Friday, December 19, 2008

Former Mercy Residents Unite

Each year, Mercy Ministries in Nashville hosts a Christmas party for former residents in the area. This is always a great opportunity for Mercy girls to reconnect and share updates about what God is doing in their lives.

This year, fifteen former Mercy girls gathered to celebrate the holiday season. Of the girls in attendance, we had girls who were in the program in 1997 all the way through 2008. They enjoyed a meal together, and received stockings full of goodies and gift cards to Target and Starbucks. They spent the rest of the evening in a beautiful outdoor setting around a campfire telling stories, laughing and making s’mores. We received several emails from those who attended saying what a special night it was. Hope you enjoy these pictures!!

















Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Five St. Louis Graduates Find Joy and Freedom

This week at the Mercy Ministries’ home in St. Louis, staff, residents, families, and friends celebrated as five young women graduated the program, ready to live a victorious life in Christ. Here are their stories:

Brittany
Mercy Ministries Graduate
As a child, I taught myself to suppress my feelings and to disconnect from my emotions. It was all after I was abandoned. I felt so unloved. I was also broken by critical comments from someone who was close to me. I was told I was fat and I started believing their lies, which made me feel worthless. I was hurt but I refused to cry because I thought crying was a form of weakness.

I lived a destructive lifestyle and battled an eating disorder, drug and alcohol addictions, suicidal attempts, self-harm, anger, depression and an addiction to pornography. I realized I needed help so I started researching different facilities on the internet. I came across the Mercy Ministries website and I decided to apply to the program because I wanted to know what it was like to live.

During my time at Mercy, God has really done a work in me and has set me free of my addictions. He has softened my heart towards Him and my self-image has been restored. I learned that God isn’t after a religion but a relationship with Him. God has taught me how to love again and my love for life has been restored.

I plan to go back to college at Lee University in Cleveland, TN and earn a degree in Psychology. Once I finish school, I would like to do missions and help with orphanages in Africa.

I would like to tell girls that are considering Mercy Ministries, that it is possible to restore your life and get it back in order. Your life is worth so much more than the issues of this world and this program really works!


Sarah
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I grew up in a very unhealthy environment and was exposed to drugs and alcohol at a very young age. When I started high school, it seemed normal to dive into a similar lifestyle. The drug and alcohol use started out as casual fun but quickly turned into a full blown addiction. Every aspect of my life was consumed by my addictions, and I lost all of my close relationships with my friends and my loved ones.

Eventually I ended up in a secular treatment facility. While I was at this facility, one of my counselors told me about Mercy Ministries and handed me one of Nancy Alcorn’s books. A girl from my counselor’s church had been through the program. That very same afternoon my father came to visit me at the hospital and said his friend told him about a place called Mercy Ministries that counseled girls with similar struggles as mine. I knew this was not a coincidence and decided to apply to the program.

I came to Mercy Ministries broken and struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and sexual promiscuity. While at Mercy, God has set me free from my addictions. I am in no way, shape or form leaving as the same girl that walked in just a few months ago. God has captured my heart with His love and He has taken away my guilt and shame. My innocence has been restored and I am no longer defined by my addictions.

After I graduate from Mercy, I am planning on going back to school, getting plugged into a church and living everyday with a purpose. I have a desire to work with troubled youth and would like to work in the foster care system. I am walking in freedom and now I have a reason to wake up every morning!


Carla
Mercy Ministries Graduate
Growing up, I suffered from verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. For over 12 years, my mother endured a chronic illness, and I was forced to become the caretaker of my family. I struggled with depression, anxiety, and was tormented by suicidal thoughts.

I wanted to live my life. Before I came to Mercy, I was trying to do whatever it took to survive another day. I was consumed with thoughts of suicide, self-harm, and obsessive behaviors. I felt so hopeless, but I desperately wanted help. A counselor at Beltway Park Baptist Church told me about the program and I decided to apply.

While I was in the program, God showed me how to trust others. Now I can let others into my life and form relationships and friendships. He is revealing Himself to me as a loving, heavenly Father and my mind has been retrained and renewed. Most importantly, I learned to choose life and choose Him. My emotions no longer control my life.

After Mercy I plan to go back to Texas to reconnect with my church. I would like to continue to teach and finish my Masters degree in counseling.


Amanda
Mercy Ministries Graduate
Throughout my life, I had a big fear of rejection. In my past, I was sexually abused so I had trust issues. I never wanted to get close to people because I feared they would leave me. I hated myself and detested my life. I felt like I was in a downward spiral. I had no ambition in life and I lost my desire to live.

I knew I could not go on like this, so I decided to seek help. My youth pastor and a really close friend of mine told me about Mercy Ministries. They heard about the program at a church service and I decided to send in an application.

When I came to Mercy, I struggled with self-harm, an eating disorder, sexual promiscuity, addiction to sleeping pills, and lesbianism. I knew I was living a sinful lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to allow God into my life to help me with issues. While I was in the program, I learned how to overcome my life-controlling issues and my life has been completely transformed. God has provided me with love, mercy, and has shown me who He really is. Now I know I can trust Him to be true to His word. I have accepted myself for who I am and He has helped me love others and allow others into my life. I now have hope and a reason to live.

After graduation, I plan on getting a full-time job to start paying off my credit card debt. I want to put aside savings so I can finish my college education.

Mercy is an amazing place. The staff genuinely loves God and the residents. God is saving and transforming lives through this ministry!


Kristin
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I was raised in a Christian home, but I did not know my identity in Christ. My life was controlled by perfectionism and a fear of rejection. During this time in my life, I had panic attacks and I could barely function. I was struggling with an eating disorder and self-harm and I was so miserable that I actually contemplated suicide. I went to a secular treatment facility to receive help but even after six months of care, I was still struggling with these issues. When the treatment did not help, I felt hopeless and I began to realize that God had to be involved in my healing process. I ordered books about the Mercy Ministries program online and then six months later, I found the Mercy Ministries website. At this point I was looking for another place to go for help, so I prayed about it and God opened the doors to Mercy Ministries.

I came to Mercy with low self-worth. When I arrived at the home, I was still struggling with self-harm, eating disorders and I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorders. While I was in the program, God revealed His grace to me and now I am free from my guilt, bondage, and shame. I have learned who I am in Christ and because of Him, I have gained self-confidence.

