Iowa UMC Folks Make a Difference at LEC

Posted by Phyllis and Jan Wilson

Jan 25, 2016 11:36:55 AM

Another very busy week at the Florida LEC! The Mission work team from Fort Dodge, IA United Methodist Church, consisting of Roland and Juanita Johnson, Pat Bennett, Dave Newman, and Jan and Phyllis Wilson, joined with LEC volunteers David Lytle from Lafayette, IN and Ambrose Phillips from Milford Center, OH to replace the 6000 sq. ft. ceiling of the dining room at the Florida Life Enrichment Center.


   Jan, Pat, Dave and Roland installs last 2'X2' on first 1/2..

Our goal was to remove the old, sagging 2’ x 4’tiles and replace them with 2’ x 2’tiles.  Making the project more difficult was the brittleness of the old tiles and insulation, both producing considerable amount of dust.  Another issue was to figure out how to make the 2015 support bars to mesh into the older suspension, to support the 2’ x 2’ tiles.  Fortunately we had an “Ace” on our team Roland Johnson who figured a way to trim both ends of the new 2’ support, to fit securely in the older suspension.  Even Ambrose, a retired construction contractor was pleased how well Roland’s method worked. 


It was essential we finish the project in a timely manner as guests were scheduled to be fed each day.  The dining room had a mid room divider, so this was closed before we began on the other side from the food serving lines.  The first half took 2 1/2 days to complete (Friday, 1/2 Sat. and Monday)


Capt. Tom explain the history of the river.                                    

Tuesday morning, after the guests finished their breakfast, we removed all the tables and chairs from the other half of the dining room.  We also covered the serving lines and the doorways into the kitchen.  Once these were completed – things began to happen!  In approximately 1 ½ hours all the old tile had been removed.  At lunch, the guests were served with catering equipment in the dining room portion we completed on Monday.  By 4:00 pm on Tuesday, over a 1/3 of the ceiling was completed and at 3:00 pm on Wednesday the final tile was installed!  Most of the cleanup of this area was completed by 4:00.  WHAT AN AMAZING TEAM!

During our cleanup time, Phyllis commented to Chef Albert, “You are probably glad to say good-bye to this Iowa team!”  He said, “Absolutely not!  I have never seen a volunteer group show so much cooperation.”  I think they represent what it will b e like when Jesus returns.  You will help me build my house and I will help you build yours.  We will all work together.”  Then he started to sing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”  It was an amazing touching moment.



Pat and Juanita having fun trimming (hair?)                                    The amazing FUMC volunteers, ready for the flight home.


2016-01-15_09.28.13.jpg The Finished Product

In addition to the ceiling, several of the Iowa Team did trimming, weeding, and planting.  Almost every night we enjoyed playing games, favorite being Sequence!  Who won?  These same volunteers were here last year and are already planning to return next year.  Wow!  Wow!  Wow!

Jan n Phyllis


Topics: retreat, volunteer, workamping

To Volunteer at the Life Enrichment Retreat Center

Posted by Jess Schload

May 22, 2015 12:46:00 PM

There are many ways to give your time to a vital ministry that helps change people's lives. We are happy to work in any of the following ways with you (or your group). Want to give some time? Consider:

1. If you are here with a group retreat and would like to offer your help during some free time, just check at the front desk. Or better yet, let us know before you arrive. We always have small projects on the grounds, in the office, or many other possibilities. Just ask!

2.Come for a day: We need folks willing to give a day, or a day a month, week, etc. Call or email (352-787-0313 or to see how you can be a part of helping this ministry grow.

3. Bring a group from a church. We recently had a great group of folks from North Carolina. Another group2015-04-15_16.08.31 has come twice from Iowa. Sometimes a local church gets a group together to come for a day, or to help do a project. Think about a group coming from your chruch.

4. Drop in: Do you have an RV and like to serve. Consider dropping in to give a few days to several weeks of service. We are happy to provide a full hook-up site for your time. Just give us a call or write, and we will set it up (352-787-0313 or

5. Workamper: We have a wonderful group of folks who come for a winter season (3 months or more) to serve in our ministry. We ask 24 hours of service a week for a full hook-up site in our RV campground. Sorry, we do not have any other housing options. Interested in this opportunity. Let us know and we will get you an application. 

Our volunteers help with programs, dining, maintenance, grounds, hospitality and more. 

We recently talked with Jan and Phyllis Wilson, who have been workamping here for several years. Read on to learn about their experience.


Jan and Phyllis Wilson have volunteering in their hearts. Since retirement they have served at no less than 6 volunteer positions including Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International and local opportunities (Ft. Dodge, IA). A few years back, they discovered the Life Enrichment Center online (praise God for Google) and decided to check with us about volunteer options. Since coming to LEC it is clear this has been a wonderful match for LEC and for the Wilsons. They are quick to tell others that “LEC is an awesome place to have an opportunity to serve. It is a wonderful Christian atmosphere, where each day starts with devotions. The other volunteers are very special people and we are privileged to have them as friends”.

Picture1Jan points out that the location is a special place. “I sometimes go out with my camera on a Sunday and that helps me be more observant”. He sees God in a hawk or a wonderful tree that fell years ago, but still survived. Phyllis adds that the blessing of volunteering here goes two ways. They are a blessing to LEC, and the place and people are a blessing to them. Jan and Phyllis have been responsible for much of the improvements to the grounds, including the  front entrance, flowers by the front office, and cleaning up of the labyrinth. All of us at LEC are so grateful for Phyllis and Jan and all our workampers.




Topics: Retreat and Conference Planning, retreat in Florida, United Methodist Church, volunteer, work Camping, workamping, volunteer retreat center, RV volunteer programs