Meet the Staff
Aaron Ziebarth felt God’s call to ministry in seventh grade. After earning his master’s of divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Aaron gained leadership experience at several Christian camps and his family’s transportation business. Aaron began as Executive Director of Joy El January 1, 2003. Aaron and wife Stephanie love God’s Word and are committed to scripture memorization. They and their three children live in Greencastle, where they enjoy community involvement, playing games, family bike rides, etc. Aaron is currently the chair of the national Christian Camp and Conference Association board. Aaron often challenges himself and finds refreshment on the Appalachian Trail.
Some of Aaron’s favorite verses include 1 Thessalonians 2:8 “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” and Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Mike Smith joined the Joy El staff in the summer of 2009 after 10 years of serving as CFO of Hospice of Washington County. Mike lives in Hagerstown with his wife Cindy. They have two grown children, Lauren and Craig, one son-in-law Patrick, and a grandson, Shaun. Mike’s favorite pasttimes when not crunching the numbers in the business office are going to the gym and working around the yard at home.
Mike’s favorite scripture verse is Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this; that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Gary Hornbaker is a long-time veteran with Joy El Ministries. He combines his leadership and organization abilities with strong people skills. Encouraging others is part of his personal philosophy and practice, and it permeates his training/equipping of others. Shippensburg is home to him and his wife Joyce. They have four children: Michael, Jeanette, Beth and Denae and one granddaughter, Aleah. He enjoys travel, missions and personal growth.
His favorite verse is 2 Timothy 2:2: “and the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”
Cherissa is our Director of Camping Ministries, overseeing our facilities and programs for Joy El Camps & Retreats. She comes to Pennsylvania by way of California where she was Assistant Director of Camp Oakhurst. She holds a degree from Central Valley School of Ministry. Cherissa is passionate about Christian camping and the impact that it has on the lives of those who participate in it.
Cherissa is married to husband Slade and has two children, Tori and Tristan. Her favorite scripture verse is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Tanya Pearrell is a life-long native of the north Hagerstown area. Tanya serves as the Executive Assistant for our Executive Director. She loves being involved in the many details that support the work of the ministry behind the scenes and being part of a work that develops students spiritually in their walk with the Lord. When she’s not busy at Joy El, Tanya enjoys reading, spending time with her husband Scott and daughter Ashlyn.
Tanya’s favorite scripture passage is Jeremiah 29:11: ” ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ “
After serving as a nurse for 21 years, Miriam now enjoys the role of Development Coordinator here at Joy El. A native of Mercersburg transplanted to Greencastle, Miriam shares her home and life with husband Dave and daughter Katie. When she’s not connecting with donors and others at the office, she enjoys singing, playing piano, and scrapbooking.
A verse Miriam finds special to her heart lately is Psalm 46:10: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Jeanette Biesecker is our English major who also does math! She serves as both PR coordinator and bookkeeper. She’s a graduate of Shippensburg University and a lifelong native of Waynesboro where she resides with her husband Kevin and their son Gerry. In her leisure hours, she enjoys reading, writing, browsing the web, caring for the family pets and going on “dates” with her husband.
Her favorite verse is Philippians 1:20: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed , but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Brenda Brazee began her association with Joy El as a volunteer. She has been involved in the Released Time Bible Program since 1991. She and husband Bob live in Quarryville with their two sons, Bobby and Mark. Brenda loves reading, working with children and teens at her church, and telling others about the Released Time Bible Program.
Brenda’s favorite scripture verse is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.
Lisa Doyle first participated in the Released Time Bible Program as a school coordinator at York Haven over ten years ago. She is a native of Johnstown, but has lived in York County since 1985. She resides in Manchester with husband Brian. Between them, Lisa and Brian have 5 children, two still living at home. Lisa enjoys reading and kayaking in her spare time.
Her favorite scripture verse is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Lois Ann Glessner is an Elementary Education graduate of Shippensburg University. She grew up in Released Time classes and in our summer camping program. Having worked with Joy El Ministries for over 19 years, she contributes historical perspective as well as invaluable knowledge and insight from a wealth of hands-on experiences in our programs. “Downtown” Clay Lick is home to her and her husband Roger and their two young sons, Benjamin and Joel.
