Trust Your Struggle. God Is Stronger.

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A few years back, friends and acquaintances began to encourage me to tell my story. In time their encouragement grew to a shout, and one day I gave in.

We live in a cynical, fallen world—one which is ever increasingly falling to pieces, and if I could do only one thing, say one thing, to help a hurting soul it would be this:

God is bigger than the struggle—the struggles of our life, and the pain we feel. He longs to meet us in them, to prove himself. To prove he is love, and to give us hope.

This is my story of just that.

Endorsements

“From the moment I picked up this book, I was completely mesmerized by Millennial Orphan. I figured I would read a chapter or two that first night, but instead I was up until dawn, often with tears in my eyes, unable to put it down. This story is powerful, it is relevant, and speaks to the deep pain felt by so many in this generation, but even louder it proclaims the love of a God that redeems all.”

Joshua Charles

Coauthor of the #1 New York Times Best Seller "The Original Argument" with Glenn Beck

“Compelling. Raw. Honest. Empowering. Every couple of decades a book is published that speaks directly to the heart of a generation. Millennial Orphan will do for this generation what The Cross and the Switchblade did for a generation when it first appeared in the early 1960s. Levi’s life story will shock you. From abuse to illness, from abandonment to gang violence, you’ll find yourself saying, “How can one person have experienced so much pain in the first twenty years of his life?” And then you’ll find the answer—you, like Levi, can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. If you are looking for easy answers, this book is not for you. But if you are looking for real answers, hard fought struggles with suffering and pain, hope that carries you through difficult times, then read this book. This book was written for you.”

Pastor Tom Stephen

Author of "Fearless: 40 Reflections on Fear"

“An amazing story of perseverance, but also of being willing to listen when the truly important questions are spoken. Coworkers, friends, and even pastors fail us. But God doesn’t. Levi tells that story.”

Rich Bullock

Editor; Author of the "Perilous Safety" Series

“I have heard and read a lot of sad stories filled with pain and darkness. Stories that leave you emotionally doubled over. Millennial Orphan is different. It takes you on a journey. A journey that is sadly more common today for children than we’d like to admit. As Levi masterfully weaves his life story, he does so with tiny threads of hope and love. Those small but significant threads eventually allowed him to build a life that few believed he could fashion. Against all odds, evaluations, and poor prognosis, Levi did something unexpected … he lived. And better yet, he conquered!”

Glenn Garvin

Director of National Camps Royal Family Kids

“When I was asked to read and possibly endorse this book, I really didn’t have the time to do so. However, once I began the book, I was instantly captured by the unfolding story. I became unable to hurry my way through. Levi Shepherd could have been and should have been no more than a statistic in many ways. However, he now stands a victorious warrior who is very clear on God’s redemptive work in his life. The word ‘miraculous’ is often overused. However, not in this case. Levi’s story is nothing short of a string of miracles woven through human tragedy. With every right to be bitter, callous, disillusioned, and angry, Levi emerges as a strong, God praising victor. This book has instantly made it on my ‘pass out to friends list.”

Alan Smyth

Regional director of Greater Los Angeles Young Life, Author of "Prized Possession"

“Even at a young age, Levi discovered that “life was dangerous territory.” Pain, abandonment, illness, betrayal, and disappointment left holes in his soul. But amidst the darkness, he discovered light, healing, companionship, hope, and faith. Against all odds, he conquered. Not through a formula or pious behavior, but by listening, waiting, submitting, and yielding. Levi’s journey isn’t a simple quest; it’s more of a perplexing detour; with long periods of feeling lost. It’s messy—like real life.”

Timothy Smith

Family coach and author of "The Danger of Raising Nice Kids"

“If you want to read a book that exemplifies the redemptive power of Christ when it seems like all the odds are stacked against you, this is your book. It is unbelievable what Levi fought through by the grace of God to even be alive today to write his testimony. Millennial Orphan is the ultimate comeback story.”

Craig Johnson

Author of "Lead Vertically", Director of Ministry Lakewood Church

“Compelling, inspiring, and an easy read. What an incredibly difficult childhood through young adulthood. And, yet, what an amazing story of God’s power and compassion. Working in a busy urban trauma center, I often see the tragic results of childhood illness, child abuse, and gang violence, and somehow through God’s grace, Levi survived all of these and more. This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is struggling and questioning why God is allowing tragedies in their life.”

Dr. Michael Stephen, MD

St. Francis Hospital, Los Angeles, CA

“Millennial Orphan is a touching story that will move you in so many ways. Whether you are working with someone who has come from a difficult place, or have walked a similar road yourself, this book will remind you that God can be pursuing you, even when you are totally unaware of what is really going on. And it is a story that will give you valuable insights into the life experience and perspective of someone who has been in foster care.”

John Franklin

Executive director, Dark to Dawn

“It is with joy that I encourage you to read Millennial Orphan. I have known Levi like a son for the past seven years, and I have watched his journey along the road of healing and redemption from devastating circumstance and the uncontrollable decisions of others. I have seen Levi scale the daunting mountains of his own hurt and his own pride. With Levi it has not always been pretty, but it has been genuine—it has been real. Levi bears the marks of his struggles, on his body and in his soul. And due to the intense struggles he has walked through in his life, Levi has a keen awareness to what God is speaking to him and teaching him— even when he doesn’t want to be taught.” Millennial Orphan puts in perspective suffering and victory, setbacks and advances, defeat and what it is to conqueror. By reading this story, you will understand a bit more the loving heart of God. It isn’t always easy, this walk with the Lord, but it is always worth it.”

Steve Sipp

Pastor of House to House Ministries

“I met Levi six years ago through a string of people and phone calls. He was a stranger, but a brother in need of a roof over his head, encouragement, and true fellowship. Having been there myself, I found it impossible to say no, and invited him to come call my couch his own, not knowing that I would be blessed, as well, with one of the most edifying friendships I have known. Levi has become a brother to me, and I have found that in my times of need he is there to challenge, encourage, and bless me. His heart and passion for the Lord is deep and sincere. Levi has abandoned his life in search of truth and a life of humility. His faith has been tested through great struggles, but has birthed into a source of inspiration and hope, sharpening others along with me. No matter what comes his way, Levi stands firmly in faith, while being anchored in the hope he has in our Messiah. Levi’s story in a unique and moving example of the trials the we face in our lives, but a testimony of power, power that comes only through being fully surrendered to the Lord. Millennial Orphan has the power to convict, uplift, and strengthen us all in times of adversity.”

Sean Ellsworth

Friend of the author

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About Author

Levi Gideon Shepherd


Nothing ever came easy for Levi Shepherd. By age seventeen, he had suffered a life-threatening illness, an absent father, the loss of his mother, and staggering betrayals from those he trusted that left him homeless and wandering. Levi longed for something or someone to call his own.

Desperate for love, he found acceptance in a street gang. There he rose through the ranks to the number two spot: defending the leader. Levi was hurtling down a road that could only lead to prison or death.

Enter God.

Even when Levi chose all the wrong roads, he caught glimpses of God and learned he was not alone. Levi tells his riveting story in a gritty, no-holds-barred style that will have you wondering how he ever survived at all, and leave you with the truth that he learned along the way: Trust your struggle, God is stronger.