Hi, Sarah. We’re glad to have you as the newest member of our staff. What exactly is a PMEL coordinator?
S: This is a new position that the organization has created to help us better understand our impact, and ensure we are being good stewards of the resources entrusted to us. Our goal is to encourage our field partners to ask critical questions that allow them to learn about the impact of their programs, and in turn apply what they learn to make the programs the most effective they can be. When this happens, not only are we able to be faithful stewards, but we are able to most effectively accomplish our mission statement of meeting people’s deepest needs.
I see PMEL as similar to the spiritual disciplines. The spiritual disciplines are not able to draw us closer to God in and of themselves. They are simply tools that we can use to make space for God to work and move and speak in our lives in less encumbered ways. In a similar way, PMEL serves as a tool to make space for the Lord to work even more effectively through our programs and organization. As we seek to understand how to be better stewards and learn how to make what we do even more effective, we make room for the Lord to have even more space in our ministry.
That’s quite a challenge! Tell us about your education.
S: I have a B.A. in Psychology from Lee University and I am graduating this May with a M.A. in International Development from Eastern University
How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?
S: I became a believer at the age of seven, but really came to understand the Lord more when I was 16 by watching the example of my best friend and her sister living out what it meant to love Jesus. It was at this point in my life that I started to invest in my relationship with Jesus by engaging with Him through Scripture, and actively seeking out Christian community to grow spiritually. I have led the service/benevolence ministry at my local church for the past four years. Through this work, and in reading When Helping Hurts [Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert, Moody Press, 2009], I have discovered a deep passion to equip the local church with resources to effectively minister to the materially poor and engage in community development.
What brought you to AMG?
S: When I was 13 years old, my family adopted three siblings from Ukraine, and this sparked my interest in international missions work, especially around adoption and foster care. When I had to decide what to major in at college, I decided on Psychology since that would prepare me to work in the social service field. I then took a job at United Way of the Ocoee region, where I worked for five and a half years prior to AMG, to learn the ins and outs of the nonprofit sector before going overseas. Then this past year I learned about AMG and its work, and became intrigued. The Lord started to open different doors and made it clear that this was the next step to take; one that would be a purposeful avenue to use my passion for international work.
How does your job fit in with AMG’s desire to inspire hope, restore lives and transform communities?
Inspires hope – At first glance, planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning (PMEL) might not seem very inspiring or even hopeful. But when one looks at the definition for “hope,” which is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen,” we start to see how PMEL fits in. PMEL allows us to take our expectations and hopes, and put a practical framework around them to make sure that we are meeting these on a regular basis. We all desire to understand if what we are doing is working. PMEL allows us to do just that.
Restores lives – Through equipping our field partners to even more effectively meet peoples’ needs, our organization is best positioned to meet the deepest needs and in turn restore lives.
Transforms communities – When we are effectively accomplishing our goals, we are additionally best positioned to not simply make a difference in the lives of individuals, but in communities as well. As our field partners diligently seek to partner with the Lord to see lives restored, these restored individuals and families in turn go back and are instruments of transformation in their communities.
Tell us what you like to do when you’re not on the clock.
S: I have danced (mostly ballet) and played the violin since I was seven. I can speak some Spanish, and love trying new food.
Thanks, Sarah. Welcome aboard!