November Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
Recently I was standing in line at the Gresham Post Office waiting to buy two rolls of stamps. The lady in front of me was friendly and finally asked, “What kind of work do you do?”
“I direct a non-profit.”
“Really, what kind of non-profit?” she inquired.
“Well, we help Native Americans, in spiritual and physical ways,” I responded.
In a few minutes she told me how she and her husband, an artist, had a deep interest in North American Native culture and would like to know more about our ministry. A day later they were in the office and asked how they could help. They offered to give an original painting that he had done and donate the profits to the ministry. Additionally, he said he had hand-carved duck decoys and would donate one as well.
The painting you see (approximately 16”20”) is by Harold J. Trost and features a member of the Hidatsa tribe. This tribe is one of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. They are often considered a parent tribe to the modern Crow in Montana. The Knife River area was home to the Hidatsa and some of the first villages date back to the 13th century.
The duck decoy is a hand-carved Red-Breasted Merganser and is a copy of an antique decoy from the 1920’s.
The painting is still available. We will auction to the highest bidder at the end of the year. If you are interested in either or both, please contact our office and give us your bid. It will make a handsome addition to your collection of Native American artwork.
October Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
In last month’s newsletter I reminded you that, “Christmas is only a few months away!” I know there’s frost on the pumpkins, the days are getting shorter, school is in full-swing and before you know it, the shopping days will be upon us. It’s not too early to look at our Christmas outreach schedule to Native Americans on specific reservations in the Pacific Northwest. This year we have selected the Quinault Reservation, about 75 miles north of Aberdeen, WA, on the Pacific Coast and The Celilo Indian Village, Yakama Reservation on the Columbia River east of The Dalles, OR. Both Reservations are in great need.
A number of years ago, I began asking Natives and Tribal Leaders on various reservations the simple question, “What’s the greatest need you have?” The answer was always the same “Bring us food!” Through the years our drivers have driven thousands of miles and delivered thousands of boxes of food. Thousands of people have been fed because people like you cared enough to donate a dollar to help us do this ministry. It is, in my thinking, a fulfillment of St. Matthew’s Gospel (25:35), when Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me food.” The narrative goes on to say that the righteous questioned Him regarding the time and place that it happened. His reply was distinct. “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
With this directive we will load the big red Peterbilt and head for the reservations. Each load will include pallets of groceries and boots, which interestingly, are the second item asked for the most. I know you can’t eat them, but when you deliver several pallets of water-proof, insulated boots your stock goes way up with Native Americans! They’re so popular that I’ve had phone calls from around the country requesting them!
Now, I have a question for you. “What will Christmas look like for you?”
It will be different for those on reservations. We can make a difference and help in a big way by working together. No one can do everything but everyone can do something.
Let me remind you that your heart of compassion and care for Native Americans and the delivery of food and boots, establishes a relationship that expresses God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. I learned a long time ago that you can’t talk to a person about their heart if their stomach is empty and their kids are sick. When we talk about helping Natives both physically and spiritually, we mean it. Both are necessary.
Here’s how you can help:
- The old-fashioned way. Write a check, put it in the reply envelope and mail it.
- The modern way. Use the secure PayPal link on our website:
- The other modern way. Call the PNWO Office: 503 492 0904 and Charlote or Scott will run your credit or debit card. (Both Charlote and Scott are also secure!)
- The new way. Designate Pacific Northwest Outreach, Inc. as your “Charity of Choice” when using Amazon for ANY shopping: amazon.com
- The best way: PRAY!
So, there you have it. Our Christmas ministry plans are in place and I hope you can be a part of them. Maybe you’re humming along with Johnny Mathis and the tune is “hooked” in your head…perhaps as a reminder! After all, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
September Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
Don’t you hate it when you’re distracted? You get started on a project and the phone rings. Your computer says you have mail. There’s a knock at the door. The microwave alarm goes off and the children flop at the kitchen table and announce they’re bored. Distractions can be a pain. “Oh, look, there’s a squirrel!”
