SOWER Ministry Newsletter October 2019
Greetings!
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." ( Anne of Green Gables , L.M. Montgomery)
I feel that way about October, too. How about you? Pumpkins, crisp apples (or maybe apple crisp?), hayrides and Fall Festivals - it is such a wonderful time of the year! Although it seems like the calm month before the holiday rush, October has its own brand of busyness. The SOWER office has been busy hosting the late September Trustee meeting and inputting the 2020 Registration/Skill Sheets for the 2020 Roster. (Even though you've missed the deadline, you can still send yours in. If you're not sure if you've returned yours, just give the office a call. They'll be happy to help!) For some it's the season of that final yard clean-up and checking to make sure you know where the snow shovels are! I imagine many of you are starting to get your RV ready for that long drive to where you don't have to worry about the snow shovels. I know that our Fall and Winter partner ministries are gearing up for your arrival! If you haven't zeroed in on where you'll be serving yet this winter, take a moment to look over the PLS and see what ministries still have openings. And if this is a "stay home" season for you, I pray you'll be blessed where the Lord has placed you. The definition of a "SOWER" is not only physically serving, but also supporting the ministry through prayer and giving. So whether you're signed-up and ready to go, still deciding where the Lord would have you serve, or are wondering just where the snow blower is but lifting the ministry to the Throne, you are a valued member of the ministry. May this season be one of blessing for you!
Serving with you - for Jesus!
Stephanie Conrad #2509
Editor
Back Row - Roy Olson, Dick Howard (VP), Dave Neitzel, John Barber
Front Row - Bill Myers, Gail Fieler (Sec), Jeff Brooks (Treas), Cheri Smith, Gary Conrad (Pres)
From the Board of Trustees -
Thank you for all of your prayers! We had a very productive meeting and were able to cover many agenda items. Watch for the full minutes and all the committee reports in an upcoming Sowergram. We continue to covet your prayers!
In His Grace,
Gary Conrad, President
Getting started.......
By Ron and Judy LaPean #3414
We learned about SOWERS from our square dance friends in Arizona, Bill and Cindy Carson. They are SOWERS and gave us all the information we needed. We had been thinking about doing RV Christian service work and SOWERS seemed like a good fit. Now, after finishing our first project here at Michindoh Ministries, we know it was a good choice. We were very fortunate to have John and Sandi Barber as GL of a wonderful group of 10 couples who worked very well together. Everyone went out of their way to make us feel welcome on this first project. The RV sites were excellent and host staff were so friendly. We have made lasting friendships. Thank you to all. We are looking forward to heading to Doe River Gorge to our second project. 

Winding down.....
By Marilyn Olson (#2423)
Going into retirement at age 65 is a transition in itself. I didn't want to impose on my children's lives, but knew I wanted to keep busy with a purpose. I was introduced to SOWERS and found it was right up my alley - to work and travel at the same time. For 17 years I was a single SOWER working 94 projects with 458 fellow SOWERS (some I worked with multiple times). I'm forever grateful for the opportunities SOWERS had given me by being able to serve others, wearing many hats of the trade. Doing tasks I'd never done before, such as removing carpet, filling holes in the wall before painting, working in thrift stores, etc. The biggest reward was getting to know about Christian organizations and what their ministry is about as they reach out into their community and around the world. Also, getting to know fellow SOWERS as we had devotional times, meals, socials and exploring the area where we were working, and becoming a part of a family of God. Heartbroken? Yes, I am, after 17 years as a SOWER. The time comes when we all need to realize when it's time to stop traveling and settle back home. My decision came because of an ongoing hearing loss and my physical balance when walking. Coming off SOWER retirement has not been a piece of cake as I've left the wanderlust to settle into the routine of having a condo and fitting into the meshing with relatives and new friends, plus finding local volunteer opportunities. Retirement is not in the Bible, plus God still has plans for what He wants us to do with our lives … so onward we go, knowing He will keep us busy, “not for the praise of man, but for the Lord”.

Finishing Our Course
[Editors Note: As Gary & I welcome new SOWERS to our SOWER family, we include a recommendation for the book Finishing our Course with Joy by J.I. Packer. We recently met a brand new SOWER couple at the Minnesota Rally and they commented on how much they enjoyed that book and he offered to write a short review. Maybe you'd like to add it to YOUR reading list!]
Finishing our Course with Joy
Review by Bruce and Katie Gay (3659)

In Finishing Our Course with Joy, J. I. Packer provides excellent wisdom as one who writes as an “oldest old (85+)” to those of us seeking this grey-haired wisdom. Sam Storms notes in the first pages of Packer’s book: “I wish I had thought more about growing older when I was younger. If I had, perhaps I wouldn’t need wisdom from [someone older and wiser]. But I didn’t, and therefore I do!” We can all benefit from Packer’s biblical insights and applications as we run our final course.

Packer’s stated contention for his book should also be our objective as followers of the Son: “…so far as our bodily health allows, we should aim to be found running the last lap of the race of our Christian life, as we would say, flat out. The final sprint, so I urge, should be a sprint indeed.” (J.I, Packer, loc. 118). 

So, how do we live our life flat out and finish our course with joy? Packer provides three suggestions; live one day at a time, live in the present moment, and live ready to go when Christ comes for you. He doesn’t just give us these goals; he also provides suggestions regarding the wrong way (the world’s way) and the right way (a biblical way) to do so.  

