SOWER Ministry Newsletter September 2023
Dear Friends,
Ah, sweet September. There is always something fresh and new about September, isn't there? Just as God has promised, the mornings are a bit brisker (maybe it won’t reach 100 in the Southwest!), but the days are still calling for shorts and tees. By dusk, you might be reaching for that sweater. The trees are beginning to hint at oranges and reds and a sprinkling of leaves appears on that freshly mowed (maybe for the last time?) lawn. Pumpkins and mums start to show up at the roadside stands and soon we'll all be drinking warm cider and hot chocolate. And don’t forget your Pumpkin Spice Latte! September also brings the SOWER Trustee Meeting in Lindale. The Board is welcoming three new Trustees – Brad Smith (#3482), Evan Asby (#3495), and Carolyn Strausser (#3369) – and bidding farewell (with thankful hearts for their service) to Gary Conrad (#2509), Dick Howard (#2527), and Diane Zaharako (#2983). There are exciting days ahead for our ministry, and much of it begins right at this September meeting. Please join me in praying for our dedicated Board members - that they may be blessed with wisdom and unity as they look to the future of SOWERS. 
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 1:2-3 (ESV)

Praying with you,

Stephanie Conrad
SOWER #2509

May God continue to get the Glory!
Gary Conrad #2509
Dear SOWER friends - and I consider you all my friends whether or not we’ve met!
It has been a privilege to serve you and the ministry as a Trustee for the last six years, and the last five years as your President. As I close out this season of leadership, I want to thank you for all of your support and prayers. Please keep our Board of Trustees in your prayers as they welcome three new Trustees this month and anticipate a building project in Lindale.
Steph and I look forward to several more years of SOWER-ing, Lord willing, and I hope to see many of you ‘down the road’ in the years ahead. Truly one of the biggest blessings of our years as SOWERs has been the people we’ve met and grown to love. Thank you for this opportunity I’ve had to serve you these last six years. May God continue to get ALL glory in our ministry.
In Him,
Gary (and Stephanie, too!)
There is a new tool for your SOWER toolbox!
Many of you are hesitant to be the Group Leader. The new GL Checklist recently added to the GL packet should help make the job easier. This checklist is designed to be filled out when you meet with the host, gathering all the information needed to pass onto the SOWERs on project. When completed you can make copies and pass them out or just verbally communicate at the initial meeting. Don’t shy away from being GL! Consider it an opportunity to grow and mature spiritually. God is sufficient to meet us where we are and take us to where we need to be.
Nelda Thompson #3445
Trustee, Document Committee
The Smiles Said it All!
Ken and Pebble Williams 
It was mid-August at Sunshine Bible Academy, Miller, SD (SD 495). Students were due to start school in just a few days. But there was a problem. At the end of the last school year, a playset had been ordered (for the preschool and kindergarten kids) and delivered, but not assembled. It was currently sitting in the maintenance shed, in a thousand pieces. So, what do they do? Well, it just so happened that four SOWER couples were on site, had just finished remodeling the cafeteria, and still had three days left on the project.

