Born February 27th , 1955 in Shell Mera, Ecuador, Valerie was the only daughter of missionary parents, Elisabeth and Jim Elliot. They were missionaries to the Quichua Indians of the Amazon jungle. In 1956, while attepting to reach the Waodani Indians (a primitive and savage stone age tribe) with 4 other missionaries, Jim was speared to death in January of 1956.
Elisabeth and Valerie continued to live with the Quichuas until miraculously they were invited to live with the Waodani tribe that had killed Jim. They lived with these Indians for 2 years in safety and contentment, as Elisabeth and another missionary, Rachel Saint learned to speak the language and translated the story of Jesus to them. Most of them accepted the truth and said they would not kill anymore, and have not since that time.
Valerie attended and graduated from Wheaton College in 1976 with a BA in English Literature. She married Walter Shepard shortly after that and moved to live with him in Louisiana. Walter grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with his missionary parents.
She has spent 41 years being a pastor’s wife, raising 8 children, homeschooling, and teaching Bible studies. Valerie and Walter’s ministry has been one of hospitality, leading prayer meetings, and learning to live in God’s grace with joy. She has shared some of the radio ministry, called “Gateway to Joy,” with her mother, on Back to the Bible Broadcasting Network. Having always had the desire to be missionaries, she moved with her husband and 3 of their children to Kinshasa, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2005. They stayed until June 2008. Because of health reasons, they decided to stay in the states and God moved them into a different American mission field. In 2008 they moved to Southport, NC where they planted Christ Coastal Church until Walt retired in August of 2018.