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"Building Churches, Changing Lives" is the Motto that Drives U.S. Missions RV Ministries

RV volunteers serving with RV Ministries, a component of Church Mobilization, not only build and transform structures, they are also building up and helping transform lives as well.
“I got to a point where I had to decide if I was all in or all out,” says Brett White. “God has always taken care of me. He won’t stop now.”

In early 2023, Brett felt called to sell everything he had, buy a recreational vehicle (RV), and become an RV volunteer with Church Mobilization. While telling his story, Brett had a woman turn around and look him in the eyes. “You are one of the ones we have been praying for!” she said. The woman and her husband went on to explain that they had been RV volunteers for over 20 years and had decided to step down. “We have been praying that God would bring people to take our place and here you are!”


RV Ministries is a component of the Church Mobilization window of U.S. Missions. With the motto, “building churches, changing lives,” the ministry involves hundreds of individuals who generously offer their time, skills, and RVs to assist and support various ministries across the nation. From helping rebuild district offices to renovating campgrounds to helping churches with construction projects, RV volunteers have helped save Assemblies of God ministries millions of dollars over the years, all free of labor charges to those they help.

Groups of RV volunteers, mostly consisting of retired men and women, travel around the United States in their campers and recreational vehicles and minister to those who minister to others.

Missions associate with Church Mobilization, Wes Vagle, and his wife, Nancy, have seen the great effects of the RV ministry through the testimony of their son, Doug. Originally planting a 15-person church in a small building, Doug hosted a group of RV volunteers to help expand and update the church property as the congregation grew. Today, Waters Church in Sartell, Minnesota, now runs approximately 1,200 people each week.

Donned in red vests that are covered in patches to represent each project they have worked on, RV volunteers have completed approximately 50 projects in 2023. U.S. missionary and RV Volunteer Coordinator Linda Maracle says, “Society tells our seniors that they are unusable. That they are irrelevant. We tell them, ‘We want you. You have a purpose!’”

Many have made large sacrifices to fulfill their calling to be RV volunteers. When Lonny Hines retired, he and his wife, Sandra, sold their historic house in Texas and bought a small home in Arkansas and an RV to travel around the country and become RV volunteers.

Sandra says that it can be difficult being so mobile, especially when they build relationships with other RV volunteers or congregants of the churches they are helping to build.

“But what makes it worth it,” she says, “is knowing that God has called you to go and help someone else.”


RV volunteers still find ample ways to minister in the moments when they are not renovating a campground or building a new church. Throughout the year, hundreds of stocking caps are made by RVers. At the annual RVer convention in October, these hats are gathered to be prayed over and distributed to those in need across the United States and around the world.

Beyond hat making, window framing, and toilet installation, they also provide active support to pastors and foster connections with local congregations. A study by Lifeway Research found that 17% of pastors deal with some kind of mental illness, making the help of RV volunteers an incredible support and encouragement to struggling pastors. According to Arthur and Leanne Duncklee, the best part of being RV volunteers is breathing life into discouraged pastors.

Billy Thomas, senior director of Church Mobilization, says that he has seen supernatural provision and a move of the Holy Spirit through the work of RV volunteers in the eight years that he has been in his position.

“RVers are an army of God that always come prayed-up and ready to support any ministry they can,” he says. “They will become part of the prayer force of every church they work with.”


New Life Assembly of God in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, seemed to be bursting at the seams. The building could hold roughly 80 people and was quickly becoming too small for the congregation. Pastors Lonnie and Twanna Orman had begun raising money to expand their building but were not sure how they could add to their small property.

One day, Twanna took a day trip with her mother-in-law to Branson, Missouri, and stopped at a Belk department store to shop. While in the luggage aisle, Twanna struck up a conversation with another shopper. During the conversation, Twanna’s mother-in-law told the shopper that Lonnie and Twanna were pastors looking to expand their building. The shopper was Billy Thomas. He asked Twanna if she knew what Church Mobilization was and then began telling her about the ministry of RV volunteers.

“God brought us to Belk for the sole purpose of meeting Billy,” says Twanna. “The Lord does incredible things!”

