Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Independent Study Reveals Success Rate

Over the years, Mercy Ministries has realized more and more the need to have empirical data so that we can document the impact of the Mercy Ministries program – lives transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. This past February, an anonymous survey of former Mercy Ministries' residents was conducted by an independent research firm. Special thanks to the Lightner Sams Family Foundation of Dallas, TX for making this possible through their grant to Mercy Ministries in November of 2007.

Every former resident for whom we had an email address was invited to participate. Approximately 400 former residents responded, and 93% of respondents stated that their experience at Mercy Ministries transformed their life and restored their hope.

In addition, we recently found that over 1,100 former residents give back financially to support the work of Mercy Ministries on an ongoing basis so that they can be a part of other young women finding freedom.

Your support is truly making a difference in the lives of young women. Thank you.

For more on the online study, click here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Annual Golf Tournament Raises $30,000 for Mercy Ministries!

This past week, Mercy Ministries was presented with a $30,000 check on behalf of Bill and Cindy Stewart, founders of Petra Industries. The Stewarts have been faithful supporters of Mercy Ministries for over seventeen years now.

The Stewart Family Presenting Check

Bill and Cindy’s relationship with Mercy Ministries began after they found out that they could not have children over seventeen years ago. Through much prayer, they decided to pursue adoption. They discovered Mercy when a relative told them that in addition to their outreach to young women, the ministry also has a licensed adoption agency for their pregnant residents who choose adoption. It was later that year when they received the phone call that a baby had been born in the Monroe, Louisiana home, and they were the parents chosen by the birth mother for adoption. Today, Bill and Cindy, along with their son Gabe, are champions for the cause of Mercy Ministries.

This year, Petra Industries celebrated the 10th Anniversary of their Annual Charity Golf Tournament, which is held at Oak Tree Country Club in Edmond, Oklahoma. A local graduate was present to give her testimony and we were also given the opportunity to share briefly about Mercy and thank the employees of Petra Industries for their faithful support. We have been continually overwhelmed by their generosity over the years and are so excited to apply this gift toward transforming the lives of many more young women.

We would like to thank Bill and Cindy Stewart and Petra Industries for their long-time support of Mercy Ministries. Your support has literally saved the lives of countless young women and helped the work of Mercy Ministries continue to expand all over the world!

Victory for Five More Girls!

This week, we celebrated the transformed lives of five girls in both the Nashville and St. Louis homes. We are so excited to share these incredible stories of freedom and transformation with all of you.

Caitlin’s Story

Before I came to Mercy, my life was out of control. I was caught in a vicious cycle and could not seem to get out. Although I knew the truth, I was not following the Lord. I was living for myself and continued to believe the lies that Satan had put in my head. I eventually became pregnant and felt there was no hope for my future. I heard about Mercy Ministries from a graduate of the program before. I felt it was my best option, so I decided to apply.

Since I came to Mercy, I have been completely freed from a life of bondage, shame and loneliness. I now know that I have authority in Christ and I choose to walk in it. I can finally say that I have a real relationship with Christ! He guided me and gave me peace when deciding to place my twin babies with an adoptive family. Even though giving my babies up for adoption was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, it actually saved my life.

After Mercy, I am going to allow myself to be led by God. I am going to come back to Nashville after spending a month at home. I’d love to come back and work at a coffee shop. I want other girls to know that there is a hope…Mercy saved my life!

Kris’s Story:

For a long time, I lived a life that was filled with self-destructive behaviors. I was enslaved to an eating disorder, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. All of this stemmed from sexual abuse that had occurred throughout my life. I wanted to live, but I didn’t know how. I buried myself in my issues so that I would not have to face God. I even went so far as to involve myself in witchcraft. I became tired and weary of living with these harmful addictions. I could no longer take all of the wounded emotions I carried from abuse, I was done. I had no life. I remembered that I came across Mercy Ministries on the internet at some point—and decided this was my last attempt at life.

