Monday, July 31, 2023

The Sheppard Family Transition

Greetings! My name is Keely, and today I'm honored to share an update on behalf of the Sheppard family. Recently, I've been in close contact with Linda, offering my support as she faces the incredibly challenging transition

of leaving Haiti and returning, full-time, to the United States. Having experienced a similar move myself, I understand the difficulties involved, and my aim today is to convey their current situation while allowing them space to focus on their most pressing tasks.

A decade ago, the Sheppards embarked on a journey to Haiti, purchasing 14 one-way tickets.

Now, Linda finds herself alone in Haiti, packing up their family home, bidding farewell to loved ones, and loading a container that will be shipped to the States. Meanwhile, Ron is holding down the fort in North Carolina.

Their family has grown and thrived in Haiti, experiencing countless "firsts," birthdays, Christmases, and more during their time there. However, now they are each following different paths. Eight of the children have settled in North Carolina, including 13-year-old Naomi, who was just a baby when they first made that life-changing journey. David is in France, and the remaining five are spread across Oregon and Washington state.

Haiti has become increasingly unstable due to gang violence, kidnappings, and limited resources, which has compelled the Sheppard family to relocate to the US. Even though God physically took the family to safety, their hearts remain committed to Haiti's service. This transition has been more challenging than anyone could have anticipated, but it also holds hope for new opportunities and fresh beginnings. God has presented them with various avenues to continue supporting their family, friends, and community in Haiti.

The Sheppards are continuing to offer support to Leanne, who remains in Haiti, and are actively working to secure a visa for her to join them in the United States.

They are also devoted to providing school support for the children in the communities they leave behind in Haiti.

Furthermore, Linda has worked through countless obstacles and challenges to get a container full of gymnastics equipment from Haiti to North Carolina.

This will enable a partnership between Haiti gymnastics and Union County Gymnastics to take shape. The sister-school program will facilitate an exchange, allowing Haitian students to come and train, as well as compete in North Carolina. The connection with coaches having strong ties to the university opens up countless opportunities for the students involved. While the details are still being worked out, the Sheppards are confident that this is all part of God's plan.

As always, we believe that God has a plan for them, and we humbly request your prayers for various aspects of their journey:
  • Pray for the Sheppards' transition, both in terms of their physical well-being and emotional healing as they navigate their new life in the United States.
  • Pray for peace and restoration in Haiti, and especially for the Haitian families who are facing daily struggles for survival.
  • Pray for the ministries that the Sheppard’s are committed to supporting in Haiti.
  • Pray for guidance on their upcoming projects in both Haiti and the United States.
  • Pray for the safe delivery of the container as it makes its way from Haiti to North Carolina, and for the success of the gymnastics sister-school program, as it opens new opportunities for students on both sides.
  • Finally, pray for healing and hope to prevail throughout their journey.
Thank you for joining us in prayer and support for the Sheppard family during this crucial period of transition. Together, we can make a difference and bring positivity and empowerment to both their new life in the United States and their continued dedication to serving Haiti.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Therapy in Guatemala

Yes, we are still very active in Haiti. We have not given up HOPE for the people of Haiti and we appreciate everyone's continued prayers for the unrest and continual crisis in the place we call home. We would like to give more updates, but it's very depressing and continues to get worse and worse. Please keep praying for our staff in Haiti, their families, and that they will be safe. We still feel displaced in North Carolina with our hearts in Haiti and our home and dogs and so many friends we consider family.

But for this post, we want to talk about something positive. In the meantime, Linda continues to minister in Guatemala yay!  She lead a mission trip a few weeks ago to Santa Maria de Jesus with a joint medical and mental health training/therapy team. 


It was an amazing experience, especially getting back into her specialty which is trauma work and mental health. Linda has been a trainer for Crisis Care Training International for many, many years, but as things got worse and worse in Haiti around 2018, mental health training aspects and doing therapy began to take a back seat. 

Linda personally was really burning out. But just look at some of these amazing photos of the training in Guatemala. It was such an uplifting experience! Previously, it was so hard to live in the middle of crisis nonstop and work in the field of crisis (rape, hostage, shooting) and also be a parent to so many traumatized children. We had much trauma ourselves as well as secondary trauma, but God is good and we are healing. 

In Haiti, God called us to make a transition into physical fitness and gymnastics to assist with long term physical and mental health and also as a way to provide HOPE to the suffering who only saw trauma and unrest all around them. The Lord opened doors and it was truly amazing. We began to see a wide range of ways to serve the needs.

Onto the year 2023, and we are not currently full time in Haiti. Most of our children are now grown. Linda is in a better place mentally to venture back into some mental health trainings again. And what a JOY it has been :) 

We have another team traveling to Guatemala August 19-26, so please contact if you are interested. It will be a joint medical/mental health trip as well. 

