Barnett UMC, Enterprise, Florida
We arrived at Barnett UMC on a Friday and because we were the team leaders, we met with the church liaison to see what he had in store for us to do for the three weeks we would be on the project. Turns out they needed both of their wheelchair ramps fixed, one included a deck and staircase. They also had Sunday School Classrooms upstairs that they needed renovated and a couple of closets that needed to be organized. We were able to get all of the work done by our team of 6 people. While we were there we found out that the Pastor's son and his friend were starting a children and youth program. They had started to renovate some of the classrooms but didn't really have the skills needed to do everything they wanted done. So they prayed for someone to come and help them out. Turns out we were the team that showed up and helped them. The entire church appreciated everything we were able to get done during the three weeks . They had a Pot Luck dinner for us on our last Sunday there and centered their entire service around showcasing Nomads and even showed a slide show of our work. The hospitality of the church was great. It was a great project. Barnett has signed up for a project in 2023 and they plan to do some community service next time along with some more stuff they would like done at their church.
Sparr UMC, Sparr, Florida
We arrived at Sparr, Florida on a Friday and met with the church liaison. We found out quickly that this is a very mission oriented church. The main projects they had for us were in the community. One of the church members' mobile homes needed a new back deck and wheelchair ramp. We spent most of two weeks working at her house. Every morning the homeowner would leave us a card with a handwritten message of thanks and well wishes to start our day. One day we had talked in our morning time after devotions about how the deck was sturdy enough for an elephant to stand on it. The homeowner was not there to hear that but that day in her card she had drawn a picture of an elephant standing on her deck. Another highlight of that project was Jackie, one of the church members. Jackie plays the piano by ear, (he says the Lord gives him music to play). We asked him to conduct our devotions on the first Wednesday of the project. He came and we spent 20 minutes in praise and worship with Jackie playing the piano and singing. We got so much out of this devotion that we asked him to come back for the next two Wednesdays and he graciously did. Jackie really hated to see us go, he said he was going to cry on Sunday when we were not there for worship.
These are just a few examples of how Nomads work as the hands and feet of God and how we can never give as much to these organizations as we get back from them.
Tammy and Rodney Ripley
Satellite Beach UMC P-3-19 report! We want to tell a little about Satellite Beach UMC and the project. The church works with the fire and police departments in Satellite Beach. When those departments go to a home and see they need help, they give Satellite Beach UMC their names and when the Nomads come they work on those homes.
Here is a little story: NOMADS Gary Baker and Bill Watkins were working in the parking lot at the church and a fire truck stopped and told them of a man that could not get his water to shut off. After Gary and Bill got the homeowner's liability release paper to sign and okayed it with us and Frank (our agency contact), they went and fixed his water. The fire department knew they could count on the Nomads. The city wants the Nomads there all the time!! What a testimony!
We worked on 24 homes, they were widows in their 90's or could not afford to pay someone, plus we did lots of work around the church. Gene and I would like to brag on our team! They were workers that would not slow down. Not only this team but all the teams we have lead and been team members on are workers! We are very proud to be NOMADs!
Gene and Mary Ann Coulter
While serving as Chaplain at David & Margaret Home in La Verne, CA, I was first introduced to NOMADS and their wonderful work of mission building. “When I retire, that’s what I want to do!” I vowed to myself! Over the next twenty years, I pastored churches, while hubby, Chris, worked and extensively volunteered in construction. Upon retirement, not knowing which end of the hammer to hold, I finally got my opportunity! Now after having served on about a dozen NOMADS teams, I own my very own hammer! I can paint, install flooring, sand drywall, build shelves, sew curtains, clean-up messes, and lots of other tasks I never would have thought possible for me! Most of all though, I visit! I suppose I spend 45 minutes out of every volunteer hour visiting! I love swapping stories, prayers, and scripture with those we serve, our agencies, and other team members. With regards to physical labor, I feel like a slacker, but seriously, even though life commitments limit our serving to two or three projects a year, through NOMADS, God richly fills my life full of blessed opportunities to share his love!
Rev. Susan Grove, July 2018
Our first NOMADS project was in March 1989 at Lakeview Methodist Camp near Palestine, Texas. We were one of ten couples there, on the final project of the NOMADS’ first year, all led by Hawley and Dottie Fabrick. We have enjoyed several of those friendships over many years, including the early NOMADS reunions at the Burman farm in Iowa and a work trip to Alaska.
