Everyone has a Story, here is “Ours”
In the year 2010, my wife and I were Power Hour Pastors, for ages 6 – 11. Our sister and brother-in-law were Youth Pastors at the same church, and they asked us to go to Phoenix, Arizona and attend a Pastor’s School with Tommy Barnett.
Our family has a small business, so I didn’t think it was a good time to be away, however my parents (who were also my boss) disagreed with me, and said that they believed Shannon and I should go to the conference. Now during this time going back and forth, my wife had been praying, “God if you want us to go you will have someone pay our way”. Mind you she was praying this not because we needed help, but because she was not comfortable with flying. Not knowing her prayer, my mom reached out to me again about going and I again told her no. She says to me if you guys will go your dad and I will pay your way, so I called my wife and said to her, “you won’t believe this, but my parents just offered to pay our way”. My wife says, “you’re not going to believe this, but I’ve been praying if God wants us to go that He’ll have someone pay our way”. So, I in return said to my wife, “well, I guess we will be going to Phoenix!”
On a day of one of the conference, in the morning session, Pastor Tommy says to everyone that God put on his heart to open a Dream Center, and he goes on to describe all that the Dream Center in Los Angeles does. He also goes on to say, “I know many of you think you’re here for a particular reason, however at lunch today knowing you can go wherever you want to eat, go outside, grab a sandwich and bottled water, and go up as high as you can on Prayer Mountain. Now Prayer Mountain is this big mountain that’s directly behind Phoenix First Assembly. So, that’s just what we did, now during that time of prayer, God told us to go back and open a Dream Center, and we did, the “East Texas Dream Center”.
We started in a little red house, and then God moved us into the Old Montgomery Hospital. One city block, 56,000 square feet, three stories building, over 110 rooms, and 110 bathrooms built in 1938. We’ve been here almost four years (2017). We’ve been blessed to give out over 2 million pounds of food, feed homeless daily, give away thousands of toys to needy kids, clothe those without clothing including socks and shoes, and more important see God change hundreds
of lives of women and their children. Praise God.
This is a small part of our story we wanted to share with you. The East Texas Dream Center takes right at $25,000 monthly to be able to minister to all these different ministries and outreaches. We are asking you to seek God and ask Him how you can help. We cannot do it without people like you. We receive no grants or government funds. Thank you again for your prayers and support.
We would love to share the rest of our story with you and your church, if you would like us to come and share the rest of the story, please contact Shawn Nelson by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A young pregnant mother with a 1 year old son.
Homeless, abused, mother, foster kid living on the streets of downtown, since she was 18 years old. No where to go, no family, no decent friends, sleeping under a bridge, with a few clothes & an infant child, hungry during the days of her dark life. All she knew was to move from place to place, beg for food, not knowing when her next ...meal would be, for her child or her. Beat down by the words of the men that walked the streets, to control, use these women for their benefit, to support their bad habits. She says not all of them were bad but some just living the same way they had been brought up as a child. As she cry's for help from others, just to give her a chance to better her life & her children life, no one hears her cry's, just a hand out every once in awhile. See, Lacy wants to change, Lacy wants a better life for her children & herself. She wants to live a different life, she needs a savior to help her & her children be transformed & know a different way of living. As Lacy cried out, please help my child, my unborn child & my self, I need & want the help but no one will give me a chance, I know I am messed up, stinky, dirty, no clothes, no diapers, no parenting skills, I am not perfect, we need help, we need Jesus & a parenting class, as the first thing's Lacy cried out for when she was standing in the DC lobby with her son running & jumping over couches, tables, knocking down plants, etc. As I sat in the office with my daughter, I said with tears in my eyes, she really wants help & go get her son, give him some colors & books & let his mom finish filling out her paper work.
See, we all want to help people that look normal, act normal, that are clean, smell good, perfect performance, right words, right actions, obey the rules, etc. but see Jesus didn't look for those kinds of people ( which I don't believe those kinds of people exist in this world, just my opinion) Jesus looked for the sinners, the dirty, unclean, the sick, the smelly, not perfect, bad attitude, complaining, unbelievers, Etc, I could go on. So, we took this unclean, sinner pregnant mother with a child in & loved her through all her short comings. And her uncontrollable child, and just loved them with Jesus's love, discipline, structure, The Word of God & let God change her, transform her into the new creation, the beautiful young lady that she is becoming.
