Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Omaha Ministry from Dave:

2014 Ended and 2015 Entered with a BANG…a bang of violence in Omaha. 

Between Dec. 21st and Jan 24th we had 12 homicides and a lot of shootings. 

While overall violence is significantly down, there have occasionally been times when violence spiked like this. The police, civic leaders, and community groups are doing everything they can...The Church now needs to move into a higher level in doing its part…especially addressing the spiritual components in Omaha’s top felt need…PEACE...Stopping the violence.

There was a lot of confusion and misinformation in the media regarding the disturbance after our PrayerWalk at 36th & Parker on Jan 25th. It was a time when well over a hundred people stood with three grieving families in a very emotional, but peaceful, PrayerWalk where three people had been murdered and five wounded just a few hours earlier.                               

Many of the people there, young and old alike, raised their hands to God and before thefamilies in a pledge to do something good to help overcome the evil from these deaths and to give meaning to the families in these senseless murders. Romans 12:21- “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

We had just finished the First Responders PrayerWalk and were informally talking and ministering, when suddenly people started yelling and running. The gang unit was there, and controlled the situation quickly and professionally...I felt God had sent them as guardian angels. Click here for a news report video and the "Rest Of The Story” where what Satan meant for harm, God turned for Good.

We have now coordinated over 300 First Responder PrayerWalks and Community Stop the Violence Rally-PrayerWalks in Omaha. When families of victims started coming, and when people in the neighborhood started coming out of their homes to join us, we felt led to shift our focus from intercession and warfare prayer to ministry prayer. Currently over half of our PrayerWalks are what I call "Community Pastoring". At times it feels more like an altar ministry, but the Church is still not fully walking into the opportunities for the Gospel that God is giving us. God often gives us a beachhead, and then we walk away and abandon it. 

On the other hand, there are times when we would like to take a team to pray into some warfare in the heavenlies – without the media and public present! As a result, I am praying about the next steps for First Responders PrayerWalks in Omaha. Click here if you would like to read more on where I feel God is taking First Responders in 2015. I always appreciate hearing what God may be saying to you.

The “Challenge to the Church” I sent out earlier this month is a word I feel the Lord gave me on the battle in our culture.I got some negative responses, but mostly strong confirmations. There was a lot more He laid on my heart but it was already too long…so expect some more installments which I feel led to separate from our Personal Ministry Update into its own blog and email in the future.

Omaha Base and Urban Plunge Update from Sheryl:

Are we still making prayer shawls? Yes we are!! To date, we have given out nearly 350 Prayer Shawls to those who are grieving or experiencing a significant life challenge. Last year we gave nearly 200 preemie caps to a local ICU unit, as well as about 2 dozen scarves and stocking caps to a ministry that touches the streets. We’re always accepting donations of yarn, or any shawls that you feel led to create at home. Feel free to join our monthly meeting on the 2nd Monday of the month here at our home.

Change seems to be the "stuff of life", and Urban Plunge is no exception. Michael Ross, the Founder and Director of Urban Plunge, resigned from Christ for the City International as of December 31, leaving a huge gap behind him. Randy Fontaine was appointed to give oversight to the Urban Plunge program in 6 cities, and soon learned that there was a great deal to be done to shore up and develop this program. 

In the wake of a number of changes, Sheryl was asked to serve in a new position as the National Director of Training for Urban Plunge facilitators in all the cities where we operate. She is now responsible to set up a basic training curriculum (both written and online) that will bring all Facilitators into alignment with the same basic goals, philosophy of ministry, and methodology wherever we have established an Urban Plunge program. 

While the specifics are currently quite demanding, this position offers the opportunity to build many relationships with young leaders who are eager and excited to serve the Kingdom....and who have more energy to implement ideas and grow programs than we do at this season of life! The most rewarding part is to be able to speak into younger lives as they prepare themselves and grow in their areas of gifting and calling. Along with the logistics of Urban Plunge, we also incorporate modules on creating your personal introduction, time management, decision-making, character development, and conversation skills...all those leadership things we wish we had known at age 20!

We have approximately 30 groups on the calendar for Omaha this year, and approximately 60 altogether in the other cities of operation. While this is fewer than we normally have for Omaha, we anticipate that the development in other cities will soon outweigh the smaller numbers here. Overall, we're excited about the growth we're seeing, as these groups of students come and participate in serving the urban ministries. You can find out more specifically about Urban Plunge at our website www.urbanplunge.com.

One little side note is that I've been able to hire our oldest grandson, Caleb, to work as an Urban Plunge Facilitator. He's wonderful at handling groups, is getting lots of really good leadership experience, and is one of my best at managing those Jr. High kids! That could be because he has three younger siblings and knows how to take charge!

Prayer Requests:

  • Sheryl continues to heal rather slowly from a major foot surgery last August. She is has finished physical therapy and is occasionally working out in a friend’s pool. Outside of a supernatural healing, we expect at least a year for full recovery and for the bones, tendons and ligaments to accept their new alignment. Sunday afternoon we walked about a mile around Standing Bear Lake and are talking about getting the old bikes we haven’t used in years out of the shed… 
  • Dave is dealing with Meniere’s disease in addition to other physical issues. The Meniere’s is a buildup of fluid in the inner ear which causes vertigo, humming and more hearing loss. In noisy environments, it’s almost impossible to hear, so we have been receiving prayer for healing and a visit to a hearing specialist is planned. Since hearing is vital to Dave’s ministry, and Satan likes to target our human weakness we believe this is clearly spiritual warfare on top of natural ailments.
  • The day after I sent out the “Challenge to the Church” earlier this month, we learned that our support last month was down nearly 2/3 from the norm. While the Lord has led us to not mention personal needs when I send out a message like that, we did mobilize our prayer team of intercessors! The Lord wonderfully spoke to some of His kids to help us get to the end of this month…but our deeper need is for additional regular monthly support. Over the last few years we have lost the financial partnership of a number of our support team who have gone to be with the Lord, have lost income as they retired, or felt led to change their stewardship, and it has become very challenging in these days to replace it. 
  • We never take for granted the privilege we have of serving the Lord vocationally. He has taught us again and again that He is our source, but we are somewhat dependent upon His people to hear clearly how He leads them to give. 
  • We are so thankful for the gifts of time that you share with us through your prayers and financial partnership. Please pray with us for God’s supply with some new monthly partners so we continue to serve Him vocationally full-time.   

Click on the "Partner With Us" tab at the top of the page for more info on being part of our team. 
Contact info is in the column to the right.

Dave & Sheryl

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