Love Thy Neighbor

Sarah Steffensen

Churches in Omaha, NE seek to change their communities from the inside out.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Loving family or friends is something that really comes easily to most. Being dedicated to God before all else? It’s a daunting task even for the most devoted. Loving your neighbors? It is much more difficult than loving your family and friends!

What if isolation became the exception and not the rule? What if neighbors began to think they do have the power to change and move from discouragement to a place of power? What if what Jesus said to us, began to be lived out by us in earnest?

Let me share an example of what can happen when!

Right in the middle of the country lies the city of Omaha, NE. Known for its famous citizens like Warren Buffet and Malcolm X, and for its great steaks, one can simply chalk Omaha up as a typical American city. However, the history of Omaha is much more complex than its steaks and icons. This city has fought extreme racism, poverty, and criminal activity for much of its past—even in the last 25 years. A hotbed of KKK activity, there has been much pain, with economic and racial division. Many of the churches reside in the well-maintained areas of South Omaha—while just a few miles north, crime, drugs, and gangs wreak havoc.

But there is hope! A few years ago, the churches in this city began to talk and pray with each other. Some picked up and relocated into communities that desperately need the light and hope of the gospel. We have been working with one such ministry called Mission. They have been hard at work for the past couple of years but with our partnership, something powerful is happening!

A small group of devoted, godly neighbors are sharing their faith, living out what the gospel teaches, and proclaiming hope in their neighborhood. People are coming to Jesus like never before. A once divided, dilapidated area of Omaha is now becoming a beacon of hope for other neighborhoods that have been tossed aside as too difficult for any good to happen. Just in the past three weeks, there have been 41 salvations and numerous baptisms! This community is working together to see the gospel lived out.

The people of Mission Church are affecting families in poverty by mentoring children in the local elementary schools and helping single moms with life skills training. Mission Church is discipling men returning to the community released from prison and planting healthy community churches within walking distance for these men and their families. They are working together to clean up their neighborhoods, working alongside teachers to help children in school, and restoring dilapidated homes into “Hope Houses.”

When a small group of Christians is more concerned with being Jesus to their neighbors than anything else, the powerful message of the gospel can take root in ways we never imagined possible. Led by Pastor Myron Pierce, the faith community of Mission Church is impacting their community in powerful ways.

Please join with us to pray and believe for even a greater harvest of souls as the important work of the ministry continues!