Glenna Cox, the Human Resources Director and Business Administration Director, has faithfully served at Joy Ranch since August 1998. She recently took time out of her very busy schedule to answer the following questions:
1. Where were you born and who are your parents?
I grew up in Pulaski County and was the firstborn of Glen and Shirley Hall. They've both gone on to be with the Lord. I was supposed to be their firstborn son, to be named Glen, Jr. Oops, gotcha Daddy! So did my other two sisters.
2. What are some favorite childhood memories?
There are so many, it's difficult to choose. Fishing with my great-grandfather on the New River in Giles County is one of my most pleasant childhood memories. He was a very gentle and Godly man. He very patiently taught me how to bait the hook so the fish didn't know he was being baited and so the worm would wriggle a lot. Grandaddy would let me talk to him while we fished as long as I whispered and didn't squirm around in the old wooden flat-bottom fishing boat. Wasn't easy...he fished seriously and we were usually dragging that old boat up on the bank about dark o'clock. Long after the evening freight train rattled across the river tressel.
Grandaddy also understood how my sister and I loved horses and would make sure his friend let us ride when we visited.
I think he inspired my love for beagles. His old rabbit hound was very feeble and blind, but he took her hunting in a nearby field where she knew every bush and log and sat quietly while she ran the rabbits around. He always seemed to have a good sense of the needs of those around him.
Sunday picnic lunch after church is a favorite. With a very large extended family on both my mother's and father's sides as I was growing up, I have many many sweet memories of family reunions and vacation trips to visit family.
3. How did you end up at Joy Ranch?
My parents were faithful donors of the ministry for many years. My father had a serious stroke in the early 90's and a few years later, our son was killed in an accident while we were living in South Carolina. Our family was devastated and we began praying to move back to Virginia so we could all be together and help one another. While on a visit home following my father's death, I read a Joy Ranch newsletter I found in his mail and saw there was a need for a secretary. I applied and God worked out the move in such a miraculous way, we knew it was all His idea.
4. What have been some of the greatest challenges of your work here?
The average national burnout rate for houseparents is now less than 6 months. It's always a huge challenge when interviewing for staff. Working with our children isn't just a job, it has to be a calling and isn't suitable to everyone. If we haven't scared an applicant away by the second interview, we begin thinking perhaps we can consider this person seriously.
5. The greatest blessings?
The faces of the children just being happy children again. Having one of the children say he's praying for you in a time of need. Knowing your ministry partners pray for you. Fellow staff members taking you to lunch on your birthday. Wow, there are so many blessings...it's great!
6. So many have admired your grace and courage in the midst of such tragic loss- what is the secret?
I don't think I have the secret, but I believe 2 Corinthians 12:9. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." If it has to be day by day, sometimes hour by hour and often moment by moment, whatever your loss, whatever your pain, whatever your struggle, He can handle it.
7. How would you counsel others facing similar heartaches?
Prepare for tomorrow, but live for today and enjoy simple things with those around you. Trust that God hears your prayers for relief from pain, sorrow or suffering, even when the pain is so great you cannot hear an answer. He always answers at the right time. Even if your answer doesn't come for seven years, He's been there all the time collecting your tears. Our God is so much bigger than our problems!
8. You have seen numerous changes in your years here at Joy Ranch, but you have been a constant and a stabilizer- how have you been able to do that?
I have to try to be quiet and sit still in the boat to hear Him speak.
9. As you go through the process of hiring new staff, are there any particular things you especially look for? Any tell-tale signs that someone will or won't work out?
Of course, there are many things to look for, but as they speak, I think I try to 'hear' them with my heart rather than with just my mind. It's in their passion for their faith as well as their experience and education that makes a good ministry staff member.
Someone will not like Joy Ranch if the first question is, "What does the job pay?" I'm pretty sure they won't like Joy Ranch where you survive when you dedicate your life to ministry. If a job or easy wages is what an applicant really wants, that's simply not here. In ministry, we have to be ready to do whatever it takes for the children and our staff do that, over and over, day after day.
10. How would you advise someone in a similar role as yours to handle conflict resolution in a ministry environment?
I've found that conflict can usually be solved through honest communication.
11. Your love for your daughter is very evident- what would you say to other mothers to encourage a better mother-daughter relationship?
I think a mother has to love her daughter in all things and constantly look for and respect the young woman God is building in her and try to model a Godly woman to her. Sarah knows she can ask me anything and I will be honest with her. She can tell me anything in confidence and I will respect it, share or explain a mistake she has made, and I will love her anyway. I will always encourage her and never be responsible for damaging her self esteem.
12. How do you want people to remember Glenna Cox?
I would hope to be remembered as someone who spent a lifetime trusting and loving the Lord, who loved her family very deeply, trusted others easily, forgave the untrustworthy, was a trustworthy friend with a sense of fairness, laughed lots, played lots.