Through faith, dance, photography, evangelism, artistry and education, Rachel (Ort ’05) Leazenby touched others. She was full of life. She had a lot to give.

During her time at Bethel, she loved to take her camera and sit by the water — the pond in the middle of campus  — to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was there where she felt restored and refreshed, even after she graduated in 2005. “The pond was her place,” says Mary Ort, Leazenby’s mother. “She would go there to relax and felt ministered to.”

So it’s only fitting that a memorial bench commemorating Leazenby be placed at the pond, on the campus where she intimately felt the Lord’s love. Leazenby’s life ended too soon when she died from injuries sustained in a car crash Christmas Eve 2008. She was 27. “A few months before going to heaven I had asked Rachel what had happened to her to make her shine the way she did,” Leazenby’s husband, John, says, “and she said it was her time at Bethel. She spoke of how the people loved her there for who she was and how they pointed her toward Jesus. She loved her friends and her professors.”

Bethel gave Leazenby the ability to get paid for what she liked to do — teach and evangelize. And that’s exactly what Leazenby, who was a teacher at Grissom Middle School in Mishawaka, Ind., did.

“She taught everywhere. Anywhere she could find kids she was teaching them,” says Ort. “I don’t think she knew how much God was using her. So many people liked her because she was so outgoing, and she wanted to share her love with you.”

Prior to her death, Leazenby wrote on her Facebook page: “I am a Christ follower and eagerly anticipating the marriage feast with my Lord.” Thousands attended her funeral, and many told the family of the impact Leazenby had on them. She may be physically gone, but her memory will stay alive by the still waters on Bethel’s campus for others to be refreshed and restored.