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15 CENTS FOR GAS

April 2022 Rick McPherson

I drove a ’55 Chevy in High School.  Purchase price was $325.00   I had saved my money from my part-time job at Otis Bennett’s apple farm in Ancaster.

 For the gearheads among us, it was a 265 c.i., V8, “3 on the tree”, with a Stewart Warner tach on the dash and an oil, water temp and amps gauge panel under the dash.  It was a Bel Air, 2 door hardtop.   It was green and white.

I also had a girlfriend, bought my own clothes and went to the stock car races, every Saturday night.  I could put $2.00 worth of Sunoco gas in my Chevy and drive all week.  Gas was 15 cents a gallon.  I remember actual gas wars when gas stations would compete to see who could sell the cheapest gas.  Those were the days… 15 cents for gas….imagine!

This week I pulled into Costco to buy diesel fuel for the Peterbilt.  The big 12.9 liter Paccar engine gets 9.5 miles per gallon and has two 50 gallon fuel tanks.  The price was $4.57 for diesel…imagine!  I bit my tongue to keep from saying something I would regret later and pulled the lever.  When I reached $200.00, I vowed to run for President and return the world to the sanity I had known when Otis Bennett was in charge.  Sheesh!  A friend called later and told me he had just paid $10.00 a gallon on a recent trip to Death Valley.  Poetic justice, I thought. They had accurately named the place. 

Now as I ponder the supply chain woes, inflation, economics, unemployment, lawlessness, political unrest, wars and rumors of wars, hypocrisy, corruption and fuel costs, (again), my head hurts; not to mention my heart.  And, I think about our mission to help Native Americans.  I also think about you.  My thinking quickly turns to praying and my praying becomes very simple.  Usually one word sums it up, “help!”  Perhaps that one word is the most used in prayer language these days.  Can you think of a better one?

 “I will lift up my eyes to the hills

From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip;

The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade,

The Lord will protect you from all evil;

He will keep your soul.

From this time and forever.”

Psalm 121:1-8

 Notice the four distinct principles that will keep us from harm.

God is…Our Helper, Our Keeper, Our Protector and Our Preserver.

I feel better now that I’ve prayed and been reminded that my help is not Costco, Texaco or Sunoco.  Rather it is this truth, “…greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  I John 4:4

I feel better now that I’ve prayed and been reminded that my help comes from the One who made heaven and earth.

I feel better now that  I’ve prayed and been reminded that my help is not dependent on the media, Big Tech, Wall Street, intellectual elites or politicians.

I feel better now.

*****

Special note…thank you very much for your ongoing financial help for this ministry serving Native American children, youth, parents and adults on Reservations.  Your gifts enable us to provide the truth of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.  God bless you abundantly for your gifts.

 

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IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE

March 2022 Rick McPherson

I admit it.  I’m a big fan of the TV show, “Monk.”  Tony Shalhoub, the gifted actor who portrays the quirky detective, Adrian Monk, has captured our minds and imaginations showing the wonderful idiosyncrasies of the obsessive compulsive disorder that resides in so many of us.  And, having watched way too many episodes, (I admit to some binge watching with Orville Redenbacher’s and Barq’s Root Beer ice-cream floats) I’ve almost memorized Randy Newman’s theme song, “It’s A Jungle Out There.”  With the music dancing in my head, I realize that as a poet and secular prophet, he has captured an extremely accurate commentary of  world events.   “It’s a jungle out there!  Disorder and confusion everywhere.  No one seems to care…It’s a jungle out there.  Violence and danger everywhere.  It’s brother against brother, pounding on each other…it’s a jungle out there.”  Granted the over-all gist of the song is environmental and political, but it still conveys sentiments that affect all of us.  And, the ensuing questions.

Let me remind you of what Jesus told His disciples when they asked him regarding His return and the end times.  He said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars…nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom…there will be famines and earthquakes…many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another…lawlessness is increased…most people’s love will grow cold.”  Matthew 24:4-28.  In other words, get ready and don’t be surprised when these things happen.

