Serving God's Servants
ABOUT THE MINISTRY
Who WE ArE
Shunem House is a place where missionaries and their families can stay during transition times as they spend time away from their field of service.
Located in a nice neighborhood in Central Indiana, Shunem House is a sprawling, gorgeous, 11,000 square foot home.
With a bed-and-breakfast feel, Directors, Jim and Jeanette Vermilya, strive to make stays a Welcome Home experience.
Shunem is a wonderful place for an individual, couple, or a work team to come for a day or longer. We will work with you on choosing a special project to sponsor or simply help with the work. Most of the time, groups can stay with us and we provide meals.
Some suggested areas are:
- General household cleaning
For scheduling a work team, complete the volunteer form
People often ask to hear the “story” of Shunem Ministries and how it all began.
The story is God’s story . . . not mine.
The idea for a ministry to missionaries and their families is something that has always been close to my heart because of my parents and their ministry both overseas and here in the states. However, it kind of took hold of me when I became aware of a house that would be perfect for hosting many guests. I began to pray about it regularly while walking in the neighborhood. A vision for it began to consume my thoughts and prayers. Little did I realize that a story was in the making. In contagious ways, God used people . . . people with a heart for Him and for serving Him, to provide this beautiful gift of hospitality and care.
Our family moved into the Sylvan Woods neighborhood in the Fall of 2003. The sprawling white house across the street had a “For Sale” sign on the lawn that would go up and down periodically. Our little girl played with their little girl one day and so when I walked over to get her, my neighbor showed me around a little. I wasn’t looking for a guest house for missionaries but as I was walking through it that’s all I could think about…about how perfect it was. I couldn’t get the thought of it out of my mind and it just grew from there into what seemed like a calling. I talked to a few people about it and most of them thought I was just dreaming, and said, “oh that’s nice.” So I began to pray, walking almost daily past the house and just couldn’t get it out of my thoughts. I would often plead with God to put it out of my mind if it was my idea and not His because I knew something like this should not be of my own doing. Several months later, I shared with the owners the thought of how ideal their home would be for traveling missionaries coming and going in the area. They were touched and expressed delight that the home they had lived in for so long would possibly be used for such a beautiful purpose.
In July 2005, the owner of the house came to our door and told my husband and me that he had an offer on the house, but he did not want to sell it. We could hardly believe what we were hearing; we knew he had been trying to sell it for several years. At this point, we could see God at work in a way, extraordinary to us. We did not know they had added a clause in the listing contract that stated that we had “first right of refusal.” He knew we had no way of purchasing the house. We knew there was no way. But God had put a plan in motion.
The owners shared that they believed in the vision I had shared, and that they wanted the house to be used for the purpose of helping missionaries. They had a potential buyer. And we had seventy-two contract hours to either go with it or realize that God had a different plan.
The very same day I received an e-mail from a friend . . . a good friend, with whom I had shared my heart and vision. She had looked at the house with me a few months earlier. She and her husband had been discussing how they could be involved in the new ministry, but they were not exactly sure how. The timing of her e-mail was unbelievable to us. We had to update her and her husband on the happenings, the time frame etc. A phone call was made, and we agreed to pray for God’s direction. Within a few hours, a contract for the house was negotiated between the owner and the friend who wrote the e-mail.
I no longer doubted whose idea this whole thing was. I knew God had spoken to me two years earlier about this missionary guest home. Seeing God’s goodness, and His unfolding plan for this love gift of a home away from home for His servants kept me in a state of awe. My feet were now at a running pace to keep up with all that was ahead.
While helping the sellers of the house move into their new home, we were asked if we could use any of the furniture in the house. If so, they would donate it to the ministry. Appliances, pool equipment, window treatments, and other gifts equipped us to get up and running. God also provided a cash gift to help with startup costs. We find that amazing! Again, God was at work.
More . . . God sent work teams, family members, and neighbors to get SHUNEM MINISTRIES off the ground and functioning. Painting, decorating, renovating, remodeling, dry walling, adding a two-bedroom downstairs apartment. A single missionary lady raising funds to go overseas lived here, worked, and contributed to the huge, 11,000 square feet task. Our first family of five occupied the apartment in January, 2006, as they adjusted to a new baby and made preparations to return to serve an unreached people group. With mind, heart, and unity of purpose, our motto was established: SERVING GOD’S SERVANTS.
Missionaries give up comforts of home, stablity, family, and resources to go where the road before them can be quite uncomfortable, where people have not heard of salvation and the Savior who died for them. The vision of Shunem Ministries is to grow in ways that will offer more help and encouragement to those who come our way. We hope and pray that there will be more places just like this spring up if it is God’s will.
Shunem Ministries was named for a town mentioned in 2 Kings 4. In the village of Shunem there was a woman and her husband who built a room and furnished it for the prophet Elisha to stay in when he passed through the town. They served him meals and provided for his rest and comfort. Hospitality was the name of their service and we strive to serve in the same spirit of biblical hospitality shown to Elisha, God’s prophet.
I received Christ as my Savior when I was a small child. I also grew up as a missionary kid (MK) that traveled around with my parents . . . away from our overseas home. I have grown in faith through prayer and believing the Word. But this venture has been amazing in that I have seen God work in ways that have allowed me to see that this idea is something He began to weave into my heart as a child. And I must say that when I see kids walk in the front door and say, “Wow, we get to stay here?” my heart fills with a kind of joy that I can’t express.
Some people don’t understand why this ministry is important or needed or why it means so much to travelling missionaries. To grow and develop, we need like-minded partners with a heart for missions and the well-being of missionary servants.
Our staff and Board of Directors are committed to serving and to good stewardship of the assignment God has given. There are all kinds of ways to partner and help in the ministry. We need what you can do for Shunem's story to continue.
If this little history of the work touches your heart, give us a call or write to us.
Joy Alcock, Ministry Founder
Our team of kind, hardworking, people are passionate about using their God-given talents & abilities to serve God's servants