Less than two weeks later, Lonnie and Twanna made the drive to Springfield, Missouri, to speak with Billy about their vision for the church. They informed him that they had raised roughly $30,000 that they planned to use on renovating the bathroom. Billy shook his head, saying that they did not need a renovation, they needed a completely new building on a larger plot of land. After prayer and conversation with their congregation, the Ormans agreed.

New Life Assembly has since purchased land, paying in cash, and are preparing to welcome RVers to help with construction. Lonnie and Twanna are amazed at how God has guided them, providing resources and financial support from the most unexpected of places.


“Our prayer has always been, ‘We will move if you steer, Lord,’” says Kate Smith. After coming to salvation in their 30s, Kate and her husband, Jonathan, had no idea how God would use them, but they were confident that He would guide them where He desired. However, they did not expect God to lead them to minister in a different country!

Living in the United Kingdom, RV Ministries was not even on the couple's minds when they bought an RV to travel around the United States. The Smiths flew to Los Angeles in 2019 and purchased an RV with the intention of driving across the country for Jonathan to visit every skydiving center in the United States.

In between his skydiving adventures, the couple agreed to attend a different Assemblies of God church every Sunday. One morning, after googling the congregation nearest to them, Kate and Jonathan found themselves at a First Assembly in Oregon.

During the service, the pastor of the church invited all the RVers to stand up. They did — to tumultuous applause. Is he talking about us? the Smiths wondered.

Jonathan and Kate began speaking to people who attended the service and learned that the church was undergoing renovations led by RV volunteers. After a few hours of asking questions and learning about RV Ministries, the Smiths walked back to their vehicle feeling like they had been called to volunteer with Church Mobilization.

The next day, the Smiths returned to the church to learn what RV volunteer work looked like, spending multiple days at the work site. By the end of that week, they began paperwork to become RV volunteers.

After returning home, the two felt even more convinced to step down from their jobs in the U.K., Jonathan as an aerospace engineer and Kate as a medical administrator, and pursue RV Ministries.

While they still live in the United Kingdom, Kate and Jonathan come to the United States as often as they can, spending weeks at a time at each project site before driving their RV to the next job.

The couple jokes that God flipped their plans. “The original plan was to skydive a lot and church each week,” Jonathan says. “Now we church a lot and skydive maybe twice a month.”

The couple has encountered some criticism in their ministry, with one individual telling Jonathan that the United States has plenty of churches and does not need Brits coming over to build more. “Yes, the U.K. needs Christ too, but this is where God has put us,” say the Smiths. “Not because we are saviors, but because we’ve allowed God to use us as He sees fit.”


While RV Ministries falls under the Church Mobilization window, the ministry expands far beyond installing drywall. Diane Hobson found her calling to minister to those struggling with addiction. Diane and her husband, Tommy, have been part-time RV volunteers since 1999, and Diane says her favorite projects are those where she gets to work at Adult & Teen Challenge centers.

“It does not get any better than seeing their lives truly changed,” she explains. “To see people previously chained with addiction sold out to the Lord.”

The Hobsons' work with RV Ministries has not only allowed them to watch the transformation of these students, but also to invest in their lives beyond the walls of the Adult & Teen Challenge centers. Diane and Tommy are intentional about building relationships with these students and will continue to sustain friendships with them well after they graduate from the program.

While Diane says that working with individuals stuck in addiction can be gratifying, it is not easy. In the past two years, she has seen three individuals from her home church die of fentanyl overdose. She is also shocked watching individuals walk into Adult & Teen Challenge centers, clinging to their last cigarette or leaving because they do not believe they can get clean.

“God has placed these people on my heart, and it is so heartbreaking to see people stepping out and not choosing Him,” she says. “But you cannot hold them down and force them to change. Only God can save them.”


Looking forward, Billy Thomas dreams of over 2,000 RVers traveling the country, building churches, and changing lives. Prayer has become a cornerstone of RV Ministries over the past decade, and Billy firmly believes that, through their ministry and prayer, RVers will continue to make a profound impact on the lives and missions of churches and other ministries across the country.

“That is the goal of RV Ministries, building churches and changing lives,” he says. “This army of volunteers wants nothing more than to stand before God and hear Him say, ‘well done.’”

Samara Smyer

Samara Smyer works as communications and content strategist for Assemblies of God U.S. Missions. She graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.