Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Mercy Makeover

On Monday, July 28th, three young women from the Mercy Ministries Nashville home were invited to A Moment’s Peace Salon and Day Spa to receive complimentary makeovers including haircuts, color, and makeup. Nashville Lifestyles, a local society publication, arranged the makeovers in order to highlight the work of Mercy Ministries in their upcoming September magazine.
Haley, Audrey and Cindy couldn’t believe their eyes after stylists Kristy Osborne, Jessica Bayne, Amber Wood, and Janell Cantrell gave them the makeover of their dreams. Each girl had her hair and makeup done. Then they modeled back-to-school clothes, supplied by Hemline, for a professional photo shoot. The girls loved their new looks and enjoyed their day of pampering and fun.
When the girls walked out the door four hours later, they were amazed at the transformation that had taken place! Audrey said, “The day was so special, and to me it wasn’t just about being dolled up, but it was about caring people who loved us and shared their time and talent to bless us. That was amazing to me and touched me deeply.”
Mercy Ministries would like to thank A Moment’s Peace Managers, Danielle LaFaye and Danielle Lotito. We would also like to thank the makeup artist and stylists, Kristy Osborne, Jessica Bayne, Amber Wood, and Janell Cantrell for providing their services free of charge to these three young women. Also, special thanks to Amy Gray of Gray PR and Nashville Lifestyles Assistant Editor Stephanie Stewart for making this event a reality!
To view additional photos, click here.
For more information about Nashville Lifestyles, A Moment’s Peace Salon and Day Spa or Hemline please visit their websites:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another Graduation Celebration!!

This week, four girls graduated from the Nashville program. Here are their incredible stories of freedom and transformation.
Hallel’s Story

I was raised in a Christian home by two wonderful parents, who were also pastors. I started to question my faith when members of our church hurt me and my family. These people claimed to be Christians, yet they lived ungodly lifestyles. I was sexually abused by someone in the church, and soon, Christianity had become nothing more than religious words and empty rituals to me. I chose to walk away from the Lord. I began to struggle with an eating disorder, self harm, emotionally abusive relationships, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse. Then I faced another devastating blow. I had a miscarriage. I was deeply saddened and angry. I was in desperate need of a God who would relate to me personally and pursue me. I learned about Mercy Ministries through a friend who had gone to Mercy about 8 years ago. I decided to seek help and apply to the program.

When I arrived at Mercy, I struggled with issues from my past and my relationship with my family. I desired a lifestyle of passion and purity that stems from a real relationship with the Father God. Over the past 6 months, I have developed a personal relationship with God. He has swept me off my feet and shown me what true Christianity is. The Lord has healed the wound left behind when I lost my daughter. He has answered every question in my heart and given me back the joy of being a mother – even if my child is not present with me. This gift is priceless and proves that all things are possible with God.

After graduation, I am moving to Murfreesboro, TN. God has revealed His plans for my life. I will attend Kingdom Living Ministries Church and work with their youth group. I plan to attend MTSU and pursue a degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. Eventually, I want to work towards a Master’s degree in Counseling. God has called me to the ministry, and I can’t wait to be able to help others find their freedom in Christ. My main goal in life is to become a wife, mother, worship leader, and women’s pastor.

If other girls are considering Mercy, I want them to know that it is not an easy solution to their problems. But it is a true solution to any problem – and any real solution to a problem is never easy. If you are looking for something to ease your pain, look elsewhere; but if you are looking for a place to show you how to overcome your pain, you have arrived. True freedom is priceless. I have searched high and low, at the bottom of every kind of bottle, and in all the wrong places. Mercy has been the only place that has been able to point me clearly to the only One who not only offers, but who authored true freedom.

Meghyn’s Story

Growing up, I struggled with a ton of false responsibility. My father was absent from my life and I tried to fill that void by taking on a parental role. I put pressure on myself to live up to my own unrealistic expectations. When I was 10 years old, I became depressed and I turned to anorexia. That led to a deeper depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. At age 11, I checked into my first treatment center. I continued to go in and out of different facilities for years. Nothing seemed to work and I lost all hope for my future. Before finding out about Mercy, I reached rock bottom and started abusing drugs. Luckily my counselor told me about Mercy Ministries. I knew Mercy was my last hope for freedom.

