SOWER Ministry Newsletter February 2020
Happy Valentine's Day, friends! There's a lot going on during this short month, isn't there? In the SOWER world, February is generally our busiest month and this year is no exception - with 172 SOWER couples/singles serving Jesus around the country. Over recent months we’ve met and worked with so many SOWERS working their first or second project. How blessed we are to see their enthusiasm as they begin their SOWER journey. We've also worked with many who have been in SOWERS for over 10 years. How good to see their love of the ministry still shining brightly! So to the new kids on the block, to the ones who have been around the block, to the ones holding down the block at home for a spell, to the ones who have served well but have had to "hang up the tools" - we thank you that you have taken up Christ's call to LOVE and put it into practical application. I think that during this Love Month it's always good to remember that the Love of our Savior is a VERB and not a noun. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son" for you and for me. May each of you find the grace and strength to keep sharing His LOVE in the days ahead.
Oh how He loves you and me! 

Serving Jesus with joy!
Stephanie Conrad, #2509   

Alumni Spotlight
Bill Oakleaf, SOWER #1231
submitted by Gail Fieler (#3187)

(Excerpted from The Servant Artist, published in the Camp Tejas Newsletter)
Bill was still young when he realized he had been given an ability in art. It was a gift that was to define his life. He has used that gift to earn a living and to bring Glory to God! Following high school he joined the Navy where he did aerial photography and later worked in the art and animation department producing art for armed forces and Pentagon training films. As a civilian he worked as a commercial artist and later started a program in technical art and illustration at the local community college. Following retirement, he and Margaret joined SOWERS and traveled for 15 years using his artistic talents (and probably a hammer and drill too!) at projects around the country. Although he retired from SOWERS in 2012, he continues to serve the LORD through his art by being a faithful volunteer at Camp Tejas (TX-240). From the 20 foot long mural in the dining hall to the Lights of Tejas Nativity scene, the products of his God-given talent are evident throughout the camp.  
Bill says, “I strongly encourage any retired person or anyone else to get involved in serving our Lord with your time and talents. In so doing, you will be blessed and be a blessing, as you serve our wonderful Lord!”  
To read the full article, click HERE!
A Memo from the Vice President
We would like to welcome three new projects to the SOWER Ministry. Lake Lavon Camp (TX-546) located in Princeton, TX, Glorieta Adventure Camp (NM-544) located in Glorieta, NM, and Psalm 91 at the Potter's Place (SC-545) located in Central, SC. Let's give them a welcome by signing up.

We are still in need of 2 more AR's for southern CA. Please pray about serving in this part of our ministry. If you have any questions, contact Dick Howard at
New Project Highlights
At the crossroads of I-35, I-75, I-30, and I-20 is a new SOWER project (TX-546): Lake Lavon Camp and Conference Center! It is located on the northern end of beautiful Lake Lavon, (a few miles northeast of Dallas, TX).
In 2021, this camp will celebrate 70 years of reaching the lost for Christ by providing a peaceful place of rest and spiritual connection for local (and not so local) churches and ministries through youth camps, men’s/women’s retreats, conferences, etc.
Now under new management, those serving here need our helping, servant hands to continue the camp’s restoration which was started in 2018.
There is much work to be done and everyone can help. Especially needed now are electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Several buildings are to be re-purposed or restored, and other buildings are in need of general maintenance work (siding replaced, etc.). There are also grounds work, fencing repair, etc.
As you make plans to head north, south, east or west and could possibly go near the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, please consider volunteering to help the folks at Lake Lavon Camp. The workers here are eager for SOWERs to come and help them! 🤠

Bruce and Katie Gay #3659
Project Sponsors
New SOWER "Swag" available!
New Logo Decals
The office now has 6 inch decals ($2.00), 12 inch decals ($5.00) and 12 inch round magnetic decals ($12.50)

There will be limited availability at the regional rallies or they can be purchased through the office.
New Logo Golf Shirts
SOWER golf shirts with the new logo are now available from the SOWER office. Shirts are sizes small thru 2XL and come in men and ladies for $15 ea. These are only available in the blue as shown and only through the office. When sending checks to the office make sure you note "golf shirts" in the memo line.

