Lori and Jeremiah met at the UC Berkeley campus in January 2003. Lori was attending Boalt Hall School of Law and Jeremiah had just reported as a staff member of CRU. They were from different backgrounds, but shared a passion for God and His Word, a desire to see Him glorified in their lives and a love of the outdoors.
Jeremiah grew up in Mariposa, CA, near Yosemite National Park. He spent his days exploring the wilderness around his home and playing youth league soccer, where his on the field exploits are still spoken of in some circles. He moved down the hill to Merced in 1988 and lived there through 1996. He then attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where he met God and his life changed forever. Jeremiah had always been a gatherer who enjoyed seeing others involved, exerting a natural leadership in organizing neighborhood games and parties. Now he had a real reason to focus on others rather than himself–the expansion of God’s Kingdom through telling people about how to have a relationship with God through Christ. He loved to see others’ lives be changed through the Gospel as much as his was. Through his experiences in ministry and reading John 4, where Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work…Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest,” Jeremiah knew he was called into full-time ministry. So Jeremiah joined staff with CRU and after gathering a team of ministry partners, reported to UC Berkeley, where he met his wonderful bride, Lori.
Lori grew up in Pleasant Hill, CA, in a close-knit family. She early on developed a love for music through choir and orchestra, a love for nature through summer backpacking trips as a family, and a love of learning and trying new things. She gained a strong foundation in the Lord through being home schooled and then attending a Christian high school. When she began attending UC Irvine, she realized that she needed to learn how to live out and speak her faith in a practical way in the midst of the many challenges of life as a freshman in the dorms. She sought fellowship, becoming involved in CRU. Through the college years, she gained a missionary mindset–a heart for people who do not know the hope of a life with Jesus Christ and a desire to have God at the center of her life and decisions, no matter what career she would pursue. She went on to law school at UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall) to gain skills to serve the underprivileged, excited to see how God would use her. She stayed involved in ministry while there, both at the law school and with undergraduates. In her third year, she was discipling and leading undergraduate women with CRU, and met Jeremiah during leadership times (when she least expected the Lord to bring a man into her life).
Lori had a clerkship lined up in South Dakota for two years with a federal judge, but Jeremiah didn’t want to let her go without him, so he pursued a transfer within the staff of CRU to South Dakota, and asked Lori to marry him. They moved to Sioux Falls, SD, and enjoyed great fellowship and fun through church, community activities, and time spent with co-workers. They were sad to leave both the judge and the Campus Crusade Sioux Falls staff team behind when the two years ended, but were excited to see where God would lead them next, working as partners in ministry and life.
Lori joined as staff with CRU in 2005, and Jeremiah and Lori moved to Santa Barbara to join the UCSB staff team. While in Santa Barbara, their first child was born: Isaiah Paul Kepner, born on March 18, 2006. After spending one and a half wonderful years in Santa Barbara, they felt led to move to Flagstaff, Arizona to restart the ministry at NAU (Northern Arizona University). Bethany Joy (born in April 2008) and Judah Robert (born in July 2010) were both born in Flagstaff. After seven wonderful years in Flagstaff, during which Jeremiah led the Cru ministry and they saw God transform many students’ lives, Jeremiah and Lori felt led to move to Northern California to serve on a team reaching out to UC Davis and surrounding schools.
They moved during the summer of 2014 and currently live in Davis, ministering life-on-life with students from UC Davis and seeking to launch a ministry to Latino students at UC Davis and a ministry at Napa Community College. Lori also serves part time with CRU’s National legal team, working from home.
Jeremiah and Lori also became Foster Parents in 2014, and have had 5 children in their home. They are hoping to adopt through foster care, but have had the joy of loving and learning much from their foster children so far.