UIM International and SOWERs

We spent the first three weeks of November 2013 at UIM International, 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 the grass.

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

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