In another passage, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.   In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33.   In other words, trouble visits everybody.  The bumper sticker, “SH*T HAPPENS!” rudely interrupts our civility.  But, it doesn’t end here…there’s more…much more!  Gloom, despair and agony have been replaced by, joy, hope and peace.  That’s the truth!  That’s the message!  That’s the bumper sticker! 

The rest of the message is this:  JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD!  Dr. John MacArthur says it this way: “The fundamental ground for endurance in persecution is the victory of Jesus over the world (John 12:31; I Corinthians 15:57).   Through His impending death, He rendered the world’s opposition null and void.  While the world continues to attack His people, such attacks fall harmlessly, for Christ’s victory has already accomplished a smashing defeat of the whole evil rebellious system”. (Romans 8:35-39)  

When Jesus said, “I have overcome the world!”  He said, “I have conquered, defeated, overthrown, reduced, subdued and vanquished evil in this world….and the jungle!”

*****

Your faithful, generous giving to the ministry of Pacific NW Outreach, Inc. is greatly appreciated.  Each gift enables us to help Native American children and adults on Reservations both physically and spiritually.  Thank you very much and may God bless you!

 

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IN LOVING MEMORY

January 2022 Rick McPherson

It seems that old Texas cowboys say important stuff.  “Some friends are for a reason, some for a season and some, for a lifetime!”  When you think about it, you’ll probably agree.  Maybe you’re making a list right now and putting people in their place. 

Just last week, I lost a lifetime friend.  Carl Maier was promoted to Heaven.  He lived this life for 98 years and it was a privilege to call him friend for over fifty.  What a wonderful man he was!  All of us who knew him will miss him dearly.  His wife Lois, who was married to him for over 75 years, his daughters, Shari and Carol, their husbands and children will grieve his passing but rejoice knowing that he is in Heaven with Jesus, his Lord and Savior.  The Scripture says it so succinctly, “We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope.”  Our hope is in the Truth that we will be reunited with our loved ones who have preceded us in death, on that, “great Resurrection morning.”

I met Carl in the spring of 1971, when I was a student from Central Bible College, Springfield, Missouri.  I was invited to Portland, Oregon, as a candidate for the Minister of Youth position at First Assembly of God.  The pastor, Rev. Jim Swanson, picked me up at the airport in a yellow MGB GT (which sealed the deal immediately for me) and drove me to the hotel.  “But first we need to stop and visit a couple in the church who are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary,” he explained.    When we arrived at the Lake Oswego home, the front door was opened and a smiling gentleman said, “Welcome, my name is Carl!”  Friendship, day one!

His business career included real estate.  He was the one who helped my wife and I purchase our first home.   He said at the Title Company when we signed the papers, “Rick, never miss a mortgage payment!  No matter what, never miss a payment!”  The monthly amount was $254.00!  I remember leaving the office and wondering what did I just do?   Heeding Carl’s advice, no mortgage payments have been missed. 

Integrity is the salient word that comes to mind when I think of Carl.  He epitomized it.  He served as a Board Member, Secretary-Treasurer and Administrator in several different churches and most recently as the Chairman of the Board for Pacific NW Outreach, Inc.  He was committed to serving people and particularly Native Americans in the mission that helps them physically and spiritually.  His faithfulness, commitment, humor, tenderness and disposition set high standards for us to follow. 

Now, this life’s work is over and Carl has entered his final rest.  I know that he was welcomed into Heaven with this greeting, “Welcome, Carl!  Well done, good and faithful servant!”  I imagine that he has already rounded up his hunting buddies and is having coffee and visiting around the campfire. 

So, from this lifetime friend of Carl Maier, “Good bye for now…I’ll see you in the morning!”

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MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY…AND BLESSED NEW YEAR!

