Skydiving, climbing Mount Everest, or swimming with sharks may be on the bucket list for some, but not Richard and Arlene Noteman.
The Sacramento, California-based couple, who are U.S. Mission America Placement Service
workers, instead are passionate about doing service projects as they work at churches, ministries, and camps.
“This has been on our bucket list for as long as we can remember,” explains Arlene, 78, who with her husband has been part of U.S. MAPS, a department of U.S. Missions, since 2007. Both held paying jobs when they started volunteering, and Arlene still works as a court-certified American Sign Language
“We both feel God’s direction as we continue to serve,” Arlene says.
“We knew we wanted to spend all of our remaining healthy years volunteering,” adds Richard, 72.
The Notemans have logged plenty of miles serving in a variety of places, including the Royal Rangers Camp Eagle Rock
in Missouri; Teen Challenge
in Riverside, California; Sunstream Christian Camp
in Ogden, Iowa; and Harvest Church
in Glendale, Arizona.
Since 2012, they have spent each summer at Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center
in Medical Lake, Washington.
“We have few volunteers who are as dedicated and as excited as Richard and Arlene,” says Silver Lake Camp Executive Director Terry B. Andrews. “They take such initiative to help us reach students for Christ. Both of them are now fixtures at the camp and they bring tremendous joy and energy.”
Andrews notes that Arlene has become a favorite of many campers.
“She is amazingly friendly, outgoing, and wears a new and unique hat every meal when she serves in the cafeteria,” Andrews says. “Kids return every year and look for the ‘hat lady.’ She is always in the kitchen helping with prep, or you may find her watering plants and deadheading flowers.”
Andrews says students don’t realize all the other work Arlene puts in to make their stays enjoyable, everything ranging from spraying for weeds to cleaning.
The camp director also points out that Richard serves as the camp’s volunteer project coordinator, and he is willing to take on any task.
”It may be fixing broken window screens, troubleshooting electrical problems, or digging up a broken sprinkler head and replacing it,” Andrews explains. Richard especially enjoys tackling plumbing problems, and every year he seems to have an opportunity at Silver Lake.
Arlene says she and her husband have been blessed to serve, and one of the highlights occurred several summers ago while serving meals at Silver Lake Camp. A little girl asked Arlene to sit with her after a meal. Arlene asked the child if she had asked Jesus into her heart. The girl said she hadn’t, but she wanted to do so. Arlene walked her through the salvation experience.
“The next day she brought in her Bible and we shared together and underlined some verses,” Arlene says. “God works in many mysterious ways, most often which we do not see.”