Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And to the Raven I say, "Evermore! Evermore!"

Anderson, our alma mater, guide of soul and mind
thou has taught within thy borders
to aid all mankind.

So for this thy noble purpose may our best avail;
friend of all that's good and upright,
hail to thee, all hail.

And so it begins… again. Once again I find myself at this inexplicable place, a place that is only found by the grace of God. It is written that God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the chosen. For me, life recently has been a series of responses to God. And each time it goes like this… 

"Do what? NO. Oh…yes, God."

It is a "NO" because that is always the rational answer. It is a "NO" because I recognize that I am not qualified. And yet… it turns to a "yes, God" because He speaks clearly to me that He demands it. He has sent me here at this time, to this place, to simply be faithful. And so I step forward. I step forward knowing that I do not have the means to do so. And then He simply provides the way.

I pastor a church. I was aware of my lack of a seminary degree. It gnaws at the back of my mind that I am in need of a deeper study of the word of God. But I am a missionary and seminary is expensive. I can't leave what I am doing. It simply can not be.

And then I received a email telling me that the school where I studied my undergraduate work was launching it's first ever online seminary degree and I should apply. I prayed about it and felt that it was right. And so I applied and was shocked to find that I had met the qualifications. 

I told them my story and also told them that I had the ability to pay nothing. I was told of a new scholarship that had just been created that was looking for "Pastors of congregations of about 70 people. Churches that are doing something unique." I pastor a church of about that number (it is growing) and we are a gathering of missionaries and Guatemalans. We speak English and we speak Spanish. We are shattering cultural boundaries and we are connecting people to Christ and the Church. Yes, we are unique, and so I applied.

To my shock… I was granted a full scholarship. My classes begin tomorrow. And so again… I am a Raven. Evermore!

My online self-introduction to my peers:

Hello from Guatemala!
by Chad Shepherd - Sunday, January 12, 2014, 4:58 PM

It is an amazing opportunity to share this forum with each of you. I am thankful for Anderson University and the powerful provision of God that it affords us all. 

My undergraduate degree was completed at A.U. in 1996. Since that time I have worked in mental health, and in corporate management with The Kroger Company. I have studied off and on with The University of Cincinnati, and well as Indiana Wesleyan University to pick up necessary skills for those positions.

This past year my wife and I moved our family to San Lucas, Sacatepequez, Guatemala to become missionaries. We have adopted international children, and we felt God calling us to this place where there is a tremendous need among the children. We are seeking obedience to the call of James in chapter one where he is urged that true and faultless religion is caring for orphans and widows.

Our ministry here has several components, but they all advocate toward this cause… of caring for orphans and widows, with our focus being largely on orphans. My wife teaches as a volunteer at a local school, and I am the Academic Coordinator at a second school. Along with this, I pastor a campus of Journey Church, based in West Chester, Ohio, pastored by Tom Planck.

Journey Church Guatemala is a unique gathering of missionaries and Guatemaltecans who together share the mission of connecting people to Christ and the Church. Together with the two schools, we all share the mission of reaching the children of the community and bringing their families in to fellowship with believers.

My wife, Kellie and I also work with an organization, Catalyst Resources International. We lead short term mission teams into nearby 3rd world villages to offer feeding to children, medical & dental clinics, education, sustainable food projects, and home construction. Priority to relief is given to widowed mothers with children. They must be active in the local church, the children must be in school, and the family must have the endorsement of the local pastor and school director.

The true heartbeat of our presence in Guatemala is the final piece of our mission. We are establishing a home where we can take in 15-30 orphaned children in a residential setting, supported by qualified Guatemalan staff. This process will take several years, and so it affords us to reach out the other directions at this time. 

We have 3 children, Caleb (13), Aleksandra (10), and Sterling (3). Recently we were able to purchase a puppy, a miniature schnauzer that helps our family feel more at home here in our new place. We landed in Guatemala on June 11, 2013, and God has honored our steps as we continue to pursue His vision for our lives.

I look forward to discovering more of His purpose as I learn aside each one of you. God bless.

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