Prior to my time at Mercy, I was told that I would always suffer from my issues and that I would have to learn to cope with my problems. But since I have been in the program, I have learned how to live a new life of freedom in Christ. He has restored my life and I am finally free from my struggles! Now that I have graduated from Mercy, I am going to go back to school and walk out my freedom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Former Mercy Resident Wins $100,000 worth of Food to Feed the Needy

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma received great news this week thanks to former Mercy Ministries' resident, Rachael Cabrales, and her 4-year-old son, Richie. They were the winners of the Mermaid Jingle Jam jingle contest sponsored by Chicken of the Sea!
Rachael wrote the jingle and her son sang the song for an online contest, "When your tummy is hungry, hungry as can be. What you need is Chicken of the Sea. It has lots of protein, full of vitamin D!" They won first prize with 36% of the votes. As a part of winnings, $100,000 worth of seafood was donated to their local food bank! Food Bank Executive Director, Sara Waggoner, explained the prize couldn't have come at a better time. With the downturn in the economy, the food bank has seen a 40% increase in the number of people asking for food, but donations have dropped by 20%.


Seafood is a rare amenity at the food bank because it tends to be a high-priced item so they are thrilled to receive the amazing gift! They are also excited about the effects of this donation because seafood is very high in protein and will go a long way to helping feed the hungry. For Richie's mom the contest had special meaning because at one point in her life, Rachel was homeless herself. She explained, "I know what it is to be in need and to need help from someone. It feels really, really good to be able to give back in some way. It really does!"

Richie is quite the performer, and we are so proud of these two for their efforts to contribute to those in need! On top of winning the $100,000 worth of seafood for their local food bank, they also won an all-expense paid trip to Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA!

Because of your support, Mercy Ministries able to help so many young girls get their lives back on track so that they can go on and impact their communities just like Rachel.

To watch the news story, click here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mercy Ministries of America Accredited by National Financial Accountability Organization

Mercy Ministries is excited to announce that today we received accreditation from the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA). ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian non-profit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, fund-raising and board governance.

“We are pleased to include in our membership a ministry committed to providing hope and healing to young women seeking freedom from life-controlling problems,” said Dan Busby, acting president of ECFA.

Please click here to read the press release from the ECFA.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Six More Lives Transformed

Jennifer
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I came to Mercy in a broken state. I was fighting a twenty-year battle with an eating disorder. I also struggled with self-harm. I was overwhelmed by depression and suicidal thoughts. I was hopeless. I found myself angry with God for creating me. Every night, I prayed that I would not live to see another day.

During my time at Mercy, God set me free from depression that ran so deep I never imagined living without it. He has restored my joy, my dreams and the purpose that He has for my life. The Lord has taken away the fear that kept me locked inside myself. Now, I desire to live. I am determined to fight a life of freedom. I also want to help others fight for their freedom. I am alive in Christ.

I will be attending Harding University in January. I plan to pursue a major in social work and a minor in missions. God has given me a huge burden for the children in Africa. Therefore, once I finish school, I plan on moving to Africa in order to utilize my degree while walking out my heart’s desire.


Katie
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I did not have a relationship with the Lord and I was at the end of my rope. I needed help. My life was full of destructive behaviors as an attempt to fill a void. When I hit rock bottom I realized that I did not know who I was in Christ. My self-esteem was non-existent, which fed a never ending path of trying to be the ‘prettiest.’ Soon, I found myself struggling with anorexia and then body dysmorphic disorder. I just wanted to die, but I knew that there had to be more to life.

Since being at Mercy, God has performed a total transformation within me. He has filled the void. I finally found the One who defines me. I know who I am in Christ! I have grown to love myself just the way He created me. Comparisons are no longer lies that I allow to overpower me. I can face my fears instead of running from them. The Lord has given me something to smile about! I am no longer defined by my disorders or the opinions of others; I am defined by my Father in Heaven and He tells me I am beautiful!

I am returning home to my family and I am excited about walking out the fun-loving person that God created me to be! I plan on getting involved with my church youth group, as well as finding a job. I hope to attend college in the fall to pursue a career as a veterinarian!


Ashleigh
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I thought I was going to go crazy! My mind was so wrapped up in an unrealistic world driven by fear, rejection and anger. I was desperate! I started doing drugs in an attempt to numb those feelings. I had been sexually abused and abandoned. Therefore, I raised my siblings from a young age while also becoming addicted to weed and ecstasy. Running away seemed to be my only option. I hated everyone including myself. I was confused about what life is really about.

During my stay at Mercy, the Lord has shown me that the pain caused by my own parents does not define me. He has freed me from addictions, shame and guilt. He has traded my insecurity for acceptance and self-worth in Him. The Lord has shown me the true love of a father through His unconditional love. Relationships have been restored and new friendships have been formed. It’s so cool because I have never had a ‘true’ friend. He has given me a new life, but most importantly, He has given me a whole new heart!

As I leave Mercy, I plan on pursuing Master’s Commission and then moving into full-time ministry. I would love to be a full-time youth minister and do evangelistic missions.


Tamara
Mercy Ministries Graduate
Sexual abuse, rejection, shame and a low self-image were devastating my world. I was part of an extremely violent and abusive family. I was left feeling like I was defined by my issues. I was living under depression, severe self-harm, suicidal ideology, bulimia and binging, and no relationship with the Lord.

While at Mercy, the Lord restored my foundation in Him. He has allowed me to walk out a personal relationship with Him that has taught me balance in many areas. He has set me free from depression, suicide, and self-harm. Now, I know the importance of keeping Christ at the center of all my relationships. I have felt His unconditional love and acceptance.

I plan on going back to Michigan and getting involved with my church. I am going to go back to school and find a job as well. My desire is to eventually return to Nashville to finish my degree in education. I would like to be a middle school teacher.


Stephanie
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I did not trust anyone. I wanted to fit in, but I could not please everyone. I was always concerned about what others would say or think about me. I began struggling with an eating disorder and self harm. At the same time, I was dabbling in drugs and promiscuity, addicted to pornography, lying compulsively and rebelling against everyone as a way to gain attention.

God has set me free. He has showed me that He is trustworthy. I know that I do not need to please man, but instead, I can be single-focused on and defined by who I am in Him. I found who I am meant to be.