December 2021 Rick McPherson

From our hearts and home, please accept our Christmas greetings and prayers that your New Year will be happy and blessed!  I’m reminded of Charles Dickens’ opening sentence in his classic, “A Tale of Two Cities”, when he said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  You could argue that he was describing today and the challenges we face.  With rising diesel fuel costs, supply chain delays, staggering inflation and economic uncertainty the future is worrisome. 

In the midst of current events, our Mission, helping Native Americans both physically and spiritually, continues.  Your faithful and generous donations make it possible.  The pictures in this newsletter from previous years are indicators of what will happen this year.  With God’s help, as my mother used to write, “DV”, we will deliver toys, gifts, food boxes, boots, clothes and household items to Reservations…boys and girls, Moms and Dads…Native Americans who will be blessed, indeed!  Thank you for helping us!  By chipping in and doing what you can, financially, we will fuel the truck (yikes!) and deliver the goods!  Who knows, there may be a couple of elves who will ride with me in the big, red, Peterbilt sled.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL…AND GOD BLESS YOU, ABUNDANTLY!

*****

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Merci beaucoup…Muchas gracias…Mahalo…Thank You!

November 2021 Rick McPherson

As a child, growing up in Canada, I was subjected to my second language in High School.  Memorizing vocabulary, conjugating verbs and learning masculine and feminine nouns in the French language overwhelmed me.  My only saving grace was that my teacher was also the hockey coach.  That really helped.  I could score goals easier than translate a sentence.  So, to pretend that I am bi-lingual, is preposterous.  But, I do remember, “merci beaucoup.”

Years later, Charlote and I moved to San Antonio, then Corpus Christi, Texas.  The church population of Hispanics in both locations exceeded fifty percent and the cities were more.  In everyday life, the Spanish language surrounded us.  We embraced it and loved the people, culture and the food!  Tacos, enchiladas, tortillas, burritos and sopapillas became our favorites.  We also learned, “muchas gracias.”

While directing the church school in Texas, a generous couple provided a trip for Charlote to an Educators’ Seminar, sponsored by Youth with A Mission, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.  Because the dates coincided with our tenth wedding anniversary, I got packed in her luggage and delivered to the airport as well.  Together we were introduced to paradise in the Pacific.  Weather, water, scenery, food and people affected our lives like no other experience.  We found ourselves constantly saying, “mahalo.”

Now, I find myself writing to you today with gratitude in my heart for the past year of your support.  I want to say, thank you!  I will say, thank you and mean it sincerely.  Your faithful and generous financial support enables us to do this important ministry, helping Native Americans both spiritually and physically.  We could not do this without people like you!  Period.

It’s no secret; we are living in unprecedented times.  The news bombards us with shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, hyper-inflation, staggering debt, open borders, military threats, pandemics, mandates, vaccinations, education interruptions and on, ad infinitum.  Being flummoxed is understandable.

However…in the midst of it all, we carry on.  We’re thankful that His grace is sufficient.  His love is unconditional.  His mercy is new, every morning.  He is forever, faithful. 

So, to each of you…MERCI BEAUCOUP… MUCHAS GRACIAS…MAHALO….

THANK YOU FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS AND YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

*****

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BUT FIRST… COFFEE!

September 2021 Rick McPherson

The sign hangs right behind the coffeemaker in our kitchen.  My wife hung it there to remind us of the priority. Each morning we abide by its edict.   And, for the most part, we have behaved nicely in our fifty plus years of marriage by being reminded of the early morning credo.  After the caffeine hits, the day seems much more manageable.   I’m not sure if King David had this in mind when he said, “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24 Perhaps he was on his second cup.

Notwithstanding, I’m reminded the days and months are flying.  I was emailed this week for the Christmas Toy Drive!  Wait!  Wasn’t the 4th of July, yesterday?  Christmas? Yikes!  Oh, then I saw a full, shrink-wrapped pallet at a donor’s dock with “Christmas” scribbled across the side, in permanent, black, broad-tipped Sharpie.  Serious!

