Thursday, December 31, 2009

Graduate Speaks Out About Her Transformed Life and Restored Marriage!

We thought you might like to read a remarkable story of personal transformation, a changed family, and a restored marriage from a graduate who has now dedicated her life to sharing her story with others. Rachel came to Mercy in 2008 battling a drug addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts. She and her husband had been divorced for about four months, and Rachel was heartbroken because her addictions and unhealthy relationships had caused her to lose custody of her children. While at Mercy, Rachel rededicated her life to Christ, and was able to gain freedom from the issues that were controlling her life. At the time of her graduation, Rachel did not think that she and her husband would be able to reconcile as so much damage had been done because of her own poor choices. Here is what Rachael had to say about her experiences, what she learned during her time at Mercy Ministries and how God has completely restored all that was lost.

“I was raised in a ‘godly’ home, but when I was 19 years old, my father divorced our family and soon after married my mother’s best friend. I chose to act out by turning to drugs and being promiscuous to find comfort. I soon found myself pregnant and thought the only thing to do was to marry the father. My relationship with my husband had been based on drugs and partying for so long that when we sobered up we had no idea who the other person was. It was a horrible time. I sank into depression and turned to painkillers to numb my internal pain. My unhappiness led me into an extramarital affair and I decided to divorce my husband. During this time, I put my children in countless dangerous situations and my drug addiction led me to allow a long time "friend" and convicted drug dealer to move into my tiny apartment with his two children. My life then took a turn for the worst. I had to have drugs to function, to sleep at night, and then to wake up in the morning. My children were always afraid so my ex husband told me that he had to take the kids. I knew he was right. Soon after, my drug addiction caused me to lose my job. I wanted to die. I felt like I was loosing my mind. I just wanted to give up. After hearing about Mercy from a family member, I knew that this was my last hope.

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When I arrived at Mercy, it was the day before my 31st birthday. Happy Birthday to me!! I’m pretty sure I had taken some pills on the drive there. I had no idea what to expect and the anxiety overwhelming me was too much to take. I remember seeing a girl in the computer room as she was typing her testimony out because she was going to be graduating that week. She was so beautiful and had a light about her that I wanted. I missed my babies and I cried A LOT but I’m so thankful that I stuck it out.

God saved my life through Mercy’s tough love! I needed someone to reach down and pick me up that didn’t have an emotional attachment to my situation. I needed someone to speak TRUTH into my life and pound it into my heart until I believed nothing else. I needed to believe that there was a hope for me and my situation. God met me at Mercy, right where I was, in the middle of the overwhelming mess that I had created for myself. He carried me when I couldn’t carry myself, and when I was strong enough to walk, He walked with me. He shed His light into the dark corners of my heart, and I began to have fun and laugh!! I began to put my identity in Him and this changed everything.

Since leaving Mercy, I have been privileged to speak to other hurting, lost women about my experience and how God saved my life. God has filled my mouth with a word and it cannot be silenced. I love it!!! My ex husband and I had been going through counseling at our church and were beginning to give up but God showed up! God completely transformed his heart towards me and he began to see me through His eyes. God gave him a new desire and a new love for me. The night before mother’s day, my ex husband showed up with our two precious children, got down on bended knee and told me that he knew God had changed my life and that our past was forgiven. He said that he and the kids were wondering if I would marry them again!! On June 19th, 2009 the family Satan tried so desperately to destroy was brought into a covenant with Jesus Christ. I am a mother again and a wife again and I have a story to tell about an amazing Savior who cherishes every detail of my life. No longer a drug addict, I now know who I really am. I am a princess of the Most High King!!”


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Rachel’s family is celebrating her transformation with her and they are excited about the remarkable changes they see in her life! Here is what a few of her family members have to say about Rachel’s journey:

Rachel’s grandparents, Sara and Dan, said, “She is like a different person, a new creature in the Lord. It is truly a miracle!!! We will be eternally grateful to Mercy Ministries for what it has done for our family.”

Rachel’s aunt Barbara said, “Where do I even begin to thank you for all you and God have done for Rachel. She is a different person! What a path God has for all of us! Sometimes we can’t see it forming but boy does He always have a plan!”

Rachel’s mom Becky said, “Rachel continues to give her testimony in front of a lot of people. She is so honest and transparent and I think that is what is reaching people. God is so good.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nine Graduates Celebrate Transformation at Mercy Ministries!

Residents and staff came together at our Monroe, St. Louis, and Nashville homes this month in order to celebrate the remarkable transformations of nine more Mercy Ministries’ graduates! These young ladies have found freedom from their life controlling issues. Check out their stories!!