We also did medical care with the elderly in a group home and also with our amazing friend Brenna who has an amazing ministry with homebound elderly. 

At the school, we were able to work with 160 children with doing a module on trauma. We also did fluoride treatments for all the students and provided some medical care some of the students as well. What a tremendous blessing to be able to serve in such a way!

Unfortunately, Linda had some pretty significant back issues in Guatemala and ended up being brought to the ER herself and had to get an MRI and was sent to a brain/spine specialist. She was in a TON of physical pain and has since been following up with doctors, PT, and surgeons in the Florida as well as North Carolina. Please pray for healing without surgery!

She is trying to do what she can to avoid a cervical spinal fusion, so please keep us in prayers regarding those details as well as expenses involved in all of that. We appreciate all of you so much and pray for you and your families. God is good, but life is HARD. We pray that all of us will feel presence of the Lord and that we continue to turn to the Lord with confidence and strength knowing that He will meet all of our needs. 

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" ~Joshua 1:9


Saturday, December 31, 2022

Trusting in Transitions

The Sheppard Family                               December 31, 2022

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Time sure has flown. It has been almost ten years since our family moved from Oregon into Haiti. Little did we know what the Lord had planned! We started working with a small clinic in Gromothe and expanded to the village of Belot and then even further into the mountains in Sonis. While supporting the growth of churches, building schools, operating mobile medical clinics, developing irrigation systems, and conducting trainings, we began to incorporate therapy to heal from trauma as well. This amazingly brought us into gymnastics that started in the villages and then advanced into orphanages and into the city of Port au Prince. 

Wow! It’s been quite an adventure as many of our kids have grown up and moved onto their own adventures in life. One is living in France and the rest are spread throughout Oregon, Washington and North Carolina. Ron, Linda and eight of the Sheppard kids are now transitioning into North Carolina. We are excited to see what the Lord has in store for us next!

These changes have been huge, but we see the Lord’s hands each step of the way. We are now working with Union County Gymnastics in Wingate, North Carolina. This location has become a “sister school” to the gymnastics outreach in Haiti. We have many programs operating in Haiti, but for now, they will continue through trips in and out of the country and entrusting our local staff to oversee the projects si Dye vle. Linda will be traveling back to Haiti in January and also leading a medical and trauma training team into Guatemala in February. Ron is working in Charlotte and continues to manage the village projects in Haiti as well as helping with the local gymnastics program in the evenings. The kids are also keeping busy by assisting with gymnastics and volunteering at the animal shelter.

We want to thank each and every one of you for your continued love, prayers, and support. We miss all of our friends and family, especially around the holiday season. May the Lord bless you and bring you peace, love, and good health this coming year and all years to come! Please prayerfully consider donating one time and with monthly support. Your partnership is greatly needed and appreciated! We are humbled and inspired to see friends and family step up to make such huge sacrifices to help the children and families in need around the world.

God Bless, 


Ron, Linda and the entire Sheppard Family

Monday, October 3, 2022

Oh Haiti, My Heart.... 
     County of Extremes

I don't even know what to say at this point. Just when we think it cannot get ANY worse, Haiti just goes downhill even further. I have been traveling to Haiti for nearly 20 years. I began working in Haiti way before our five Haitian kids joined our family. In fact, I remember families that I was working with would ask if we would be adopting from Haiti and I would say nope. I think our house is full. At the time, we had seven kids. We were living in North Carolina, and we really thought our family was complete. 

But God. There were many "but God" moments that seemed to happen. We did not know that some of the children we met in the orphanage would one day join other families in the USA, but eventually make it to our family for their forever home. It's been quite a journey. Haiti really grabbed onto our hearts and held on. We love the Lord and we love children and also have children from all over the world, but we have more children from Haiti than anywhere else. All of our children from Haiti also joined our family long before we jumped in with both feet and moved the whole family there 10 years ago. Haiti has a special place in our hearts. Although it seems impossible and hopeless, we are not giving up!! God has not forgotten or abandoned Haiti and we cannot forget Haiti either. 

We have to be honest though and say this past year has been one of the hardest we have experienced so far. Our family has been spread apart not only with kids aging out and moving on with their lives (growing up), but also with evacuating the kids to North Carolina last year and Ron and I trading off back and forth to Haiti. The various ministry projects we have going on simply have not been equipped to continue independently without at least one of us in Haiti. It was a lot to manage when our entire family was basically volunteering all of their time and now we are missing many hands to help. 