Our team at Lakeview removed and replaced tile; replaced toilets; and painted walls in dorms; and sanded, sealed and painted dorm doors. We cut wood that had been downed by a tornado a year earlier; planted trees; and scraped and repainted benches in an outdoor worship area. We enjoyed at least one potluck and other meals and good times together.
Twenty three years later, we returned to Lakeview as drop-in NOMADS, in January 2012. We painted two classrooms and an outdoor sheltered walkway and made 45 bluebird houses with cedar supplied by the camp. Palestine staff members had a great time watching videos taken in 1989 by our team members, and especially enjoyed seeing the changes made at the camp since then.
During many of the past 25 winters, we have worked two projects, occasionally three, and we’re grateful to God for the privilege to worship, work with and enjoy many wonderful NOMADS over the years. And thanks to Carla for her TLC for all of us who are NOMADS.
Bill and Virginia Lee, early and long-time NOMADS members
submitted for our 25 year anniversary history book
Wow, if we had known about Nomads, we would have retired a long time ago!
At the top of our "bucket list" is sharing our faith with our grandchildren and others through mission projects. We wondered how we could combine that with number two on the list......own another RV and travel to family and friends.
I "googled" RV mission projects and NOMADS was the answer!
We are completing our second project and know that we have found the way to fulfill both dreams. We have worked with wonderful people who have the common goal of a servant's heart: leaving God's fingerprints and footprints when we are gone from the project or this earth!
Wade and Betsy Weaver
Two little boys’ faces suddenly appeared outside the open window where we were working at Murphy Harpst Children's Center on our NOMADS project. The freckle faced boy asked “Can we come in?”
“No,” I said, “it’s too dangerous in here and we wouldn’t want you to get hurt.”
“What’s all that noise in there?” Freckle Face hollered.
“That’s saws and hammers and other tools working.” I shouted back over the noise.
“What are you making?” he asked.
“We’re making this building into a new dorm.” I replied.
“Who’s it gonna be for?” he wanted to know.
“It’s for you!” I said.
“FOR US??” both boys asked as their faces lighted up.
“WOW! They’re making this a dorm for us!” They both informed the group of children from which they had broken away. They ran to rejoin the group as their counselors beckoned them to do so.
It suddenly occurred to me that, as the hands and feet of Jesus, we have the privilege of providing a place for these kids to live in safety. That is a new experience for them. These kids at Murphy Harpst Children’s Center have been tossed about by all around them in their young lives. If we can help provide a safe place for them to live away from the abuse they’ve known, that is our reward for doing this work as NOMADS!
Mary Jo Reeves
September 26, 2014 in Cedartown, Georgia
HERE'S WHAT NOMADS DO: We left the annual meeting in Branson on Saturday and were traveling to Mt. Eagle retreat center near Clinton, Arkansas. As we were traveling our truck broke down on 65 highway about 40 miles from our destination at Mt. Eagle. While pulling our fifth-wheel up one of those mountains the truck lost power and we were barely able to climb the mountain. We were able to pull into an abandoned gas station at the top of the mountain right under a cell phone tower (God is good). We called our emergency roadside service. After waiting 3 hours, a tow truck came and towed us about 8 miles to an RV park. We were unable to find any repair shops open on Saturday so we had to wait it out. We called Lu Harding at Mt. Eagle and told her what was happening. She offered her help and was genuinely sorry we were stranded. I called a Dodge dealer on Monday morning and was able to limp the truck into the repair shop. After diagnosis the mechanic found the clutch was bad. I asked them to fix it . They did and we got the truck back on Wednesday afternoon.
In the meantime I called Dennis and Nancy Williams to tell them we wouldn't be arriving Mt. Eagle as planned. They were scheduled to be there at the same time we were. They offered to come help us and they did. They picked us up at the Dodge dealer on Monday afternoon and we went back to the RV park and Dennis pulled our fifth-wheel over to Mt. Eagle. We now felt much safer and comfortable among NOMADS friends. We hitched a ride back to the repair shop with Paul and Sally Beezley. They were very willing to give us a ride.
This "bump-in-the-road" is like what many NOMADS have experienced in the past and have watched their fellow NOMADS come the rescue. It's reassuring to know that even out on the road we are not alone; God is with us and so is our NOMADS family.
