Greetings from Shanon's House,
The Spring and Summer months were busy here at Shanon's House. We had guests from Russellville, Athens, Bryant, Moulton, Arab, Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Town Creek, Killen, Guntersville, Scottsboro, Elkmont, Florence and Muscle Shoals, Al. We also had guests From Michigan and North Carolina.
In May we had a couple who became very dear to our hearts. Their two daughters were in a car accident. The older daughter passed away and her sister was in critical condition. The parents were faithful Christians who taught us so many life lessons as they were grieving for one daughter while praying for the other to be healed. The father told us "we will get through this by trusting God." We listened while they told us stories about their daughters and our hearts grieved with them. We also had the grandparents stay with us and their lives were a testimony to us and others of living out your faith when heartaches come. They told us the words they found in their daughters Bible-"Everything works for the better, that's why I'm happy." They told us how she was a very giving and unselfish person and how she touched so many in her short time on earth. The grandfather told us that when he arrived at the scene of the accident he prayed "Lord, let something good come from this tragedy." Several days later several of her friends were baptized. These friends saw through this tragedy how this life is fragile and really is a vapor. Please continue to keep this family in your prayers.
We enjoyed guests from Michigan this summer. This was the first time they had been to the south for an extended stay. The wife was so relieved when she walked in and saw the house she said she felt like this was home. She commented on how she noticed Christians in the south showing hospitality and caring for one another and how she wanted to do this when she got back home. She told us how she would often say "well I'm going home now." She was referring to going to Shanon's House.
We received a call from a Doctor who attends Mayfair about an older lady whose husband was in the hospital. She only stayed one night because she didn't want to leave him. She arrived she told us "This must have been God looking out for me because I've had never had a doctor ask me if I had a place to stay." When I gave her the quilt from the Tree of Life Quilters she said with tears in her eyes. "I just said a few days ago, Lord nobody cares. I know God heard my prayers, I will treasure this forever." This is the card we received a card from her a few days ago. "Thank you so much for all the love you showed to me when my husband was in the hospital. He passed away and I miss him greatly. You were there when I needed help going through this valley. This ministry is a blessing to people like me. When I see the quilt you gave me I smile and ask God to bless all of you as you bless others."
We received a card from a couple who stayed with us one year ago. Inside were donations to Shanon's House with a note telling us they had requested donations instead of toys for their baby's first birthday. This warmed our hearts. We meet so many guests who enrich our lives when we see how they want to give back to say "thank you." We often tell guests the best way to thank us is to pay it forward.
A special surprise came when we had a former guests call and see if they could stop by. They arrived and a few minutes later another couple arrived. We were visiting with them when the door bell rang and it was another couple. All of them had stayed with us at the same time. They had planned this visit to surprise us. Their babies were all doing good and we sat and visited with them for a couple of hours. It always so rewarding when we see how people bond with each other while they are staying here. This is one of the reasons we enjoy having a full house! These couples will be lifetime friends because of Shanon's House.
Here's a note we received from one of our guests. "we are unable to find words to express our gratitude to all who make it possible for the use of Shanon's House. We appreciate everything so much. We will never forget during our hardest time that there are people that we have never met that are willing to be there for you. I wish I could tell you just how touching that is to us."
There are so many blessing that we receive being here at Shanon's House. One of the blessing is seeing how God works in this ministry. It has been a faith builder for us. We will have guests who will come and find out they know the other family here or we will have guests who don't know anything about the Church of Christ and we have the opportunity to tell them. One guest told me of a client of hers that was collecting items to send to Africa she said "Come to think of it, she was a member of the Church of Christ. You sure do have a lot of nice people in your Church." All of these incidences remind us that God is working in this ministry and has been from the beginning. It was this time of the year 4 years ago that we were asked to be here at Shanon's House. We didn't really know what to expect or do, but God has provided everything for us to do this work and it has been a blessing to us. We have grown in our faith and in our love for all of you who help us in this ministry. We feel as our guest wrote, May God bless all of you as you have blessed others.
With very grateful hearts,
Johnny and Christy
Greetings from Shanon's House,
The months of February, March and April have been very busy. There have been very few nights where the house was empty. We have had guests from Guntersville, Elkmont, Ardmore,Muscle Shoals, Town Creek, Russelville, Killen, Scottsboro, Sheffield, Tuscumbia, and Hartsell, Alabama.