Her favorite passage is Ephesians 5:15 &16: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Sue Witmer brings with her much experience to this position as she previously served Joy El for almost 8 years as our Camping Ministries Assistant and Receptionist. Some of Sue’s favorite pasttimes are scrapbooking, reading, and gardening. She’s a lifelong native of Mercersburg, PA and she and husband Joe still reside there. Sue has two grown sons, Jeremy and Chad, who both have grown up in the programs at Joy El.
Sue’s favorite scripture passage is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
Steve Rice grew up in Mendon, Michigan, in rural farm country. He attended Cornerstone University, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Youth Ministry with a minor in Camping and Sports Ministry. Steve has worked at Lake Ann Camp in Michigan and Hume Lake Christian Camps in California before coming to Camp Joy El. In his spare time, Steve enjoys rock climbing, sports, sketching and drawing. He is married to wife Sarah and they have a little girl, Katelyn.
One of Steve’s favorite scripture passages is John 10:9-10: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life; and have it to the full.”
Adam Eichorn is our Maintenance Coordinator and came to us from Lynchburg, VA., where he recently graduated from Liberty University with a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Northern Tennessee Bible Institute. Adam’s camp experience includes serving on the summer leadership staff at Camp Joy El as well as serving on the summer staff multiple summers at Miracle Mountain Ranch as well as serving there as Farm Manager for three years. Adam enjoys hiking, hunting, reading, sports and making people laugh.
His favorite scripture verse is currently: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7)
Newly graduated from Penn State University with a BS degree in Organizational Leadership, Luke Embree serves as our 4.12 Leadership Training Coordinator. Luke intends to further his education by working toward his Master of Divinity with Asbury Seminary starting in the fall of 2013. Luke is a licensed pastor and has served two internships prior to joining the Joy El staff. Luke also chairs the missions committee at his church and recently led a missions team to India. He and his beautiful wife Christina live in Chambersburg along with two lovely daughters, Hannah and Naomi, and a rambunctious toddler son, Caleb.
Luke’s favorite scripture verse at this time in his life happens to be Isaiah 30:15a: “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”
Stephanie Ziebarth brings to Joy El the discipleship training she received through The Navigators and from many years of discipleship experience. Because Stephanie’s primary gift and passion is discipleship, the Barnabas Ministry is a great fit for her. Stephanie holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She actively disciples her three young children, as well as young women from the community. She enjoys time with her husband and family, as well as activities such as hiking, camping and taking family bike rides. She also enjoys reading, writing, jogging and fellowshipping with others.
Stephanie cites Jeremiah 15:16 as a verse that excites her: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.”
Jen loves the outdoors and camping, which makes her a perfect fit for our Camping Ministries Administrative Assistant role. She also loves hunting, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and dock dogs. Jen resides in Chambersburg with husband Brent and their dog Ruger. She comes to Joy El from a previous career in health care administration where she was and she holds an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting from Central Pennsylvania College.
Jen’s favorite scripture verse is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She loves knowing that God will give her the strength to get through anything!
In the mid to late 90′s, Michael John started as a Sales Manager at Arrowhead Springs Christian Conference Center, and Forest Home in Southern California. Later he became the Director of Sales and Marketing at Sandy Cove Ministries in MD. In 2011, he started his own company called Flashpoint Theory Creative Marketing Solutions. Michael John is the first person you will talk to when you are considering bringing a group to Joy El.
He has been married to Mary for 19 years now, and they have an 11 year old daughter named Michaela. He enjoys playing music and leading worship, and is an avid runner.
His favorite Verse is Hebrews 4:12. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Chris originally began his service with Joy El as part of our summer staff. Now he has moved into the year-round position of Group Events Coordinator. Chris is the friendly face who takes care of all our guest groups’ needs and prepares for their arrival at camp. Chris lives with his mother, brother and sister-in-law in the Chambersburg area. He is also a student with Penn Foster College and is working toward an associates degree in Business Management. When he’s not at camp, he enjoys working on cars and fixing things. He also likes spending time with his family and with friends as well as leading worship at his church.
One of Chris’s favorite scripture verses is found in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
Kathy Dunklebarger lives in Buck Valley with her husband Scott. They have a son, Tobin, who attends the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA. Kathy enjoys sports (especially football – Go Penn State and Steelers!), croqueting, cross-stitching and other crafts. She also loves flowers. Kathy serves her church by teaching Sunday school to 2 and 3 year-olds. Another interest is Biblical apologetics and Creation apologetics.