With the theological foundation of who we are, why God created us, and what the purpose for our physical bodies is, we can more fully appreciate why the world’s way of finishing out our last season is unfulfilling. Packer’s “oldest old’s” wisdom shines through as he helps us understand how to develop the spiritual discipline of aging well and how to avoid the temptations of this world in seeking our own pleasure. 

In the third chapter of his short book, we see what the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2) has to say regarding how we are to live. Packer does an excellent job in providing us with the reason for and the “how to” in finishing our race well, then he goes on to give us an insight into what lies ahead. The hope that we have gives us the motivation to do whatever we can, with whatever we have left, to His Glory. 
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.
Rally Reports
It was our first time at the Minnesota Rally, and we're so glad we decided to go!! It was a time of sweet fellowship, with lots of opportunities for games and conversation. Devotions were shared by Bill Cairns and the Conrads, and we were treated to the wonderful music of the Salty Strings (John and Connie Nicholas (#3322). From the Alumni we met to a brand new SOWER couple yet to work their first project, it was a grand time! Thank you to the committee who once again put together a great rally!
Gary & Stephanie Conrad (#2509)
The Michigan Rendezvous has come and gone, but not without Sower relationships renewed and new ones birthed. Twenty plus couples enjoyed great Michindoh hospitality, devotions shared by Pastor Chris Yager and Sower Jim Plummer, fantastic programs delivered by Leader Dogs for the Blind and Student Statesmanship Institute, and a beautiful evening of praise and worship by Souls Harbor. Games were played and puzzles finished in Sower fashion! Thank you, Janet and Emory Rockafellow, for another successful "rendezvous."
A Note from the Project Committee
We have 2 inquiries about becoming a SOWER project which are in need of a sponsor. A sponsor is someone that 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. If you would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact me. We would like to have a sponsor before continuing with the application process. The following organizations have sent in a request for assistance:

Glorieta Adventure Camps, Santa Fe, NM 

Cross Bar X Youth Ranch, Durango, CO  

Thank you for your help!
Whatcha doin' next summer????
June 21-26, 2020 SOWERS will be hosting a booth at the Escapades Rally located in Rock Springs, WY . 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
We LOVE to hear from brand new SOWERS!! Thank you for sharing about the work that is being done at Oakdale Christian Academy (KY-513) in Kentucky! They have openings through December 2019. Check it out!
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 890 "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. 
October Numbers
Number of Ministries asking for SOWER Assistance
117
Number of Ministries receiving SOWER Assistance
43
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 Shot is from the July project at Michindoh Ministries (MI-139). L-R Tom & Glenda Widmer #3399, Keith & Linda McNeely #3393, David & Sue Griffin #2917, Emory & Janet Rockafellow #2559, Dennis & Kim Jennings #3415, Ed & Linda Comer #3021, Keith & Ann Hawver #2779, Mel& Linda Sutter #3317 and John & Kay Neal #3453 Photo by Linda McNeely

(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 - Rainbow at Lake Beauty Camp (MN-523). Photo by Melody Miller (#3558)
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 
Fall Scene above will take you to the Members Page, the October/November Sowergram and the latest updates to our Project Listings (updated weekly).


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


Dear Sam and Sally...
Dear Sam and Sally,
I'm confused about our sign-up procedure. How far in advance can we sign up to work and on the other end, how close to the start of the project can we sign up? And what happens if we need to cancel or make a change?
Confused but willing!

Dear Confused,
Thank you for your question. In regards to how much in advance you can sign up, the answer is simple. As soon as you see the listing in the PLS, you can send in an email asking to be assigned to that project. (Don't forget, the on-line PLS is updated weekly!) How late you can sign up is a bit more complicated! Ray Arthur, our office director, wrote up the following article to help explain the process.

We have noticed there seems to be confusion regarding how project assignments and changes are handled in the SOWER office. Although every circumstance is impossible to document, here is the procedure we follow.
Project assignment request for greater than six weeks prior to start of project month:
Assignments are made on a first received first assigned basis. If the ministry requested has openings the assignment is made. The first couple to sign up is automatically assigned as the Group Leader (GL). Once assigned if you need to change project this is allowed. The only exception is if you are GL with other SOWERS assigned. This requires trustee approval. The reason for this is to eliminate someone changing simply to avoid being GL. Of course, if circumstances change and you need to cancel this is permitted.
Project assignments during final six weeks prior to project start date:
At the six week point we notify all projects of the couples coming along with their Skill Sheets. In addition, all projects without SOWERS assigned are notified of no one coming. This is to allow our host enough time to plan projects, allocate funds, purchase materials, etc. Once notified, our hosts are not required to hold RV sites or other resources for openings that are not filled. During this time all sign ups must be approved by the project. Project change requests must include a reason and are forwarded to a trustee for approval. If approved we then get approval of the new project request from the host as they have, also, been notified of SOWERS assigned. Only after both approvals (Trustee and Host) do we make the change. Note: All assignments and/or cancellations are communicated, individually, to the host during this six-week period.

To get an idea of the steps involved in sign-ups, changes and cancellations, Ray has several 'flow charts' to work through the process. If you'd like to see one, click HERE !

Thank you for your willing service for our LORD!
Sam and 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