See, 2 days ago, she had a beautiful hair cut that made her feel beautiful, as she cried joyful tears with me, yesterday she came to me & said my son is acting soooooo much better, he even sits in a chair at lunch & eats his food without trying to run everywhere. It's the little things sometimes that others take for granted, because they have been taught this. See, her child hasn't been taught to sit at a table & eat, now he has with some love & discipline. God is doing a new thing in me & my child & I get to go the doctor & have a healthy baby girl, all while God is changing me & working on me. She also said God has a HUGE plan for me, I just know it in my heart. I said yes He does... As I told her about the homeless praise report, of the homeless people we feed daily, 2 Salvations, 2 men put on a waiting list for housing, 2 men off drugs, as she sat at the lunch table & cried for them, because she remembers a month ago, she lived the same way, homeless with no hope...
My heart is filled with so much Joy and I give God all the praise, as He continues to work on these ladies & children & He is giving us the tools to give them, for them to use, to live a different life. It's not about money, having everything we want, it's about making a difference in other people's life's. Make a difference in others people's
life's one step at a time...
Lacy now believes she is a beautiful person, with a new out look at life, she is someone, she is a person that is loved, valued, is needed & wanted & that she has purpose now to be a blessing to others in need. And what else is so beautiful is how thankful she is, always saying "thank you" for everything...
Give others HOPE.... Blessings to all
A Testimony from a disciple at the East Texas Dream Center:
The Dream Center is one of the biggest blessings to anyone who wants to change their life.. I have learned a lot. I have received Jesus as my savior, He is the center of my life now. I am off drugs, drug free for the first time in my life. I have learned I'm here on earth for something greater & without God as the center of my life, I was just walking around in existence. I have learned to give back, that I can make a difference in someone else's life. If it wasn't for the Dream Center being here & God, I would probably be back to my old life, trying to survive out on the streets, dealing drugs, doing drugs, because that is all I ever knew was the street life. I wasn't taught any different way to live. The Dream Center has giving me hope, a new life in Christ, a place that is safe & I can bring my new baby into the world with a new, clean, Godly life to show her the right way to live life. The support that I get here is phenomenal . The encouragement, to never give up. They also teach me obedience, structure, a schedule, & most of all love. The kind of love that I have never had. I would be still living in the dark with no windows without God in my life teaching me how to be a light to shine for others. The Dream Center is more then a blessing, its another chance, it helps people & their children to have a another chance to be somebody, a successful somebody. They teach us to Dream again, a Dream that most of us thought we couldn't or wouldn't ever happen but with God & the word of God , we can Dream again. I Thank God everyday for the people that have made the Dream Center & everything that it is because they are the ones that see something in us, that there is hope, not to give up on people, to keep moving forward & better our lives with another chance by the grace of God. God Bless
Please welcome new baby Esperanza "Hope", she is the newest member at the DC. She & mom are doing awesome...
Hope- 11/1/14 6lbs 13ozs
Congrats to Brittany...She is beautiful...
Love what God is doing at the ETDC...
A testimony from a disciple at the ETDC.
My name is Erica, I have two children. We live at the East Texas Dream Center. I want to give a little bit of my ...testimony. I am six months clean from using the needle. God took every desire I had away. I know longer do any type of drugs and I even quit smoking as well. God is changing me from the inside and out. I was so tired of living a life of drugs and heart being broken, I had giving up on life, I wanted to die, I had no desire to live anymore. I felt I was in Hell, the pain that I was feeling and I asked God to take it all away from me. At this time, I was homeless and on meth really bad. God lead me to the East Texas Dream Center so He could change my life and save me and show me the light, for His glory. I know now God loves me and was there for me when I had thought no one else cared for me. God took me out of a broken place and put me with His people at the East Texas Dream Center and I am so thankful and honored, He has turned my life completely around, my children are well, and we are on a path of righteousness and new beginnings. I am so excited to see what God is going to do next in my life. He is healing me from the broken, abusive lifestyle, I know He can save others as well and show them the light too!!! God Bless & thank you, East Texas Dream Center...
Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 9:57 pm
April Sound Ladies Association donates to Dream Center By Kimberly Sutton Houston Community Newspapers
Members of the April Sound Ladies Association donated $300 and paper and hygiene products to the East Texas Dream Center in Conroe during Wednesday’s monthly luncheon at April Sound Country Club.
