Staff Spotlight: Sandra Shepherd

How long have you been with the ministry?

I started work here September of 1994 – so about 24 years.

What do you do for Hour of Power?

I am a Ministry Ambassador, which means I get to communicate with our donors on a daily basis. Inspiring work, I truly enjoy and love it.

How did God bring you to the ministry?

Long story but here goes…

I was going through an extremely sad divorce. I was going to my 1st court hearing at Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange County. I was horrified, sad, and broken-hearted. I felt this extreme need for God like I had never felt before! I needed guidance, comfort and strength. I remember feeling sick, nauseous and weak at the knees. It was my first time in the Garden Grove, so I wasn’t familiar with the area. I was driving around and got lost while looking for a church to pray in, there were no cell phones at the time and no MapQuest or GPS. I looked up to see this huge white cross – my heart skipped a beat and I started to cry. It was the Tower of Hope at the Crystal Cathedral. I drove in and parked, walked towards the Crystal Cathedral and spoke to volunteers to which they directed me to the little prayer room. I walked in and immediately felt like this was the perfect place to be, I felt love and a sense of peace. I cried my eyes out and prayed. As I walked out, I felt this sense of comfort and love, and peace that came over me with strength to move forward with my divorce. About 3 months later, a friend mentioned to me that the Crystal Cathedral Reservation Center was hiring phone operators, so I immediately called and left a message. About 2 weeks go by and I receive a call from the Manager of the Reservation center and she scheduled me to come in the next day and I said YES! I was so excited and had so much hope that I forgot one minor detail, I just had gall bladder surgery 2 days before and I agreed to come in for the interview, but it didn’t matter. I went in for the interview and was hired on the spot, I was in Heaven … in my wildest dreams, I could have never imagined that I would be working for this amazing and beautiful church. Now looking back I see God’s plan, He was guiding me home. This is the TRUTH!

What is your favorite part about working here?

There are so many things that I enjoy here, but I would have to say it’s my co-workers, they definitely inspire me & bring laughter to my everyday life. In my silence, they always bring a smile to my face because they are all special and so supportive just like family, my church family.

Do you have an impactful story to share from your job?

In speaking to so many people throughout the years, there are so many beautiful, painful, happy and inspirational stories that really touched my heart and made an impact on my life. A few years back, a phone call was transferred to me – the donor asked for Sandy, a past employee, and the operator assumed it was me so she transferred the call to me. I was the wrong Sandy but this couple decided to open their heart and talk to me anyway. Their life struggle impacted me so much both of them just touched my heart. This couple had been married for about 25 years, and it was obvious they loved each other dearly. The husband would call on a monthly basis to make his donation and his wife would call for prayer. When the husband or the wife would call they would always be happy & laughing, I thought “WOW, what an amazing couple, they must have a perfect marriage and life,” I always looked forward to speaking with them. One day, the husband called to make his donation and I sensed that something was wrong, he seemed sad and I asked if he was okay, his response was “no.” He said, “Sandra, I love my wife so much and I can’t believe I’m losing her to cancer. We have tried every treatment possible, and we are faithful. I don’t want to lose my wife, I love her so much.” I was crushed and my heart sank, but we continued to talk for almost an hour. Our department constantly prayed for them as we all knew of them since I shared little parts their story. I wanted my co-workers to see them as our family. One early Saturday afternoon, the wife called me and she just opened her heart and told me about her cancer, but also her love and worry for her husband. The conversation left me speechless, I held myself from crying. She was more concerned about her husband than herself, she said so many beautiful things. Her faith was strong and so was her love for her husband which I found admirable. I kept that conversation private to myself, I never told either one of them each other’s conversations. I would speak the beautiful words of Jesus and tried to bring calm and encouragement to both of them. These conversations went on for about 5 years.  One Saturday evening, the wife called me and we chatted for quite some time. She talked about recent decisions and changes that were happening to her and again she talked about her husband and how much she LOVED him and was worried about him, while I tried to give her some peace. Little did I know, that would be our last conversation. I noticed that I hadn’t received a phone call from either of them and I was worried,  and then one day her husband called me to tell me that on the his wife had passed away. I held my tears and did my best to comfort her husband, though it was heartbreaking. Through everything that they were going through, their love for God was their strength, but the love they had for each other was eternal, a love that was so admirable and an example to all what the bond of marriage should be. This impacted my life so much and I feel so honored to have met his wife, I love her and will never forget her.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I love being with my family, but I love nature — hiking, camping and taking long walks on the beach. I enjoy sitting and admiring the ocean or watching the sunset.

What are you currently watching on Netflix?

Fuller House — I love to watch it with my daughter Ashely and my grandson Mason, it’s our family time … love it!

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?