Since I have been at Mercy, God has set me free from my eating disorder and drug addiction. I have a whole new perspective on life and have no desire to harm myself. I have learned how to trust God and how to love myself for who He has created me to be. God has completely transformed me from the inside out. Now I believe in myself and look forward to a bright future.
After Mercy, I plan to go home and spend my summer with my family and baby brother. I am looking forward to living life as a normal teenage girl. I am going to go back to high school in the fall. After high school, I plan on attending a university.

I want others to know that Mercy has transformed my life and can help any girl struggling with life-controlling issues. At Mercy, I learned to keep fighting problems when they arise and never surrender. Ultimately, my past is just a part of my testimony and now there is so much good to come out of my life. Thank you so much Mercy!

MkKenzi’s Story

I grew up in a Christian household, but I was afraid of God. My religion was based on fear, and I didn’t know that it was even possible to have a personal relationship with God. I have always been very independent and have tried to set my own rules. As a result, I started smoking marijuana, which led to other drugs. Soon my life became consumed with my addiction. I moved out of my house and looked for a way to support my habit. I became a stripper and continued to abuse drugs. I stopped paying my rent, stopped taking care of my dog, and stopped caring for myself. I found myself in an abusive relationship and became depressed. Then I found out I was pregnant. I knew I had to change my lifestyle. If things stayed the same, I would end up dead or loose my unborn baby. I heard about Mercy Ministries through a former graduate, Emily.

While at Mercy, I have come to realize God’s unwavering love for me despite my actions. For the first time in years, I could breathe again. God has revealed His grace to me and has forgiven my sins. He has restored my life and filled it with joy and laughter.

After Mercy I plan on devoting my life to my son, Judah. I am so excited to be a mom. Mercy saved my little boy. I also plan to attend college this fall to pursue my dream and become a public speaker.

Congratulations girls – we are so proud of you!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Day at Busch Stadium


Last weekend, the residents and staff at the Mercy Ministries home in St. Louis enjoyed a day at the ballpark to cheer on the St. Louis Cardinals. Thanks to a special gift from Albert and Deidre Pujols, the girls were able to watch the game in the owner’s suite and were treated to dinner and dessert.

Albert Pujols, star first baseman for the Cardinals, and his wife Deidre, are long time supporters of Mercy Ministries. Albert is widely regarded as one of the better players in the game today and credits his success in baseball to his Savior. He said, “People ask me if I believe how quickly my career has taken off. I just tell them that Jesus Christ is my strength. God has blessed me and I will continue to do my best for him. That is more important than anything I could ever do in baseball.” Last year, Deidre Pujols visited the St. Louis Mercy Ministries home and shared her heart to help young women understand modesty and purity.

One resident described the baseball game as one of the highlights of her Mercy experience. She said, “It was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will never forget! We were treated like royalty. I felt so special. It was a fun way to relax and enjoy myself!”

To top it all of, the girls cheered the Cardinals on to a 4-3 win over the San Diego Padres. Mercy Ministries would like to thank Albert and Deidre Pujols for your awesome support! Go Cardinals!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mercy Ministries Celebrates Another Life Saved!

Baby Abigail was born at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, 2008 to one of our Nashville residents, Andrea.

Andrea was adopted into a wonderful Christian family when she was a baby. A few months ago, she came to Mercy Ministries for help with an unplanned pregnancy. She knew adoption was the right choice for her and wanted the same positive outcome for her daughter. Andrea shared, “Through lots of prayer and divine connections God led me to the perfect family for Abigail. He has given me more than I could have ever dreamed of throughout my pregnancy.”

Mercy Ministries would like to thank our faithful supporters for saving another precious life. Because of your support, lives are being saved and restored each and every day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Celebrating the Birth of Twins – A Double Blessing!!

We just wanted to let our supporters know that a set of twins was born to one of our Mercy residents this past Saturday evening. Thank you for your support that is literally saving lives.

Our theme for the immediate future is a season of doubling because of all the girls that are on our waiting list. So in this season of doubling, we are rejoicing for the double blessing of these 2 beautiful babies.

