Friday, October 11, 2013

Learning about My Superhero Personality and Yours’ too, and Praying for Others – It’s a Gigantor of a Post – But Hopefully Amusing, Informative, and Thoughtful

I've been thinking about birthdays lately as I’ve entered my birthday month of October. I really love October, don't you? Maybe I am biased, but in the States one can be surrounded by a beautiful autumn - there is something brilliant about the fall-colored leaves cascading into blankets with crisp mornings and the warm glow of sunshine transforming the ice-glazed grasses (but I really don’t like getting my shoes - and feet - wet on those mornings).

Here in South Africa October brings on a different season – ocean side – the rain clouds are lessening, and the days are becoming warmer, brighter, and longer (although the winds pick up and can chill you to the bone). The air holds promise. Well, really, it holds the promise of summer - my favorite time of year. But I digress…

As I've been thinking about my birthday (and in denial about my age, past the 3 decade mark - and that's all the hint you get) I've also been reading about my personality. I LOVE personality tests! I love figuring out who people are and what makes them tick. And I'd say I love figuring myself out - but some days I just don't "get" ME.
Photo Credit: Superman image via article
I read more on the Myers-Briggs Personality Types recently, but this one was more awesome because it compared each personality to a superhero as in the Comic book kind (or if you watch movies). I love this because I’ve seen how those superheroes’ personalities worked in their “movie circumstances.” For years I’ve thought I was an ISFJ, Introvert-Sensing-Feeling-Judging – think Superman (which is pretty cool). Not to be boxed in, but this time I tested as an INFJ, Introvert-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging, as in Jean Grey from X-Men (or Beast – it’s a toss up between self-destructive fury or really furry). If you want to read more about superhero personalities – yours or mine – go to There is a link to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator at the bottom of the article, or go to it here at (or take a similar test at I would love to learn about your personality (according to the article “INFJ’s want to understand other people’s motivations”) so comment on my blog or shoot me an e-mail, but again don’t box yourself in – we all have multi-superhero-personality disorder! Just kidding, we are each multi-faceted, unique, specially and significantly created individuals.

On the personality note, I've met some of these really awesome, multi-faceted, and unique individuals – with a variety of personalities. This past year in South Africa I've been blessed to make beautiful friends - some different and some more similar to me (many times my close friends are quite the opposite of me in personality – go figure – with a few overlapping interests). I've been astounded by the staff I have the opportunity to work with in ministry. 

These people are international. These people are national. And local. 
From various backgrounds.
All amazingly different and gorgeously unique.

Introverted and Extroverted. Joyful Ones. Prayer Warriors. Encouragers. Compassion. Passion. Preachers. Teachers. Leaders and Learners.

Jesus Followers. God Glorifiers.

And as we reach for the heavens here on earth, the Holy Spirit in us and working through us – God WITH us –

There are hardships we face.

They take on different forms:
- Disease.
- Death.
- Discouragement.
- Defeat.

- Lack of food, housing… 
- Even the worry of "Will the resources come so that I can feed my family, or even me… tonight? Tomorrow?"
- "Will I have a job next week? Or in a month?"

And I am not just saying these things because they just occurred to me. But… but I come face to face with these Faces. (If we stop for a second and dare to un-guard our hearts, can't we all see the Faces?)

What I want to say is this – Four Things:

1. I am THANKFUL for TOGETHERNESS. That we can all work together. Minister together. Meet together. That it doesn't matter the country, continent, ethnicity, social background we come from, or the variety of personalities - and although there is sin in the world and there is the guarantee we will bump heads, God created people to BE and DO together.

2. I am THANKFUL for MY PERSONALITY. I have fits of not understanding myself and my character which is continually in the process of needed transforming, but I am reminded how much I love small groups and one-on-one time with people (and small doses of large crowds!). Being there WITH them. Listening. Learning Deeply Who They Are. Empathizing. And Interceding. (And laughing - yes, the privileged few get to meet my goofy side.)

3. I am THANKFUL for the UNIQUENESS of EACH PERSON and the VARIANCES of PERSONALITY. We are glaringly different. We have our garbage and struggles. And Yet, God did not dis-choose us because of this (we have to deal with it and journey through it). I may be struggling right now. You may be struggling. But God has specially created each person with a unique personality and wonderful talents. To care for the earth – His whole Creation and People. And to glorify Him through this.

