Elder Nominees 2020
Josh Freeman, Elder at Large
I have been married to my beautiful and bright wife Heather for 24 years this coming June. We have two children; Isaac (junior) and Ella (freshman) both at FUHS. I am passionate about my family and spend time with them the most. Heather and I both enjoy a good foodie meal but can be just as happy sharing something off the dollar menu. Some of my favorite moments are around our game or meal table with the different people in my life. I enjoy being creative and building furniture. I need to get more exercise. I’ve had a corporate job for 25 years and currently work for Oracle.
I was raised in a Christian home. When I was five years old, a Five Day Camp was hosted at my house. The Gospel was shared on the last day and I prayed, while on the side of my house with a few other kids to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I still remember watching everyone’s feet during the prayer. I had a basic understanding of what it meant to follow Jesus and continued to live life as a Christian. I was baptized when I was 11. However, it wasn’t until the age of 22 that I recognized accountability and ownership of my faith and truly began to strive for Jesus Christ in an authentic way.
Jeff Key, Elder at Large
I met my wife Betty for the first time on an EvFree college trip to Hawaii in 1977. We have been happily married for 37 years, with two daughters Susie and Sally. Both are married. Susie and Steve are proud parents of grandkids Max and Sadie and attend Fullerton Free. Sally and Scott live in Long Beach where they met in the dorms during the first week in college at Long Beach State.
I am a partner at a commercial appraisal and consulting firm in Tustin, having shifted from the full-time engineering world many years ago. Favorite regular activities include walking, travel and hanging out with the kids and grandkids. Less-frequent activities are skiing, on water and snow and an occasional concert. Betty and I pitch in together at OC United from time to time. I’m a fan of both Dodgers and Angels, which causes some angst during Freeway Series games.
I began attending Fullerton Free in the early 1960s and was in the last junior high Bible Instruction Class (BIC) taught by first senior pastor Wes Gustafson. After finishing college (subsequent to the Hawaii trip) I reconnected with Betty through a mutual friend and Pastor Ken Bemis married us on the burnt orange carpet in the Worship Center in 1983. We became involved with a couple of adult fellowships, landing a couple of years later in Joint Heirs.
I have served in class leadership and also on the Deacon Board, Trustee Board and Elder Board. I’ve also been involved in children’s ministries and worship teams over the years. I served on the Rolling Hills Apartment LLC oversight team and the Next Step building committee, with around 15 years’ involvement in each. These seemed to be a reasonable fit with my engineering and real estate background.
Having been born in a Christian home, I learned early about the value and need for a personal relationship with Jesus. We grew up knowing that Jesus took a personal interest in us and answered prayers.
In third grade my Mom helped me pray to receive Jesus as my savior. It is a blessing to know Christ at such a young age, but I also don’t have memories of the anxiety of not knowing what happens after you die. I’m sure I took that blessing for granted during my high school years. I never rebelled in any significant way, but certainly was not growing as I should. I probably wanted it both ways, hanging with my great neighborhood friends and just staying in touch with God along the way at my convenience.
Doing things my way seemed to work OK until I went away from home to engineering graduate school and the Lord allowed me to experience some serious academic “stress” (aka midterms) as a means to draw me to Him. I had to admit that I needed to get off the fence. Fortunately there was a lively Campus Crusade group at UC Berkeley and Director John Bruce linked me up with a couple of graduate optometry students for a Bible study.
Returning home after graduation, in addition to seeing my old friends, I got involved with an active singles group, which included playing with the worship band and hanging out with some great new friends (including Betty from the college Hawaii trip!). One thing led to another in my personal and spiritual growth and eventually, my marital status. Betty and I settled back in Fullerton and became involved, starting with the nursery. This church has been a huge part of my life, from baby dedications to funerals and everything in between. It’s an honor to be able to serve and it will be good for my own continued growth.
Justin White, Elder at Large
I married my beautiful wife, Jamie, 14 years ago. Mutual friends who knew we both were interested in missions introduced us in 2004. We have three children: Grace (11), Anna (9), and Henry (4).
I am a trained pilot by profession. Along with my family, I served with Wycliffe Bible Translators as a missionary pilot in Cameroon, Africa from 2011 to 2013. Currently I work for an aviation training organization that trains professional pilots using flight simulators.
Fullerton Free has been my home church all my life. Jamie started attending in 2005. We’ve been involved with Semper Fi Sunday community group and Children’s Sunday school. I have been on the Missions Board, short-term missions trips and the Elder Board including the nominating committee.
I grew up attending Fullerton Free with my family and asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was a little boy. However, it was not until high school when my faith really became my own. My faith was further strengthened as I left home and moved to Texas to attend LeTourneau University. At this critical time in my life, the Lord sustained me and kept me following Him. I grew in my love for God, my thirst for His Word and my passion to follow His will for my life. After graduating college I returned to Southern California and met Jamie.
My plan was to be an airline pilot, but I felt God leading my wife and me to the mission field. Fullerton Free commissioned us as church missionaries in 2010 and I served as a Missionary Pilot in Cameroon, Africa until May 2013. Upon our return, we plugged back into church and our Sunday community group.