Monroe


Caroline

2My life before Mercy was completely controlled by feelings of rejection. I was consumed with worthlessness that began in my family life and led to feelings of inadequacy among my peers. I began using drugs at the age of 15, and eventually found myself in the world of exotic dancing. After dealing with deep depression and drug addiction, I was so close to giving up on life. When I reached the end of myself, I asked God to come into my life and take control. I decided to apply to Mercy in order to learn who I am in Christ and discover my true purpose.

At Mercy, I have learned that God loves me more than any person is capable of loving. He is jealous for me and He cares about my choices. I have also learned how to truly love others. No matter what my circumstances are in life, I have joy and I am totally free from the lies I believed about myself.

After graduation, I plan to pursue a degree in Journalism with a minor in Theology. I want to be a writer and serve God through my writing. I also plan to work at my church during school. Free from everything that held me in bondage, I know my past is a distant memory compared to the destiny God has planned for me!


St. Louis

Kimberly

5My life before Mercy was completely chaotic. I was overwhelmed by my drug addiction and how quickly my life was spiraling out of control. Feelings of abandonment, rejection, and fear led to depression, which fed my addiction to compulsive over-eating. I needed to break free from the cycle of addiction, but I didn’t know how. After confiding in my aunt about my struggles, she told me about Mercy, and I knew in my heart that this was God’s plan for me.

While at Mercy, God helped me to let go of my past. I learned how to let God in so He could heal me. I no longer look to food or sleep for comfort because now I know how to live a healthy, balanced life, and how to keep God first so He can continue to work in my life on a daily basis.

After I graduate Mercy, I plan to pursue a college degree in either counseling or teaching. I believe God is calling me into full-time ministry, and I hope to use my passions to help inner city America and sex trafficking victims.


Emily

3I was physically and sexually abused as a child and teenager. After experiencing this abuse, I became very depressed and suicidal. In order for me to cope with the demands I put on myself to be perfect, I began cutting and restricting food when I was 15 years old. Once my past began to affect my husband and my kids, I shut down and tried to end my life in order to spare them further pain. Multiple hospitalizations left me with a huge medical debt, and I knew that I needed long-term help. I learned about Mercy through a Leadership Team Development Conference and decided to seek help.

Since being at Mercy, God has broken through all the self-protective walls that I had built around myself in order to numb my pain. At Mercy, I was safe and felt unconditional love for the first time. I learned the truth about who God is and who I am in Him. I can finally walk and live in confidence, free from all the life-controlling fear.

After Mercy, I plan to go back to my husband and three children. Homeschooling my boys will help me continue to teach them what I have learned. Eventually, I hope to write and to publish. My time at Mercy Ministries has been an incredible, life-changing experience, and I will never be the same.


Shirley

9My life before Mercy was a mess. Alcoholism and drug abuse controlled my life because I always wanted to live my life in a very extreme way and push the limits. My perception of reality was always one extreme or the other, and I did not believe God was loving or kind. I finally came to the realization that I was unable to solve my problems on my own. My dad told me about a place called Mercy Ministries that was free of charge and could help me get the help I needed, so I made the decision to apply.

I came to Mercy struggling with depression and a drug and alcohol addiction. God has taken away the guilt and shame in my life and has restored my relationship with my family. He has given me a brand new perspective on life, and I have learned how to renew my mind through His Word.

After I graduate, I plan to go to Liberty University and pursue a Nursing degree. I am extremely grateful for a second chance!


Nashville

Hannah

4My life before Mercy seemed hopeless. After suffering physical and sexual abuse, I walked through life in shame and just wanted to end it all. Cutting seemed like the only thing in my life that I had any control over. My life was a wreck and I didn’t believe I had any reason to live. My mom learned about Mercy Ministries while watching Joyce Meyer’s TV show, and at that point, I knew I had to get help. I had already decided that if this didn’t work, I was going to commit suicide.

At Mercy, God has totally transformed my life. He has shown me His unconditional love and now I realize that He is all that I really need. My life is brand new! I’m so thankful that He saved me!

After graduation, I plan to pursue a career as a child therapist, and I also want to write books some day. I’m looking forward to all God has in store for me!


Shaina

7Before Mercy, I was abused physically and sexually by a family member, beginning in my early childhood and continuing until I was 12 years old. I began restricting food because I thought that if I was thinner, then maybe my abuser wouldn’t be attracted to me. In and out of treatment centers and psych wards, I became depressed and attempted suicide on several occasions. Eventually, I became addicted to self-harm and prescription medication. The shame I carried in my mind and my body was more than I could bear. I realized that if I didn’t get help with my eating disorder I would die, so I chose to apply to Mercy Ministries in order to survive.

