For the past 10 years, there has been a familiar face to greet the students, employees, alumni and others who came looking for answers to questions regarding money for mission trips, overrides for classes, and countless other things. Over the last 10 years, Janis Adcock has served each and every Lipscomb mission team – from the moment a student came by her office anxious to sign up for his or her trip, to the day he or she returned home with pictures in hand excitedly sharing about the experience. For the past 10 years she has been not only an administrative assistant to Lipscomb Missions and the Bible Department, but more importantly she has been a friend to all who walked through her office door. For the past 10 years, she has helped handle logistics for some 5,000 people who served on over 300 Lipscomb mission trips. Through the calm periods of trip preparation to the hectic days of assisting dozens of teams leaving over a period of a few days, Janis did her job with skill and kindness.
This past summer Janis retired from her position at Lipscomb. She retired not so she could quit working, but so she could keep serving. Now, rather than serving students on a daily basis, she is serving her family. With an ailing 97 year old mother who needs her attention along with a 1 year old granddaughter who recently moved to Nashville, she is caring across generations of her family just as she has done for Lipscomb University since 2000.On Monday evening, November 15th around 30 friends came together to shower Janis with love and gratitude for her tireless dedication that she gave to Lipscomb Missions. It was a great time of fellowship and reflection as mission team leaders, alumni and colleagues verbally expressed their appreciation to a special lady whose legacy will be felt for years to come. Tom Seals, leader for the Peru team said, “Two outstanding loves in Janis life are missions work and our students at Lipscomb. She is truly an example of self-giving service.”
Janis began working at Lipscomb in 2000 before Lipscomb Missions had any full-time employees or systems in place to handle the massive amount of trip coordination. Janis developed procedures from scratch long before our ability to streamline the methods with online capability and database access. “When Janis came to the University, Lipscomb Missions was sending 12-15 trips and about 250 people a year. She has not only seen it grow, she has helped it morph into what it is today. Her ability to multi-task constantly while in the midst of our busy season always amazed me. She always did her job with a cheerful heart and a smile on her face. She was the face of Lipscomb Missions for a solid decade and any success that we have from here forward can be directly attributed to the foundation that she laid for us over those 10 years of service,” said Mark Jent, Assistant Director of Missions.
Janis was surprised towards the end of the evening as Lipscomb Missions produced a video of thanks from those whom she served over the years. “Janis may not have directly participated in a mission trip every spring break or summer, but there was a part of her that was on each and every trip. In every location where our students served, she was there. And they (the team) was there because of the great job that she did on the front-end in preparing them to go,” said Jent.
As the evening came to a close it was evident that everyone in the room shared the same feeling about Janis and the traits that she possesses. Michelle Putnam, leader for the Great Britain/Greece team said it best, “I think Janis is best described as being always cheerful, always supportive, truly interested in every mission trip.“
Below you will find additional comments from those in attendance:
- “Janis came to our office every day during the height of mission season and always had a smile. We miss her friendly face!” -Debbie Tumblin, Development
- “She was always willing to do what it took to make your job easier. She always had a smile on her face.” -Jeanice Fisher, Development
- “Janis always helped keep me straight. More than anyone else in the department, she has assisted me over and over by answering questions, keeping accounts straight, and doing "leg work" for me. I can't imagine how I will stay "straight" this year without her. I truly love and respect her…” - Cheryl Lindsay, Honduras (Med) team leader
- “I will always be indebted to Ms. Janis for the countless hours she put up with me in her office while I tried to order plane tickets and visas and all sorts of other little things for the Peru mission trip. She always had a smile on her face and never ran me off, no matter how long it took.” -Laren McCormack, Peru, former student leader
- “I don't know how but she was always in the office whenever I needed her and she was always able to help me.” -Brad Ham, City of Children team leader
- “It's hard to grasp just how vital, all-encompassing, and time consuming Janis', and now Julie's, job is until you've spent a day in her shoes. Or, like me, a few months. It takes a special kind of person to do it day in and day out, all the while maintaining their sanity and loving what they do. Janis is that special kind of person.” -Paul Stevens, Ghana team leader
- “Janis always had a special place in her heart for the students and their mission work. She encouraged and fostered every trip. Her retirement is well-deserved but I know her precious face will be greatly missed by the students and faculty alike.” -Teresa Nicks, former co-worker
Visit the photo gallery below for images from the evening