SOWER Ministry Newsletter November 2019
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Greetings!
Ah, Sweet November. With the Christmas decorations being put up right alongside the aisles of candy corn, sometimes Thanksgiving gets lost in the shuffle. But let us never forget the many things we have to be thankful for - our families (however imperfect they may be), our friends (both ones we've had since childhood and ones we've made since becoming SOWERS), our homes (whether it's 'sticks and bricks' or has wheels), and our country (either Canada or the USA). Whatever the state of our health, we know that we have a God who will walk with us through both the valleys and the peaks. Maybe you've welcomed a new grandbaby into your arms or maybe you've kissed the face of a loved one who has entered the embrace of our Lord. Few of us go to bed hungry, and most of us can choose whether to enjoy warm weather or the snow in the months to come. So this month (and every month, actually!) let us all become obedient to that great Biblical principal - In ALL things, Give Thanks! I know I'm thankful for all of you - for your encouragement regarding this e-newsletter, for your prayer support for the SOWER Ministry, and for your servant hearts willing to serve our LORD in this ministry. May HE get all the Praise and Glory!
 
Serving with you with great Thanksgiving!
Stephanie Conrad #2509
Editor
Thinking about next summer?
A note from our Canadian Reps
Wayne & Dorothy Farquhar #2238
On Sept. 8th, Turtle Mountain Bible Camp (MB-490) held a Commissioning Service for the new building with 250 people present who generously donated $47,000 that day!! Then in late September, the 40+ year old building that had housed the kitchen, dining room, chapel & meeting rooms, was demolished.  Everything that was in that building had been moved into various cabins etc. for winter storage. So you can just imagine the work that will be needed to set up the beautiful new building for the 2020 camping season.

Financially, they still need some $300,000 to complete the project! They ask for prayer that the Lord will provide all that is needed for them to be able to accomplish everything before the campers arrive in June! As Howard Weir, the Director, wrote, "We have seen God work in so many incredible ways again this year, and we rejoice in His faithfulness."
How about Maine?
As SOWERS we travel all over our country and are privileged to observe some of the most beautiful parts of our great nation. Selecting where we want to serve is done with prayer and looking through the PLS and finding projects that may be a good fit. This summer we traveled to the northeast and enjoyed some of the most amazing projects. One of those places that I want to share is a project in the farthest point east and north on our PLS list. The name of the project is Baptist Park Camp outside of Presque Isle, Maine. The camp maintenance director, Scott Ashby, oversees the camp. He has been doing this for many years and his love for the camp is apparent as he shares how God is working in the lives of the people who come to the camp.
Not many SOWERs make it way up to this northern camp -but Walmart is just 6 miles into town! Once you arrive at the camp the need for volunteers is apparent along with its serene natural beauty. The small towns, hiking trails, farmers' markets, and apple orchards are just some of the things we found enchanting; along with actually wearing sweatshirts in September, as we are usually still swimming in Texas in September. If you are looking for a worthy place to serve that appreciates any kindness volunteered, Baptist Park Camp might be for you. 
Sincerely, Mike and Bonnie Griffin (3396) with Cindy and Brad Smith (3582)

Reflections on being a Group Leader
by Sonny Theobald (#3491)

I have had the joy of once again being a Group Leader.   Although I still feel like a SOWER “newbie”, I would like to share my story of being a GL in the hope that it would encourage others to also become GLs more often.
               We signed up for Panfork Baptist Camp (TX-538), a relatively new project in the Texas Panhandle, which enabled a new couple, Dick and Dianne Dalke (#3633) to sign up. (As new SOWERS they had to find a project that already had a GL before they could request the assignment.) Although Panfork is fairly remote, I feel it is 100% a diamond in the rough.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The hosts, James and Janet, went out of their way to make us feel welcomed.  Although there were just four of us, we were able to accomplish many projects.
               As this was Dick and Dianne’s first SOWERs assignment, they were worried and a little bit scared about what it was going to be like being a SOWER.  Well, we took them under our wings and we got to disciple them in the way of SOWERs.  We taught them “Our Best” including the raising of our hands at the end.  Everyone took part in leading devotions.  We played games with them.  We also went out to dinner with them often – even if sometimes it was just to the picnic table outside of our RVs.  We would never have met Dick and Dianne had we not signed up earlier and were willing to be the GL.  It was such a joy for us, a couple from Florida, to meet up with a couple from Montana on their first assignment.   We were blessed indeed!
               As the GL we are also able to set the tone of what our focus will be. Along with completing the “To-Do” list, my wife and I also feel we go to the project to minister to the camp personnel, the directors, and any staff available.  Our first focus is the PEOPLE.  Did you know that building and equipment can’t get saved?  People get saved.  So one of the first things we do when we get to a project as GLs is to ask “How can we pray for you?” What concerns do you have?  What can we do to serve you?”   As we asked these questions we find people open up and share their burdens with us.  It gives us an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with each camp where we serve.  But if you don’t go in looking to meet the needs of the people then you might miss one of the greatest blessings of being GLs.
So the reality of being a Group Leader is really about being a Group Servant.  Jesus said if you want to be the greatest then learn to be the Servant of all.  You get no better opportunity to be a servant than by being a Group Leader – so sign up today to be the first one at a camp.
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!  
Don't forget to pick up a NEW SOWER T-Shirt at any of the regional rallies!
Mark Your Calendar and Sign up TODAY!
Register: Text or call Ruth Stoll at 727-967-0494 or email at wstoll2@gmail.com

Looking forward to seeing you at the Reunion!

 Bill & Ruth Stoll, Jon & Cathy Richmond, Jeff & Barb Kaiser
2020 Florida SOWER Reunion
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: $7.50/person;       
Early arrivals: $15/night  
Meals included:
Supper on Monday, Tuesday (Potluck), Wednesday  
Breakfast : Tuesday and Wednesday
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.
June 21-26, 2020 SOWERS will be hosting a booth at the Escapades Rally located in Rock Springs, WY.
Spreading the Word
Any SOWER wanting to help manage the booth and the informational session is more than welcome to be a part of this fun event to help spread the word about our organization. You would be paired with other couples so you would not be running the booth by yourself.We are needing help even partial days/week if you are available. The cost to park your RV at the Rally is your own expense, and details of registration are on the Escapees website. If you need additional information contact Wayne or Gail Fieler at 704-853-2274 or 704-813-0015, wfieler@gmail.com or gailfieler@gmail.com.  
Seen recently on Facebook
Thanks for sharing about the brand new SOWER project in Iowa - Ridge Haven Cono (IA-543). They're asking for 4 SOWER couples each month from April through October 2020. Don't miss your chance to serve at this great new ministry!
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 900 "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. 
November Numbers
Number of Ministries asking for SOWER Assistance
94
Number of Ministries receiving SOWER Assistance
37
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 .
This month's Group Picture is from the October 2019 project at Doe River Gorge (TN-467). Left to right Phil and Linda Pelc (#3449), David and Nelda Thompson (#3445) behind Richard and Melody Miller (33558), Keith and Linda McNeely (#3393) and Ron and Judy LaPean (#3614).


(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 - Late afternoon by the lake at French Camp Academy (MS-541)
Photo Verse - Scene from Mercy Ships (TX-366) by Sandi Barber (#3365)
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

  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 
pumpkins above will take you to the Members Page, the October/November Sowergram and the latest updates to our Project Listings (updated weekly).
The December/January Sowergram should be on-line by November 22nd.


Don't forget our Member site also contains other useful information, such as Project Work Dates, RV's for Sale, minutes from previous Trustee meetings, and the 2019 Roster!
If you have any questions, please contact the SOWER Office  
 903-882-8070

The SOWER Member Page Password will change on December 15th. Check your Dec/Jan Sowergram for the new password.


A Note from the Project Committee
We continue to receive requests from ministries asking for SOWER help. Before a ministry can become a SOWER project, they need to have a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who will agree to sign up for a few project months for the first 2 years and promote the project to members. This is an effort to give the camp exposure to how SOWERS work. The following are a couple of the projects that are requesting SOWER assistance:

Lake Lavon Camp , Princeton TX
Camp Siloam , Siloam Springs AR

If you would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact me.
Vice President
A Note from the Office -
In Late November we will be mailing to all active and alumni SOWERS:
Dec-Jan SOWERGRAM with 
  • Minutes from Sept meeting
  • Financial report (2019 Actual) and 2020 budget
  • New Password (effective December 15th)
2020 Roster (online roster will be effective December 15th)
ECCU signup form (electronic giving)
SOWER return envelope

The SOWER Office will be closed from December 13th through January 1st.
Dear Sam and Sally...
I have a question about how to handle holidays that fall during projects (like Thanksgiving this year!) and the long breaks (2-3 wks) that sometimes come between project months. With the Christmas break coming soon we need to figure out what to do with rig if we decide not take it ‘home for the holidays’! Can you help?
Signed,
Wanting to do it right!

Dear Wanting,
Thanks for asking! When a holiday falls during our regular working days, it’s up to the Group Leader to work out a plan with the project host. It is ALWAYS appropriate to defer to the host’s schedule. Depending on the ministry they often need extra help on those holiday days. But many times they will be taking the day off with their families, and we wouldn’t want to impose our work schedule on them.

In regards to the Christmas break (or other two week breaks that we have), while our membership guidelines don't speak directly to this situation, there are some general SOWER principles that would apply.

1. Make your arrangements directly with the host. Most of our projects are more than willing (even delighted) to accommodate SOWERS during unscheduled project times. However, never assume that this is the case. We should never expect the host to automatically welcome us to stay over just because we are SOWERS. Please respect our ministries (and their schedules) by asking first. 

2. Always leave a generous donation or plan to work for several days to compensate for your extended stay. The privilege to be able to leave your rig in a safe place (plugged in or boon-docked) should not be taken lightly. Storage facilities can get expensive, and if the ministry is willing, it's appropriate to support them by leaving a donation. If the host will not take a donation, try sending it in the mail! (I can almost guarantee that someone will deposit it!) And of course, putting in additional work hours is always appreciated!

Both of those guidelines would also apply if you were just stopping by a project as you travel - say for an overnight or two between project weeks. I'm sure we've all had hosts say to us, "stop by anytime", but we would still want to give the same courtesy - Ask first. Donate generously. Work if possible.
Oh, and one more thing - make sure you are always out of the way before the next project starts! Just sayin'.
Hope this helps!

Serving our LORD 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 - samandsally@sowerministry.org.   
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

To submit a SOWING TIP, send an email to

To add photos to our Photo Gallery, contact Ed Soltes