Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It was amazing how many came out last night standing in cold rain a few days before Christmas to pray into two separate violent murders on Sunday and minister to the grieving family & friends. 

In the first PrayerWalk we prayed with a Mom that would gladly give anything to just have her son back for Christmas. Then something amazing and wonderful happened... This mom who had just lost her son came over to the second PrayerWalk to pray with us for a stranger's son! There was also another mom who had lost two kids a few years ago who came prayed with a power seldom seen.

Click on the Links below to see some news videos.

Pastor Bruce Williams and I are so thankful for so many of you who are committed and faithful First Responder PrayerWalkers. You come when you can or pray from wherever you are when you can't. You are helping the church to pastor on the streets by being God's hands and feet...demonstrating His love at the point of raw grief and pain. Violence and murder is significantly down this year and we will continue to do our part in keeping it down.

We appreciate the police that come as part of the community standing against violence. It is not uncommon to have Captains, and even the Chief and Mayor come on occasion.

I want give special thanks to the pastors and ministries like Abide, the Hope Center, Compassion In Action, Crossroads Training Center, Release Ministries,  etc who partner with First Responders and Omaha 360. 

Another key partner in our PrayerWalks is Impact One. Barbara Robinson and their team are on the front lines combating violence. Within minutes, they are at the scene, at the hospitals, in homes and in the midst of all the chaos, pain, grief and emotions. 

They bring the victims' families to the PrayerWalks, help us connect and care for the family, friends and neighbors then do key follow-up with those families. First Responders would not be what is is today without the partnership of Impact One.  

We also appreciate the positive media reports that have helped connect our mission to the city.  Click on each to see their report from last night. 

     KMTV-3 News Video on PrayerWalks 

     WOWT-6 Report and Video on PrayerWalks

     Omaha World Herald on PrayerWalks

     KETV-7 had a great video on TV but not yet online. 

Have a Blessed Christmas and see you on the streets of our city.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Double First Responders Homicide PrayerWalks Monday, Dec 22th:  
5:15 PM at 3359 Erskine (South of Lake) 
6:00 PM in the lot just NW of the 30th & Ames Burger King

Media Reports:  After no murders in over a month...A very violent Sunday just before Christmas...

About 4:45 AM Kerrington Luker, 25 was found shot to death on the sidewalk in front of a homw  at 3359 Erskine (just south of Lake)
Kerrington Luker's mother calls it her worst nightmare come true. "You never want to get that phone call," said Alisa Luker. "And I prayed all the time to never get that phone call. But today is one of the worst feelings that you could ever have, and you can't help your baby, your baby is just laying there and you can't help them." (wowt.com)

Around 5:15 PM witnesses reported 25-30 shots from the area just NW of the Burger King at 30th & Ames.  Derek Johnson, 24 died at the hospital. Jermaine Richey, 28 and Demetrion Washington, 24 were wounded...one is fighting for his life and one is critical after making it to the Burger King for help. They were sitting in a car near the apartment building behind the Sinclair station and just NW of the Burger King.

At 5:15 PM the first PrayerWalk will start at 3359 Erskine which is just south of Lake Street. 
At 5:45 those who feel led will move to the lot just NW of the 30th & Ames Burger King for the 6:00 PM PW.

Both of these PrayerWalks have the potential to have significant turnouts. At many of our recent PrayerWalks, First Responders are essentially Community Pastors.  We need a team to stay and care as needed at Erskine and another NW of 30th & Ames. 

Click here for a Google Map: 

Thank You so much for your faithfulness...especially with such short notice. 
Watch for any updates Monday morning.

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

First Responders Homicide PrayerWalk: Thursday, September 25th ~ 5:30 PM 
at 34th Street & Northridge Drive

Media Reports: Johntavious Swift, a 16 yr old junior at Burke High School, was shot about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near 34th Street & Northridge Drive and died later at the hospital.

This was one of four separate shooting incidents on Wednesday and Omaha's 22nd homicide this year.

There may be a lot of youth at the site so we encourage Youth Pastors and teens that can care for other youth to come.

Directions: At 5:30 we will meet just South of 34th Street & Northridge Drive

Thank You so much for your faithfulness.

Monday, July 21, 2014

First Responders Homicide PrayerWalk: Tuesday, July 22nd ~ 5:30-6:00 PM at 3311 Howard

Media Reports59-year-old Frank J. Sanders died from a gunshot wound inside an apartment at 3311 Howard Streets just after 11 p.m. Sunday. Police took several people into custody for questioning, but no arrests have been made at this time.

We do not know if Frank lived in the apartment but Heidi Sampson called me this morning and told me that he was involved with their street ministry and they will bring friends and those who knew Frank.  This is the third street (near homeless or homeless) person killed this year.  As we pray into this homicide we will also pray and minister into the needs of those who often feel invisible and forgotten on the streets of our city.

Directions: At 5:30 PM We will meet at 3311 Howard which is between Harney and Leavenworth just West of Dewey Park.  

Thank You so much for your faithfulness. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

From OWH
The tragic death of 16-year-old Aquilee Muse helps increase awareness of the issue of youth fights & beatings...where kids don't think about the future consequences of their actions.

