Retirement … What’s That?
As we approached the ripe old age of our late sixties, we couldn’t find the word retirement in the Bible, so we wondered what the Lord had for us to do in our winding down years. Having been involved in various Christian ministries over the years, our desire was to do something that would be meaningful for Him.
In January, four years ago, a group of five couples came to Hobe Sound Bible College to work for four weeks as volunteers. They were part of an organization called Roving Volunteers in Christ’s Service (RVICS). We invited them for Sunday dinner, asked many questions, and they left an application with us.
By the next day our application was in the mail.
In May we were on our way to our first project. We did three projects the first year, five projects the second year, seven projects last year and seven projects again this year. Some of these numbers include joining another organization called Servants on Wheels Ever Ready (SOWERS).
Below are some of the requirements to join RVICS and some other information about the organization.
1. All members are Christians from differing church backgrounds. Theological differences are never discussed among the team members, just that we love the Lord and want to do something for Him in our later years.
2. Each volunteer couple has their own RV. There are all sizes and types among us.
3. Each project location is required to provide a site with full hook ups for all RVs. A few projects have provided meals if they are serving others on site. All travel expenses are absorbed by us as volunteers. The project provides all materials and supplies for work that we are assigned. We never know what the work will consist of until we arrive.
4. The men work six hours a day Monday through Wednesday, and three hours on Thursday. The women work three hours in the morning Monday through Thursday.
5. Every project is different. Jim has learned a lot about different trades including carpentry, laying ceramic tile, painting, roofing, remodeling, new construction, etc. Usually the RVICS men on the project have had some experience in whatever is needed. Many times Jim is just a helper to the experienced man. The women usually do a combination of light cleaning, painting, yard work, office work, kitchen work, sewing, etc. Joyce has gained some new skills in the kitchen and painting projects.
6. Each team member takes a turn leading the half hour morning team devotions we have together each working day.
7. On Fridays we usually go as a group for some sightseeing in the area.
8. The first Sunday we usually attend the host church and then we are free to attend the church of our choice. It has been interesting to observe that the teams who come to Hobe Sound usually return rather than going elsewhere. They love the singing and preaching. Can’t blame them!
9. Pets are not allowed on projects in this organization.
10. The projects are all with Christian organizations – camps, conference centers, churches, colleges, of various denominations or independent organizations.
If you want more information about RVICS go to www.rvics.com and you can download an application.
SOWERS also has Christian volunteers who go to Christian organizations to volunteer. We joined SOWERS because RVICS has a very limited number of projects for July and August and we wanted to get out of Florida in the summer.
Some of the differences between the two organizations are:
1. The hours worked are the same, except the men work all day Thursday instead of a half day.
2. Their projects are for three weeks vs. four weeks in RVICS.
3. They do not have an organized tour day on Fridays. Everyone is free to make their own plans.
4. Pets are allowed on projects.
5. SOWERS publishes a list every two months of the projects available and they usually have many more projects than people to fill them. RVICS publishes a list in the summer for the next year and do not have as many projects to choose from. Their projects are filled on a first-come first-served basis. Projects for both organizations are all over the US and even a couple in Canada.
If you want more information about SOWERS go to http://sowerministry.org.
As volunteers, we’ve enjoyed being able to be a part of a group making a difference throughout the country. At one project at a small Bible College, we were laying tile in a bathroom in a Men’s Dorm and ran out of material. The college did not have the funds to buy the rest of the tile needed, so our RVIC’s team chipped in and gave them enough money to buy the rest of the materials. That way the bathrooms would be ready when school opened again in the Fall.
On every project the folks so appreciate the work the teams are able to accomplish and in some cases the work would not get done unless we as a team came and did the work.
In summary, if you like to travel, if you like to meet new people, if you like to be a blessing to those who need and will appreciate your help and you have an RV you can live in for weeks at a time…RVICS and/or SOWERS may be a ministry you should consider.