MSM director has come full circle

Cheryl Genandt and Barb Shannon meet every morning to do business and pray for the women at Main Street Ministries in Hillsboro. Genandt is the new director there.

Main Street Ministries (MSM) Director Cheryl Genandt is very familiar with the ministry since she was the first mother to go through the program 33 years ago.

“I was the very first sojourner at Main Street. I had moved to Hillsboro after a tough divorce with two small children, nine months and four years old, and just through a unique set of circumstances got acquainted with Barb [Shannon]. At the time, they had been praying about this ministry and this building, and they decided to jump into it. When they moved in, they asked if me and my boys would like to move in with them. So we actually lived with them and became part of the family. It was pretty intense but amazing,” said Genandt.

Main Street Ministries is located in Hillsboro and their mission is to provide physical, emotional and spiritual resources in a supportive environment to single mothers and their kids. According to their website, they are a safe place for women and children, a place to practice honesty, forgiveness and responsibility, a place where women are respected, a place where God hears prayers and gives direction for the future.

It was started by Shannon and her then-husband Glen 33 years ago. Shannon left for a long period of time, but she came back about four years ago and now serves as Site Manager.

“I’m here for sure every night from five till eight in the morning so Cheryl can leave. The sojourners know I am here if they need anything or any crisis comes up or anything, then they call me. I usually call her and she’s involved if there’s a crisis or something, but just trying to give each other breaks. But I am doing this all with Cheryl,” said Shannon.

Genandt credits the program with being a changing point in her life.
“Not that I didn’t go down some wrong roads following, but it kind of built a foundation in me that I was always able to return to,” said Genandt.

She lived with Shannon’s family for a year before moving on to get married and have three more children.

“I moved away and did other things, ended up divorced again and finished raising my kids by myself. It was quite a journey,” said Genandt.

She stayed in touch with Shannon over the years. It was Shannon who told her about the director position being available.

“I was not interested, but finally I decided to apply, thinking I wouldn’t get it. I prayed that the Lord would do what he needed to do. He did amazing things to get me here—just opened doors that only he could open and made things happen, a place to live, so many things—using people and circumstances to open the door for me to come. And so I came, interviewed a few times, and they offered me the position. So here I am,” said Genandt.

She has been here for a little over two months and has enjoyed being back in the place that helped her out so much so many years ago.

“There’s a lot of working pieces to this ministry which is cool. I thrive on challenge. I love to tackle things head-on, and so it’s been good. This board is phenomenal,” said Genandt. “To have all of them here operating in their gifts and being so all in with the ministry, with the ladies that are here, it’s just awesome to see. I couldn’t do it without them.”

She also credits Shannon with her success as the director.

“She’s so integral. It has been amazing how we can work together. We meet every day, every morning, every evening, and we go over what happens during the day and pray about what’s next. Her wisdom and her input is invaluable to me. And I just see it as God orchestrating this full circle, someone who held my feet to the fire back in the day, and now I get to walk alongside her,” said Genandt.

Shannon agrees.

“We have a very good partnership. She’s grown tremendously, she loves the Lord with a passion and the ladies love her. She’s easy to fall in love with. She’s going to be really good for this program,” said Shannon.

Benandt credits the Hillsboro community for the success of Main Street Ministries.

“When I moved here the community as a whole was so service-minded and so willing to reach a hand out and reach into people’s lives and help them. They are still like that. MSM is a product of that. When somebody steps into your circle, you need all the people reaching into your circle and helping you, and that’s community. When somebody steps into your circle, it changes your life. And that’s what Barb’s family did to me. And what I hope that we can do here is step into these ladies’ lives, into their circles with the community continuing in their reaching in which is priceless. That’s just so much bigger than me or Main Street Ministries. It’s this whole community. It’s an honor to be a part of it,” said Genandt.


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