Greetings from Shanon’s House,
The last few months have been busy at Shanon’s House. We’ve had guests from Muscle Shoals, Moulton , Rainsville, Florence, Tuscumbia Albertville, Guntersville,Hartselle, Sheffield, Russellville, Vina, Town Creek, and Athens, AL , Iron City, Collinswood, Tn., and Austin , Texas.
In the spring we had two couples come to stay with us who had baby’s born at 25 weeks. These couples stayed with us 17 weeks. This is the longest we’ve had guests stay with us. When we have couples stay with us for long periods of time, they really do become like family. One of these families came to church almost every week while they were with us. This always brings us joy. The day before they were to get to take their baby home, the dad handed me a letter at church. He said don’t open it until you get home. After I read it I knew why. It was a four page handwritten letter, thanking us. Here is a portion of the letter,
“It’s never an easy thing to do, having to tell someone goodbye, that you care about and love like family. It’s hard to believe that nearly 4 months have swiftly came and went. In some ways it’s easy to wish and to want to turn back the hands of time to go back and do something different or to change the outcome of an event. In our case the reason we would turn back time is to experience the genuine love, and warm hospitality and relive the friendships we have made with the two of you,
Thanks to God delivering us to this “Eden on earth” called Shanon’s House.”
“It is with great tears of overwhelming joy mixed with tears of sadness that I must bring this letter to an end and start packing our things to bring our little man home on Monday. We are truly blessed and honored to call you friends but even more so to call you family. Since it is so hard to saygoodbye, we will say until a later date and time, in heaven or on earth. Thank you again so very much! You will always hold a special place in our hearts.” Yes, I cried reading this letter.
Here’s another card we received, “ we just wanted to tell you how much we appreciated being able to stay at Shanon’s house during our baby’s stay in the NICU. We pray continued blessings on you, the house and the Mayfair Church”
In the spring we had a guest reunion. It was a special day seeing guests who had stayed with us in the past. Seeing the babies who were born so small running around and playing was such a joy! I save all the pictures that we’ve received through the years and had them displayed on a table. The children and their parents enjoyed looking back at the pictures and telling them how Shanon’s house was where they stayed when they were first born and in the NICU.
We often receive cards from guests who have stayed with us in the past. Here is a card from a family from Texas who stayed with us 3 years ago. “We hope you are both doing well. My husband continues to progress and we think of you often and the wonderful ministry of Shanon’s house. Shanon’s house has touched so many lives and we are eternally grateful.” Please accept this small gift as a token of our appreciation for this ministry,”
Last year at this time we had a sweet couple stay with us with a baby in the NICU. Their baby passed away a few days after they came. We will always remember this couple as being one of the sweetest that have stayed with us. We received a postcard from them recently announcing the arrival of a baby in May. On the front of the postcard was this explanation of a Rainbow Baby. “A rainbow baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravage of the storm. When a rainbow appears it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with it’s aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds”. I remember when they lost the baby I prayed that God would let them see brighter days and bless them with another child . When we received this note I wrote “thank you “ by my request. God is faithful and good! Please keep this couple in your prayers for a healthy baby in May.
We recently had a couple from Texas stay with us. Her father was from Florence and they learned about us from someone at his church. While most of our guests are young couples it was nice to have guests our age to stay with us. She was an only child so the responsibility of her father was on her. Her comment about the house was “ this feels just like home.” I always tell guests that’s the best compliment they could give us! The last day they were with us was a Sunday. They came to church with us. We knew this would be a hard day for her, having to leave her father and fly back to Texas. The last song sung that day was “The Lord bless you and keep you”. With tears in her eyes and in my mine we hugged and said goodbye. Here is part of the note they left for us. “Thank you so much for blessing our lives with Shanon’s house. We were so encouraged by our stay at Shanon’s House of Compassion. It was amazing to be able to totally focus on my father and his healing instead of worrying about things that in the overall scheme of life are not very important. The accommodations were comfortable and I enjoyed reading God’s word every night before bed. Thank you for making sure we had delicious food and warm coffee with real half and half.”
We meet the sweetest people who become lifelong friends!
Recently we had a young couple stay with us with twins. The father asked if we wanted to go see the babies. I never ask to go see the babies but if the guests ask me if I want to go the answer is always yes! He told me “we think of y’all as grandparents and would love for you to see our babies !”
One of the sweetest times at Shanon’s house is when guests start to leave and Johnny asks if they would mind if he prayed for them. It’s a special time for our guests and for us.
This month we will begin our ninth year here at Shanon’s house. Looking back I realized that the first couple that stayed with us had triplets who will soon be nine years old. The Mayfair congregation has blessed almost 700 guests who have stayed at Shanon’s house.
We’ve learned a lot in the years we’ve been here.
We’ve learned that people are grateful for the little things. Breakfast in the morning, a note on their bed saying everything has been washed after every guest .
We’ve learned that you don't have to say a lot of words, listening to them is a comfort.
We’ve learned it does take a whole church to make a ministry like Shanon’s house work.
We have come to love and appreciate the Mayfair Church more for your loving and giving spirit! We continue to tell our guests that this is a ministry that includes the whole church. Johnny and I are so blessed to call you our brothers and sisters in Christ. We know we could not do this work first with out the Lord’s help and secondly without the prayers and encouragement from our church family. We look forward to another year in this ministry. Thank you for your prayers , your financial support and your continued interested in this ministry. God has been so good to send us such sweet families, and to have a church family like Mayfair. We wish for all of you to have a happy and blessed new year in 2018!
Johnny and Christy