We are regrouping and we are excited to see what the Lord is doing. We have hired some new people to fill various roles, but the money and also the time it takes to train new people, is no small thing. Please pray that the funds will come and the right people will be able to fill those roles. Many people need work and so this is not entirely a bad thing.  We are not purely just hiring someone to do a job though. Pray that people with a love for the Lord and a vision for the future will be placed in those roles. 

Essentially we are condensing what we do into two main projects in Haiti. These two main projects are our Sports Program and our Canine Program. 

Sports Program 

The first one is our gym and sports program. We have been back in the schools and this time at Union School. We have some AMAZING students!! We are so blessed to be involved in bringing gymnastics to these amazing kids. Please pray that the country will stabilize enough that the schools can open again. 

As of the past few weeks, the schools have been closed due to the current political unrest which has blocked off roads and made it impossible to travel within the city. There is also no fuel to be had or very limited fuel on the black market if you can even get it. 

Country Instability

Canine Program

So, what do we do when we are locked down for 7 days or 15 days or 25 days? Well, we continue to work on our other main program which is training dogs. We are in process of training dogs for Search and Rescue.  We are making strides in developing our first Search and Rescue dog team for Haiti. We also train protection dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs.  We are working hard to develop standards of care to promote ethical breeding practices and assure high quality care in the treatment of animals. 

Historically, many people are scared of dogs in Haiti. Dogs are often mistreated in the streets and rocks are thrown at them. That history of fear also contributes to dogs even within the home compound, not really cared for as a pet, but more like an object or something to be able to control. We aim to change that step by step. Although we also train protection dogs that can be dangerous, we LOVE our dogs and these protection dogs are being trained to help people.  Especially during these difficult times, guards and other employees can be paid off, but you cannot pay off a loyal pet/dog. We do poison proofing with dogs and train dogs to not take food from anyone. These dogs are truly amazing!!

Akari - GSD in Training for SAR

I am blessed to be one of the founders of the Haitian Canine Society. Although I have stepped down from my involvement in the main organization, I have focused on founding the German Shepherd dog club (a specialty club within the main club) and have been honored to be named the president of that club. This club allows us to focus on more details of training we are doing more specifically with German Shepherds in particular. 

As always, we appreciate your continued prayers for our family and for the country of Haiti. Please prayerfully consider supporting our projects in Haiti. No amount is too small! We need YOU to keep our projects going with a one time gift as well as monthly contributions to World Outreach at

Monday, July 4, 2022

Documents and Dogs

 We have made it half way through 2022.  Sometimes, this is all we can ask.  The year seems to be going fast in some respects and very slow in others.   Linda has been in Haiti and I have been in North Carolina with the kids.  

Linda has been working with the gymnastics kids to get them ready for the trip to compete in the US, however the trip has been delayed due to paperwork for visas and other travel documents.  The kids are doing great with their gymnastics and are very excited for the trip. We are hoping to be able to do the competition before school starts.  

Linda is also working on a couple of projects with the Special Olympics of Haiti.  She will be training participants in gymnastics and weight lifting for Down Syndrome participants.  This is something that has always been close to Linda's heart. Please pray that she is able to make a positive impact.  

The building location for the school dormitory in Sonis has experienced a small landslide.  We are currently trying to find a more suitable location.

We are also excited to announce that there is a new family member.  Kristof is a daddy and we received one of his puppies.  She is high energy, just like Kristof.  We are working to possibly train her as an emergency rescue/cadaver dog.  This is unfortunately a much needed service.


Django and Kristof also participated in a dog show.  Displaying their talents in agility and protection.  They did very well and continue to demonstrate the advantages of a well trained security dog.  

Security in Haiti continues to degrade.  We are approaching one year since the president was assassinated, and Haiti still does not have a president.  The gangs continue to expand their areas of control.  I saw a news article that indicated more than 250 people were kidnapped in Haiti in the month of May.  This is unfortunately becoming the new normal in Haiti. Please pray for the security in Haiti to improve.  There is a lot of politics involved, however God is bigger than this.


This summer, some of us will be traveling to visit churches and other supporters.  If you would like us to visit your church or other group, please contact us.  As we begin the second half of the year, please consider supporting us financially or in prayer.   

God Bless

Thursday, March 31, 2022

 We are quickly approaching the end of  March 2022.  How time flies.  Linda and I continued to trade places for the first part of 2022.  I was fortunate to be in the US to watch the Super Bowl.  That was a treat for me.  I was also able to see Maliya on her birthday.  Linda was able to be with the kids for New Years and Valentines.  As we finish March, I am in the US and will be here for a while.  We are, like everyone, struggling with the inflation.  We have decided that I will stay in the US for a while and find a job.  Please pray that God guides us and brings me to the right job.

