SOWER Ministry Newsletter March 2020
Greetings!
About this time of year we all start yearning for those tell-tale signs of Spring, don't we? The first seed catalogs arrive and the rows of bedding plants at the local home improvement store appear. Even though you KNOW it's much too early to plant outside, still they beckon you! Many of you are currently on projects, and even if you've been in the "Sun Belt" somewhere across this country, there still are signs of spring - fresh green on the trees, redbud trees appearing in their purple-pink splendor, grass looking like it might just need to be cut! Whether the crocus is just peeking through the last of the snow in the yard or the bougainvillea is blooming along the roadside, spring is on its way. Everywhere you look, God is keeping his promise that "as long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." (Gen 8:22)
As we finish up the SOWER winter season, I know that many tiles have been laid, nails hammered, rooms cleaned, walls painted – well, the list could go on and on! Projects have been blessed, and I trust you have been blessed also. Although the number of working SOWERS has been down this season, we are still rejoicing that many ministries have received both building assistance and encouragement over the last several months. Please join us in praying for an abundance of servants in the coming months, so that many more ministries will be able to be blessed.   

   Early next month we share in a time of special reflection - Resurrection Sunday. Yet as believers, we celebrate our Lord's Resurrection and His perfect gift of Life each and every day. My prayer is that you will indeed be renewed as you embrace the wonder of the Resurrection!  

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Serving Jesus with joy!
Stephanie Conrad, #2509   
Editor

COVID-19 - We are continuing to monitor the situation with this pandemic and will be advising our members by email of any changes that need to be made in how we serve. Meanwhile, we recommend using the CDC website for access to the most up-to-date general recommendations about the virus.
Do not be  anxious  about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
A Memo from the Vice President
Praise the LORD! The California Area Rep spots are filling up! However, we still need an AR for two CA projects - Indian Hills Bible Camp (CA-213) and Palomar Christian Conference Center (CA-263). Contact Dick Howard at richard022@ameritech.net for more information.
Project Highlights
IA-543
One of SOWERS newest projects is Ridge Haven Cono located near Walker, Iowa. The facility is a former boarding school that has been taken over by the same organization that oversees Ridge Haven, NC (NC-294).
It consists of a newer gymnasium facility and student center as well as multiple homes that were used to house staff families and students. 

Because of new ownership, all of the buildings must meet current building code. The problem is that none of the buildings were constructed with fire sprinkler systems so overnight occupancy for campers or conferences is not allowed. To temporarily meet the needs of camping, small cabins were constructed to house campers. This allows for a summer camping program and overnight accommodations in summer weather.

Wallace Anderson, Ridge Haven director, explained to us that they have a vision to come alongside rural youth and area churches to put substance to the Gospel. More than summer camps, they see a need to offer youth activities year-round. It is also a place for conferences, church activities and a retreat for pastors and staff. The vision is still expanding as this is truly a diamond in the rough. While it is located in rural Iowa surrounded by farmland and small communities, you are only 30 minutes away from Cedar Rapids, near a great bike trail, and each day are some of the greatest sunrises and sunsets you will ever see.

Being the first SOWERS to serve on this project in October, we found it a blessing. There is much to be done and the Ridge Haven Cono staff were a delight. Iowa is a great place and I believe God is going to do great things through this ministry. By the way, if you come here, make sure you order the tenderloin sandwich at Kula’s in Walker. It is one of the reasons I plan to return.

