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That’s Good Enough For Me

September Newsletter  2020 Rick McPherson

Every month I’m privileged to write this newsletter and talk about the ministry of Pacific NW Outreach, Inc., as we help Native Americans both physically and spiritually.  Many of you are long-time supporters, in prayer and finances, of this work.  Others are joining us because of social media, YouTube and good old, “word of mouth.”  Whatever your status, we’re glad to have you.  This communique is a primary means of contact because we want to stay connected.

The past six months of ministry;  in the midst of a global medical pandemic, economic shut-down, civil unrest, riots, looting and horrible violence in the streets, including murders, brutality, destruction of property and businesses, divisive political campaigns and the attack on the foundational truth for civilization, law and order; have been challenging beyond belief. 

Candidly, when everything unraveled in the first quarter of this year, I thought it would be over quickly.  Wrong!  The riots in our own city of Portland have now exceeded 100 days.  The once beautiful downtown is now devastated with graffiti, burned out buildings and vehicles, boarded up department stores, restaurants and businesses.  No one in their wildest imagination would have thought that the authorities would stand down and turn over the tenth largest city in America to militant domestic terrorists. 

However, in the midst of it all, including the fact that marijuana and liquor stores are deemed essential and churches are not, we’re still here.  A friend once told me, “Rick, you’re goin’ to make it!  You won’t look like much, but, you’re goin’ to make it!”  With that sentiment echoing in our ears, we carry on!

Here’s our plan.  It’s simple.  It’s doable.  It’s worthwhile. 

We have targeted our two closest Reservations, the Quinault in Washington State, just north of Aberdeen on the Pacific Coast and the Celilo Indian Village, part of the Yakama Reservation, in the Columbia River Gorge past The Dalles, Oregon.  Some of you have donated recently to help provide backpacks and school supplies for these children.  We are preparing two truckloads with groceries and miscellaneous food supplies (chips, cookies, juices, soft drinks and fresh produce) and pencils, crayons, notebooks and markers for delivery ASAP. 

Once again let me ask…will you send a financial gift at this time to help? 

I’m often asked about the benevolence that we extend to Native Americans.  I guess I’ve heard every reason and excuse for NOT helping them.  But, at the end of the trail, I’m reminded that every Native is made in God’s image just like me.  God loves us equally.  He does not discriminate.  He is not a racist.  He loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us.  And, WHOEVER believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.  That’s good enough for me.  I’ll let the pundits argue the rest. 

In the meantime, let me remind you that Jesus was very much involved in what we now call, “social gospel.”  He did feed hungry people, gave water to those who were thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed strangers, healed the sick and visited the imprisoned.  Should we not do the same?

*****

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Peace & Principles

August Newsletter  2020 Rick McPherson

We live just a few miles from the riots in Portland which have occurred every night for the last 74 days…and counting. The downtown area, particularly around the Mark Hatfield Federal Court House, looks like a war zone. Destruction, violence, lawlessness and chaos are the words that describe the scene. During the Covid 19 pandemic the churches and synagogues have been shut down while the marijuana shops and liquor stores have remained open and deemed essential. Schools remain closed and citizens have been told to stay home and not work. Many are fearful. Many are doubtful. Many are confused.

Realize that fear, doubt and confusion never come from God. You can overcome them with a simple strategy that involves prayer, Scripture and focus. King David gave us a magnificent plan that shows God as our Helper, Keeper, Protector and Preserver. These verses in Psalm 121 were probably set to music and sung by Jewish pilgrims on their ascent to Jerusalem during the annual feasts.

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip,
He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold He who loves Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.”