Pete and Sandy Grayum
September 18, 2014
The Big Inning
I heard once that God created the earth during a baseball game, more specifically, the big inning. I never knew all that much about the Bible but I remembered that bit of humor when my memory could not hold on to other jokes. The only other line, or Scripture, I held in memory was the beginning of the 23rd Psalm: The Lord is My Shepherd. Through my years of wandering apart from the Lord, I kept those words as my source of strength. Following the birth of my beautiful daughter, I began attending church services and learned much more about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Though my spiritual path, as I heard it called, led me slowly through processes of the church, I did not learn much about whom the Lord was or what He meant or should mean to me. I kept some distance from the Lord for many years. I thought life was good, relatively speaking. I had a wife, a family, a home, a job, and things. What I did not have was love. It seemed to me that often times in this world love is elusive, seen only occasionally on the faces of an elderly couple who speak a language known only between them. I wish I could find that kind of love before my time on this earth ends.
Aside from the "big inning," my beginning came at the end of life, as I knew it. That is a long and perhaps boring story but one that is very personal and important to me. In short, back in the summer of 2010 I was searching for a purpose in life. I had recently ended a 38-year career and found myself with no wife, no job, a new place to live, a new quietness upon sending my kids off to college, and a new problem. That problem was what to do with myself, what purpose did I have in life, was this all life had to offer. I liked being involved in mission work and projects relating to disaster planning and response. I volunteered as a disaster team coordinator with my local church conference and became an UMCOR disaster team trainer. This was enjoyable work but there had to be more. It took me a while but through word of mouth, I found and joined a group called United Methodist NOMADS. NOMADS offered me opportunities to help people in need and travel to new and interesting places -- two things I loved. It was so easy. I would go on-line, select a few projects, and soon I was off on new adventures. Generally, the work descriptions were things I had never done. No matter. I went anyway.
I am not one who goes around preaching about Jesus Christ and God. Rather, I wander the world helping people in need. I go where my Lord and Savior guide me. I have few, if any, building skills but I do whatever work needs to be done. Though I may not be technically qualified to work as a carpenter, plumber, or whatever, the Lord blesses me with just enough knowledge to do the work. Often, the Lord provides another NOMADS team member who enables me to contribute what I can. I take along a few tools and sometimes I have the chance to use them. However, I do have a few things that come in handy -- ears for listening, eyes for conveying compassion, hands for holding or working, a smile for those who need to see a smile, and a heart for caring. Through NOMADS, I found the love that the Holy Spirit brings to those who accept the Living Christ.
The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful desire for serving him by doing whatever I can. All credit goes to the Lord who sends me.
We were recruited to join NOMADS by church friends, Dick and Jane Davenny, who had encouraged us to join for a long time. Our first "real" experience was in 1998 in Calexico, CA where they were leading a NOMADS" team. (At the time we were still working with Winnebago Itasca Travelers and traveling all over the country and had stopped to visit with the Davennys in Calexico. They encouraged us to stay for a few days and help so we could see how the team was operated, etc.) Though we only worked with the Team a few days, they welcomed us, encouraged us, and we knew that we wanted to be part of this mission group in the future.
Our first "official" NOMADS project was at the Travelers" Aid Society of Tucson in February, 2000, with Dick and Jane Davenny, Leaders, Cal & Donna Kenau, Ted and Imogene Hulett, Dolf & Dorothy Degger and Mickey Flewwelling. In our thirteen years as NOMADS, we"ve averaged two projects a year (27 so far) and led eleven. We"ve worked mainly in churches and agencies in the southwest, but also a couple of projects in Washington State and a memorable one at Heifer International in Arkansas.
Though we"ve never felt led to join mission groups to other countries, we cannot begin to express how it feels to work with such a dedicated, faithful group of Christians as our fellow NOMADS. We would encourage anyone with an RV who likes to travel & help others, and meet, live and work with fellow Christians, to consider joining NOMADS-- "rebuilding lives, homes and facilities with God"s love and our hands."
