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Omaha pastor fends off, forgives juvenile robbers

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 8:57 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Omaha pastor who fended off three robbers by himself had a message for them after police arrived.

At about 6:30 p.m. Monday, the Rev. John Ford, 73, was having a church financial meeting over the phone from the inside of his car when some neighborhood kids approached with demands.

“Robbery just occurred. Church of God in Christ. Someone tried to assault the pastor,” the call went out over the police scanner.

Omaha authorities flooded the area around the church looking for those who got in the face of the pastor in the parking lot.

“Three kids walked up to my car and confronted me,” Ford said.

He tried to reason with them and even offered a little cash to go away and go home.

“It wasn’t going anywhere, so I got out of my car. They were here and I was here. Three of them,” he said.

One of them -- a 12-year-old -- pulled out a pocket knife.

“They weren’t buying it and I had to stand my ground. I wasn’t giving them nothing,” Ford said.

But in a way, he was.

As officers tracked down those responsible after neighbors saw the commotion and called 911 -- Ford told officers he wasn’t interested in pressing charges.

“Grace comes through us. You and me have to show grace and mercy. It’s not just a word in the Bible or on a piece of paper. We show grace. We show love. We show mercy. It was an easy call. Nothing to it,” Ford said.

Ford understands the kids -- as he calls them -- probably think right now they got away with it, but he’s banking on the long game.

“Maybe, little by little, we’ll reel them in. Bring them home. They might be the next deacon or pastor or choir member. But that’s what we do. We take a risk. Have to keep trying. What else can the church do but keep trying?” he said.

Ford has been a pastor for 40 years.

He said he wanted the kids to know he’s part of the neighborhood -- and hopefully, part of the solution -- since the church’s purpose is to save people.

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