Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's been too long.

While I could go on and on about not posting for so long and about all of the happenings of my life... I'll refrain from that for now. What I can say is that I have felt a stirring in my heart so strong about so many things lately that I can't help but want to share them and proclaim them to all who will hear.

My journal entry today reads:

For some reason I feel like today marks a beginning and a "freshness." I feel like God is going to do new things in my heart and in my life. He is up to something big and I sense a renewed desire to dive deeper into my relationship with Him. My time with Him has become static and routine and the fire needs to be rekindled. My knowledge of Him is so shallow and superficial and I desire a deeper understanding. I want to "rediscover" Him in silence and solitude. I want to fall more in love with Him and I want that love to consume every aspect of my being. I want my love for Him not to be an afterthought, but to be fierce and unyielding. I know the only way to deep, compassionate, and humble ministry to others is through an abiding and constant passion for God that can only be obtained through silence, stillness, and solitude with Him.

God, set my heart on fire for You and then set it on fire for the lost and hurting world around me.

We need to find God
and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. 

God is a friend of silence. 
See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - 
grow in silence. 
See the stars, the moon, the sun,
how they move in silence.

Is not our mission 

to give God to the poor?
Not a dead God, but a living, loving God.

The more we receive in silent prayer,
the more we can give in our active life.
We need silence
to be able to touch souls.

The essential thing is 
not what we say,
but what God says
to us and through us.

All our words will be useless
unless they come from within.
           which do not give the Light of Christ
           increase the darkness.

-Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The latest...

Dearest Friends,

I know it has been a while since I wrote to all of you but I am excited to share how the Lord has been moving in my life recently.

In my last update I wrote,

“I am in hopeful anticipation about this time in my life. Although so many things are uncertain and that can be scary at times, I know the Lord is going to refine me SO much. I have always had a plan, and now it is time for me to surrender my plans completely to Him.”

The Lord has led me in a direction I never would have imagined the last time I wrote to you. Around the beginning of April, God began laying a desire to be back in my hometown so heavily on my heart. Needless to say, I fought it with everything in me. I love my hometown and I love my family and have missed them terribly over the past few years that I have been away, but for some reason I never imagined that the Lord would see fit to lead me back here.

I also questioned why the Lord would lead me back here at this time in my life. Things were going incredibly well at Biltmore Baptist and I absolutely loved serving there. I was also relatively sure that it was His desire for me to attend Graduate school starting this summer. But after trying to pray my way out of and escape the desire for home He had placed in my heart, I decided to vocalize what I had been feeling. I shared my heart with those I was involved in ministry with at Biltmore and they were, of course, incredibly supportive. I also began seeing why He had me there and the incredible leaders He had given me the opportunity to invest in that were ready to take what the Lord was starting and run with it. Lastly, I prayed as I attended orientation for Graduate school that the Lord would give me clarity like I had never known before about whether or not He wanted me there… and He did. From the moment I walked on campus, as much as I have missed it, I just knew in my soul that it wasn’t right. Right then, I decided that I would stop fighting and choose to trust. That week I moved home and when my parents asked me when I would be going back, I said… “I’m not.” They didn’t believe me at first, but when it actually sank in they were so grateful to have me home. J

It’s been a roller coaster ride since I’ve been home… but a good one. God has given me some direction for ministry – which includes starting a young adult “gathering” in my community – and I believe He is leading me into a wonderful church community as well.

I have been tirelessly searching for jobs since I have been home and God has yet to open a door. The words from my last update ring true and it is time to surrender my plans completely to Him. Finances, honestly, are extremely … extremely tight and I have no idea how the Lord is going to provide, but I know that He will. Please pray that a door will open soon and if any of you know of any available opportunities I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know!

I have never been in a position like this before, but I know that God is at work. I can’t wait to write to you and let you know of how miraculously He has orchestrated my circumstances and placed me somewhere better than I could have imagined and where I can serve Him with everything in me. I have been studying the book of Ruth lately and God has used it to speak so much truth into my heart.  Just when Naomi thought that God had taken everything from her… He was just getting started and putting into motion His plan of provision and blessing.

Stay tuned…

In Him,

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Beginning.

Dear friends, 

Much has happened since the last time I wrote to you.

First, I want to apologize that it has been so long in between updates. The Lord has taken me through a ton of transition over the past couple months that, although good, was definitely not anticipated. I hope that you can all forgive me and rejoice alongside me as I share with you what has been happening in my life.

