Greetings from Shanon's House of Compassion,
It's been very busy the last couple of months. We've had guests from Florence, Vinemont, Arab, Kennedy, Killen, Waterloo, Decatur, Tuscumbia, Gulf Shores, AL and also from Collinswood, TN.
As the new year started we received cards and pictures of families that stayed with us in 2010. We are always enjoy it when our former guests keep us up to date with their babies who are now toddlers.
In February we had a family who had a 16 year old that had been in a very serious car accident. One day the young man is healthy and an active athlete and the next day he is fighting for his life. This was a very sweet family. Each night they would give us an update on their son. Sometimes it would just be something simple like he squeezed their hand, but they were thankful for the little things that we so often take for granted. They told us when their son got better the first thing they wanted to do was to come to Mayfair and tell all of you thank you. Several from Mayfair visited this family and they appreciated it so much.
Here's a few of the statements we have heard our guests say that made us smile.
"I told my brother the Church of Christ is taking care of us."
A guest told a friend "I'm going home now" He was referring to Shanon's House. Another guest said "Shanon's house is better than a hotel-it's like a home."
One special treat came when a man and his wife came to see us. He had just been released from the hospital and Shanon's House was the first place he wanted to visit. His sisters spent one night with us and he wanted to tell the Mayfair church "thank you." He was in his early 50's and was battling cancer. He told us his doctor also attended Mayfair and how kind and compassionate the doctor had been to them. He told us his goal was to get well enough to come to Mayfair and tell all of you how grateful he was for the cards he received and for Shanon's House. Johnny and I were so touched by this visit. It's times like these that renew our energy. We say many times how blessed we are to be able to meet so many kind people.
There are many lessons we continue to learn from our guests. One of these lessons came from a young mother. I have hesitated on writing this because I don't like talking about ourselves but this guest gave us a powerful reminder of how our lives speak loudly to those who are in the world. So I thought I would share it with you. Often times we encounter young mothers or fathers who have not been blessed with good parents to guide them. This young mother was one of them. We find ourselves telling the mothers what their own mother should be telling them. This mother didn't want to spend much time with her newborn baby. So we talked to her about the importance of being with her baby. The next day she decided she needed to go home. What she then told me I hope I will never forget. She said "I want what you have." Puzzled I asked her "What do you mean?" She said "I want the joy you have in your life. I want to learn to talk to my husband like you talk to Johnny." I was very humbled by this response. I realized then how she had been watching us. I had just a few minutes to talk to her and told her that while Johnny and I had our struggles, it was our foundation in the Lord that helped our marriage. I talked to her about her relationship with the Lord. She said "I understand what you are saying but I can't understand the Bible." I remembered my "Easy to Read" New Testament that I kept in my purse. It had years of notes and also the plan of Salvation in the back. I gave her this Bible. We wish we had been able to have more time to study with her. The lesson for us and everyone is that the world is watching us. They are looking to see if our Christian faith is being lived out in our everyday life. Our hope and prayer for this mother is she will find the joy she is seeking when she opens up God's word.
The back yard at Shanon's House has been turned into a beautiful and peaceful garden. A generous donation made in honor of one of the families who stayed with us in 2010 made this garden possible. When all the work is finished the plans are to invite the family to come back for a dedication.
Shanon's House is often referred to as a "Hospitality House" It's interesting to realize the root word in "Hospitality" is hospital. A hospital- a place where you go when you are hurt or sick with the hope of leaving feeling better. That's our prayer for the work at Shanon's House. Mayfair church continues to provide a home where people can stay while they are hurting and leave with just a little lighter load knowing that there is a group of Christians who are located at 1095 Carl T. Jones who cared about them.
Thank you for your prayers and help in this ministry. You are continuing to touch many people. One of our guests came to church with us recently. He came in late and sat in the back. He told us later who he sat by and how so many of you spoke to him. He was very impressed with the service and by the programs he read about in the bulletin. Thank you so much. By being so kind to him you helped open up doors for conversation later that night. We tell our guests that while you may only see us here, there is a congregation of loving Christians at Mayfair that make this work possible. Our guests are thankful for all of you and the Johnson's are grateful and feel very blessed to work with all of you at Shanon's House. We continue to ask God to send us seekers and we give our Heavenly Father the praise for this ministry.
Johnny and Christy