As you read, meditate and memorize these verses you will discover that they are principles of truth that you can build your life and future upon. Current events and even the “wars and rumors of wars” that are forecast as signs of the times will not undermine these foundations. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” A quick study of the life of Christ reveals that He spoke constantly of principles; truth, that would never change. Truth that we would know. Truth that would set us free. In fact, when questioned by His disciple Thomas, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

I don’t know about you, but I’m okay with a secular prophet who speaks truth to my heart. I want the triumph of principles to rule. I want peace. I want a lifestyle that exhibits Biblical truth and principles that are real. I want a lifestyle that constantly chooses His truth, His way, His life. And really, that’s what this life is. It’s a series of choices. Yesterday is gone forever…and its choices. Tomorrow may never come. All we have is the gift of today, that’s why we call it the present. All we have is now. Choose wisely. May God’s principles and truth be triumphant and may you have peace.

*****

PS As challenging as it, our work helping Native Americans, spiritually and physically, continues during the pandemic. We want to deliver school supplies to reservations even though the schedule is uncertain. Your faithful giving and prayer support is needed now more than ever. Thank you and God bless you!

 

 

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An Old Idaho Bear Hunter

July Newsletter  2020 Rick McPherson

In my recent studies on another topic, I came across the following from noted Englishman, Anglican Theologian and Scholar, Dr. Edward Bouverie Pusey, (1800-1882).  The following five points are worthy of our attention during the current Corona 19 virus and global pandemic. Truly these days are unlike anything that any of us have experienced.  People are clamoring for what is true and doubting much of what is being reported.  It was Dr. Francis Schaeffer who entitled his book, “How Should We Then Live?”  He addressed the behavior of Christ followers living in a fallen, sin-cursed world.  Living with certainty in the midst of uncertainty knows the difference between what is true and what is not. 

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.”  I Timothy 6:6

  • Never complain about anything, not even the weather.
  • Never picture yourself to be under a different set of circumstances than you are presently in.
  • Never compare your lot with that of another.
  • Never allow yourself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or were, otherwise than it was, or is.
  • Never dwell on tomorrow.  Remember it is God’s, and not yours. 

Because of our work at the mission, helping Native Americans, physically and spiritually, I took time to review these five points asking how they affected me and this ministry.  My responses are too personal to share here, but they have helped me to reset and repair some broken areas.  Perhaps you’d like to do the same.

If I ruled the world, I’d say, “It’s all over folks, nothing more to see!  Everyone… back to work!”  But I don’t and neither do you.  An old bear hunter that I met in the mountains of Idaho told me this, “There are two things I know. Number one:  There is a God.  And, number two: It’s not me!”  That’s good stuff!

So, when I roll the theology of a classic English scholar with the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy and an old bear hunter from Idaho I get this…

 “Christians are to be satisfied and sufficient, and not to seek for more than what God has already given them.  He is the source of true contentment.”*

Therefore, let’s carry on.  Let’s do the work that God has asked us to do.  Let’s pray.  Let’s love.  Let’s give.  Let’s be kind, generous and patient.  Even in the midst of a global pandemic.

*****

*The MacArthur Study Bible, John MacArthur, 2006

Special Note…Although school schedules are unknown at this time, we are planning to provide school supplies to Native children.  If you would like to include a special offering in your giving this month it will help us greatly with our plans.    God bless you!

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LAWLESSNESS

June Newsletter  2020 Rick McPherson

Each month as I write this newsletter, it is my intention to communicate with you the current events and overall status of this ministry serving Native Americans.  Pacific NW Outreach, Inc. is committed to help both physically and spiritually the children and adults on Reservations, particularly in the Pacific Northwest region.  Since the beginning of this year the undercurrent of our world has affected the content of what I’ve written.  The year began with the death of my oldest sister.  She died of pancreatic cancer just two and a half months after the initial discovery and diagnosis. Her loss was profound to our family and her many friends.

   You will also recall that in January we were dealing with the attempted impeachment of our President.  The impeachment failed and the coronavirus pandemic then filled the airways and changed us, perhaps forever.    I wrote during those days articles entitled, “Unprecedented”, and, “Almost”.  These articles addressed events that impacted us and how we were affected. To say that everything is unchanged would be misleading.  Although we have been able to adjust and continue, it is not the same.

