My Early Years
Named Shannon Lynn Richmond, I was born on November 3, 1985, in Amherst, Ohio. Even though I was born into a Southern Baptist family, I was not born into a household that practiced Christianity or went to church. However, when I was a young girl, my grandmother brought my family to church on several occasions. I remember not liking Sunday school very much. So, I begged my grandmother to let me be in the congregation because I loved listening to the pastor preach. I also loved singing and being surrounded by all the people.
At six years old, my grandmother had me baptized in a Southern Baptist church. I still remember the day I was baptized wearing a white gown too big in size for me because I was so small. I was a bit scared because I didn’t fully understand what was happening. But my grandmother told me that I was doing this to be saved, and Jesus will forever be by my side. Although I didn’t fully understand exactly who Jesus is, I remember feeling excited and as if I knew Him already.
Saved by Grace
At age 13, I got saved. This time, it is the most incredible and emotional memory I have. By this time, my grandmother had passed away. I had not been to church for quite some time. My parents had moved us from a city atmosphere to a country atmosphere. Where we had lived was really corrupted with drugs and crime.
After we moved to the country, a girl I befriended invited me to come to her United Methodist Church and the youth group meetings. I was so excited to be back in a church and part of something new and exciting within a church.
In my first year at that church, we took a trip to a place called Ichthus. It was a Christian gathering for people from all around the world. We came for 3 to 4 days and listened to motivational speakers, pastor’s sermons, and contemporary Christian artists. They lifted us all through music and devotionals. My experience there led me to the Holy Spirit. I had always felt the Lord, but it was different now. I had recommitted my faith and was old enough to grasp even deeper into faith. This experience led me to feel fearless and complete.
When I was nearing the end of high school, I had wanted to attend Ursuline College. However, given my family’s financial situation, I got discouraged from applying. Instead, I attended a vocational school the last two years of my high school education and received a certificate and diploma for law enforcement. A few years after finishing high school, I went back to the same vocational school for adult career education. I acquired a certificate in medical assisting.
My Ministry Journey
Since 13, I had wanted to be a devotional and motivational Christian leader and speaker. The thought of becoming a pastor had also been on my mind. God was calling me to do great things for Him. But at the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. So, I unintentionally pushed the idea away. Looking back on getting into nursing and law enforcement, I wanted to help people and be inspirational. However, God wanted me to do that differently.
Now at the age of 35, I am married to a wonderful man named Jose. We have three boys: Russell, Johnny, and Charlie. We also have a dog named Hammy. I want to be educated and empowered for the ministry. I want to grow even further in my faith with what God has planned for me. My goal is to get started as a devotional and motivational speaker and change today’s society and the world on how Christians and their leaders are perceived. Most of the time people don’t understand what something truly means and furthermore how to truly listen to what someone is saying. I believe people need to be educated on how to determine truth from misleading untruths. My growth and learning with faith are never-ending.
Finding CLI’s Biblical Study Opportunity
I am ecstatic to have found the Christian Leaders Institute (CLI). Before finding CLI’s wonderful biblical study opportunity, I had no idea how I would afford to do what I know the Lord had been calling me to do. I have a few inspirational leaders who have empowered me to begin this path. I do not know where this path will lead me, but that is solely up to God. Wherever He sends me and whichever mentor He sends my way, I know that I will come out of my journey more than ready to dive straight into the next chapter of my story. I am so excited to begin my study journey and see where it leads! Please pray for my dreams and for my ministry goals to come alive!