Your support is saving and changing lives every day, and we thank God for you!!

To help in this season of doubling, visit www.doublemercy.com.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Day at the Lake!

Last weekend, the Nashville Mercy residents were treated to a weekend of fun and relaxation at Center Hill Lake. The lake trip has become a summer tradition for Nashville residents for the past 6 years, hosted by Jim and Marla Husky each year.

The girls started their weekend with a night of games and a delicious home cooked dinner, followed by a swim in the pool. They also played games – some shot pool, some played cards, and some played board games. Megan, one of the residents, said, “This weekend was a great time for fellowship, relaxation, and good food. The home was beautiful and rustic. I slept in a giant bunk bed. The view was incredible!”

On Saturday afternoon, the girls took turns going out on the boat. They went tubing and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. Stephanie, a current resident, said her favorite part of the weekend was tubing: “It was quite the adventure and it was a nice time to enjoy the outdoors and get out of the house. I had lots of fun!” The girls enjoyed amazing meals all weekend long. They even helped prepare home made ice cream.

On Sunday morning, the girls had devotions and a time of worship before heading back to the Nashville home. The weekend was a perfect opportunity to give the girls a chance to relax their minds and bodies. Mercy Ministries has truly been blessed to have the Husky’s open their home and their hearts to the girls. The girls would especially like to thank the family and say that they really appreciate their hospitality and generosity!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

UK Musician and Worship Leader Visits the Nashville Home

Mercy Ministries' girls and staff were excited to welcome Lara Martin to the Nashville home on Thursday. Lara is a singer, songwriter, and worship leader at Abundant Life Church located in Bradford, England, and she also serves on the Board of Directors for Mercy Ministries UK.

Lara met Nancy Alcorn and first heard about Mercy Ministries when Nancy spoke in the UK in October of 1999. Not long after that, Lara and the women’s director from Abundant Life Church visited the Nashville home and fell in love with the work of Mercy Ministries. They were interested in learning more about the ministry in hopes of helping bring Mercy Ministries to the United Kingdom – which has now become a reality as we have a home open in the Bradford area and plans for expansion in the UK well underway.
Lara was astonished to see the growth that has taken place at Mercy Ministries over the last 9 years as well as the continued excellence. She loved the atmosphere and exclaimed, “I feel the presence of God as soon as I walk in the doors. You can’t deny it. It is very powerful.”

Six St. Louis Graduates Share Their Life Transforming Stories

This month Mercy Ministries celebrated the graduation of five girls from the St. Louis home. Here are their stories of transformation and hope:

Bridgett’s Story

When I was 12 years old my father passed away. My family life was very chaotic and I struggled with my loss. I turned to bulimia to cope with my pain. I struggled with this eating disorder for 13 years. When I couldn’t overcome the eating disorder on my own, I began to experiment with drugs and alcohol… somehow, I thought they were a solution to my problem. I became addicted to meth and alcohol. Unfortunately I could not fix my problems on my own. I knew I needed help. I searched for places I could go to get help. After calling several facilities, I found Mercy.

When I arrived at Mercy Ministries, I didn’t have a relationship with God. My future was bleak. I had always tried to resolve my problems on my own. But while I was at Mercy, God transformed my life. For the first time, I accepted Christ into my heart and developed a personal relationship with Him. He has shown me that I am not alone and He will help me get through my struggles. When I am faced with a problem, I have learned to look to Him for guidance. God has revealed His grace to me and has forgiven my sins. Now I am capable of forgiving myself and looking forward to my future.

After Mercy, I will stay at home and take care of my two children. I am going back to school to become a Respiratory Therapist. My future is bright and I will continue to build my relationship with God.


Sarah’s Story

“When I was 22 years old my mother was killed in a motorcycle accident. I never allowed myself to grieve over my loss. I became very depressed and isolated and had a major fear of death. In an effort to fill the void, I was also very promiscuous. I became pregnant and put my son up for adoption. I was left feeling empty inside. I knew it was the right decision to give my son up, but I felt extreme loss and I felt like a failure. A family friend introduced me to Mercy Ministries.
Since I have been at Mercy, I have found an abundance of love and acceptance. I have given up control and in doing so, God has been faithful to intervene and take control. Joy has been restored in my life, and I am no longer afraid of dying because I know that when that day comes, I will be with my Creator in Heaven. My identity has been found in Christ, and I no longer try to be what everyone else wants me to be but what God has called me to be.

