Thursday, June 26, 2008

Five Graduates Celebrate Freedom

This month Mercy Ministries celebrated the graduation of five girls from the Nashville home. Each of these young women has walked a long, hard road, but now they are experiencing true freedom. We want to share their stories with you:

Alesha

“For the past seven years, I have dealt with bulimia and a very distorted image of myself. I hid my problems and imperfections the best I could, and I used bulimia to cope with the stresses of growing up and dealing with change. I felt totally trapped in this pit that I had dug for myself. I was tired of lying to everyone I loved and telling them I was okay when everything inside of me was shattered. I hated the life I was living, and I knew it was time for me to really do something-- to really change. That is when I decided to come to Mercy.

While at Mercy, God reached into my life and rearranged everything. He showed me that trusting Him and relying on Him (and not on my own abilities) for change was the only real thing I could do. I am totally free, and I know my life will never be the same. I have gone from being afraid of life and insecure about “me,” to jumping into life head first and taking leaps of faith. I know now without a doubt that I am loved and cared for.

After Mercy, I plan to attend college in the fall. I also want to do something for the youth in my city, like start a hub for Christians where they can express themselves with art and whatever it is that the youth will be into years from now. I am living by faith, and I am so excited about the adventure God has waiting for me!”

Alicia

“I was at the end of my rope with a severe eating disorder. I had already been to two other well-known eating disorder facilities and was told that this is just something I would have to deal with the rest of my life. I was already in debt from the past treatment programs and had lost all hope for my future. I decided to look one last time for an affordable treatment center, and I found Mercy Ministries. I applied, and my prayers were answered.

Since I’ve been at Mercy, I have become a Christian and have gained a personal relationship with God. I now know that God is a good and merciful God and not One that is all about rules and regulations. I have overcome my eating disorder and a life full of deception. I now know my true identity is in Christ and not in the world.

After Mercy, I plan to go back home for a month or two. Then, I am going to work with for The Fuller Foundation, in Americus, GA with Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity.

Andrea

“I grew up in a Christian home and have always been passionate about Jesus with the desire to grow closer to Him. I went to a Christian Leadership Training School soon after I graduated from high school, but the program was so focused on doing good deeds for God that I got busy and forgot about focusing on my personal relationship with Christ. I got burnt out, got hurt by Christians that I knew, and started hanging out with the wrong people.

I fell into a deep depression and even attempted to end my life multiple times. My boyfriend of two years was a hardcore partier. I was spending all my time with him, and then I found out I was pregnant. My life was so out of control and deep down I knew that Jesus was the only one who could help me, but I also knew I needed help getting my life back. I found out about Mercy through a social worker who had a friend that was personally changed at Mercy. I prayed about it, and the next day I saw Nancy Alcorn on TV talking about the program. I knew right then that God was confirming to me that Mercy was the right place for me.

God says in His Word that He will refine us like silver and test us like gold. He did that for me. While at Mercy, He helped me deal with my pain by taking me through the fire to complete surrender and obedience to Him. He brought all of my impurities to the surface and made me pure again. God freed me from my depression, softened my heart again, restored my purity and gave me a hope for my future.

After Mercy, I’m going to place my baby for adoption and go back home to Texas to live with my parents. I will continue my job as a beauty consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics and save up money so that I can travel all over the world and get my generation excited about following Jesus. I want to show them that it is possible to live for Christ.”

Crystal

“I lived a very destructive lifestyle and was not able to function properly. I had been sexually abused by my father at a very young age, and I struggled with anorexia and bulimia for ten years. Because of this, I was also very depressed and struggled with thoughts of suicide. I had also started cutting as a coping mechanism to attempt to deal with life. Hospital visits became a regular thing for me. My insurance benefits ran out and the hospital told me that even if they could allow me a couple more visits, it wouldn’t do any good. I was pretty much a hopeless case and would struggle with these issues for the rest of my life. I found out about Mercy through Remuda Ranch and The Moore Center. Mercy was my last option and my last hope that I could even be remotely okay with life.

