May Newsletter, 2013, Rick McPherson
I promised last month, that I would like Paul Harvey, tell you the rest of the story. It’s the story of Brenntag Pacific, new trailers and Rick Phillips.
If you’ve ever wondered about that verse in the Bible, “the steps of a good man are ordered of God,” perhaps this story will help. Because in this life of faith and service you never know how God, “ will work all things together for good.”
I was returning from a radio broadcast in Kalama and was checking my voice messages and returned a call to Brenntag Pacific. Kevin answered and said,
“Oh, you need to talk to my boss.”
My heart sank, thinking something had gone wrong and the deal was off.
“Yes, it is,” I said.
“Have you ever been involved with Portland Christian Center?” he asked.
“Well, yes, but in those days it was called, First Assembly of God. My wife, Char, and I were Youth Pastors there for five years, back in the 70s,” I said.
“It’s a small world. My brother and I were in your youth group. My dad drove the bus and our family attended the church. This is Rick Phillips,” he said.
He went on to say that he had heard the Pacific NW Outreach radio program on KPDQ the previous week and wondered if I was the same guy. Then, when he saw the paper work from our office with my name on it, he had to find out. Coincidence? Random? I think not.
Rick told me that after our youth group days, he went into business and had been with Brenntag Pacific in Los Angeles and then transferred back home to the Pacific Northwest.
“I love God and serve Him. It is so great to know that our company has been able to give this equipment to your ministry to help you. And, I’ll look forward to the future and helping again,” he said.
Amazing how a teenage boy and a goofy Youth Pastor from many years ago could be reunited and connected in a ministry helping Native Americans, physically and spiritually, after all these years. Amazing how a teenage boy pursued a career in business and became an executive with a large industrial chemical company and was instrumental in giving a substantial gift to help this ministry. Amazing how God timed our lives. Amazing how God directed our lives. Amazing how God provided for our lives. Amazing, just amazing.
Now, you know the rest of the story.
April, 2013 Newsletter, Rick McPherson
A couple of months ago, I wrote a newsletter entitled, “Kablooey!” It was the story of the exploding engine on our old diesel truck. Since then the Lord has provided a beautiful new (used) truck which is now licensed, insured, pin-striped and it has the PNWO logo displayed on the doors. Last month’s newsletter had a picture of the new truck. I have to tell you that it fits nicely into the “above and beyond what you could ask or think” verses in the Bible. Come to think of it, it also fits into, “all things work together for good.” I admit, I was smiling and whistling a happy tune.
And then the phone rang. Kevin, a friend that works for a large international chemical company in Portland, Brenntag Pacific, was on the line.
“Rick, do you remember the two trailers that we talked about last year?” he asked.
“Sure do. The reefer and the shorty, right?” I answered.
I hung up the phone and sat for a moment in stunned silence. Donated? A year ago? A reefer? A shorty?
“Dear God, thank you!” I whispered.
For the techno, gear-head people among us, here’s what was given to our ministry:
1994 Utility, 48’ refrigerated trailer
1992 Fruehauf, 30’ dry van trailer
Both of them are in excellent condition, have been maintained to high standards and are rolling on new tires. What a gift! What a blessing!
And, I can’t wait to tell you the rest of the story…next month!
March newsletter, 2013, Rick McPherson
On the other side of this page is a picture of our new truck. It is a 2005 Freightliner day cab that is immaculate. Some of the features that we lacked on the old truck are included on this one including: Detroit 12.7 liter, 455 HP diesel with Jake brake, cruise control , A/C and a 10 speed Eaton-Fuller transmission. It also came with aluminum wheels which is a bonus. As I look at the picture, I’m reminded of God’s goodness and provision. With the new truck we will be able to return to some of the reservations that are east of the Rocky Mountains and were inaccessible in the old truck. That means we will be at Crow Fair, Montana with Ken Pretty-On-Top in August and will once again be able to drive to the Pine Ridge and Rose Bud reservations in South Dakota.