During my time at Mercy, I have become a daughter of the living God. He has completely freed me from any addiction, memories of abuse, self-harm and has given me a will and hope to live. Mercy Ministries helped me see that God does not want to harm me but that He loves me and wants me to truly live!

After Mercy I am not entirely sure what I want to do. What I do know is that I want to help others and let my restored life be an example to those that are struggling.

’s Story:

When I was growing up, I never really had any positive example to model myself after. I was surrounded by a lot of negativity and very critical people. Because of this, I never really learned how to express myself properly. This led me to bulimia and self-harm, and ultimately I became very depressed. I had no idea what to do. I finally stumbled upon Mercy Ministries while on the internet one day and I made the choice to apply.

Because I came to Mercy, I have been completely restored. God has given me a confidence that I never thought I could have. I know that He loves me for who I am. He has shown me that He has a future prepared for me and I have now chosen to step into it!

Once I leave Mercy, I am going to continue to finish my schooling and graduate from high school. After that, I am going to follow wherever God leads me. It is a dream of mine to eventually have a family and pursue writing. I am so glad that I will now be able to look forward to these things because I came to Mercy and let God work in my life.

Chelsea’s Story:

Before I came to Mercy, I was dealing with major depression. I was bound by an eating disorder, self-harm, sexual sin, and pornography. All this was stemming from the trauma related to sexual abuse that I had suffered. I was completely lost. The counselor that I was seeing back home had heard of Mercy through a colleague. She gave me the application and I applied.

While I have been at Mercy, God has given me my life back. I did not want to live when I came to Mercy but now I have hope, and I am excited to live. I have found freedom from all the addictions, guilt, and shame. I have freedom in Christ who loves me everlastingly and unconditionally. I am truly a new person. I no longer identify with my issues, but with Christ. I have a new found confidence because I see myself as a child of God—His princess–and He has great plans for me. He loves me and values me.

After I leave Mercy, I am going to return home and be very involved at my church. I would like to get back into childcare and get married someday.

Sylvia’s Story:

I was in complete bondage before I came to Mercy because I allowed an eating disorder to take over my life. I would often think of dying. Although I would never actually try to kill myself, I would put myself in dangerous situations in hopes that I might die. I knew that I was in serious need of help and was at the end of my rope. Counseling programs that I had tried were not working. I heard about Mercy through a friend and I felt that this was God’s answer for my healing.

God has helped me renew my mind during my time at Mercy. I have learned that if I renew my mind, my actions will be different. God does love me, He is for me, I have value and can trust Him. Unless I believe and receive this by faith, I will not be able to live like its true. I know that God’s ways are good and I need to walk by faith, not by sight—I need to stay in His Word and follow His ways.

After I leave Mercy, I am going to work on saving some money so that I can go to school. Eventually, I would like to work with children through Child Evangelism Fellowship.

Congratulations Girls—You are courageous women of God!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2nd Annual Run for Mercy!

Last weekend, we hosted our 2nd Annual Run-4-Mercy 5K and Family Walk in St. Louis. This year we had over 200 people turn out and close to $13,000 was raised specifically for the St. Louis home. Prior to the run, everyone had the chance to hang out and enjoy Starbucks coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts which were donated to Mercy for this event. We had serious runners, mothers with strollers, and even dogs turn out to participate!

After the race, there was a time of sharing about the heart of Mercy Ministries. Participants also had the chance to hear the testimony of a former graduate and prizes were given to the top performers. There was a special prize awarded to the person who raised the most money.

Overall, the event was a great success! We would like to thank everyone who participated in support of Mercy Ministries. Your devotion makes it possible for girls to gain real freedom from life controlling issues.