4. And finally - not last or least - but essentially, please pray. Yes, I may have mountain-highs and valley-lows, and I am so thankful for your prayers for me. But right now I ask you to PRAY FOR THOSE AROUND ME who I minister with, who I minister to, even those who I don't know (because God can call a stranger to pray for the stranger). I see grief. I see talents. I see people needing Strength. Needing Peace. Needing - not the wind or the storm - but the gentle whisper… The still, small voice. The arms to hold and comfort. The door to open. The finances to pour. The worries and fear to be replaced by courage. And God's reality - God WITH us - to be truly known.


What personality are you?
Can this be helpful in understanding more of yourself and your journey?
Can this be helpful in understanding more of others?

Thanks for reading and for your comments and prayers.


(For further reading, see Gen. 1, 1 Kings 19, Isaiah 7-8, Matt.1, Eph. 2-4)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

On Remembering and Thanking - On Visiting WITH YOU in the States (With Pictures!)

Hello, States!
Hello, family and friends! 
Long time, no see! 

A year and a half goes by quickly and slow as snails (and all at the same time!) –
“I miss you,” says me!
Recapping my visit and trek across 9 States -  
Ah, even these nearby memories hold my wistful gaze.

Delighting in "squish" faces with my "growing in front of me," "baby no more," beautiful niece. 
Basking in flowers and sunshine. 
Mountain views. 
Glass lakes.
Cascading waterfalls.

Horse, ride, hike and bike.

Aching legs - not used to rides!

Plane (neck ache), train, auto, and BUS -

36 hours (yes, on the bus) –

"Go big or go home!"


Interesting people - and stories - from all walks of life (!!!)

And all over the globe - China, England, India, Spain…

Good conversation – that’s a delight.

Lost bag (ahem, bus line I shall not name). 

Then found again.

Generosity to the utmost - again and again.

Clothes to borrow.

Beds to sleep.

Cars to drive.

Drivers to drive me.

Coffee and dinners – Mexican food –
Ah, in South Africa none’s been in sight!
Sharing and caring.
Laughter and jokes abound.
I think I’m stress free!

- The chiropractors help.
And vitamins – restocking my bags galore.
“Being healthy, eating healthy” is my motto.
But my body doesn’t agree.  

“Is it whooping cough?”
“But you’re Really, Very sick.”
“Take these drugs”
and 3 weeks of feeling very yuck.

And nearing the end,
It’s been constant, “quick” hellos
And “let-me-NOT-think-about-the-goodbyes” 
For two months time.
“Man, I hate this emotional ride.”

I still see your Faces – 
Ah, I’ve been poor at capturing the digital kind. 
But my heart –
It’s surrounded by love and friendship,
Generosity and encouragement – 
The “crosses oceans” kind.

Friends who are family.
Strangers who become friends.
God knows I need them.
God knows I need Him.

He provides exactly what I need. 
“Please take care of my family, friends,
All I’ve left behind.
You know I need them.
You know they need You.” 

I don’t know how to end this message
But for what’s been my heart’s next prayer.
I can always be occupied by “do,” “what’s next,”
Even “work on” and “grow.”
But right now I see JESUS. 

To worship, glorify and thank Him. 
Because He, HE IS IT. 
Nothing else.
No more.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
~ Isaiah 6:3 ~
 As I am back in South Africa about a month now, I reflect. 
I am so thankful to God for WHO HE IS - for everything.
I am so grateful to you, my friends and family, for your encouragement, caring, praying, generosity, time, and love while I was visiting the States. 
No words describe how God has used you (and still is!). 
I realize again how important Connection, Community, and Being Surrounded and Supported is - even from afar. 
Thank you for being a vehicle of blessing.
With Love. 
I'd love to hear from you.
What are you thankful for?
What is the Lord bringing to reflection for you during this season?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A New Job, A New Hope

