“School Days”

September Newsletter, 2018  Rick McPherson

After all these years, I still remember my first day, at Lambton-Kingsway Public School, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada.  It was special to me because my parents allowed me to ride my bike.  Although a kindergarten student, their thinking was that my older sister (third grade) would protect me.  This assignment lasted until we turned the first corner and from then on, I was on my own. Granted, it was a different world in 1953 than now, but I shudder to think of any child aged five, riding their bike to school.  Busy streets?  No problem! 

Now, children are ready with new clothes, shoes, backpacks, haircuts and any number of electronic devices to face the school year.  It’s a rite of passage as vacation fades and assignments, homework and test schedules replace the dog days of summer.   And of course, every student must be prepared for recess and lunch. 

Although each mom reading this is praying a, “Oh thank you, God!”  that school has started again let me remind you that it doesn’t last long.  One day your children will be graduating and you’ll find yourself parked in your SUV near the school yard, drinking a small, drip coffee and watching strangers deposit their kids in the same spot you did.  And, it will happen in the blink of an eye.  So, enjoy the moment!

The Labor Day schedule always affects us here at Pacific NW Outreach.  The heat of summer is replaced by crisp morning air, diminished daylight hours and leaves in lovely shades of yellow, orange and red.  It really is a beautiful season of the year.  But for some in the Native culture, it is anything but beautiful.  The blessings that we count for our own children are not transferred to every school across the country. 

In a recent television interview I heard a well-known celebrity talk about Rose Bud and Pine Ridge as two of the poorest areas.  These are reservations in South Dakota that we have served for many years.    She has transferred her words into actions and contributed financial gifts to help.  Yet many children still do not have school supplies, clothes and food to succeed.  Unemployment is a staggering 80%.  To say the need is great is an understatement. 

We are committed to helping Native Americans and their children both physically and spiritually.  When we deliver a truck load it is always free.  Groceries, boots, household items and yes, school supplies and toys are provided because of people like you who help us financially and prayerfully.  It would be impossible to do this work without your help!  God bless you and thank you!

So, what motivates us to keep doing this ministry?  Well, there is a story about Jesus and His disciples.  He was talking to them about hunger, thirst, sickness, clothing and jail.  He said that when you help people who are suffering like this; you are in essence doing it to Him.  The disciples were shocked.

 “When did that happen?” they asked. 

Jesus said, “…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”   St. Matthew 25:31-40