When most couples are settling in to the comforts of familiarity to lead their children through the teen years, Scott and Sharon Stringfellow prayed for guidance and received a message from God they hadn’t expected: pack up and move. The move took them not only to a new part of town, but also a new place of ministry — with students at the Cypress Campus of Houston’s First.
“The mortgage was paid off on our home and one day Scott said, ‘God told me it’s time to move,’” said Sharon. “I said, ‘What?’ and then we decided to see what God had in store.”
The Stringfellows have three children: Jordan, who finished Texas A&M last year and has flown the nest, and two at home — a daughter, Ryann, 14, and son, Dale, 10. After moving, the first priority was finding a place to worship. It just so happened that a church met in the middle school Ryann was attending at the time, Smith Middle School.
“We were surprised when Campus Pastor Jason Swiggart walked up and called us by name on our second visit,” said Scott. “He makes it a point to get to know the people who visit.” Ryann took a few weeks to warm up to the idea of a new youth group, but when Josh Ganjavi, the Cypress Campus Minister to Students, easily called her by name, “She was in!” said Scott.
When one girl’s spot was available for Rush Week, a mission trip/camp experience for students in the HUB Student Ministry from all campuses, Ryann took it. It proved to be a defining time in her life. During that week, a talk with Josh and Pastor Jason helped Ryann nail down her relationship with Christ after a period of troubling doubt.
“After Ryann’s experience there, there was no doubt in Dale’s mind that he would be going next year as soon as he graduated to the student ministry,” said Sharon. “I like being a member at a smaller church that’s linked with a larger church. Meeting kids from The Loop has made a huge impact on Ryann. They welcomed her with open arms.”
With Ryann in the student ministry and Dale on the brink of entering the youth group next year, the Stringfellows answered the call when Pastor Jason suggested they become a host home of the middle school community group. “We wanted to create a space for teenagers in our home,” said Scott. “We wanted to be able to develop relationships with kids and their parents.”
Though unexpected and a bit risky, the move has been an answer to prayer for the Stringfellow family. “The Houston’s First family took us in and shared themselves,” said Scott. “We’re at home!”