The Greater Impact Memorial Fund

in honor of Barbara Russell

Barbara Russell believed that Jr. High youth empowered by God could make a difference in the lives of others.  Through her efforts as a founder and leader at Jeremiah Project, Barb facilitated change in the lives of clients and the Jr. High youth that provide the work force of the JP home repair ministry.  Her dedication to the work of Jeremiah Project continued until her untimely passing in July 2011.

 

In addition to the many areas where Barb supported JP summer camps, she was also a principal in the work of identifying clients and establishing the details of their needs.  This effort involved measuring and photographing and evaluating needs ….and making friends in the Shenandoah Valley and Greater Richmond areas.  But it also involved listening and understanding and identifying ways to help.  Many times, her interactions identified needs that could not be meet by Jeremiah Project work teams.  Barb would be moved to ask that we find ways to meet these needs.  We were personally blessed to be able to assist with meeting some of these needs (of her friends) through our own resources.  It is therefore a further blessing that through the Greater Impact Memorial Fund in honor of Barbara Russell, client needs beyond the efforts of Jeremiah Project work teams can still be met.

 

I am sure that Barb is still working to bring to our attention those who can be helped through the efforts of the Jeremiah Project.  Thank you for considering to aid in carrying on her legacy of caring by supporting this fund. 
                    

Yours in Christ,
Jeff Russell


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Fund Details: 


This fund will provide support to clients who have needs beyond the scope of work that JP normally provides and allow us to say, "YES!" to so many requests that we could not do in the past. Funds could be used to repair plumbing or electrical issues, provide other repairs such as major roof repairs, replacement of storm doors, windows, and more. Memorial funds could even be used to purchase a much-needed appliance.  


Funding for the Greater Impact Memorial Fund will come by donation from individuals, families, and churches. 


If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution in honor of Barbara, you will find a donation page HERE. 


Note: If you prefer to make a donation with a check, please make the check payable to: "Jeremiah Project" and mail to: 

Jeremiah Project

P.O. Box 5163

Williamsburg, VA  

23188


We are looking forward to putting this memorial fund into kingdom use this summer as we seek to have a greater impact for those we love and serve in the name of Jesus! 


Below you will see some tributes and pictures about Barbara serving others and the Lord.

Remembering Barbara Russell
JP's Co-Founder, Friend, & Servant

It was the spring of 1997. Myself, Barbara Russell, and Rev. Abi Foerster had a phone conversation about starting a mission trip tailored specifically for Junior High students. Within a few short months, the Jeremiah Project was born, and we held our first work camps in the summer of 1998.


For the next 14 years, I worked alongside Barbara and Abi until Barbara’s passing on July 3, 2011.


It’s hard to believe that it has been more than a decade since Barb left us. Barbara has been on my mind a lot recently. Truth be told, I think of her a lot during the spring and summer months every year because it was during those months that we worked side by side for the ministry of JP.


I also realized that there is an entire generation of JP campers and staffers that never knew Barbara. I can honestly say that they have missed out on knowing the wonderful person, gifted teacher, compassionate servant, loyal friend, and Jesus-follower that she was.


We hope this page created in honor of Barbara, will - in some small way - capture her love for others, passion for serving, and impact her life had on so many people. 


- Todd Freneaux

JP Co-Founder and Executive Director


The Absolute Best!

Barb was the youth director at the church where I grew up. I grew up under her watchful eye. She nudged and pushed and encouraged me to be a pastor. I served on staff at JP because she said, “I think you’d be good at this.” One of the first voices encouraging me to go to seminary was hers. When I was in high school (and was, at times, kinda a jerk), she’d sometimes say to me before some big church event, “I expect big things from you. You are representing yourself, your church, and Jesus - don’t embarrass us.” She made me laugh, she helped me wrestle with hard questions, and when I was a college student struggling to figure out who I was and what was next for me, she always made time for lunch at Saratoga Pizzeria while I was home on break.


