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