I plan on going home to finish high school and then go on to graduate from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Marine Biology. I am looking forward to mending relationships with my family.


Megan
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I accepted Jesus into my heart at age three. I grew up in a Christ-centered home that filled me with the Word and the truth about the incredible plans that the Lord had for me. At the early age of four years, I was stricken with fear and anxiety. When I was seven years old, lightening hit our home and burned my bedroom to the ground. That occurrence reinforced my fear and anxiety. Soon after, my mother fell into a major depression and as a means of control, I stepped into the enemy’s trap of anorexia. I believed that anorexia was my ally and that it would claim my life.

At 17 years of age, the Lord reminded me of His promises to me as a child, but I continued to struggle with anorexia throughout high school and college. I went through seven rounds of inpatient treatment within 12 years. An addiction to running left me suffering from osteoporosis and multiple broken bones. I finally obtained a degree in Psychology and English from Asbury College. My heart’s desires for singing, academics and loving others did not dwindle amidst the anxiety, depression and anorexia. Later, I had three suicide attempts within four months, but the Lord spared my life each time. God’s grace and mercy still abound as I finally conceded and sent in my application to Mercy.

Mercy has been a vital step in my healing process. While at Mercy, the Lord took me from a place of resentment to a place of thankfulness for His provision and live-saving works (Psalm 40). He drew me from the pit and placed my feet on the rock. Mercy was a time of letting go of my anger with God. God has restored my joy and my song. He has brought peace to my life and I find rest in Him.

I plan on going back to North Carolina where I will work at Starbucks and substitute teach. I hope to attend Ashbury Theological Seminary in the fall to get my Master’s Degree in Counseling. For now, I am excited to share about what Jesus has done in my life!


Congratulations, Girls!! We are so proud of you and can’t wait to see what God has in store for your futures!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

DELIVER ME


By Amy Lambert as told to Laura Christianson

I sat on my bed, carving slash marks into my leg with a razor blade as I listened to a song called “Suicidal Dreams.” I was 10 years old. “I’m going to make Dad and Mom pay for what they’ve done to me,” I murmured.

My parents had just gotten divorced, and my dad moved to another city. Our family was broken—and so was I.

On the outside, we appeared to be the perfect pastor’s family. But within the privacy of our home, it was like the Twilight Zone. I was constantly walking on eggshells around my short-fused dad, who was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Sometimes I’d smart-mouth him and he wouldn’t react. Other times, he’d fly into a rage for no apparent reason.

And now it had come to this: My parents’ divorce, and my angry, broken heart. I pleaded with God, “You said that if I had faith the size of a mustard seed, you’d move mountains. Please, put my family back together.”

It didn’t happen. Convinced God had forsaken me, I changed my prayer to, “Just kill me.”

To punish my parents for the hurt they’d caused me, I chose the thing I was sure would upset them the most: drugs.

READ FULL STORY from TODAY’S CHRISTIAN magazine, September/October 2008

Nashville Society Helps Celebrate a Merry Mercy Christmas

On Monday, December 8th, 2008, over 100 women attended the Second Annual Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit at the historic Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

Co-Chairs Mrs. Sandy Houston and Ms. Tonya Cumbee, both Mercy Ministries Nashville Board members, hosted the event along with several Mercy Ministries staff. Committee members included Mrs. Tracy Mawae, wife of Titans Team Captain and pro bowl center Kevin Mawae, Mrs. Sharon Ramsey, wife of radio talk show host Dave Ramsey, Ms. Juli Fisher, Mrs. Shelley Breen of Point of Grace, Mrs. Denise Jones of Point of Grace, Mrs. Leigh Cappillino of Point of Grace, Ms. Lynn Morrow, Mrs. Charita Upkins, Mrs. Sylvia Singleton, Mrs. Ashley Cook, Mrs. Brittany Horn, and Mrs. Tobi Frankfather.

Cider and TrufflesBethany Chocolatier Truffles and hot apple cider were served and a pianist played carols as guests bid on silent auction items donated from The Hermitage Hotel, A Moment’s Peace Day Spa, Scott Schrecker Photography, Village Wines, Portraits by Griggs, Deus Virtus Handbags, Woo Cosmetics, and many more. Among the exceptional items in the auction were original paintings from three local artists Jonathan Murrell, Kris Prunitsch and Adam Hall.

Guests were given Mercy Commemorative Christmas Ornaments, as well as gift bags with the following sponsored gifts: gift cards to Swoozie’s, candles from Sweet Aroma Shop, Point of Grace “How You Live” cds, Gigi’s Cupcakes gift certificate, free facial gift certificate from Arbonne, and Nancy Alcorn’s book Echoes of Mercy.

Mercy Ministries



Local Mercy graduates Kathryne Coonce, Monica LaPlante and Ashleigh Stevenson shared their stories with those gathered and a powerful DVD was shown about how Mercy Ministries is transforming lives of young women not only in the Nashville home but all around the world.






Point of Grace



The event ended with Point of Grace singing holiday favorites including, “Tennessee Christmas” and “Not That Far From Bethlehem”. Before singing their hit single “How You Live”, they dedicated the song to Mercy Ministries’ Founder and President Nancy Alcorn, honoring her commitment to seeing young women’s lives transformed and their hopes restored.





“All the staff at Mercy Ministries greatly appreciates the time and effort of all of the incredible women who made this event possible. It was so wonderful to see women in the Nashville community embrace and support the work of Mercy Ministries and our home here. This benefit was a tremendous way to start this season of giving!” –Linda Hood, Executive Director of Mercy Ministries

“I really enjoyed being at the Mercy Ministries benefit at the Hermitage! It was so nice to be able to share my testimony and be able to give back because Mercy gave so much to me. Mercy helped me to develop the most important thing in my life – a relationship with Jesus Christ – without which I would not be who I am or where I am today. I am so thankful to Mercy and Nancy for helping me learn how to live a full and joyful life with Christ at the center and for helping me to place my child with a wonderful family through adoption. Not only was my life restored through this ministry, but many others were blessed with the birth of a little boy! Thank you Nancy for accepting God’s call on your life!” –Kathryne Coonce, Graduate of Mercy Ministries

“The second annual Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit was a wonderful event. It was a special day for Mercy as the ministry’s mission was shared and received by the generous community of Nashville. It was such a blessing to hear the graduates speak of the restoration and healing they received at Mercy during this season of hope and joy.” –Kay Strom, Volunteer of Mercy Ministries

Mercy Ministries sends a special thank you to Ms. Tonya Cumbee and Mrs. Sandy Houston for hosting this wonderful event and to all the committee members, sponsors, and guests for helping to make this a very Merry Mercy Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

NEW! Nancy Alcorn Blog

We are so excited to let you know that Nancy has started her own personal blog. The purpose of the blog is to keep in touch with our supporters and former residents and to share about some of the exciting things that happen at Mercy on a daily basis. She plans to update her blog regularly, and would love to hear from you all!

