Greetings from Shanon's House,
The summer and fall months have brought us guests from Athens, Hartsell, Florence, Albertville, Falkville, Danville, and Scottsboro, Alabama as well as Texas and Kentucky.
It's been a busy few months at Shanon’s house. A knock at the door a few days ago brought us one of our first guests. His baby boy weighed less than 2 lbs when he was born. Now he is almost 5 years old and healthy. The next week a family that stayed with us two years ago stopped by to see us. This last family has been especially encouraging to us. Every few months we will get a card from them just saying they were thinking of us. They told us every time they look at the quilt from the " Tree of Life Quilters," they remember Shanon's house. They told us to tell the Mayfair Church "thank you" again.
Fortunately most people who stay with us leave with a happy ending. But of course that's not always the case. The summer months brought us two families with newborns. One baby was born very early and the other baby was born only three weeks early. Both families were here at the same time and so appreciative of Shanon’s house. The baby who was born three weeks early only lived four days. This family touched our hearts. Up until the time they came to the hospital they were expecting to take a healthy baby boy home. We got word that the baby was not expected to live and they would not be coming in that night. The next morning we saw their car and thought maybe the baby had made it through the night. When they came in the kitchen I knew from their faces that their precious little one was now in the arms of Jesus. I said, "I'm so sorry. I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for you." They said, "we don't understand why this happened, but we know God does and we will never stop serving the Lord." They wrote in a blog about Shanon’s house and how it was a blessing. They said "we were staying at Shanon's house right next door to the hospital in fact you could see the house in the window where our baby’s bed was. This was a "God thing." Shanon’s house is a ministry of the Mayfair Church of Christ. The house was beautiful and immaculate and welcoming and the blessing of it all was it was free of charge. God is so good!"
The other couple with the tiny baby touched our hearts also. They had a six-year-old little girl while we don't usually have children stay with us we made an exception for this family. She needed them and they needed her. While she was here she was a delight and she brought smiles to her parents and to us. Their baby lived two weeks and then he passed away. Like the other couple they came back to Shanon’s house for the night. The next morning the little girl told me "my baby brother got to go see Jesus last night." Her sweet parents are heartbroken but even in their grief they were thankful for Shanon's house. They wrote "thank you so much for the kindness and love you have shown us. Staying here was an answered prayer. You will always hold a special place in our hearts." Both families mentioned Mayfair and Shanon’s house in the obituaries.
One of our guests found out about Shanon's House through Manna meals. Her son had been in ICU for three months. She also went to the Church service that Mayfair provides at the hospital. After spending over 100 days in the hospital, her son was able to go home. He called Johnny to personally thank him for letting his mom and fiancé stay here.
"This feels just like home" is a comment we hear so many times from our guests. One guest wrote "Thank you so much for all your kindness and generous hospitality. What a wonderful service you provide. It is truly a home away from home."
Another guest wrote in a blog, "We were staying at Shanon's House. The house is lovely and very accommodating. Just when we thought it could not be any nicer they gave us a beautiful quilt. The quilt is to remind us that we are covered in prayers. The house is a ministry of the Mayfair church of Christ. This place is so special and we feel blessed to be here."
Here are a few notes we received. "Thank you so much for allowing us to stay here. You were an answered prayer. I pray that God will bless you and the church for all you do to help people in our situation. I know you have blessed us."
"I have enjoyed my visit at Shanon's House. I appreciate all you did for me. The hospitality was wonderful. May God bless you in your work. You made my stay so much easier."
When one family was leaving they said with tears in their eyes, " how can we ever repay you? When we add up how much it would have cost and how hard it would have been to be so far from our baby, we are so thankful for this ministry."
One day two couples who stayed with us almost two years ago came by to visit with their babies. They call us their Shanon's house mom and dad. I took a picture of all of them and posted it on facebook. The grandmothers of both of the couples commented, and one of them said "Thank you and Mayfair Church of Christ for what y'all are doing to help families. I was so proud that my kids had a Christian place to stay so close to my grand baby while she was in the NICU. May God bless you in this mission. In Christian love, a grandmother." The other commented, "Yes, Thank you Mayfair Church of Christ for what y'all did for my kids and all the parents who stay there, it's truly a blessing from God."
Shanon’s House is a unique ministry in that all ages can help with different projects. The 4th grade class bought paper supplies and came over to deliver them. Several couples in the Life Savers class used Service day to host a luncheon at Shanon's house for the widows in the class and their service project was to bring supplies of paper products. The teen group did a great job doing yard work this fall. It is such a blessing to work with all these groups.
It's hard to believe that we have been here five years. I think back to 2007 when we received a call about my nephew who was in ICU in Little Rock, Arkansas. We rushed to be there with my sister and brother-in-law. We witnessed people sleeping in chairs and eating out of machines. We saw how the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ reached out to my sister and brother-in-law. They provided food and an apartment for them to stay in. I remember us saying, "The ICU waiting room is an untouched ministry. We wish there was some way we could help with a ministry for hurting people." Then in 2010 God answered that prayer with Shanon's house. We have learned so much from this ministry. We have met so many sweet people. Many have become friends that we will always cherish. We have had close to 500 people stay with us over five years. Our prayer is that other congregations will use Shanon's house as a model and more houses will be opened for hurting people.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Shanon's house and this is the season the world is focused on giving. Johnny and I appreciate the Mayfair church for giving to so many hurting people all year long through Shanon's house. We are so thankful for all of you who support this ministry financially and for those who pray for this ministry. We are very humbled to be able to work in this ministry along side all of you. We truly receive more than we give. God has been so faithful to provide everything we need. We tell our guests that while they may only see us, there is a whole congregation of loving people that makes this ministry work. We appreciate so much your kind words and encouragement. Johnny and I, as well as our guests, wish all of you a Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year.
Johnny and Christy