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Nomads – Mission Volunteers

By Louie Lyon, Senior Ministry Team Member

As I was planning for retirement in June, 2013, Joyce and I began to think of what we might do with our lives now that we were not going to be tied to a regular work schedule. The Rev. Gary Prichard and his wife Phyllis, who had retired ten years earlier, met with us to share about a group that they thought we would enjoy. Yes, as a UM Pastor I had heard about NOMADS and even seen a few, but I really didn’t know a great deal about the program.

After we had eaten our lunch and heard about NOMADS, Joyce and I decided to buy an RV and become NOMADS. In what follows I will explain who NOMADS are and what they do.

With a name like NOMADS you would think it concerns travel all over the place. But it is much more than traveling. The motto of NOMADS is, Rebuilding lives, homes and facilities with God’s love and our hands. NOMADS are a group of men and women who are on a mission while being active in divine service to our Lord. If you enjoy traveling in an RV and are looking for a purpose and personal mission and want to share your Christian faith with others through your actions then NOMADS just might be the thing for you.

When we first spoke with the Prichard’s we were concerned because Joyce and I really did not have any construction or building skills. We were told, “Don’t worry about that as you will be taught on the job by those who have the skills.”

Our first project which we signed up for was at UMOM in Phoenix. We helped put up over 50 Christmas trees and other holiday decorations all through their campus. We painted, did some landscaping and helped build some shelves. We enjoyed it so much that we signed up again and returned the following year to volunteer at UMOM again. Joyce and I have helped to paint the inside of a church sanctuary, painted outside and inside of a church pre-school and helped to landscape the front property of a church. I have also helped to tear down and remove steps from an agency property and now can use a torch and all kinds of power tools. I think I have done well for someone who didn’t know anything about using my hands. Oh yes, there has also been times of doing just grunt labor.

NOMADS projects include: working at United Methodist related agencies such as churches, church camps, homeless shelters, children’s homes, mission agencies, and disaster agencies doing remodeling, maintenance, repairs, new construction, office work, painting, childcare, gardening, etc. We also work at the homes of needy families for host agencies providing community service. NOMADS project last three weeks and we live in our RV’S usually on the property of the agency we are serving.

The benefits to NOMADS are: The joy of using our hands for Christ’s mission and the fellowship and lasting friendships of like-minded people while experiencing different cultures, lifestyles, and geographic areas.

Since we are mission volunteers, NOMADS are responsible for ALL costs for RV travel and meals during the normal three week project period. We work four days a week during a project and provide our own work tools. If specialty tools are needed for a project, the hosting agency provides them. The NOMADS organization is funded through yearly dues paid by members and individuals. They also receive contributions from churches around the country.

You might ask who NOMADS are? They are usually retired or close to retirement. NOMADS are persons who are looking for a purpose and personal mission and want to share their Christian faith through their actions. Actually, they are persons just like YOU and I.

If what I shared in this article brings up an interest, you can contact the NOMADS by going to their website: Their email address is or you can use snail mail: United Methodist Nomads, P.O. Box 3508, Shawnee, KS 66203. If you are ready to join NOMADS apply online at:

My wife Joyce and I have the honor of serving as the NOMADS Project Coordinators for the Southwest Region. We would be happy to speak with you or answer any questions you or your church might have about United Methodist NOMADS. We can be reached via phone or email at or (623) 238-8455.

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