During the month of February, I literally felt as if my life went from a good and steady 45mph to about 100mph almost overnight.  At the Hope House, we were going through the state licensing procedure which was extensive, we were beginning to get leads for more referrals for residents, and our outreach ministry, Rahab’s Hope, was gaining momentum at an incredible pace. At Biltmore Baptist, I began getting more and more involved with the College Ministry and was also invited to serve on the core leadership team for the Singles and College Ministries. God began growing a strong desire in my heart to be able to minister with and through my new church family more and more. Lastly, I learned that I had been accepted into the advanced standing Masters in Social Work Program at Western Carolina! The program starts in July and will end in August 2012. As exciting as all of these things were, I began wondering how I would have balance in my life and began questioning if the Lord really wanted me to have all of these things on my plate during this particular season of my life.

As these things began unfolding I was surprised that the thing I felt my heart being pulled away from the most was my involvement with the Hope House. These feelings were confirmed recently through a situation that shed light on some differing views of how the ministry should operate. I also realized how extremely burned out I am from working in Residential Care in general. I felt a strong tug from the Lord to take a step back, rest, establish some boundaries, and start pouring myself out into some other areas of ministry. Therefore, I decided to resign from Hope House a couple weeks ago. The decision was mutual and we are all on good terms. I have also not lost my passion for serving victims of sex-trafficking at all and I hope to continue to pursue that and possibly continue to be involved with On Eagles Wings in some capacity in the future.

I am in hopeful anticipation about this time in my life. Although so many things are uncertain and that can be scary at times, I know the Lord is going to refine me SO much. I have always had a plan, and now it is time for me to surrender my plans completely to Him. I know that I am supposed to be in the Asheville area and ministering in my church, so I am currently staying in the area because of the generosity and hospitality of a couple families, and looking for a job to support me while I minister to these college students. I may be starting Graduate School in July, but for right now, I know God is telling me to take a day at a time and trust Him to provide, so that’s what I intend on doing. Faith means living with uncertainty. Without a need there would be no reason to trust. Ultimately, I am grateful for such a tangible, obvious need and dependency upon Christ because I am going to learn to stand on Him as my provider and rock in ways that I never have before.

Thank you all for taking the time to read and for all of your love, support, encouragement, and prayers. I would love to continue to share what the Lord is doing in my life with you all and would love for you all to do the same with me!

In Him,


Prayer Requests:
A Job
A stable living situation/good roommates
New relationships/friendships @ Biltmore Baptist
Wisdom in ministering to the college women of Biltmore Baptist
Clarity of vision for the College and Singles Ministry
Unity among leadership
Discernment for attending Graduate School

Monday, January 17, 2011

January Update.

Dearest Brothers and Sisters, 

Hello everyone! I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season and you are still keeping up with all of those New Year’s Resolutions! ;) 

So many incredible things have happened this past month that I hardly even know where to begin!
I guess I will start with an update on Rahab’s Hope. Our strip club outreach went extremely well. We delivered gift bags to five strip clubs throughout the general western NC area and the interactions we had with club owners/managers/bouncers were very positive. We were received well and kept safe throughout the night and we are continuing to pray for the girls who received those that God would work in their hearts and that if they are being victimized they would be provided with a way out. Another area of Rahab’s Hope, our escort agency outreach, is also taking off. It was such a blessing to receive a grant that provided us with funding to purchase some new computers and phone systems to make calls to online ads on websites such as craigslist.com and backpage.com. We have been donated, completely free of charge, some office space in downtown Asheville and this will be the primary activity happening there. We are also having some software developed to keep up with all of the contacts we are making so that we can minister more effectively to these girls and so that if we run across any victims, which we inevitably will, we can turn over those leads to law enforcement who can then move forward in investigations. 

We are also still hoping to work with the client that I mentioned last month. Her situation is extremely unique and has brought more challenges than we expected but we are still hopeful for her and that God will continue to provide us with wisdom as to how to reach out to her. 

