SOWER Ministry Newsletter December 2017
Greetings!
"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"....
Actually it's looking "a lot like Christmas" even here in Texas (we're working south of Houston right now) where an early December snow arrived in areas that hadn't seen snow in over a decade!! The pressure is mounting - Is your shopping done? Is the tree decorated? Are the cookies baked? Are the stockings hung? So many questions - and so little time! With all the holiday hustle and bustle pressing in from all directions, let's just take a moment to hit the Pause button, take a deep breath, and really reflect on what Christmas is all about.
"For unto to us, a child is born."
Wherever THIS Christmas finds you - busy packing for your January SOWER project or hunkered in somewhere cozy for the winter, may your Christmas indeed find that "pause button" as we remember that the God of all creation humbled Himself to become a human being-our Savior, Christ the Lord. Because Jesus was born He could die, bringing the abundance of life we enjoy through Him. May each of you rest in the security of the Babe whose birth we celebrate this day. 

Celebrating the Joy of the Season,
Stephanie Conrad, #2509   
St ephanie@rvthereyet.org
on behalf of the SOWER Board of Trustees
High Braes Refuge - NY-251
submitted by Thea Schneider and Rob Burnett (3321)
This past September we served at High Braes Refuge (NY-251) in Redfield, NY. Above and beyond the jobs we did, we cannot say enough about this awesome ministry! Jeff and Toni Andrews truly have a heart for what they do and the fact that they do most of it alone - with some part time help from their son - is God-amazing!  Which is why they are so thankful for the time the Lord sends volunteers their way. Primary focus is retreat away from the busy world. They offer a FREE summer camp for children of central NY who cannot afford to attend camp.  The winter is their busy season, there are weekend retreats for solitude as well as winter sports in lots of snow…[did I say lots and lots of snow?] Last winter, it was recorded they got over 300 inches for the season! But don’t worry, they seek SOWERS in June, Aug. and Sept when weather is warmer. They have four RV sites, 2 are 50 amp capable. 
There’s 310 acres with a large Manor House but down time affords opportunity to walk trails, visit waterfalls, sit on porch swings, watch nature visit (deer and turkeys) and birding too. And if the weather is rainy, there’s an indoor recreation hall that is usable for game nights.
Though considered remote, nearby waters allow for salmon fishing and the stores and restaurants are just 20 minutes away.
Taken from the summer newsletter: Jeff points out the Latin over the Manor House fireplace “ Deus Haec Otia Fecit” - means “God has made this a place of rest,” which is the heart of this ministry. They desire people to be able to find spiritual rest in this place and to disconnect from the noise of life in order to be able to hear God when He speaks. So what are you waiting for? Sign-up!

Turtle Mountain Bible Camp
MB-490

Turtle Mountain Bible Camp (TMBC), just across the US/Canada border in Boissevain, Manitoba, is a non-profit ministry that has had the privilege of serving families for 70 years. Countless lives have had an unexpected encounter with the One true & living God, who has radically altered the course of their lives.  
Well over 1,000 visitors of all ages arrive each summer—participating in public school field trips, rental group retreats, children’s camps, Family Camp, Horse Clinic, and J.O.Y. (Just Older Youth 55+) camp sessions. During the months of July and Aug, approximately 150-170 campers and staff are fed daily.
After years of praying and preparation, the urgent need of a new kitchen and dining hall facility is finally becoming a reality.** This building will also house the tuck shop, offices, and nurse’s quarters. The goal is to build debt free and, Lord willing, have it operational for Summer 2018. It will provide much-needed space, as well as energy-efficient, reliable appliances. (The walk-in freezer has not been operational for 2 summers, and repairs to other units keep the repairman very busy.)
Once again this fall, SOWER couples came to lend a hand at TMBC. Not only were they an incredible encouragement after a very busy summer ministry, but their friendliness and willingness to be ‘His Hands & Feet’ in helping with Fall clean-up needs, meals, and the continuing work on the new facility, was a tremendous help. The exterior siding and stone work were completed, as well as a number of interior jobs.
It is humbling and exciting to see GOD writing the story. TMBC is completely dependent on Him and His people to meet the various needs. One of the biggest and most urgent needs to keep expenses down and enable things to continue to move forward on the building, is having volunteers invest in the ministry physically. Work will continue throughout the winter and volunteers are always appreciated as there are a variety of ways they can help. By spring, there will be lots of painting and countless things that will need to be completed to be operational for the summer ministry. Your prayers for this endeavour are greatly appreciated.  A huge amount of gratitude goes out to the many SOWERS who have partnered with us since 2010! 
“May God bless you abundantly for your faithful ministry, whether at TMBC or elsewhere. Thanks for using your gifts and time to make an eternal difference in lives as you desire to further His Kingdom.”                                                 
Howard & Kathy Weir
 Directors