Pieces of the Puzzle
Glenn and Janet Ellis 3209

My husband and I looked at the list of the five other couples scheduled for our 25th project. We have been GL's a number of times before, but didn't know what God was "up to" this time. Our first time being GL's there were three new couples, and the Lord helped us and brought us to a wonderful group. And again He did it this time, but it truly was a melding of contrasts.  
Three of the men were 20 year retired military E-9's, and one, of Amish/Mennonite background, a conscientious objector who had filled his military obligation working two years in a hospital. One of the military retirees and our CO worked side-by-side all month replacing LED lights. 
One couple was in their early 60s, another in their late 80s. Those two ladies were the bright spot of our ladies group, swapping recipes and both full of joy and sunshine. 
Four of the ladies were "ladder climbers", one a part timer, and the other 100% disabled and allergic to dust. She was our prayer warrior and four different difficulties that were averted came from her prayers.

We are thankful that God puts who He wants in each group, providing not only the expertise needed for each project, but the contrasts of people bringing color and individuality into each group.
"Newbie" SOWER Thoughts
Bill & Marge Richards
Sower #3468

Well, here we are at the end of our first three SOWER Projects already! It just doesn’t seem possible yet but it is. The next one starts on Monday Feb 3rd, 2020 here at Texas Baptist Encampment (TX-364) in Palacios, Texas. There are 5 SOWER couples leaving now with 3 new SOWER couples coming in to serve with us here in February! While we excitedly look forward to meeting more new friends we are finding the hardest part of this new journey is leaving the ones we have just started to know as we have to part company as we go our separate ways again.

Just like our church gatherings or other servant organizations, serving with like minded Jesus followers is not without its own problematic set of circumstances. SOWERS is no exception. I believe at the root of this is our tendencies as individuals to be self focused rather than to be Jesus focused. When we remember to set aside our will and allow The Holy Spirit to guide us to His Will in the matter, His love takes over and once again the work project begins to go much better because relationships get better when we love God and love others!

Come Holy Spirit
Rallies Ready and Open for Sign-ups!
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 nearby! 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!  
Winter Rallies - Sign up TODAY!
To Help the Rally Committees plan effectively, please send your reservations in ASAP!! Thanks!
Register: Text or call Ruth Stoll at 727-967-0494 or email at

Looking forward to seeing you at the Reunion!

Bill & Ruth Stoll, Jon & Cathy Richmond, Jeff & Barb Kaiser
2020 Florida SOWER Reunion
Theme: Serve the Lord with Gladness
Florida Baptist Youth Camp (FL-143)
Groveland, FL
Feb 24-26, 2020
Cost: (Cash or check at registration) $70/rig W/E 30 amp; dump;       
Room Rent: $70/couple;  
Walk-ins: $15/couple for one day; $25/couple for multiple days      
Early arrivals: $15/night  
Meals included:
Supper on Monday, Tuesday (Potluck), Wednesday  
Breakfast : Tuesday and Wednesday
2020 Texas
ALERT Academy, TX-410
Big Sandy, Texas

Sunday through Wednesday
March 22 - March 25, 2020
( Date correction from the Sowergram)
54 Full Hook Ups with 30/50 amp
Large pull thru sites 
New for 2020 are 8 asphalt pads for heavy motor homes!

Fun, food, music and fellowship in the Piney woods of northeast Texas.

For more information, or to register, contact Dwayne and Margaret Gearhart #3263      Phone:970/214-4626
$25/night camping fee
If not bringing your RV
$70/night lodging with private bath
$60/night with shared bath

2 lunches at $7/person/lunch          
1 supper at $12/person

Instead of a registration fee, there will be a donation box to cover incidentals. 
Northeast Texas is a natural stopover from winter projects to summer projects, so please plan to join us in March.
Looking ahead - September Rallies
2020 Minnesota Rally
Lake Beauty Camp (MN-523)
Long Prairie, MN
Monday September 21st - Wednesday 23rd
Guest Cabins and Loon Lodge - $56/night
RV sites (recently upgraded) - $28/night
Thursday is a workday for those who are interested. Free lodging Wednesday night for any staying for the Thursday workday.

Contact Bill Cairns (#2373) by text, msg, email or snail mail. 320-295-3031;; 2701 19th Ave. SW, Willmar, MN 56201
Western 2020 Rally
Aldersgate Retreat Center (OR-320)
Turner, OR
September 21-24, 2020
Costs include 4 days/3 nights will be as follows (includes 2 lunches and 1 dinner): 
Full hook ups - $75
Dry Camping - $50
Lodging - $30 per night
2 additional dinners available at $10 per person per dinner
Registration and other details will be announced in March.
The Michigan Rally, traditionally held at Michindoh (MI-139) following the September project, is on hold due to lack of a coordinator. If you are interested in heading up this rally, please contact Emory Rockafellow who will be happy to share his insights in planning this rally. Thank you!
Seen recently on Facebook
A New SOWER at a New-ish Project! Thanks for sharing about the work being done at Mt. Gilead Bible Camp(CA-533) this month! We love seeing how our ministry is growing!
Have you stopped by lately? Please use caution and respect when posting. This is a Closed group (only members can see posts and add posts), but it is still good Facebook etiquette to get permission before you post someone's picture. Thanks!