After Mercy I am going to live with my dad in Colorado Springs. I plan on finishing my degree in exercise science and dietetics. I am looking forward to seeing my son and his family. I want to share my Mercy experience with them. God is restoring my relationship with my dad and sister. This was only possible after I got right with Him first. My priorities are finally straight and I plan to love and follow Christ for the rest of my life!”
Autumn’s Story
“Growing up, I struggled with the fact that I was a people pleaser. I could not say “no” to others. I tried to fill the void in my life with food, shopping and many other things. I spent my life looking for love in all the wrong places. I developed an eating disorder at age 17. I learned about Mercy Ministries when I was looking for a Bible on CD online. I read some of the testimonies on the Mercy website and decided to fill out the application.
When I arrived at Mercy Ministries, I had a lack of vision for my future. I was emotionally unstable and I tried to fill my emptiness with unhealthy relationships and food. I depended on boyfriends for love. I was trapped in a lie thinking my previous sins would not be forgiven.
While at Mercy, God has shown me that I can make good and healthy choices in my life. I can choose to have a healthy lifestyle, and I can choose to say no.
Now I understand that Jesus died for all of my sins. I know the Father’s love, and I know He is standing beside me during all of my heartbreaking moments.
I know that a man will not solve all of my problems. Before Mercy, I was under the assumption that the only way I would be happy was if a man is telling me I was beautiful. Now I know that my Father thinks I am beautiful on the inside first, but also on the outside. I can hear God’s voice now, and I know He is not upset with me. Mercy has taught me to grow up and take responsibility of my life, my body and my future.
I plan to go home to Michigan to live with my mom. I will be working part-time, getting involved in my church, looking for schools in my area and seeking God’s guidance.

I would like to encourage anyone who is lost and wonders if there is more to life to try Mercy Ministries. Giving up 6 months of your life to find true, lasting happiness is so worth it. At Mercy, I discovered who I was. Now I know that happiness is not based on what size I am. Happiness comes in knowing that I am loved unconditionally by a God who created me.”
Kelley’s Story
“For the past eight years, I have struggled with anorexia and bulimia. Through one of my eating disorder support groups, I met a friend who came to Mercy in 2005. I applied, but I ended up backing out at the last minute. In 2007, another one of my friends came to Mercy. This finally gave me the courage to follow through with the application process. It is the best decision I could have ever made.
When I first came to Mercy, I thought I was just dealing with anorexia and bulimia, but soon I realized I was struggling with several other issues, including obsessive compulsive disorder. While at Mercy, God has set me free from these problems.

God has done so much in my life here at Mercy. I had been raised in a church that was very legalistic so I viewed God as someone sitting up in Heaven waiting for me to mess up so that He could strike me down. I finally understand that being a Christian is not about being perfect. Now I know God loves me unconditionally. He is my friend and my father and he has given me my life back. I want to tell my testimony to others so they can experience this freedom too.
In the future I am going to live with my sister and her husband in Atlanta, GA. I eventually want to get my Masters Degree in Christian counseling, and my dream is to one day work for Mercy Ministries.

I would encourage anyone even thinking about coming to Mercy to pursue it. It hasn’t been an easy journey but it has been well worth it. When you let go and allow God to work though you, He will do amazing things. I now have a life worth living!”
Kayla’s Story

