About Us

A Story of Hope and Grace

Joni's Story

Joni Shepherd - Founder of HGI

I had two abortions when I was 18 and 19 because I was afraid to tell my family, and my church just made me feel horrible for being pregnant in the first place.  Planned Parenthood was kind and accepting of me and told me that it was just a piece of tissue, and I so wanted to believe that.

However, the trauma I experienced from abortion was terrible, everything from nightmares and audible hallucinations to suicidal thoughts to not being able to bond with a child I had later.  The shame, guilt, and remorse were so great that it started a domino effect of other bad choices and consequences.  I was blessed to find not only forgiveness but great healing through a group that takes people through the grieving process and helps them let go.  But most women (and men) go through their whole lives with no one to really talk to about it.  Yet the majority of those are traumatized by it in some way.

The biggest tragedy in America in the last three generations is abortion.  There have been over 50 million lives lost.  Don’t be deceived – this doesn’t happen without great consequence.  The biggest secret in the past three generations is the trauma it causes those who participate in it.  Do you ever hear anyone talking about it?  Seldom, if ever!  That’s because if something is touted as safe, your legal right, and “Women’s Health Care,” you think you must be the only one who is suffering any bad effects.  And as long as the secret is kept, few are ever going to be free to seek out healing for their trauma.

I’m talking about it because I want those experiencing abortion trauma to know they are not alone and there is grace and support available that will help them heal.  I’m also talking about it because those who might be considering abortion need to know the great risk of trauma, that this seemingly “quick and easy solution” for an unplanned pregnancy could very well leave them with a long list of negative consequences for the rest of their lives.  Over 650 worldwide studies show the alarming evidence of abortion trauma.

This info is extremely validating for those of us who’ve experienced it and needs to be weighed into the pros and cons of choosing abortion.  People in crisis can be directed toward gracious support and resources for themselves and their babies – true women’s health care.   Turn the secret into a story of hope and grace for all!

Our Mission

Mission Statement

Equipping the church to become a safe haven that PROACTIVELY champions biblical sexuality and life and REDEMPTIVELY heals those wounded by sexual sin or abortion.

Vision Statement

Truth in Love, Hope in Grace - The Local Church Certified Safe!

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV)

Statement of Faith

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.

  • We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth,His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.

  • We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential and that his salvation is received through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and not as a result of any good works.

  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life and to perform good works, and that without good works faith is dead.

  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • We believe in the sanctity of all human life as created by God and for God.

  • We believe, through Jesus Christ, there is not only forgiveness for all confessed and repented sins; but also a journey toward spiritual, emotional, and relational healing for those who seek it within Christian community, through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

What We Do

We educate and equip pastors and lay leaders to create a safe culture of God's healing grace by

  • Validating the Impact on women and men who have lost children to abortion and others involved in it to create a safe environment to openly discuss it.

  • Welcoming those Wounded by Abortion to godly sorrow, repentance, and healing, thereby transforming their lives by hope through grace.

  • Leading God's People to Godly Sorrow to transform the universal church in its view of abortion and those wounded by both abortion and the church.

  • Demonstrating Understanding and Compassion toward those wounded by abortion, thereby opening the way for repentance, healing, and testimony so that no one who identifies with the Christian faith has any reason to choose abortion.

  • Directing the Congregation with Resources to champion new moms and dads for life and disciple all young people and single adults in chastity.

Our Team

Joni Shepherd, Co-Founder & Executive Director

Joni has experience as a volunteer and/or in employment, in pregnancy center work administration and peer counseling; founding a pregnancy center in 1989; leading abortion trauma Bible studies for 30 years; co-founding a ministry with her husband addressing the needs and issues of recovering addicts, ex-cons and other marginalized populations; teaching nutritional classes; leading worship; owning and operating other businesses in real estate property management, painting supplies, and as a chocolate supplier.  Joni also has a B.S. in Holistic Nutrition.  She and her husband, John, have five grown children and thirteen grandchildren so far.

