contributed by Shelley and Roy Lee, Central District Disaster Response Coordinators
Hello from south Texas!
About two years ago, Roy and I discovered a truth about disaster response: when it’s busy, it’s REALLY busy, but while we are enjoying “blue skies,” the deployments are few and far between. Roy and I serve as the Central District Disaster Response Coordinators. We were busy for nearly a year during the Arkansas River floods of 2019. But 2020 was blessedly quiet, so we looked for another avenue of service within the UMC. We found it – NOMADS.
NOMADS are Methodist retirees with campers and RVs willing to travel (at their own cost) up north in the summer and south in the winter to work on renovation projects for churches and other affiliated agencies. Six to ten people, both couples and singles, bring their RVs and hook up at a campground provided by the agency.
Projects are varied, from carpentry and painting to yard care and repairs. There is a skill level and workload for everyone, thanks to good team leaders and liaisons with the agency.
We are in Raymondville, TX, this month at the United Methodist Church. Three couples and one single are here for three weeks with their tools, work boots, and paint-spattered t-shirts. We are working on the homes of people in the community and on projects at the church itself.
Days start with a devotional and team meeting; then, it’s off to job sites till lunch. More work in the afternoon until it’s time to call it a day.
We are blessed with a congenial team with members from Arkansas, Minnesota, New York, and Maryland. We have good team leaders who know how to organize. Three of our group members are full-time RVers, who spend most of the winter on project after project across the southern US. Others, like Roy and me, work to schedule two or three projects a year. One couple is completing their 70th project!
People say the NOMADS are the best-kept secret in the UMC. We say it’s a secret worth telling!
If you or someone in your church would like more information about the NOMADS ministry, contact CEdisaster@arumc.org.