Here is the link:
http://nancyalcorn.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Karen Wheaton at Mercy!

Karen Wheaton, who travels worldwide in her ministry, came to Mercy Ministries in Nashville and spent the day. It was a great time as she told some things that she has had to overcome in her own life, and she communicated with the girls about the destiny that they have before them as a generation in the earth today.

She also told of a group that she founded 10 years ago in Hamilton, AL called The Ramp. Check it out at www.theramp.org. They have between 1,000 – 2,000 young people visit there every month, and she has invited our girls and staff to make a trip there in the first part of 2009.

It was so great having her here and we wanted to share these pictures from the special time we all had together.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mercy Ministries Fish-Fry Fundraiser

Mercy supporters Elee and Terri Trechel recently hosted a good ole’ Louisiana style Fish-Fry Fundraiser at their home in Monroe, LA. They invited friends and family to the event and shared their heart for Mercy Ministries. Two Mercy graduates, Jessica and Crystal gave their testimonies and shared about how God transformed their lives while they were in the program. Five current Mercy residents from the Monroe home attended the fundraiser and helped host the guests. Hardeman and Susan Cordell, Larry and Peggy Rogers and Drury and Linda Bynum also helped coordinate and host the dinner. Over $8,000 was raised for Mercy Ministries through this fundraiser. We are so grateful for all the wonderful people in Monroe who are so passionate about seeing young women’s lives restored!

If you are interested in hosting your own private fundraiser, download our private fundraiser kit by clicking here:

https://www.mercyministries.org/shared/docs/public/fundraisingkit.pdf

Or contact Whitney Cantrell for more information: (615)-467-0506

St. Louis Graduates Share Their Stories of Hope, Transformation and Life

During the month of November, four girls graduated from the St. Louis home. During their time in the program we have seen first hand how their positive choices and growing faith in Jesus Christ have transformed their lives. Here are their stories:

LauraMercy Ministries Graduate

Before I came to Mercy Ministries, my family situation was very stressful. I was lost and searching for answers. My parents are supporters of Mercy and they told me about the ministry. I decided to apply to the program because I felt like I had no where else to turn.

When I arrived at Mercy, I was struggling with severe depression, self-harm, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, and drug and alcohol addictions. 8 days after I arrived at Mercy, I accepted Jesus into my heart and life. I am amazed at how much my life has changed over these short six months. He has showed me that I am no longer defined by a disorder, but instead I am defined as a child of the King. I am free from the bondage of things from my past. These old things have been replaced with God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Through it all, my family has also become closer than ever.

After Mercy, I am moving back to North Carolina to live with my parents and my brother. I am going to get a job and then in January, I will attend a local university and finish my degree in Psychology. I plan to get my Master’s degree in counseling. Ultimately, my dream is to help young women and maybe come back and work at Mercy Ministries.

TaraMercy Ministries Graduate

I have always been a perfectionist and lived my entire life feeling as though I was not “good enough.” I based my self-worth on my appearance and my grades. When I was in 5th grade, my grandfather passed away, and I felt like there was no one else who believed in me and loved me unconditionally. The chaos of everyday life caused a lot of stress in my family, and I felt like it was my responsibility to keep everything in perfect balance.

While I was trying to fix everyone else’s problems, I developed an eating disorder when I was in 5th grade to cope with my own stress. I turned to starvation to deal with the anxiety of my rigorous class schedule. I purged several times a day; regardless of whether or not I had eaten. By the time I was a junior in high school, my eating disorder became a full-time addiction. The summer after I graduated from high school, I stopped eating and drinking completely. After more than 40 days of total starvation, I ended up in a treatment center.

Over a period of 6 months, I was in a secular treatment six times. My insurance ran out and I had been told by numerous psychiatrists that I wouldn’t live to see my 20th birthday. I planned to let the eating disorder kill me but something inside of me was screaming for help. I was angry with God, but I was willing to give Him a chance as my last resort. My sister had heard about Mercy Ministries at a Point of Grace concert several years ago and told me about the program. I made the decision to apply.

I came to Mercy with a lot of fear and a tiny seed of hope. I had such a low opinion of my value that I wanted to take up as little space as possible, so I would sit on the floor curled up in a ball with my hair in front of my face. I would tell the Mercy staff that I was unlovable but they just continued to tell me that I was loved. That love changed me. I realized that even though I had been through some of the best secular treatment programs out there, Jesus Christ is the only One who heal a broken heart and restore a person to wholeness.

After graduation, I am going to go back to Chicago and live with my family. I want to get a job and volunteer at a home for people with Alzheimer’s disease. I hope to start school at Belmont University next fall, and I would like to major in journalism. No matter what the future holds, I want to be a shining example of God’s mercy to girls that are suffering with the same issues I once had. I want other girls to know that it does not matter what the doctors, therapists, or psychiatrists have told you…I am living proof that there is hope, freedom and life out there. If you can use some help on the journey, swallow all of your doubts and fears and fill out the application to Mercy. The staff members are awesome and the atmosphere is very loving. They are able to reach out to so many hurting girls because they will always point you back to God. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” (II Cor. 3:17.)

Sarah BethMercy Ministries Graduate

I grew up in a Christian home with loving and nurturing parents but from a very young age, I was hardened to their love and to the love of God. For me, striving to be loved and Jesus went hand in hand; this resulted in a lot of legalism.

I became bound by all kinds of fear – fear of Hell, fear of people, and a fear gaining weight. I lost a lot of weight and a trusted doctor suggested that I was anorexic. I began to obsess over food, and my weight, and everything that used to be simple became complicated. I started to despise myself and practically everything related to God. I spent all my time in front of the mirror criticizing my body. I started to exercise all of the time and the more I exercised, the more I was unsatisfied with myself. I desperately wanted God's approval so I would spend hours on my knees begging for God's forgiveness but nothing ever seemed to change on the inside. I desired to be Godly so I followed the scriptures, yet I did everything out of fear and obligation.