From the media reports it appears that the two guys initiating the fight had no intention of killing Aquilee. Now two teens with no criminal records, one a state champion wrestler, caused the death of another teenager and seriously threatened their own futures and life plans... all because they didn't think through the potential consequences of their actions.

While a public PrayerWalk onsite within 24-48 hours is our usual response to murder, we have learned that it is not always the most effective way to help reduce violence.

We feel that the best First Responders response is a brief 
First Responders PrayerWalk in conjunction with the Omaha 360 Harmony Week: 
We will help open the "Peace in the Streets" Community Rally & Family Event
Saturday, May 24th at Fontenelle Park 
1:00 PM (event goes until 4:00). 
Click Here for Event and Harmony Week Brochure
This gives us an opportunity to speak and pray into this type of youth violence with a much larger group of youth and their families. 

We are working on details and will send out an announcement with the details.

Here are two links to news reports on this tragic assault:
WOWT: 16 Year Old Boy Extremely Critical After Assault 
OWH: 2 Central High students make first court appearances in fight that led to teen's death

Special Update from the PrayerWalk for Amanda Brown Thursday, May 8th:

Last week on Wednesday evening I went by the area to find a place to meet and get a feel for how to proceed. I was able to talk to two of Amanda's friends from the homeless community and they agreed to spread the word about the PrayerWalk. I also connected with and invited several groups who work with the homeless.

At the PW Thursday the people who care for homeless people knew Amanda and brought people who were once or still homeless and knew Amanda...but I did not see the two guys I had talked to the night before who said they would bring more friends... Captain Belcastro was there as well as Crime Stopper Officers plus Joel and Cameron who come regularly from the mayors personal team.

We asked people who knew Amanda to share memories and then how we could pray for them...we got some very insightful thoughts I will share another time. After praying for and with them we got all the people who care for the homeless in the center and prayed encouragement and blessings on them. We closed by praying for Justice and that the perpetrator would be arrested and the next day he was arrested.

I hung around afterwards to talk with Amanda's friends when those two guys from the night before showed up and told me that a bunch more were coming...but everyone on my team was gone except Capt Belcastro, Steve Stout and Heidi Sampson... We ended up doing a second PrayerWalk with over twice as many homeless friends of Amanda as in the first one. This reinforces the insight of patience...that it often takes time for things to develop...grieving families and friends don't always show up when scheduled plus it often takes time to build some trust before people open to deeper ministry from strangers.

I came away with some new insights as well as some new questions...plus a special new friend, Jennifer Ethridge, who heads the Homeless Clinic for the Charles Drew Health Center...she seeks out the homeless and their campsites and among other things tries to get medications to people who have ongoing medical conditions.


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
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!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Well over 100 came to the PrayerWalk Thursday night...including the family, neighbors, pastors, the Mayor, Chief of Police, NW-NE Captains and many more standing together in bitingly cold wind for almost an hour at 45th & Bedford in response to the shooting of 5 yr old Payton Benson (see prev post).

This may become a community tipping point in our battle against violence.

Here are some news links and pics: 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First Responders Homicide PrayerWalk on Thursday, January 16th:  5:15-5:45 PM at 45th & Emmet (just north of Bedford) 

Media Reports: 5 yr old Payton Benson was finishing breakfast about 9:45 this morning (Wednesday) when she was hit by a stray bullet from someone shooting from a car at a person running on 45th near Emmet Street.  Payton was unresponsive on the way to Alegent Creighton Medical Center where she later died.
Police were looking for three suspects who fled north in a black or blue Jeep Commander. One was described as having a handgun, one was armed with a high-power rifle and the third wore a bandanna.
Massey Allen III, 33, who identified himself as a relative of the victim, said he was stopped at 45th Street and Bedford Avenue when he heard the gunfire and ducked under his steering wheel. He estimated that about 20 shots were fired, Payton's mother then came running from her house screaming. Police found shell casings as far as 100 yards from the home... the family van also had a tire flattened from a bullet.
Allen said Payton and her mother had recently moved here from Chicago. The mother is trying to earn a nursing degree, he said. Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray says the girl's father is his nephew. The Omaha Police Department is offering a $5,000 reward...Click here to see the OPD news conference 

Directions:  At 5:15 PM, Thursday, Meet at 45th & Emmet. There may be a large turnout (in spite of the predicted high winds), I suggest people park in the Mt Sinai church lots and walk the short block north to Emmet. Click here for a Google Map: 

Special note from Dave & team: Please pray that the Lord calms the winds during our PrayerWalk which are foretasted to be 45-60 mph from 8 AM to 8 PM. 

We know weather will not stop our core First Responders and we are expecting a large turnout including civic leaders, pastors, youth leaders, civic leaders and full media. Help make this a massive turnout to give a clear, strong message:

  • "We" (All the inhabitants of Omaha) suffered violence today.  Help us let this family and neighborhood know they are not alone and pour out God's love on them. 

  • Help us send a message to our children that we will do everything possible to make our city, our homes and our neighborhoods safe for them to grow up. Many times large numbers of teens and kids turn out with this kind of violence. My son is bringing my grand-kids...as are others.  

  • Help us send a clear and intimidating message to the gangs...

  • Our Omaha 360 network is looking into a follow-up event to address this tragedy and also the bigger issues behind the violence in Omaha. Please pray that our lead team has Godly wisdom and favor. 

Thank You so much for your faithfulness.