Category Archives: SOWER Projects 2014

SOWER projects worked in 2014

And finally we made it to Jackson, KY

(Let’s overlook the fact that we’ve been here for over a week,OK? 😉)

So, Jackson, KY. When we stopped at the welcome center the helpful guy stocking the shelves commented that he just couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to go to Jackson. Humph. Well, while Jackson is indeed pretty much out in the boonies, it is home to Oakdale Christian Academy which has been home to us this last week (and will continue to be for the next!).
Oakdale Campus-5

Home Sweet Home April 14
It’s been a good project so far. Gary has been busy working on the plumbing at the under-construction girls’ dorm
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and I have been helping out in the library and also processing mountains of “Box Tops for Education”.
We did have a bit of excitement earlier this week when it snowed! Really? Mid April? Kentucky?
The neighbor's bird feeder is a popular spot this snowy Kentucky morning! So glad it's right outside my bedroom window.  #heyitsaprilalready
(Must have been a tax day joke?)
But crazy weather aside, this is a great spot. I’ll let the school web site tell you more about the school and its interesting history, but currently it is a Christian boarding school with about 60 students from all over the world. The campus is lovely and in the process of updating and upgrading many of their buildings. I took a little “walk about” this morning…..
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I knew they owned some property across the street, so I decided to check that out too.
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Yes, those tracks are pretty darn close, but fortunately the trains, even though they are long coal trains, do not run all that often. (Could’ve been a long couple of weeks otherwise, right?) Getting on the other side of the tracks afforded a good view of the campus too!
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That’s their new gymnasium. Oh, and they also own up to the top of the hill – though they haven’t quite come up with a great use for it yet. 😉
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Classrooms and dorm rooms.
But back on the other side of the tracks there was some pretty interesting stuff too.
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And even a small cemetery where the founder and a few others are buried.
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Another view of the campus from graveyard.
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Once I got back down, I checked out the stream that runs behind the buildings –
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It’s really lovely, isn’t!

But the school isn’t just about buildings and landscape. We haven’t had the opportunity to get to know too many of the students, but we’ve come to know and love the staff. Especially the bluegrass playing ones!
Oakdale Bluegrass-1
So much fun on a warm spring evening! ☺️
As we’ve watched the staff, administration, and dorm parents interact with the students here, we can definitely see where it is being true to its mission statement –
to change lives by providing a challenging educational program and a Christ-centered community for teenagers from a broad spectrum of experiences, leading them to lives of learning, serving others, and loving God.

More pictures of the campus and the other side of the tracks can be found HERE!

Then there was the reunion

The Texas SOWER Reunion, that is!
From the arrival of the first RV on Sunday afternoon
to the departure caravan Wednesday morning
it was a perfectly grand event.
It had all the necessary ingredients for a great reunion –
A never ending campfire –
in the early evening….
enjoying the first night with friends…..
and starting the day with a cup O’Joe around the fire with the guys.
Morning coffee by the campfire. Well, the guys thought it was a good plan.  #2014txreunion
There was great food –
the first night Hot Dog Roast-
Pizza night –
Lunch at the Trinity Pines dining hall –
and a how-can-you-have-a-SOWER-gathering-without-a-potluck Potluck!
Can I hear a “yum”!
There was a Talent Show
and funny or serious, all were quite talented. 🙂
Of course there was the SOWER Auction!
Checkbooks up! And what will the starting bid be on these baked-fresh-this-morning sticky buns?
$50.00 you say? Who brought the forks? (The auction raised over $3500 for the ministry! Whoohoo!)
But for all the food and fun and (camp)fire, what really made the reunion so wonderful were these guys.
2014Reunion Group
What a special group of hard working, hard playing, and Jesus loving people! We’re so thankful that He continues to knit us together into a family!

If you’d like to see the whole set of photos, check them out HERE! I was pretty busy with the camera!

Back a week or so….

I’m so far behind on this dear little blog – kudos to those of you that keep checking in! I figured instead of trying to condense everything into just one post, I’d do a couple of entries to try and keep things straight. And first up will be the wrap up of our March project at Trinity Pines Conference Center. It was a great project, and with a team of 11 couples, much was accomplished!

Remember when we started? (And this photo was taken two days into the project so it isn’t really the beginning.)
Well, a mere 10 working days later, these are just some of the things that were accomplished –

6000 sq ft of concrete was scrapped and scrubbed.
5 electric palm sanders were often going at once.
(Thank goodness for ear plugs!)

28 doors were hung and framed.