To catch up, we have been selected, (again), to receive gifts and toys from the local, Les Schwab Tire Centers and TV12 annual Toy Drive.  We’re thankful and honored to participate because it enables us to provide for Native American children on Reservations these gifts at the Christmas season.  Along with groceries, boots, used and new clothes, household items and miscellaneous goodies we deliver the makings for a very Merry Christmas.  I will never forget one Native grandmother who said to me just a few years ago, “Because of these gifts there won’t be no  tears, this year.”  When you work through the double negative, you understand, what she was saying. 

The tradition of gift- giving dates to the beginning of time and certainly the First Christmas.  The Wise Men brought gifts to the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem to express their love and respect.  Indeed the act of giving is foundational to love.  The Apostle John wrote these words to record the Greatest Gift, ever;

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”  3:16

But wait, there’s more…

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”  3:17

The act of giving demonstrates love.  We don’t just talk about it.  We do it.  We do it because we love God and God loves people.  So do we.  The “we” is us.   It’s you and me and all the other people who partner with us in this ministry, helping Native Americans, both physically and spiritually. 

I’m reminded of this truth every time I climb into the Peterbilt and head out for yet another trip to a Reservation with a box of groceries or a pair of boots or a stuffed Teddy-Bear.  We, together, are doing something in God’s name that demonstrates His love, acceptance and forgiveness.   We really are.

Thank you for standing with us and being a faithful team member.   Only Heaven will reveal the final results of what we’re doing together.  Your prayers, your financial help, your compassion and love enable us to do what we do.  

Now, may I pour you another cup?

*****

On a personal note:

CONGRATULATIONS to our team member, Scott Kemery, who was married to Marissa Farnsworth on Sunday, September 19th

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Game Plan

August Newsletter, 2021  Rick McPherson

Since childhood, I’ve been a sports fan.  Growing up in Canada my sport of choice was hockey, but that did not preclude my interests in baseball and football particularly.  I can still recall starting line-ups, statistics and general information for my favorite teams.  Names like Frank Mahovlich, Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr are cataloged in my brain, along with Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz and Willie McCovey.   And who could forget, Roger Staubach, Gale Sayers and Lawrence Taylor?

As the years have passed, I have realized that what intrigued me about these sports was the strategy behind them.  Tactics that were carefully, even meticulously, honed to gain an advantage over the opposition were a vital part of preparation.   Games days were not happen-stance and casual, they were the results of hours of preparation, study and insights.  Strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and habits were all carefully dissected and known, so that the slightest advantage would insure victory.  A well-prepared game plan was the key.

Thinking through this metaphor I realize that the greatest game we will ever play offers our soul as the trophy.  Can we live our lives in a lackadaisical manner?  Can we be casual and unprepared?  Can we under-estimate our opponent?  I think not.

Peter wrote these words to help us with our life, game plan.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.   Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith…”  I Peter 5:8

Another translation says, “…prepare your minds for action.”  One coach I know would say, “Alright, alright, alright!  Get ready, get ready, get ready!”  What he was saying was to focus, pay attention and not get fooled.  In the spiritual realm, pull in all the loose ends of your thinking, and reject the false teachings of the world.  After all, deception is one of the main tactics that the enemy uses against us.  When Peter says, “…be on the alert…” he’s talking about deception.  It’s a terrible thing when we’re deceived; tricked, scammed, hustled.  Don’t let it happen to you. 

Now, let me remind you that we have The Greatest Play Book, ever written.  It contains every play, offense, defense, and strategy that you will ever need for anything that your opponent throws against you.  But you have to read it, study it, memorize it, know it and do it…for it to be of any benefit.  It’s up to you.

As Coach would say, “Alright, alright alright!  Get ready, get ready, get ready!”

