the words of Fran Lundquist, the Founder of The Sheepfold.
As I look back over the years, I remember it seemed as though my life
was over after the painful loss of my family and my home. But out of
those ashes, God has given me twenty of the most heart-warming, fulfilling
years anyone could hope to have.
God has a plan for each of our lives and even when we think our life
is over, it’s often just the beginning of a new one.
Twenty-five years of marriage had ended in divorce for unpleasant and
painful reasons. My husband and five children were gone. My beloved
18 year old son had killed himself.
People avoided me because of the nature of the problems. Loneliness
and an overwhelming sense of failure haunted my every waking moment.
I dreaded walking the hallways of the family home, now with all the
doors closed like silent sentinels of my seeming failures as a wife
Everything I had lived for were gone, except for one thing – my
unshakable faith in Jesus Christ. I was too emotional to be able to
read the Bible. I could only lie on the floor with my face pressed
against the pages, now soggy with tears.
But when I began to think and feel again, God began to comfort me.
As I became stronger, I began to want to comfort other women who were
alone. I began to pray for women and children who had no one to help
them and nowhere to go.
One year went by, then another as I continued to carry the desire to
help wounded women and children in my heart. I soon realized God had
turned that desire into a calling on my life.
It was when I attended a seminar that the calling was activated. The
speaker exhorted those who felt God was calling them to do something,
but were not sure what to do. We were to take time when we returned
home to get alone, kneel beside our bed with pen and paper in hand,
ask God what He wanted us to do, write it down and then do it!
As I knelt before Him, God revealed the vision of The Sheepfold. Beginning
with the sale of what had been the family home; putting that money
as a down payment on the first shelter; and instruction that I was
to trust God to supply all the needs. He would make the mortgage payments
and I was not to try to raise the funds. He gave me the assurance there
would be continued growth of the ministry.
After finding the home that would be the first shelter, only a miracle
could close the escrow when the purchaser (me) had just enough money
for the down payment, no money for payments, and couldn’t qualify
for a loan. But God is a miracle working God.
I lived in the original shelter in Tustin with many, many women and
children for over three years and learned how to manage a shelter and
a ministry. I learned a lot of things, including how to set rules,
mix authority with love, teach women how to clean house, form a non-profit
corporation, maintain a mailing list, write a newsletter, keep books,
live with strangers, teach the Bible, teach each woman and child to
accept Jesus and to live by faith in God.
In the dark of night as I lay in bed, exhausted from the seemingly
endless needs of frightened, hurting, displaced women and children,
the presence of Jesus seemed to be there, filling me with faith and
joy and the knowledge that I would get up early the next morning and
do the very same thing again. He made it possible to continue day after
day, year after year. He still meets with me in the precious night