Proving that retirement doesn’t mean slowing down, retired Christians from “every corner” of the United States and Canada are finding new ways to grow their faith and give back through Roving Volunteers In Christ’s Service, a “non-denominational Christian organization for couples with a heart to serve the Lord during their retirement years.”
RVICS volunteers are placed into groups of up to six couples and assigned service projects throughout North America that last upwards of four weeks. As the RVICS website explains, teams “provide a wide variety of maintenance, service, and construction assistance to needy non-profit Christian children’s homes, schools, colleges, camps, conference centers, and churches.”
During assignments, couples live in their own RVs near the project site. Members work Monday through Thursday, with men serving six hours a day, three and a half days a week and women pitching in three hours a day, four days a week.
“We are a couple’s ministry so it’s both husbands and wives,” RVICS personnel director Marie Owens told K-LOVE. “It’s just a wonderful way to retire.”
While volunteers must be healthy and own an RV, there are no requirements related to background or skill level. All are welcome.
“We have doctors and nurses and lawyers and bank presidents,” Owens explained. “It’s very interesting, how the Lord puts the people that need to be there where they need to be… if we have a project that needs plumbing or electrical we always have the person who has that experience—and of course the rest of us learn as we go.”
RVICS service projects are selected up to a year in advance, and some 2,400 have been completed since the organization began 40 years ago. Individual couples participate in anywhere from three to nine projects a year, and there are currently 50 active couples.
“This is part of what we’ve been called to do,” team leader Al Allison told the Carroll News in 2016. “We pray together, work together, and eat together. We become lifelong friends.”
It is that sense of camaraderie and community—in addition to the important charity work—that keeps group members coming back for me.
“For us it’s a wonderful lifestyle,” ambassador Nick Jones told K-LOVE. “We have been in a number of projects Florida to Washington state and in between… the fellowship is always wonderful with other team members… you can feel the warmth and the love, you know that Christ is there.”