By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director
There’s nothing like a great celebration! In my 19 years at Joy El I can point to many times of celebration. Every Friday night at the conclusion of summer camp, we celebrate all that God has done during the past week, especially the children who began relationships with Jesus. Recently, we took some time to celebrate what God has done over 83 years of ministry and we looked forward to the future.
We were gathered to celebrate the completion of the Welcome Center. For some people, the time of celebration began a day early as alumni members of the Living Miracles and New Dimensions choir gathered at Camp Joy El for a reunion. For many, it was the first time they had been to the camp in over 25 years.
As many gathered in the Worship Center on Sunday afternoon, the level of excitement was easily noticed. Many saw friends they hadn’t seen for years, some since prior to COVID. We were gathered to worship and glorify God.
I was thankful to have a rich participation from our history. Former executive director Jerry Traister reminded us of God’s faithfulness. Another former executive director, Gregg Garman (with assistance by Doris Ortman), led the choir in two songs. Curtis Martin led in worship (if only you could have heard the singing!). Encouraging testimonies of God at work were shared by Lois Ann Glessner and Marta Bahrenburg. My friend and ministry partner Elder James Jenkins shared a moving account of how God connected their church and prison ministry to Joy El. He declared this place to be holy ground. We heartily agreed.
Together we consecrated ourselves anew to the worship of God in Spirit and in truth, and we dedicated the entire building with all its furnishings and equipment in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen! The presence of the Lord filled the Worship Center that day!
Thankfully we were able to record this celebration video. I invite you to watch and celebrate with us all that God has done.
I look forward to more celebrations in the near future. Our campaign “Igniting HOPE in generations that seek Him” will help us to 1) remodel and expand the dining hall (now that our offices have been moved out), and 2) build the Shepherds Lodge so that we have housing for summer staff and guests throughout the year.
We praise God that He has already provided over 1.7 million dollars for the campaign. We are trusting Him to provide the additional million dollars needed. Everyone is needed in this endeavor. Would you prayerfully consider how you could join in the celebration and partner financially?
- Summer Day Camps
- Summer Wilderness Camps
- Summer Overnight Camps
- Mother Daughter Retreat (October 8-10)
- Father Son Retreat (November 12-14)
- Bring your own group to Joy El