Here are the names and results from the race:

# Name Time

2710 Conner Marsh 17:07

0000 Nathan Brinkman 21:17

2923 Capri Higgins 21:24

2814 Mike Zlatarich 21:26

2913 Emily Marxkors 22:00

2912 Rich Dawson 22:01

2706 James Gaines 23:22

2909 23:30

2907 Donna Baeten 23:34

2708 24:10

2924 Victoria McCarter 24:39

2715 Ryan Dossey 25:16

2704 Dave Meyer 25:24

2718 Stphanie Shultz 25:46

2702 Chris Atkins 25:52

2813 Steve Moyer 26:04

2920 Doug Kohler 26:17

2717 Lucas Dorrough 26:52

2709 26:53

2825 Sarah Blonsky 26:58

2918 Scott Bennett 27:05

2915 Bob Scott 27:09

0000 Sean 28:19

2705 28:24

2821 Carrie Roeslein 28:40

2707 Andrea Theis 29:04

2815 Robyn Florian 29:05

2712 Chris Brewer 30:02

2720 Sarah Kelly 30:52

2930 Sandra McCullough 31:22

2721 Paul Kelly 32:00

2818 Jenny Cross 32:02

2819 Linda O'Connor 32:02

2725 Rachel Qualley 32:45

0000 Ellie & dog 32:52

2910 Carolyn Sanders 33:03

2938 Maria Lucas 33:30

2716 Judy Duncan 34:03

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Air-Time For Mercy Ministries!

For the month of September, Mercy Ministries is partnering with Air 1 Radio of St. Louis. Air 1 is a non-commercial, not-for-profit ministry, which is supported by listeners. They receive some 14,000 prayer requests each month by either phone or email. At least four times a day, they gather to pray for their listeners.

Each year, Air 1 gives back millions of dollars in free air-time to other ministries. They have chosen to work with Mercy Ministries this month and we couldn’t be more excited! Throughout the month, we will be featured on their website in addition to radio spots that will spread awareness about Mercy. Through this exposure, it is our hope that listeners will either get involved or know where to turn if they are in need of help.

We greatly appreciate and would like to thank Air 1 for this amazing opportunity—we are believing for more saved lives from this exposure!

Check out Air 1’s website to listen online or get more information.

Mercy Volunteer Invited to the White House!

On September 8, 2008, Mercy Ministries volunteer Andrea Ward visited the White House for a celebration in honor of recipients of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Mercy Ministries was proud to learn that she would be attending as a representative of the volunteer work she did while at Mercy Ministries.

Andrea has a long history with Mercy Ministries that started in 2003 when she moved from Kansas to Tennessee to serve as a full-time volunteer at Mercy for an entire year. After that year, Andrea continued as a part-time volunteer with Mercy logging in a total of over 4,000 volunteer hours!

In 2004, she was nominated for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Created by President George W. Bush in 2002, this award is given to motivate individuals to become involved in volunteering around the United States with causes that help “bring us closer together as families, as neighbors, as communities and as a nation.” On August 30, 2004, Andrea, along with Mercy Ministries Founder Nancy Alcorn, was invited to meet the President as he stepped off Air Force One, and receive the award.

Andrea became interested in healthcare because of Mercy Ministries and desires to become an obstetrician or gynecologist. “My ideal occupation would be to work with Mercy again and work with the residents as their physician,” she said. She is currently attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville as a full-time student studying biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology.

Congratulations Andrea—we are so grateful for your service. We wish you the very best as you go on to pursue medical school.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two More Lives Transformed!

We are so excited to share the stories of two girls that recently graduated from the St. Louis home. Here are their encouraging testimonies of freedom!

Kerri’s Story:

Kerri far left - Tammy far right

For nearly eight years of my life, I lived behind so many lies trying to appear perfect. This all started the summer after my freshman year in college. I wanted to fit in so badly, and I believed that if I was skinny enough, others would like me. I initially started dieting, but this quickly turned into and eating disorder. Anorexia and bulimia soon ruled my life. Although my life was a mess, I was not willing to give it up because my bondage was my comfort. Eventually I got married, and when my eating disorder began to affect my marriage, I knew I needed help. My husband gave me the choice to get help or we would separate because he could no longer take the lies. Some time after that, I found out about Mercy Ministries.

