Shannel has a moving message
Everyone was shocked by what they heard, including her mother.
“I used to be very shy as a child and there was a part of me that thought ‘I can’t sing’, so I kept quiet,” said Mrs Burrows, the wife of Pastor Eldridge Burrows of West Pembroke Pentecostal Assembly.
“Then, one day the youth choir director at my family church in Huntsville, Alabama asked me to perform and I felt led to say yes.
“It was the first time my mom heard my voice. She stood up in the service and said, ‘You could sing this whole time?’ She was completely surprised. That confirmation really boosted my confidence and support started coming from other family members and friends my age. It was just overwhelming.”
Mrs Burrows performed on Dr Medina Pullings Live, before a studio audience of thousands, on November 15. Her husband also spoke on the show, which was broadcast over The Word Network.
“I was very nervous,” she said.
“Before the performance my hands were shaking. But you know what? When you feel built for a certain moment and called to do something, it’s like, for that second, it doesn’t matter who is watching or what people think about you, you just do it.”
As soon as she opened her mouth, the fear completely left.
For weeks afterward people approached Mr and Mrs Burrows in the street, praising them for how they represented Bermuda. She hopes to release her first single, At His Feet, this month, and a full-length Christian album in March.
“There were some great things we experienced in 2017, but I want to do even more in 2018,” Mrs Burrows said.
“I would like to see my album recognised and for God to get all the glory.”
The title track was inspired by one of her favourite stories in the Bible — when Mary Magdalene brought an alabaster jar of perfume and used it to wash Jesus’s feet.
“We are told Mary was a sinner, but what I find so inspiring about this story is it shows that God isn’t someone who rejects us for living a certain lifestyle,” she said.
“This woman came to her limit as far as life’s problems were concerned, with relationships and other things. She was tired of running to those idols and had enough sense to know that if she could only bring herself down to the feet of Jesus He could completely change her life.”
Mrs Burrows wrote the single last April not intending for it to become more than that.
Then a month later, she felt a wave of inspiration. She woke up in the middle of the night and started mapping out songs on her tape recorder. Three hours later her debut album was practically written.
“That was when I realised what God was doing — that he was preparing me for something bigger,” she said.
“When I first wrote that song, At His Feet, I thought it didn’t sound like other songs you typically hear on the radio, but God told me to be confident and sing it exactly as He had given it to me.
“Funny enough, that’s actually one of the songs Dr Medina Pullings gravitated towards.”
Mr and Mrs Burrows met Dr Pullings last year after West Pembroke Pentecostal Assembly brought her to Bermuda to speak at a church conference.
“We felt a connection to her and just knew she needed to come here to bring a word to the island,” she said. “We had no idea she would invite us to be on her show. My husband shared a message with viewers and I sang two of my songs from the album.”
Mrs Burrows grew up in the church. When she was about 12, her family discovered a new church just outside Huntsville, Alabama. For the first time, she was exposed to young people passionate about their relationship with God.
“The church at the time was experiencing a revival, so a lot of young people were coming there, getting saved, being filled with the Holy Ghost and accepting calls to preach the gospel,” she said.
“I had never really been taught about the power of the Holy Spirit before, but I wanted to know what they were experiencing — like how to run to God’s presence in times of trouble. A lot of my close friends, unfortunately, they ran to other things — I remember one actually got pregnant — but I chose to run to God for comfort and guidance and that greatly shaped my life.”
She attended Valor Christian College, where she studied evangelism and advanced pastoral studies. While there, she met her husband.
Today they both lead services at West Pembroke Pentecostal Assembly; Mrs Burrows occasionally sings.
Her prayer is that her music will help others, especially those in a tough place, and guide them back to what’s really important — their walk with God.
“I feel blessed to be in a position to touch other people’s lives,” she said.
“That’s my heart’s cry. That other people will be moved by my messages and my music, not so much entertained.
“I always tell people I’m not a performer. When I get up and grab ahold of a microphone and start singing or preaching, my hope is that others will be ministered to and their lives will be for ever changed.”
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