One of our guests received the honor of staying with us the longest. Their baby was 1 lb 6oz when she was born. This couple really did become like family. Each night when they came in the father would say “Mom and Dad we're home now.” They became friends with the other couple who were here. It's always encouraging to us when families will share their life stories with us. Most of of the time this happens at the end of the day. After more than 80 days in the hospital their baby got to go home. The first place they stopped by was Shanon's House. This always touches my heart.
Every new mother and father are excited when they have a new baby. We witnessed a different kind of excitement recently. We received a call about a couple adopting a baby. When the adoptive mother called about staying here she said with excitement in her voice “Mrs. Christy we have a baby!!!” This couple had waited 10 years for a child and they were overjoyed. She told me how she had several babies waiting for her in heaven and how the call from the agency had come unexpectedly. She told me how they wanted to raise this child to give back to the community and she told me that this child would be dedicated to the Lord. Her story reminded me of the beautiful Bible story of Hannah and Samuel. This couple endeared themselves to us from the first time we met them. When they left they came by to show us their little one. We were all teary eyed. Johnny and I are happy when guests get to take their babies home but we do miss them when they leave.
Every year Huntsville Hospital has a NICU reunion for the parents and babies who were preemies. For several years it has been held at Mayfair. This year they invited us to the reunion. We enjoyed seeing several of our former guests and their babies. The speaker thanked Mayfair for Shanon's House and thanked all those involved in this ministry.
Here's a note we received from the parents of triplets that stayed with us.
“We could never thank you enough for the hospitality that you provided to us while our three little blessings were in the Neonatal Unit. We also want to thank the Mayfair Church of Christ, Shanon's family and everyone involved in providing this house of compassion through ministry. It was truly an honor and blessing from God to place us in such a caring “home away from home” while the triplets were receiving the care they needed. Although we could not be with the babies all the time, we found comfort in knowing that we were within minutes of the hospital and could be actively involved in taking care of them. Shanon's story is very inspirational and teaches us to always reach out to others and touch their lives in a positive way as the Lord would have us to do. As we sit here tonight writing this while hearing the sweet little whimpers and cries of our babies, we know that it is truly a miracle and gift from God that they are healthy and progressing as they should. We will keep you updated through photos and letters as we look forward to telling them about the House of Compassion that was provided to their Mom and Dad during their stay at Huntsville Hospital as well as sharing Shanon's story with them to teach them to always reach out to others.”
The quilters made special quilts for this family. I often think about down the road when the babies are grown and their parents tell them about Shanon's House. When they show them the quilt that was made for them by the “Tree of Life Quilters” with the tag that says “Made with love, Mayfair Church of Christ.” Our prayer is that Shanon's House will be like the pebble thrown in the pond, the ripple effect will go on and on years later in the lives of those who hear the story of a group of people at Mayfair that showed compassion to their loved one.
It always brings a smile to my face when I see the guests all sitting around the table talking and laughing with each other. One guest brought his guitar and would sit out in the swing and play and sing. We know our guests feel at home when they will use the other rooms in the house and enjoy the garden.
One of the many blessing we see at Shanon's House is how God is so faithful. We see His hand at work not only in the lives of our guests but in our lives also.
Very seldom do we get discouraged at Shanon's House and even rarer do Johnny and I get discouraged at the same time. Several weeks ago we were both a little discouraged. We talked about it and considered that maybe God was telling us that it was time to consider another way to serve. I decided to spend some extra time in the Word and in prayer. My reading that day was in the first chapter of Deuteroronomy. Verse 31 spoke very loudly to me “You saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness just as a father cares for his child. Now He has brought you to this place but even after all He did for you, you refuse to trust the Lord your God.” When I came to this verse I realized that's what I needed to remember. We would trust God to lead us. I wrote down in my prayer journal “Lord please guide us and show us if this is where you want us to be.”
Later that afternoon a car drives up that I don't recognize. A lady comes to the door and when I open up the door she says “Hi, do you remember me?” I panicked because I didn't remember her, but I said “Lynn?” She said Yes! You do remember me!!” She said “I had to stop by and see my friends. I was hoping you had not turned this over to someone else, because you know this is where God wants you to be!” She had stayed with us in 2010. She was from Knoxville, TN. She stayed and visited with us for about an hour. She said “I don't know what I would have done without Shanon's House. I was scared, and tired and alone. I will never forget what this house and ministry meant to me.”