I shared this story on Facebook not too long ago but realized I should begin sharing these small but impacting updates with those of you who don't have Facebook. 
 Be Encouraged! ~ Shannon
 Recently, I bumped into one of my former Life Direction and Computer Training students while she was working at a grocery store - she just so happened to be my cashier! Such a great thing to see an awesome woman, who was formerly unemployed, utilizing her job and people skills! What a blessing to chat with her, hear the wonderful place she is at, and see her smile! 
 This is just an aspect of what we hope to do at Hope Africa: help people to know their great value, equip individuals for successful employment, and help them in job placement.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lots to Catch Up on: Visiting the States... Fear, Gratefulness... Name Change of Bridge for Hope to HOPE AFRICA, Thembelani's Story, New Website...

Hi guys,

I know it's been a while. And it's May - of 2013!!! - I can hardly believe it! That means I have been here 15 months straight! Whoa. Yes, I am hankerin' for a trip home to the U.S. of A. It's the longest amount of time I've been in a foreign country and is definitely a growing experience in SO many ways. I will have to  tell you about it in person... as I HOPE to buy tickets home for sometime in July-August - would you please PRAY with me in purchasing tickets, finances, timing for my trip to the States and to several States to visit family and friends? And also some logistics I need to work out on this side of the sea - with ministry and my stuff/flat for the 2 months I will be gone. It's been A LOT on my heart and in my prayers. Thank you.

Mad hike one hot day overlooking Cape Town - Table Mountain and Lion's Head in the distance.
 I cannot emphasize enough how Grateful I am to God as my Provider, Sustainer, and Leader. Faith and Rest in Him to hold me has taken another level over here - as I am still learning - He holds my fear and stresses and unknowns. A missionary lady said something along these lines recently,  

"Fear is doubting God's capability and His character." my life. others. the world around me. (Choose your ending.)

Boom. That one really hit me up side the head. God's capability, God's character, HE is Trustworthy. I am reflecting on that and being changed by that more and more.

And I cannot say it enough how I am SO Grateful for God using people in my life to support and encourage me - from afar and new ones nearby. I realize how important Friendship and Community are. If you are lonely or aren't lonely, I bet you someone is - please reach out today. 

(I'm being too wordy - must be because I haven't written in a while.)

And now for awesome news. You know I work in ministry in South Africa with Bridge for Hope - But recently we went through a NAME CHANGE to HOPE AFRICA COLLECTIVE. The vision and what we do hasn't changed, but this name captures us better. You can read about it here:

And I would love for you to watch Thembelani's story here: Thembelani shares how God has transformed his life. And now he impacts people's lives in his community through Hope Africa. He is truly an awesome guy, and I think he will encourage you!

Also, check out more on our New Website with our New Name:

That's all for now - I think! Please drop me a line about your lives. I would to hear and pray for you.  

Many blessings from the bottom of Africa.  ~ Shannon

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The View From My Window - The Man With No Home

Sometimes God shows us things through the everyday - what you or I miss - even out the windows of our own homes. This is what I saw one day recently - and was led to reflection. This is what I read in my Daily Bible Reading that very evening. And this is what I felt impressed to share with you.

My home looks out onto the train tracks.

There is much to look at and little to look at - at the same time.

There is the beautiful and looming rock mountain, the tall and green African grasses, and the homes with lit or darkened windows that appear to be eyes staring back at me. 

And there is the trash laying forgotten along the tracks.

All this I can see -

Or maybe not.

Because then there is the man with no home.

He comes. To the other side of the tracks. To make his plastic and cardboard bed.

When the sun is setting. And my eyesight is fading.

He lays. On the ground. Like the discarded trash.

He's still.

Does he sleep? It's not yet 8pm.

I don't know when he leaves.

Maybe before anyone takes notice.

I wonder,

What happened?

Where was his last real bed?

Does he have family? friends?

Does he have a job?

Did he have a home?

I wonder,

What is his story?

Do I see his Identity?


Do I see and name him Homeless?

Today I do not - because my eyes are opened to see the Man first - Who Christ loves and calls us to serve - with or without the literal home -

And I remember,

Christ calls him Home

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
~ Matthew 25:34-40 ~
What do you See or Not See around you? Do you see someone's Identity or something else? What is God speaking to you to change or do?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Are Your New Year's Resolutions Out the Door....Already? I've Found It's Not Too Late - What I've Committed to!