When I graduated high school, I decided to stop eating completely. I began to compare myself to the world’s image, specifically to the women in the media. My everyday life became exhausting. If I wasn't exercising then I was crying on the floor unable to get dressed.

I was angry, unhappy, confused and deceived. I wanted to die and was desperate for help. so I decided to send in my application. I arrived at the Mercy home in St. Louis on May 6, 2008. At this point in my life, I was battling depression, an eating disorder, legalism, self hatred, obsessive compulsive behaviors, and lust. I hated who I was and my mind was in total confusion. I was the good Christian girl on the outside, but I was dying on the inside and nobody ever knew my struggles because I was so well put together. Every part of me was filled with rage, guilt, and emptiness.

During my time in the program, I realized that I had built up so many walls against God. Through the unconditional love of the staff and their patience in helping me get to the root of my issues, the walls began to come down. I began to see God as my Father who had been there all along. I saw how He was there even when I was a baby. This released me from the guilt and shame of my past. His love for me reached deep into my soul and took away the pain and emptiness I had been full of.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Former Mercy Resident Gives Back to Her Community

Rachael Cabrales, a former Mercy Ministries resident from 1996, and her four year old son Richie, are impacting their local community in an amazing way. They entered the Mermaid Jingle Jam jingle contest sponsored by Chicken of the Sea. If they win the jingle contest, $100,000 worth of seafood will be donated to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. The local food bank is in need of help and has recently been forced to purchase food due to a shortage of donations. Being a songwriter, Rachael saw the contest as an opportunity to bond with her son and try to give back to local residents in need of food. She wrote a jingle and recorded her son singing the song. They made the home video in their bathroom using the shower curtain as the backdrop. Richie is quite the performer and we are proud of these two for their efforts to contribute to those in need!

Check out this video in which they were featured on their local news channel, click here.

If you would like to vote for Rachael and Richie’s video please visit:

The contest ends on Dec. 9, 2008.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Run For Mercy

The Second Annual Run for Mercy 5k Run and Family Walk was held on Saturday, November 15, 2008 at the site of the new Mercy Ministries home in Lincoln, CA. Over 170 individuals participated in the run to support and raise awareness for the new home scheduled to open early 2009. This beautifully constructed 22,000 square foot home will provide a place for 40 more young women who are in need of God's healing and love. Local Mercy supporter, Bruce Stone said, “I think this is a beautiful home for young women to receive healing and is a beautiful expression of Christ’s love.”

Altogether, the event helped raise over $10,000 towards the funding of the Lincoln home. Individuals, families and church groups from the community came to the event ready and eager to participate. They brought strollers, dogs and bikes and they made their way around the area surrounding the Mercy home site. Mercy Ministries was honored to be sponsored by several local businesses including Rogers Family Company, Lincoln All American Gymnastics, Wells Fargo, and Best You Photos.



Becky Bell, run volunteer and participant, shared the following: “I am amazed at how wonderful this home will be for the girls who come here - it is absolutely gorgeous! We are all looking forward to the day the house is done and the girls are here!"

After the race, the home was open for tours so people could see how the construction is proceeding.

We would like to thank all of the donors and runners who made this Run For Mercy possible.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nancy Alcorn Featured in Good News Magazine

Ministering to the struggles of young women

After working for eight years in juvenile corrections facilities and emergency protective services, Nancy Alcorn saw many girls funneled through the system without any hope of actual change. Many had been raised by drug addicts, prostitutes, or the foster system. Others came from seemingly benign suburban homes.

Determined to halt the cycle of generational addictions and wounds, she opened Mercy Ministries. Today, the ministry has a global presence that reaches young women with addictions, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancies, abuse, and depression.

While Mercy Ministries is an interdenominational enterprise, Nancy’s own faith roots plunge deep within the United Methodist Church: her conversion blossomed from a Lay Witness Mission event. As Mercy Ministries celebrates its 25th anniversary, founder Nancy Alcorn spoke with Elizabeth Glass-Turner about helping young women who are struggling with life-controlling issues.

Good News: How do you view the work of Mercy Ministries?

Nancy Alcorn: We are an interdenominational Christian social service organization placed in the community to help hurting people.

While many treatment programs for girls charge anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 a day, we believe in taking girls in free-of-charge. We recognize that we’re not equipped to help every situation—but we do try to specialize in problematic issues facing young women. If a girl comes to us, we’re going to do everything we can to help her. If she walks away feeling like she didn’t get the help she needed, at least she’s not walking away with a big bill that she’ll spend the rest of her life trying to pay.

When it comes to pregnancy, our heart is to provide a practical way that a young girl who’s in that situation can choose life and receive all the possible choices that she can make—whether that be single parenting, or placing a child up for adoption. We have our own adoption agency for girls who want to choose that option.

READ FULL STORY from Good News Magazine November/December 2008 by Elizabeth Glass-Turner

Mercy Ministries Receives Highest Charity Rating

Mercy Ministries is thrilled to announce that we have received a 4-star rating – the highest rating you can earn - from Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator. Mercy Ministries is committed to stewardship and excellence and thus, we are pleased to have this designation. We want to share a portion of the letter we recently received from Charity Navigator.

“On behalf of the Charity Navigator, I wish to congratulate Mercy Ministries of America on achieving our coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management.

As the nonprofit sector continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, savvy donors are demanding more accountability, transparency and quantifiable results from the charities they choose to support with their hard-earned dollars. In this competitive philanthropic marketplace, Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator, highlights the fine work of efficient charities such as your own, and provides donors with essential information needed to give them greater confidence in the charitable choices they make.

Based on the most recent financial information available, we have calculated a new rating for your organization. We are proud to announce Mercy Ministries of America has earned our 4-star rating for its ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances. Approximately a quarter of the charities we evaluate have received our highest rating, indicating that Mercy Ministries of America executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Mercy Ministries of America from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy if their trust.”

