It’s about the people that are here, connecting everyone who works together so that the wheel spins and the wagon can run smoothly. It’s not just simply an admin job but a role where I help care, connect and navigate a direction for people to follow all while keeping an open ear to listen. I try to be the person that every new person wishes they had in a new place.

What is Personnel? We are going to discover this week what’s involved for someone coming to YWAM Harpenden and the people who work here to make that happen.

So… meet the dainty and dynamic loving face behind this position, Emma. She calls herself the smallest person on base but I’d say, she’s dainty and dynamic, with a heart larger than one can imagine! Her love, care and kindness radiate, all while being ‘on top of the ball’ with everything she does.

Emma, what do you love most about your position? What is your heart working within it?

It’s a blend of the admin and the people! YWAM’s biggest asset are the people and I want to ensure that these people are taken care of, whether that is the Mission Builders, long-term staff or short-term staff. I love the diversity of my job and yes, there is a lot of admin but this is what I’m good at so I enjoy it. Added to that there is the pastoral element which is close to my heart, so together the ability to facilitate and connect people is something that brings me real joy.

What do you exactly mean by this?

Well, helping Mission Builders for instance. They often come from a totally different country and so often they have language and cultural barriers to navigate. This is where Personnel steps in, helping them navigate their life here in the UK. Another part is connecting new people to the other staff here, often those who are working in the departments they will be working with. My heart is to ensure that everybody has somebody. I can’t mentor or care for everyone, but I can ensure they are introduced and given the best chance to become part of our community. My main job within this all is to find ways for all our staff to learn, thrive and grow.

What a vital role you play here at the base, I really am starting to understand more of the emotional depth that your job also requires other than the admin.

So how do you see yourself in this role walking out your missionary calling?

A lot of this role is done sitting in front of a desk, that’s true, but we can often misunderstand what the fullness of what missions is. It isn’t just about outreach/fieldwork. Admin holds the vision of the visionary, admin makes things possible for people to go or stay short or long term. Without admin, there would be utter chaos everywhere. Knowing the gifting God has given me, and my call to be in missions vocationally, my daily position within Personnel I know all that I do throughout the week is equipping people to fully engage with who God has called them to be.

I really like how you say; “Admin holds the vision for the visionary”… I have to share with you, my husband and I are visionaries and we so often overlooked things in the past we would lose sight of how key the administration within our vision was to make it happen, but we learned the hard way!

So tell me, what made you come to YWAM Harpenden? And how long have you been here? That said, how long do you plan to stay?

Where do I start…Well, we were living in Denver, this is also where I did my DTS in 1994, and where we lived up till 2008 before coming here. What moved us to go was our oldest daughter, who was only 2 years old at the time. I just got this strong longing to be closer to my parents and it wasn’t just like missing them or being homesick, it was much stronger than that. To be honest, it was a sacrifice living so far away from them for so long, I wanted them to have a part in my daughter’s life, and share life with them.

So what happened then?

Well, we loved what we were doing in YWAM Denver – we had a lot of responsibility at the base yet increasingly God was prompting us to move back. It took much consideration and prayer as we knew we wanted to continue to be involved in ministry and not just move back to England. Within that time of prayer, Lynn Green invited Dale to come and work with him doing administrative work. This was such confirmation to us, not because of Lynn’s offer, but because of the timing and how God spoke through this to lead us. We shared this with our leaders in 2006 and moved in 2008.

Wow, that’s so strong! And I say strong because as Mom of four, I know of the longing you speak of, and I say strong because you waited another 2 years – you were obedient and very responsible!

Yes, thank you it wasn’t easy but God’s grace and love carried us through that time and we left our ministry in a wonderful way to join YWAM Harpenden.

So what did you do when you got here?

Well, Dale was the National Administrator for YWAM England and helped Lynn with things like the Presidential Gatherings and the Global Leadership Team. I was a mum of young kids at the time, they were 4 and 1 at the time, but I did feel I also still wanted to work. So I ran the National Visa department for YWAM England for a few years. Within that time I also started a creche with a few other staff moms. As the kids got older I could take on more responsibility again. When the spot of leading Personnel opened I knew that this is where God was calling me to be! I started here in 2012 right after the Olympics, and it’s been a beautiful challenging journey ever since.

What an amazing journey! Since you’ve been with YWAM for so long I’m very interested to hear which schools you’ve done, have staffed and roles you’ve had.

Emma shrugs her shoulders and smiles…’There have been many of all the above, let me think. So, I did my DTS in 1994 that’s where I met Dale, he staffed my DTS but it wasn’t till after that we dated. Then I took the School of Ministry Development in 1995. From there on I actually can’t really keep track as to how many SOMD’s I’ve staffed, I think about six schools. I’ve staffed many DTS’s, worked in Hospitality, events, admin, visa’s and so much within YWAM.

Wow, that’s really amazing! How many countries have you been to on Outreach?

Oh, good question! I’ve lead teams to; India, Africa, Mexico, Bosnia and I’ve also been on various Mobile Teams, promoting YWAM in the USA. I am really grateful to have had these very diverse experiences and its helped me to become a well-rounded person if you know what I mean. And this is exactly why I feel like personnel is where God wants me to be, to help people that come here find their calling. Here at YWAM Harpenden, we exist to equip, ignite and nurture peoples heart and calling to send people out to the nations to co-work with God as He unfolds His story around the world. I love being a part of this big global picture.

Keeping the big picture is so important! On this note… where do you want to take the personnel department? What is your vision? Together as a couple?

For Personnel I would like to take it to a place that I know I could pass it on in a good way to the next person. I’m always looking and seeking to improve systems that serve our overall purpose. I feel that it is forever changing as the capacity of students and staff grow, so I too have to change strategies and plans to meet those needs and requirements.

To the other question about us as a couple. Well, as you know Dale and I are not visionaries, we focus on the present. Our heart is to be the most effective where we are.

That’s such a beautiful way to see it! I’m wrapping up with the last question now and then we’ll be done for today! How long do you think you’ll stay, do you see yourselves elsewhere at times? I assume you really see this as home after 10 years, right?

Yes, you’re right! We do for sure and we don’t really see ourselves anywhere else for the foreseeable future but we are always ready and willing to go if He calls us elsewhere. We love what we do and to us, this is a good sign that we in the right place. For Dale and myself we both want to be where we can make the most impact, and that place for us is here.

It’s been such a pleasure hearing from you Emma! Thank you for letting me/us in on your life journey and giving me/us insight into your department!

Let’s take a moment to reflect…how would it feel to be homesick and yet be obedient enough to stick to the commitment we have made? Do you think God can give you strength to pull through a project or ministry, or a job, even if you feel like your emotions are wanting you to go home more than anything else? Let’s think about how Emma must have felt being away from home for years, having her firstborn little child away from her grandparents and yet committing to stay because of the heart they had. Responsibility is something that we all need to grow into, it’s easy to be lead by one’s emotions, and in this case, it was not about the “going getting tough”, that they had to pull through something, they had a thriving ministry and jobs within YWAM. People would have understood but they were responsible and committed, they were obedient. What is it that God is telling you to be committed or obedient in? It sure made me think about my responsibilities and commitment as mom and missionary.

Emma is 45, born in Yorkshire England and English by Nationality. She studied Business Administration before joining YWAM in 1994. She and her husband Dale have been together in YWAM since 1994, they have lead various schools, ministries, and outreaches together, they have been married for 21 years and have been part of YWAM Harpenden for 10 years.