I worry about Linda being alone in Haiti.  She rarely leaves the house without a dog in the car.  That is comforting, but not ideal.  The security situation in Haiti continues to be bad.  Kidnappings are commonplace and no one is immune.  There are many videos circulating within Haiti, showing kidnappings and attempted kidnappings.  The government recently released a statement indicating that some kidnappers now have police uniforms and cars.  They documented what to look for if the police are on the street asking you to stop.  Things like, are they wearing police issued boots or tennis shoes, are they next to a police car, and does it have the police plates on it?...not things we would typically think to check.  When someone with a gun is telling me to stop, I am usually looking at their face or the gun, not his shoes. This has created a lot of fear in the general population.  There was recently a crew of people working on the road that we live on.  It is a dead end road and we are the last house.  I walked up to the top of the road, about 100yards, to see if I could get through with the pickup.  I was stopped twice by neighbors to ask if I was not concerned about being kidnapped if I was walking on the street.  I think this indicates the level of concern in Haiti right now.  There seems to be more police activity recently.  I have heard of more arrests of gang members.  Hopefully this trend will continue.  Please pray for the security situation in Haiti.

Please pray for Agape Flights. As you might have seen on Linda's Facebook page, they had a plane burned by protesters the last week of March.  The current belief is that the protesters were looking for a commercial plane (believing that the commercial airlines have the main roads blocked to make money on flights).  The protesters apparently stole this plane, rolled it out of the airport onto the street, and burned it in protest.  There were no injuries to Agape personnel reported.  This is a stark reminder of the frustration the population feels.  Please pray for peace and  for Agape Flights.


Our seeds arrived, thank you Hope Seeds.  We ordered 250 family packs of seeds.  Each packet contains a variety of seeds for a family garden.  We have distributed about 40 packets down in the area we live, gave Leanne 5 packets for her family and neighbors, and sent the remaining packets to Sonis.  They are planning to do a gardening class with the school students in Sonis.  We hope to see a bumper crop from this project, and lives touched through this.


As mentioned in the last post, gymnastics has been struggling.  Many of our students have sent messages that they would like to come to gymnastics, but are unable due to insecurity. While in the US, Linda was able to secure dates for the gymnastics competition and setup a week gymnastics camp.  Now, she is working on paperwork for visas and other things.  Please pray that the students will be safe and able to prepare for and go to the US for this competition.   

We feel very blessed to be serving in Haiti and able to bring gymnastics to Haitian kids.  We ask that you pray for the security situation in Haiti, pray for our family, pray for hearts to be touched for God, and prayerfully consider helping us with what we feel God is calling us to do. 


God Bless


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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Better Late then Never

 To all of you who follow our happenings here in Haiti, we apologize for the lateness of this year-end post.  The last Quarter of 2021 was crazy for us.  Due to the security concerns and difficulty in getting supplies (mostly food, gas, diesel, propane) we decided to evacuate the kids to the US.  They are all in North Carolina and Linda and I have been trading back and forth every few weeks.  Linda was able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with the kids.

While in North Carolina, Linda found a gymnastics location that is willing to help us do a competition.  She is working on the details of traveling to the US with about 10 of our gymnastics students.  Getting Visas and other paperwork is a daunting task.  For some of these students, it will be their first time outside the only world they have ever known.  This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for some and we have many that will not have the funds.  We are excited God has given us this opportunity.  Please pray that we are able to get all of the necessary paperwork completed and that we do not need to leave any students in Haiti, due to paperwork.  If you would like to provide support for this trip, please mark your donation "Gym Trip". .


The security situation in Haiti continues to degrade.  Many who have the means to leave Haiti have done so.  Those who do not have the means are scared they will be the next victim of kidnapping or other gang violence.  The government appears to be addressing the issues, however they are out manned, out gunned, and out financed.  We almost never leave the house without Django in the car.  He stands guard with his back feet on the rear seat, his front feet on the center console, and watches every person near the car.  He loves this and it shows. Sad to think that we need him, but what a blessing he is.


As many of you know, especially if you have been there.  The road to Karfou Badio (where we begin our walk to Sonis) is pretty rough.  We had the privilege to provide some funding for some road improvements along that route.  Their goal was to make the road passable to 4x4 cars and ATVs, all the way to Seguin.  I have verified that work has been done on the road, I hope to see it myself soon.

The seeds we ordered have been delayed due to Covid.  Please pray for the staff at Hope Seeds as many have had covid.   We look forward to providing family pack seeds (We requested 250 family packs) to the people in Sonis and other areas.

I will be sending out an update soon as we are almost to the end of the first quarter of 2022.. Wow.

Please prayerfully consider supporting our work in Haiti.  We know these are difficult times, but God is bigger than our difficulties.  God Bless