Charles and Carol Townsend
I must share the wonderful experience the Pharr team had working with the PCOP (Pharr Community Outreach Program) during period 1 of 2013. A loving granddaughter had contacted PCOP and requested a team to make her 80 year old grandmother's house livable again. In the course of her 40 years living in the small house Grandmother had provided help for many people in need. Her granddaughter felt her grandmother deserved a blessing. The most obvious problem was the concrete block wall which leaned way out almost beyond the roof line, so the first task was to remove 2 walls and rebuild the bathroom. The tiny kitchen had to be gutted and remodeled. Windows and siding and roof were replaced and walls and ceiling repaired and painted. The transformation of the house was unbelievable. But the most amazing part was not the work, but the love and gratitude that was shown to us by the two ladies and several family members as they hugged us and prayed for us each day. The relationships we developed blessed us as much or even more than the blessing of a new house for them. The people served by the PCOP are in dire need and are very appreciative.
We came to know about NOMADS through our fulltime travels around the country on our Bighorn 5th wheel. We heard from various church congregations about the organization and what Nomads is trying to do. Since leaving our home church in Appleton Wisconsin, we had been participating in witnessing opportunities such as leading Bible studies, attending Sunday school classes, and witnessing with individuals. The Bible studies were lightly attended, so we searched NOMADS on the internet to see if it was a fit for us. We thought that it might be, so we decided to join. After more than a year of our travels and not matching up with any of the projects, we finally signed up for the Bastrop TX DR project. While all of this was taking place, we offered to write a devotion for the weekly newsletter. Then while waiting for the DR project to take place, we had a turn for the worse in our physical health and also had an accident with the RV. These circumstances led to our cancelation of the project support. We had been able to continue the devotions that were receiving positive feedback and now we pray for the continuing efforts of writing the weekly devotions. We believe that NOMADS has something for everyone.
Kasy and Kathy King
Our interest in mission work began when the congregation of the church we had attended for 9 years split over the issue of relocating and constructing a new facility. We joined our friends in staying at the old church, in downtown Rogers, Arkansas and formed a new United Methodist congregation. Our first pastor was a retired missionary who served many years in Chile. As we collectively worked to get the new church going, we came to greatly appreciate the grace, leadership, and love of Christ our new, already once retired minister brought to the work of being a servant Church, doing God's work.
Oh, yes, we also frequently heard wonderful stories of Chile and how we really needed to go there on a mission trip. In a few years, the trip to Chile became a reality with a two week trip to the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, followed by a return trip a couple of years later to rebuild a church camp in central Chile. We returned from these mission experiences with an elevated interest in serving others and our Lord through mission work.
On a later trip to Sager-Brown, we met Suzanne Cronin, who in a conversation about RVs, told us about NOMADS and shared some of her project experiences. We checked out the website, and agreed that we needed to do that! However, it was several years later, after retirement, when we got around to joining. After the first project, our questions were, "Are all the projects this good? Why did we wait so long to join? When can we go again?" We have since worked projects from Florida to Texas to Illinois, and have come to love and appreciate all that NOMADS stands for, as well as all the wonderful people who we have met, both as team members and agency clients. We intend to continue our NOMADS work as long as we are able, and truly believe that NOMADS brings meaningful retirement to those who have the desire to serve the Lord.
Dan and Virgie Brown
Over 5 years ago while I was serving as the 1/2 time pastor of the Danville, VT United Methodist Church we had 2 guests for our Sunday morning worship service. I greeted the visitors and asked about the NOMADS lapel pins they were wearing. After my brief introduction to NOMADS I asked the couple to share a description of NOMADS with the congregation during worship. Previously, I knew nothing about NOMADS.
Several years later when I decided to fully retire NOMADS came to mind as a place where Karen and I could volunteer. In the Fall of '11 Karen and I volunteered to work on our first NOMADS project at Camp Casowasco in the NY Finger Lakes. Karen was particularly excited with the Casowasco opportunity since she had attended the camp as a child. Unfortunately, I was admitted to the ICU with Afib the week before our arrival at camp and we had to cancel our participation. In October 2013 Karen will finally return to Casowasco when we volunteer for the project there.
I learned about the NOMADS prayer chain and requested intercession since my Afib was very serious and I had a surgical ablation on Jan. 4, 2012. NOMADS members held me in prayer, sent cards, and 1 member even sent a prayer tapestry which we have kept in our living room or RV. The sponsorship and support of NOMADS members is deeply appreciated. In 2012 we have participated in 3 NOMADS projects and attended the annual reunion.
We have cherished our NOMADS friendships, serving the Lord in a variety of ways, and working with many fine persons of deep Christian faith. We regret that my mother-in-law's recent final illness and death prevented our participation in periods 2 and 3 projects in Florida. However, we look forward to years of future NOMADS involvement and the reunion in 2013.
