Arvella Murff is a woman with a mission. As the special events/conference director of Aglow International in Edmonds, Wash., she helps to achieve the mission of her organization, which is, in part, to “lead women to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for Christian women to grow in their faith and minister to others” by weaving her own personal mission into her professional life.
“My desire is to have believers and nonbelievers alike recognize the characteristics of Jesus in me by the way I live my life and conduct my business.” This mission has served her well for many years.
Laying a Foundation
Murff was born and raised in Muskogee, Okla. After her parents divorced, she lived with her mother, who worked as a custodian at the local high school. Eventually, the two moved to Langston, Okla., where her mother became director of dormitories at Langston University.
Murff was an only child, and she started to develop her spirituality at the age of 8 by attending a local church with a neighboring woman. Murff says her upbringing provided the foundation on which she has built her life and career.
Murff earned a bachelor's degree in education from Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Ala. While there she met the man who would later become her husband; they were married one week after graduation. Murff planned to put her degree to work immediately by getting a teaching job. However, her husband was an Army officer and received orders to go to Germany. Murff soon discovered that teachers at the bases in Germany were required to have at least two years' experience. She put teaching on hold and took a position with the Army in military intelligence, a job that she held for seven years.
Answering the Call
Murff later earned a master's degree in library science, became a high school teacher, and became an ordained minister. In 1981, she started attending local Aglow meetings. “Through local Bible studies, prayer groups, and other activities, I started to grow by leaps and bounds in my knowledge of how to live an effective Christian life.”
In 1985, she became vice president of retreats for the West Tennessee Area Board of Aglow. She continued toand planned two statewide retreats before being asked to chair the General Conference Committee for the 1994 Aglow U.S. National Conference. The conference was held in the Nashville Convention Center, and more than 6,000 people attended. Murff did such a great job that in 1997, she was asked to join the staff as the production specialist.
In 1998, she was promoted to her current position. She manages a staff of four and plans one large conference a year.
“We're a family,” Murff says of why the women attend. “We all have the same mission. I think the women enjoy the quality speakers that we have and the pertinence of information and education presented in the breakout groups.
“We attend RCMA conferences to gather information about different meeting facilities to help us determine which ones will meet our needs,” she adds. “When you're so busy planning a conference, you don't have a lot of time to shop around for the best facility for upcoming conferences. That's where RCMA comes into play.”
Murff continues to grow spiritually and personally. “I have two philosophies that I try to live by, both from the scripture. The first is, ‘to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.’ The second is, ‘to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’”
Murff brings these philosophies to her work. “I feel blessed to work with a Christian organization in which sharing my deep belief in Jesus is encouraged. Sometimes my job can be challenging, but the Lord has given me the will to succeed. He has given me the will and the opportunity to achieve my life's mission.”