John and I have been on the road now for almost three years—hard to believe. We’ve had so many wonderful adventures, but some of the best of them have been experienced while working with religious service organizations, such as #SOWERS, #NOMADS, #RVICS (Roving Volunteers in Christ’s Services), and Campers on Mission (Florida-based). There are other groups out there as well. If you belong to one of them, leave a comment so we can learn more about your organization.
These groups are all coordinated differently, but they share a common purpose—to help religiously-affiliated organizations serve. Service for us (as SOWERS or NOMADS, etc.) comes in many forms, but they all usually involve our hands—working for the Lord via a little elbow grease and occasionally some brain power.
We provide help that would otherwise cost these organizations money. Instead of hiring electricians, someone in our group offers his services. We do a bit of everything—from cleaning toilets, to hanging drywall,
to building fences. If it’s needed—and it’s not life-threatening—we’ll do it.
Requirements? We must own an RV that we can live in. We agree to work four days out of each week, three weeks at each project (a very few have different timetables but that is posted online and in a printout we receive). After the project is over, we can stay an additional week for free. The host provides us with full hookups, usually great scenery, and fellowship.
In some groups, such as SOWERS, the women are asked to work 3 hours a day; the men work 6. Nothing is rigid, however. If a job needs to get done, everyone will chip in and work to see the task accomplished. For instance, at a recent SOWER project, Phoenix Christian Preparatory School, our group of five women were making 74 curtain panels for an upcoming school auction. In our last week of curtain-making, we were coming down to the wire and weren’t finished. All the women volunteered to continue working into the afternoon to get the curtains made. And they were—beautifully.
For some, that might sound like a rotten volunteer experience, but it’s quite the opposite. Having the opportunity to serve gives our lives meaning. We aren’t just sightseeing around the country. We’re sightseeing around the country in between helping others. We’re not just sucking up someone else’s oxygen, we’re making people’s lives better. The money the organizations save can now be used for their ministry. More buildings can be built. More children can attend summer camp and hear about God…and swim in the lake, and meet new friends, and get away from a hostile home environment.
I can honestly say that volunteering has enriched my life beyond anything I ever imagined. I’ve met students from Uganda who were so thrilled to be in our country and just wanted us to talk to them about things we take for granted—the ability to travel freely, get an education, and have unlimited possibilities in front of us. I’ve watched young men who struggled to give up drugs and escape bad backgrounds gather together to help renovate a home at one of our Sower projects. At night, despite being dog tired, they serenaded us in the dining hall—songs that spoke of God’s love for us.
I’ve shared our paddleboat with young teenagers who were fishing for the first time. I got to explain Jesus to a small girl who had never heard his name before. The list of blessings goes on.
Each project brings new challenges, new people, new opportunities to grow spiritually and physically. And as senior citizens, an added advantage is that our brains are constantly challenged to learn new skills and find solutions to problems.
And then there’s the fellowship with other like-minded people. I want to talk about Sowers specifically, because we’ve volunteered with them more than any other organization. I love my Sower family—and I think of them that way. Prior to retirement, we had just a small circle of friends. We were too busy working. It consumed our days and nights. We even had our individual desks set up in our Great Room so we could work once we came home. That didn’t leave much time for friendships.
Before we went out on the road, I read blogs that talked about how you’re never alone on the road; you’ll always meet people. Well, that may be true. But before we started volunteering, we were lonely on the road. Yes, we had each other. And we love each other. But we’ve heard each others stories—multiple times. We met people, but we never stayed in one place long enough to form friendships.
With Sowers, we have. It has enriched our lives tenfold. With Sowers, we work closely with each other. We get to know each other, and from that we have friends that will stay with us for life.
If you are a Christian and are interested in volunteering with one of these groups, click on the following website links to learn more about each one. And we hope to meet you somewhere out on the road doing God’s work.
CHRISTIAN RV VOLUNTEER GROUPS (Please let us know about others if you can share):
SOWERS—John and I have predominantly worked with SOWERS (Servants On Wheels Ever Ready), whose motto is RV With a Purpose. Their contact information is:
Address: SOWER Ministry Office 14771 CR 424 Lindale, TX 75771
Phone: (903) 882-8070 Fax: (903) 882-8010 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
RVICS—have worked alongside RVICS at two different projects. Hardworking group, although smaller organization than SOWERS
Address: Roving Volunteers in Christ's Service 1800 SE 4th Street Smithville, TX 78957
Phone Local (512) 237-1289 Toll Free (800) 727-8914
NOMADS—Have done one Nomad project. Large group with projects predominantly in the south, well organized.
Carla Kinsey-program administrator email: email@example.com
Phone: 866-466-6237 or 866-4-NOMADS
Address: United Methodist NOMADS P.O. Box 9066 Hot Springs Village, AR 71910
Campers on Mission—we belong to the Florida group and joined because we met the Florida chapter president while working on a project at Lake Swan Camp in Florida. Lake Swan also had a Campers on Mission couple there at the same time. Campers on Mission are loosely organized nationally, but they are run in regions and by state, so you must join each state individually—at least that was how we joined. You can go to their national website and fill out an application. They are trying to coordinate and form a more unified national group.
Contact information is only available on their national website. You fill out a contact form and they will respond to you.
Blessings, and we hope to see you soon at a project,