While I was a resident at Mercy, I found acceptance and my true identity. I fell in love with the God who made me. I learned patience and how to lay things down at God’s feet—how to trust Him to work all things out. God also worked in my marriage in such a huge way. Now, my husband and I are closer than ever. There are no more secrets within our relationship. My whole identity is now securely based in Christ. My life has been changed in a way I never believed possible.

After I leave Mercy, I look forward to finding a job as a teacher. My husband and I have also decided to start planning a family. Before Mercy, I never thought freedom could exist like this, but now I am ready to walk it out!

Tammy’s Story:

Before I came to Mercy, I was completely lost in my own world. I struggled with alcoholism, an eating disorder, and self-harm. I was severely depressed and used all of these things to cope with a past of sexual, emotional and physical abuse. I heard about Mercy Ministries many years ago while attending a Point of Grace concert and so I decided to apply.

Since I have been at Mercy, I have grown tremendously in my relationship with God. He has shown me that my sins have been paid for so that I don’t have to keep paying the price. I now view myself the way that God views me. I know that He has forgiven me and that he loves me. Just knowing that I am a beautiful princess to Him has freed me from a life of death!

Once I graduate, I am going to return home and live with parents and sister. Eventually, I would love to return to school. For right now though, I am going to use my testimony of freedom to help others who are struggling. I am so excited to enjoy the life that God has restored for me.

Congratulations Girls—We are very proud of you!

Event Filled Weekend in St. Louis!

Last weekend, 32 runners participated in the Lewis and Clark Marathon in St. Louis on behalf of Mercy Ministries. This year, close to $15,000 was raised, which will continue to help transform the lives of girls seeking freedom!

That same weekend, Nancy was the invited guest speaker at Family Faith Church. She had the privilege of leading all three Sunday morning services and delivered a powerful message from her teaching, “Keys to Walking and Living in Freedom”.

The night before the marathon, the St. Louis girls and staff hosted a pasta party to kick-off the event. Runners, staff and residents enjoyed food and fellowship with one another. Nancy spoke and 3 graduates shared their testimonies of freedom with the group.

The weekend events were a success! We’d like to thank the runners for their commitment to this marathon. Your dedication contributes to our ongoing efforts to reach more hurting young women.

A special thanks to Pastors Rick and Marjie Hufton and Faith Family Church for their faithful ongoing support of the work of Mercy Ministries!

Click here to view our video blog posting from this weekend.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Double Blessing – Straight from the Heart!!

Current resident, Caitlin, wanted to share with you these pictures of the amazing family that God provided for her twins. Caitlin came to Mercy Ministries pregnant, scared, and unsure of her future. Here is a little bit of what Caitlin wanted to share about what she has experienced while at Mercy Ministries:

“Before I came to Mercy, I was in a pit, living only for myself. But through this whole process, God has taught me selflessness and what it was like for Him to give up His only Son. It helped me to take my eyes off of myself—my depression and my rejections. Even though my choice to give my babies up for adoption was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, it actually saved my life.

I have experienced first hand that God gives us the desires of our heart, and He has answered my every desire in providing the perfect family for my babies. God was faithful with the desires of my heart and also knew the desire of this family’s heart to adopt twins. This family was an absolute divine connection for me.

Thank you for your support, which made it possible for me to come to Mercy Ministries and hear clearly from God about placing my babies for adoption – look what the Lord has done! I am excited to graduate from Mercy and begin my life apart from my past and the person I used to be. Just like Paul said… “forgetting what’s behind I press on towards the things ahead…”. The future God has in store for my twins and me is so bright, God has so much in store for all of us that were involved in this process.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

Local marathoners racing for Mercy Ministries

Thirty area runners, about 10 from O’Fallon, are gearing up for the Lewis and Clark Marathon on Sunday as part of Team Mercy Ministries.

"This (30) is the largest Marathon Team we have ever had, but running for Mercy makes it well worth the sweat and training," said Victoria McCarter, runner and race chairman for Team Mercy. “This is my fifth half marathon I’m running to raise support for Mercy Ministries and I will continue to run as long as there are girls who are hurting."

Victoria and Kyle McCarter know all to well the issues young girls face. Their daughter, Amber, died of tragically in 2006 while in the process of applying to Mercy.

"Kyle and I do not want to see any other girl who is hurting and in need of help not have a place to go to." McCarter said. Currently, the waiting list is more than 800 girls.

READ FULL STORY from O'Fallon Progress published: September 12 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mercy Video Blog!

We just wanted to let all of our friends and supporters know that we are officially launching the first ever Mercy Ministries video blog. This has been a long time coming and we are so excited! This video blog will be maintained for the purpose of keeping all of you up to date with the most recent Mercy news. During speaking engagements as well as other events, we will record short videos to be posted to the blog. We are doing this as a way to ensure that our communication with all of you is fresh and up-to-date. If you would like to learn more, check out the very first Mercy Ministries blog at: http://mercyministriesvlog.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 5, 2008

UT student volunteers 4,000 hours, given presidential award

Andrea Ward, a senior majoring in biochemistry & cellular and molecular biology, will visit the White House Monday, Sept. 8, as part of receiving the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her 4,000-plus volunteer hours at Mercy Ministries, a home for troubled girls.

The award was created by President George W. Bush in 2002 to motivate individuals to become involved in volunteering around the country. Ward was nominated for the award in 2004. The USA Freedom Corps only offers the award to individuals who have volunteered 4,000 hours or for two years.

READ FULL STORY from Tennessee Journalist By Kayla Kitts published: September 05 2008

Six Graduates are Celebrated in St. Louis and Monroe

This month, six young women graduated from the Mercy Ministries program at the St. Louis and Monroe homes. These young women experienced the joy and freedom that comes from a relationship with Christ. Here are their stories:

St. Louis

Melissa's Story

I came from a Christian home, but started to question my faith when I began living a lesbian lifestyle. I was dealing with several other issues including sexual promiscuity, and chemical dependency. I was overwhelmed with all of my sins, and I thought God was angry with me because of what I had done. Many people told me that God could not answer my prayers because of my sinful lifestyle. I didn’t think I would ever be forgiven, and I lost all faith in God. I hit rock bottom and had nowhere to turn. I wanted to make a radical decision to change my ways, so I applied to Mercy Ministries.

I came to Mercy as an angry, controlling, depressed person. While at Mercy, God has turned my mourning into dancing. Now I realize that I don’t need drugs or alcohol to feel enjoyment - instead my joy comes from within, and I wake up every morning with a new zeal for Christ. In the past, I felt the need to please people in order to get their approval, but now I realize that true friendships are based on Christ. Now my self-image reflects Christ because I know I have been made wonderfully in Him. My trust and hope has been restored and I have a true desire to live in freedom.

After Mercy, I am going to attend a university in Odessa, TX and get a part-time job at Campfire for Kids. I look forward to getting involved at my local church, and I can’t wait to live out the plans God has for my life. Freedom is amazing and I am ready to walk it out!

Krissy’s Story

From a very early age, I lived a hazardous lifestyle that involved anger, depression, drug use, and eating disorders. I can remember many abusive relationships with both men and women. I was even involved with a gang member. During this time, I suffered mental, sexual, physical and emotional abuse. I began selling drugs and stripping, which landed me in jail. At one point, I was in a relationship with a girl that tried to help me get clean. She eventually committed suicide while I was on the phone with her. When she died, I felt I had nothing to live for. I returned to my old lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, stripping, money, and men. I ended up in jail four more times and even found myself in a relationship with a man that tried to kill me.

I began another a long term relationship with a man that proved to be just as destructive as the others. When I tried to leave him, he threatened to commit suicide. I was so fearful that I would lose someone else to suicide that I decided to take my own life instead. I took every prescription pill I could find. I was tired of my lifestyle, the drugs, the stripping, everything—I was done. I woke up five days later with a tube down my throat helping me breath. I learned that I was declared legally dead two times while in the hospital. I had hit rock bottom and I needed God. I was broken. After my recovery, I realized I needed help. I found Mercy Ministries on the internet and decided to apply.