  Now, we are seeing with horror the lawlessness that has set our country on fire.  The events in major cities across our land began as protests against the wrongful death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of policemen who have since been arrested and charged with murder.  No one argues against our First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceful protests, but the activities of criminals who have now looted and destroyed in the name of protest is wrong and lawless.  It was Ravi Zacharias who said, “History is a good reminder of what happens to those who think they have no law but themselves.”

Lawlessness is defined as: that which is contrary or without regard for the law.  It is unbridled, unruly, unrestrained behavior that is illegal or not controlled by law.

What we are witnessing now is lawlessness in all of its destructive power.  The cry of politicians, governors and mayors to “defund” the police of our cities and communities is a recipe for disaster and will result in anarchy and chaos.  The Rule of Law is one of the basic principles of civilization.  Our leaders have sworn oaths to uphold the Rule of Law and defend citizens from enemies both foreign and domestic.  Pray that they will keep their word. 

The Apostle Paul said this, “that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable,  malicious gossips, without self–control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…”  II Timothy 3:1-4

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has written to President Trump warning him that the current crises over the coronavirus pandemic and the George Floyd riots are a part of the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil.  You can read the entire letter here.

I encourage you to read it.  It will illuminate your understanding of current events.

 Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to what happens to us!”  Notice the word, “respond.”  We don’t react, we respond.   Response is a choice.  And right now we have an opportunity to respond.

Let me suggest a small list of responses you can choose.  (II Timothy 4:4)

  • BE SOBER IN ALL THINGS.  (be alert, be aware, know what is true)
  • ENDURE HARDSHIP.  (bad things do happen to good people)
  • DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST. (tell someone who Jesus is)
  • FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY.  (no finger pointing, do your part)

*****

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ALMOST

May Newsletter  2020 Rick McPherson

 From an early age, kids learn the vocabulary of riding in the family car.   If it’s not about eating or stopping for a potty break, inevitably the question is asked, “Are we almost there?”  It seems the trip will never end and the destination will never be reached.  Parents are exasperated, frustrated and irritated.  The kids are just impossible.  Everyone wants the trip to be over.  Please!

The whole experience hinges on the word, “almost.”  Almost, as in, “not quite, very nearly, or, just about.”  It’s like telling people, “I’m almost thirteen.”  Or, “I was so scared, I almost panicked!” 

Thinking about it, life is filled with, “almost.”  The choices we make, the games we play, the food we eat, the activities we do are all affected by, “almost.”   The Psalmist said, “They almost destroyed me on earth.”   Almost!  In the midst of that “almost,” he also said, “But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts.  Revive me according to Your lovingkindness.”  (119:87-88)   He changed from the unknown to the known, from the uncertain to the certain, from the unsure to the sure. 

We are currently in an, “almost.”  Medical experts and government officials are saying the pandemic is almost over.  We’re almost ready to open the country.    As exasperated and impossible as this experience has been, it’s almost over.   We’re almost there.   Or, are we?

As much as we would all like things to be normal again, they aren’t.  We’re almost there, but not quite.  In the meantime, the ministry of Pacific NW Outreach, Inc. has been affected, but we are still here and deemed essential because we are helping Native Americans with food.  During the pandemic, grocery stores have remained open, farmers have been farming, truckers have been trucking and we have too.  Currently we are planning two new trips with food, household supplies and clothes.  The weather is warm, the roads are clear and we’re ready.  And, I want you to know this is only possible because of people like you.  People who care.  People who pray.  People who give.  You have made all the difference with your involvement in this ministry.  Quite frankly, we could not do this without your help.  Every time you chip in with a financial donation you are affirming what we do.  On behalf of Native American children and families, THANK YOU and God bless you!  

*****

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UNPRECEDENTED!

April Newsletter, 2020  Rick McPherson

 “Well, we’ve never done it before, but let’s give it a shot,” I heard myself say to the Chairman of the PNWO Board of Directors.

“With the stay at home order and social distancing, it’s the best way to meet,” he said. 

“I’ll set up the phone conference for Tuesday at 11 am,” he continued.

“Be sure and prepare a devotional for the group,” he concluded. 

