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Boots on the Ground

February Newsletter, 2015  Rick McPherson

I was in the Produce department at Costco when my phone rang.  It was Chuck Coble from the Quinault Reservation.

“Hey Rick do you have any boots?” he asked.

“Chuck, I’ve got nothing for you.  The shelves are bare.  But as soon as I get some, you’re number one on my list,” I said. 

The Quinault Reservation is on the Pacific Coast, north of Aberdeen, a sleepy little fishing village in Washington State.  It’s in the Olympic Rain Forest where they measure the annual rainfall in feet, not inches.  For generations the area has relied on fishing and timber to sustain itself but the recent downturns in economy have resulted in poverty and hardship.  When you add the reality of illegal aliens and drug trafficking the outlook is bleak. 

In the middle of it all is the Church at Quinault where Gary and Carmen West have served as pastors for over 40 years.  And preceding the Wests were the Gilberts who also totaled 40 years.  John Gilbert is often seen operating the fork-lift when we unload our trucks and trailers.  Imagine over 80 years of ministry with two faithful pastors and their wives.  I had the privilege of speaking at the church not long ago and it’s impressive to see 125-150 people gather on Sunday mornings for Bible classes, singing praise and worship songs and the preaching of God’s Word. 

Now, they’re asking for boots.  Not groceries, boots.  A pair of insulated, water-proof boots are cherished on the Reservation.  And although you can’t eat them I wonder if they wouldn’t choose them everytime over the food.  Especially when they’re free!  Who gives away free boots?  We do.  In fact everything we take to the Reservation is free.  The groceries, the household supplies, linens, pillows, blankets, hats, gloves, winter jackets…it’s all free.  We never take an offering or require payment from the Native Americans.   So, if a Native is hungry, we feed him.  If he’s cold, we clothe him.  If he needs boots, we get them.

I made my calls to get the boots and prayed and waited.

Then the call came, “Hey Rick, got some boots for you, come and get ‘em.”

We loaded the truck and headed for the Rez.  When you fill up the pantry with groceries, household supplies, bottled water and the prized boots it brings great joy.   Heaven only knows how many Native Americans have been helped by the free gifts and ministry supplied through the Church at Quinault.  And because of people like you who help us do this work. 

We all know there’s no such thing as a “free lunch.”  It costs money to do ministry.  It always has.  Although we talk about “free”, money comes from somewhere to make it free.  Today, I’m asking you for your financial help. 

Will you take a moment and use the enclosed envelope to send your financial gift today?  Anything you give whether small or great will be appreciated.  You can be a part of this ministry as we continue to put boots on the ground. 

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Just A Pile of Ashes

January Newsletter, 2015  Rick McPherson

“It burned down last weekend,” Babe said.

“Some people from the reservation broke in to the trailer and to keep warm they built a fire and it burned to the ground,” she continued. 

It wasn’t what I was expecting to see or hear, but it was true and only a few days before Christmas.  We would do the best that we could with a bad situation.  The boots, groceries, hats, gloves and household supplies were unloaded and trucked away to a storage shed.  The gifts, toys and candy were cherished.  The trailer that had been ear-marked to store the load was now just a pile of ashes.   It was a reminder, again, that life on the rez is hard.  Sometimes, it’s unbearable. 

Included in this newsletter are the photos of three of the four different Christmas trips this year.  We set a lofty goal to serve four reservations and we succeeded.  The Nez Perce in Idaho, the Quinault in Washington and the Yakama at White Swan and Celilo Falls all received trucks and trailers loaded with groceries, gifts, toys, boots and clothes.   Each outreach trip was made possible by people like you who help us with prayer and money to do this ministry.  Thank you for your compassion and generous heart. 

Now, a brand new year lies ahead.  It will be filled with good and bad, laughter and tears, victories and defeats, mountain tops and valleys.  It will be life!  And, it will be ministry to Native Americans, both physically and spiritually.    We will do our best and God will help us.  At the end of 2015 there will be new names in Heaven’s Book because of our efforts.  And, just like the Angels, who rejoice when one person repents and is saved, we do too! 