During my time at Mercy, God has freed me completely from my addictions! God has taught me that He is good and His love for me is pure and not perverted. He didn’t want me to have to experience abuse because He loves me so much.

After Mercy, I’m going to find a job so I can save money for college and pursue an internship. I’m excited to see where God leads me!


Caitlin

1For as long as I can remember, my daily life has been controlled by my emotions. During my childhood, I was physically and sexually abused by family and friends, and later this abuse developed into bad habits with my so-called guy friends who often took advantage of me. I would do anything to please them including experimenting with drugs and alcohol and restricting food in order to stay thin. My life was out of control. I knew God was real, but I couldn’t figure out how to have a relationship with Him. After learning about Mercy from my grandparents, I followed through with the application process so I could spend some time out learning how to have true intimacy with God.

At Mercy, God has showed me that I can be whole and healthy. He has restored my self esteem and my self image, and I have learned to depend on Him entirely. His love is the only love that can ever sustain me. Now, I’m eating a balanced diet and I’m not worrying about my future because God will be with me to help me though my struggles.

After graduation, I am going home to work at a local coffee shop, and I’m going to college! Eventually, I want to pursue a degree in Medicine or Psychology.


Shari

8Before coming to Mercy, I struggled with an eating disorder and self-harm. These issues were controlling my life, and at the peak of my hopelessness, I realized that I really wanted something better for myself. I knew that there had to be more to life than what I was experiencing, so I applied to Mercy in order to find some hope for my life.

God has brought me back to a place of knowing Him while at Mercy Ministries, and I will be forever grateful. He is healing me, and I’m thankful that He is walking beside me, helping me find my way.

After Mercy, I will still have struggles and some of my goals will take time to reach, but I’m thankful that I have let go of the hurts that were holding me back, and now I can seek God in it all and trust Him to meet all my needs.


Michelle

6My life before Mercy was empty and dark. Rejection and sexual abuse left me feeling very alone and I lacked real feeling. I only felt alive when I was cutting, binging or purging. After learning about Mercy from my mother, I wanted to get complete freedom from these issues and I’m so thankful I was accepted into the program.

Wow! Since being at Mercy, God has given me a new identity and a new life. I’ve learned that I am truly accepted and loved by the One who created me! He has healed my pain and turned it into something beautiful for His glory.

After graduation, I will be completing high school and after I graduate, I will always share God’s transforming power as a way to encourage others.


Ladies, we are so proud of you! We are excited to see where the Lord will take you in this next season of your life!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cornerstone Church Impacts Several Mercy Graduates this Christmas

Every year at Christmas time, Cornerstone Church in Madison, TN celebrates the true meaning of this season by choosing several families in need within their church and showering them generously with gifts that meet specific needs. This year was no different, except that they decided to extend their reach to the community! Cornerstone Church contacted our Nashville home to see if they could bless any local Mercy graduates in the Middle Tennessee area.

Mercy Ministries contacted eight of our local graduates and their families, who each made their way to Cornerstone Church this past Sunday. Throughout the special Christmas service, each family was presented with gifts that met a huge need in their lives. In fact, one local graduate, Monica, received the biggest surprise. During the giving service, a 1995 Mercedes S500 was driven into the sanctuary and presented to her as her gift! As a single mom who is going to school and working to be able to provide for her son, this was such an amazing and unexpected blessing!!!

Our graduates were greatly impacted by the spirit of this giving and the tremendous effort and generosity demonstrated by the Cornerstone congregation was a beautiful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. What a memorable service!

Mercy Ministries chose girls who are continuing to make positive choices and walk out their freedom since graduating from Mercy, but who needed a little extra help this Christmas. To give a few specific examples of how this project impacted our girls, 2007 graduate, Cynthia, is a single mom, so when she and her kids were gifted with a Christmas tree and bunk beds along with toys and clothes for the kids, she was overwhelmed and filled with gratitude. 2008 graduate, Rachel, her husband Jeffrey and their kids, Chance and Emma, are going to love eating dinner together around their new dining room table!

We are so grateful to Cornerstone Church for choosing to reach outside their walls this Christmas season and help their community, which happened to include several of our former residents. To learn more about Cornerstone Church, visit their website at www.cornerstonenashville.org. Check out these pictures from this impactful Christmas service!



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas They Will Never Forget!

3For many of our residents, Christmas time at Mercy Ministries is the first time they truly experience unconditional love and giving without strings attached. It is so much fun to see their faces when they open their gifts! Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, makes sure to be in attendance for the special Christmas parties every year in all of our U.S. homes. At each gathering tears are inevitably shed as the unconditional love of God is demonstrated through the generous donations we receive. For many residents, the sacrificial giving by hundreds of people who do not even know them, often heals some of the very painful memories of past Christmases.