Since our old truck blew up about a month ago, we have had people who responded with extra giving to help us purchase the new truck. It has been very encouraging as we’ve read the notes and emails and heard you say,
“Keep up the good work! We believe in you. Here’s a little extra money to help with the new truck.” So, let me say, “thank you, very much. Your giving has helped us greatly!”
There’s something about big trucks that interests people. They want to climb up inside. They want to ride in it. They want to sit behind the wheel. They want to drive it! I often ask people when I’m speaking if they want to ride with me in the truck and go to the reservation. Most say, “yes!” And, I wish there was a way that I could take everyone with me.
Think of it this way. The truck is a tool that will allow us to do the ministry that God has called us to do. You have helped put that tool in our hand. Now, let’s pray for the results that will occur in the lives of Native Americans because the message of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness is being delivered in a new white Freightliner. Maybe the Lord is saying, “10-4 good buddy!”
February Newsletter, 2013, Rick McPherson
Just a few months ago the phone rang and it was Eric, from Boise.
“You don’t know me,” he began, “but I looked you up on the Internet and checked out your website. It’s very cool.”
“Is there a possibility that I could bring a youth group over and hook up with you for a ministry trip to the reservation?” he continued.
“Well, sure,” I said, “that’s the kind of thing we do, regularly. Let’s talk.”
So the talking became planning and the planning became scheduling and before you knew it, Eric McCray and eleven youth from the Vineyard Fellowship, Boise, Idaho were in our parking lot on aThursday morning to sort and pack grocery boxes, load fresh tomatoes and produce, pack bed linens, pillows, comforters, blankets and dig through several pallets of pet food and supplies. After loading the truck with fork-lifts and pallet jacks they were through for the day and on to another ministry helping homeless people here in Portland. The next morning they were back to meet me, bright and early for a convoy trip to the Yakama Reservation at Celilo (Falls), Oregon. I arrived extra early to make sure everything was ready to go, er, start. The old Ford cube van with the power lift gate was dead at the switch. After an hour with jumper cables and glad-hands from the rented Penske Freightliner to fill up the air tank, the starter did its thing and we were off. Well, sort of off, we had to stop and buy diesel fuel. Then, we were really off.
Several hours later we arrived at the Rez. It was the first day of Sturgeon fishing on the Columbia River so the place was empty. A few folks peeked out past the blinds to see some white people and white trucks. We drove to the end of the road where our friends, Karen and Fred Whitford live. They greeted us warmly and were thrilled with the supplies that we had brought.
“Let’s unload,” they said, “right here in the carport.”
For the next hour we visited with the Whitfords and had special prayer for their family and especially the grandchildren. Karen reminded us that her Father had been the Chief of the Tribe and people still look to her and her husband for help and supplies. We asked if we could take family food boxes to each house but she reminded us that the people would not answer the door because we were white and that she and Fred would go with us. With Karen in her wheel-chair and Fred driving his Ford Ranger, loaded with food boxes, we were off, again. Family after family opened the front door and gladly accepted the gifts of food and love.
As we passed Bobby’s place, just back from the river and now spreading his nets to dry, we stopped to talk and take pictures. We asked if we could go into the Long House and have a tour. Within minutes we were inside with Karen and Bobby as our guides and narrators. For an hour they talked to us and told us of their history and culture. They spoke of the salmon, deer, roots, huckleberries, and horses, burned-out canoes from the Northern Cascade Cedars, respect, elders, traditions, pow-wows, regalia, fishing, hunting, reservation life, government, ethnicity, money, weather and on. It was a seminar. It was a curriculum. It was an education. It was the Long House at Celilo.
As we said our good-byes and had a final prayer for the people in the village we realized that something special had happened. Because we had respected and honored the people they had done the same to us. They had included us in their most special and honored place. They had opened up to share their lives with us.
The gang from Boise headed home the next day. What remains now are the pictures and the memories of real people who shared with us the reality of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. Now, when you pass the Celilo Indian Village on Interstate 84 say a prayer for Karen, Fred and Bobby and our friends in the Long House. You may even want to stop in for a piece of Salmon or fresh Sturgeon.