Click HERE to read the latest update from Turtle Mountain! God is working in a mighty way!
Potters House (FL-359)
Much of the property at Potters House (FL-359) was severely impacted by Hurricane Irma. They have a critical need for help with repairs and massive clean-up. See the PLS for more details and click on the picture to the left for more detailed pictures of the damage.
ATTENTION SOWERS
We have signed up again to have an information table on the ROW at the 2018 Escapade in Sedalia, MO May 27-June 1. 
This is a fun time to get to talk to other RVers about SOWERS and the ministry we serve in. We are looking for other volunteers to come and enjoy the fun time with us. Let us know if you can help. 
PS -You do not have to be an Escapee to help or even attend! 
It pays to wear
your badge

We had been out sightseeing at Custer State Park and the surrounding area and decided to stop in the little town of Keystone, SD, for supper. As we got out of the truck, a couple was walking by and noticed Toni's SOWER badge. They said "we are retired SOWERS Jarvis and Kathy Overbeek". They were on a bus tour and Keystone SD was one of their stops. We had an enjoyable supper and conversation with them. This makes 4 retired SOWERS we have met in our western 9 month SOWER project trip.

Dick Howard (2527)

Watch Your Mailbox
Hopefully you have received the December/January Sowergram along with the 2018 Member Roster. Since the Roster contains all of our contact information, please dispose of your 2017 Roster responsibly, either by shredding or burning. S'Mores, anyone?
Mark Your Calendar!
2018 TEXAS
ROUND-UP
The Texas Round-Up is returning to ALERT Academy for 2018

Where:  
TX-410 ALERT Academy, Big Sandy, Texas
54 full hook ups with 50 amp. Large sites. Most sites are pull-thru.

When:
March 25-28, 2018

Cost:  
     $20.00/night camping fee
     1 lunch at $7/person
1 banquet at $12/person

 Nightly fee for those who don’t bring their RV: 
$70.00/night Dorm room with a private bath
 $60.00/night Dorm room with a shared bath

Registration is NOW OPEN
  970/214-4626 

See you in March!

SAVE THE DATE
September 17-20, 2018 Aldersgate Retreat Center (OR-320) Turner, OR. 

Thanks to the encouraging response we've had about a SOWER Rally in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, we're moving forward with some concrete plans! Several have offered to help plan and be worker-bees, but there is plenty of room for expansion. If you'd like to help, share suggestions on what you'd like to see at the Rally or even help us come up with a unique name and theme, we'd love to hear from you ! We already have a couple of ideas for seminars and are excited about making this a Rally to remember!

Watch for details in the months ahead!

contact
2018 SE Florida SOWER Reunion
Where:
FL-143 Florida Baptist Youth Camp, Groveland, FL

When:
February 26-28, 2018

Theme: Sharing Jesus

What to expect:  Fellowship, Food and Fun! Concert by McMillans; Uplifting Devotionals; Q&A by Board Members

Cost for Sowers, Alumni, and Guests: $45/rig; Room Rent: $45/couple; Walk-ins: $7.50/person; Early arrivals: $10/night
Meals included: Supper on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Breakfast: Tuesday and Wednesday

Register Now: Text or call Ruth Stoll at 727-967-0494 or email wstoll2@gmail.com

Looking forward to seeing you at the Reunion!
Ed Blanks, Chairman;
Bill Stoll, Co-Chairman  
Florida Reunion Parking
Wishing there was a RALLY in your neck of the woods? Thinking about organizing a SOWER gathering but don't know where to start? The Board of Trustees has put together some Rally Tips to help get your ideas going. Check them out on the Member's Page , under "Other Useful Information".
Seen recently on Facebook
Thank you, Rick, for sharing the good news about the 100 Project Milestone reached by two of our SOWER couples - Ed & Laura Shuster (2459) and John and Rosie Stoner (2721) while working at Oakridge Ministries (OK-503). Well Done, Good and Faithful Servants!
Have you stopped by lately? We're up over 460 members in our FB group, and there is always good sharing of project news and happenings. Make sure you've "checked" the Notification box to receive current posts, and PLEASE post pictures and stories from YOUR projects!

If you're a member of Facebook, but haven't joined the SOWER Group, click on the icon to join the family!
While you're on Facebook, don't forget to check out your favorite ministries. Many of our partner ministry locations have a Facebook page and it's a great way to stay up to date on the places you love to serve!

