Annette Marie Bergen
July 25, 1963 - December 18, 2020
The mission statement of the Youth Farm Bible Camp is to “Share Jesus with people and provide a place to serve”. One person that has lived out that mission is Annette Bergen. Through gifts of service, she has given so much. The year of 1996 was the first summer she served as camp nurse - most of our current summer staff were not alive at that time - she has taken a long path towards serving this ministry. Throughout the last 25 years, the Adult Special Needs ministry has been able to grow due to her professionalism. They were well taken care of.
When Candace and I (Mark) served as Youth Pastors for Rosthern Mennonite Church from 1997-2001, she was the first youth sponsor that joined with us. She came to Stratford in the summer of 1998 on a 30 hour trip. It was my first time leading a group across the country on a mission trip and it was a great experience with many challenges along the way. Candace, Annette and I would often talk about that trip and reminisce the valuable group building that took place as we drove across the country in 15 passenger vans. Annette came to St. Louis the next summer for a large Mennonite Conference that 6000 youth attended. The youth appreciated their relationship with Annette and the trips were a great place to build relationship memories.
We could always count on Annette to be the nurse at camp. This last summer she helped out when when campers arrived for the two weeks of respite camp that we were able to provide. To replace Annette will be hard. It was her space, her place, here at camp. She knew all of the campers and they greatly appreciated Annette. She has been a constant, a reassurance that everything will be alright. Dependable and hard working are two attributes that this woman of God showed to all. These last few years, she often sent texts and emails saying that she was praying for us - our family and our camp.
Annette loved to travel. She sang in a choir in the Middle East, going to countries like Syria that would be impossible to find now. She went to Europe multiple times! Took friends to Mexico probably every year. Went on MDS trips, spent time in New Orleans as a servant of God and much more! I have been privileged to be out of the country with her five times! She joined our family on trips to Disney World in Orlando and Legoland, San Diego Zoo and Knotts Berry Farm in California. Candace appreciated having Annette take her spot on the many rollercoasters that Brandon, Cassidy and I would go on - Candace took the photos, Annette took the ride! Great memories.
The Mexico Impact Trip that we organize every year was something that Annette was always interested in. Over the years she has supported many of our staff, donating so they could be participants. She also went on the trip back in 2013. She outworked most of the boys and there are pictures to prove it. Annette embraced everything that was going on at the Youth Farm Bible Camp.
From 2011 - 2020, Annette was a board member at YFBC. Board Retreats were fun events - especially when her and Greg Redekopp would have it out for each other! She was a very capable board member who knew the heart of the camp. She was a strong supporter and carrier of the vision. She was at every fund raiser meal we had (she only missed one when she was sick with cancer). Our last fund raiser before COVID was in the fall of 2019. She was there all day and sent an encouraging text after the day was done. We started the Fall Supper in 2005 and she was an integral part of making the meal a great community event. She volunteered at the Corn Maze, often cooking hamburgers at our food trailer.
Annette was also the first donor to send a significant donation to the camp when COVID-19 changed our world. Her quick and early support helped us to have the vision and foresight to develop programming in 2020. We were able to pivot and have a successful year, to do this you need emotional, spiritual and financial support - we love our donors so much! She ordered food from the food market and continued to support the ministry. She was a servant, she shared herself with us. The camp, the community, the campers, the staff, the board members and the constituency have been greatly impacted by Annette.
This is hard. We will miss her.
We want to continue to remember Annette and the legacy she left at our camp. To make a donation please go to our remembering Annette page. Consider supporting the ministry that Annette has been serving for the last 25 years.