Charity Navigator scores charities on a scale of 0 to 4 stars to help America's philanthropists make intelligent giving decisions and to differentiate truly effective organizations. Four stars means that our organization exceeds industry standards and out performs most charities within our area of influence. This rise in our rating is an exceptional feat, especially given the economic challenges many charities have had to face in the last year.

We are continuing to make improvements and gain efficiencies at Mercy Ministries, and we will only be successful with your continued support in this area. We will not rest on our laurels with this great accomplishment, but work diligently to ensure we maintain this level of excellence as our standard going forward.

View our full rating at:

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4079

Thank you for your continued support of Mercy Ministries.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Five More Graduates Celebrate Freedom and Restoration

Nashville residents and staff came together with the families and friends of four amazing women to celebrate their graduation from the Nashville home. We are excited to share with you their stories:

Lauren

Mercy Ministries GraduateI grew up in a loving home but I was confused with my identity in Christ. When I was five years old, I was sexually abused. Ever since I experienced this abuse, shame and fear controlled my life. During junior high school I ran on the track and cross country team. I wanted to excel in this sport and set very high standards for myself. I could not live up to these standards and thought I was a failure. I developed an eating disorder which lasted seven years.

When I was sixteen years old, I entered into an unstable and emotionally abusive relationship that left me confused and insecure. I fell into a deep pit of depression and it felt like the whole world caved in. I isolated myself and lost touch with the joys of life. I continued to struggle with my haunting past and decided to seek counseling through my church.

I found out about Mercy Ministries through my counselor and a former Mercy graduate. I started the application process, but during this time I started living my life in the fast lane. I tried to fill the voids in my life by partying, drinking, and getting involved in unhealthy relationships. I ended up in an unhealthy sexual relationship and when my boyfriend broke up with me I was crushed. Shortly after, I lost a dear friend and thought, "I can't live with this pain anymore!” I attempted to end my life, but by the grace of God I was not successful. As I lay in the hospital bed, my family stayed by my side and insisted I fight for my life. After a couple of unsuccessful visits to treatment centers, I was tired and burnt out. Mercy called me to tell me they had a place for me at the end of my senior year, and I was finally ready to change my life.

As I walked through the doors of Mercy Ministries, God showed me His love and forgiveness. While in the program, He began to break down the walls of fear, pride and anger. Now I'm walking out my faith and giving God all the glory for my transformation. At the present time, I'm working for Lakewood Church in the book store and attending the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, Texas. I plan to pursue a degree in biblical counseling. I'm hoping that one day I will be on staff with Mercy Ministries here in Houston. I thank God, Lakewood Church and Mercy Ministries for restoring my life.

Jama

Mercy Ministries GraduateWhen I was 15 years old, I was molested. Throughout my life I was abused, raped and manipulated. I developed an eating disorder and became depressed and suicidal. After several attempts to take my own life, I desperately wanted freedom from the pain.

I found out about Mercy Ministries through an old friend. I knew I needed help, but at the same time, I would not admit that I had a problem. I realized that I had a choice- I could either choose to attempt suicide once again or I could apply to Mercy Ministries. I chose Mercy.

While at Mercy, God has given me complete restoration. He has cleansed me from the inside out. Psalm 45:11 says, “The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord.” This verse spoke to my heart and has changed the way I view and carry myself. My passion and dreams for my life have been restored.

After Mercy, I plan to go to the Lost Valley Ranch in Colorado. I want to work there for a while. In the fall of next year, I hope to go to Moody Bible College. I would like to write books and minister to youth and adults.

I want other girls who are struggling to know that there is hope. Our Father can heal any amount of pain. Mercy is a foundation that restores life and brings hope to hurting young women.



Abbey

Mercy Ministries GraduateBefore I came to Mercy, I had been sexually, emotionally and physically abused. This abuse caused me great anguish and confusion. I tried to numb the pain by living a life of self-destructive behavior. I developed an eating disorder and even studied the occult. I became consumed with depression and practiced self-harm. Eventually, I tried to take my own life.

After four failed suicide attempts, I realized I needed help. My parents found out about Mercy Ministries on the Internet and told me about the program. My mom and I attended Mercy’s 25th Anniversary Conference. When I heard the graduates share their testimonies about their experiences at Mercy, I became hopeful that the program could do the same for me. I had nowhere else to go and Mercy seemed like my last resort.

While at Mercy, God gave me hope and a future. I have a new love for Him and His creation because I learned that He first loved me. He showed me that I am His daughter and He is the vindicator of my pain. I have a new perspective on life and He has transformed me. The program was hard at times, but it is completely worth it. Mercy Ministries changed my heart and my life.

After Mercy, I am going home to live with my family. I plan to finish high school and get involved at a local church. Eventually, I would like to go to school and study Psychology.

Tabitha

Mercy Ministries GraduateBefore Mercy, I was depressed, suicidal and had an eating disorder. My issues just went from one extreme to the next. I had refused to go to counseling on my own, but I knew if I didn’t seek help, my life would continue to spiral out of control. I decided to apply to Mercy hoping to find real freedom.

While at Mercy, God has completely captivated my heart. He has given me more joy than I have ever known. He continues to bless my life. My goals and desires have changed for the better. Now I have a positive outlook on life and can see beyond myself.

Now that I have graduated from the program, I plan to attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and study music ministry. Mercy has greatly impacted my life and I give God all the glory, honor and praise for restoring my life.

Hannah

Mercy Ministries GraduateWhen I was 15 years old, I was raped. Then I became involved in an abusive and controlling relationship with an older man. I believed the lies that Satan put in my head, and I was completely broken. I continued to get involved in unhealthy relationships. I became depressed, and I had no desire for life and no joy for anything.

While I have been at Mercy Ministries, God has changed my whole outlook on life. He has restored my joy and my dreams. Now I seek Him every day and have a relationship with the one who saved me from destruction. All of the lies I once believed have been replaced with His truth about me.

Now I plan to move home and live with my parents. In June of 2009, I plan to go back to Kenya, where I grew up, and do missions work. Eventually I would like to attend Capernwray Bible College in New Zealand.

Congratulations, Girls, on completing the program. We are so proud of you and we look forward to seeing what God has in store for your lives!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Benefit Concert – BarlowGirl Partners with Mercy Ministries









On Friday Oct. 24, 2008 BarlowGirl had a concert at Faith Church in St. Louis to benefit Mercy Ministries. Some of you may not know that the three talented young ladies that make up this group are actually sisters.