As you consider your plans for this year, would you pray about helping this ministry on a monthly basis with a financial gift?    Your help will make a difference and give hope, when life seems hard and unbearable. 

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December Newsletter, 2014

December Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

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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. 

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

October Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

I know that it’s October but I can’t get this tune out of my head.  You can sing it, hum it or whistle it if you like, but there’s no doubt, it’s a classic.  Written in 1951 by Meredith Wilson while staying at the Yarmouth, Grand Hotel in Nova Scotia it was recorded by Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters with the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra.  Even Bing Crosby got in on the act and he too, made it famous. 

But here at Pacific NW Outreach, our holiday season starts early.  In order to get our Christmas loads of groceries, boots, jackets, gifts and toys to the Reservations, we have to start now.   In fact, I’ve been talking about it on our radio broadcasts for the past month.   It’s not too early to get started. 

This year we’ve been selected (again) as one of the charitable, non-profits to receive toys from the KPTV 12 – LES SCHWAB toy drive.  We are very thankful for the help and the honor of being chosen.  However, we are planning to serve four Reservations, including; Quinault, Yakama, (White Swan & Celilo Falls) and the Nez Perce.  We will distribute a lot of toys, gifts and groceries to these locations and that’s where you come in.

You can help us.  You can make this Christmas memorable, not only for yourself, but also for Native Americans who will be blessed by your gift.  The toy may be an action hero or pretty doll.  The gift may be a knit hat or insulated gloves.  The box may be filled with groceries or personal hygiene supplies.  The container may hold a foam pillow or warm blanket.  Whatever it is…it will be valued. 

We’re reaching out to all of our friends now and asking for your special financial gift to make this Christmas wonderful for our Native American brothers and sisters.  Every child and family that we bless this Christmas will know that there is a God in Heaven, Who loves them, accepts them and forgives them.  What a message.  And, you can be a part of this ministry. 

Will you take a moment and ask the Lord what you can do?   Your gift of $10.00 to $100.00 will make a big difference.   It takes money to buy diesel fuel for the trucks, do maintenance to keep the big rigs running, buy insurance and pay the bill to go down the road and reach the remote Reservations.  But the result of making the delivery and seeing the joy that comes from groceries, household supplies, warm hats and jackets, boots and blankets is priceless.  Will you join us and help with this ministry?

Some of you may want to do a special project with your family, or church, or small group and collect toys and gifts and coordinate with us for delivery to the Reservation.  That would be great.  We’d love to have your help in this way.  Others may want to do some extra shopping and buy a sweatshirt or jacket or socks and drop them to our store and have us deliver them.  That’s a great idea, too.

However the Lord leads you, please be attentive and get involved.  None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something.  Together with our love and gifts we can make a difference in the lives of Native Americans who need our help, particularly at Christmas.   And while you’re making your plans, maybe you could pull up this classic Christmas song on Pandora or Sirius radio and sing along… or, just whistle! 

*****

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Eldon Called This Morning

September Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

Eldon has been a friend of the mission for a long time.  Through the years he has donated various things to us and has always been friendly and helpful.  I remember a few years ago picking up a refrigerator and being impressed with his neat and orderly garage and home.  Not only was everything organized, it was also labeled.  He was my kind of guy!

Well, the phone rang a few weeks ago and it was Eldon.  He was selling his home and moving into an assisted-living residence for seniors.  He said he didn’t think he was quite old enough to qualify because he just had his 90th birthday.  But, the reason he called was to ask if we would like to have the contents of his home.  He wanted to give everything to the mission. 

I must admit it’s not every day that someone gives a whole houseful of stuff.  Eldon wanted us to have it all.  He donated furniture, appliances, silverware, china, tools, clothing, linens, computers, tools and books.  He even included a varsity, letterman’s jacket.  You know the kind with the leather sleeves and Melton wool body?  “Jerry” was embroidered on the right chest. 