While at Mercy, God has completely transformed my whole being. He has shown me that He is my Father, and He is nothing like my earthly father. He will never leave me nor forsake me. God has shown me that I don’t have to live my life being ruled by a scale or the size of clothes I wear. I can walk in complete freedom and cast all of my cares on Him. My joy and hope have been restored, and I am excited to return home and actually enjoy life for the first time.

After Mercy, I’m going to be working at a summer camp as an assistant to the nurse. Then, I plan to go to nursing school and pursue a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, and I eventually a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I hope to be able to share my testimony with others so I can be a light in the darkness. I want to let the world know that it is possible to live a happy life. They don’t have to have an eating disorder, they can be free from depression, and they don’t need to harm their bodies in any way. There is a God who cares about them, who loves them and wants to be a part of their lives!

Kala

“I grew up in a loving home, but it wasn’t a Christian atmosphere. My parents separated when I was two, which later left me feeling unwanted by my father. All through school, I was picked on, which led to self-hate. I tried to kill myself when I was 14 and was told that I was lucky to be alive. At the age of 14, I decided to go live with my biological father and his family that I did not even know. After living there for a while, I was raped which led to more self-hate. I returned home to live with my mom, and it was then that my pastor’s wife told me about Mercy. I applied and was accepted into the program. However, after about seven weeks, I decided to leave Mercy, which was the worst mistake I ever made.

When I returned home, I got into an abusive relationship with a guy. About a year into it, I discovered self-harm as a way to punish myself for everything I had done wrong. I developed an eating disorder soon after, along with taking drugs and drinking alcohol. After getting married and having two children together, I decided I had to leave, if not for me then for my children. I started another relationship and found out I was pregnant again. I knew then that my life needed to change quickly. I applied for Mercy again and was accepted.

While at Mercy this time, I determined to cooperate with the program and surrender to the process. I have learned who I am in Christ and that I do not need anyone but God to make me whole. I have learned the power of forgiveness, which was a heavy burden lifted from me. I feel beautiful, confident, and I am so grateful to be alive. God has restored my body from all the damage I have done, and He is restoring my relationship with my family.

After Mercy, I plan to go back to school. I know God has big plans for me and my little ones. I am going to start a new life with my children and be the mother I learned to be while I was at Mercy. I can’t thank Nancy Alcorn and the staff enough for letting God use them to help girls like me.”

Congratulations Girls! We are so very proud of you!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mercy Ministries Teams Up with King's Kadets

King’s Kadets, a long-time supporter of Mercy Ministries, has recently released God’s Alphabet Soup, a Christian CD/DVD set for children ages 0-7. This tool introduces children to Godly principles, while also educating children by teaching them their ABC’s. By learning how to apply the principles of God’s Word at a young age and laying a solid foundation, a lot of the problems that occur later in the teenage years can be prevented.

King’s Kadets is very close to Mercy Ministries’ heart as they are brining forth positive Christian resources for young kids. Part of what has motivated them to produce this project is the devastation of the lives of so many young girls that have walked through Mercy Ministries’ doors. Not only does King’s Kadets have a heart to help the younger generation so they don’t face these problems, they also have a heart for the girls at Mercy Ministries and are very generous monthly partners with us. We are working together to find ways in which we can reach people before they actually have a need to come to Mercy Ministries.

You can order your copies today by going to the King’s Kadets website at www.kingskadets.com.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mercy Ministries Partners With Fervent Records’ Rock Trio Barlow Girl


For Immediate Release (Nashville, TN) June 23, 2008– Mercy Ministries is excited to announce that they will be partnering and going on tour this fall with Fervent Records’ sister rock trio Barlow Girl. As a partner, Barlow Girl will share about Mercy Ministries at their live concert events, encouraging those in attendance to get involved and help support young women at Mercy who face life-controlling issues.

Each of the members of Barlow Girl has a heart that beats for the young people of this generation struggling with issues such as eating disorders, depression, etc. The group is committed to ministering an encouraging message to their audience. “We have such a heart for the broken and are honored to come alongside Mercy Ministries’ work in transforming the lives of young women from the inside out,” says Barlow Girl.

Barlow Girl is an all-girl Christian rock band made up of three sisters: Rebecca, Alyssa and Lauren Barlow. Their latest album, How Can We Be Silent, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Christian chart and #40 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums. For more information on Barlow Girl, visit www.barlowgirl.com.