Tommy Widmer #3399
Twin Lakes Camp Activity Center
We are excited to share our latest building project with you! We are building a 14,000 sf Activity Center. The shell has been completed by a contractor. We are going to be working hard to complete the interior this year.  
We could use all the SOWER help we can get! We will be needing all types of construction skills: framing, plumbing, drywall, heating/cooling, etc, etc. We also will need clean up skill sets! We currently are accepting SOWER volunteers (4 couples) from March through October of this year. We did not know we would be ready very far in advance. If you are interested, please sign up. If you have questions, please call us at 317-796-1592. Hope to work with lots of awesome SOWERS this summer!!
Jan Tate
“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul...” Proverbs 27:9
By Bill & Betsy McClintick, #3213 
Chuck and Kathy Brantley (#655) were our very first Group Leaders in 2012 at Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center (TX-406). They were great examples of service to our Lord at SOWER projects, and we learned so much from them over the years. We did "our best" to serve together at every opportunity while the Brantley's were still active in SOWERs.
Now that Chuck & Kathy have been "retired" from SOWERs for a few years (but still very active servants of Jesus), we have been able to see them almost every year! Little did we know the tight bonds of Christian love and friendship that we would forge with them and so many sweet SOWER friends and family. God is good!
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!
2020 Texas
Round-up
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
Margaret.gearhart@colostate.edu       Phone:970/214-4626
Cost:                     
$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; bnccairns@gmail.com; 2701 19th Ave. SW, Willmar, MN 56201
Western 2020 Wound-up
SOWERS Intentionally Following Jesus Christ
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 dinners): Full hook ups - $75
Dry Camping - $50
Lodging - $30 per night
2 additional dinners available at $10 per person per dinner
Monies will be taken at Rally
Registration: contact Lynn Manchester at lynnmanchester@yahoo.com or leave msg with her at 916-225-7411
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!
SO JUST HOW WAS THE 2020 FLORIDA REUNION?
 (A brief recap by Melody Miller, #3558)
“Our first SOWER Reunion! It was great to meet up with SOWER friends from previous work assignments and to meet so many new friends. We are looking forward to working together with many of them in the future! We really enjoyed the two sessions with SOWER President, Gary Conrad; the Q and A, and the GL Training. The Meal fellowships, concert with the delightful Puffins, the pot luck FEAST, the talent show and hilarious auction with auctioneers, Stephanie and Gary Conrad were so fun and well planned. We’ll be signing up for the next reunion as soon as we can! Thank you soooo much!!! Dennis and Lorree Johnson #3658

With an attendance of almost 100 with SOWER numbers spanning 327(Stan and Carlie Buttrick) to 3662 (Bruce and Tammy Wilhelm), there was no end to the fun, food and activity and sluff games going on. The Florida Baptist Encampment grounds, with graceful live oak trees, Spanish moss hanging from the branches and freshly mown grass, were a beautiful backdrop to the 40+rigs. We were blessed to enjoy a fresh concert with the Puffins, his humor and tremendous versatility on so many stringed instruments always brings the “wow” response with lots of laughter, clapping and singing along. Every evening closed with several tables of sluff fanatics going at it, but reminding themselves “this is only a game!” (But a fun and challenging one at that.)

Our deepest thanks go to the SOWERs that served the SOWERs, allowing so many rest and refreshment for the brief 3 days. Kitchen staff, Reunion committee, Camp Directors, Bo and Linda Johnson, and all who pitched in, thank you for making this year’s reunion such a big success.

Seen recently on Facebook
Thanks for sharing about the work being done at Phoenix Christian School (AZ-491). This project still has openings for April, May, and June.
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 960 "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. 
March Numbers
Number of Ministries asking for SOWER Assistance
100
Number of Ministries receiving SOWER Assistance
47
Getting the Job Done!
This is SOWER Dennis Sears (#3356). He is wrapped in cardboard to keep from being stuck by Yucca plant needles since it was the only way to reach all the railing around the dining hall at Ironwood. Some sections had not ever been stained before because of the needles.

