SOWER Ministry Newsletter
February 2017
Potters House Fence
     
Kite Flying
Did you know that February is not only   home to Valentine's Day, but it's also home to (among others) National Kite Flying Day (8th), National Plum Pudding Day (12th), National Cherry Pie Day (20th), and National Random Acts of Kindness Day (17th).  Seems like there's a day to celebrate almost anything these days, but here at the SOWER Ministry, we're thankful that EVERY day is a day to celebrate being able to serve our Risen Lord and Savior. This month 128 SOWER couples are serving around the country, and countless others of you are serving Him in your own communities.  Let's join together to give God all the praise and glory for the work that is being done as we serve together to advance His Kingdom.  Maybe today (ok, everyday!) should be Hug a SOWER day!

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV

Serving the King with you!
Stephanie Conrad, #2509    
on behalf of the SOWER Board of Trustees  
SOWER Ministry 
Alumni Encouragement
So enjoyed your letter again and the  LORD has really blessed me as well as you and your ministry!   Many changes (for the good) have been made since 1990, when we joined, with our first project in Florida Keys!!  And then the reunion in Leesburg!!  Hope members are keeping a journal, I have lots of pictures, but did not write that much.  It is hard to remember it all at age 90, but still feel it was the best 6 years of our long married life.  I pray many new retirees will follow in our footsteps.  I am a widow now for 14 years and am closer to the Lord each year!  Thank you for SOWERS!!  
Alyce Leshovsky #210  
A little more Bag Info....
Shopping Bags
Here are a couple of comments generated last month's article about California banning plastic bags:
Your mention of the plastic grocery bags that are being phased out in various states, prompted me to mention to you that for years now, this has been true in many parts of Canada.  Not having been in ALL of Canada as yet, I can't vouch for all the provinces or all the stores, but we have been carrying bags with us for years now to save the land-fill sites as well as the cost of buying them.  It does take a bit of getting used to the habit of carrying one's own bags, but it can be done!  I think the last big box store to resort to this in our area was WalMart.  Glad you mentioned this!
Dorothy Farquar  #2238
 
FYI, before you buy cloth bags for that California project, you should know that the ban on plastic bags only applies to sellers. Shoppers who reuse bags acquired elsewhere can still use them to bag groceries. When we traveled, we always kept a supply of plastic grocery bags handy for trash or other needs on a project. They can be used for collecting sea shells or pine cones, temporary rain booties and even shower caps in a pinch.
Jim and Judy #2796

Label-iscious
Looking for an easy way to support our partner ministries? Many of them (especially schools and group homes) collect things like Campbell labels, Box Tops for Education, and cancelled stamps and turn them in for cash or supplies. Saving them doesn't take up much room, and you can always ask at a project if they are collecting them.  I became aware of the cancelled stamps program at Southwest Indian Ministry recently. They were able to earn $75.00 in one month just for cancelled stamps!  They also collect the Box Tops for Education.   So if you have room, I highly recommend saving these money making tidbits for our many projects.   HERE is a link to SIMC's cancelled stamp requirements.  (They did say the common flag stamp has no value.)  
Toni Howard #2527

Sharing the Burden
Journey through Grief
Nancy Franges 2043
After my brother died in December, 2010, my sister-in-law received booklets from her Church which really helped her get through the grieving process that following year. These booklets are published by the Stephen Ministry, a non-profit Christian training and educational organization based in St. Louis, MO. These booklets deal with the issues and feelings one may encounter in the months following the loss of a close loved one. They are designed to be sent at timed intervals - aimed at addressing the different stages of grief. I presented the idea of sending them to the surviving spouse of a deceased SOWER to the SOWER Board of Trustees in September, 2011 and they voted unanimously to begin this ministry. Each book is sent from the office at the proper time along with a personal letter written by myself. Since that time we have sent out over 75 sets.
We have received wonderful reports from those who have been sent the books. Each one tells us how much they are appreciated and how helpful they are at just the right time. By sending these books we are showing our members how much we love them and how much we want to help them through this most difficult time. I know that many of you were not aware that this was being done by the Board of Trustees, but since I made the goof last month of sending a letter to the Prayer Chain as well as the SOWER Office, I received many emails wondering what it was about. Hence, the reason for this short explanation. We want our members to know how much we care. It is important that the SOWER Office be notified when someone passes on so we can continue this caring ministry.

