Dear Class of 1991,
Merry Christmas! We hope that this year has been a rewarding and renewing one for you and your loved ones.
For the December edition of our Class Newsletter, We'd like to share with you the words I received from a couple of our classmates from Westmont. Greg Schultz and Julie Shorack have graciously agreed to give us an update about thier lives since their time at Westmont. A huge thanks goes out to them and their families for their contribution!
Greg and Gretchen Schultz
After graduating from Westmont in 1991, I married Gretchen Blauert Schultz ('92). Gretchen and I moved to Boulder, CO, where I was raised. My first job out of Westmont was as a tennis instructor. My next two jobs were in a corporate real estate department, and then as an accountant for a clothing importer. Gretchen and I have been blessed with three children, all girls, the oldest is in her first year of middle school.
We started investing in real estate in the Boulder area in 1993, and then in 2000 founded our own real estate company. Real estate investment has remained the focal point of our business and we enjoy remodeling. We are currently remodeling our house. Gretchen and I run our company together and spend a lot of time as a family. We live a pretty hectic life, but really enjoy the freedom and challenge of operating our own business. We also love traveling and return to Santa Barbara at least a couple of times each year. We attend Calvary Bible Church in Boulder and are involved in a family Bible study with other members of our church.
After graduating in 1991, it was with great anticipation that I set out to do what I had dreamed of doing nearly my entire life, work with orphans in Africa. It had been a sunny afternoon, with my feet kicked up on the VK wall that I had first heard about some missionaries working with orphans deep in "the bush." Just five months later I was stepping off the plane in Uganda.
Julie and Matthew Shorack
Image provided by
Kristi Sanger Photography
Fast forward eight years and again I was off to Uganda. This time it was with my husband at my side. After years of trying to have children God made it clear to us that Uganda, a nation filled with children longing for parents, was right where He wanted us to be. The first of our great adventures in Uganda was taking over a Baby Home that was suddenly closing and leaving seven babies with nowhere to go. During our six years in Uganda we were blessed to rescue and care for thirty babies. In all of this, the most amazing blessing was that God had a plan for building our family through adoption.
In 2005, it was with a deep sadness that I left what had become the homeland of my heart. This sadness however was truly overshadowed by the great love I had for the little piece of Africa that was coming with me, our three adopted children. My husband Matthew had survived Malaria 28 times, two serious blood infections, and several other tropical diseases. It had become clear that leaving Africa for him was a life or death situation. The Malaria got progressively worse each time and in his last battle with the disease I truly thought I was going to lose him.
Though I had been the healthy one in Africa, it was me who had to come off the airplane back in Seattle in a wheelchair. The cumulative effects of pulling water out of a cistern and years of juggling babies had devastated my back to the point that I could not walk more than two steps. Ironically, a few days after arriving home I discovered that I was 10 weeks pregnant. After months flat on my back, I began to heal, and then along came blessing number four.
Today our family is on the move again. After coming back from Uganda my husband continued on as a Pastor in wonderful churches in suburban areas, though we both longed to be in a more urban setting. We are now so excited to be called to a neighborhood in South Seattle where the world is truly at our doorstep. There are 46 languages spoken within a five mile radius of our new church. Though gang shootings and crime characterize our new community, we have complete peace that we are right where God wants us to be.
Though I have "used" my degree in Sociology in many years as a Social Worker and on the mission field, Westmont has really given me much more than an education and a degree. It inspired me as a Christian to not be afraid to go into the forgotten places of the world to be his hands and feet. It equipped me with confidence and knowledge in my faith in Jesus to face all the challenges life has brought my way. Lastly, it blessed me with lifelong friendships that have encouraged and grounded me on my journey. For all of this, I couldn't be more thankful.
Again, thank you Greg and Julie for your contributions! What beautiful families you both have!
Merry Christmas and may God bless all you fellow Westmont Graduates. We hope to see you again soon.
Kris and Tyler Gibbs
P.S. Have you moved lately? Had a child? Changed jobs? Gotten married? Update your profile on Westmont's Alumni Directory and stay in touch with your classmates! Or if you'd like to be included in a future edition of our class newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with us.