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Special speaker shares his story at special Palm Sunday service

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
April 17, 2011 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 16, 2011 at 11:17 p.m.

John Sheptock, 34, spoke to about 150 people at the Bauer Community Center in Port Lavaca about the challenges he has faced as someone born with no arms and a short right leg. Sheptock was the guest speaker at the Calhoun County Ministerial Alliance sponsored Palm Sunday service.

Jon Sheptock's spiritual walk began long before he was able to walk physically. Born with a short right leg and no arms, Sheptock was given up at birth by his biological mother and adopted soon-after by two loving Christian parents, Joanne and Rudy Sheptock.

"When I was adopted, my parents were told I wouldn't amount to anything," Sheptock told a congregation of about 150 attendees at special community-wide Palm Sunday service at the Bauer Community Center in Port Lavaca. "Doctors told my parents I'd never walk or talk and they should have left me at the adoption center."

To the doctor's surprise, Sheptock did learn to walk, talk and eventually to sing. Now 34, Sheptock travels the United States speaking of God's hope and singing songs from his latest album, "In God's Hands."

Sunday night, Sheptock was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Palm Sunday service, sponsored by the Calhoun County Ministerial Alliance. He also sang a few songs for attendees, including "Clearer," "Humble" and "Amazing Grace."

He also spoke of his emotional and physical torment as a child and teenager from strangers and school mates alike.

"If there was a poster child for the most bullied kid, I was it," Sheptock said, gesturing with his feet. "Every day, I would get made fun of. Kids would come and knock me down, or tear my clothes off to see what I looked like underneath.

And even though he was raised in a Christian home and maintained a close relationship with God, he said he became so emotionally tormented he began drinking and even considered suicide.

"I know what it's like to be a person without hope," he said. "I know how a person could end up at that place" where they consider suicide.

That was the turning point for Sheptock, he said, deciding to surrender to God's plan for his life.

And five years ago, Sheptock said he felt led by God to give up his computer career and move to Huntsville to begin a traveling ministry for God.

"He has a tremendous message, and he's a wonderful singer," Palm Sunday attendee Jennifer Tomlinson said. "What an inspiration, you have to admit."

Also enjoying the Palm Sunday message, Saul Gottschalt, said he wanted to attend the service because Sheptock embodied what it means to live for God and not yourself.

"It's not about going to church. That doesn't bring salvation. It's about having a relationship with the Lord, and this young man embodies all that," Gottschalt said.

Gottschalt also pointed to a Bible verse in Romans 10 that states, "And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"

"I just think that is so cool," Gottschalt said. "That's exactly what (Sheptock is) doing."



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