhere, covering the otherwise “unlovely” neighborhoods with gorgeous splotches of color. It would seem that God has His own redecorating program every year after the winter months!
Our flight was pretty much uneventful, except that the “unevent” began at 3:00 a.m! We landed at the airport in San Diego at 9:05 a.m., so that proved to be a very long day. The early part of the week has been rather less intense than most trips down here, and we’ve actually had some time to relax and get rested up a bit after the bouts of viruses and daily demands of the past few weeks. Dave has had time to get some preparation of messages done, looking ahead to a marathon of ministry from Friday until we get on the airplane next Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning Pastor Jesús took us to meet with two pastors that we’ve known for many years. One is the current president of the Pastoral Alliance, and the other is a past president. We had a couple of hours to just talk with them and hear how they believe God is working here in Tijuana. This always helps to formulate what we teach on and how we speak into situations when we’re here. There are many needs among the people, as economic issues begin to impact them here in Mexico as well as in the States.

Wednesday evening we attended the service at the church of another friend. It’s always so special to share in their worship times. It tends to remind one of the time that David danced before the Ark of the Covenant. These people ENGAGE with worship; they all sing at the top of their lungs; they dance before the Lord with great fervency; they clap until their hands sting! The little ones, sometimes as young as two years, are included in the worship. They are encouraged to dance, play tambourines, and express the joy of the Lord however their little hearts feel it. There is one little boy who is not quite three yet that plays drums as well as most worship band drummers I’ve heard! Seriously!! They grow up with this abandon before God being the norm for worship.

As we prayed with people after the service, we were reminded of the great needs in this community. People are not worried about their retirement, or their savings, or their 501K plans. They are concerned with putting food on the table tomorrow for their children because they have no jobs and no money….and none of the social welfare resources available to them that we have. They are learning to trust God to multiply their resources….food, gasoline, jobs, clothes, and health. There often is no place else to turn. We are reminded again of the time that Jesus said it’s not enough to say, “Be warm! Be fed!” And we wonder how we can make a difference in the faith of these people without the financial resources to help them all.

One person who came forward for prayer was a little girl of 10 years. Pastor Marco said she comes to church by herself….her family are not Believers. She only comes on Wednesday nights, and she walks by herself through the neighborhood to get there. She shared that she has a problem with her heart and as we prayed for her heart to be healed the Lord led us to minister into her fear of dying. Her faith in Jesus was so precious, and so simple. It touched our hearts deeply to see such a young one clearly drawn by the Holy Spirit to this church.

Yesterday we spent some time with a couple of guys who have taken Step Up To Life to new heights here in the outlying barrios of Tijuana. We’ll share more about that over the weekend, as we will have opportunity to teach another training workshop out there in La Morita, and Dave will have opportunity to do some Q&A with them. They attended a 3-hour workshop in November with us, and have studied and internalized the principles in an amazing way! They have reproduced into their own evangelism team, and are being asked already to train in other churches. The excitement and effectiveness of their team has been noticed, and others are asking about how they got that way. They have taken SUTL and “culturalized” it so that it works extremely effectively for them. They are in the AIDS/HIV hospice center, the rehab centers, the juvenile facilities, the jails, the markets, and on the streets on a weekly basis, sharing these principles and helping people determine where they are in relationship to God. More on that later…..

Tonight and tomorrow, Dave will be teaching in Rosarito with a group of pastors and people in a church where we've been a number of times before. He’ll be doing some things with Prayerwalking and city-reaching strategies with them. Sunday morning he’ll be preaching at the Lo Mejor del Trigo mother church, led by Pastor Daniel Nuñez. And the rest of our time here remains unfinalized at this point. It will be a very full weekend, so we especially ask for your prayers.

We’ve been sleeping well, enjoying the people and the food, and remain in good health….all answers to your prayers. The city continues to “roar” to the heavens with its voice, but in general feels much more peaceful than it did a few years ago. The sights, sounds, and smells have become somewhat familiar to us over the years, but still defy description that will allow you to experience it with us. Many more hundreds of people are now living in the storm drainage channel than there were before….homeless and hopeless, for the most part. People truly without a country, as they frequently grew up in the States but have now been deported. They often don’t speak Spanish and don’t have a place here in Mexico.

It’s easy to become discouraged when one looks at the vast needs of humanity. We wonder how any one person can even make a difference. But God has a plan and destiny for each one. As each one of us learns to know Him, hear Him, and follow Him, He is the One who can make a difference. Thank-you so much for being a part of this with us!

Please email us with any scriptures or words as the Lord prompts you. In the past, many were just what we needed that day.

We need about $900.00 to finish covering the costs for this trip and would appreciate your prayers and obedience as the Lord leads. 
Info is in the donate tab above.

Blessings,

Dave & Sheryl

Sunday, March 9, 2014




A few years ago El Nino was just barren rocky hills along the US border just east of Tijuana…now it is exploding with families moving from extremely poor country communities to seek what they hope is a better life along the border. 





It was here Pastor Daniel Nunez planted Lo Mejor del Trigo Christian Ministries and 30 more churches in just three years. Last November we taught Step Up To Life to the pastors and a group of “Evangelists” in what turned into a perfect storm of readiness. 
Here are Pastor Jesus and me with some of the Lo Mejor del Trigo Evangelists.
Many of these “Evangelists” have amazing testimonies of being rescued out of lives of drugs, violence and even murder while involved in the gangs. While they are wonderful witnesses, they were hungry for more understanding on how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in bringing people to true conversion, and they literally devoured Step Up To Life with an enthusiasm I have never seen. 