God bless
Dave Anderson #3362
Corrections and Additions
* Last month's verse photo was from Florida Baptist Youth Camp (FL-143) and not Camp Horizon (FL-174).
* Additional information/clarification from Jim Olson, CPA (#3214) regarding last month's Tax Tip can be found HERE!
*There have been some changes to the GL and Host Guidelines that go out in the GL package. Please be sure to review them next time you're Group Leader or download/view them on the Members Page.
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 gailfieler@gmail.com. Be sure to get permission to share anyone’s photo for this purpose. Thank you.
Getting Ready to Hit the Road
Alaska Style
Thought you might like to know what it's like in Alaska getting ready for the next project. First we have to actually get to it and then we need to clear the 5' of snow around the RV so we can get in and drive it.

Janet, age 80, waded through the waist deep snow to get to the ladder to climb up on our RV roof and shovel 4' of snow off the roof. Now that's a SOWER in action!
n His service,
Bill & Janet Rasmussen #3165
Alaska Area Reps
This month's Group Picture is from the February 2020 project at Hope Children's Home (FL-175). From left to right: left to right Roger & Marilyn DeMaster #2655, Jerry & Dory Borscheid #3176, John & Robyn Venturini #3548, and Dennis & Agnes Drain #3410. Photo submitted by Dennis Drain  

(Do you have a favorite Group Picture (past or present) you'd like to share in the newsletter? Send it in!! Stephanie@rvthereyet.org )

Header Photo - Header Photo - Sunset at Lake Lavon (TX-546) by Bruce Gay (#3659)

Verse Photo - Forest Glen Springs, TX-537
SOWER Blog Roll
See what other SOWERS are doing around the country! 

Jeff & Mary Peace #3262
Ed & Patty Soltes #1864
Bob & Billie Wakeman #3114
 Gary & Stephanie Conrad #2509
Paul & Juanita Alton #2766
Don & Jenny Rasmussen #2824
Terry & Alice Burnett #3071
 Wayne & Gail Fieler #3187
Robert & Shana Carman #3318
John & Connie Nicholas #3322
Jim and Cathy Fry #3564
John & Druann Bauer #3521

  Do YOU have a Blog you'd like to share? Send me the link, and we'll add it to the "Blog Roll". 
Clicking 0n the Crocuses
above will take you to the Members Page, the February/March
Sowergram and the latest updates to our Project Listings (updated weekly).
The April/May Sowergram will be available by March 20th.

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  
 903-882-8070


Dear Sam and Sally,
We worked at a ministry recently where they invited us to join them for meals on weekends when they were having groups and cooking anyway. Is it appropriate for us to join in on meals on days that we're not working? They really seemed to want us to come, but we were reluctant to overstep our guidelines.
Signed,
Concerned
 
Dear Concerned,
While the ministries we serve are never obligated to provide any meals to us while we are on a project ( nor should we expect them to ), it is true that some will ask SOWERs to join them if they are already providing meals to others (as in a conference center or summer camp). Whether or not you chose to join them on days when you are not working is your own personal decision. It has been our experience that a ministry invites you to join them for meals for several different reason.
 One is they like us to see their ministry in action. Often we are there during their off seasons and they only have groups in on weekends. It helps us, as volunteers, to experience their facility as it impacts lives for Christ, and it helps the Ministry by allowing their campers/guests to see their volunteer groups.
 Another reason is they want to bless SOWERS just as we have blessed them by serving there. Often, weekends are the only time the kitchen is open for business and that is why they invite us to join them at that time. 
  Finally it falls into the "encourage" part of our mission. We don't just serve our ministries, we also encourage them. And accepting their invitation to join them for dinner and giving them the opportunity to interact with us encourages them in their ministry. 
So the bottom line is this - there are no guidelines regarding accepting an invitation to meals on weekends, or any other day for that matter. We never want to take advantage of our hosts, but we should also be sensitive to their desire to extend hospitality and blessings to us. We need to be open to receiving as well as giving.
 
Blessed to be in the SOWER Family,
 
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 - samandsally@sowerministry.org.     
To send in a prayer request or praise item-
 
To contact the office -
903-882-8070  

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To add photos to our Photo Gallery, contact Ed Soltes