Mercy residents from the St. Louis home attended the concert, and also got to have a special meet and greet with the band. This was a special time for our girls because of their love for BarlowGirl as a group, but also their appreciation for their support of Mercy Ministries. Mercy resident Kimmy had this to say, “They are so real and on fire for God. I am so excited they came to St. Louis and we had the chance to hear them and also to meet them!”


One of BarlowGirl’s fans shared the following, “I just learned about Mercy Ministries at the concert and I so believe in the need for this ministry. I have had friends that have dealt with some of the problems that the girls at Mercy are faced with--suicidal thoughts, depression, eating disorders, and addictions. When I heard the testimonies of the Mercy graduates whose lives were changed by God through Mercy Ministries, it gave me great hope for the many people who struggle in our world.”


We would like to thank BarlowGirl for their continued love and support for Mercy Ministries. Since they have partnered with us, they have shared their heart for Mercy Ministries at their live concert events and encouraged their fans to get involved and help support the ministry.

Mercy Ministries would also like to thank Pastors David and Nicole Crank of Faith Church in St. Louis for donating the use of their new church facilities. Not only did they provide the venue, but they also supplied the needed concert volunteers from their church congregation. To learn more about Faith Church St. Louis please visit http://www.faithchurchstlouis.com/.


We would also like to thank our corporate sponsors for this event - Live the Dream, S & J Collectibles, and Chick-fil-A.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

California Home Updates and Upcoming Events!


California HomeWe wanted to bring you the latest news on our first West Coast home in Lincoln, CA – the Sacramento area. We are on track to open in early 2009! Construction is nearly complete and we are working to finalize the interior – this includes furnishing 40 bedrooms as well as the other living and common areas. We look forward to opening this home so that we can take in 40 more girls and continue to see more lives restored! For more information, or to make a contribution to help us open this home as soon as possible, please contact Brittany Bell: california@mercyministries.com

California Home
As part of this effort, on Saturday, November 1st, Sunset Christian Church will host the Friends of Mercy Ministries Brunch from 9:30am – 11:00am. Nancy Alcorn will be in attendance to share the heart of Mercy Ministries and several graduates will share their testimonies of transformation through Mercy Ministries. We’d love to see you there!




Tickets are available for $30 or $240 per table of 8

To reserve a spot at the brunch, please contact Brittany Bell:

california@mercyministries.com
636.326.2015

Then on Saturday, November 15th, we will host our 2nd Annual, Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk. The entire community is welcome to participate. It’s always a fun time coming together for these events – please join us! For more information or to register, visit: www.runformercy.org.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Highlights from New Orleans Women’s Conference…


This past weekend, Nancy had the wonderful privilege and opportunity to speak to 1,500 women in New Orleans at a women’s conference called Glorious, hosted by Cathy Duplantis, wife and ministry partner of Jesse Duplantis.

Cathy and Nancy were joined by musical guest, Karen Wheaton. Many lives were impacted during this two-day conference, and there were a large number of women of all ages that made first time commitments to Christ. That in itself is always very exciting!!

When we asked Nancy Alcorn to describe what the highlight of the conference was for her personally, this is what she had to say.

Nancy and Mary, 1991 graduate of Mercy Ministries
“I was so touched when after the service, two of the young girls who were graduates of Mercy Ministries came to spend time with me. Both girls had driven from quite a distance to attend the conference, as they had seen it advertised on television. One girl, whose name is Mary (pictured right), graduated from the Louisiana program in 1991, and today she is in full-time ministry and uses our books to help girls who have issues with cutting, eating disorders, sexual abuse, and addictions. I am so proud of Mary, who has now gone on to help so many young women. This is the first time I had seen Mary since 1991, but I recognized her immediately. That was very special to me.

Nancy with Heather and her mother

Nancy with Heather (pictured left) and her mother, Judy (pictured right)

In addition, another young girl who graduated from our Nashville home in 2000 also came with her mom to be a part of the conference. I remember when Heather (pictured left) first came to Mercy, and she and her family were both so emotional over the fact that she was facing an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager. Through much prayer, Heather made the decision to place her child for adoption. Today, she is working as a dental assistant and is a leader in her church that the youth can look up to. Her mom said that she loves her job, and she prays with all of her patients. I was so moved by being able to be reunited with these two young women.”


Nancy with Glorious conference attendees
Nancy with some conference attendees

Jesse and Cathy Duplantis had a very special and unexpected surprise for Nancy. On the first night of the conference, they presented Nancy with a beautiful piece of crystal art that had been engraved with specific details congratulating Nancy and Mercy Ministries on 25 years of ministry. It was truly a weekend to remember!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Day at the Farm!


Residents sitting on hay This past weekend, Nashville residents had a blast during a day-long trip to Tommy and Philis Pardue’s property for Farm Day. Nashville residents have been participating in Farm Day annually, for the past 8 years. Farm Day is always a special opportunity for the girls to get out and enjoy a refreshing time of recreation. Some of the activities they get to participate in include fishing, target-practice, and pumpkin-carving. One of the most popular activities is when Mercy staff member, Robert, takes the girls for rides through the woods on a four-wheeler. This year, the day ended with a huge bonfire where everyone joined together to make smores and sing songs. Here’s what some of the girls had to say about Farm Day:

two girls with fish

“I had never fished in my life. I’m a Jersey girl and I don’t catch my own fish – it was awesome doing something like this for the first time!” – Joyia

“This was the first time I had ever ridden on a four-wheeler –with Robert driving, it was so much fun and we laughed until we cried. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.” – Andrea

Robert with two residents on four-wheeler“I really enjoyed shooting the discs – it was so much fun, and I was excited and shocked when I actually hit one! The guys teaching us were so amazing and patient.” – Amy

“The bonfire was awesome! The sky was so clear and another resident and I sat by the fire and gazed up at the stars. Then all the other girls started singing and it felt awesome to be in God’s presence outdoors.” – Tamara

Four residents in front of bonfire

We would like to thank Tommy and Philis Pardue for their generosity in sharing their beautiful property with us over the years. We would also like to thank the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency for furnishing the equipment and volunteering their time. This is always a memorable experience for the girls!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Six Graduates Celebrate New Life!


