Connie Lou (Ballif) Mitchell was the first child of Fred and Barbara Ballif, born January 7th, 1953 in Portland Oregon. She was followed by Leonard, Rick and Norma Jeane.
At five years old Connie moved with her family to Beaverton OR. She attended West Hills Christian School, and graduated from Beaverton High School in 1971. Connie attended Capernwray Bible School, and brought along a young man named Scott Mitchell, who had been her friend since meeting as children at Allen Avenue Baptist Church.
After Capernwray, Connie returned home and started attending Mt. Hood Community College where she earned her RN. While Connie worked as a nurse in Beaverton, she corresponded via letters with her friend Scott, who was attending Prairie Bible College in Alberta Canada. She soon fell in love with that young man, who had fallen in love with her years earlier. Connie Ballif married Scott Mitchell on July 16th, 1977, and they started pastoring Valley Bible Church in Grays River, WA. Scott and Connie welcomed a son, Jonathan Scott in 1980 followed by a daughter, Sadie Anne in 1982.
Scott accepted a job as Dean of Men at Prairie Bible College in 1983 where he worked for seven years and Connie worked as a stay-at-home-mom. Their last child, Chad Anthony, was born in 1984 in Three Hills, AB, Canada, and Connie often referred to him as their “only true Canadian” although all five became Canadian citizens in 1988.
Scott felt his gifting was in counselling, and the family moved to Manitoba in 1991, where Connie worked at a nursing home in order to put Scott through Seminary.
In 1992 Connie moved with her family back to Beaverton, OR where she worked as a mental health nurse at Cedar Hills Hospital, Portland Adventist Hospital and finally St. Vincent’s Hospital.. Scott worked as a private practice counselor and as a pastor at Cedar Mill Bible Church where the family attended.
Connie’s life was forever changed when Scott very suddenly and tragically passed away on September 22nd, 2004. Connie felt the peace of God in the days and years following, and decided to step out in faith sharing her story of God’s faithfulness with many. In the Summer of 2008 Connie was asked by her musician friend, Jodi Penner, to go on tour with her. She worked tirelessly on what became known as her “tour talk” for many months and then Connie and Jodi traveled up and down the west coast where Jodi shared her music and Connie shared her story of heartbreak, forgiveness, and thankfulness. She titled this journey “Treasures in Darkness”, which is a theme found in Isaiah 45:3, a reference she found in one of Scott’s last journal entries. Connie would often have a line of people waiting to share their own stories with her. One of Connie’s greatest joys was seeing the opening of “The Scott Mitchell House”, a home for women transitioning out of prison and their children.
In July 2005, on what would have been Connie and Scott’s 28th wedding anniversary, Sadie Anne married Shawn Hoffarth. They welcomed two sons, Levi Edward in 2007 and Nolan Scott in 2009. Connie enjoyed her role as “Grammie” probably more than anything else in the world. Levi and Nolan have a special bond with their grammie, and looked forward to her visiting them in Canada every year on their birthdays.
In July of 2015, Connie, and all of us blessed to know her, received the devastating news that she had terminal brain cancer. Connie responded to this terrible news the only way she knew how, with a genuine care and concern for everyone but herself. “I’m so sorry I have to leave you, I really do trust that God has you in His hands” is what she told her children in the weeks following her diagnosis. Connie lived a life devoted to others and devoted to her God.
Connie passed away peacefully at her home as the sun rose on Christmas day surrounded by her children.