As I sit to write at the end of the first week of Project One, I'm reminded why I'm a member of NOMADS. In this organization I'm given the opportunity to be in ministry with others in very unique ways. I saw Christ this week in the local church people who raised funds for materials, in the community home owner who gave me a hug, in the local pastor, in the Nomads on our team, and yes, even in the dirt and paint. Where did you see Christ this week? Membership in NOMADS is a blessing to be savored.
Joan Goebel, Membership Committee Chair
The Lord's Lessons in Gore, Oklahoma -
There are times when the Lord either causes situations to happen or places you in the path of others for learning. We spend most of our lives learning, even when we think we know it all or can learn it by ourselves. It is interesting to see how the Lord orchestrates natural forces and our lives to prove His presence, His love, and His control, all to teach us a lesson in life.
One of my most memorable projects with NOMADS was at the United Methodist Boy's Ranch outside of Gore, Oklahoma. In three short weeks, the Lord blessed me with many valuable lessons. The Lord presented me with challenges that tested my humility, patience, futility, and patience. At the outset, I was excited to be working on a ranch and helping to better the lives of boys who lived there. It did not matter to me what brought them to the Boy's Ranch, I was anxious to serve the Lord by being a mechanism of change or being a model to the young men. I realize every NOMADS project is different, much like the uniqueness of the many missions where I had previously served. This experience tested my tolerance, fortitude, and endurance. I sustained myself on faith that my Lord had led me there for a purpose. I just did not know what that purpose was.
The project at the Ranch began with my arrival on Saturday evening. Within minutes, a woman told me that everyone was attending a pie auction at a local church. She invited me to go and ride with her and her husband. The pie auction was nice and it was perhaps the first auction that I attended and didn't buy anything. This is not to say I didn't want to. I had my eye on one of two very nice cherry pies. Due to what I may never understand, the pies were not in the plan of my life; they went to other people. Oh, well, at least I got to see them. I also got to see Elvis. He must have been hiding among the beautiful hills surrounding the pristine Lake Tenkiller. He paid a brief visit and sang a couple of songs. I did not get the chance to meet him up close but, like the pies, at least I got to see him too. He looked good for his age.
Sunday morning began with services at the Cookson United Methodist Church. It was a wonderful service. Oddly enough, the pastor seemed to resemble Elvis, in a manner of speaking. No, it couldn't have been. Everyone knows there is only one Elvis. "Uh-huh, uh-huh, thank ya very much." After church, our team gathered at a local trough for some good eats. I got a chance to meet everyone. As I had anticipated, all the NOMADS were very friendly and welcoming.
Assorted small jobs filled my first week. I helped replace seats on bleachers beside the horse arena, fix a door on the announcer's booth overlooking the arena, seal a new swinging bench that overlooked the lake, and seal two large wooden crosses. My second week included more small jobs. I helped install screen on a door and then mount it, mow around the bleachers, fix fencing around a chicken coop, and a little kitchen work. I enjoyed working in the kitchen, as I love to cook but rarely do. The leader in the kitchen was a volunteer not affiliated with the NOMADS. She was gracious to pass around her recipes but the time spent with her was almost more valuable. She divulged many secrets of cooking and ingredients. I kept a notebook at hand and soon had a full page of notes. For example, have you ever heard of adding Red Hots candies to applesauce and pies? I helped make cobblers and fried pies for serving or sale at the rodeo.
My evening activities included two campfires, one on the lake with hotdogs and 20 or so boys at the Ranch and the other on a rock outcropping overlooking a valley while listening to one of the volunteers play a 1941 Gibson guitar. I also participated in a community meal with the boys and staff. I enjoyed interacting with the boys, hearing their stories, and sharing great times. They seemed very polite, gracious, and hospitable. I guess I expected them to be a bit rougher inside and out.
The staff gave our team a tour of the Methodist Children's Home in nearby Tahlequah, which joins the Boy's Ranch under the Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care for Children and Youth program. The Children's Home houses girls. The boys and girls came together at the Ranch to participate in the rodeo and display their horse riding skills. Following the tour, we enjoyed a fantastic meal at a local BBQ restaurant. I have not yet experienced a NOMADS project where I went hungry.