Krissy (far left) Rachel (far right)

During my time at Mercy, God has shown me that I am His child, and He has made me exactly who He wants me to be. I have God the Father as my protector so I am capable of speaking my mind and I no longer fear what others will think. I know that he has removed all of my sins as far as the east is from the west.

After graduation, I am so excited to go home and work on a horse ranch. I will also be very involved with my church. Mercy Ministries is an amazing program for girls who actually want to seek the Lord and live life in complete and total freedom. I want other girls to know that although you may think you cannot be free, with God all things are possible!

Rachel’s Story

I came to Mercy Ministries battling depression, suicidal tendencies, and drug addiction. I was very confused about who I was and what a real relationship with my Savior looked like. I spent so much time believing Satan’s lies because I had never been shown the truth before. I lost my home, my job, and worst of all my children.

I learned of Mercy Ministries through a friend that had graduated from the Monroe home. During my time at Mercy, God has been so faithful to answer me as I cried out to him. He was always there even when I felt so alone and believed that I couldn’t handle another second. He has revealed himself to me in the most intimate and simplest of ways—through worship, prayer times, through His Word, and through the staff. As I draw close to Him, he continues to give me new revelations of how much He loves me.

When I return home, I am going to get a job and complete my education. But most importantly, I am looking forward to being the mother God has made me to be, and restoring relationships with my children and family. I want other girls to know that if you are struggling with issues and feel hopeless, don’t wait and put off getting help. I found freedom through God at Mercy Ministries.


Rishelle’s Story

I began struggling with an eating disorder when I was 13 years old. At first, I simply wanted to loose weight, but I quickly lost control. I was first hospitalized when I was 16. Eventually I was sent to a longer care program in Vancouver, Canada. Two years after my last hospitalization, I knew I still needed help, and I didn’t know where to turn. I found the Mercy Ministries web site while I was searching for a Christian eating disorder program. With the support of my boyfriend and my family, I applied to Mercy Ministries.

While at Mercy, God has shown me over and over again that His love for me is unconditional and unfailing. I no longer live in constant fear and sadness. I know I am God’s daughter, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Everyday is another chance to surrender my plans to God and let Him take control. Mercy brought me to a place where I can see that God loves me and has a plan for my life. I never thought that I could feel as free as I do now.

After graduation I will return to my hometown and move out of my parent’s home. I am looking forward to getting involved with my church and returning to school. I want to get married and begin a family of my own.

Jordan’s Story

I struggled with bulimia and an addiction for years. It almost cost me my life. I didn’t know my value or worth and was stuck in a pit. One of my friends heard Nancy Alcorn speak, and she told me about Mercy Ministries. She asked me to consider going. and I decided to give it a try.

While at Mercy, God has shown me that I don’t have to perform and wear masks for Him to care for me. No matter what I do, He will love me. The staff encouraged me live a life of victory, and God saved my life though Mercy Ministries.

After Mercy, I plan on going home to work for awhile. Eventually, I would like to go back to college.

Meghan’s Story

Growing up, I dealt with a lot of abandonment issues as well as physical and mental abuse. Because of this, I fell into an eating disorder and chemical dependency. I was unable to deal with my emotions, and would often binge to cover up what I felt. There were patterns of unhealthy relationships in my life because I never had the right example. I found myself unable to make any healthy decisions and because of this, I ended up homeless and broken-hearted. I felt like my life had no purpose. I had many suicidal thoughts and began to self-harm. I was desperate for help. That’s when I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries.

While I was at Mercy, I learned about the love that God has for me. He has shown me what true love is. I now have boundaries, confidence and standards. I know what the enemy meant for harm, God is going to turn around for good in my life. I know that He is with me wherever I go, and that I was created for something amazing. I will never allow myself to be treated as lower than dirt again because I know I have value in Christ.