*****

In the midst of the ongoing Corona Virus Pandemic, our ministry to Native Americans continues.  Recently, we responded and helped a family on the Yakama Reservation at Celilo Indian Village with much-needed car repairs.  In addition to the groceries, boots, clothes, school back-packs and household items that we frequently deliver to the Reservations in the Pacific Northwest, we’re often able to help with other needs and convey the message of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.  THANK YOU for your ongoing faithful and generous financial support for this important ministry to our Native American brothers and sisters and their children.  GOD BLESS YOU!

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Sharpen the Axe

May Newsletter, 2021  Rick McPherson

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  Honest Abe knew something about cutting down trees and sharp axes! 

Often I stumble on the cable TV shows that feature loggers and their various outdoor skills. I watch with interest as they balance precariously on big wet logs and see who can stay on by feverishly and often futilely running on the slippery bark.  It’s mindless entertainment.  But, there is an important lesson that can be learned as it involves the wood chopping events.   The competitors are fastidious when it comes to the sharpness of their blades.  Sharp as a scalpel would not be an exaggeration.  They want their axes to be like razors.  After all, chopping through a 12” pine log in 14.12 seconds is not for the faint of heart!                   (Stihl Timbersports, 2019 U.S. Championship Results)

It was Dr. Stephen Covey, in his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, who defined this in his chapter, “Sharpen Your Axe”, by having a balanced strategy to renew yourself in the four aspects of life:  Physical, Social, Mental and Spiritual.

  • Physical:  Eat well.  Sleep well.  Exercise well.
  • Social/Emotional:  Have a good social life.  Build meaningful relationships.
  • Mental:  Learn something new.  Read something new.  Write something new.
  • Spiritual:  Worship.  Pray.  Read and meditate on Scripture.  Relax in nature. 

Every day is a brand new opportunity to recharge, renew and refine yourself.  Devote some time into sharpening your axe instead of chopping away with a dull blade.  You can work smarter, instead of harder and longer. 

Solomon, commonly referred to as, the “wisest” man who ever lived, said,

“If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” Ecclesiastes 10:10

So, what have we learned?  We’ve heard from Abraham Lincoln, loggers from the U.S. championship competition, Dr. Stephen Covey and last, but not least, Solomon.  They all say the same thing. You can choose to keep chopping with a dull axe and accomplish less. You can work harder and work longer.

…OR…

Take a break.  Sharpen your axe.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m retrieving my whetstone and sharpening my blade.

*****

Special Note:

In the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, the ministry of Pacific NW Outreach, Inc., helping Native Americans, physically and spiritually, has continued.  We are extremely thankful to God and you, our faithful donors, for the ongoing support, even in these difficult and yes, challenging days, in which we live.  May God bless you for your generosity, compassion and faithfulness.   Only Heaven knows the results of what has been achieved, as we have worked together. 

*****

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Required

April Newsletter, 2021  Rick McPherson

Sitting by a wood fire is a good place to think.   After a late winter snow and ice storm, we had accumulated a sizeable amount of limbs and branches that needed to be burned.  Watching the flames and holding my coffee cup I took advantage of the time to say some prayers and listen.  I wasn’t expecting an immediate response, but I got one.  A verse of Scripture popped in my head and I was captured. 

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:8

So, I asked myself the question, “What does God want from me?”  What in the world can I say or do, that will make a difference?  Anything?  Something?  Actually, yes.  And, it’s contained in this verse.  It’s simple, straightforward and direct. 

ActiveChristianity says this:   “This verse shows what God requires.  Other than this, He doesn’t require anything; it is very simple.  But this verse encompasses a great deal.  His desire is that His children should be like Him, have the same mind, the same thoughts, and the same life, and the same godly sorrow over unrighteousness in our hearts.  The same honesty and straightforwardness, when it concerns both themselves, and when it concerns others.”

With that truth in mind, I reviewed our work with Pacific NW Outreach and asked how we measure up?  Are we doing and saying the same thing?  After all, hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another.  The children of Israel that the prophet was talking to were in fact guilty. Micah was speaking to the fact that spiritual blindness had led them to offer everything except the one thing God wanted…a spiritual commitment of the heart from which right behavior would ensue.

