SOWER Ministry Newsletter May 2020
colorful_tulips.jpg
Greetings!
Usually in May we’re looking forward to graduations and weddings and family reunions. We’ve gone past the redbud and are enjoying the azaleas and rhododendrons blooming in our gardens and watching the tulips fill our flower beds with vibrant color. Maybe some hardy lettuce is already finding its way to your salad bowl. Ah, Spring! May 2020 has us just trying to figure out what tomorrow will look like. Will it be safe to go to the grocery store? Is it safe to go to the park for a walk? How will our children make it through job loss and quarantining? And the biggest question – when will we be able to HUG them again?? These are unprecedented days to say the least, and no one – NO ONE- knows what the “new normal” will look like. But fear not – we serve a God who DOES!! Even amidst the uncertainty of these days, our God is not surprised, and He’s walking along side us as we go through these times. As we all do “Our Best” to figure out the most effective way to continue to serve Him through this pandemic and in the days to come, let us hold fast to His sure promises -
Fear not, for I am with you;
  be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

May we continue to marvel at the beauty of this season, even as we fully trust our mighty God in the days to come!

Resting in His Grace,
Stephanie Conrad, #2509   
Editor

2020 Trustee Nominations
Gary Conrad #2509
Gary Conrad #2509
Jim Dorroh #3385
Jim Dorroh #3385
Glenn Ellis #3209
Glenn Ellis #3209
Dick Howard #2527
Dick Howard #2527
Mark Malone #3532
Mark Malone #3532
Bill Richards #3468
Bill Richards #3468
Nelda Thompson #3445
Nelda Thompson #3445
Diane Zaharako #2983
Diane Zaharako #2983


Complete resumes and ballots will be available in the June-July
Sowergram.
The Vision
By Bill and Reba Taylor
This is the story of how the present SOWER office and adjoining Christian retirement came to be located in Garden Valley, TX, near Lindale.
Over forty years ago, God put a dream in the heart of Bill Taylor, then a young evangelist. His heart’s desire was to have a place where Christians could gather for worship, relaxation, refreshment and renewal. This dream lay dormant for twenty years.
While serving in a ministry at a church camp, the Taylors fell in love with a group of people called SOWERS, who came and volunteered their services to build, repair and clean the campgrounds. The SOWER president, Claire Abel, shared with Bill a desire to move their office from the state of Washington to a more central location, and asked if he would help them find land.
God led Bill and Reba to Bass Lake Ranch in 1995 and gave them the assurance this property would be the place for “The Vision” including two acres set aside for the SOWER ministry office. It was two years and many hurdles before they were able to purchase it…miraculously.
Now sixteen years later, “The Vision” is still in process. In 2009, the Taylors transferred the Bass Lake RV Park, behind the SOWER office, to the Bass Lake Christian Retirement Community. There are 67 lots with 5 additional acres where many active and retired SOWERs live.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3
The above testimony came from the book "SOWER Reapings", still available from the office.
2020 Update - The current office was dedicated on April 22, 1999 and the first Sowergram was mailed from the new office in June. A new era had begun! From essentially a dream and a desk drawer to a lovely building (with 5 SOWER full hook-up parking spots :) ) and a dedicated staff, the ministry has continued to grow and change with the times. Many thanks to our founders and early board members who shaped our ministry, formed our policies, and inspired us to do "Our Best"! And to our wonderful office staff, past and present, who keep track of us and help us get where we need to go!
SOWER Office Help
We are looking for one or two couples that would like to be relief for the SOWER Office Staff in Lindale, Texas. Qualified SOWER couples must be familiar with using computer office software; able to perform general office tasks (phone, email, filing, printing, mailing, etc.); handle property maintenance tasks; and be able to follow detail procedures. Selected couples would come into the office for a SOWER project month for training and then be available to relieve the office staff for periods of two weeks to a month. Once trained, scheduling for relief periods will be 6 to 12 months in advance.  If you are interested in being a relief couple, please contact Ray Arthur, in the SOWER Office.
COVID Testimonies
From Gail Fieler, (#3187)
As we approach Mother’s Day 2020 the song my mother used to sing all the time was “Brighten the Corner Where You Are”. It has proven to be an anchor song for me during this COVID19 dilemma. Wayne and I had planned a couple of excursions for March and May which were canceled of course, but during the course of events I have had to ask myself (amidst my disappointment and whining), am I right where God wants me to be at the right time? Surely you are asking yourself, why are we suppose to stay here, what is there to do here, this place has no meaning for us, etc., etc., etc. To a child of God, we have to remember that we are right where we are suppose to be. Now that being said (one of my fav sayings), how well did we score on the test, especially since we were in the most vulnerable age group? As SOWERs we would like to think we are constantly in servant mode, but this virus thing sure has put my Christ-like attitude to the ultimate test. I think when this is all over we are going to be asking ourselves…..were we faithful, did we maximize our stay, did we answer the call, how was our attitude during the event, etc., etc., etc. We may never know the impact we had on any person during this ordeal, hopefully we have caused a few to question their destiny after leaving this earth and their need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Chorus…….
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor "you" may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!
My testimony is probably not unlike most SOWERS. I want to be serving our Lord in our RV. After 20 years, it is quite difficult to adjust to this "new normal". When I start feeling sorry for myself and thousands of others, I count my blessings. I could never get through this without knowing God Is In Control.
  Only He can see the whole picture. God willing, we will all be back on the road again.
   Deanna Schoeneberger
      #2029
Greetings Again Sowers,
 
