“Be doers of the word and not just hearers.”
That Scripture verse is the driving force behind the Roving Volunteers in Christ’s Service.
The ministry is made up of retired Christian couples who travel the United States and part of Canada providing maintenance and service at Christian schools, campgrounds, conference centers and children’s homes.
About the RVICS
Henry and Margaret Schaeffer officially started RVICS in 1977. They had recently retired and were excited to pursue their dreams of travel and leisure, but they felt their retirement plan lacked “purpose.” After learning about the need for volunteers to do repair and maintenance work at Christian ministries around the country, they had a new vision. How has this vision grown now that RVICS just celebrated its 40th anniversary!
The RVICS program out of Smithville, Texas, gives retirees the opportunity to travel and sight-see across the nation and provides them with work projects lasting three and a half to four weeks.
In order to join, volunteers must have an RV to travel in and be willing to commit to at least three projects a year in various places. The couples bid on the top three projects they would like to do and are assigned one of the three.
They work four days a week and begin each day with devotions at 8 a.m.
Woman work until 11:30 a.m. and men work until 3:30 p.m. with a lunch break and only until 11:30 on Thursdays. A project lasts from 3 ½ to 4 weeks.
RVICS began with a vision God gave the Schaeffer’s about serving and helping ministries throughout the country utilizing the skills of volunteer couples that were retired or semi-retired. The first project included three couples. As these original couples talked with friends and relatives the number of couples involved in RVICS began to grow. The same type of situation occurred with project locations. Many of the leaders of the ministries we serve are well acquainted with one another and as they talked about the RVICS concept we received more requests for our services. The vision has continued to grow since 1977 and teams have served at over 2,400 project locations
RVICS is a ministry made up of couples who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior. Our members come from many different denominations. Other requirements include being willing to provide volunteer service, having a self-contained Recreational Vehicle (RVs are what we live in at project locations.), be self-supporting and have adequate accident and hospitalization coverage, and be willing to submit to an approved background check. Our schedules are designed in such a way that it is best suited for couples that are retired or at least semi-retired. Pets are not allowed as we work at many Christian Camps and schools.
RVICS project sites are located all around the U.S. and Canada. We have a long list of project locations most of which we have served for many years. We have more locations than we are able to serve in years’ time so we have set up a rotation schedule to be able to serve at most of the locations on a regular basis. As we are living in our RVs we need to follow the warmer temperatures. So we serve in the south in winter and gradually move north in the spring.
To be considered for an RVICS project, a ministry “must first be actively and earnestly promoting the Lord Jesus Christ, His Love and saving Grace to whom they are ministering. They must also embrace the RVICS Statement of Faith. In addition, they must be a legal, non-profit Christian ministry. They must be able to provide ample materials to keep up to six couples busy for 3 ½ to 4 weeks, and be able to provide full Recreational Vehicle hook-ups (water, sewer and electric) on site for 6 large RV’s at no cost to the missionary workers. Most projects are scheduled twelve months in advance.”
Carpet removal and preparation for new carpet in 2,000 seat sanctuary. Saving church thousands of dollars.
Sharing evening campfire and meal – notice construction project in back ground.
|RVICS encourages volunteers to serve three months annually, with weekly commitments of 21 hours for the men and 12 hours for the women.|
RVICS volunteers are usually involved in remodeling and upgrading facilities at project locations. Often RVICS ladies are involved in painting, cleaning, sewing, and office work. RVICS men are involved with light construction projects, dry walling, painting, and plumbing. We have had some volunteers involved in tutoring, assembling mailings, and gardening. God does a wonderful job of putting the right couples at the right location to meet the skill levels that are needed and health restrictions that different members have. We often learn and teach one another new skills while on project.
Each project location is responsible for providing RV sites for each rig with full hook-ups (water, sewer, and electric) on site at no cost to the volunteer missionary members. If the project location does not have their own RV sites they provide parking at a nearby RV campground.
In addition to serving at a variety of project locations across the country we set aside Friday of each week as a “Tour Day,” which allows us the opportunity to have an organized tour of interesting sights in the area. Exploring is a favorite pastime for RVICS members.
Scheduled projects (as of Jan 1) for 2017:
Jan- Mar FL – 11, TX – 6, CA – 2, AZ – 3
Apr- Jul CA – 2, TX – 2, NC – 1, TN – 1, IL – 1, MN – 1, AB – 1, BC – 1, MD – 1, GA – 1, IA –1
Sep-Nov WA – 1, IA – 1, KS -2, OK – 2, MO – 1, PA – 1, SC – 1, CA – 2, TX – 4, LA – 2, AL – 2, FL – 2
Team finishing painting 14 school buildings in Glendale, AZ
As RVICS members we serve together, worship together, and socialize with one another. After a period of three to four weeks we become close friends and family. Many RVICS couples expressed a desire to develop a location where they could create a community to continue that same concept in their time of retirement from RVICS service, time between service at project locations, or time for recuperation while dealing with health issues. Texas was chosen as a central location in the U.S. and after some exploration a site was discovered in Smithville, Texas. Thus The Village was formed. To our knowledge we are the only community of this type among like-minded ministries such as RVICS. Some of our Village residents are still actively serving at project locations and some divide their time between the Village and another location nearer family. Others are full-time residents. It is a unique community for RVICS members.
One of the unique things about this type of ministry is that we do utilize the skills and volunteer spirit of retired or semi-retired couples. This means that the time couples are able to serve with RVICS is limited to a few short years. Therefore we have a regular turnover of couples and are in constant need of new couples to join us in service. If this concept sounds appealing to a couple who may be reading this article, we encourage you to explore our website at www.rvics.com and learn more about us. We enjoy having new couples join us in serving Christian colleges, schools, camps, conference centers, etc.
Please contact Jim and Peggy at Landyachty@gmail.com for further information.