Since the last newsletter we’ve had guests from, Albertville, Tuscumbia, Athens, Pisgah, Phil Campbell, Muscle Shoals, Haleyville, Lexington, Guntersville, Moulton and Sheffield, Alabama, Ohio, Colorado, Georgia and New York.
Our guests from New York were a first for us at Shanon’s house. The mother and father of the baby used a surrogate for the birth of their baby. The night before they were to leave they told us their story. They told us how the mother was a cancer survivor. She said she could have carried a baby but the hormones in pregnancy would cause the cancer to come back. So they decided to use a surrogate and the surrogate they chose was from Huntsville. They told us how when the mother was going through her cancer treatment there was another mother going through cancer treatment also. They became good friends and this friend was such an encouragement to them. The friend passed away before their baby boy was to be born in Huntsville. This friends name was Shannon. Our guest said when they told her about staying at Shanon’s house she started crying, remembering her friend with the same name. She commented that Shanon’s house felt like home- this is one of the best compliments guests can give us! This is what they wrote about staying here.
“We are officially discharged from the NICU! I cried! It was so emotional! We owe the NICU team and Shanons house so much during this difficult time. They made it so easy getting through each day. We are truly blessed for all they did for us! There aren’t enough words to thank them. We truly love them! Our son left the hospital wearing a space/rocket outfit since Huntsville is known as Rocket City”. We enjoyed getting to know this couple and introducing them to Alabama!
Here’s a note from one of our guests.
Today I packed up my home away from home and said goodbye to friends. Shanon’s House was a blessing when I needed a place to stay to care for our baby boy. We will forever be indebted to the outreach that is Shanon’s House! How do I even begin to describe the last 2 1⁄2 weeks? Your kindness and goodness will forever be a part of this experience. We thank God that we were led to Shanon’s House
We had guests from Colorado stay with us and they wrote this note to the Mayfair family.
“Dear family, we spent 3 nights in your beautiful ‘Shanon’s house’ while being with our son in the ICU. What a wonderful ministry! It was so helpful and comfortable. Thank you for the sweet quilt. We will treasure it! Our hearts have been overwhelmed by the generous gestures. May God bless you as you continue to bless all He puts in your path. “
We had a sweet couple from Guntersville stay with us. When we told them that Shanon’s house was a ministry of Mayfair, they asked if the minister at Guntersville church of Christ was kin to one of our ministers, Gary Bradley. They told us how kind Phillip had been to them, allowing them to use their building when they had a wedding or funeral. One night they ate supper with us along with the grandparents. A few nights later they wanted to bring supper to us. We always enjoy it when couples will join us for supper. Sitting around the table is a way to really get to know people. They learned that my favorite flowers are hydrangeas. A few weeks after they left a bouquet of beautiful hydrangeas was on the back deck. We do meet the kindest people!
Most of our guests leave with a happy ending, but for those who leave with heavy hearts, Shanon’s house is a blessing for them also . Here is a note from a couple whose baby girl passed away a year before . “We were there in August 2017 after I had our baby girl. The Shanon’s house was an amazing blessing in our lives the short time we were there. It was so nice to have a place to stay close to the hospital. We can never say thank you enough!” Even in their sadness they are thankful for Shanon’s House!
Here’s a note we received recently from a special guest who we consider to be a friend and a great encourager to us. She wrote this to the “Tree of Life Quilters.” These ladies have made over 300 quilts for our guests. It often brings tears to families eyes when I present it to them. I always tell them that the quilt means they are covered in prayers. Guests never forget this kindness!
“Ladies, I was given one of your beautiful quilts in 2012. I cherish it! I use it a lot and each time I do I remember “it covers me with prayer.” We were involved in an accident in Florence, AL and my husband died as a result. My family stayed at Shanon’s house. That was such a blessing for us and we all cherish the wonderful way we were treated there. We count Johnny and Christy as “special friends.” May God continue to bless each of you by the special quilts that you make. They are
greatly appreciated.” We will get notes from her throughout the year and they often come at just the right time when we need some encouragement! I will always remember when she was here and her husband had passed away. She said, “God left me here for a reason so I’ll continue to serve Him.” Writing encouraging notes is one way she continues to serve !
A couple who stayed with us seven years ago, recently called and said they wanted to stop by to see us. Four years ago, the sister of the couple stayed with us also when her and her husband adopted a baby from Agape. One Saturday they all came by and we enjoyed seeing them and their children. They commented on how the house still smells the same. (I was baking bread that day. This has become the signature smell for Shanon’s house!) We enjoyed catching up with them. They wanted to teach their children about giving back, so they brought coffee, paper towels, & waters for guests. These couples will always hold a special place in our hearts.
In the last newsletter, I told you about getting a card in the mail from our guests who had lost their baby. The card announced that they were expecting another baby. There was a poem about a “rainbow baby.” I asked you to keep this sweet couple in your prayers. This evening there was a knock at the back door and it was this sweet couple with their 9 month old little boy. Today was their first little boy’s birthday. They visited the NICU and stopped by to see us. This always warms our hearts when guests come back to see us. I told them how I still have the notes they would leave thanking me for breakfast each morning. They too hold a special place in our heart.
Recently one of our former guests who stayed with us two years ago called about a friend who had a son in the ICU. I asked how we could help and she said “Maybe some of the people from your church could come and pray with them, like they did with us when we were in the hospital with our son. I will never forget that!” There’s a group of Mayfair members who visit the Hospital on Friday nights to pray with people. This was another reminder that hurting people never forget a kindness shown to them!
During the month of December, we enjoy going to the mail box. Guests send Christmas cards and I save all the cards through the years and it’s always makes us thankful to see how the tiny babies have grown.
This month we begin our 10th year at Shanon’s house. This year we have had 46 people stay with us. Every family has a story. Time has gone by so fast! We are thankful for all who make this ministry possible. We have had over 750 guests stay with us since the beginning of this ministry. Often we will have guests who have been referred to us by former guests. When new guests come in and see the refrigerator covered in pictures from former guests they will almost always recognize some of the babies and families. When guests come back often they will mention how they liked looking at the pictures on the refrigerator. Some of the pictures of the tiny babies give new moms and dads hope for their tiny babies.
Johnny and I continue to tell our guests how the Mayfair Church of Christ is the reason for this ministry, and how Mayfair is a church that cares about hurting people. Johnny and I are so thankful for all of you. Your prayers and interest and financial support of this ministry is blessing all those who come to stay at Shanon’s house. This ministry is truly a church wide effort! We continue to know that we couldn’t do this work without God’s help and your support. God has been so good to us to put us in a congregation of such loving and giving Christians. The Lord’s Church at Mayfair is making an impact all over the country. Since the beginning we have had guests from Texas, Colorado, Ohio, New York, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Michigan, Illinois, Washington, Massachusetts and all over Alabama. We hope 2019 will bring blessings to all of you as you continue to serve Him! We continue to be thankful to our Lord and Savior for allowing us to be here, for the Mayfair leadership who had a vision to help hurting people and for all of our brothers and sisters at Mayfair that make this ministry called Shanon’s House of Compassion a blessing to so many!
Johnny & Christy