SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Catawba College's 11th Lilly Center Colloquium will feature Mrs. Valerie Shepard as keynote speaker. Shepard is the daughter of an American missionary who was killed by a primitive, stone-age tribe in the Amazon jungle while attempting to evangelize them, according to a press release.Shepard will make her principal presentation at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 24, in the Tom Smith Auditorium in Ralph W. Ketner Hall.
Born February 27, 1955 in Shell Mera, Ecuador, Shepard was the only daughter of Elisabeth and Jim Elliot, missionaries to the Quichara Indians of the Amazon jungle.
In January, 1956, while attempting to reach the Waodani Indians (a primitive, stone-age tribe) Shepard's father and four others were speared to death. She and her mother continued to live with the Quichuas until miraculously they were invited to live with the Waodani tribe that had killed Shepard's father.
They lived with that tribe for two years as Shepard's mother and another missionary learned to speak the tribal language and translated the story of Christ to them. This led to most of the Waodani tribe accepting Christianity and making a commitment not to continue killing...and they have been true to that commitment.Shepard and her mother returned to the States in order for Shepard to receive an American education. She attended and graduated from Wheaton College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature. She married Walter Shepard, a Presbyterian minister, and has spent over 39 years being a pastor's wife, rearing and homeschooling eight children, and teaching Bible studies.
The Shepards' ministry has been one of hospitality, leading prayer meetings and living in God's grace with joy. Valerie Shepard has spoken to numerous women's groups, served as a retreat leader and shared some of the radio ministry "Gateway to Joy" with her mother. The Shepards' desire ever since they were first married was to go to the mission field and Africa always was a part of that dream. God opened the door for them to move to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2005. This provided Mrs. Shepard further opportunity to pursue her love of teaching. In 2008, they returned to the United States because of health reasons.
Since then Mrs. Shepard has worked alongside her husband pursuing the mission of planting a church in Southport, N.C. and has continued to teach and speak, sharing her experiences and her faith.