The nature of our work involves heavy equipment. Big trucks, trailers, fork-lifts and heavy pay-loads are all a part of what we do. Taking donated groceries, household supplies, boots, winter coats, hats and gloves and pallets of Bibles and books to distant Native American reservations across the country requires transportation. We burn lots of diesel fuel, wear the tread off tires and travel thousands of miles to accomplish our mission. We depend on the physical part of our work to open the door for the spiritual. Once the door opens we can deliver the truth of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. It is not only a Biblical plan, it is a successful one.
Having been with the mission for over ten years, I have logged thousands of miles behind the wheel and visited Reservations from the Dakotas to the Pacific Ocean. Looking back through my log book I can recall some near-death experiences. One time I fell asleep at the wheel at 3:00 AM driving westbound on I-84 at mile marker 95 adjacent to the Columbia River. Another time I was southbound on Hwy. 95 in Idaho descending the White Bird Pass. Both times I was thankful for the guardian angels that did their work and saved my life.
We have always made it a practice to pray before every truck trip. If you think this is perfunctory, you’ve never jockeyed a big rig down the Interstate. So, when Doc and Don and I finished the load we closed the big doors, held hands and prayed. Little did I know what lay ahead.
As is normal in wintertime weather, it was raining hard when I left. After my stop for coffee in Chehalis I made the turn to Hwy 12, westbound through Rochester to Oakville and on to Aberdeen. The highway is just two lanes and has old-fashioned steel bridges with arches on both sides. The guard-rails at the entrance and exit of the bridges end at the bottom of the arches. The distance between the arches is for normal traffic. But what was to happen in a matter of seconds was not normal. My wipers were set on intermittent and as the glass cleared I saw a pilot pickup truck with a “Wide Load” banner across the front bumper.
Immediately I saw a semi pulling a flat-bed trailer with the treads of a large excavator protruding past the sides of the truck… and, the bridge. There simply was not room for the two of us to pass each other. My first thought was, “this is it … I’m going to die!”
I’m now convinced that those same guardian angels were on duty that day and they have the ability to shrink and expand steel. Whatever they did, they did it right. My life was saved.
You’ve often heard me say that the best thing you can do for me and for this ministry is to pray. So, thank you to the many people who have been faithful in asking the Lord to protect us. I know I felt the effects of your prayers on that rainy day on Hwy 12, westbound for Aberdeen.
*bought the farm…buy the farm…idioms that were used in military context for soldiers who lost their lives in battle and the proceeds from life insurance policies were used to pay the mortgages on family farms.
January Newsletter, 2016 Rick McPherson
When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you get used to the rain. You drive in it. You work in it. You live in it. One local TV station spoofs the rain by making commercials of people doing all sorts of activities in the drenching, soaking rain. They’re actually quite funny, if you have a weird sense of humor.
But, last month was no laughing matter. We had more rain in December than any month since Noah was around. Over 15” is what they said. That’s a lot of water.
And in the middle of all that water we were taking trips to the Reservations and delivering Christmas loads with groceries, children’s toys, gifts, household supplies (blankets, pillows, sheets, and appliances), fresh produce, bread, Bibles and warm jackets, hats and gloves. All of the loads were delivered as an expression of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.
Back in November we had made our plans to serve three Reservations and God helped us fulfill our plans. We were blessed to be chosen as one of the non-profits to receive a portion of the toys donated to the Les Schwab Toy Drive. These toys, along with many others that were donated at our store, Low Prices, and given by customers and friends of the Mission, helped us make Christmas a wonderful experience for many Native American children. Because of the weather and the late schedule for truck deliveries, we actually sent five large boxes of toys by UPS to a distant Reservation address. Not quite like the Pony Express, but you get the idea!
You’ll see some great pictures of these outreaches below or click here to watch our video:
1. QUINAULT RESERVATION, Lake Quinault, Washington
2. NEZ PERCE RESERVATION, Lapwai, Idaho
3. CELILO INDIAN VILLAGE, The Dalles, Oregon