Rueben’s Toy Boat

November Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

A couple of years ago we met Rueben on the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho.  Attached to this newsletter is the article describing our experience.  What I didn’t know was that Don, one of our team members, promised Rueben that he would get him a remote-controlled toy boat.  His promise was fulfilled last week when I delivered an eighteen wheeler load of groceries and household supplies to the Reservation for Christmas.  You will see in the pictures that Pastor Antonio Smith is holding the boat to be given to Rueben.  Don had remembered his promise to the little boy and made sure that the toy boat was in the cab of the Freightliner before I left.  Of all the things that I’ve delivered through the years, Rueben’s toy boat is the best!

The pictures tell the story.  You can see the pallets of fresh onions, groceries and boxes of household supplies with pillows, blankets and towels lining the sidewalk before being stored away in the Food Pantry.  We even had a couple of mattresses and a bed frame on the trailer.  You can also see large bags of flour and potato flakes and a full tote of pet food!  One of the highlights was a large box of hand-knit hats and scarves that our friend, Dixie, has been supplying for years.  The ladies exclaimed, “We love these hats and scarves.  They are so warm.  And, the colors are so nice and bright!”

Christmas in November?  You bet!  And, we’re not done yet.  We have three more trips that are scheduled.   With God’s help, we’ll be serving the Quinault and Yakama (two locations) Tribes before the Holidays.   And, you can help us, too!

Your financial gift at this time will really make a difference.   The costs of truck expenses, diesel fuel, insurance and maintenance all add up.  But the impact of this ministry helping Native Americans, both physically and spiritually is well worth it. 

Would you take a moment and ask the Lord how you can help?  Your gift of $10.00 or $100.00 will go a long way.  Thank you, sincerely!

Who knows, you may meet Rueben one of these days.  When other “children are nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads”, Rueben will be the one with the remote-controlled toy boat and the huge smile. 

July Newsletter, 2012  Rick McPherson

It’s just no fun when the other kids pick on you.  You want to play and have fun and run and jump and laugh and be one of the gang.  And have friends.  You want to belong.  But when the other kids laugh at you and tease and punch and spit on you, life is no fun at all.  You want to go somewhere and cry. 

Little did we know when we arrived on the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho, for a week long outreach with Vacation Bible School, community services in the park every night, a truck-load of groceries for the Food Pantry and a work crew to rebuild a handi-capped ramp and hand-rail would we meet a little ten year old boy, named, Rueben. 

He was just there.  When we set up in the park for the first time, Rueben was there.    He wanted to do the crafts, sing the songs, listen to the Bible stories, play in the water and eat the snacks.  After VBS, he didn’t leave.  He just hung around and was stuck to our workers like glue.  As the week wore on, Rueben was there with us.  First thing in the morning he stopped by the church for cereal with the team, hung around until VBS started at noon then stayed through the evening meal for sloppy-joes or tacos. 

It’s no secret that we get attached to people on the reservation.  Relationship building is one of our goals and sometimes it takes a lot of effort and time.  Not so, with Rueben.  It was an instant friendship. How could anyone not love this little guy?   So, it came as a surprise when one of the pastors  told us that no child in the town  was as bullied as Rueben.  Other kids regularly picked on him.  It’s not that Rueben was different, nor small, nor handi-capped.  He was just the one that got picked on.  He was bullied.  And all he really wanted, was to belong.

Then it hit me.  God was giving us a vivid picture of the truth of His love, acceptance and forgiveness  that I had been speaking about every evening in the park.  You see, all of us are Ruebens.  All of us have been laughed at, cursed at, spit on and bullied.  Life has a way of   doing that to us.  It has a way of being mean.    And none of us escape the meanness.  It hurts to be bullied.  To be rejected.  To be abandoned.  To be forgotten.  To be picked on.   It really hurts.  It hurts to be Rueben. 

But God’s great message to us, is this.  I will never hurt  you!  What I will do  is love you, accept you and forgive you.  I will never forsake you.    I will never bully you.  Never.   In the midst of the meanness I will protect you.  Nothing will ever separate you from my love. 

As I climbed behind the wheel of the Freightliner for the trip home, I thought about Rueben.  I thanked God for his life and the joy that he brought us through the week.  I thanked Him for the experiences of the week of ministry and the eternal results that would only be fully known in Heaven.   And,  I asked that He would send a couple of really big Angels to protect Rueben,  from the bullies.