RVs on a mission: NOMADS hosted by Wesley UMC Conway

For 10 weeks in the fall of 2014, the RV park of Wesley United Methodist Church Conway stayed busy, with five to seven recreational vehicles occupying its spaces.

NOMADS RVs at Wesley UMC Conway

NOMADS RVs at Wesley UMC Conway

Some readers may wonder, Why does one of our churches have an RV park?

The quick answer: To give travelers a place to land while they serve.

The RV park, made possible by a Central District Missions Committee grant, money from Wesley UMC itself and disaster response funds from the Arkansas Conference, hosts Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service (NOMADS), a mission ministry of the United Methodist Church.

With its location between Mayflower and Vilonia—two of the communities hit hardest by the April 27 tornado that ripped through central Arkansas—Wesley UMC Conway has made an ideal base camp for NOMADS, all of whom must bring their own RVs for lodging.

In late 2014, the NOMADS staying on the church’s property went out to build porches and ramps, complete the inside of one home and begin an addition to another home, plus complete interior work on that home’s existing space.

Upon completion of each construction job, the NOMADS sign a Bible and offer prayers for the homeowners and family as they present the Bible to them. They also mark helpful passages to encourage the survivor families.

NOMADS will return to Conway for 13 weeks in the Spring of 2015 to help with more long-term recovery and rebuilding.

Participants have come from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Colorado, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana and Arkansas. They have shared their skills with families who have lost nearly everything. Tim and Ellie Brubaker of Michigan and Jerrel and Linda Fielder of Arkansas served as NOMADS coordinators for the recent projects.

On Thanksgiving Day, members of NOMADS, Wesley UMC and the Mayflower-based Interfaith and Partners Disaster Response Alliance shared a dinner with families affected by the tornado, as well as families who participate in The Bread Basket, the church’s food pantry. The meal fed 47 persons in attendance, and a large number of to-go boxes were prepared to share with neighbors and other family members not able to attend.

Wesley UMC Conway also is preparing to host Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), a Mennonite group that will arrive in January to build two homes per month. CAM will have about 40 people in the area at a time.

To learn more about the ministry of NOMADS, visit www.nomadsumc.org.

—information provided by Rev. David Baker, pastor, Wesley UMC Conway