Our ministry is dependent on the simplicity and honesty of just doing the physical and spiritual work that will help the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.  As people say, “It’s not rocket science!”  Helping those who are hungry, thirsty, sick, naked or imprisoned is in fact, a Scriptural mandate.  And, people like you who help us are a big part of fulfilling that ministry. 

Thank you!  Thank you, for your faithful and generous support of this ministry helping Native Americans.  None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something.  God bless you abundantly for what you are doing. 

Now, I think I’ll head back to the fire and see what I can hear. 

*****

 

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BLACK ICE!

February Newsletter, 2021  Rick McPherson

The weather forecast was not good.  Predictions for snowfall ranged from twelve to eighteen inches, depending.  Late Thursday afternoon to early evening was the target time for the frozen white stuff.  But, the call from one of our major donors happened and could we come?  Mr. Murphy had once again come to visit as I recalled all the beautiful days that had occurred and driving through the Columbia River Gorge to Eastern Oregon on any of those days, would not have been a problem.  Still, it was not to be and I fired up the Peterbilt and headed east on Interstate 84, checking the thermometer and time obsessively.    As is my habit before every trip, I prayed and asked for safety and protection.  I also asked for a Guardian Angel, who was well-versed in big trucks and bad weather, to ride with me. 

We do live in a particularly beautiful part of the country.  Situated at the confluence of two great rivers, the Columbia and the Willamette, Portland is affected by the winds and weather that accelerate through the Columbia River Gorge from east to west, bringing treacherous winter conditions with heavy snow accumulations and black ice.   The seventy-five miles of Interstate from Portland to The Dalles can be extremely dangerous and is often closed for days during bad storms.   However, it is the only road unless you want to travel up and over Mt. Hood.  Lewis & Clark had the same choice of poison when they made their way with The Expedition to Fort Clatsop and the Pacific. 

Heading home at mid-day, I thought we had dodged the weather bullet, yet was on full alert and driving with both eyes wide open.  Traffic was light but the snow had started and the road was covered.  I had already slowed down when a State Trooper pulled in front of me and continued driving at 45 mph.  Who was I to pass a cop, running with his four-way flashers on, in a snow storm?  Within a few miles he lit up his emergency lights and pulled to the shoulder to help a stranded motorist in an SUV.  Great for me.  I sped up to 50 mph and continued down the road wondering why the traffic was so light.   Nobody out here but me, I thought. 

In a nano second the back end of the Peterbilt, loaded with ten pallets and 33,000 pounds attempted to trade places with the front bumper and slid out to the driver’s side.  My prayer service began immediately as I called out, “Jesus!  Jesus!  Jesus!”  I lifted off the throttle, didn’t touch the brakes and steered into the slide.  The weight in motion continued to push the truck sideways.  Then, the technique took over and the truck came back to center and then past center to the passenger side with the same determination to swap ends with the front bumper. My prayer vocabulary changed to, “Dear Lord!  Dear Lord!  Dear Lord!”  I stopped counting at five pendulum swings before the truck centered and the black ice was behind me.  In my peripheral vision I had noticed the no-posts in the center median, the guard rail on the river side and the Ainsworth State Park sign.  I was determined that I was not going to put the truck anywhere near any median, river or sign.  Now, I know it wasn’t just driving skill that saved me.  A life-time of driving in winter snow and black ice does not overshadow the power of prayer and the protection that comes when we call on the Name of the Lord!

People often say to me, “we’re praying for you, Rick!”  And I appreciate those prayers.  I really do.  This recent event illustrates the results of those prayers.  You see, in an event that lasted for several dramatic minutes, in a snow storm, on black ice, somewhere near Corbett, Oregon, westbound on Interstate 84 on a Thursday afternoon in February, this guy with a load of supplies for Native Americans, was spared. 

And, I’m thankful for that big Guardian Angel, too!

*****