How Cold Was It?

March Newsletter, 2019  Rick McPherson

It was just flat cold, brutal, numbing, and frigid.  It was the kind of cold that makes your teeth hurt.  It stings your eyes and your bones ache. It was   cold, cold.  It was the kind of cold that when you go in from the cold, you’re still cold.  Your ears hurt.  Your skin is raw.  Your toes and fingers have left your body for somewhere else.  You can’t think.  You can’t talk.  You can’t breathe. 

Now, I grew up in Canada and remember some pretty nasty cold weather as a boy.  In those days we still measured temperature in Fahrenheit degrees and it was often in the teens and twenties below zero,  for days.  People would leave their vehicles idling for hours rather than shut them off and not be able to restart them.  Parking lots at the malls, schools and churches often had electrical plug-ins to keep the engine blocks warm.  One of my dark memories was leaving a ‘66 Volkswagen in the college parking lot during a “cold snap” and trying to start it after several nights of sub-zero temperatures.  You can only imagine the sound that little four cylinder, horizontally opposed, air-cooled engine made when I turned the key!

Here in the Pacific Northwest we had some real challenges this winter.  The east wind that blows through the Columbia River Gorge can reach speeds up to 75 mph at vistas like Crown Point and the snow fall can be measured in feet.   I-84 was closed recently because of snow and freezing rain and some motorists and truckers were stranded for eighteen hours.  Many had little food, water or fuel.  None had bathrooms.  In another incident one young man was stranded in his vehicle and lost for five days.   He survived by eating taco sauce.   

Now, the grip of winter is loosening.  Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend.  The tulips, daffodils and crocus are pushing through the cold, wet soil to announce the new season.  The sun and blue sky are the main topics of conversations.   Dispositions and moods are improving daily.  Before long, people will be complaining about the heat!   

The new season   is a welcome relief for us at Pacific NW Outreach because it means that our ministry to Native Americans can proceed, unhindered by the weather.  Our outreach plans include truckloads of groceries, boots, household supplies, clothing, Bibles and literature being delivered to the Nez Perce, Quinault and Yakama tribes on reservations throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Each truckload is the result of generous people like you who enable this ministry by giving financially and generously.  Diesel fuel is still $2.99 per gallon.  The big engines are thirsty and when you say, “fill-er-up,” it’s expensive.  One hundred and fifty gallons of diesel fuel is a chunk of change!

Our greatest mission is the Great Commission, “…go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”

Matthew 28:19, 20

So, that’s what we’ll do.  We’ll, “go!”  It doesn’t say anything about a balmy 72 degrees, it just says, “go.”  Your gifts help us do exactly that…and for that we are very grateful.  We’re also grateful for polar fleece and goose down!