UIM International and SOWERs
We spent the first three weeks of November 2013 at UIM
, a SOWER's project in Glendale, Arizona. SOWERs
are "Servants on Wheels Ever Ready", born-again Christian RVers who
provide services to Christ-based ministries across the United States
with a few projects in Canada. Ministries wishing to receive
services petition the SOWER office in Lindale, Texas. The home
office provides an online list of currently available projects.
SOWER info can be obtained at http://sowerministry.org/
We chose UIM International as it was only four miles from our last
location in Glendale, Arizona. This is the UIM office situated on
eight acres. UIM International's ministry is providing church
planting and Christian camping for U.S. Native Americans, Canadian
First Nation, some tribes in Mexico and some Hispanics in the U.S.
From the UIM publication, "The Missionary Services Center in
Glendale, Arizona, is home to UIM's director, business manager,
accountants, printer and mail-room personnel, mechanic, facility
manger and hostess -- all providing vital services to UIM's
missionary staff scattered across North America. For more
information on UIM see http://www.uiminternational.org/
Philip and Jeanette are the facilities managers at the Services
Center. Jeanette has her hands full with raising four children and
home schooling and helping Philip with a variety of events that
happen on the premises. The eight acres was owned by 95 years young
Ruth who herself has been a missionary for decades. Ruth donated
the property to UIM. Philip and his family live on the property in
one part of a duplex. The other unit is rented out to visiting
missionaries at $10 per night (as of 11-2013).
UIM provides three RV sites with 50 amps, water and sewer. Laundry
and showers are available. Of the four SOWERs projects we have
worked, this has been our nicest accommodations. Some SOWER's
projects do not allow pets, some on a leash, but here all we had to
do is keep Mandy out of the buildings. Mandy fell in love with all
This main office is staffed and busy with receiving donations and
mail, accounting and distributing funds to the missionaries. They
create, print and mail brochures and newsletters for each mission
project. Philip has his hands full with building maintenance,
landscaping, watering, mowing, disposing trash, running errands and
working in the auto shop. Being overwhelmed, he reached out to
SOWERs and we came to help. While UIM worked with SOWERs years ago,
we were the first couple to come since they re-applied. Typically
men and women work on different tasks but we were the only couple
this month, so we worked many projects together, which made it fun.
Our first project was ripping out weeds and bushes in front of the
office and replacing them with gravel beds.
One day was spent by Pete mowing the four acres of grass and mowing
under the 60 or so grapefruit trees.
Every Christmas many of the pastors from the local Native American
churches come to UIM to receive donations. This "Christmas" room
was filled with dozens and dozens of quilts and many more personal
items and supplies. Also on the days they come they will pick
grapefruit from the trees and share a meal. Ellen, with some help
from Pete, assembled 4000 gift packs with nutrition and treat bars
and Christian tracts.
On premises is a very nice auto and RV shop. Rod, an ASE certified
mechanic, provides repairs and maintenance for missionary's
vehicles. They bill out the parts at cost and charge only $7 per
hour (as of 11-2013). This wonderful service is a tremendous
financial help to the all of UIM's missionaries.
Philip also has 20 years of auto maintenance experience. In order
for Phil to have time to help Rod, SOWERs are needed to relieve
Philip of some of his other duties. We were willing to do whatever
they needed. SOWERs work six hours per day, four days a week for
three weeks. This is only 72 hours. A typical eight hour a day job
is 176 hours a month. In return SOWERs get full hookups for four
weeks. So we can explore the area after work at 3:30, and on
Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus the full last week. It's a good
deal for everyone.
We trimmed this fig tree. Prior photos would have shown the limbs
hanging down too low to mow under the tree. We learned of an
incredible service by the City of Glendale. Once a month the city
will pick up any size pile of trash and debris as shown here.
1) This fun project was a makeover for the bathroom in the duplex.
We removed the sink, light and toilet. Then the walls and trim were
patched, sanded and painted. A new sink, light and mirror were
installed. 2) One day we just cleaned the rental apartment
(whatever it takes!).
1) The rental apartment needs to be painted. We did not have time
to do that, but were able to remove and replace ten window sills.
The sills were cut, routed, sanded, primed, painted and glued into
place. Then caulked and trimmed. 2) Our final project was creating
a kitchen cabinet door. We used C/D plywood to match the current
doors. Out of time, but no worries mate, the next SOWER's group
will paint it.
This was a great SOWER project with wonderful hosts and a nice
sites. And just seven miles away was Smashburger. We discovered
Smashburger in Kentucky and it is by far our favorite burger chain
in North America. Trust us, we have tried them all.
We will spend Thanksgiving with Ellen's cousins and slowly work our
way back to SLO county by Christmas. Thanks for traveling with us
and be blessed and thankful for what the Lord has done for you.
Love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy