By Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Mentor Coordinator
On Sunday morning there was a knock on my Disciples Lodge room door. I opened the door to find Nate Marshall, director of Joy El Generation’s 4.12 Leadership Training Program. “I just wanted to make sure you heard that Miss Patti has passed on to heaven,” he informed me soberly. I nodded, having just heard the same news from my husband via text.
The entire Joy El staff had been praying for Patti Cannon since her previous visit as a summer camp speaker. We knew her time to enter eternity with Jesus was near.
My daughter Anna and I were participating in the Mother-Daughter Retreat at the time, so I continued to pray for Patti’s loved ones and headed toward breakfast with Anna and the other 120+ mothers and daughters enjoying this special weekend at camp.
A couple hours later, I found myself in the worship center, enjoying another sweet time of worship with the mothers and daughters. As I praised the Lord in song, I looked toward the stage and pictured Miss Patti there, sharing her Flash the Sheep Bible stories, with the children’s complete interest. I began blinking back tears as I considered how thankful I was that she was away from the extreme pain she had faced in her battle with cancer, but also the fact that we would no longer experience her love, teaching and joy at Joy El.
The tears escaped my eyes and my blinking became futile. I thanked the Lord for her life and ministry and tried to refocus on the present. As I did, the Lord showed me something beautiful:
On the stage, where Patti herself might have stood, was Rachael Benedict (shown in the photo above), leading us in worship.
In THIS (interview link) conversation Patti had with my husband Aaron last summer, Patti specifically mentions how she sort of “adopted” Rachael, and how Rachael had visited them in Highlands, North Carolina. Patti and her dear friend Miss Jackie Pegram had trained Rachael in ministry and even incorporated her into the summer camp worship sessions they led last summer. So Miss Patti was no longer with us, but the very day she passed from physical death to union with her Savior, Rachael was literally standing in her place at Joy El.
That’s exactly how it should be! What a legacy! And Rachael is just one of countless young leaders Patti invested in during her lifetime (2 Timothy 2:2). These were among the thoughts running through my mind and prayers as we continued our time of worship.
And this very example is another way that God used Miss Patti in our lives.
We are thankful for her legacy. And we are thankful for the Savior who used her so tenderly at Joy El Camps and Retreats.
Momentum Youth retreats (Grades 6- 9 and 6 – 12)
Father/Son retreat (Boys Grades 1 – 12)
Energizer Retreat (Grades 2-5)
Joy El Camps and Retreats, provides Christian camps and retreats in Pennsylvania and is a retreat centers in pa since 1974. Our focus on making disciples is seen in the Released Time Bible Program and 4.12 Leadership Training Program.