Since 1983, Mercy Ministries has provided life-changing services to young women who suffer from various debilitating conditions including drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, depression, physical and sexual abuse, self-harm and unplanned pregnancies. The residential program, which is free of charge, offers individualized programs, counseling, nutrition education, fitness instruction, life-skills training and educational opportunities to a diverse population of young women from various socio-economic backgrounds. It is Mercy Ministries’ goal to have each young woman discover purpose in her life and bring value to her community. Mercy Ministries is a global organization with locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Peru. For more information about Mercy Ministries, visit www.mercyministries.com.

For follow-up information or for interview requests, please contact:
Jaime Dugan
(615) 831-6987
Email Contact

Grateful Parents of a Mercy Graduate Give Back

Mercy Graduate, Autumn, and her mother, wanted to do something special to say “Thank you” to Mercy Ministries for bringing hope to their family in the midst of a desperate situation. After four years of watching Autumn struggle with a severe eating disorder, hospitalizations, and almost loosing her life several times, they found Mercy. Here is a letter we received from Autumn’s mom, sharing about what they did to give back.

“Since my husband has been unemployed for 10 months out of the past 16 months, we do not have the resources to send a gift to Mercy. We prayed about this, and the Lord sent us the idea of having a Mercy Sale. We would go to people’s garage sales and ask if they would like to donate something to us for our sale for Mercy. This opened numerous doors of opportunity for us to tell people about Mercy. Others gave us full boxes of items and even car loads of stuff to sell. Soon our garage was overflowing. (My husband thought he would never be able to park his car in our garage again!)

We had many people praying for us. The three days of the sale were supposed to be in the 60’s and sunny. Instead, it was rainy and cold, but that did not stop the Lord from pouring out a special blessing.
We set out a container and said that everything was for sale just for a donation to Mercy. We had extra copies of the Mercy Magazine to give to those who came. And…we gave out M&M’s to everyone who came so that they would remember to pray for Mercy Ministries. The people came…and came…and came for three days!
God sent so many wonderful people to the sale! We had put up signs all over town that said “Mercy Sale”, and people came just to see what the “Mercy Sale” was. We met so many kind people who were so excited to hear about Mercy. Some people didn’t buy anything, but just dropped money in the jar! Others started crying and wanted to know all about Mercy because they knew a family member or friend was struggling from an eating disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction. We started a list of prayer requests from people who asked us to pray for them and their loved ones. It was truly an exciting, overwhelming, and blessed time!
We even had a couple come who saw the “Mercy Sale” sign while traveling through our town and said they just had to stop. We found out that this man is the lead singer in the Calvary Men’s Quartet, a group based in Michigan. After hearing about Mercy, they wanted to know if we could come and present the work of Mercy at a service at their church, as well as in other area churches, and they would take an offering for Mercy.
You will find enclosed a check from the proceeds from the Mercy Sale. With God working through you and through our daughter, He has graciously restored her and we rejoice as the healing, for her and our family, continues. Thank you!”

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mercy Babies Graduate High School!

Mercy Ministries just celebrated our 25th Anniversary in April. Not only is your support helping the girls who come through our program, it is impacting the next generation of leaders!
We are excited to celebrate the high school graduations of two Mercy babies! These two special graduates - Jack and Cherie - were born to young women who came to Mercy Ministries for help over 18 years ago. At a desperate time in their lives, these brave mothers chose to reach out for help to give their unborn babies a chance at life. Today, we celebrate their lives, their accomplishments, and their bright and hopeful futures!!
Jack is graduating from Oak Mountain Academy in Carrollton, GA, and Cherie is graduating from Shekinah Radiance Academy Abundant Life in La Marque, TX.
Congratulations Cherie and Jack!!! We can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!
Jack

Jack

Cherie

Cherie

Thursday, June 12, 2008

UK Pastor Visits St. Louis Home

Paul Scanlon, Senior Pastor of Abundant Life Church located in Bradford, England, recently visited the Mercy Ministries home in St. Louis. It was extremely special to the staff and residents in St. Louis to have Pastor Scanlon visit as he is also the Chairman of the Board for Mercy Ministries UK, and is very involved with the Mercy home in that area.