Take it from me, I don't remember if I have ever really "resolved" to do something for the New Year... or any New Year.
My first roast turkey for Post-Christmas Dinner! It turned out great.

Maybe it just wasn't monumental enough to remember, or I didn't keep it (that would make it more forgettable), or I didn't write it down.

But the word resolution seems a bit removed from my world and maybe tainted by its blatant overuse and its failed history.

Anyway, even though 2013 already began, I decided to do something about it.

To commit to something. 

Commitment. (There - That's a word I use.)

Because I want to Change.
Committed to hike to Elephant's Eye (See the dark cave above?).
So I had time Alone to spend time with Jesus (so I wasn't alone-alone) this holiday and used my time more wisely.

Having a hard year of challenges - I'm concluding my first WHOLE YEAR as an OVERSEAS missionary - I Chose to do something about my battered state, and I Chose to do something different. I kinda needed a total Life Re-Orientation as I call it. I guess that meant letting God in Deeper rather than staying with, "I'm fine/holding it to together - You can just do your Surface-y stuff."

This meant...



Probably Crying.

Listening - well, I gotta open my ears more - definitely.

Oh, I read some books (I LOVE to read so this is a great way I can grow - Gotta remember that, Shannon.) - Yes, I read the Bible too, but I'm getting to that.


Then I got some...




It's kinda cool. God's kinda here for me. What a good thing to Remember.

So sometime after January 14th (see, it's not too late!), I went online and found a "read the Bible in one year plan." It has different selections on how you want to read through the Bible - I chose a little Old and New each Day. And - hold your breath for the awesome part - it will make a schedule for you beginning - with TODAY'S DATE (or start with January 1 and play catch up like I did)! Now I love this because some of my favorite things are checking off lists and calendars! I know, my detail-oriented tendencies can be a bit much. This is the website I like best so for:

I could have just thought, "Ah, I think I'm going to read the Bible in one year." But umm, if I miss a few days... or a month... then I could write off my commitment pretty easily. SO I think that making a Goal, a Plan, and a Schedule are important to Success and give Accountability (sharing with someone helps too).
What a view! We did make it!
I guess I should get to WHY this is important:

God gave us a pretty accessible Way to Know Him. And for me to be Changed by Him, I need to Soak with Him - Including IN HIS WORD. This should be most important for my Life as a Jesus-follower and for my Life Re-Orientation too.

So WHY am I sharing this with you? 
I hope you are encouraged through my experience that it's not too late for YOU!
And you can always ask me where I am at. ;)
Do you struggle with resolutions? Is there something you want to COMMIT to?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy Christmas and New Year's... And Umm, Martin Luther King Day, Valentine's, President's Day...

Well, since I missed the BIG, IMPORTANT holidays, I thought I'd get ahead of myself and take care of some of the others ahead of time! ;)

Yes, Christmas in South Africa includes the beach (View of Table Mountain, Cape Town).






My very own Christmas PALM! That's my ONLY Christmas decoration so far. Sad, I know.

We really shouldn't stop celebrating or remembering WHO it's all about, should we?

Went searching for a few holiday lights on Christmas Eve and found Mary, Joseph, and sweet baby Jesus too!

It's not too late to pray, define your goals, and change your habits -- That's what I've been reflecting on this holiday. It's a bumpy ride - I definitely fail more often than not. But God has grace, thank God. 

And I want to GROW as a person, in my relationship with God, and with the people around me in 2013 rather than NOT GROW and be the same as I was in 2012.

But only by CHOOSING HIM to be "WITH US" will TRUE CHANGE take place.

"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through  the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, God with us.” 
~ Matthew 1:21-23 ~

Choosing to CHANGE can change your life.

Dear Family and Friends,
Thank You for being part of my life, and Be Blessed in 2013! 

(from the Bottom of Africa!)

 P.S. I am in the process of writing a sorely, neglected update (received by mail). If you want one mailed to you and are not on my current mailing list (it's been while - ahem - year...), please e-mail me your mailing address - Thank you! So, TO BE CONTINUED...