Greetings from Shanon's House of Compassion,
This summer we've had guests from Ohio, Mississippi,Tuscaloosa, Decatur, Albertville, Danville, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Athens, AL.
The summer started out with a tragedy that brought grieving grandparents and an uncle to Shanon's House. This sweet family from Ohio had just had their world turned upside down. A plane crash had taken the lives of their daughter and four year old granddaughter. Their 7 year old grandson was in critical condition. It's very hard to know what to say in situations like this. Even saying "good morning" is not appropriate when it's the day they are going to the funeral home to make arrangements to send their loved ones back home.
The first morning here the grandfather told me he got up at 4:00 a.m. to say a prayer of thanksgiving for Shanon's House. We have learned when people are grieving it's the little things that mean so much to them. All we could do was to offer a listening ear, a cup of coffee and a hug as they left each day. One morning as we were having our coffee in the den the grandmother was on the computer. Someone had sent her the song "Held" and she was listening to it over the computer. If you haven't heard this beautiful song the words in the chorus are "This is what it means to be held. How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive. This is what it is to be loved and to know that when everything fell we'd be held." She was crying and it was hard for us hold back tears also. We tried to put ourselves in their place, and thought about losing our daughter and a grandchild and we couldn't help but weep with those who weep.
Situations like this one make you more thankful for ordinary days and you hold your family a little closer to your heart. Although our guests are really strangers to us we feel close to them especially when they are hurting like these grandparents. They told us almost everyday the only way they could get through this was with the Lord's help and strength. We received a call from a church down the street asking about this family. When Johnny told the secretary Shanon's House was a ministry of the Mayfair church her reply was "I wouldn't want to be in this world without the Mayfair church." The morning our guests from Ohio was going home he asked could he say a prayer. He prayed for us and for Shanon's House. This really touched us. This man was going home to bury his daughter and granddaughter yet he wanted to thank God for Shanon's House.
A statement we find ourselves saying many times is "we sure do meet a lot of nice people." This was the case with our guests from Mississippi. They had come to Huntsville to adopt a baby boy. I tell most of our guests that they are on my favorite guests list and this couple was on that list also. The father asked to go to church with us on Sunday. Johnny and I thank you so much for all of you who spoke to him and helped make him feel welcome. The mother paid us a compliment that we had not heard before she said "Shanon's House made this experience fun." This made me smile.
We had a guest from Tuscaloosa whose husband was brought here by ambulance. She came with just the clothes on her back. She also came to church with us every Sunday she was with us. She was very impressed with how friendly all of you were to her. We plan to keep in touch with her. Johnny has started calling our guests after they have been home for a few weeks just to let them know we are thinking about them. Many times they will ask us to pray for specific trials going on in their lives.
One of our favorite things to do is to visit the NICU and see our guests newborn babies. The new parents always enjoy showing off their precious babies to us. Often the door bell will ring and it will be one of our guests stopping by for a visit. This is a special treat for us. We tell our guests that after two days at Shanon's House that we no longer treat them as guests but as family. We laugh about how we have the best "children." They always come in by curfew, adhere to the guidelines without arguing and they come back to visit! Our family has grown to almost 150 now. Yes, we do get to meet the nicest people.
We don't have to listen to the news to realize how the economy has hurt so many. We have seen in the last few months through our guests just how it has effected so many. We've met guests who are dealing with a loved one in the hospital along with being unemployed or with the possiblity of not having a job when they get back home. The phrase-the light shines brightest in the darkness comes to mind when I think of Shanon's House. For just a few days our guests can have one less thing to worry about as they care for their loved one. Your geneosity in providing a place for them helps God's light to shine even brighter in their dark days.
The Lifesavers class helped fill the freezer with meals for our guests. The men's Bible study class helped provide funds for our guest from Tuscaloosa to get some needed items. Several sweet ladies stopped by to visit with our guests. We have formed a "laugh committee" for Shanon's House. This is friends who come over and just lighten the atmosphere at Shanon's House. Thank you to all who have helped and supported and prayed for this ministry. Johnny and I know without a doubt that we couldn't do this without God's help and the help of our brothers and sisters in Christ. There are so many blessings that we have received through Shanon's House and one of them is getting to meet so many of you at Mayfair. Your help in this ministry no matter how small encourages us on a daily basis. We are always mindful that Shanon's House is God's ministry and we give Him the glory and praise for the way He is using Shanon's House to let His light shine bright in this city.
Johnny and Christy