“I get excited about toilet paper and diapers,” East Texas Dream Center Director Shannon Nelson said. “Anything for our girls is a blessing.”
The women donated paper towels, toilet paper, diapers and other hygiene products to benefit the women and children the ETDC ministers to each day.
ASLA President Sandy Preddy said members just want to help the Dream Center in any way possible. The association chooses a charity to give to each month and plans on supporting the Dream Center in the future.
“We believe in what they’re doing and the good they are trying to do for the community,” Preddy said.
ASLA Food Bank Coordinator Diane Ganson introduced Nelson to the women.
“All these donations will go with her today,” Ganson said. “I haven’t seen many people get this excited about toilet paper.”
Nelson told the group what the mission is of the East Texas Dream Center, helping others get back on their feet, right now focusing on women and children.
“God put it on our heart to buy a hospital built in 1938,” Nelson said. “There are no places for women to go right now. We have 16 women and six children, three women are pregnant and one is expecting any day now.”
Nelson told the group she takes in battered, addicted or homeless women, those who have no other place to go, and they teach classes in Bible, cooking, parenting and money management. The Dream Center has had two graduates from the program and both women now serve as residential advisers.
“It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “My husband and I bought the hospital. We don’t have a lot of money.”
Nelson and her husband own a pool business.
The couple is asking 500 individuals to give $25 a month to help with operational expenses.
Recently, the city of Conroe issued the Dream Center an occupancy certificate after the Nelsons finished a long list of repairs and upgrades. Many volunteers have assisted them with electrical and plumbing work, painting, decorating and donations of clothing, food and furniture.
“If you’d like to volunteer, we would love to have you,” Nelson said.
She already has had some volunteers adopt and decorate a room for the girls; and if others want to, the Dream Center will make a plaque for the door and name the room after the group.
“We want to get these generational curses broken off of these women so that their children will not grow up in an environment of drugs, alcohol and abuse,” she said. “Right now, we have three generations in there. We want to help this family break the cycle.”
To donate and learn more about the Dream Center, go to www.easttexasdreamcenter.org.
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 11:56 pm
It’s official: East Texas Dream Center receives occupancy certificate By Kimberly Sutton Houston Community Newspapers
It won’t be long before women and children in need of shelter, love and food will be living in the former Montgomery County Hospital on First Street in Conroe.
Shawn and Shannon Nelson, members of The Ark Church in Conroe and owners of the East Texas Dream Center, were awarded an Occupancy Certificate from the City of Conroe Thursday and closed on the purchase of the 57,000-square-foot building, known as the former Montgomery County Hospital, Friday.
Shawn Nelson attributes the help of many local individuals and businesses to achieving this milestone.
According to Shawn Nelson, local businesses including Gerald Cooper, an electrician, Joe Simmons with Moore Supply, Ed Murphy of Murphy Plumbing, Clyde Turlainen with Easco Air Conditioning, Glen Barnett with Noble Tile, Ray Mann of Natures Outlook, Dave Nelson of Nelson Pools and numerous volunteers from Riverstone, Grace Crossing and Fellowship of The Woodlands churches contributed materials and labor.
“Through many delays and frustrations, we remained confident that God would provide the right people, in His timing, to make the purchase possible,” Shannon Nelson said. “That answer to prayer came in a whirlwind of activity last week when the owner, Bill Mitchell, a developer, approached a local pilot and real estate agent, Gary Bensema, to help bring financing to the table.”
Bensema then went to a friend, local businessman Chuck Rod, and asked for help.
“I knew this could be structured into a good business deal, for a good cause, but Chuck only saw the good cause,” Bensema said. “He insisted on structuring a loan that would not inhibit the Dream Center’s ability to expand their services.”
With the Rod family funding the loan, the deal was sealed by Buzzy Darnell of Startex Title in Spring, whose team waived some buyer costs and obtained a title commitment, within a single business day, to meet the funding deadline, according to Shannon Nelson.
“Mitchell, from first involvement with the Dream Center, had helped greatly, but more was needed,” Bensema said. “The final purchase price reflects a $200,000 reduction from the original price.”
To accomplish this, Mitchell enlisted the aid of the prior owner, former Conroe resident David Thornberry, who agreed to a $65,000 reduction to what was owed him, according to Nelson.
“Mitchell also provided a zero interest loan to fund the down payment,” she said.