Our NOMADS project officially ended on Thursday, but I volunteered to stay over and help with the rodeo. My job was "flag man" and I would raise a small flag to signal the timekeeper when riders began their riding competition. It was joyful to watch the kids show off their creativity when they acted out a skit put to a popular song. It was also fun to watch the kids ride around the arena. Some of the games included two riders side-by-side holding a rope while they circled barrels (without dropping the rope), a Pony Express relay race, and running calves the full length of the arena and then guiding the calf through a gate. Some of the kids were new to riding but all did very well. Oh, in case you are wondering where the Lord"s lessons were, they were incurred through dealing with other people, not the horses.
The NOMADS project at the Boy's Ranch was fun. I heard there is another NOMADS project at the Children's Home in Tahlequah. I would like to return to Oklahoma and participate in either project. Perhaps the Lord will guide you to that project also.
I did not want to retire but George did. I loved teaching and could not even imagine not going to work each day with a feeling of purpose. But after 38 years in the classroom I did it and have loved every minute since. The reason : NOMADS!
Camping in a pop-up camper every summer was the way we raised our 3 kids. So after they were gone we purchased a 30 ft. Class C and joined our local Good Sam Club. Loved it! Then one day I noticed a small picture of campers, parked in a row, on the back of a brochure I"d picked up at a UMW affair. It said that this was a group of NOMADS. It took me a while to track down what they were and what they did. But when I did, I told George " That"s what I want to do when we retire!" George was thrilled with the idea too. He loved to putter around his shop building stuff for family and friends. Give him a construction challenge and he"d go at it.
Then on our daily walk one afternoon I presented an idea to him. "Let"s sell the house and just live in an RV." After some time to think he embraced the idea. We bought a Class A motorhome, retired, sold our home and almost all our "stuff" then moved into our new home on wheels. Some of our friends looked at us like we had 2 heads when they heard but our kids were okay with it. So off we went.
We did our first NOMADS project in Mercedes, TX in January 2004 and are just now completing project number 74. We have traveled from coast to coast, Maine to Florida and from Wyoming to Arizona doing NOMADS. Only a few times have we repeated projects at the same facility. We average about 8 a year so there is still plenty of time to enjoy our kids and grandkids, and to take trips with our RV Club.
Through knee surgery, a broken hip and being rear ended by a semi we have found out how great retirement can be. God is certainly not through with us yet. He has lead us every inch of the way and has taken such good care of us. We love getting to tour our beautiful country, help others less fortunate, and being part of an ever growing family of NOMADS. Although we have begun to look for a small placeto be a home base, we still plan to keep on doing NOMADS until the Lord says "Enough, all ready!!!"
George and Terry Lair
As we approached retirement, we thought about becoming involved in something as volunteers that would allow us to help others and that would add purpose to our lives. A Nomad couple visited our congregation's worship service and over coffee told us about Nomads. Although we were United Methodists and had been involved in VIM projects, we didn't know about NOMADS. We thought Nomads was just what we were looking for, so we joined with another couple in 2008 when we retired from full time employment. Nomads fulfills that "purpose of going into all the world" for Christ and has blessed us as well.
Joan and Larry Goebel, northern Wisconsin
In 2005 my wife and I retired from our professional careers and took to the road of RVing across the USA. We had been active at our Church helping lead small groups, being host and going on mission projects. Leaving our church family was the hardest part of becoming a full time RVer.
We journeyed from community to community, and from time to time, stayed for months in one location enjoying our favorite climate and vacationing spots. As part of our core values we always enjoyed making ourselves at home with the nearby churches and were always seeking opportunities to serve and to be connected to the church. Although we had a heart for serving with small groups or Bible studies, our nomadic lifestyle prevented us from creating any meaningful experiences at the churches we visited. We had heard about RV groups that serve when they travel, the Nomads, Sowers, the Red Cross and other organizations, but we never seemed to get going in their direction.
Before l retired I was in law enforcement and came to realize that many times as a detective I was helping people when people needed help the most. I felt that helping people in crisis was God"s purpose in my life.
This past spring we were camping in southern Florida when we saw a Nomad sign on our neighbors coach and decided to ask them some questions about their organization. It was an enjoyable exchange of information and when we went home that evening we went onto the NOMAD web site and signed up. The time was right.