Now, just a few months after that first training they want more. They have lots of questions...and they have friends they want to receive the SUTL training.

Rosarito is the ocean beach party place for Tijuana and also a center of significant Witchcraft and Satanism. The Lord moved wonderfully with Pastor Fernando and a group of pastors in our visit last November, and we have been invited to work together in a prayer outreach that will reach their community.

As on every trip, we connect with some of our Tijuana leaders and minister to the staff at our Christ For the City orphanages. Sheryl will do some teaching, and spend significant time praying with people individually. She will also fulfill her primary crucial role as Dave’s “ears” in many social situations.

This will be our 39th trip to Tijuana, coming alongside Pastor Jesús & Rosa Rodriguez to care for pastors, ministry leaders, and government officials. Since 1996, hundreds have become personal friends, and we’re honored to be considered as friends and teammates, rather than outsiders.
This wouldn't have happened without your prayers and support…together we’re doing what none of us could do alone.

HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE WITH US

Please pray for safety, health, ongoing favor, open hearts, and God’s anointing.

Please consider a financial contribution for this ministry trip.

When the leaders asked us to come, we committed trusting the Lord to meet our $2,300.00 budget for airfare, lodging, local travel, meals, and several lunches with leaders. We also like to leave a gift with Pastor Jesús & Rosa Rodriguez.

We’ll be sending Ministry & Prayer Email Updates during the trip so you can go with us in prayer. 

Tax deductible gifts (designated Gehrls-Tijuana) may be sent to
CFCI, PO Box 390395, Omaha, NE 68139-0395

Please send an email to dave@cfci.org so we know this is for Tijuana

Monday, February 24, 2014

“We saw you on TV…” is becoming fairly common these days…but the sad part is that it usually means someone was murdered.  We have been at over 250 homicide sites since the fall of 2007 and God has granted us great favor as we obeyed.  I want to thank you for enabling us to be there… together we are doing what none of us could do alone…and God is glorified on the streets of our city.
The PrayerWalk for five year old Payton Benson a few weeks ago was particularly hard. She was killed by a stray bullet that came from a running gang fight over a hundred yards away and found its way through the walls of her home as she was eating breakfast.  Sadly, there are people who sleep in their basements because of the threat of bullets coming through walls.
 There were over 150 at Payton's PrayerWalk, her family and friends, Mayor Stothert, her staff, Chief of police, many community leaders…and lots of media.  
The whole city was shaken by this tragedy and amid the reactions we had opportunity to share insights on TV, secular and Christian local talk radio, including a special interview in our home with WOWT’s Brian Mastre:  Shooting Revives Memories of Other Children Lost.  According to the Heartland 2050 Survey “reducing crime and making neighborhoods safer” is the number one felt need of Omaha so that is a key mission focus where “The Church needs to BE the Church of Jesus Christ.”
  
KCRO's Heartland Viewpoint
Not everyone is called to PrayerWalk homicide sites, but everyone needs to be hearing our Lord and doing their part like Sheryl’s Prayer Shawl team, who put a Prayer Shawl around Payton’s mom, ministered to her and gave her a special child’s Prayer Shawl for Payton’s remembrance box.

At many Homicide PrayerWalks it is important for leaders to speak to violence issues, but we are always there first to pray… to “grieve with those who grieve,” to minister to this neighborhood that has suffered violence, and to beseech God to intervene in our city.  Wherever there is a strong, ongoing visible presence, including PrayerWalking, police statistics show a corresponding reduction in violence…as much as 80% in one gang area we know well.
Our next trip to Tijuana is March 18-25 
One primary focus will be to follow up the “Step Up To Life” training with pastors & evangelists at Lo Major Del Trigo last November, a church that has planted over 30 daughter churches.  We will be getting out a special update on this trip next week.

Our support dropped significantly in January and so far in February, so with the TJ trip in March we are a bit anxious in our flesh, but looking to the Lord…Please pray for God’s supply and partner as led. 
See Contact & Support Info in column to right -->

More than ever we appreciate the privilege of serving the Lord as our vocation…and that would not be possible without your partnership. Together we are able to do what none of us could do alone.  

Thank-You so much for partnering with us through prayer, support, time and encouraging friendship!
Blessings, 
Dave & Sheryl


“A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.” ~ Charles Finney

Friday, January 24, 2014

The homicide of  5 yr old Payton Benson 
is becoming a city-wide "Turning Point" 
in our efforts to reduce violence. 
Come, help keep the momentum going:  
This Saturday, January 25, 2014
Noon to 2:00 pm
Omaha North High
Viking Center - 4410 N 36th S

It's time for the whole community to come together to end the killing of innocent people and the destruction of families.
This Saturday, January 25, 2014
Noon to 2:00 pm
Omaha North High
Viking Center - 4410 N 36th St
The TIME IS NOW for PEACE and PROGRESS:

We must expand efforts to address the violence directly and we must resolve theunderlying issues that create the environment for gun violence.

We are calling for an end to gun violence. We are calling for investments to transform Omaha, NOW!

To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To honor the requests of the families impacted by gun violence
To invest now to Accelerate the Pace of Transformation, so that we never experience this again!
Family Members of Gun Violence Victims, Game Changers & Impact One, North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, Pastors and Faith Leaders Covenant, Omaha Police Department, City Council, Douglas County Commissioners, Omaha Together One Community, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, South Omaha Violence Intervention and Prevention Collaboration, Student Peace Movement, and hundreds of other organizations, businesses and residents.
Hosted and Facilitated by the Omaha 360 Collaboration and the Empowerment Network
 Download the Meeting Flyer Here!