11 gallons of Sand and Seal were applied.
2250 ft. of trim was sanded, sealed, sanded, sealed.
100 outlets and switches were wired.

8 bathroom vanities were built
and rough plumbed.
1680′ of lumber was cut and routed for new bunks.
And 20 4′ florescent lights were installed
along with all of the other light fixtures in the building.

Elsewhere around the property –

50 bathroom lighting fixtures were switched out.
1500′ of water pipe was laid.

There was something for everyone to do. Our ladies that couldn’t help with the construction worked on items for the gift shop or helped out in the kitchen. There were so very few idle moments at Trinity Pines in the month of March.
But please don’t think we were all work and no play. Not only did we manage to fit in some fun game nights, we also enjoyed some fine food events too!
Homemade Waffles and Ice Cream!
And the perennial favorite –
The good life!
Hot Dog Roast. Who brought the mustard?

All is quiet now at the building –
and the checklists have been taken down.
But these good folks will remain as dear friends even though many miles may separate us in the years to come.
To God be all the Glory! It was a great month!

Camp Cho-Yeh

For the last 4 1/2 years I’ve been honored to serve on the Board of Trustees of the SOWER Ministry. It’s been very interesting to see the “inner workings” of this ministry that is so dear to our hearts, and, all in all, I’ve enjoyed my time serving in this way. For the last three years my primary responsibility has been to check out projects that have applied for SOWER assistance and determine (with help from the Area Rep and a small committee) whether or not to add them to our SOWER Ministry project family. The most recent addition was a camp not far from our current location, so on Friday last week Gary and I, along with Jenny and Don (who just happen to be on my ‘small committee’) took a drive to the other end of Lake Livingston
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to check out Camp Cho-Yeh!
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Bill, the facilities director, met us at the gate and took us on a grand tour of this very impressive camp.
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Although throughout the year the camp is used for a variety of retreats, their main focus is summer camp, where their mission is “to be a place where Jesus Christ transforms lives through meaningful relationships and outdoor adventures.” We loved seeing their facilities
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and just some of their options for outdoor adventures!
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One item that really intrigued us was a Civil War era family graveyard tucked away behind the ball fields –
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Camp Cho-Yeh
I don’t know how many campers may come across this reminder of their mortality (and a fair bit of history to boot!), but it sure sparked our interest!

This looks like a great camp, and I was delighted to be able to see this new family member up close and personal!

Psst….If you’d like to see the whole set of pictures (including the ones in the collages), Here you go!

First Day on the job

Wait, you might say – TODAY was your first day on the job? Don’t you usually start on a Monday? Well, yes. Most of the other SOWERS started on Monday as usual. I, however, following a long Sunday night and early Monday morning in the bathroom dealing with either a stomach bug or some bad food, spent Monday trying not to count the number of naps I was taking and then spent Tuesday attempting to get re-hydrated and gain back some energy. So when Wednesday dawned bright and clear (as did I!), it was with great joy that I got myself up and joined the rest of the SOWER gang. 🙂
This month, at least to start, all of us – men and women – are working at the same location.
There’s a big push to get this building completed for the summer season (spring would be even better!), and even though it’s well on its way, there is still a ton to do!
Oh yeah, baby – there’s electric to finish, doors to hang, trim to trim, and lots and lots of sanding and staining of paneling. Aside from this big center room, there are four rooms off of each wing. And they all have the same half wall needs-to-be-sanded-and-stained paneling. Not to mention bathrooms to install and flooring to finish. Can you guess what we ladies are primarily tasked to do? Yep – taking care of the needs-to-be-sanded-and-stained paneling.
Honest, we were smiling.
While Amy and I were busy sanding, another group of ladies was busy staining –
Some were even busy sanding away on the outside!
This is Jenny – our Lady Group Leader
That means she’s in charge. Of us anyway. When we let her. 🙂
The guys have plenty to keep them busy too – but I didn’t get many good pictures of them. But here’s a shot you don’t see very often –
Gary leaning against a wall. I promise I’ll do a better job of capturing the guys at work tomorrow! (See that – more needs-to-be-sanded-and-stained paneling! It’s everywhere!!!)

It was such a pretty day (and I was so delighted to be feeling well!), that I did a bit of a walk-about after lunch. This is a beautiful conference center located at the north end of Lake Livingston (TX) and it has a lovely shoreline view.
If When the weather warms up significantly, I bet there might be some fun to be had too!

All in all, it was a beautiful First Day on the job – on what promises to be a great project!
Quite a change from our last neighborhood, eh?