It took a whole team of people and three trucks to pack and load his gift to this ministry.  What a gift!  What a blessing!  What a day!

Driving home I prayed for Eldon.   I was thanking the Lord for Eldon’s generosity and thoughtfulness when I was reminded of this verse in Proverbs.  It was Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, who said, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer…” (11:24) What a truth!  Eldon is richer than ever.  And his riches have an eternal value.  The “things” that he gave are temporal.  The “souls” that we will reach are eternal.     He transferred this world’s value for that which will last forever.  I can’t think of anything more valuable.

You may not have a houseful to donate to this ministry.   But if you do, I know a team of people with trucks that can help!    What you do have is an opportunity to help us, as we help Native Americans on reservations throughout the eleven western states.  You know the conditions are dreadful.  The needs are great.  Poverty is overwhelming.  Addictions are rampant.  Suicides are sky-rocketing.  Hopelessness is epidemic. 

The message we deliver is God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.  It’s delivered in a variety of ways.  Sometimes it’s a load of groceries and supplies.  Sometimes it’s a pair of water-proof, leather boots.  Sometimes it’s a Christmas gift or toy.  Sometimes it’s a winter jacket or warm wool blanket.  Sometimes it’s a kind word.

Sometimes it’s a simple message spoken in a city park or while sitting on the tail-gate of a pickup truck. 

You can help us deliver the message.    Your gift of $10.00 or $100.00 will make a big difference.     Whatever the amount, you can rest assured that you will transfer what is temporary into that which is eternal.  What an investment!

In the meantime some lucky soul will be slipping that letterman’s jacket on with “Jerry” embroidered on the chest.

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She Put Her Apron Over Her Head

August Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

Just last week I read a great article from Dr. Charles Stanley’s, “From The Pastor’s Heart.”  It impacted me because he was writing about stress and the negative, hurtful results that occur in our lives because of it.    Let me share briefly some of his main points. 

Stress is the unavoidable consequence of living in a fallen, sinful world and because of that fact we can never fully escape it.   But, we can learn to cope.  Without the coping skills, stress can debilitate us.  In Dr. Stanley’s case it debilitated him and caused him to take an extended hiatus from preaching and ministry.  In those times, the Lord taught him these valuable lessons. 

First, he learned that the solution for stress is solitude with Him.  It means being with Him.  This is not Bible study or prayer request time.  This is when we separate ourselves and connect with Him.  This takes time and time alone with God teaches us to view our problems from His perspective and find joy in His presence.  You will note that Jesus did this exact thing…many times.  He left the disciples and the multitudes and went to the beach or the mountains or the desert and was alone with His Father.  Paul the Apostle did it, too.  After his conversion he headed off to Arabia, a wilderness desert. 

Secondly, he learned to find a place free of interruptions and diversions.  I’m convinced that the Enemy uses distractions very effectively against us.  And life is filled with distractions!  The funny story is told of Susanna Wesley, who had 19 children, including John and Charles Wesley.  When she wanted to be alone with God, she put her apron over her head!   All the children knew she was not available at those times.

Thirdly, he learned that God wants to spend time alone with us.  This is an incredible truth.  He created us in His image and desires a relationship with us for all eternity.  No other creature has been given this privilege.   You’ve heard it said, that love is spelled, “T.I.M.E.”  We want to spend time with those we love.  And those who love us want to spend time with us.   Time is the most precious commodity that we have, because we can only spend it once.  So, spend it wisely. 

You will discover that your investment of time in His presence will pay great benefits and your worries, anxiety and stress will fade away. 

Finally, he learned that time with God prepares us for the day.    So, how does your day start?  Why not make it a priority to start your day with a verse of Scripture and prayer?   By doing so, your mind and heart will be God-sensitive and you will be able to hear His voice guiding you, encouraging you and instructing you. 

Always remember these fabulous words from Jesus, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”   St. Matthew 11:28-30

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A Bag of Twizzlers

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.