It’s no great revelation to say that distractions are a part of life. Seems that the busier you are, the more distractions come your way. So, you have to manage them and focus on what’s important and what’s not. No easy task, right?
All of us get caught up with the less important things in life and forget about the most important, or what I call the main things. I heard myself say one time, “It’s important to keep the main thing, the main thing!” Easier said than done because the main things often get shoved aside or buried … by too many distractions.
Looking at our ministry and mission focus here at Pacific NW Outreach, Inc., it is so easy to let the distractions clutter our focus and cause us to lose sight of the main thing. Our main thing is helping and serving Native Americans both physically and spiritually. It is telling the Salvation story, helping hurting people and building strong marriages and families. It is feeding, clothing, visiting, caring, going, praying and serving. It’s simple. It’s profound. It’s the main thing.
It takes effort to keep the main thing, the main thing. The distractions are often disguised and steal your time, energy and resource. Like the old woodsman who learned the principle of keeping his axe sharp, there are times when you have to step back, assess what you’re doing, check your blade and work smarter … without too many distractions.
Having said that, we want to take our own medicine and keep the main thing, the main thing. The Quinault, Yakama and Nez Perce Reservations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho are still in great need. We want to continue helping them, as you do. The loads of groceries, clothing, boots, household supplies and Bibles are still vitally important and need to be delivered. And, as I write, I’m reminded that Christmas is only a few months away and once again we’ll deliver toys and gifts to the Natives and their families on these Northwest Reservations. Thanks to you!
Even though Labor Day is behind us, school is again in session, the days are shorter and the weather is changing; let’s not let these distractions keep us from fulfilling our mission. Believe me, I know it takes effort to stay focused, but it’s worth it. It’s the main thing!
August Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
Every so often you look around your home and realize you have some work to do. Things are messy. Nothing is in its right place. You’ve misplaced your keys and you can’t find your wallet. Not only that, but the clothes hamper is over-flowing and there’s an odd smell when you walk past the refrigerator. Know what I mean?
Housekeeping is one of those necessary evils that barge into our lives. Ready or not, it’s time to clean up. So this month’s newsletter is dedicated to several housekeeping chores that need to be done. Come on now, we can work together and it’ll be fun, sort of!
Let’s start with the MAILING LIST. Obviously you’re reading this so you’re already on the list. But, did you know you can receive this newsletter in your email inbox each month? Many have already signed up and they get the newsletter first, saving a 55 cent stamp! Such a deal! All you have to do is take the enclosed reply envelope, fill in your email address and send it to us and we’ll take care of everything else. No hassles! You’ll be on the list and start getting the newsletter on your device.
Some have asked about SECURE AUTOMATIC MONTHLY GIVING. We can do that, too. Just call the office: 503 492 0904 and speak to Scott or Charlote. They will take your credit or debit card information, the amount and day you would like to donate and it will be automatically withdrawn from your account. Additionally, PayPal is available on our website and is another secure way of donating. Either method will be worry and hassle free. And your regular giving will be a tremendous blessing to the Mission. Thank you!
Finally, let me give you a report from the CAR SHOW fundraiser. It was a wonderful event sponsored by Liberty Bible Church and Pastor Larry Rounsley in Vancouver, WA. They selected PNWO to be the charity/mission for this year. People crowded into the parking lot to see the beautiful cars, trucks and motorcycles and into the church lobby for grilled burgers, hot-dogs, cookies and soft drinks. The evening ended with lots of laughter and fun as the raffle prizes were given. Then the church presented us with a very generous check to support the Mission and our efforts to help Native Americans both physically and spiritually.
July Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
“Pow Wow: celebrations of American Indian culture in which people from diverse indigenous nations gather for the purpose of dancing, singing and honoring the traditions of their ancestors. The term Pow Wow, which derives from a curing ritual, originated in one of the Algonquin nations of the Northeast Indians. During the 1800s, travelling medicine shows selling cure-all tonics used, “powwow” to describe their wares. These vendors often employed local Indians to dance for the entertainment of the potential customers, who soon applied the term to the exhibition dancing as well as to the patent medicines. The name took hold and Indians themselves added it to their nomenclature to describe dancing for an audience in an exhibition.” Britannica
Most folks would include “Pow Wow” in their list of words to describe the Native American culture. The beautiful and colorful regalia, intricate dancing, distinctive drumming and unique singing are all a part of what we know as Pow Wow. You might also think of one huge family reunion with great food, camping under the stars and warm summer weather. All-in-all, Pow Wows are great events!
We happen to have one, in our own backyard, at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. If you squint just right you can “see” Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce, just a few years ago, celebrating Pow Wow right here.
Each year we have helped with a Prayer Tent to serve the hundreds of Native Americans who attend. Lucy, our outreach leader faithfully ministers to men and women and children of all ages who stop by for a word of encouragement, a prayer of blessing or just a cold bottle of water! Each one who visits the tent is exposed to God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. We also distribute Buckskin Bibles, which Natives call, “Heaven’s Book.” Makes sense!
In a very real sense every Pow Wow outreach that we do and have done through the years is a fulfillment of our mission and the Great Commission. I believe that “going” to a Pow Wow is the obedience that Jesus asked for when He commissioned us to, “…go into all the world and preach the gospel…” Mark 16:15
Heaven will record the results of these efforts and people will have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life for eternity. (Revelation 21:27)
Truth be told, it’s a culture shock when you leave your own and enter another’s. But is your people-group the only one that Jesus died for? I think not. Therefore, your efforts both financially and prayerfully will pay huge eternal dividends as you partner with us in this ministry. Native Americans, whether attending a Pow Wow or not, are being helped both physically and spiritually because of your efforts. So, this summer look for a Pow Wow in your backyard and go. Love the dancing, the drumming, the regalia, the fry bread and most importantly, the people!
June Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
When I was a teenager I drove with some friends through a snowstorm to attend a car show in Buffalo, New York. I walked into the Armory and couldn’t believe the incredible sight of shining chrome and beautiful paint jobs. The room was filled with hot rods, muscle cars, exotics, trucks and customs. I was hooked!
Now, a lifetime later, I’m writing this newsletter to invite you to yet another car show. This one however, is completely different. Oh, don’t get me wrong it will include lots of shiny chrome and cool cars and trucks, but the reason for the show exceeds the show itself. Let me explain. THIS SHOW is a benefit for THIS MISSION! That’s right the Liberty Bible Church CAR SHOW this year is donating the proceeds of the show to Pacific NW Outreach! We have been selected. What an honor and what a blessing!
We have included all the information for the car show in this newsletter so you can attend. I know, I know, there are people who receive this who live across the country and cannot attend. Unless of course you’re interested in a road trip! But, you’re committed to our mission, helping Native Americans both physically and spiritually and you’d like to participate in the event by sending a gift in remembrance of a special Uncle or relative, or your memory of a black 1940 Ford coupe that your Dad drove when you were a kid. Or, the 1955 Chevy Bel- Air that you had in high school. You know the one with the Stewart Warner tach and Moon equipment, steering wheel?
Because we rely on financial donations to sustain this ministry we are participating in this creative and specific fund raiser. We appreciate the church leadership at Liberty Bible Church in Vancouver, selecting us as recipients and working to make this happen. Join us if you can and bring your family, friends and favorite hot rod. You can even hang the fuzzy dice from your mirror.
May Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The classic lines began the novel, “A Tale of Two Cities.” I couldn’t help but recall the description when I received the news that a Grant had been approved for the Mission. Through the winter, we had experienced a series of difficult challenges that included legal, health and financial implications. Many nights my prayer to God was a simple one word exclamation, “Help!”
It all began with a phone call from a dear friend who asked me if the Mission ever received any Grant money. My stuttering response was, “Ah, you know…well, actually no…we don’t have Grant writers … and, ah, there’s so much paperwork and, ah…it’s ah…well, no we’ve never done it. Why?”