There are a couple things that I would love to ask for your specific prayer support in. First, God has been taking us through some transition as far as staff goes. It never gets any easier to have people transition in and out of your life, but I am confident and excited that God is putting the team together that He is going to use in mighty ways with this ministry. Please pray for our unity during this time and that we would lean on Him for our stability always! Secondly, Super Bowl 2011 is approaching very quickly! As exciting as the Super Bowl is… it is also one of the largest days for the business of sex-trafficking within the U.S. of the year. Hundreds of thousands of children will be trafficked into the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the purpose of being bought and sold for sex during this time. Teams are mobilizing and prevention and awareness surrounding this event is being raised but please remember to pray during this time. It is extremely heartbreaking to realize this is happening, but it is also an incredible opportunity to see a lot of victims rescued and a lot of perpetrators arrested. 

Lastly, on a personal note, God has been revealing so much to me this month and pursuing me in so many ways. I attended the annual Passion conference in Atlanta, GA a couple weeks ago and it was absolutely mind-blowing. I got to spend four days with some incredible college students from Biltmore Baptist, listening to worship from people like Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Kristian Stanfill, and Tenth Avenue North and hearing the Word delivered through people like Louie Giglio, Beth Moore, Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, and John Piper. I left Atlanta with a renewed passion for the Lord and a greater desire to make Jesus’ name famous than I have ever felt before in my life. I am so incredibly thankful that I got to attend and allow the Lord to speak into my life in so many awesome ways. 

Also, I have recently been asked to serve as the Women’s Discipleship Leader for the College Ministry of Biltmore Baptist church. I will be leading approximately eight young women and hopefully, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will be able to help them experience Christ and authentic community in ways they haven’t ever done before. I am so excited and would greatly appreciate prayers as I move forward in obedience to the Lord and this new calling. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about how I am doing and praying. If you have a chance, I would greatly appreciate it if you could respond in some way to let me know who all is making it this far. J I hope that all of you are doing well and if there is anything I can do for any of you or any way that I can pray for you please let me know! I love you all so much and am so blessed to call you not only friends, but brothers and sisters.

Covered by Grace,

Monthly Supporters:
Don’t forget to send in your support for the month of January!
Check to: On Eagles Wings PO Box 9737 Asheville, NC 28815 (“Shannon support” in Memo Line)
Online: @ hopehousenc.com (“Shannon support” in box for extra information after you submit your donation)

Prayer Requests:
Victims that the Lord would have to come to Hope House!
Our current client – healing for her and wisdom for us
Rahab’s Hope Outreach! – soft hearts of women who received gift bags during our strip club outreach and favor for our upcoming escort agency outreach
Decision regarding relocating our facility
Softened hearts for awareness of the issue
Awareness and Intervention during the Super Bowl
Transition and Unity among staff
New relationships/friendships/@ Biltmore Baptist
Wisdom for new position as Women’s Discipleship Leader w/ College Women

Facebook – www.facebook.com/shannonfromwelcome
Group – Shannon’s Ministry Partners
Blog - http://saoshano.blogspot.com
Email - saoshano@gmail.com

Friday, December 17, 2010

December Update!

Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

I hope this update finds all of you doing well and getting geared up for Christmas and New Year’s! It is so hard to believe that another year is almost finished. It is such a blessing to be able to spend time with friends and family throughout these weeks but I pray that each of you are finding time to spend with our Savior and to reflect on all of the ways that He has worked in your life this year. Most of all, let’s not forget to be thankful for the reason we have to celebrate in the first place… and I do not mean that in a cheesy “remember the reason for the season” way. I mean it in a, “God became flesh and chose by His own free will to leave His throne in Heaven to suffer rejection, humiliation, denial, and ultimately crucifixion to save the same people who caused Him to suffer those things in the first place” way. Praise the Lord… that is what we have to celebrate!

Things have been going well at On Eagles Wings this past month. The Lord has continued to refine us and push us to trust in Him in many ways. He has also opened many doors for ministry! Finally, He has blessed us with a young lady that we have begun working with. She is such a joy to be around and is extremely motivated to work with us which, to be honest, is not really a typical attitude of these victims… but is greatly appreciated. Her situation is a little unique and therefore, we are only working with her a few days a week for a few weeks before we make a decision regarding her becoming a resident with us. We are excited about working with her in many ways, including home schooling, counseling, equine therapy, art therapy, life-skills and job training, and social skills. Please remember her and in your prayers as she begins this journey with us!