Plus, there was that time in high school on a mission trip when my buddy put in a CD that had some “inappropriate language” and all of a sudden Barb started singing along. We were shocked, and told her so, and she just looked back from the passenger seat and said, “Do you boys think I’ve never heard these words before?” That moment has taught me SO MUCH about relational ministry - honestly, I’m still learning from it.


The day she died was my first Sunday as a pastor. I vividly remember getting into my truck, having just presided at the communion table for the first time, and seeing that I had a voicemail (I think from my mom). When I listened, I found out that Barb had died. My calling, as a disciple and a pastor, is so tied up in who Barb was and what she taught me and who she challenged me to be. I remember struggling to find words and emotions on that Sunday morning and wishing I could write her one more letter to tell her what it all meant to me.


Barb was a second mother to me, and a person who bears a lot of responsibility for who I am and what I do (so, my churches should blame her). I give thanks to God for the gift she was (and remains) in my life. She was, and still is, the absolute best.


Rev. Brian Johnson

Pastor, Haymarket Church

One Life Impacts So Many Others

Barb was faithful, visionary, big-hearted, and passionate in her faith for Jesus. Blessed by my memories of the months working together in the Agape House at Sydenstricker UMC to launch JP, with both her and Jeff and all those who would become the first board.

- Rev. Abi Foerster, JP Co-founder


I have many fond memories of the motherly love she brought to the staff every summer. I was blessed to be not only a camper but on staff with her and Jeff a number of times. She was tough, sweet, and had the best hugs. Because I knew her - I have been changed for good.

- Katie Drinkuth


I still have so many memories staffing with Barb. She was a wonderful person, and she impacted my experience at JP in such a positive way. I still remember finding out and it was like a gut punch. Still miss her. 

- Laura Cornett Wang


Barb was one of the few staffers I got to experience as a camper and a staffer later!

-Tara Miller


Oh,my goodness, such good memories with Barb on staff and as a camper - she is so missed.

- Julia Flint


What a gem of a lady with the biggest heart and so so so much love for JP and her students.

- Teryn Oglesby Morgan


I met Barb one time.  I think it was July 2009 at the Peterkin camp. It was Big Week, so lots of peeps there. I was an adult volunteer. She so impressed me with her passion for the JP Way.  Her legacy lives on in every volunteer, student, staffer and family we serve. 

- Pete van Aartrijk


Barb was camp director my first summer, so she is really the one who introduced me to JP. I was in camp when Todd received the phone call that Barb had passed away. It brought back a lot of memories but kicking off a week of camp later that day also felt like such a perfect way to honor her amazing life!

- Laura Cook


I stopped in to visit with Barbara & Jeff just a bit before Barbara passed away & she was lifting me up during our whole time together. Barbara was always thinking more of others than herself. She loved loved loved the kids. She is missed but we will be together again!

- Wiley Peck


I remember what a beautiful singing voice Barb had, and what a great storyteller she was. Barb was so creative and was effective at teaching any Bible story. I remember when she was program director a week I was camp director, and I didn’t want the time to end. Her presence was such a gift and her laugh was contagious!

I remember at Fan the Flame (now JOURNEY) how concerned she was when the zip line was open as the water was often cold in March. She would sit at the bottom by the lake with an extra towel in case someone needed it. She was so thoughtful!

I also have fond memories of staff beach trips in January. Barb and Jeff would take the staff out for a seafood dinner, just because they wanted to love and support young adults (of course the staff was WAY smaller…think 12ish people). She was such a gift to me personally and to shaping what JP is today!

- Karen Orwoll Goins


I think the first significant time I spent with her was at one of the middle school weekends JP did for the conference. What I remember is her smile, her hugs, her realism about the church, and her passion for making a difference in the lives of middle schoolers.

- Dwayne Stinson

Photo Gallery

We have compiled a few pics of Barbara over the years while at JP.  Click on the picture below to be redirected to the photo gallery.