For those of you who helped make this Christmas the best our girls have ever had, we want you to know that the residents were deeply impacted. Each girl had something to say about how special this Christmas was to them and the tremendous impact it had on their lives. Here is what a few of the residents had to say:

Michelle said, “The Mercy Christmas party was a once in a lifetime memory that will last forever! There were many tears of overwhelming gratitude and joy at realizing how much people care. There is a God that loves us so beautifully!”

Hayley said, “I will, without a doubt, remember this night for the rest of my life! This expression of love and generosity was truly overwhelming for us. To be able to experience this with my Mercy sisters was so special.”

Katie said, “Never before have I felt so loved and blessed by the generosity of others. It gave me a brand new perspective on giving and taught me about selfless love. Thank you so much to all who made this Christmas possible!”

For those of you who chose to generously contribute Christmas presents for the residents, we would like for you to see some pictures of the girls as they opened their gifts. The emotions were high as they were presented with some truly remarkable gifts that included personally embroidered duffle bags, hoodie sweatshirts, and pajamas just to name a few!

Also, each year our donors have the opportunity to write the residents a note of encouragement on paper ornaments and these notes are hung on the branches of the Mercy Christmas trees displayed in the homes. Here are a few pictures of the girls reading their notes and being encouraged by not only your gifts, but your inspiring words.

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Christmas at Mercy is always overwhelming. We are so grateful for your expressions of unconditional love that has given our young women a Christmas that they will never forget.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Joyce Meyer Ministries Hosts St. Louis Residents at a Christmas Luncheon

On Monday, St. Louis Mercy residents were blessed to be a part of Joyce Meyer Ministries' annual Prison Ministry Volunteer Appreciation Potluck. Every month, our residents volunteer three hours of their time to Dave and Joyce’s prison outreach, in which they assemble gift bags that include hygiene products and books. They pack the gift bags in boxes and load several pallets so that they can be distributed. Every year, Joyce Meyer’s prison ministry representatives visit hundreds of prisons across the globe in order to distribute these gifts and minister to thousands of prisoners.

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During the luncheon, Dave and Joyce took time out to personally greet the Mercy girls and with other JMM volunteers. Our residents truly enjoy being a part of this ministry that shares God’s love with hurting people, and of course they loved having the opportunity to meet Joyce and Dave in person!

Here is what a few of the girls had to say about the potluck luncheon:

Tasha said, “It was really cool for Joyce to come by and see all the volunteers at the volunteer luncheon! The Christmas luncheon was so much fun and I really appreciated all the effort put into it!”

Teresa said, “It meant so much that Joyce personally came by to thank us at the warehouse. She and Dave were so real and personable. I always enjoy helping out and giving back to her ministry, especially after all she does for us.”

Katie said, “I’ve loved helping at the prison ministry. It was so exciting to get to meet Joyce and shake her hand since she has influenced my life so much!”


To learn more about Joyce Meyer Ministries’ prison outreach, visit www.joycemeyer.org.


St. Louis Residents Meet Priscilla Shirer at Chick Nite

This past Sunday, The Life Church in Memphis, lead by pastors John and Leslie Siebeling, chartered a bus for our St. Louis residents to attend a Chick Nite! Over 700 ladies gathered at Life Church to receive powerful teaching from guest speaker, Priscilla Shirer, a leading women’s Bible teacher who desires to see women know and experience the power of God’s Word. Along with her husband Jerry, Priscilla founded Going Beyond Ministries that is committed to teaching the uncompromising truths of God’s Word. Priscilla is a sought-after speaker and well-known author world wide.

Residents listened attentively as Priscilla spoke about how God loves second chances. She shared that we all have God’s hand on our lives and we have a great opportunity to live as someone brand new. Priscilla also gave the Mercy girls a “shout out” from the stage and took time to encourage and take photos with the residents.

We are so grateful to Life Church for supplying the transportation for this event, for hosting Mercy Ministries’ residents and staff for dinner, and for making our girls feel so special! The girls were also thrilled by your generosity in giving them lotions for Christmas.

Here is what a few of the residents had to say about Chick Nite:

Kelsey said, “Our trip to Life Church was amazing. Priscilla’s message was just what I needed to hear and all the church members were so kind and welcoming!”

Lauren said, “The road trip was so much fun. I really appreciated the kindness of the women at this church and they were so nice to give us gifts. We’re all fans of Priscilla Shirer so it was exciting to see her in person!”

Teresa said, “Priscilla is such an incredible speaker and woman of God. The church blessed us tremendously with dinner and the opportunity to attend this event.”


To learn more about Priscilla Shirer or Going Beyond Ministries, visit their website at www.goingbeyond.com. To learn more about The Life Church and Pastors John and Leslie Siebeling, visit www.thelifechurch.com.




Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jeremy Cowart Photographs Nashville Residents for Help Portrait

Last Saturday, Mercy Ministries’ Nashville residents traveled to Rocketown in downtown Nashville for what was for most, a once in a lifetime opportunity to have their hair and makeup skillfully done and to pose for a professional self-portrait. Jeremy Cowart, a Nashville-based artist and photographer whose skillful photography has captured rock stars, presidents and fashion models, spearheaded the national effort called Help Portrait that united more than 6,000 volunteers, including photographers, make-up artists and lighting specialists for a worldwide photo shoot. Unlike the typical photography shoot, Cowart had a vision to bless people who are unlikely to have an opportunity to have their picture professionally taken and printed. Help Portrait took place on Saturday, December 12 in almost every state and in almost 60 countries. In a 24 hour period, they logged more than 30,000 portraits.


The Mercy Ministries Nashville residents were excited to be a part of Cowart’s shoot as they each had the chance to feel special and beautiful, but were equally moved by the unparalleled generosity of the volunteers who were giving time to recognize everyone’s beauty and value. Cowart said, “I’m not sure who received more from this event, the Mercy girls or our photography team.”

Here is what a few of the residents had to say about their portrait session:

Sarah said, “This was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I really enjoyed it and appreciated it!”

Maddye said, “This was an amazing day!! I had so much fun and I felt so loved and so beautiful.”

Rachael said, “What a great opportunity for me! It gave me the chance to get dressed up and feel really pretty for the day. I’m so thankful that they would offer their services to all the
girls and to the rest of the community.”


To learn more about Jeremy Cowart visit his website at www.jeremycowart.com. To learn more about Help-Portrait visit www.help-portrait.com.

To read more about this special day, check out these articles -

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/12/14/photo.shoot.help.portrait/index.html?iref=allsearch

http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/category.asp?C=125220&clipId=4382945&topVideoCatNo=85299&autoStart=true

Monroe Residents Enjoy a Christmas Visit from Cypress Street Church

This past Saturday, the residents and staff at our Mercy Ministries’ Monroe home received a special visit from Pastors Dennis and Mary Anger and several members of Monroe’s Cypress Street Church of God. Everyone enjoyed a time of singing Christmas carols and the church group presented each resident with a gift bag of goodies including jewelry, a picture frame, and a hand-made card created by the children!

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Residents and staff were also excited when they received a cash donation for Mercy Ministries from the church, along with a unique gift to share in the home for years to come - a stuffed bear from the Build-A-Bear workshop named “Mercy”. In order to show their appreciation, our residents gave their church friends handmade treats before they left.

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We are so grateful for Cypress Street Church and their generosity with our Monroe residents! Here is what a few of the girls had to say in response to the generosity of this wonderful church:

Jordan said, “The gifts the children put together were really a blessing. I personally loved the handmade cards and I will treasure the one I received forever. Seeing their faces as we opened the gifts was special too.”

Lindsey said, “I’m so glad the children came to sing for us this morning! They were so giving and sweet to us and their joyful hearts made me feel special. I hope we get to see them again.”

Kati said, “I really enjoyed and appreciated the way in which the community supports this ministry. It is good to know we are loved.”


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To learn more about Cypress Street Church of God, visit their Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It’s A Girl!! – Nashville Resident Celebrates the Birth of Baby Caroline

1Mercy Ministries is celebrating the birth of a happy and healthy baby girl to Nashville resident, Abbey. Baby Caroline Grace was born at 9:16 pm on December 6th, and she weighed 9 pounds and 16 ounces and was 21 inches long. After much prayer, Abbey made the brave choice to place her baby girl for adoption with a loving Christian family. She said, “I know that God has a purpose for every life and that the purpose for my baby’s life was to save mine and to give a family a child they could not have.”

Mercy Ministries would like to thank our supporters for your continued prayers and support. Because of your support, lives are saved and transformed every day through the love of Christ!








Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ingram Content Group Hosts Bake Sale for Mercy Ministries

Ingram Content Group, a Nashville based worldwide distributor of books and digital products, has a team of employees who chose to make a difference this holiday season. After members of Ingram’s Client Services team were given a tour of Mercy Ministries in Nashville to prepare for a marketing project, the team was so impressed by what they saw, they were determined to help.

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Ingram’s Client Services Director, Lisa Button, had this to say about their visit:

“The thing that struck us most is that there are many group homes and support facilities in the city; however, Mercy is unique in that it seeks to do more than just help girls with one issue. Mercy Ministries strives to help girls with a wide range of issues find their way to a better life for the long term. When we returned to our office, Account Executive, Tanisha Wilson and I immediately started brainstorming ways to help the girls.”