Right after signing up we read in the weekly on line newsletter that a project nearby needed a team member due to a cancellation. We called, were scheduled and arrived there the next day. We had a great experience getting to know the other Nomads and working on the project. Our second project was disaster rebuilding and that experience was even more revealing about the serving heart of Nomads. It has become clear that once again we were helping people when people need help the most. We felt that this is what God has wanted us to do since we first started RVing. Our talents were being used and expanded and we have a purpose. We feel connected to a church family again, not in a church building but out on the road as NOMADS.
Larry and Dorothy Mathias
Dear friends, we are newbies to the Nomads world and have only done one project. We have done several work projects with other organizations, but this was the best!
When we pulled into the town, our team was all standing at the curb to greet us. Everyone introduced themselves to us and helped us back in and get set up. We were even loaned a hose for our gray water. We felt a part of the group right away. We were assured that just because we were new, that did not make us strangers.
When we went to the church the next day, members of the congregation came running with hugs for us all (Nomads had worked at this site for several years). We had good team leaders and they were very considerate of the slight handicap that I have. If I (Char) did not feel well enough to work, I was excused or given an easier job for the day. I was even given time to work in the thrift shop for a couple of hours a week (I volunteer in a thrift shop at home and was having withdrawal symptoms!).
We are full time farmers and can only work one or two projects a year and you can bet that we will be signing up to work with the Nomads again! We have in fact signed up to work one project again next year and if our vacation holds out, we may do two projects next year. God has us right where he wants us, as last year, when we looked into projects in the area we wished to spend some winter time, they were already full! But a couple of days later one opened up!
You don't have to be full-time RVers to join the Nomads, nor do you need a fancy rig. Our rig is 20 years old and is really showing its age, but it did the trick so far!
With God's grace, we hope to meet up with some newbies and share the help we received.
Ernie and Char Laird, Shullsburg, Wisconsin - Fall 2012
"This is the first year for my wife and I to be in Park Rapids, Minnesota for Christmas. Driving out to Camp, I marveled at the beauty of the snow on the pine trees. Arriving at Northern Pines, it brought back memories of when we were young and enjoyed winter retreats and snowmobiling there.
Your volunteer work here is so much appreciated. When I reviewed the projects you NOMADS completed last summer, I am amazed at all you accomplished. Volunteers like you and others who are part of the Northern Pines camping program will never know how many lives have been changed here.
Again, I want to thank you for all your dedicated work in improving our campgrounds and buildings. I was thrilled to hear some of you are coming back next spring, and look forward to seeing you.
May the Holy Spirit bless you and your families this Christmas Season and in the coming New Year."
Philip O. Hess
Just wanted to share my observations, as a new NOMAD, completing my first project during period 1 of 2011, in Eustis , FL.
This should be THE project and team for new NOMADs. Despite, and maybe because of, the last minute leadership changes, this was one really terrific experience. I look forward to my next project, and if it is half as fulfilling, I will likely be a NOMAD for many years to come. Andy and Connie do an impressive job pulling everything together, organizing and supplying each project. I'm not sure how they do it, and I wouldn't want that job on a good day. John and Kitty, the Schylers and the Gollys, were great leaders and their various gifts complemented each other through the project needs.
The community is full of wonderful people, with the main manufacturing business shut-down, and a long commute to jobs. I found friendly, and deeply spiritual people, who appreciate NOMADs and are vocal about how we have improved the neighborhood. Even high school kids, stopped at one house we were painting to admire our work and to tell us how much better that corner was looking. Several neighbors stopped to ask how they could apply for help too. I was amused when 3 young men were walking by, and one was being critical of "a bunch of old white folk" interfering in the community; he then threw some trash on the front lawn. The other 2 chastised him quite harshly, and told him that these people were called NOMADs, and were there to help people. They then called out to me, "hey mister nomad!" and made the other boy pick up his trash and put it in the garbage. I was impressed, and suddenly became very aware of the REAL impact that NOMADs have had in that community.
Thank you and all the NOMADs for their many years of service. I am quite proud to wear my NOMADs name tag.
God's Blessings continue to pour down upon His people,
Mike Miller, Florida
"Why We Have Been NOMADS for Nine Years"
Why are we members of NOMADS? Why would anyone travel thousands of miles, with gas at $2.80 a gallon, to go around the country doing volunteer projects?
The joy of NOMADS is in the new relationships we build as we follow Jesus' instructions to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." (Mark 12:31) When we joined NOMADS, we expanded our "neighborhood" from the general area of our hometown in Nebraska, to our "neighborhood" of all 50 states, and even the international community.