We're close to 600 "Likes" on the SOWER Facebook Page ! If you haven't already given it your thumbs-up,  head over there now! It's a great way to spread the word about our ministry. 
This month's Group Picture is from the Our House at Carpenter's Way (GA-530)
L-R: Carl & Sue Williams #3295 and Stan & Carlie Buttricks #327


The header picture is The Christmas Train at Living Stones/Camp Victory (TX-333)

The Lindale Office will be closed from December 15 through January 1.
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
You want us to do WHAT?
Submitted by Rosie Stoner (#2721)

Good Morning SOWERS!
What a great day and what a great month of service at NTM Missionary Training Center (MO-465 soon to be renamed Ethnos 360) in Roach MO. Don’t let the name of the town fool you. Our camp sites were looking over the Lake of the Ozarks. The staff and students were warm and friendly. 
John and I have served here three times and each was a delightful experience; however, this time was the ‘best ever’. I served in the daycare 2 year old room. I have hugged and cuddled and danced and sang and been sat upon and sat with and read many many books and some books many many times by ten of the most beautiful little ones. I am not intending to misrepresent the experience - there were also diaper changes and snotty noses. But little Sophia likes ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ during diaper changes, while little Selah likes ‘A B C’ musical accompaniment for diaper changes. Four of the little ones where in potty training and wow, you do not know the heights of joy until you have rejoiced with a little over a successful potty visit. 
One little girl just barely three would always want me to read her the ‘Baby Jesus’ story. She would sit on my lap for 15 -20 minutes until I finally reached the end of the book, then off to play. 
So many projects are rewarding and in so many different ways. I have completed projects with a sense of fulfillment seeing a task completed. Sometimes it is just knowing you have stood in the gap while the staff got to draw a breath. Sometimes the benefit of our service is immediate and clearly visible and sometimes the benefit is in the future and we will not know the outcome. These little ones fed my soul. God has chosen to reward me here on earth for this project. I am a very blessed woman.


Do you have a "You want me to do WHAT???" SOWER story? We'd love to read it! Send it to Stephanie Conrad for a future issue.
SOWER Blog Roll
See what other SOWERS are doing around the country! 
Jeff & Mary Peace
Ed & Patty Soltes
Bob & Billie Wakeman
 Gary & Stephanie Conrad
Paul & Juanita Alton
Terry & Alice Burnett
 Wayne & Gail Fieler
Ken & Deb Long
Robert & Shana Carman

  Do YOU have a Blog you'd like to share? Send me the link, and we'll add it to the "Blog Roll". 
Clicking on the 
Christmas Decorations above will take you to the Members Only Page, the December/January Sowergram and the latest updates to our Project Listings (updated weekly).

Don't forget that the password for the Members Only Page will be changing on December 15 . The new password will be included in the hard copy Sowergram that everyone will be receiving.

If you have any questions, please contact the SOWER Office  
 903-882-8070
Dear Sam and Sally,
We are new SOWERS and are excited about getting started working for the LORD! As we look through the PLS, some of the terms are confusing to us. Just what exactly is a "Home Project"? Is that the same as a "Project Sponsor" or is it something different? Thanks!
Eager to Serve! 


Dear Eager,
We're excited to hear about your desire to serve Jesus through the SOWER Ministry! Welcome to the family!
The Project Listing (PLS) is full of information, and I know it can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to understanding all of it! Along with the detailed ‘legend’ of the PLS that can be found on the back of the hard copy (and HERE on the member site), the Trustees have also recently put together a Glossary of Terms . Here are a couple of examples of the definitions –
Home Project - If a member worked at a project before becoming a member or they worked at a project before it became a SOWER project they can request it as their home project. See guidelines on website for details.
Project Sponsor -An active SOWER couple that is familiar with a potential new project and will commit to promote and work the project for the first couple of years to help them get a better understanding of SOWERs and establish the project.
Other terms like “Independent”, “Temporary Leave of Absence”, and “Standby Status” are also explained. While all of this information (with more detail) can also be found in the Constitution, By-Laws and Guidelines, this listing consolidates them into one place.
We hope this helps as you begin your time with SOWERS and also as you share the ministry with other interested Christian couples.

May you be richly blessed as you begin your SOWER journey!
Merry Christmas,
Sam & Sally


Do you have a question about SOWER policy or etiquette. Sam and Sally would love to hear from you! Contact them at - samandsally@sowerministry.org .  
To send in a prayer request or praise item-
 
To contact the office -
903-882-8070  

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To submit a SOWING TIP, send an email to