After Mercy, I plan on going to school to get my degree in psychology. I would love to eventually become a counselor so I can help other people achieve freedom. I want other girls to know that God is a life-changer. If you are struggling he will transform life just like he did mine at Mercy Ministries.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nashville Graduation – Celebrating Seven More Lives Transformed!

This month, seven young women graduated from the Mercy Ministries program in Nashville. After coming to Mercy desperate for help, they are each graduating with hope for the future that God has for them. Here are their amazing stories of freedom:

Stephanie’s Story

I came from a very unstable and emotionally neglectful background. I never really felt the love that I wanted so badly from my parents and was left alone frequently. At one time, I was beat very badly by a family member and it seemed that no one really cared. During my teen years, I gained popularity but used relationships with boys to gain some sense of love and security. I began to lie and manipulate to get whatever I wanted. All I was really trying to do was fill the void. When I learned that I was pregnant, I hid it for six months. Eventually, I was forced to have an abortion and due to complications, I almost died. I felt so much shame and pain--I had nowhere to turn. Then I found out about Mercy through the internet and chose to apply.

While I have been at Mercy I have come to know God in a very real way. I know that He loves me no matter what, and that I don’t have to be ashamed of my past. For the first time, I have been able to experience the love that I have been wanting for so long. God has restored so much in a very short time, and I am actually excited about my future for the first time in my life. Coming to Mercy Ministries is the best decision that I have every made. I now have a hope and a huge family of sisters!

After I leave Mercy, I am going to remain in Nashville with a host family and complete high school. One day I hope to become a wedding cake designer. Most of all, I am so excited for whatever God’s plans are for me. Thank you, Mercy!

Miriam’s Story

Miriam came to Mercy Ministries with an unplanned pregnancy, unsure whether to parent her baby or place her for adoption. Through prayer and counseling, she determined to parent her daughter. Miriam wishes to thank God and Mercy Ministries for helping her discover her true identity in Christ and freedom from her past. She is very excited about her future as a mother. Miriam had this to say, “Coming to Mercy is the best decision that I have ever made. I will never go back to where I came from. Thank you Mercy Ministries for helping me transform my life and restore hope for my future!”

Audrey’s Story

Growing up, I did not have a personal relationship with my father due my own personal struggles. I dealt with rejection and emotional abandonment. I had no idea who I was or what my purpose was. I was desperate for help and needed something that offered hope in my hopeless state. I learned about Mercy Ministries from my counselor.

I came to Mercy Ministries with an eating disorder, depression, and self-harm. While at Mercy, God has totally transformed my view of Him! Not only does he love me, but He is in love with me and He really speaks to me! He’s given me new life, brought me from darkness to light, and filled my heart with joy!

After Mercy, I plan to become a preschool teacher. I would love to become a children’s therapist and work with young girls that have been rescued from trauma situations. I want to lead them on a journey of healing and hope. I want to reach out and love the forgotten ones - the ones who are lost in a sea of faces, longing for someone to notice them.

I have learned that there is hope for the hopeless! Jesus will turn your darkest night to light.

Emily’s Story

I came to Mercy Ministries angry and hurt. Cutting and suicidal thoughts had taken control of my life. I used self-harm to get relief, but no relief came. My youth leader had learned about Mercy Ministries through Joyce Meyer and told me about it. I wanted to get better and Mercy Ministries was my last option.

While at Mercy Ministries, God has given me complete freedom and restoration. I have hope for my future and have learned to love and be loved. My daddy God wants to be by my side and will always be there for me. Mercy is like no other treatment center…it saved my life!

After Mercy, I plan to go to college and pursue my dream of public speaking and I look forward to getting a job.

Alisha’s Story

I have battled with bulimia and self-harm since I was young. I was depressed and I hated myself and others. I lost all of my relationships with my family. These factors contributed to my need to turn to these self-destructive behaviors. I realized that I needed help and my mom found information about Mercy Ministries on the internet. I read about the program and felt it was what I needed to turn my life around so I decided to fill out the application.