The City of Conroe’s Community Development Assistant Director Nancy Mikeska said she is amazed by the Nelson’s commitment to serving the homeless in Conroe.
“No one will know the true value a safe and sanitary place can bring to a person, unless you have walked in those shoes, but if one life is changed for the good, then all of their hard work will be worth every ounce of effort,” Mikeska said.
The Dream Center still needs contributions and is planning a fundraising campaign to faithfully fulfill that obligation, Nelson said.
“We are thrilled. Years of seeing miracles, as faith and obedience are rewarded, has led us to expect God to meet needs in amazing ways,” Nelson said. “The Occupancy Certificate and the purchase of the property are huge milestones, but there are still many ways in which people, with a heart for human services, can help,” she said.
The Dream Center will host a golf tournament May 18 for donations.
Contact the Dream Center at www.easttexasdreamcenter.org.
“We need your prayer support, for the Dream Center, but also, for blessings on all the businesses and individuals who are, now, forever, a part of the Dream,” Nelson said.
Great News this Morning!
Huge praise report!
It’s been 173 days from when we started working on this old building we now refer to as the ETDC campus in Conroe. This remarkable chapter of up and downs, wanting to quit, worrying over various projects, crying happy tears, mad tears and tears of frustration has been one of the toughest but most rewarding things I have ever done in my life.
Witnessing the Hand of God in all of this has been awe-inspiring and we give all the Glory to God for His mighty works! After a great deal of prayer, more prayer, hard work and even more prayer, we are so very excited to announce that we RECEIVED A PERMIT TO OCCUPY THE EAST TEXAS DREAM CENTER BUILDING!
As we prepare to move forward with what God has in store, we first want to take time out to give Him all the Glory, Honor and Praise for this building and the lives that will be changed here. It is with great pleasure we invite you to come celebrate with us! EVERYONE IS INVITED TO ATTEND OUR GRAND OPENING RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY ON JUNE 22, 2013 @ 1:00 PM, 301 S. FIRST STREET, CONROE, TX.
THANK YOU to all the volunteers who worked endless hours on the building, THANK YOU for all of your prayers, we felt them, THANK YOU for donations, and mostly a BIG THANK YOU TO GOD FOR ANSWERING PRAYERS AND ALOWING US TO BLESS AND HELP OTHERS!!!
May God Bless you keep you always! Love to all.
18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
Everyone that walks through the halls of the new Dream Center building can sense Gods presence and feel the amazing plans He has for it. A mighty work is being done here and the desire to be a part of it is irresistible. God is restoring this old building the same as He restores our lives!
At first we looked around, overwhelmed by the task ahead and wondering if God knew what He was doing when He assigned this responsibility. Where do we start, what do we do first, the list of needs is a long one and more than once negative input and opinions made us question whether or not we could really remodel an old 3 story building with 110 bedrooms! With determination and an “all in” charge, we began the daunting task of cleaning and painting the first floor and like so many testimonies about God, once we started He showed up in an amazing way!
Volunteers started bringing an assortment of donations from cooked meals, coffee pots, dishes and flowers to clothes, dressers, shelves a TV, couches, tools, floor tile, and plumbing material. With each passing week more people and organizations offer to share their knowledge and gifts. Several groups said they’ve been praying for God to use the old hospital to help those in need. A Spanish ministry offered to help with repairs and put up ceiling grid and tiles. They also expressed a desire to use some of the rooms for a Bible Institute. Abraham, a very talented contractor laid tile in the lobby and café areas. Members from Fellowship of the Woodlands Church expressed a desire to feed the hungry and homeless on Saturdays and on Thanksgiving volunteers came with decorations and heart to serve!
On December 22nd, the East Texas Dream Center hosted their first Christmas Lunch feeding over 300 people and giving away more than 600 toys. TOGETHER WE WERE THE HANDS AND FEET OF JESUS AND WE MADE A DIFFERENCE! Thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make the event successful, you are a blessing! SPECIAL THANKS to the 5 Fire Stations in Conroe and the Kroger on W. Davis as well as the one on Loop 336W for collecting toys and to Fellowship of The Woodlands, River Stone and Grace Crossing churches for cooking and providing lunch!
There’s no doubt God is doing a new thing here and though much work remains, much has already been accomplished. This mission is bigger than any one person, but nothing is too big for our God! We are blessed to be part of the East Texas Dream Center and I can’t wait to see what accomplishments God has in store for 2013!