Pastor Scanlon was incredibly excited to be able to visit the home and spend some time with the residents and staff. During his message, Pastor Scanlon encouraged the girls not to become self-absorbed with their problems, but to begin to think about how God wants to use their healing to help others. “Every sorrow is a seed that can be used to help someone else,” he shared, “It is easy for people to be trapped by the guilt and shame of wrong choices, but God is not interested in where you’ve been, He’s interested in where you’re going.”

Mercy Ministries Founder Nancy Alcorn had this to say about Paul Scanlon’s visit to the St. Louis home: “Paul Scanlon is without a doubt one of the world’s greatest speakers. He travels around the world and is highly sought after for his wisdom in leadership and ministry. It is not uncommon for him to speak to 25,000 people; so to have him come and spend quality time with our residents and staff was a very significant event for us.”

Thank you, Pastor Scanlon, for taking the time to visit the St. Louis home and pour into the lives of our residents and staff!

For more information about Paul Scanlon and Abundant Life Church, and to find out how to order his books and teaching materials, visit www.alm.org.uk.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Graduate Finds True Joy

This week at the Mercy Ministries’ home in St. Louis, the staff, residents, and guests celebrated as one young woman learned about the joy that comes from a relationship with Christ. Here is her story:

St. Louis

Kristen

For 16 years I struggled with an eating disorder. I was raised in an unstable home and did not understand God’s love for me. I became depressed, promiscuous and isolated. I lived life my way until I hit the bottom and found about Mercy Ministries through an eating disorder clinic.

At Mercy, God has completely redefined Himself to me and in the process, redefined me. I’ve come to understand that my poor choices did not make me a bad person. I have learned that there is nothing I can do to make God love me any more and nothing I can do to make Him love me any less!

I plan to stay in St. Louis after graduation and go back to school to study fitness and nutrition. I would like to teach others about healthy living. I will also get connected with my local church and change the world!

Congratulations Kristen! We are so proud of you!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Another Life Saved Because of your Support!


Mercy Ministries is celebrating the birth of a healthy baby boy to MkKenzi, one of our Nashville residents. Born on Friday, June 6, baby Judah weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 19 inches long. We thank God for the life of this precious one! MkKenzi is going home to begin her new life with the full support of her family. Your support is making it possible for MkKenzi and Judah to have a future full of hope, promise, and potential.
Nancy Alcorn with MkKenzi and Judah

Nancy Alcorn with MkKenzi and Judah

MkKenzi and Judah

MkKenzi and Judah

MkKenzi, Judah and proud grandma

MkKenzi, Judah and proud grandma

MkKenzi with Mercy Ministries' registered nurse, Christy

MkKenzi with Mercy Ministries' registered nurse, Christy

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Celebrate Mercy 25 Years and Beyond

Society Life Magazine, Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries Article, June 2008For over a quarter of a century, Mercy Ministries has provided troubled girls a safe place to stay, blanketing them with Christian love, guidance and mercy. On April 17, Mercy Ministries hosted a weekend of events to celebrate 25 years of transformed lives. The festivities began on Thursday evening with a Gala held in the middle of LP Field (home of the Tennessee Titans). The Masters of Ceremonies were Kevin Mawae from the Tennessee Titans, and Shelley Breen from the contemporary music group, Point of Grace. Special guests included Christian music artist, CeCe Winans, supermodel, Niki Taylor and her husband, NASCAR driver Burney Lamar. Mercy founder, Nancy Alcorn shared the future vision of Mercy and graduates shared their own stories of transformation. Over 200 former Mercy residents were also in attendance. On Friday night, hundreds of Mercy girls joined 3,000 others at the Celebrate Mercy Concert at the Belmont University Curb Center. On Saturday morning, the men gathered for a breakfast at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel and the women gathered for a day-long conference to hear notable speakers from around the globe. It was a powerful conference that led to over 200 people making new commitments to Jesus Christ. What a great way to mark Mercy Ministries 25 years of changed lives from around the globe! Nancy Alcorn, founder of Mercy Ministries, shares more about this vibrant, life-changing organization.

READ FULL STORY from Society Life Magazine by Laura Kasick, published: JUNE 2008