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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. 

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Navajo Outreach

June Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

Because a picture is worth a thousand words, this newsletter will keep you reading for awhile!

You are looking at the outreach trip to the NAVAJO RESERVATION, CROWN POINT, NEW MEXICO.  It was a wonderful ministry in partnership with Pleasant Bay Church, Pastor Dan Neary and Patrick Forbes.  And thanks to Wayne Campbell;  truck driver, photographer and banjo player. Enjoy.

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Good Night, Darrell

May Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

It was a large group of friends and family that gathered on a Saturday morning in April at the old Prairie Church in Vancouver, to remember and honor the life and ministry of Darrell Kennedy.  Tears and laughter blended together.  The classic hymns were sung.  Prayers and sermons were given.  Memories were shared.  It was a meaningful and significant time as we all recalled the blessings of knowing Darrell.   He impacted so many people from so many walks of life. 

The service featured several videos showing Darrell leading worship and singing.  One included him playing the piano and singing the beautiful, “I Want to See Jesus.”  Now, the words of that song have become a reality. 

Darrell had a wonderful history in Gospel music.  He travelled for years with The Challengers and many people recall him and the quartet sharing the stage with groups like; The Blackwood Brothers, The Happy Goodmans, The Spear Family and The Oak Ridge Boys. 

Darrell was the General Manager for radio station, KPDQ in Portland and hosted the popular, “Gospel Sing” on Saturday nights.  His rich baritone voice was his trademark and in the industry was envied for those golden, “pipes.”    After many years in radio ministry, Darrell joined the Frontier Missions team and served as the President and CEO for over ten years before his retirement in 2008.   During those years, “helping Native Americans, both physically and spiritually,” Darrell organized and directed multiple outreach trips and “crusades,” to the Reservations across the country. 

A major part of Darrell’s legacy is his wife Naomi,  their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.   I clearly recall a conversation with Darrell when he said that all of his family  were serving the Lord!  What a heritage!

During the memorial service, I couldn’t help but recall my personal story with Darrell.  Although I didn’t know him long, he impacted my life greatly.  In fact, God used Darrell in a very special  way.  If it wasn’t for Darrell, I wouldn’t be doing the work that I’m doing now.  You see, he called me one day when I was selling Corvettes and  Muscle Cars,  for  The Chevy Store in Portland and asked me if I would be available to speak at a couple of camps that the Mission was doing for the Nez Perce Reservation.     I had left the pastorate after a 35 year ministerial career and was seeking the Lord for “the next step.”  Darrell invited me.                  I said, “Yes.”  The next thing I knew, I was preaching under a tent in Idaho and the temperature was 107*.    When I look back,  I see how  God’s hand directed  both Darrell and me.   It was a wonderful friendship.

Now, Darrell’s work is done.  He has been promoted to his eternal home.  The Bible says, “… absent from the body, present with the Lord…”  And even though we will miss Darrell a lot, we are promised, “…  a hope that lies within us…”  There is coming a great Resurrection morning when we will be united with the Lord and reunited with loved ones who have gone before us.  So, until that time…        “Good night, Darrell, see you in the morning!”

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Did You Know?

April Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

Not long ago, I used some of the following statistics in a talk.  I had read them and was startled, even shocked, because of the numbers.  Most of us never dream that there is a culture in our country that deals with such things.  But there is.

Did you know that Native Americans have the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the United States?  The poverty rate is 25 percent.  Native people living in Indian country have incomes that are less than half of the general U.S. population. 

Did you know that only 36 percent of males in high-poverty Native American communities have full-time, year-round employment?

Did you know that nearly 10 percent of all Native American families are homeless?  The rate of Native homes without electricity is 10 times the national average and 20 percent of Native homes have no running water. 

Did you know that the infant mortality rate among Native people is about 300 percent higher than the national average?

Did you know that the poorest county in the United States is the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota?  The unemployment rate there is a mind-boggling 80 percent.  Life expectancy on this reservation is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere, except for Haiti.

Did you know that the rates of violent victimization for both men and women are higher among Native Americans than for any other race?

Did you know that from 1999 to 2004, Native males in the 15 to 24 year old age group had the highest suicide rate compared to males of any other racial group?

It’s true when we read these facts that we can feel overwhelmed.  Perhaps we can even say, “What’s the use?  It’s hopeless.”

But before we despair, let me remind you that we as Christ followers are called to be two specific things…salt and light.  These two metaphors give us a practical application of how we are to live in the midst of a decaying and dark world.  You see it doesn’t take much salt to affect the flavor of the whole meal and it doesn’t take much light to drive the darkness from the room.  Jesus said:

“…that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Mt.5:13

I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the little boy who was walking on the beach one day and found thousands of Starfish that had been washed up on the shore by the tide and stranded to die in the sun.  One by one, he began to pick them up and throw them back in the ocean.  A fellow beach-comber asked him what he was doing and he said, “I’m throwing these Starfish back in the water so they won’t die.”

“Well, there are thousands of them on the sand; you’ll never be able to throw them all back in the water.  What difference does it make any way?”  the stranger asked.

“It’ll make a big difference to the ones that I’m throwing back in the water!” said the boy. 