We are also right in the middle of our Christmas strip club outreach, which now has attained the title of “Rahab’s Hope.” Last night, a group of staff and volunteers gathered and assembled over 100 gift bags for dancers. Throughout the day Saturday we will be delivering those bags to clubs in Asheville, NC, Hickory, NC, and Greenville, SC. The bags were stuffed with nice bath and body items, Francine Rivers’ books, Bibles, and hotline numbers should anyone who is being victimized need a resource for help.

The Lord has also potentially blessed us with another property we may be re-located to within the next couple of months. Something that has been on our hearts a lot recently is to establish second home for victims over the age of 18 and to have both of these houses on a single property. The family of a dear friend and supporter of our ministry has offered to let us utilize a property they own for this purpose. It has 2 houses and a cottage, as well as over 30 acres of land situation on top of a mountain, right next to a river in western NC. It is absolutely beautiful and would be perfect for our ministry. We are in the process of zoning and getting approval from the county it is located in to use it for shelter for these victims and any prayers regarding that process and favor with the county would be greatly appreciated!

Personally, the Lord has blessed me so much this month. Thanksgiving and the Christmas get-togethers I have already had with my family have been wonderful. I have a renewed thankfulness and appreciation for all of them. This year I got to attend a Christmas party for my Mom’s side of the family and I haven’t seen many of them in years. I have missed them so much and we had such a wonderful time! I have also had the absolute privilege of becoming an official part of the church family of Biltmore Baptist in Asheville, NC. I have made many new friends and have begun getting plugged in. I have never been so confident in a decision to be a part of a church and I am incredibly excited to see what the Lord is going to do while I am there!

Thank you all so much for reading and for your continued love and support! I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Monthly Supporters:
Don’t forget to send in your support for the month of December!
Check to: On Eagles Wings PO Box 9737 Asheville, NC 28815 (“Shannon support” in Memo Line)
Online: @ hopehousenc.com (“Shannon support” in box for extra information after you submit your donation)

Prayer Requests:
Victims that the Lord would have to come to Hope House!
Our current client – healing for her and wisdom for us
Rahab’s Hope Outreach! – soft hearts and open doors to share the Gospel
Decision regarding relocating our facility
Softened hearts for awareness of the issue
Victims who are separated from their families during the holidays
New relationships/friendships/opportunities at Biltmore Baptist

Facebook – www.facebook.com/shannonfromwelcome
Group – Shannon’s Ministry Partners
Blog - http://saoshano.blogspot.com
Email - saoshano@gmail.com
Phone - 336-596-5898

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Defenders USA: A Call To Action For America's Truckers

The Defenders USA (thedefendersusa.org), an initiative of Shared Hope International (sharedhope.org), is stepping up to the plate, and taking on an important role in the fight against the sexual exploitation of minors: calling men to action. While many seem to be taking on the project of victim services, this organization is getting down to the nitty gritty and cutting right to the source of the problem: demand. Without the buyer, which in most cases is a man, there would be no need to supply the product, which in most cases is a female child.

The Defenders USA is a group of committed men who are willing to challenge other men to oppose all forms of commercial sex. They understand the harsh reality that many of the people involved in the commercial sex trade are not willing participants, as many would like to believe, but are victims who are forced to perform such acts. Their goals are to, “raise public awareness about the realities of pornography and prostitution, while offering restoration for victims of sex trafficking. Defenders also encourage public discussion and empower activists, political leaders, members of the media, civil society groups, faith-based organizations, and churches to stand against this harmful market.

One of the initiatives of The Defenders USA is their Truck Stop Campaign. Minors are bought and sold under the control of pimps at truck stops daily. The trucking industry also provides a ready-made route along which to transport minors who are being trafficked from city to city throughout our country.  Approximately two times a month, The Defenders USA hosts peaceful demonstrations at major truck stops throughout the country. Groups are assembled to display signs and banners, as well as to pass out information regarding domestic minor sex-trafficking to truckers who are interested. The Defenders USA’s goal for the campaign is to, “encourage other men to join The Defenders USA’s cause.”

If you are a man who is appalled by this horrendous crime you can get involved! The Truck Stop Campaign is open for applications for team captains. All it takes to start the process is a desire to make an impact and a willingness to answer a few questions on the organizations website. Once you are approved, you can begin organizing a team of likeminded men and hit the streets!

For more information about The Defenders USA and their Truck Stop Campaign visit: http://www.thedefendersusa.org/truck_stop_campaign_sign_up.asp