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Lisa organized a small team that included Danielle Holmes, Tiffany Lytle, Tanisha Wilson, and Barbie Patton, and they decided to host a bake sale to raise money for the residents in the Nashville home. The team posted flyers, decorated a bulletin board at the IMG offices and got the word out to all Ingram associates. They auctioned cakes and pies, and sold brownies, chess pie, chocolate and peanut butter fudge and coconut chocolate bars! Ingram employees also donated purses, soap, lotions and other useful items.

We are so grateful to Ingram for choosing to help Mercy Ministries and the young women we serve. Their generosity is a perfect example of how anyone can get involved and make a huge impact.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pastors John and Helen Burns Visit Nashville Home

John and Helen are the Senior Pastors at Relate Church in Surrey, Canada. They travel globally ministering and encouraging at churches and conferences, but one of their favorite places to visit is Mercy Ministries. In fact, John and Helen have led the charge in bringing Mercy Ministries to Canada and have been instrumental in the development of the first home in Vancouver, which is scheduled to open in 2010.


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Our residents and staff are always incredibly moved by John and Helen’s passion for relationships and their Godly wisdom on what makes men and women unique and how men and women can rightly relate to one another. Today, John and Helen have been married for 35 years and together they shared the remarkable story of their restored marriage.

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We are so grateful to John and Helen for taking time to visit and minister to our girls and for being available to answer some really tough questions about forgiveness and what it means to learn from our pasts so we can have victory in future relationships.

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In addition to speaking to our girls and staff, John and Helen were excited to get to attend our Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit on Thursday evening to get some ideas for future Mercy Canada events!!

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Here is what some of the residents had to say in response their time with the Burns’:

Mariah said, “You can’t have a relationship with someone you don’t understand. Relationships are challenges. God created women to be relationship geniuses, to be beautiful and to be connectors while men were created to be focused, to be competitive and to be heroes.”

Kaite said, “My future is about relationships. The beginning of anything is to understand and by learning to delight in people’s differences, I can have meaningful and Godly relationships.”

Tealina said, “God didn’t send a rulebook, he sent a relationship. We were meant to have relationship with Jesus.”


To learn more about John and Helen Burns or Relate Church, visit their website at www.familyvictory.com.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Mercy Ministries featured on Nashville Lifestyles

MERRY MERCY CHRISTMAS BENEFIT Marie and Bob Parks served as chairs for the annual Merry Mercy benefit. Honorary Chair Julie Fisher and a host of influential individuals also assisted in making this year's event a roaring success. Nashville Lifestyles served as media sponsor. Held at Lowes on December 10th, the event was emceed by Charlie Neese of News Channel 5 and featured performances by Jars of Clay, and Jonny Lang. Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn expressed her appreciation for the outpouring of community support for her program. Mercy Ministries was founded in 1983 as a Christian residential program that is free of charge for young women who have problems such as eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, and other serious concerns. For more information, visit www.MercyMinistries.com

For the full article, click here.

Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit a Huge Success

The 3rd Annual Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit to support the work of Mercy Ministries of America was a huge success! Last night, 400 guests filled the ballroom at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in downtown Nashville to celebrate and support the mission of Mercy Ministries with a dinner and auction.

Jars of Clay performs at Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit

Emceed by Nashville’s Channel 5 News Meteorologist, Charlee Neese, and featuring the incredible musical talent of Jars of Clay, Tammy Trent, and Tommy Sims, the evening was definitely one to remember! Support from our patrons and from the community was overwhelming as items were donated for the silent and live auctions, from beautiful original artwork to a paradise vacation in the British West Indies, a wide array of gifts set the stage for an exciting time of bidding. Between the contributions of our table sponsors, proceeds from auction items and other charitable gifts, over $150,000 was raised!!

Attendees also had the chance to hear powerful and touching testimonies from two graduates of Mercy Ministries and Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, shared her heart for the countless young women who need to know there is a God who loves them unconditionally and that freedom from life-controlling issues is absolutely possible.

A very special thanks to all our benefit committee members, table hosts and event sponsors. Huge thanks to Marie and Bob Parks for serving as the Co-Chairs for the Merry Mercy Benefit and to Juli Fisher for serving as the Honorary Chair. Your generosity is making a difference for many hurting young women. Mercy Ministries would also like to thank Jars of Clay, Tammy Trent, Tommy Sims and his all-star band for providing the unbeatable entertainment for this event and to our many volunteers and staff, your hard work is irreplaceable.

The waiting list for Mercy Ministries is on an upward climb and this growth in need must go hand in hand with growth in support. Thank you for to all our amazing supporters for recognizing the value of the young women we serve and the transformation that is awaiting them. You’re support has eternal significance.