We have built new relationships:
--With a young pastor bringing Christ to children in the inner city of Phoenix, Arizona, where we worked on their church.
--With 200 teenagers expanding their Christian faith at a Methodist Camp in New York, where we worked on camp maintenance and office work.
--With two widows who are neighbors in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where we insulated and sheet rocked their homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
--With Senora Rios whose home was damaged by a serious fire in Rio Grande City, Texas, where we put new ceilings, walls and doors in her home.
--With world-wide missions on an international scope, as we volunteered at the Heifer International ranch in Arkansas and ECHO Project farm in Florida.
--With fellow NOMADS as we are inspired by their life stories and service, and
--With Jesus, as we grow in faith through using our hands in His service.
When we retired, we chose to spread the blessings that we have enjoyed throughout our lives. We recommend NOMADS for retirees looking for "Retirement with a Purpose".
Arlin and Sue Kiel
FROM A NOMADS AGENCY (project recipient)
Without a doubt the NOMADS were an absolute blessing in our church family during the three weeks that they were with us. We not only appreciated all the hard work, effort and hours they put into the final stage of our new fellowship addition, but we also enjoyed their personalities, sharing of bread, participation in our church services, their funny stories and their genuine love and friendship they all demonstrated while they were with us. In fact, it was very hard to see them go. My little son (3 years old) even became attached to one of the NOMADS and said that he was “very sad” that they left us. Money-wise our project director informed me that they saved us about $15,000 in labor alone while they were with us. Indeed, without their contribution and labor, we would have run out of the monies we had allocated for our expansion project. Thus we are truly indebted and grateful to this NOMADS team.
Pastor, St Matthews UMC in Amarillo, TX
St Matthews UMC in Amarillo, TX
We Were Bored as Full-time RVer Tourists!
Early in our marriage we established that we didn’t want to retire where either of us grew up. As we considered where we did want to retire, Rob asked if I would like to "full-time" in an RV. Well, no, I did not!! Then he asked me if I would try it for a year. Well, okay, we had been married for over 20 years, so I was determined to be open-minded and try it.
We both retired and moved from our military quarters right into our RV. We loved it. However, after six months we realized we were bored as full-time tourists and we were missing something.
We joined NOMADS in 2000 and found exactly what we had been missing as full-time RVers. We were missing our church, our sense of connection and our volunteering. In our 10 years as NOMADS we have met so many wonderful NOMADS as well as the people we have worked for. We feel we now have many churches! We now have connections with NOMADS friends across the country and every day we feel so very blessed. We have both had the opportunity to learn new skills as well as teach new skills to other NOMADS. In NOMADS we found a combination of meaningful work that allowed us to give back some of what God has given us and have fun while we do it. (NOMADS do eat well and have a great time together).
We invite you to be part of this valuable ministry. Wherever you travel, whatever project you choose to work on, you will not be disappointed!
Rob and Jeannie Coe
"We are an older couple living in Pascagoula, Mississippi. We have experienced hurricanes for many years, but Hurricane Katrina was such that we could not believe the damage. We lost everything--all we had left was a roof, outside wall and damaged floors."
"We were at a point where we did not know what we would do, or where we would turn, when one morning someone came to our door and said, 'We came to work'. These people were NOMADS. They came in and started to put our house back in shape. We know God had sent them to us. That group was Rob and Jeannie Coe, Bob and Linda Edwards, and Ron and Becky Hoblit with their granddaughter Kristan. They worked so hard in our home, and it was like we had known them forever. There are never enough words to say how much we appreciated all their work; and we really wonder how we ever deserved it. We just wanted to let you know how much we loved each one; and we will never forget the wonderful things they are doing to help people like us."
"We are about to get it all done and without your help, we would have never made it.
Again, Thanks, Bill and Christine Grubbs"
NOTE: We received this letter from Bill and Christine Grubbs. We were on the NOMADS team that repaired their home in the spring of 2006. It was some of the hardest NOMADS work we have ever done--nothing was square, nothing was level, everything was a custom cut but it was by far the most rewarding work we have ever done. One of the last things we did was set up their bedroom furniture so they could finally sleep in their own house after 7 months in their FEMA trailer. The looks on their faces were one of the greatest gifts we have ever received! --NOMADS
Bill and Christine Grubbs
Caswell Springs UMC DR Project