Trustee Nominations
By now everyone should have received their 2016 SOWER Trustee Nomination Forms. Please be praying about who you might like to nominate.  Per our Constitution - 
The candidates must be SOWERS in good standing and have had substantial experience in the SOWER Ministry for at least two (2) years. 
Don't forget to check with your nominee to secure their permission! Feel free to contact any of the current Trustees if you'd like more information about what is involved. 
All nominations must be postmarked by
 March 15th
 
Recently seen on the SOWER Facebook Group Page
Camp Baldwin
Thank you, Sandi Barber (3365), for sharing about the work (and fun) being accomplished at Camp Baldwin this month. And congratulations on working your first project! Welcome to the family! This project has 7 SOWER spots and still has openings for March. Check it out on the Members Page.

FacebookHave you stopped by lately? Make sure you've "checked" the Notification box to receive current posts, and PLEASE post pictures and stories from YOUR projects!

 

 

And 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 projects.  Many of our project locations have a Facebook page and it's a great way to stay up to date on the places you love to serve!

If you haven't "LIKED" the SOWER Facebook Page head over there too! It's a great way to spread the word about our ministry. 

Have you stopped by the SOWER Website lately! The information has all been updated and it has a fresh new look!! Check it out - and Pass it on!
Escapee Escapade
March 19-27
Tucson, AZ

Many hands make light the work! John & Joyce Morton are still looking for help representing SOWERS at the Escapee Escapade in Tuscon. This is a great opportunity to share the SOWER life with fellow RVers.

"We will need help at the table.  The more people we have, the more we can take turns. 
We will also have one of the sessions to talk about SOWERS and answer questions.  Maybe show some pictures.  I would love to have someone who likes to talk to help or do it. Please contact us if you can help, or if you have any questions!  

Serving with you for Jesus,
John and Joyce Morton
618-218-6001
You're More Than A Number to Us...

...but please remember to include your SOWER number any time you contact the office. Whether it's for signing up for a project, getting a message to the Board of Trustees, or just a general inquiry, it's a big help to the office to have your number!
Thanks!
Just a thought....
Like other SOWERS I have wondered about our numbers and the number of projects worked by our active members, but this month I've found out that there are three SOWERS working at Teen Challenge in Florida. One SOWER couple is actually on staff and the other two SOWER couples are working with a different RV volunteer organization.  Of course if this is happening at one project, who really knows how many other projects this might be occurring. So numbers are nice to know, but we shouldn't get too hung up on them.....
Doug Heilman #2981
Dear Sam and Sally,
We noticed that the June project actually starts on May 29th and that's the official Memorial Day.  How should we handle our workdays when they fall on holidays?
Signed,
Puzzled

Great question!  When the SOWER calendar is developed, they don't take into account holidays, since as long as the camp is working, then we will be working. But sometimes during major holidays (like Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving) camps are also closed. As SOWERS, we should always work in conjunction with the host's schedule.  If the holiday falls on a Monday and the ministry is closed, then it would be appropriate to shift your working days to Tuesday through Friday.  When your arrival time coincides with a holiday (as in the December project that has the GL coming in on Thanksgiving), you would want to contact the host to see what arrival day and time works best with their schedule.  As always, the SOWER rule of thumb is work with the host's schedule as much as we are able. We would never want to inconvenience a project by working on a day when they had planned to be off. Thanks for the question and hope this helps explain how to handle it. 


Working with you for the Kingdom,
Sam & Sally

Have a question about SOWER guidelines or etiquette? We'd love to answer any questions you might have! Contact us at -
Quick Links
  To send in a prayer request or praise item-

 

To contact the office -
903-882-8070   

To submit something to the newsletter, send it to
Stephanie Conrad

Submissions for the SOWER TIPS go to
 

 

It's really true -

I can't do this without you!

This newsletter is always looking for God Stories, project highlights, group pictures, and more! And Bill Myers is always on the look-out for some great tips!

Submit stories, ideas and photos to  Stephanie Conrad 
Thanks!
In This Issue
 
Rally/Reunion Information 
Whether you're an Alumni, a Seasoned SOWER or New to the Family, there's nothing like a SOWER gathering to connect with friends old and new and get recharged about the ministry.  If you live in close proximity to a SOWER project, let them know you're around! There are often impromptu gatherings of SOWERS happening all around the country all year long! Whether you're camping together or just meeting for a meal at a local restaurant, a SOWER Gathering is always a blessing!