Okay!  And what does one prepare as a devotional in the midst of an unprecedented, global pandemic that has negatively affected every aspect of our normal, day-to-day life?  Maybe something out of Psalms, right? 

After forty-nine years of ministry and a lifetime exposed to ministers, pastors, evangelists, missionaries and church life, I figured I had, “been there, done that!”  Next?  To my shock the “next” happened to be, well, unprecedented.  Nothing like this has happened before.  At least, not in my lifetime, it hasn’t.  So, what do you say?  How do you answer the six journalistic questions?  Who, what, where, when, why and how, take on monumental importance.   Unfortunately they are unanswerable.  Even the experts are scratching their heads. 

However, there is truth that transcends the unprecedented.  An old Texas cowboy told me one time, “Ain’t no surprise to God!”  What is unknown to us and catches us off-guard is within His capacity as the Omniscient.  He is all-knowing and has given us provisions in the midst of everything that life throws at us.  Read these words from Isaiah 43:1; “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.   When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched…Do not fear, for I am with you.” 

There are over 80 times in the Bible that God says, “fear not!”  God is very clear.   He does not want us to fear or worry.  And, when you read the various narratives when God said, “Do not fear,” the people were facing incredible, may I say, unprecedented circumstances.  They needed to hear it then; we need to hear it now!  Don’t be afraid! 

“His oath, His covenant, His blood,

Support me in the whelming flood,

When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my hope and stay.  On Christ the solid rock I stand.”

*****

A week ago, Karen Whitford from Celilo Indian Village, called and asked for food.  “Please, help us,” she said. 

My hesitation was that the pantry was empty.   How could we help?  How could we give what we didn’t have?  “God, please help us, help them!” was my prayer.    The picture you are seeing is the result of that prayer and God’s answer.  A pallet of insulated boots, one pallet of lettuce, one  pallet of chips and fifty-one boxes of fresh food…vegetables,  fruit, bread, chicken, beef, fish…even Tulips and Orchids! 

In the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, God was still supplying groceries and delivering His loving kindness to needy people.  The state agencies are allowing our work as a non-profit providing essential service to Native Americans during the stay-at-home directives.   Thanks to people like you who help us financially, even during uncertain and challenging times, our ministry continues.    God bless you and thank you! 

Wash your hands.  Stay home.  Be safe.  Be well.  Be blessed.

*****

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Native American Home Etiquette

March Newsletter, 2020  Rick McPherson

The table was filled with smoked salmon, elk, berries, roots and mushrooms.  I sampled the salmon and it melted in my mouth like candy.  The Native hosts insisted that I eat more.  “Please, eat…take more food,” they said. 

I was attending a funeral in the park at Lapwai, Idaho, on the Nez Perce reservation.  The culture was a fascinating study and I was impressed with the protocol of how the Tribe conducted this special event.  The thought occurred to me that this unique experience was a privilege that not many white men would enjoy.  I was intrigued and wanted to learn more.  In my studies I discovered an article from Jamie Oxendine regarding the etiquette and manners that are evident in Native American life.  As I read I couldn’t help but see the significance of what we do at Pacific NW Outreach when we deliver food, clothing and supplies and how it impacts Natives in a big way.  Let me explain.

Native Americans from coast to coast were cordial and kind to guests in their homes.  Here are some general habits that were common among many Tribes.

THE ETERNAL COOKING MEAL

It was common to have a large container of food on or near the lodge fire.  This container was usually a very large calabash (gourd) or bowl kept simmering via hot stones and full of some kind of meat or fish stew with vegetables.   For many there was no set meal time.  Whenever one was hungry they dipped in the container and had something to eat.  Guests were always fed.  The normal greeting was not, “Hello,” it was always, “Have you eaten?”

BEING POLITE IN THE LODGE

From the Longhouses and Wigwams, to Igloos and Tipis there was a certain accommodating protocol of life in the home of all Native Americans.  For example:

HOST OBLIGATIONS

  1. Assume guests are tired, cold, hungry and thirsty.
  2. At no time worry guests with troubles of the host.
  3. Never sit while Elders stand.
  4. Compliment guests.
  5. Give thanks to The Creator for company and food.
  6. Help Elders with entering or leaving the lodge
  7. Protect guests as members of the family.