“I know where there’s some Grant money available. It has to be used for capital improvements. Can’t be used for cash flow. Can’t be used for debt. But, anything that’s “hard” is okay. Like, you could use it for a new truck, or computers,” he said. “It’ll take about 30-45 days to get it done.”
“I’ll put it in motion for you, if you want,” he offered. How could I say, “No”?
Before I get to, “the best of times,” let me tell you about the, “worst.” It started life in 1999 in the International truck factory somewhere and made its way into the rental truck substrata where it lived most of its life. When we bought it, used, with about a gazillion miles on it, it was white on the outside and rental truck yellow on the inside. We drove that truck all over the Pacific Northwest for years and then it broke down…again and again. If you’ve ever repaired big, old trucks you know it gets expensive, fast. The last time it broke, the rear brakes and tires caught on fire while sitting at a loading dock. The tow bill to just get it to the garage for repairs was almost $900.00. Sheeesh!
Now, let me introduce you to, “Pete.” This is the newest and shiniest member of the Pacific Northwest family. He’s also the biggest. He was born in 2013 with a 380 horse power diesel engine, a 10 speed transmission, a 26’ enclosed box and 4,000 pound, power lift gate. Pete is not only strong, but best of all, red!
In recent trips to the Quinault Reservation and Celilo Indian Village, I couldn’t help but recall those dark winter nights and my one word prayer vigils. God not only heard my plea, He responded. In fact, He fulfilled His promise, “…exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20
So, enjoy these family pictures from the album. Welcome home, Pete!
April Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
As soon as we passed Hood River, in the Columbia River Gorge, the clouds cleared, the rain stopped and the sun shone brightly on the water. I was thinking of the contrast from the winter months when the weather had been so brutal and had closed the access to the Celilo Indian Village. Now, spring had arrived. I rolled down my window on the Peterbilt and inhaled the fresh clean air. I pulled off the Interstate and headed for the Village.
We had a good group turn out to help unload the truck. One of the Natives climbed inside, stuck out his hand and said, “My name is Jim Bill. But, you can call me, Cootch. That’s my Indian name. My grandfather gave me that name.”
“Nice to meet you, Cootch. Thanks for the help.” I replied.
We worked hard and emptied the truck. Karen and Fred Whitford, descendants of the Chief, were thrilled with the load of groceries, clothes, pet food and household supplies. Karen led the prayer time and said, “My tears are tears of happiness, God. Thank you for blessing my people!”
I came back to thank Cootch for his help and asked him about his name and its meaning because I had never met a Cootch before. It means, “I will greet you in a good way and make sure you have a place to sit,” he said. Again, he told me that his grandfather had named him. I was impressed and asked about the phrase, “…a place to sit…” I knew that sitting was an honor in the Native culture. The Elders sit. You sit in a talking circle. You respect people and abide the obligations of civility and good manners. Having a place to sit is an honor. So, you greet people in a good way and honor them, were the meaning of his name. I was even more impressed. Pretty smart grandfather, right?
As we were leaving I heard a banging on the driver’s door and looked down to see Cootch. He had a banana box full of groceries under one arm and held his other clinched hand up to me. In his hand was a knife. He nodded and said, “For you.”
I took it and said nothing. I was speechless. The knife, a lock-blade hunter, was engraved with a beautiful Bull Elk. It was a gift, from Cootch. I finally stammered, “Thank you, but I can’t…”
“For you,” Cootch, repeated.
I knew to refuse the gift would be an insult.
The knife, pictured here, will always remind me of him. It will remind me to greet people in a good way and honor them with civility and good manners. It will remind me of a smart grandfather who taught many people a life lesson simply by giving his grandson a name with meaning. What a reminder!
Many, if not most, who read this newsletter will never see an Indian Reservation.
You will never know a Cootch. You will not experience what I do. But, you are a part of this ministry and a vital ingredient to enable us to reach and serve the Native American culture with the message of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. So, thank you for your generous support, prayers and love!
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!