So, it was SOWERS to the rescue! We pulled all the boxes out of the shed, grabbed our tools, sunscreen, hats, and water, and went to work! Fortunately, we also had two of our women to keep us on track (they read the directions, pulled out the correct screws/boards/accessories, and made sure we assembled it in order) and after two days of sweat and frustration, we finished the play set. Of course, it tends to slow you down when you’re missing two boxes of materials and have to go back to the shed to search for them! But, we found them and got back to work after a short delay.
Then, on Thursday morning, the last day of our project, we gathered at the finished play set, eager to watch the kids’ reactions as they arrived for school. The building doors burst open and the kids came running out, jumping up and down and screaming “Thank you”! The smiles on their faces as they climbed the rock wall, slid down the slide, hung from the monkey bars, swung on the swings and tire swing, and climbed the rope ladder was worth all the effort, sweat, frustration, and sunburn! I have to admit, we stuck around for a while just to watch their excitement. It also helped to remind us of the importance of why we do what we do!
Project News and Updates
Sing for Joy Widows' Ministry
Lighthouse Christ Camp (TN-351)
Lighthouse Christian Camp (TN-351) in Smithville, Tennessee is truly a supernatural work of God. It is a miracle ministry born out of the heart of God for the poor and needy, the fatherless, the widow, the orphan, and those who are helpless to help themselves.
   One of the vital parts of this ministry is the Sing for Joy Widows’ Ministry where widows are provided unlimited opportunities to serve our Lord and a safe and secure apartment community in which to reside.
  The first home was built in 2006 and the second in 2011. Both of these homes include 4 apartments and a common area in the center of the building that is shared by the residents of that home. The ministry is approaching the capacity of these two homes and God has miraculously led us to build a third home, identical to the first two. In doing so, the camp will have space to provide purpose, belonging, service, and living to four additional widows.
   As he has so many times in the past, God moved supernaturally to provide funds to begin construction on the new home. Although the ministry does not have the funding to complete the building, by faith we are trusting God to provide all that is needed for the third home. This will not be a small undertaking but of course, we serve a big God! The project will probably take the better part of a year and as always, camp staff and volunteers will provide as much of the labor as possible to keep the cost to a minimum.
   SOWERs can be a part of this unique ministry to widows! Volunteers are needed throughout the project. All construction trades (carpentry, electrical, HVAC, and more) are invited to help us complete this project. Please pray about the possibility of serving at Lighthouse Christian Camp.
Doug & Janet Parham #3498

In September of 1973, Rainbow Acres (AZ-74) went from being a dream to a reality. Today, it is a thriving Christian community with heart, that empowers persons with developmental disabilities to live to their fullest potential with dignity and purpose. Let's join them in celebrating this ministry milestone! If you have a Rainbow Acres story or would like more information, click HERE for the Rainbow Acres Newsletter!
The Project Committee is looking for an Area Representative for our New England projects -

Pilgrim Pines, NH-400

If you would like more information about helping with this vital part of our ministry please contact David Pincus.

And on the other side of the country - Oregon also needs a new AR. There are just two projects, and one is on hold!

New Hope Christian School - OR-246 (currently on Hold)

Please get in touch with Gail Fieler if you would like more information about this position!

Attention ALUMNI - Becoming an Area Rep as an Alumnus is a great way to continue to serve in our ministry! So if you've hung up the tools, but still want to serve, consider becoming an Area Representative for projects in your area!
Underserved Project Update
Have you checked the Underserved Project List lately? The office has put together an updated list of ministries that have received six or fewer SOWER couples in the last 24 months. Check the PLS to see where you can serve or contact the office to get any clarification about these underserved projects.

Updated 6/20/23
Let's try to shorten up that Underserved Project List! Send in highlights about your favorite project on the UPL along with a couple of pictures to to help get it OFF the list!
Seen recently on Facebook
Thank you, Cami, for sharing about your time serving at Mt. Gilead Bible Conference (CA-533). Looks like it was a blessed month!
Have you stopped by our Facebook Group lately? Please use caution and respect when posting. This is a PRIVATE 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.
Since the SOWER Facebook group is a ‘private’ group, we try to limit our members to folks who are SOWER members or project hosts, and couples that are whointerested in joining our ministry.

If you invite other interested folks to join our Facebook group, they will still need to answer the membership question. Thanks!
Thank you to everyone who has given our SOWER Facebook Page a "Like." We're well over 1500 "likes!"! 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 the SOWER Facebook Group is for sharing SOWER stories (and is something that you join), the SOWER Facebook Page is where the ministry shares information and works to generate interest in our ministry (and is something that you 'like').
Don't forget to check out your favorite ministries on Facebook. 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!
Clicking on the SOWER logo above will take you to the Members' Page, the August/September SOWERGRAM, and the latest updates to our Project Listings (PLS)
(updated weekly).

If you have any questions,
please contact the SOWER Office  
This month there are 103 SOWER couples (or singles) serving at 57 different ministries around the country. Praise God for all the work that's being accomplished! Check the PLS for opening in the months ahead!