If you're a member of Facebook, but haven't joined the SOWER Group, click on the icon to join the family! Just enter your member number in the question, and the Administrator will approve you. If you invite other interested folks to join the group they will still need to answer the membership question. Thanks!
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've reached over 950 "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. 
February Numbers
Number of Ministries asking for SOWER Assistance
Number of Ministries receiving SOWER Assistance
I'm still waiting for YOUR story!!!
Do you have sweet memories from your first SOWER project? Or maybe you'd like to share how you learned about SOWERS and how the LORD led you to this ministry?
This newsletter is always looking for SOWER testimonies, 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 .
It's that time of year again...Trustee Nominations!
The deadline is just a month away. To be eligible to become a Trustee, a candidate must be a member in good standing of the organization for at least two years and must have participated on-site at a minimum of four different approved project locations. Managerial and basic computer skills are a plus. Please get the nominee's permission before submitting their name. Use the form found in your recent Sowergram, or call the office for a replacement.
New SOWER Video
A new media presentation is in the works to be used for advertising and trade shows. If you have any short video clips and/or pictures of SOWERs working, fellowshipping, playing games, etc. please submit by e-mail to Gail Fieler at Be sure to get permission to share anyone’s photo for this purpose. Thank you.
This month's Group Picture is from the January 2020 project at Lake Swan Camp (FL-539). From left to right: Emmett and JoAnn White #2865, Bill and Barb Kray #3620, Alyce and John Vinson #3604, and Robyn and John Venturini #3548. Photo submitted by Robyn Venturini 
(Do you have a favorite Group Picture (past or present) you'd like to share in the newsletter? Send it in!! )

Header Photo - Header Photo - Early morning mist at Life for Youth Camp (FL-02) in Vero Beach, FL
Verse Photo - Camp Horizon (FL-174), taken by Anita Brown (#3464)
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
Don & Jenny Rasmussen
Terry & Alice Burnett
 Wayne & Gail Fieler
Robert & Shana Carman
John & Connie Nicholas
Jim and Cathy Fry
John & Druann Bauer

  Do YOU have a Blog you'd like to share? Send me the link, and we'll add it to the "Blog Roll". 
Clicking in the Valentine Cookies
above will take you to the Members Page, the February/March
Sowergram and the latest updates to our Project Listings (updated weekly).

Members' Page Tip:
Always look at the
Project Listing Sheet (updated weekly) and not the Sowergram (updated only when a new Sowergram is published) when you are looking for the most current project listings.

If you have any questions, please contact the SOWER Office  

Federal Income Tax Tip
Submitted by Jon Richmond (#2693)
This tax tip only applies to persons who are 70 ½ or older (or 72 under the new RMD guidelines), take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your IRA, and make contributions to charities (church or others). If those conditions apply, you may be able to save a significant amount of federal income tax. This deduction is well known to charities and is described in IRS Publication 590-B Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) (page 13 - Are Distributions Taxable and Qualified Charitable Distributions). Many taxpayers are not aware of the deduction.
Dear Sam and Sally,
As we enter this election season I’m already concerned about divisive political conversations while we are on a project. Is there anything in our guidelines that helps guard against this?
Genuinely Concerned

Dear Concerned,
Thank you for this timely question! The elections are looming large in this country, and to say that politics is a hot-button conversation in many circles would be an understatement. Although as Christians we may find agreement on many of the big issues, we each come to the table with our own filters. While SOWERS does not have any guidelines for “Election Years”, I think we can certainly use our guideline about doctrinal and denominational differences as a rule of thumb. We are each entitled to our own opinions and it would be unrealistic to think that we all agree on all points of our current political climate. Avoiding conversations that would foster divisiveness among our members should always be our first priority. Regardless of what we may or may not agree about in the political realm, there is one thing with which we can always agree. Our great and sovereign God is in control. Let us continue to rest in that fact, and encourage each other in trusting Him more fully.

Trusting Him with you,
Sam & Sally

Do you have a SOWER Etiquette question? Or maybe you'd like some clarification about a policy or rule. Sam and Sally would love to hear from you!  Contact them at -     
To send in a prayer request or praise item-
To contact the office -

To submit something to the newsletter, send it to

To submit a SOWING TIP, send an email to

To add photos to our Photo Gallery, contact Ed Soltes