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Supporter care member answering the phones

Labour of love

By Tearfund | 04 Oct 2018

Meet Tearfund’s Supporter Care team. They laugh, they pray, they eat cookies. You’ll love them. Team member Taryn Willmer describes life in the ‘team with headsets’.      

This week, to mark Customer Service Week, Tearfund’s Supporter Care Team will be praying for every supporter who has sent in a prayer request – a whopping 2,500 of them. It’s a labour of love for the team. Then again, everything is a labour of love for them.       

Every morning begins in the same way – walking into our team area, greeting each other with a cheery, often sleepy, ‘good morning, friends’ as we set up for the day ahead. Nothing ironic at all, we are very definitely friends, which helps in a job like this…       

This week has been pretty non-stop: Tearfund has just launched an appeal for Indonesia, following the tsunami and the phones haven’t stopped ringing. Some of the pledges have been truly humbling and you often hear the likes of ‘you’ll never guess how much someone’s just given us!’ echoing around the office. Anyway, back to our working day...       

Pun, pun, pun         

Within a few minutes, the sleepiness has usually subsided, replaced with laughter. A lot of the entertainment is provided by our Jon, who is the life and soul of the (Supporter Care) party. He is particularly renowned for his puns; these are, as they say, ‘an acquired taste’.

'Our Jon' on the phones

Tearfund's 'Mr Pun' (aka Jonathan) tries out some new material on supporter Gladys.

There are nine of us on the Supporter Care team. We share two things in particular: a strong faith and a commitment to good customer service. Our team dynamic is one of mutual respect and caring – for one another and for the work of Tearfund.        

Every day we have the privilege of interacting with our fantastic supporters – on the phone and via email – to process their donations, answer their questions and thank them for supporting us.      

Anything, anytime       

We are often treated like confidants by the supporters we speak to. They often tell us about their day-to-day lives and their walk with God. They challenge and encourage us in our own faith – it’s quite humbling, really.       

No two days are the same; from one day to the next we can have wildly different conversations and questions. Our supporters keep us on our toes: questions can range from ‘please can you change my address?’ to ‘why does God allow suffering?’ (no, we don’t have any more idea than you!)      

We gather together as a team twice a week to pray: once for Tearfund’s work and for our supporters, and once for the individual members of the team. There’s also a weekly gathering for everyone in Tearfund’s UK office to pray, worship and receive teaching from around the world.       

Supporter Care on duty

Team Supporter firing on all cylinders after coffee and brownies

'All this means a lot to me: if there’s something troubling me, I’ve got a whole room full of people who will willingly pray for me.'

All this means a lot to me: if there’s something troubling me, I’ve got a whole room full of people who will willingly pray for me. And I get to worship alongside colleagues from all across the world – I expect heaven will be like this!       


Bring and share       

There is one other crucial ingredient that keeps us functioning as a team: baked goods. Brownies, flapjacks, cookies… With the amount that we bake and share, we could easily run our own coffee shop on the side. It sometimes feels like a miniature Starbucks, as people from other departments wander past our array of goodies ‘ooh’ing, ‘aaah’ing and supplementing their mugs of coffee.          


Talking on the phones all day can be pretty non-stop, and a spot of sugar, cocoa and caffeine certainly helps. Really though, it’s love that’s the biggest motivator: we really do love our supporters.       


We love others because God first loved us (1 John 4:19), but you guys certainly make it easy!


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