Check out some of the pictures & video from this special night:





Thursday, December 10, 2009

St. Louis Residents Volunteer at Christmas Fundraiser

2On Saturday, the Pujols Family Foundation hosted its annual O Night Divine Christmas Celebration to raise funds and awareness for their organization that benefits children with Down syndrome, disabilities, and life threatening illnesses. Albert Pujols, star first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, and his wife Deidre are amazing friends and supporters of Mercy Ministries and love to ask our residents to help at many of the foundation’s special events.

This year, the Mercy girls helped facilitate the silent auction at the Christmas Celebration by answering questions about the items and also by helping the auctioneer identify bidders and close out each item. Some of the auction items were so valuable that police officers were on duty at the event. Our residents and staff were so excited to have this opportunity to meet several big name sports heroes including Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, Bruce Sutter, Darryl Strawberry, Roberto Clemente and Meadowlark Lemon!

Here is what some of the girls had to say about their volunteer experience at the Pujols’ Christmas dinner and silent auction:

Katie said, “It is such an honor every time I go to a Pujols’ event. I admire and support everything Albert and Deidre stand for and really appreciate them inviting us to be a part of the vision.”

Amy said, “I love the passion behind this organization. This event really touched my heart, and I’m thankful that we get to give back and show our love for others in such a tangible way.”

Hope said, “This event was amazing. I really enjoyed learning about his foundation and getting to meet people in the community who support this cause.”


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To learn more about the Pujols Family Foundation visit their website at www.pujolsfamilyfoundation.org.

Check out these pictures from this special Christmas event!









Dave Ramsey Invites Nancy Alcorn to Lead Staff Devotion

3Yesterday, Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, considered it a great privilege to be invited by her dear friend, Dave Ramsey, to speak to his nearly 300 staff during their weekly devotional time. Dave and Sharon Ramsey have been long-time supporters of Mercy Ministries and Dave has helped countless people with their finances as a popular radio personality and author of several New York Times Best Sellers including The Total Money Makeover.

Dave dedicates time each Wednesday morning for his staff to have an opportunity to begin their day in prayer and Bible study. Nancy used this time to encourage his team that they are making a difference by helping people. She also talked about the power of our choices. Using a slideshow of pictures of girls who had come through the Mercy program and elaborating on the choices that they had each made to change, she emphasized that each of these young women had to let go of their past in order to experience lasting change. Nancy explained how Mercy Ministries and Dave Ramsey’s Lampo Group are similar because they are both in the people-helping business, teaching people that their past does not have to determine their future.

Here is what Nancy Alcorn had to say about her time with Dave’s incredible team:

“I count it a great honor to call Dave and Sharon Ramsey my friends, and I was even more proud of them today as I saw the impact they are having on so many people in this country and beyond. Times are tough and Dave’s team continues to extend great wisdom to people about budgeting, planning and living debt free. I loved connecting with the truly wonderful people in this organization.”

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To learn more about Dave Ramsey or to order his books and resources, visit his website at www.daveramsey.com.




Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mercy Ministries Helps Young Women Through Tough Times

Mercy Ministries graduate, Kathryne Coonce and Whitney Nall, Community Relations Manager were guests of today's broadcast of "Better Nashville" which can be seen on Nashville's WSMV-TV Channel 4. They had a chance to speak with host Holly Thompson about tomorrow's Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit and got to share about the amazing things that God is doing at Mercy. The benefit is tomorrow, Thursday, December 10th at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. There will be a chance to hear from former graduates as well as an amazing opportunity to listen to live music led by artists Tammy Trent, Jars of Clay, Jonny Lang and Tommy Sims. There will also be a live auction held. For more information about this event, visit http://www.merrymercychristmas.com.

To view today's interview, click below:

Dianne Wilson Impacts California Residents!

2Dianne Wilson and her husband Jonathan are Senior Associate Pastors of Newport Church in Newport Beach, California. Dianne is also a much sought-after speaker in churches and conferences around the world and a bestselling author. Last Friday, California residents and staff were so excited to have Dianne take time out of her busy schedule to pay a special visit to the new Sacramento home.

Dianne was so excited to get to see the new home first hand before spending time encouraging our girls and staff by sharing a powerful message about resting in God’s approval rather than seeking man’s approval. The girls and staff were deeply touched and impacted by her honesty as she encouraged them to embrace who they are in their appearance and to see themselves the way God sees them. Dianne also presented each of the residents an autographed copy of her book Mirror Mirror, that gives practical advice for overcoming feelings of rejection and discovering one’s true identity in Christ!

We were absolutely thrilled to have Dianne Wilson visit our Sacramento home and we can’t wait for her to come back!