I hope and trust all is well, or as best can be expected as we continue to refocus how we are to move forward as Christians, as SOWERS and as Americans! Sheltering in place has been both a blessing and a curse in many ways. It certainly is not what we had in mind as SOWERS! Staying longer than we intended to on projects has been a struggle of sorts as we are just beginning to get our feet wet as SOWERS! However being able to, by host invitation, stay in place and continue to serve them while they continue to meet our needs speaks clearly to both who we are in Christ and who they are in Him also! French Camp Academy (MS-541) here at French Camp, MS, has truly been a shining example of Christ to us as they have continued to provide our basic needs for food and safety. After spending March, April and most of May here, we feel it is time to move on. It has been great to spend extra time with our SOWER friends here at French Camp Academy and get to know and be known. Only time spent with each other can truly accomplish that. 2020 will definitely be cause for special memories indeed. Both good and bad alike! Now as we ready ourselves to begin to head north we covet your prayers for us as we also will continue to lift you all to the Lord! Keep safe and keep serving. God Bless America and may America Bless God!  
BrichInChrist,
Bill Richards
Sower #3468
Do you have a Pandemic Testimony of how you could see God working during these days? Especially in regards to SOWER projects? Send them in to stephanie@rvthereyet.org. We'd love to hear from you!
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!  
Looking ahead - September Rallies
As of this date, these Rallies are still on track!
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 anyone 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
Seen recently on Facebook
Thanks for the chuckle, Wayne and Gail, as we navigate these crazy days. Aren't we so very thankful that we serve a GOD who has this all in control!
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!
We've reached over 985 "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. 
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!

Alice Burnett #3071
Alice Burnett (#3071) has had a short story published in the anthology Chicken Soup for the Soul - Laughter is the Best Medicine. Her story was also featured as the second story in a recent podcast from the publisher! Congratulations, Alice!
This month's Group Picture is from the February 2020 project at Mt. Gilead Bible Conference (CA-533) in Sebastopol, CA
L-R: Mike & Lucille McGuirk #3645, Dave Pincus & Laura Clark #3663; Fred & Marilyn Reid (GL) #2386; Larry & Gerri Bliven #3596
Photo by Laura Clark

(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 - Lake Placid Conference Center (FL-341) - by Wendell Raymaker #3411
Sowergram Link (Butterfly) - Sandi Barber #3365
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 on the Butterfly
above will take you to the Members Page, the April/May
Sowergram and the latest updates to our Project Listings (updated weekly).
The June-July Sowergram will be available online by May 30th.

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


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.
Dear Sam and Sally,
As we get back to SOWER work, just how will we manage following all of the social distancing guidelines while on a project?
Signed,
Staying Safe


Dear Safe,
WOW! That’s a great question! Just as the ministries we serve are trying to figure out how to continue sharing the Gospel effectively within their state’s guidelines, we will all be doing the same thing. Let’s face it, we are almost all in that ‘higher risk’ demographic and need to take that into consideration. If you feel at all uncomfortable about the situation, please do not sign up. (Yikes, I never thought I’d say that!). But if you do decide to serve in these early days of re-opening the country, sign up for a project to see if it is open. Our projects will most certainly appreciate your help!  Coupled with some common sense, we believe we can safely follow the guidelines as given. First of all – if you are feeling even a little unwell, STAY IN YOUR RIG! Come to a consensus with your group what your devotions and activities will look like. Wear masks if you are working in close quarters with others, spread out and have as many gatherings outside as possible, and (this might be the hardest) resist greeting each other with hugs! Perhaps our traditional pot-lucks will need to be put on hold for a bit, or at least restructured and game nights might be a little tricky, but I believe that we can make this work! Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. If you chose to remain at home during these ‘re-opening’ days, your biggest gift to our partner ministries would be to keep them forefront in your prayers. Trying to fit “Camp” into Social Gathering Guidelines is even trickier than fitting SOWER work into them!  

We are not only all in this together (sorry if that's been said a hundred million times), but we're in this together with Jesus! And HE will see us through! Be safe, be considerate, be kind, and Believe!
 
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