And make plans now to attend the 2024 Florida SOWER Rally!

February 26-28, 2024
Florida Baptist Encampment
Groveland, FL

We've heard that the Singing Auctioneer will be there along with a possible appearance of Big Bob the Birdman.
You won't want to miss this!
Contact Wendell and Diane Ramaker for more information!

Would you like to help? There is a need for someone to coordinate one supper and one breakfast! Maybe that's you?
SOWER Blog Roll
See what other SOWERs are doing around the country!
Ed & Patty Soltes #1864

 Gary & Stephanie Conrad #2509

Bruce & Katie Gay #3659

Terry & Alice Burnett #3071

John & Connie Nicholas #3322

Jim and Cathy Fry #3564

John & Druann Bauer #3521

Conrad & Pam Popp #3652

Burneall & Ann Ekberg #3702

Dennis & Lorree Johnson #3658

Sondra Smith #3779

Spencer & Lorraine Saints #3574

Mark & Jeanette Sheler #3782

Doug & Laurie Schneider #3704

Dave & Robyn Koppin #3847

Ken & Pebble Williams #3870

Paul & Juanita Alton #2766

Do YOU have a Blog you'd like to share?
Send the link to and we'll add it to the 'Roll'!

Group Picture - The July 2023 group working at Aldersgate Camps and Retreats (OR-320) L-R - Tom & Lyn Lippe #3899, Earl & Judy De Vries #3812, John & Rita Brower #3719. Photo submitted by John Brower

Header Photo - Rainbow Acres (AZ-74), Camp Verde, AZ
Open Paragraph Photo - Rainbow over the SOWER office - Laura Clark #3663
Are you praying for your Trustees? We always covet your prayers, and as we meet together at the end of the month we especially need them! We face the same struggles as everyone - breakdowns and problems with our RVs, financial setbacks, family obligations/crises, schedule changes, health issues, personality conflicts, and the list goes on. Praying every day for every Trustee may be an unrealistic expectation. Can you commit to praying regularly for at least one or two? Pray for wisdom, open minds, and discernment in the decision-making process. Pray for creativity and solutions in dealing with problems and issues. Most of all pray we can work together harmoniously with servants' hearts and honor and glorify our Savior.

Nelda Thompson #3445
Dear Sam and Sally,
We are new SOWERs and know we will soon be taking our turn as group leaders. We have a few questions I hope you can help with! One – as GL, do we need to stay on the project until the last couple leaves? Second – we read in “Welcome SOWERS” that “SOWER songbooks are to be used during morning devotions.” If we (or whoever is doing devotions) decide to listen to a music video instead of singing, is that a problem? And finally – are there any guidelines for handling some of the ‘hot topics’ of today – especially as we begin the election season? Thank you for your help!
Striving to do a good job!

Dear Striving,
Thanks for sharing these questions! First the easy ones – No, you do not need to stay at the project until the last SOWER leaves! Once the project hours are completed (generally 3:30 on the last Thursday), your official duties as Group Leader are over (except for doing the GL report of course!). Please feel free to leave whenever it works best for you! About the SOWER songbook – our songbook is available for use so that everyone is looking at the same thing if whoever is doing devotions wants to begin (or end) with singing. Since everyone is welcome to share as they feel led, joining in song during devotions is not required.  
And finally, those ‘hot topics’. There are no specific SOWER guidelines about handling the ‘hot topics’ of today. These discussions would fall into the same category as ‘doctrinal differences’ and should be handled sensitively. Scripture is clear that “If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.” ( I Cor 11:16). If, as Group Leader, you feel someone is stirring up contention with his/her opinions, then the guidelines found in Matthew 18:15-20 should be applied. Of course, we are all allowed our own opinions, but in a group that is as diverse as ours (although we do share our core beliefs), it is best to “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”. (Romans 12:18) As GL, you are encouraged to set the tone of respect for our government (Rom 13:10 ) and also for each other (Phil. 2:4). 
These are great questions, so thanks again for taking the time to send them in! May you be richly blessed as you continue to follow His lead in the SOWER Ministry!

Serving 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 -   
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