The first thing they did was to grab Molly into a huge bear hug as they hadn’t seen her in 20 years. The next thing they did was say, “You can stay with us as long as you need.” Then they said, “Come on, we’re taking you to dinner.”
Ahhhhhh…Those are mighty soothing words for weary travelers who’ve been sitting at the side of the road for over two hours in a broken down minivan.
They graciously welcomed us into their home. We got a quick tour of all the important things like, here’s the kitchen, you’re welcome to any of the food, just help yourself. Here’s the bathroom, if you need anything just let us know. Here’s the laundry room, if you need to wash your clothes. Here’s your bedroom, here are your towels and again, you are welcome to stay as long as you need.
I crawled into a bed and slept like it was my home.
Cal and Jan have been married for nearly 50 years. They’ve been in ministry nearly that long too. Cal’s a pastor and a Director of a Bible Camp for about 35 years and Jan has been at his side every step of the way.
We got a chance to visit Twin Peaks Bible camp and hear some of the stories that have happened over the last 30 years there. Cal and Jan came right before they were about to shut it all down. The owners said, “Well, if you can do something with it, then it will stay open.”
Almost 30 years later and tons of blood, sweat, and tears, the camp is thriving.
Cal said, “It’s hard work and the grace of God.” That’s Cal, short, sweet, and cut to the chase. He’s got work to do.
They’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of kids (as well as parents) come to know the love and grace and goodness of Jesus Christ. They’ve seen dozens of children they poured into grow up and step into ministry or missions. They’ve helped dozens and dozens of families be better together.
They’ve seen their own family grow better and better together.
“I made a commitment I was going to be involved. I wanted my kids to know beyond any doubt that I loved them.” Cal stuck to his commitment and you can tell. With five grown children and many grandchildren, the Sheppard family is a tight knit group.
Jan had us laughing till our sides hurt. She is a spunky. Her love spills out everywhere. She’s the kind of person you just want to be around.
They shared stories of a life of service and missions work. When you depend on support raising as your main source of income, it’s usually pretty slim. But, Cal and Jan are able to show a lifetime of fruit from their labor. The money may have been thin, but the love was full.
I personally needed to spend time with these two. As a missionary raising a family, you often wonder if you’re doing the right thing. You often wonder if all the sacrifices you have to make will be worth it. If all the hard work for very little pay will pay off.
The Sheppards life speaks loudly with a resounding YES.
I thank God for the Sheppards. Please join me in praying for many, many continued blessings for this wonderful family.