John Shepherd, Co-Founder​

John has more than 25 years’ experience as a small business and nonprofit organization owner and executive manager. Most of John’s career has focused on accounting system design, implementation, and management. However, John has also amassed significant experience in general business management and operations, including business development, marketing, grant writing, facilities management, IT systems, and human resources. John has been a senior executive of two faith-based non-profits (and Founder of a third) which provided direct services to homeless, or formerly homeless, individuals and families. John and Joni love spending time with their kids and grandkids in Colorado, being outdoors, and John loves exploring the Rockies on his Triumph motorcycle.

Deborah Tilden, Strategic Partnership Development

Deborah Tilden is a pro-life speaker, blogger, and writer, who believes in speaking (and writing) the truth in love about the injustices and harm done to women, men, the unborn, and society as a whole brought on by misinformation and lies about abortion. She is an Oregon Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and is the Oregon Right to Life Education Foundation’s Speaker’s Bureau Coordinator. Deborah has earned her Christian Life Coaching diploma certification. Deborah is also a rep for USANA Health Sciences Deborah is a native Oregonian, with a few years spent in Nevada and California where she became fully immersed in the pro-life, post-abortion healing and PRC ministries. She and her husband of over 30 years currently live in Newberg, OR, and have two grown sons.  Deborah and her husband have led numerous in-home bible studies. Her encouraging and practical approach is a very needed addition to HGI's work.

Rachel Oden, Executive Assistant

The wife of a Pastor of a small, rural church in Milledgeville, TN, Harmony Baptist Church, Rachel became HGI’s Executive Assistant in June of 2016. Her three homeschooled children serve along side of her and her husband, Pastor Dennis. The church loves missions, has planted a sister church in Pakistan, and enjoys being involved with HGI. Rachel finds great pleasure working as Executive Assistant with HGI, enjoying the challenge in the areas of spiritual growth, compassion for others, and the joy of sharing the vision to help churches promote healing and make future abortion unthinkable. She has a wide array of work experience including 13 years in the crop insurance industry, church day care center operations, acting as Missions Director for a church, planning missions conferences, working in children’s ministry, writing and co-writing children’s programs and productions, as well as helping with VBS and many other areas of ministry. She also currently shares in responsibilities with her husband and children of a small hobby farm in rural Tennessee with cows, dogs, chickens and goats. Rachel received an AA degree from Iowa Western Community College in Business Administration. In addition, she has also studied accounting and marketing at Buena Vista University, missions at Freed Hardeman University, and ministry at Liberty University.

Candi Bishop, Ministry Advisor, Editor, and Web Designer

Candi Bishop has been involved with a pregnancy resource center since 1991, serving throughout the years as a peer counselor, executive director, and currently as a board member. She resides in Nebraska with her husband, working from home as editor and proofreader for an international Messianic Jewish educational ministry with a little free-lance graphic design work on the side. Candi, a lifelong friend of HGI’s founder, has been involved with HGI since it was just in the beginning stages of incubation through prayer. Her professional expertise in the areas of ministry formation and experienced web design and graphics has helped to give HGI a professional “first impression” through our web page, brochure, and other marketing materials. Living in rural North Platte, NE, Candi enjoys vegetable and herb gardening in her lush and extensive backyard garden, as well as canning and cooking delicious and nutritious meals from her produce. She is also on the worship team at her church, and she and her husband lead a weekly Bible Study in their home. In her free time, Candi likes to spend time riding her horse. She and her husband also enjoy the hobby of winemaking.

Dr. John D. Taylor, Director of Development

John was trained as an embryologist and became a university professor and cell and cancer cell biologist (Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan) from 1968 to 2004 in addition to being a professor in the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center. During this period he served as department chair (Biological Sciences), deputy dean (Liberal Arts) and interim vice president for research. His research was directed to intracellular translocations of organelles as exemplified by pigmentary organelles as well as the prevention of cancer cells to disseminate throughout the body; i.e., metastasis. He has over 250 research articles in refereed journals. With colleagues, new chemicals were developed to prevent blood platelets involvement in promoting metastasis resulting in four patents. Toward the end of his academic career, he began designing novel military small arms and ammunitions through the company he founded, CheyTac® USA. John brings the unique perspective of an embryologist and his extensive education and leadership experience to the HGI team. He played an important role in helping get HGI off the ground. 

Ministry Partners



Cindy Brunk - Author, Speaker, Activist