So it is with our work at Pacific NW Outreach.  We are following the directives of God’s Word to be salt and light…doing the best we can to glorify God.  And, we’re tossing as many Starfish as we can, back in the ocean.

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That’s A Lot Of Groceries

March Newsletter, 2014  Rick McPherson

Every time we take a trip, deliver groceries, do an outreach, preach a sermon or give a speech, we record it in our Ministry Log at Pacific NW Outreach.  By the end of the year our three ring note book is bulging.  I then take each report and tally the results for our Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting.  I admit there are a lot of statistics, but when you see the results I think you’ll agree that 2013 was a very busy and productive year of ministry, helping Native Americans. 

For example, we distributed over 16,800 family food boxes.  A family food box is a cardboard banana box that you’ve seen many times at the grocery store.  Did you ever wonder what they do with the boxes when the bananas are gone?  Well, we get as many as we can and use them to pack groceries for needy families.  Did you know that you can pack enough groceries in a banana box to feed two people for a week?  So, double the number of boxes and you see that we helped feed over 33,600 people last year.  That’s a lot of groceries!  And it includes other necessities, like boots, clothes, household supplies and anything else that we can fit on the truck for delivery to the reservations. 

To put this in perspective, let’s talk about value.  Specifically, let’s talk dollars.  How much money are we talking about?  If you value a food box at just $25.00, (and that’s a conservative number if you’ve been grocery shopping recently) you get, $420,000.00, and if you double that value to $50.00 a box you get, $840.000.00.  As I said, that’s a lot of groceries!  And remember, everything was given free of charge. 

Additionally we had over 265 people involved in our outreaches, travelled over 13,000 miles and attended or spoke at, an even dozen Pow Wows, churches and civic groups. 

But, I’ve saved the best for last.  You know that our mission statement is to help Native Americans, physically and spiritually.  We look for every opportunity with our ministry partners to tell the story of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. 

And when I get reports like this I just have to share them with you:

“We have seen close to 100 professions of faith and about 20 baptized this past year.  It is a blessing to have you as a vital part of our ministry.  May the Lord bless your work.”

That report comes from a local pastor who receives surplus bread from our ministry after we have served local Native Americans groups in the greater Portland/Vancouver area. 

Again, we give God the glory for His blessing and favor.  This is His work and we are privileged to be a part.  From the Quinault reservation in western Washington State, to the Crow Nation in Crow Agency, Montana we have crisscrossed the country and because of people like you who have prayed for us and supported us financially we have made a difference.  Thank you. 

So the next time you’re in the store, pay close attention to those banana boxes.  Think of 16,800 of them stacked up and filled with groceries.   You’re right, that’s a lot of groceries! 

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Two Coffee Mugs

January Newsletter, 2014 Rick McPherson

When I saw the new bike and wagon I couldn’t wait to load the truck and get them delivered to the Reservation before Christmas.  This year we were one of the charitable non-profits selected by Les Schwab Tire Centers and KGW TV 12 to receive toys and gifts for children.   I knew that I had just enough time to make one last trip before the Holiday.  With half the truck loaded with groceries and household supplies we packed all the toys and filled every space with action figures, puzzles, games, dolls and of course the bike and wagon. 

When I exited the Interstate past The Dalles, Oregon,  I made the turn back to the Celilo Indian Village on the Columbia River.  The Yakama Tribe have lived on these banks for generations and fished for Sturgeon and Salmon.  But on this particular afternoon the streets of the little village were empty and the Gorge wind was biting and cold. 

Karen and Fred Whitford,  our friends and contacts on the Reservation greeted me and were more than excited with the full truck load.  Several times as we emptied the truck, Karen came over and put her head on my shoulder.  She didn’t say a word but her gesture spoke volumes. 

Several days before, Lana, one of the ladies from the village had stopped by our office in Gresham and visited with us.  When she saw the truck she came over to help with the work and soon the groceries, household supplies of blankets, pillows, comforters and towels were safely off the truck and stacked neatly  in the carport.  The toys were handled like gold.  They were taken in the house to be sorted and then distributed to the children on the reservation. 

I asked Lana about her  Christmas plans.  She explained to me that her family was gone and no one was planning to be with her.  She hoped her  grandson would stay but was not sure that he would.  She went on to say that one of the family had been murdered and her relatives were scattered.  In a brief moment of time I was reminded again of the violence,  family abuse and hopelessness that characterize reservation life. 

I spoke to Lana of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.  She told me that she was a Believer and Christ was in her heart.  I encouraged her to take groceries, supplies and toys for her grandson and family and reminded her that I would be praying for her. 

As I dropped the big Detroit diesel into gear and headed down the street for the highway, Lana came down her driveway and stopped me .  She had two coffee mugs, one for Charlote, my wife,  and one for me.  On the mugs are pictures of the original Celilo Falls with Natives,  precariously perched on boards and logs by the rapids, fishing.  I held more than two coffee mugs in my hands, I held her heart. 

*********************

Now the New Year has arrived and we are fully engaged with our mission, helping Native Americans both physically and spiritually.  There are so many “Lanas…so many Karens…so many Freds”  who need our help.

Will you help us by praying for us?  Will you help us financially?

Your gifts make all the difference in the world.  Thank you and God bless you!