July Newsletter, 2014 Rick McPherson
You may recall seeing the picture of a little Native American girl squatting beside a banana box full of groceries in last month’s newsletter. On the top of the box is a bag of Twizzlers. That’s right, red licorice. Sometimes called, “red vines.” Most of us would never give it a second thought, but to that little girl that candy was like a gift from Heaven. Come to think of it, it was a gift from Heaven! You see every time we drive a semi-truck and trailer to a Reservation, it is filled with groceries, household supplies, boots, Bibles, clothes and…candy. All of the supplies that we deliver are given free of charge as an expression of the compassion and generosity of our Heavenly Father in Heaven. In other words,
“gifts from Heaven!”
Now in the heat of summer our work accelerates and we do everything we can to accommodate the long days, good road conditions and beautiful weather. We know that hunger is not seasonal and the need for food is just as real in the summer months as it is during the holidays. That’s why we need your help at this time.
First, I need you to join us in prayer for the groceries that we so desperately need.
The summer months are always a challenge but this year it is more so. Your last visit to the grocery store may have shocked you with soaring prices. Trucking and agricultural costs continue to rise. And, those higher costs are passed on to us as consumers. Help!
I know this. The same God, who fed the Israelites in the wilderness with manna for forty years, is the God we serve. He is the One who took a boy’s lunch with a few loaves and sardines and fed thousands of hungry people on a hillside near a lake in Galilee. The same God!
Secondly, I need you to help us financially. I know that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Together, we can make a big difference. Will you take a moment and send a special gift our way? Your gift of $10.00, $25.00, $50.00, or even more, will really help.
You may think your gift is too small to make a difference. But miracles don’t start with quantity, they start with quality. The little boy gave what he had. He gave what was in his hand. The quality he had was obedience. God did the rest!
So will you join me at this time and give what you can for this important ministry?
When the truck from Heaven arrives on the Reservation, let’s pray that every grocery box is packed full and that there a few bags of Twizzlers for the children.
June Newsletter, 2014 Rick McPherson
Because a picture is worth a thousand words, this newsletter will keep you reading for awhile!
You are looking at the outreach trip to the NAVAJO RESERVATION, CROWN POINT, NEW MEXICO. It was a wonderful ministry in partnership with Pleasant Bay Church, Pastor Dan Neary and Patrick Forbes. And thanks to Wayne Campbell; truck driver, photographer and banjo player. Enjoy.
May Newsletter, 2014 Rick McPherson
It was a large group of friends and family that gathered on a Saturday morning in April at the old Prairie Church in Vancouver, to remember and honor the life and ministry of Darrell Kennedy. Tears and laughter blended together. The classic hymns were sung. Prayers and sermons were given. Memories were shared. It was a meaningful and significant time as we all recalled the blessings of knowing Darrell. He impacted so many people from so many walks of life.
The service featured several videos showing Darrell leading worship and singing. One included him playing the piano and singing the beautiful, “I Want to See Jesus.” Now, the words of that song have become a reality.
Darrell had a wonderful history in Gospel music. He traveled for years with The Challengers and many people recall him and the quartet sharing the stage with groups like; The Blackwood Brothers, The Happy Goodmans, The Spear Family and The Oak Ridge Boys.
Darrell was the General Manager for radio station, KPDQ in Portland and hosted the popular, “Gospel Sing” on Saturday nights. His rich baritone voice was his trademark and in the industry was envied for those golden, “pipes.” After many years in radio ministry, Darrell joined the Frontier Missions team and served as the President and CEO for over ten years before his retirement in 2008. During those years, “helping Native Americans, both physically and spiritually,” Darrell organized and directed multiple outreach trips and “crusades,” to the Reservations across the country.
A major part of Darrell’s legacy is his wife Naomi, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I clearly recall a conversation with Darrell when he said that all of his family were serving the Lord! What a heritage!
During the memorial service, I couldn’t help but recall my personal story with Darrell. Although I didn’t know him long, he impacted my life greatly. In fact, God used Darrell in a very special way. If it wasn’t for Darrell, I wouldn’t be doing the work that I’m doing now. You see, he called me one day when I was selling Corvettes and Muscle Cars, for The Chevy Store in Portland and asked me if I would be available to speak at a couple of camps that the Mission was doing for the Nez Perce Reservation. I had left the pastorate after a 35 year ministerial career and was seeking the Lord for “the next step.” Darrell invited me. I said, “Yes.” The next thing I knew, I was preaching under a tent in Idaho and the temperature was 107°. When I look back, I see how God’s hand directed both Darrell and me. It was a wonderful friendship.
Now, Darrell’s work is done. He has been promoted to his eternal home. The Bible says, “… absent from the body, present with the Lord...” And even though we will miss Darrell a lot, we are promised, “… a hope that lies within us…” There is coming a great Resurrection morning when we will be united with the Lord and reunited with loved ones who have gone before us. So, until that time…
“Good night, Darrell, see you in the morning!”
April Newsletter, 2014 Rick McPherson
Not long ago, I used some of the following statistics in a talk. I had read them and was startled, even shocked, because of the numbers. Most of us never dream that there is a culture in our country that deals with such things. But there is.
Did you know that Native Americans have the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the United States? The poverty rate is 25 percent. Native people living in Indian country have incomes that are less than half of the general U.S. population.
Did you know that only 36 percent of males in high-poverty Native American communities have full-time, year-round employment?
Did you know that nearly 10 percent of all Native American families are homeless? The rate of Native homes without electricity is 10 times the national average and 20 percent of Native homes have no running water.
Did you know that the infant mortality rate among Native people is about 300 percent higher than the national average?
Did you know that the poorest county in the United States is the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota? The unemployment rate there is a mind-boggling 80 percent. Life expectancy on this reservation is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere, except for Haiti.
Did you know that the rates of violent victimization for both men and women are higher among Native Americans than for any other race?
Did you know that from 1999 to 2004, Native males in the 15 to 24 year old age group had the highest suicide rate compared to males of any other racial group?
It’s true when we read these facts that we can feel overwhelmed. Perhaps we can even say, “What’s the use? It’s hopeless.”
But before we despair, let me remind you that we as Christ followers are called to be two specific things…salt and light. These two metaphors give us a practical application of how we are to live in the midst of a decaying and dark world. You see it doesn’t take much salt to affect the flavor of the whole meal and it doesn’t take much light to drive the darkness from the room. Jesus said:
“…that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Mt.5:13
I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the little boy who was walking on the beach one day and found thousands of Starfish that had been washed up on the shore by the tide and stranded to die in the sun. One by one, he began to pick them up and throw them back in the ocean. A fellow beach-comber asked him what he was doing and he said, “I’m throwing these Starfish back in the water so they won’t die.”
“Well, there are thousands of them on the sand; you’ll never be able to throw them all back in the water. What difference does it make any way?” the stranger asked.
“It’ll make a big difference to the ones that I’m throwing back in the water!” said the boy.
So it is with our work at Pacific NW Outreach. We are following the directives of God’s Word to be salt and light…doing the best we can to glorify God. And, we’re tossing as many Starfish as we can, back in the ocean.