“I had been dealing with an eating disorder and a chemical dependency problem off and on for the past 4 years. I had a deep sense of rejection and I had no idea who I was. I found out about Mercy Ministries through James Robison. He had Nancy on his show and told my parents about the ministry.
While at Mercy, I have grown to love myself as the person that God created me to be. I realize there is a purpose to my life. God has called me to reach out and help others. I am excited to let Christ dwell in me so that others can see His amazing renewing power.
I don’t look to drugs to alter my emotions anymore. I no longer feel rejected and unaccepted because I know the truth. God has given me the revelation of who I am in Him. I can stand on the Word of God and declare that I am His delight and His desire.
In the future, I would like to help others. I would love to start my own company with a focus on philanthropy. I have a desire to see people healed and restored. I want others to have the opportunity to walk in complete freedom.”
Alexis' Story
“I grew up in church, but never had a real relationship with God. After my parent’s divorce, I tried to fill the void by seeking acceptance and approval from others. When that didn’t work and I couldn’t seem to please people enough, I became depressed and turned to an eating disorder, which consumed me. My life completely fell apart and I lost all hope for the future. My identity was in my eating disorder, and I didn’t believe that I would ever be free. After multiple suicide attempts, I went through numerous treatments, therapists, and psychiatrists, but was still bound by shame and depression, and my eating disorder only continued to worsen. I didn’t see anything worth living for, so I assumed that I was a mistake and God wouldn’t care if I died.
My parents found out about Mercy Ministries through Ken Freeman and challenged me to apply. I felt like it was my last hope and decided to reach out for help one more time.
While at Mercy, God has shown me that I am not a mistake and that I already please Him because He created me in His image. He loves me and has my life planned out. I am no longer bound by fear, anorexia, bulimia, shame or depression. I have found freedom, and for the first time, I am confident in who God has made me to be.
After Mercy, I plan to restore my relationship with my family. I am going to start college in the spring. I plan to continue to follow God and bring glory to Him through all that I do. I want to help other young women and show them that life is worth living. I want to help with mission trips and share God’s love. I aspire to become an author and possibly write books one day.”

Monday, July 7, 2008

Natalie Grant Shows Support for Mercy Ministries

Contemporary Christian artist Natalie Grant is a long-time friend and supporter of Mercy Ministries.

After years of an intense battle with bulimia, Natalie Grant found true freedom through Christ that has transformed her life. “God has a divine purpose for our lives, and there’s such comfort and peace in knowing that even when our lives are a mess, He sees the incredible beauty underneath,” Natalie Grant said.

Because of the life-controlling issue that she overcame, Natalie Grant is able to empathize with and truly support the young women at Mercy Ministries. She has spoken to the girls at the Nashville, TN home, and she was a key part of the Mercy Ministries 25th Anniversary Celebration in April 2008. To read about the celebration, visit click here.

To learn more about Natalie Grant and her heart for Mercy Ministries, visit her website at www.nataliegrant.com.

Thanks Natalie Grant for all of your love and support of Mercy Ministries!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tennessee Titans Go to Bat for Mercy Ministries

On Saturday June 28, Mercy Ministries’ residents joined fans at Greer Stadium in Nashville for the chance to watch their favorite Tennessee Titans battle it out in the eighth annual “Jeff Fisher & Friends” Charity Softball Game. Included in the crowd of 5,000 Titans fans were the girls and staff from the Nashville home.

The softball game featured present and former members of the Tennessee Titans competing against each other, while raising funds to help the Nashville community. Proceeds from the game benefited Mercy Ministries, as well as several other local charities.

The Mercy Ministries girls had such a great time cheering on their favorite Titans, including head coach Jeff Fisher, as well as Vince Young, Chris Hope, Bo Scaife, Calvin Lowry, Cortland Finnegan, Craig Hentrich, Kevin Mawae, Ken Amato, Kerry Collins, Casey Cramer, David Thornton, Jason Jones, Ingle Martin, Benji Olson, Nick Harper, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Justin Gage, Jevon Kearse, Ahmad Hall, Rob Bironas, Reynaldo Hill and Stephen Tulloch. They were joined by former Titans Frank Wycheck, Brad Hopkins, Chris Sanders, Kevin Dyson and Marcus Robertson, who is also an assistant coach to the Titans.

“These players started their vacation yesterday and felt like this was an important event to come out and participate in tonight,” said Fisher.

For the first time in the history of the event, Fisher’s blue team was defeated by coach Alan Lowry’s white team by a score of 14-12 after 10 innings.