Kathy’s favorite scripture passage is Romans 3:23, 24: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Mim Hake lives in Strinestown with her husband of 31 years, Randy. They have two children: Andrew and Kalah. They also share their home with a 6-lb, long-coat Chihuahua named Morgan. Mim first served as a school coordinator for 9 years before becoming an area coordinator. Besides serving with Released Time, Mim teaches piano lessons and currently has 17 students.
Mim’s favorite scripture passage is 2 Corinthians 12:9:“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore will I boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Joyce serves as a Released Time Area Coordinator to Franklin County. She lives in Shippensburg in Franklin County with husband Gary. They have four adult children and have recently become grandparents for the first time. Granddaughter Aleah was born in December to their son Michael and his wife Brianne, and Joyce and Gary are just a little bit proud of her. In Joyce’s spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, gardening and Bible study. She enjoys learning from God’s Word.
One of Joyce’s favorite scripture verses is Psalm 45:11: “The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him for he is your lord.”
Carolyn Rishel began volunteering with Released Time 18 years ago as a listener. Today she serves as an Area Coordinator in York County. Carolyn has been married to Ken for 48 years. Together they run a trucking business. They are the parents of Natalie, Christine, and Isaac who are all grown and married. Carolyn and Ken have 14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She loves to garden, read, cook and entertain guests.
Carolyn’s favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Ricky serves as an Area Coordinator in York County. Ricky has been married to wife Lynette going on two years now. They share their home with the family dog, Manchester, a German Shepherd. Ricky also serves the Lord as an associate pastor at Ambassadors Bible Chapel in Manchester, PA. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and riding his bicycle.
Ricky’s favorite passage of scripture is found in 1 Kings 18, verses 16-45. From this story, verses 36 and 37 are central: At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.
Vicki Heckman serves as an Area Coordinator in southern Franklin County but she is not new to Released Time. Vicki has been volunteering for more than six years in roles such as listener, teacher, and school coordinator. She is married to husband Todd and they have three children: Grant, Brock and Ella. They reside in Mercersburg. Vicki enjoys family time, Bible study, scrapbooking, reading and directing the women’s ministry at her church.
Her favorite passage of scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Mim is our Middle/High School Area Coordinator, serving our CIA and Chi Alpha classes. Years ago she served in Released Time as a listener when her older children were in elementary school. Mim is married to Ray and they have four children: Virginia, Rebecca, Stuart and Julie. The Heiseys currently call Fort Loudon home. Some of Mim’s favorite activities include reading, writing, gardening and mentoring.
Her favorite passage of scripture is Proverbs 3:6: In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Gloria serves as a Released Time Area Coordinator for Lancaster County and begins her fourth year involved with Released Time, having served three previous years as a listener and a secretary. Gloria lives in Elizabethtown with husband Mark, Luke and mom Mabel. Additionally son Joel is a college student. Gloria’s interests include spending time with family, reading, and hosting international students in her home.
Her favorite scripture verses are John 3:16 and also John 15:5: I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Bethany Elliott lives in the Greencastle Area with her mom and dad and her 3 sisters and 1 brother. When she’s not tidying things up at Camp Joy El, she enjoys helping at church in the toddler nursery and with the puppet team in the youth group. She also enjoys watching old movies with her dad.
Bethany’s favorite scripture verse comes from Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV)
Carolyn Hagans serves as our Housekeeping Coordinator. Carolyn comes to us from Menno Haven after there working for 32 years. A St Thomas native originally, Carolyn has lived just outside of Chambersburg for the past 30 years with husband Larry. They have been married 46 years and have two grown children, a son and daughter, and three grandchildren. Carolyn has a passion for Rocky Mountain horses. She owns nine of them and has traveled all over the country to show them. She also loves to read.
Carolyn’s favorite scripture verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
After serving with us for two summers as our summer office assistant, Elissa Elliott has now taken on the year-round role of housekeeper. Elissa is a student at Antietam Bible College in Hagerstown, MD, where she is a Biblical Studies Major. She lives at home with her parents, brother and sisters. When asked about her hobbies, Elissa chuckles and states that right now homework is her hobby. But, she does also enjoy the outdoors. working with children, and volunteering in her church’s nursery.
Psalm 46:1 speaks the most into her life right now. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Josh, a native of Chambersburg, joined our housekeeping staff in fall 2012. He is a homeschooled junior in high school and lives at home with his mom and dad. Josh has two brothers and two sisters. He enjoys reading and photography when he’s not studying or working at camp.
Josh’s favorite scripture verse is Psalm 32:7: You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.