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR
FLORIDA Reunion
Feb 27 - Mar 1, 2017
Florida Baptist Encampment 
(FL-143)
Groveland, FL

Great things around the corner!  
The cost of the reunion is $45.00
Alumni are welcome to attend at No Cost (but please register!)
Early arrival/extended stay is $10 per night
To register contact 
Darla Blanks
941-321-4701 (Text)
 or call Darla at
941-266-5294

Remember to bring your articles for the auction. There are new facilities available for rental - Contact Darla for the details when you register!
Looking forward seeing everyone again.
 Ed & Darla Blanks
Chairpersons
TEXAS ROUND-UP
Mar 26 - Mar 29, 2017
Trinity Pines Camp
TX-454
RV Spots - $20/night
Cabins - $75/night
Motel Rooms - $60/night
Meals - one meal provided by Trinity ($7/per person) 
Other meals by donation
Campfires
Talent Show
Trustee Q&A
Auction
Fun & Fellowship!
Contact Nancy Franges
and sign-up today!
And in the Fall:
  Mid-West Rally
Michindoah Conf. Ctr
 Sept. 18-21

Minnesota Rally
Lake Beauty Camp
 Sept. 18-20
SOWING TIPS

Pseudo Painting tips - Sometimes it's the little things!
Eula and I were working along with our husbands on a mini-rehab of 16 bathrooms at Highland Lakes  (TX-406) in January.  The men did carpentry and plumbing and we ladies did the painting.  And we came up with a couple of tips that we thought we'd like to pass along.
  • When you're taking off outlet covers, put those itty bitty screws right back in the holes they came out of. That way, you'll never  have to worry about losing them.
     
  • Chances are the actual switch surfaces haven't been cleaned for a bit. While it's always a good idea to turn off the power if you can, spraying some Awesome (or other all purpose cleaner)on a toothbrush (and not on the switch itself) and using it to give the switches a scrub is a safe alternative. Use a toothpick to get into hard to reach spots and a soft rag to carefully dry them off.
  • If you find that those little screws are all beat up and aren't very attractive in the freshly painted and cleaned room, you can purchase new screws at the local home improvement store. You get 10 screws for about $1.50, so it's not a big investment and can really finish off the project.
     
  • We 'girl tested' the bag over the paint tray tip from several months ago and it worked like a charm!! Thanks for that tip, fellow SOWER!    
Submitted by Eula Fluckey (2635) & Stephanie Conrad (2509)

 
Do you have a great SOWER Tip? Not just building ideas, but products you've discovered, 'life hacks' that have served you well, and any other tricks of the trade you've come across. Submissions for this feature can be sent to Bill Myers -  rvmyers@reagan.com
Rose

Clicking on the 
Rose above will take you to the Members Only Page, the February/March  Sowergram and the latest updates to our Project Listings (updated weekly).

If you have any questions, please contact the SOWER Office   
 903-882-8070
 
Just the Facts
for February 2017
(Feb 2016)
 
Number of Active SOWERS*
459 (463)
 
Number of ALUMNI SOWERS*
130 (132)

 

Number of SOWER projects requesting SOWER Assistance 
84 (89)

 

Number of SOWER projects receiving SOWER Assistance 
48 (55)
 
Number of SOWERS* requested (Including SOAs)   
397 (424)

Number of SOWERS* working  (Including SOAs)
152 (165)
 
*Number of SOWERS always refers to a SOWER "Unit" - whether a couple or a single, not individual SOWERS.
SOWER Blog Roll
See what other SOWERS are doing around the country! 
Jeff and Mary Peace
Don & Jenny Rasmussen
Texas Jumpers
Robert and Shana Carman 
Ed & Patty Soltes
Bob & Billie Wakeman
 Gary & Stephanie Conrad
Paul and Juanita Alton
Terry & Alice Burnett
RV Craze
 
Wayne and Gail Fieler
Glenn and Jane Kellenbenz
Roger's SOWER Blog
Roger & Nola Sorenson
  Do YOU have a Blog you'd like to share? Send me the link, and we'll add it to the "Blog Roll". 
Photo Info/Credits 
Header location -
Fence at Potter's House (FL-359)
Kim Trivilino (3094)
Header Group Shot -  
January 2017 MCA (TX-499)
Back Row: Bob & Joan Jamieson (2654), Lyle & Kathy Rippentrop (3113), Paul & JoAnn Kitt (2949), Les & Janet Turkelson (3192), George & Karen Foster (3107)
Front Row: Edroy & Judy Anderson (2412), Harold & Eunice Grandia (3117)

Do you know someone who might be interested in SOWERS?  Feel free to forward this e-Newsletter!
 
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV)