NOMADS are on a Mission with RVs, Adventurous Spirits, and Hearts for Christian Service
NOMADS serving at Murphy-Harpst in Cedartown.
By Sybil Davidson
NOMADS have been “on the road” in service for 35 years and there’s room for more to join their numbers. This mission outreach group completes approximately 150 projects for United Methodist ministry partners each year across the United States.
Participants must have an RV (recreational vehicle), an adventurous spirit, and a heart for Christian service work. NOMADS are predominantly retirees, and a mix of couples and singles.
“The work is primarily remodeling, maintenance, plumbing, electrical, and construction,” explained Carla Kinsey of Arkansas, Program Administrator for NOMADS.
NOMADS assist Methodist churches, children’s homes, colleges, camps, and work with outreach ministries and disaster recovery projects across the United States. There are eight project sites here in Georgia, including Murphy-Harpst in Cedartown, Glisson in Dahlonega, and Wesley Glen in Macon.
A typical assignment is three weeks, serving Monday through Thursday.
NOMADS provide labor as well as their own food and housing by way of their RV. The ministry being served typically provides the supplies and materials for their project.
“There is a need for NOMADS with a variety of skills,” explained Jim Reeves who serves as a NOMAD along with his wife Mary Jo.
Interestingly, NOMADS are retirees from any profession. The vast majority are not contractors.
“If you’re willing to help, there is a job for you,” Jim said. “God brings the right people with the right skills to the project!”
Mary Jo shared a story of 87-year-old, Sara.
“On a project at Hinton Rural Life Center, Sara worked the saw! At 87, she’s still going strong!” said Mary Jo.
A typical Nomads project has at least three rigs involved, but may have up to 8 depending on the amount of work needed by the agency, explained Carla.
As a Nomad, you pick the projects you would like to participate in and there’s no annual or minimum commitment. Some NOMADS choose to participate one year and take off the next. Others tackle multiple projects every year.
Because the work week is Monday through Thursday, NOMADS often find a nearby United Methodist Church for worship on Sundays. Sometimes they’ll visit three churches during their three-week stay!
Occasionally, a volunteer may rent an RV to participate, but virtually all Nomads own their rig.
“During the COVID era many people purchased RVs,” said Morris Henderson, a member of McEachern Memorial UMC who joined NOMADS in 2017. “This is a wonderful way to use that RV, see the country, and be a part of needed Christian service.”
There are currently 27 NOMADS who reside in Georgia and some travel all over the country.
“NOMADS become a family,” said Carla. “Our annual meeting, which moves from Jurisdiction to Jurisdiction, is like a family reunion! The meeting includes fellowship, education, and training.”
Mary Jo and Jim joined in 2005. They are active at both Due West UMC and Marietta First UMC. They have participated in 40 Nomads projects in 17 years.
“We enjoyed traveling once we retired, but we found ourselves too often just playing tiddlywinks in the RV. This service travel has kept us healthy and alive. The rewards are so much greater than anything we give,” said Mary Jo.
NOMADS is a 501c3 and has an Advance number through Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.
“It’s important to know that the volunteers pay our own way, pay our own gas – any fundraising that is done is to support ministries we serve,” explained Mary Jo.
“We raise funds to give away,” shared Jim. “For instance, those funds may go to pay for drywall, paint, or other supplies.”
The NOMADS organization often provides up to $2k to ministries they’re serving so they can purchase needed project materials, in addition to the volunteer labor.
Another way to support NOMADS is through the Vehicle Donation Program. The program accepts boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, tractors, airplanes, and of course cars – all running or not running.
“Our first vehicle donation was a sailboat,” shared Morris. “The second was a medically equipped van that was no longer needed by the owner.”
Learn more about the NOMADs work, how to donate and how to participate at https://www.nomadsumc.org/
“We can use many more NOMADS,” said Jim. “Join us!”