Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ministry Update

Wilma & Marvin Gehrls
One of life’s great challenges for me is adjusting to change and we are going through one that many of you can identify with...or someday will. About 6 weeks ago we had to move our 90 year old parents into assisted living. Sheryl and I came up here to Brainerd, MN a week ago to help, and while I was prepared to shift from the businesses of ministry to helping get things settled with the house I was not prepared for the emotional impact…
For years we came “home” with our kids and now sometimes with some of our grandkids. My brothers and I physically built this home for my parents on a beautiful wooded lot with lakes a few blocks in every direction to live in as long as possible…a deer is walking by about 20 feet from the window in the sunroom as I write.  We have never stayed in this house without them here but every day we look for something we can bring from home to make their small space in the assisted living feel a little more familiar.
Here at the house we are cleaning and sorting… Mom grew up in the depression dust-bowl in rural South Dakota and they never throw away anything…”You might need that someday.” We are now more motivated to get our own house in order.
In a month or so my brother Tim and his wife Karen will move in until we need to sell it…so when we leave in a few days to come home to Omaha it will never be the same here again…  We can’t stop the clock of change but we can focus on passing the heritage on…

Ministry News:
We had an outstanding trip to Tijuana in May where the Lord opened up opportunities to work with two new pastors groups and we continued to see the fruit of previous trips.

We shared the Spanish version of our newly printed PrayerWalking Quick Start Guide and it being used all over to help launch prayer. Click here to see it. We will send English or Spanish copies to all who request. We also taught Step Up To Life and have invitations for more training. We hope to go back early in September with my friend Femi Awodele and introduce his Christian Couples ministry then later in the fall another Fresh Start trip.
The “More God, Less Crime” Conference on April 28th was outstanding. It brought together about 150 Law Enforcement, City & State Government, Pastors and local ministry leaders for a day with Dr. Byron Johnson, one of the leading criminologists in the nation who has documented reduction in crime when churches get more involved with the police. Dr. Johnson was impressed with the level of synergy we have in Omaha that he feels is needed in other cities. We are already working on the next steps to involve more believers in needs facing our community. A DVD of the conference will be available in a few days…please contact me if you would like a free copy.
We had a spike in homicides with six so far in June, and more violence in South Omaha this year, but out of it we are seeing a strong community collaboration coming together around Captain Belcastro and local leaders. Mayor Jean Stothert was at the PrayerWalk in South Omaha last week.
Since January, Sheryl has given oversight to the CFCI Urban Plunge program in Omaha, allowing groups from all over the country to connect to multiple inner-city ministries during their 3-5 day stay. Nearly 50 groups have been scheduled in Omaha this year, keeping everyone very busy. She is extremely thankful for amazing Ministry Partners who are willing to receive these groups, providing opportunities to serve outside their comfort zones. Urban Plunge has two primary objectives: first, to expand volunteers and resources to local ministries, and second, to challenge participants to think outside the box when it comes to ministry in their own community. Sheryl is presently engaged with creating a set of standard materials that will allow us to strengthen Plunge programs in Lincoln, Des Moines, and Kansas City, with a new launch in Dallas scheduled sometime during the coming year.
On other fronts, she continues to lead a team of ladies who create beautiful prayer shawls that are regularly giving to those around us who need comfort and encouragement. To date, they have distributed well over 200 of them, and would love to have other individuals or church groups join in. She also meets regularly with other ministry directors, and younger developing leaders, encouraging them and helping them to grow in their leadership skills.
The battle for the soul of our culture is intensifying with a landmark decision from the Supreme Court in a few days on gay agendas. I will be putting out a separate update on this critical issue.   
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!  


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