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Kathryn Hubbard, Personnel Administrator, shares about the practicalities of supporting mission partners through their service in Africa.
Sending missionaries is not just a case of finding the right people and flying them out to Africa, never to be seen until their next Home Assignment. It isn’t merely ‘missionary’ Human Resources, either. In the Personnel Department we are at the forefront of member care, sharing the experience, vision and calling of AIM as well as providing support before, during and after service.
Edith Currie, recently retired from service at the Africa Inland Church (AIC) Missionary College in Eldoret, Kenya, shares how the Personnel Department has supported her through her years in Africa.
In May 2015 I retired from active missionary service with AIM after 30 years in Africa. During that time, I have greatly valued the support that has been provided by the Personnel Department, whether I was serving in Africa or during home assignment in the UK. I particularly remember the time that my father passed away. When I arrived back in the UK, the AIM Personnel Director at that time met me at the airport and then drove me all the way home (a distance of 250 miles). This is indicative of the kind of member care provided by the department. In addition, I have appreciated the ‘listening ear’ they provide and being able to discuss issues that have arisen on the mission field or on home assignment. Most recently, I have really valued the help provided by the whole office as I prepared for retirement. They took time to write to my supporting churches and friends. Also, there was good liaison with the finance department to check on my financial position. I have many reasons to be grateful to those who serve or have served in the European office.
First contact to field
We’re a first point of contact for people interested in serving with AIM, whether it’s Tom (Short Term Coordinator), Rosemary (Short Term Administrator) or me answering enquiry emails, or our Mobilisers running exhibition stands and visiting Christian Unions and churches. We want to help people to work out where God is calling them to, so we hold seminars and meet with enquirers to tell them more about how people can serve with AIM and what being in Africa is like. We then make sure that missionaries are prepared for their ministry, taking them through pre-field training, working with their supporting church to offer spiritual, emotional and practical preparation. Practical arrangements can include education plans for children and providing resources through which missionaries can generate prayer and financial support. During European Based Orientation we also seek to encourage missionaries to consider how they will deepen their relationship with the Lord, especially in environments where there is no church.
Ministry for members
Once missionaries have gone out to Africa the European office still has member care responsibilities for them. Peter (Personnel Director) and Laura (Associate Personnel Director) ensure they are well supported, liasing closely with field offices to make sure systems are in place if something were to go wrong, and to provide accountability and encouragement throughout ministry. When missionaries return from the field, we debrief whole families, helping them to process their time in Africa. Our Mobilisers liaise with them and their sending churches in welcoming them home after the end of their service with AIM. It’s a pleasure to be able to support the families and individuals whom God has sent from Europe to serve in Africa from all the way ‘back home’ and we pray that they are encouraged by our support.