It has been a privilege and joy to serve on the Elder Board for the past two years and seeing how and where God is at work in this community. Lord willing, I look forward to another two years.
Gene Shepherd, Elder at Large
My wife Marsha and I have been married for 45 years. She has been a great partner in life and ministry since day one. We have 2 daughters; Ruth Locke (Fiber Artist and single mother) and Ann Shepherd (Director of Foundation Relations, BIOLA). We also have 2 grandchildren; Alexander Locke, who serves in the US Army, currently stationed in Hawaii and Jane Locke, who will graduate from Parkview School this spring, then go to BIOLA in the fall. My wife and I, along with our daughter Ann, moved to Anaheim in 1999. Ruth and Jane Locke moved to Anaheim in 2019. All are active at Fullerton Free.
I graduated from both Lincoln Christian University (Music & Christian Education) and Lincoln Christian Seminary (Preaching) in Lincoln, Illinois. My professional career (1973-2013) was spent working in Church and Para-Church ministries as a pastor, a college president and a part-time college professor.
From early childhood, art has been a significant part of my life. Although I felt called to pursue a different professional career path, art has always been both a stimulating and therapeutic hobby that had positive overtones for my life and ministry. Learning to weave in 1973 started me down a fiber art path that has eventually included traditional rug hooking and natural fiber dyeing. This “hobby” has made it possible for me to communicate with fiber artists around the world. In 2013, after 40 years in ministry, I decided to spend a few years focusing full-time on fiber art. This has allowed me the opportunity of teaching extensively in the US, Canada, England and Australia.
At the suggestion of our daughter Ann, my wife and I decided to visit Fullerton Free in the fall of 2013. After visiting that Sunday six years ago, we claimed permanent seats on the center aisle. I’ve enjoyed participating in children’s church as a master teacher, VBS, Men’s 6-pack, Christmas Blvd and Walk Through Bethlehem, Men’s collective, Sunday morning usher team and the mentor program.
Because I grew up in a Christian home, the stories and message of God’s redemptive plan were never absent from my daily experience. At the age of nine, when I realized that I was a sinner in need of God’s gracious gift of forgiveness, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. Due to the influence of an adult mentor in my life, my teen years found me increasingly involved in various aspects of service and outreach in my home church and community. Because of that involvement, I decided that it would be good to attend a Christian college for one year before getting started on a career path. At the end of that first year, to my great surprise, I received a dramatic call to ministry. While I was willing to do whatever I was called to do and go wherever I was needed in ministry, I distinctly remember praying that I might never have to preach or live in California. My life since those initial prayers has been an example of God’s splendid sense of humor, patience and overpowering love as I was preaching in less than a year and we have served longer in California than in all other states combined. Although I have experienced both extreme highs and lows in life and ministry, I have also felt the hand of God at every stage of my life and am decidedly happy for that experience. I felt another distinct call six years ago when I went full-time with fiber art. That redirection has given me the opportunity to meet, interact and discuss my faith with a completely different set of people than what I was used to. Thankfully, it also brought my family to Fullerton Free. I love this church and am blessed to serve it in any way.
Jay Huckabone, Vice Chairman
I have been married to my San Diego sweetheart Beth since 1978. We have three grown children; Emily Nelson (married to Joshua), Donna De Jong (married to Philip) and Nathan Huckabone (still looking). My daughters have given us seven grandchildren and I’m happy to say they all join us in worship of Jesus at Fullerton Free. My son Nathan lives in San Diego and is my San Diego Padre buddy.
I served as an ordained pastor at churches in Anaheim and Norwalk for 20 years. For the last 18 years I have worked as a financial consultant and registered investment advisor for a Christian financial services group. My employment on a regular basis provides volunteer opportunities for our clients in which I participate. I have been involved as a volunteer for Giving Children Hope in Buena Park, Love Fullerton through OC United, local and international Habitat for Humanity builds and Snails Pace Running Club in Brea.
My wife and I have attended Fullerton Free since 2001. Currently, I have the joy of serving on the elder board for the last three years. In addition, I have been involved in HOST ministries on the Usher team for the last 17 years. In the past I served on the Deacon Board. It has been my humble privilege to be involved with serving communion and being a part of baptisms. Participating in Christmas Blvd in various capacities and being available where needed in other church activities has kept me busy.
Seeds of the gospel of Jesus were planted in my heart from the beginning of my life. However, I grew up thinking heaven was something earned by good works. Because I never had an assurance of salvation, I had a big fear of death and what lies beyond this life. In high school, while attending Hawaii Baptist Academy, I was gently taught that salvation comes as a free gift from a loving God, through a personal faith relationship with His son, Jesus. This message hit me hard and I was overwhelmed by the love God offers and the promise of eternal life.
I gave my life to Christ and asked for the forgiveness of my sins while listening to a message about the return of Jesus. I have never been the same. Since that time the church has been a vital experience in my life and I seek to make Jesus known through my words and actions.