This encounter still amazes us every time we think about it. God answered had answered or prayer! Our spirits were lifted. The problems we were having with guests improved and our energy was renewed. God is so good! When we need encouragement we will receive a card in the mail or a visit or phone call. When we need rest He provides for the house to be empty for a few days. Thank you to all of you who keep this ministry in your prayers. Thank you for all who support this ministry financially and thank you for the encouragement that you give to us. Shanon's House is very dear to our hearts and all of you are dear to us. We are blessed to be able to work along side all of you in this ministry.
Johnny and Christy Johnson
Greetings from Shanon's House,
It's hard to believe that we are beginning our 4th year at Shanon's House. The time has gone by so quickly. We have had over 200 people stay with us and many continue to stop by and visit or send Christmas cards. The months of November, December and January have brought us guests from,Mentone, Sheffield, Phil Campbell, Eastaboga, Albertville, and Florence, Alabama.
One of our guests was a lady who was 71 years old. Her husband had been in a very serious auto accident. We enjoyed her stay with us. At the same time we had a mother with a tiny newborn. One morning the older woman was sitting at the table encouraging the young mother. Later that day I noticed a note on the young mothers door from the older woman telling her she was praying for her. This made me smile.
This is a note we received from that guest whose husband was in ICU.
“Dear Mayfair Church,
I can never thank you enough for the way you have made me feel so loved and cared for I want to thank all my brothers and sisters at Mayfair for the prayers and support in the most difficult time in my life when my husband was so close to death from the auto accident. I know God heard all the prayers and His hands were with the doctors to heal my husband. I will never forget your gracious hospitality.
Thank you dear ladies for the quilt. Thank you everyone for the get well card. Tell David and Henry thank you for the Sunday service at the hospital and for telling me about Shanon's House, it has meant so much to me.Our love and gratitude always,”
Often it's the little things that show you care. This was the case with one guest, she said, “Your church has thought of everything. I needed some hand lotion and remembered there was some in the bathroom gift bag.”
Often we will run into former guests. This happened a few weeks ago. I was shopping and a young mother stopped me and said “Do you remember me? My husband and I had the twin boys who passed away.” I did remember her and noticed she had a baby girl in the stroller. She said “this is our baby girl who was born one year and one day after the passing of our baby boys. Please tell your church thank you again from us. We will never forget you.” The last time I saw this young mother she was broken hearted and now to see her smiling with a new baby was a blessing. This was a reminder to us of how good God is and how people never forget a kindness shown to them.
We are beginning to have repeat guests. Several who had babies in 2010 are once again blessed with another precious baby. Here's a note from a father who stayed with us for the second time.
“To all Involved,
I am writing to very humbly say Thank you. The Shanon's House ministry has blessed our lives twice now. Our two youngest children were both born with Respiratory Distress Syndrome. We are grateful to our Lord that it wasn't worse, but several of you know that when your child is being rushed away to a different hospital in an ambulance you worry. To all who contribute to Shanon's House ministry, thank you. We understand the amount of money that must be poured out to keep a service like this running. Your monetary sacrifices are so appreciated. You all help those in need by leaving us free from worrying about having a place to stay while we tend to our loved ones. That helps take one burden from us allowing us to focus and pray for our loved one. The breakfasts that are prepared also help tremendously. Having one home cooked, nutritious meal aids us all. It some how gives us comfort on those difficult days. In closing thank you all. Your service to Jesus touches many. When I told my mother of your generosity, she wept. So from the bottom of our hearts, we love you and thank you all.”
As you can see we meet some of the kindest people. The statement-People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care, is so true. The ministry of Shanon's house tells our guests in a big way that the Mayfair church truly cares about them. Johnny and I continue to be thankful to all of you who support this ministry in any way, large or small. We brag on all of you to guests. We tell them that the Mayfair church is a very loving and giving congregation. When they see the beautiful house and all the special touches that you provide it's proof that you care. We are looking forward to another year at Shanon's House simply doing what so many of you do every day, offering a cup of cold water in Jesus name to those who are hurting. May God bless you all in this new year.
With very grateful hearts,
Christy and Johnny
Christy and Johnny