GUEST OBLIGATIONS

  1. Accept any food offered.
  2. *Be grateful for any and all offers from the host.
  3. Bestow respect to the Woman of the lodge as she is the keeper of the flame.
  4. Compliment the host.
  5. Give thanks to The Creator for hospitality.
  6. Never worry host with guest troubles.
  7. Present the host with a gift. 

Reading through just some of these is a reminder of the civility and benevolence that characterized the home life of our Native American brothers and sisters.  Perhaps we would do well to pause and reflect on some of these practices and restore them to our own “lodges.” 

****

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Marmota Monax

February Newsletter, 2020  Rick McPherson

After my morning coffee I walked outside and noticed some daffodils had popped through the soil.  Wait a minute, I thought, this is February.  Last weekend, Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog revealed that warmer days are apparently ahead and declared, “Spring will be early, it’s a certainty.” I don’t know about you but when a groundhog is predicting the weather, I certainly want to pay attention! Whether I’m ready or not, the time change is only four weeks away and I may not need that snow shovel, again.

But before we say good-bye to winter I want to take a minute and think back to Christmas.  It was last month that we sent a newsletter with pictures of our trips to the Quinault and Yakama reservations.  I must tell you that in the last fourteen years of doing this work and making these trips, these are the best truckloads ever.  At both locations there were real tears of joy when our Native friends saw the quality of mixed groceries, insulated, water-proof boots, bicycles and gifts from the Les Schwab, TV12, toy drive and hand-made knit hats.  I’m not talking about a polite, “Thank you, this is great.”  I’m talking about quivering lips and genuine tears.   Real emotion, you know? 

Why rehearse what happened a few weeks ago?  Well, you need to know the results of your gifts and financial help you’ve provided to do this ministry.  I can’t fit all of you into the Peterbilt and drive you to the reservation, but I can tell you that what you’ve done and the compassion and kindness you’ve shown, has made a big difference in the lives of people, most of whom you will never know in this life.  These are Native Americans who have now experienced God’s love and provision because of you and this ministry that you support.  Remember, people don’t care how much you know, but they know how much you care when you demonstrate your love in practical and tangible ways.  Long ago I learned that you can’t talk to a person about the condition of their heart, if their stomach is empty and they’re shivering from the cold.  We have learned at Pacific NW Outreach that the door swings wide open when spiritual truth follows physical assistance.  People of every culture respond to love, it’s undeniable. 

So…THANK YOU AGAIN!  Your generous gifts each month reflect your compassion and kindness for Native Americans.  Although they are often forgotten, they represent a culture of people that God loves dearly and we are committed to helping and serving.  You’re a part of that…and what you do is greatly appreciated!

Tomorrow morning when you’re drinking your coffee, take a walk outside, look for daffodils…and check for groundhogs!

*****

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Christmas Toys!

January Newsletter, 2020  Rick McPherson

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Drawing To An End

December Newsletter, 2019  Rick McPherson

Although the year, and even this decade, will soon be drawing to an end, our ministry will not be thanks to your support!

On the other side of this page are the pictures of people who serve this ministry throughout the year and the past decade. Our Board members and staff want to say, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” May your Christmas celebration be filled with blessing and joy. Those in need have already received food and clothing for the holiday season with more to come mid-December. Native
children will be receiving toys and other goodies this Christmas thanks to the blessings from folks like you and of course, God above!

Be reminded that Heaven has recorded every gift. If that’s not enough…you can receive a copy of your giving for 2019 by contacting Charlote, who will gladly issue a receipt.

charlote@pacificnwoutreach.org
503-492-0904

Because we are a 501 (c) (3) charitable, non-profit corporation, your giving is tax deductible. For 2019 credit, year-end giving must be postmarked, no later than December 31.

*****