Following the game, Coach Fisher named Chris Sanders, former Titans wide receiver, as the game’s MVP, as well as Rob Bironas as the player least likely to be named “player of the game”. The evening was brought to a close with a phenomenal display of fireworks for the grand finale.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nancy Alcorn Speaks in Michigan, United Kingdom, Oklahoma, and Dubai!!!

Valley Family Church

Valley Family Church

For Mercy Ministries Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, the past few weeks have been filled with much traveling, speaking, and sharing the heart and vision of Mercy Ministries all over the world.

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Nancy’s first stop was Valley Family Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan with Pastors Jeff and Beth Jones, where she spoke at all four of their weekend services. Pastors Jeff and Beth asked Nancy to share the heart and vision of Mercy Ministries to their congregation since it was her first time there. She was also able to encourage the church to reach out and meet the needs of people in their own local community, since the pastors are making that their number one focus for a season of time.

One of the highlights of Nancy’s trip was getting to reconnect with Beth, a Mercy Ministries’ graduate from years ago. Beth shared her own personal story during each service about how she found freedom from an eating disorder while at Mercy Ministries. Beth is now happily married, and she and her husband are actively involved at Valley Family Church. There is no greater joy for Nancy and the Mercy staff than to see our former residents go on to live flourishing lives and give back to their churches and communities!

A special thanks to Pastors Jeff and Beth Jones for the opportunity to share Mercy with your congregation and for your monthly partnership! For more information about this awesome church, please visit their website at www.kvfc.org.

Annual Girlfriends Conference

Annual Girlfriends Conference

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Next, Nancy was scheduled to be a keynote speaker at Nancy Pankratz’s annual Girlfriends Conference, hosted by Church of the Harvest in Oklahoma City. The lives of many women were touched during the three-day conference of great teaching and anointed praise and worship.

Nancy was also asked to speak to a special ministry there called ‘Rescue the Girls’. This ministry offers life skills and spiritual training for women in crisis, hardship, or life transitional situations by providing mentors to help them through difficult times, and to also give them spiritual guidance. Nancy loved being able to spend time encouraging the women from ‘Rescue the Girls’ and even donated some of Mercy Ministries’ books and resources to help further the program and reach out to the girls of Oklahoma City.

For more information about Girlfriends Conference or Church of the Harvest, check out their website at www.harvestokc.com.

Mercy Founder, Nancy Alcorn,
pictured in Dubai with
best-selling leadership author,
John Maxwell, and his wife, Margaret

Dubai

Nabi and Angela Saleh, who own all the Gloria Jean’s Coffee stores around the globe, hosted their International Convention with franchisees from all over the world, which they do every other year. Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ partnership with Mercy Ministries originally began in Australia, but now they sponsor Mercy on an international level. It was an honor for Nancy to be invited to speak alongside Pastor Brian Houston from Hillsong Church and John Maxwell, leadership expert, author, and speaker.

When asked about her time in Dubai, this is what Nancy had to say, “Of course it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Dubai, but the thing that stood out to me the most was the amazing generosity and hospitality of Nabi and Angela Saleh. There is no one in the world that I have ever met who is so gracious and who goes so above and beyond with superior excellence in everything they do. This conference was no exception, as Nabi and Angela had a week full of highlights and amazing surprises for all those who spoke and all those who attended. I am so touched and so moved by the compassion and love that was so clearly displayed.”

For more information about Gloria Jean’s Coffees, visit their website at www.gloriajeans.com.

We are very proud to have Gloria Jean’s as our first international corporate sponsor!!

Nancy visits the UK home

Nancy visits the UK home

Bradford, United Kingdom

Nancy’s next trip took her to the United Kingdom to be a part the Cherish Women’s Conference hosted by Charlotte Scanlon-Gambill of Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England. Featured speakers were Helen Burns, pastor and author from Vancouver, Canada, and Lisa Bevere, author and speaker from Colorado Springs.

Nancy was also asked to share during the conference about the work of Mercy Ministries in the UK. In an overwhelming response, Mercy Ministries UK added 60 new monthly partners who are excited about being a part of transforming the lives of young women! Nancy was also able to see and spend time with the girls from Mercy Ministries UK home.

For more information about the Cherish Women’s Conference, please visit their website at www.alm.org.uk.