This week we are celebrating the freedom of six young women who just graduated from Mercy Ministries in Nashville and Monroe! These girls have experienced the true freedom and joy that comes from having a relationship with Christ. Here are their incredible stories of transformation:

Nashville Home

Samantha’s Story:

When I was growing up, my house was filled with rage and anger—and a lot of physical abuse. I started engaging in an eating-disorder and self-harm when I was just 11 years old. This continued to get worse throughout the years. Then, when I was 15 years old, my mother left after my parents divorced, and I felt completely abandoned and rejected—I believed that I was unworthy of anyone’s love. At one point, I tried to kill myself by overdosing on pills. While I was in the hospital, I met a girl that introduced me to the party lifestyle. From that point on, I became very promiscuous and heavily involved with drugs and alcohol. I really needed help and had nowhere to turn. Nancy Alcorn came to my church to speak. She told me about Mercy Ministries and encouraged me to apply so I did.

Because I was able to come to Mercy, my life has been completely transformed. I have finally learned what it means to have a true and intimate relationship with Christ. I am now able to rely on Him instead of running to self-harm, drugs and alcohol, or guys. I no longer need those things because I put my complete trust in God—my value lies in Christ alone. I am so excited about my future and what God has for me!

After Mercy, I am going home where I will be very involved with my church. Then, in January 2009, I will be attending the University of Central Oklahoma. I plan on majoring in speech/language pathology so that I can pursue my dream of working with deaf children.

I want other girls to know that Mercy Ministries is an amazing place. Lives are completely transformed here and the staff demonstrates unconditional love. I couldn’t have picked a better place to get help.

Cindy’s Story:

Before I came to Mercy, my life was filled with resentment and hatred. During my childhood, I dealt with a lot of physical abuse. I felt that my family withheld love from me, and when love was offered, it was always conditional. All of these things played into the development of a negative self-image, self-harm, perfectionism, and unhealthy eating habits. I was harboring a lot of unforgiveness in my life and did not know my worth so I tried to kill myself. I knew that I needed to experience the mercy of God. I learned about Mercy Ministries on the internet. I felt that this might be the place for me, so I applied.

Since I have been at Mercy, God has helped me break through the strongholds in my life. He has shown me that my true identity can only be found in Him. I understand that I do not have to let my past affect my future. He has made me new, and I can overcome. God has completely pulled me out of my pit and put me in the arms of His grace.

After Mercy, I am going to finish my education and get very involved with youth groups in my area. I want other people to know that Mercy Ministries is an amazing place. You may arrive broken, but if you allow God to work, you can become a whole person. The staff at Mercy truly exemplifies the love and patience of Jesus Christ.

Monroe Home

Ruby’s Story:

For years, I struggled with an eating-disorder, self-harm, and depression. I always looked to alcohol and drugs to mask the hurt that I carried around inside of me. There was a lot of shame and guilt that caused me to hate myself, so I eventually became suicidal—I was ready to give up on life. Although I desperately wanted a way out, my actions reflected that I desired to live in bondage. I had a hard time believing that I was worth anything or that I could truly experience life. I found Mercy Ministries online. This was my last hope.

Coming to Mercy has shown me how incredibly deceived I have been. I have learned so much about myself and God’s true character. There has been so much that I have received from God since he has revealed Himself to me. He has given me hope and a desire for life! I know that I can be honest and real with Him without being condemned. I am learning to accept and receive the blessings and love that He has to offer. I do not have to live in the bondage of my issues—God has so much more for my life. I no longer look to anyone to define me except Him.

I am looking forward to my life after Mercy! I pan to go home to California and be involved with multimedia at my church. I would also like to do a short-term mission trip to another country. I am going to remain open to God’s leading.

Deanna’s Story:

I struggled with an eating-disorder and self-harm for nearly ten years. After some traumatic experiences with the authority figures in my life, I began to believe that all authority, including God, could not be trusted. I became very legalistic and believed that by doing certain things, God would accept me—or that I would be good enough for Him. When that failed, I began looking for love and acceptance through food, self-harm, alcohol, sexual-sin, and partying. I was trying to fill the void in my heart and take the pain away. I learned about Mercy Ministries online and decided to apply.

When I walked through the doors of Mercy Ministries I felt dead inside. Through the love, grace, and acceptance exhibited through the staff, I started seeing that I actually had a reason to live. God has shown me so much about His character and who I am in Christ. I now realize that I am more than just a number to Him—that He calls me by name. He will never reject me, and there is nothing in this world that can take the place of who He is to me. Because of Him, I have a future and purpose!

After Mercy, I will be going back to Pennsylvania to be with my family. In the spring of 2009, I hope to go back to school so that I can pursue the passion God has given me for music.

Bri’s Story:

I came to a point in my life where I had basically given up on myself. For me, anything that seemed to offer hope was too good to be true. I was very angry and did not want to accept the help of anyone. I learned about Mercy Ministries through a pastor—his daughter graduated from the Nashville home. I realized that this was my last hope, so I went through the application process and was accepted.

When I came through the doors at Mercy, I was very angry. However, after a few months, my life began to completely turn around. God has given me life again! I know that I have a future and that I was not a mistake. I know that there is a purpose for my life, and I no longer need to hide or be ashamed. I understand that forgiveness is a choice, and I have learned how to give everything to God. I can now submit all of my emotions and anger to God. I know that He can help me channel it in a positive way.

I am so excited to return home, where I will continue to explore that joy that I have found in Christ. I will also be attending college and getting involved with modeling again. I am not quite sure where I will be going to school, but I know that the Lord will direct my steps. Someday, I hope to do some traveling.

Heidi’s Story:

Before coming to Mercy, I was bound by an eating-disorder and cutting. This all stemmed from my inability to deal with abuse that occurred in my past. I was very angry and felt completely hopeless. My counselor recommended Mercy Ministries to me, so I applied.

I never thought that I would be where I am today. At Mercy, I have learned to trust God—because I know that He is the only One that can bring healing to my life. He is all that I need and I have learned to find my worth in Him. I know that God loves and accepts me for who I am—His opinion is all that matters. I see God as my Father and for the first time in my life, I have real joy which is not dependent on circumstances.

After leaving Mercy, I am going to get a job and pursue my degree in nursing. Eventually, I would love to go to Africa so that I can be involved with medical missions.

Congratulations - we are so proud of all of you!