January 27, 2002
Greetings, dear Shannon!
I've met a number of former members of the Jim Roberts Group and some other people who have had a lot of contact with the brothers and sisters. I wrote a letter to these people introducing myself to them and asking them if I could send them copies of my letters to give to you if they ever see you. Would you please read the letter I wrote to them? I would love to visit you and keep in touch with you through letters or emails, and I'd like to know what you think of the letter I wrote describing you.
Here's the letter:
Greetings from Washington, DC!
I've heard so many good things about you and hope to meet you someday. Maybe you can come visit me in Washington, DC --- and you can bring brothers and sisters with you if they want to come here or stay at our family farm in Texas.
In the meantime, I would appreciate your help. The Lord is leading me to resume my efforts to establish communication with my precious daughter, Shannon. Sending weekly letters to the JRG houses and to people such as you might help establish a communication link between Shannon and me. Perhaps you know Shannon's story, but I'll share a little of it with you anyway.
Shannon has always been beautiful in a unique "other worldly" way. She struggled with the typical experiences and needs of teenagers in an atypical way; she's never really been "part of the crowd" which, of course, has advantages and disadvantages, especially for adolescents who are so sensitive and deeply desire friendships. In addition, she has had some very positive and very negative experiences that are not totally typical.
On the positive side, Shannon grew up in a wonderful neighborhood and is blessed with a wonderful grandmother, brothers, and other relatives who are Christians, although only her brothers, my cousin, and myself are as zealous as she is about our faith. Shannon and I lived together in a marvelous boarding school in Salzburg, Austria in 1993, 1994, and 1995. Shannon got to travel all over Europe "hippie style", living in caves in Menorca one month and in a dorm at Oxford University the next month. Even when she was only 15 years old, she was more mature than most 50 year olds, so I trusted her totally and gave her complete freedom to explore the world, confident that she would enjoy rich experiences and stay totally out of trouble. She was always a pure spirit: no drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. She became a believer in 1995, and soon afterwards both I and her twin brothers became born-again believers. Nothing in our lives comes above our love and devotion to Christ, and we live only to worship and serve Him and His people.
On the negative side, Shannon's father became involved in both adultery and in a political/judicial reform movement that left him with a bipolar mental disorder that surfaced in 1995 and us bankrupt in 1996. Even more traumatic though is the fact that Shannon was brutally raped and beaten in September of 1996. The rapist was captured, convicted, and sentenced to a 160-year prison term, but only God can punish him and heal the terrible injury this man caused Shannon to suffer.
Shannon was always not only a precious daughter but also a kindred spirit and my most special friend. I never held on tightly to her because I simply assumed we would go through life together, always friends, side-by-side, loving, and helping one another.
I was shocked and grieved when she isolated herself from her family, friends, and the ministries in which she had been involved. She was on the way to being a second Mother Teresa, totally dedicated to serving God through serving His lost people in this world. For example, she planned to go to medical school and dedicate her life to helping people become physically healthy by helping them become spiritually, mentally, socially, and emotionally healthy. Her love and witness would change thousands of lives.
Rather than follow through with this vision, she dropped out of the University of Colorado at Boulder at the beginning of May 1998, a couple of days before the final exams of her freshman year. I had just visited her in March and was so delighted to see that she was active in the Vineyard Church: helping with the 4-year old Sunday School class, ministering at Lamb's Lunch to the homeless every Saturday, etc. I was delighted with her summer plans: she had arranged to be an intern at the Vineyard Church Prodigal Project Mission House in Haight Ashbury and planned to help establish such a mission house in Boulder during her sophomore year. She had also arranged to be an intern on an organic farm near Boulder. Instead of serving lost souls through selfless dedication to Christ-centered ministries, she seems to have simply dropped out of the world and has isolated herself from such challenges. She was blessed in so many ways, and God could use her to be a blessing to so many others. I don't understand.
Why has she rejected her family? We are certainly sinful and imperfect creatures, but we love God and have devoted our lives to serving and worshipping Him through our local church and our interactions with others in all that we are and all that we do. Yes, we have sinned. God has forgiven us, but perhaps Shannon has not forgiven us. Oh, I miss this beautiful soul, and I long to love and support her in whatever ways I can.
Please help me in whatever ways you can. I don't know if you will ever see her of if anyone will give her the letters, so please feel free to read the letters I send and share them with her verbally if you ever meet her. I simply want her to get our message of love and support.
Thank you!!! God bless you!!!
114 3rd St NE
Washington DC 20002-7314
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