NOMADS visit Kearny!

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Virginia Bontz and Linda Tyas restoring a church bench.

Virginia Bontz and Linda Tyas restoring a church bench.

  “Have RV and love to travel” is a quote found on the NOMADS website.  NOMADS stands for: Nomads on a Mission Active in Divine Service.  This group of retired volunteers travels the country to help communities in need.  They are strictly volunteer.  Hosting organizations need only provide RV hookups.  The traveling NOMADS will come to your community and work on anything such as disaster relief, church repairs, home repairs, community restoration projects, and maintenance and restoration of church camps. NOMADS provide volunteer labor for United Methodist organizations. The goal of the NOMADS is to demonstrate God’s love through their work, fellowship, and charitable acts.

  The Church of the Good Shepard in Kearny hosted a group of NOMADS comprised of five retired couples in January 2016.  The NOMADS helped the church with minor repairs and restoration.  They learned how to stucco and put up drywall.  They installed a new water heater, painted and created signs, did landscape renovations, painted the entrance to the sanctuary, repaired the gutter system, and more around the beautiful church site located at 617 Senator Chastain St. in Kearny. 

  Gary and Jeannie Judson have been traveling with the NOMADS for 11 years.  Gary is a retired Methodist Pastor and Jeannie was a teacher before retiring.  Both are from the Finger Lakes region in New York and enjoy traveling with the NOMADS and meeting wonderful people.  They learned about the NOMADS group through their local church.  This is their third time coming to Kearny

  Paul and Shirley Hope are from Iowa and joined the NOMADS in 2000.  Paul taught Automotive Technology at a community college and Shirley was manager of a wholesale electronics store. They learned about the NOMADS in an annual meeting in Iowa.  They attended the meeting before retiring and knew they wanted to join the group! They’ve worked on 52 projects and traveled to South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, and Alaska in addition to Arizona.

  Bob and Virginia Bontz joined NOMADS in 1999.  They joined NOMADS because they didn’t want to just sit around during retirement.  This is their second time to Kearny.  Bob and Virginia shared an inspiring story about their travels with the NOMADS in 2013. 

  Their RV broke down in Virginia.  There were no RV repair shops that could work on the RV, so a truck service company was contacted and parts had to be ordered. On the third day of hanging out at the rest area, waiting for parts, an 18-wheeler broke down beside them.  Within hours, the owner of the trucking company, Tyler Trucking of Bloomingrose, West Virginia, came out to repair the truck.  He asked about Bob and Virginia’s situation.  They handed him a NOMADS brochure and explained their work. 

  The next day a service truck came to help Bob and Virginia.  It had been hired by Tyler Trucking. 

  Tyler Trucking sent two mechanics 79 miles from their shop in Bloomingrose.  Parts that had been ordered also showed up and the RV was repaired within hours. 

  Bob offered the mechanics money and a meal, but they refused.  One mechanic handed Bob a roll of money ($500) in donation to the NOMADS Ministry.  In addition, Jamie Craig, the owner of Tyler Trucking, has donated several thousand dollars over the years to the NOMADS.  He was so impressed with the mission and the people he met!  The group is thankful to this man who not only helped them during a time of need, but also has contributed to help sustain the organization ever since!

  Jim and Linda Tyas of Branson, Missouri have been working with the NOMADS for 4 years.  Jim is a retired engineer from Caterpillar, but he still works for Hershend Family Entertainment in Maintenance, as he says, “planting flowers”. Linda is a retired LPN.  Jim and Linda have children living in Albuquerque, NM, so they spend their winters in Arizona working for the NOMADS.

  Barry and Mary Stewart are from Wisconsin.  Barry is retired Army and Architect, Mary was a hairdresser.  Mary cuts hair for her NOMADS fellows from time to time!  They’ve been full-time with the NOMADS since 2015, but were part-time for 6 years before.  They love the NOMADS and particularly enjoy disaster relief work. 

Nina Yardley is the Pastor at the Church of the Good Shepherd.  She learned of the NOMADS and works with Carla Kinsey of the NOMADS group to set up work at the church in Kearny whenever she is able.  NOMADS provides a national website for churches to participate in the NOMADS project.  Carla Kinsey is the only full-time paid contractor who works for the group.  The rest are volunteers. 

  The NOMADS group visiting Kearny had more than their fair share of laughter and jokes.  For example, NOMADS, while standing for Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service, also has more humorous interpretations.  The group laughingly said that NOMADS also stands for Northern Old Missionaries Avoiding Deep Snow.  The fellowship and genuine laughter among the group was contagious.

“The NOMADS gel and make an excellent working group,” said Pastor Yardley.  “They accomplish so much in such a short time, all while showing God’s spirit in action.  They are the best kept secret in the Methodist church!”

  Chris Postel of Kearny coordinated the Nomads project in Kearny.  Chris was asked to volunteer to make sure projects were completed and NOMADS were trained as needed for each project.

  The group stated that many churches want the NOMADS to help them, but they cannot afford it.  For this reason, the NOMADS provides a grants program.  The grants program this year has raised approximately $90,000 for churches to apply for assistance.  The majority of these funds are raised at the NOMADS annual meeting.  While serving their mission in Christ, this group of retired fun-loving people has a great time!

Have RV, NOMADS will travel!

Have RV, NOMADS will travel!

Chris Postel, NOMAD coordinator for Church of the Good Shepherd, Nina Yardley, Pastor, and NOMADS group.

Chris Postel, NOMAD coordinator for Church of the Good Shepherd, Nina Yardley, Pastor, and NOMADS group.

Bob Bontz and Paul Hope restoring gutter system.

Bob Bontz and Paul Hope restoring gutter system.

Elizabeth Tilley (2 Posts)


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