During my time at Mercy, God has restored my happiness, peace and He has shown me love. He tells me I am beautiful and He has restored my relationships with my family members. I have overcome the hurt from my past and now I am healed.

After I graduate from Mercy Ministries, I am going to Bible College. I would love to go on mission trips. Eventually I would like to open up an orphanage and get into youth ministry.

I want other girls to know that unexpected and hurtful things will happen in life. You have to find the Lord in order to experience the love you are looking for. It will allow you to serve others by sharing with them the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Mercy Ministries gives you the tools you need to overcome your struggles and helps you see the gifts and abilities that God has given you.

Kara’s Story

Before I came to Mercy, I tried struggled to cope with the pain in my life. Abandonment, betrayal and unforgiveness controlled my life. I was raped by someone I thought I could trust, which only added to my grief. Because of all of this, I also had a lot of anxiety and would often self-harm. I became so suicidal that I would fantasize about not waking up so that I would no longer have to deal with the pain. I needed help—I was ready to give up all together. At my breaking point, I learned that I was pregnant. A family friend told me about Mercy, so I made the decision to apply.

While I was at Mercy God completely broke me down so that he could build me back up. I have become so much stronger in my faith, and I can now say that I am confident in who I am. Rather than wishing I will not wake up in the morning, I now face each day with joy and assurance that God is on my side. I am so excited about what He has in store for my future!

After I leave Mercy, I am going to return home to be a mommy to my baby boy. I plan on being very involved with the single-mothers group at the church I am going to be attending, as well as continuing my education. I hope to one day be a medical assistant. Going to Mercy was one of the hardest things that I have ever done - however, it was the best decision I have ever made. I want other girls to know that it is because of God and Mercy Ministries that I have a second chance. I am now ready for life with my baby boy by my side!

Julie’s Story

I grew up in a Christian home, but never really felt the kind of love that I thought would make me happy. When I was a child, I developed an eating disorder. When this happened, I began to feel insecure about my body, so I started dieting and over-exercising. Eventually, I developed anorexia and bulimia and began to self-harm. I wanted so badly to shape myself into something lovable, but I was damaging my body instead – and I hated myself. I was in and out of hospitals and psych wards that never really dealt with the root issues. I found myself caught in a vicious cycle. I just wanted to give up and die because I felt that life had no meaning. At one point, my body became so weak from my eating disorder that I was at risk of dying. Finally, at rock bottom, I applied to Mercy Ministries.

Since I have been at Mercy, my life has been completely transformed. I have learned that my true identity is in Christ. As a Christian, I do not have to live up to society’s unrealistic expectations of self-image. I am God’s precious daughter and it doesn’t matter how much I weigh or what I look like as long as I am living in His will. I am happy to say that I am free from my eating disorder and free in Christ because “whom the son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36). I will live and walk in the freedom God has so graciously given me.

After Mercy, I plan on going home to live with my family for a few months. I will be helping my accountability partner lead AWANA, a youth program at my church for high school students. In January, I hope to go to the YWAM base in Hawaii so I can eventually be involved in long-term missions overseas.

Congratulations girls--We are so proud of you!

Progress Continues in California

We are excited to update you on the progress of our newest Mercy Ministries home just outside of Sacramento, California. The construction is more than halfway complete on the 40-bed home that is located in the suburb of Lincoln.

On Tuesday, September 9th we are hosting an Evening of Prayer at the home from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Supporters and members of the community are invited to come and pray throughout the home. We will be praying specifically for the girls who will come from across the country seeking hope and healing. Check out the upcoming events section at www.mercyministries.org for details on the Evening of Prayer at Mercy Ministries.

In addition, runners and walkers of all ages are invited to participate in our 2nd annual Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk on Saturday, November 15th. The run/walk will take place at the site of the Lincoln home. Participants will be allowed to tour the home after the event. Visit www.runformercy.org for more details on registration and sponsorship opportunities.

Thank you for your faithful support as we look forward to opening our first West Coast home!!