Saturday, January 24, 2015

Urgent Call To Prayer regarding Spike in Omaha Violence

2:00 PM Saturday, January 24th:


We are asking churches to call their people to prayer regarding the recent "spike" in violence in Omaha. 

While overall violence has been down, in the past we have seen times when violence spikes for a few days, a week or more. We are in one of those spikes now... The police, civic leaders, and groups like Impact One are doing everything they can...The Church needs to do its part and address the spiritual components. 


Early this Saturday morning 10 people were shot in two incidents with two women in their 20's killed,one a mother. You can see details in the media, and there is a news conference this Saturday afternoon at 4:00 PM.

We have had 8 Homicides so far in 2015 compared to just one last year at this time. But this spike actually began just before Christmas where three were murdered so it is actually 11 in the last 5 weeks.

While some of these have been gang related in some way, most are unconnected other than by a pattern of anger and rage that may have been amplified by alcohol and/or drugs.  It is city-wide, North, South, & West.



Please call your church to prayer tomorrow and begin to pray yourself right now.
Studies like Omaha 2050 confirm that the number one felt need in Omaha is for peace and safety. One of God's mandates to His Church is to pray for and seek the welfare of the city in which we live:

Jeremiah 29:7 (ERV) says,  
"Also, do good things for the city I sent you to. Pray to the Lord for the city you are living in, because if there is peace in that city, you will have peace also.”  

Another translation says "...and pray to ADONAI on its behalf; for your welfare is bound up in its welfare."  
 ADONAI is one of the Names of GOD, with the emphasis that He is our Lord & Master who has ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on earth 


The Bible also says in Habakkuk that human bloodshed is violence to the land and all its inhabitants. When one person's blood is shed in our city we all suffer violence. That violence must be confronted civically and spiritually. The church needs to rise up and pray peace back onto our land and people. 


PRAY For Peace and more peacemakers on the streets and in homes.

PRAY against the Spirit of Anger and Rage that Satan is using to destroy the souls and families of victims and perpetrators.

PRAY That people give police the information they need to arrest those using violence and murder.

Cry out to God for Justice...Pray against Retaliation and that people trust the police as agents of God's Justice.

Ask God for Revelation in how to pray and for Wisdom to know when and what He wants you to do.

We are planning a First Responders/Omaha 360 Rally/PrayerWalk for Sunday afternoon. I hope to be getting out a announcement on that later this afternoon after we get more details. 

FYI: We thank the Lord a very strong sense of His presence at the PrayerWalk last night at 24th & P.  A group of local and Hispanic pastors joined our team in ministering to a large group of mostly young people. You could see the Lord touching so many of them as we shared, cared and prayed. Afterwords, individual ministry continued for some time...it had the feel of a large alter call response at church. 


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas 


"Did you get your Christmas shopping done?" 
"People are driving like maniacs and the checkout lines are too long..."
"Next year I am shopping more online!"
"How do I get a good gift exchange for under $5.00?"
"I can never figure out what to get ______, they are so hard to shop for."

This year as I was rushing around this thought came to me:
"I need to intentionally take a 'Time Out' for Jesus. Is that the way it should be?"

Then in the midst of "Getting ready for Christmas" violence erupted last Sunday as four men were shot and two killed. Why Now? Violence has been down this year...its been over a month since since someone was murdered... Why Now? How am I going to get everything done?  

Then as I stood in the cold rain Monday night before Christmas with a Mom that would gladly give anything to just have her son back for Christmas something in my spirit changed... as it probably did for those wonderful people who came with me to pray into violence and care for a grieving family.

Then something wonderful happened...When we went to the second PrayerWalk, the mom who had just lost her son came to pray for another mom who had just lost her son. 

Then even more...a third mom who had lost two children to violence a few years ago who came to both PrayerWalks and prayed with a power that I seldom see...and after everyone was gone she was standing on the site of the three shootings Sunday evening ministering to the first mom. 
Go to prayerwalking.gehrls.net for more and news videos on this amazing night.

Please take a few moments to view the Christmas Album Sheryl put together below.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"I Stand Sunday" 
National Online Broadcast tonight, November 2, 2014

Join Christians across America for I Stand Sunday on November 2, 2014. Hosted by Family Research Council and other partners, speakers from across the nation will gather at Grace Community Church in Houston, Texas to focus on the freedom to live out our faith free of government intrusion or monitoring. We will stand with pastors and churches in Houston, Texas who have been unduly intimidated by the city's Mayor in demanding they hand over private church communication.


Live Webcast at 7PM ET - 6PM CT - 5PM MT - 4PM PT


Rebroadcast at 9:10PM ET - 8:10PM CT - 7:10PM MT - 6:10PM PT


Link for info and to watch online: 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


B.L.E.S.S. Your Way to
A Pray-Care-Share Lifestyle


One church in the Twin Cities has put together the BLESS program to encourage its attenders to live out a pray-care-share lifestyle. Based on a sermon series from Westwood Community Church, Excelsior, MN, BLESS is a great way to reach out to those around you.  

The acrostic BLESS stands for:

B – Begin with prayer
L – Listen and be aware of the needs of those around you
E – Eat with your neighbors, co-workers and friends
S – Serve, look for ways to be a servant to others
S – Tell your story, share your faith...after you have prayed, listened, had a meal, and served.

Download the easy-to-follow pdf with ideas for how to BLESS the people around you.

BLESS is one of the best initiatives I have seen, it brings together prayer, friendship and serving to effectively share our faith in today's culture.  I would encourage every believer to read the pdf and pray about trying this. I also encourage church leaders to consider adapting this for use in their churches. Please contact Westwood regarding permission for your church to personalize the pdf for local use.  

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