Here is what some of the Mercy girls had to say in response to Dianne’s time at Mercy Ministries:

Heather said, “Dianne’s message truly touched my heart. She is such an anointed woman of God, and I am so blessed that I got to meet her and hear her speak.”

Shelby said, “She taught me how to look at myself through the eyes of God and that gave me the ability to raise my self esteem!”

Amanda said, “It’s easy for me to forget that when God created me, He said that it was good. When Diane spoke, it reminded me that God approves of me completely just as I am.”


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To learn more about Pastors Jonathan and Dianne Wilson or Newport Church, visit their website www.newportchurch.com.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mercy Ministries Celebrates First California Graduation!

Friday was a history making day as the Mercy Ministries California home celebrated its very first graduation! Staff and residents joined family members, friends, and supporters to celebrate the transformation that has occurred in the lives of three young women since they each made the brave decision to call a time out in their lives to seek help with their life-controlling issues. The three graduates all agreed to transfer to the California from other homes and were among the very first residents to step foot in the new residency to finish the program as peer leaders. Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, joined the celebration in order to offer encouragement and wisdom to the graduates as well as the current residents. Nancy said, “It was just amazing to be able to see and hear firsthand about the work that they have allowed the Lord to do in their lives, and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold for them!”

Check out their amazing stories!


Lauren

1Before coming to Mercy, I grew up in a loving Christian family, but after my triplet brothers were born, I faced severe feelings of rejection. I was teased throughout most of my elementary school years and by the time I was in high school, the depression I was carrying led to binge drinking and sexual promiscuity. Eventually I found myself in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship and I felt trapped. My parents pleaded with me to get out, but I felt helpless. Finally, my mom’s friend told me about Mercy and I realized that I needed help.

Since being at Mercy, God has healed my broken heart and filled my soul full of passion for life and joy. My relationship with my parents and brothers has been restored, and through the wonderful leadership at Mercy pointing me to my Lord and Savior, I learned what real love is. I am no longer defined by my past. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus!

After graduation, I will be doing an internship with the Teen Mania Honor Academy in Texas. I am excited about the future and am so thankful for each new day.



Sydnie

2Before Mercy, I was angry and bitter. My heart was hardened to the things of God. Even though I wanted desperately to trust Him with my life, I didn’t know how. Sexual abuse by a family member left me feeling completely rejected, and I turned to a dependency on alcohol and relationships with guys in order to fill the void in my life. I knew there had to be something better than living in constant fear and hating how much I was hurting my family. In order to release my tight grasp on the past, I needed help. My mom and I learned about Mercy on the internet, and I knew I had to apply.

During my time at Mercy, I realized that God was not at all the author of my pain even though I usually blamed Him for everything. He has pursued me my whole life and was jealous for relationship with me. I have fallen in love again with my first love, Jesus Christ, and by His grace and mercy, I have let go of everything I was holding on to so that I could receive what He has for me. My life isno longer my own.

After Mercy, I plan to return home and eventually pursue my dream of being a photographer. I’m looking forward to all God has in store for me!



Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of your courage and we can’t wait to see what God is going to do in each of your lives!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Run for Mercy Team Participates in California International Marathon

1Yesterday, a Run for Mercy team participated in the California International Marathon (www.runcim.org) and raised $4,315.00! It was a cold and windy Sunday morning as our team joined 12,000+ runners at the starting line in Sacramento. The gun went off at 7 am and runners made their way along the 262 mile course following the American River. We are proud of these five runners who challenged themselves both mentally and physically in order to raise support and awareness for the work of Mercy Ministries.

One Team Mercy participant, Amy Bangs, said, “Along the way, I kept thinking of why I was running and all of you who had supported my efforts through prayer and financial giving. What an amazing partnership and what an amazing victory! As I battled my body throughout the run, I was reminded of the spiritual battle that has been waged over the lives of so many young girls. For many, Mercy Ministries is where they find victory through Jesus Christ. It is there that they take back that which the enemy has tried to rob, kill and destroy within their lives and their bodies. Together our team made an investment in the lives of young girls that will last for eternity.”

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Big thanks to all Team Mercy participants who give sacrificially for a purpose bigger than themselves. There are still opportunities to support Mercy Ministries at a Run for Mercy near you. Register online at www.runformercy.org by joining an existing team, forming a new team or participating as an individual runner.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Life-Changing Weekend for Sacramento Residents!

Mercy Ministries’ Sacramento residents had a blast attending a powerful concert and life-changing conference last Wednesday night.

Dove Award winner and friend of Mercy, Natalie Grant, invited our Sacramento girls to her “Speaking Louder Than Before” concert headlining Jeremy Camp and featuring Bebo Norman and Natalie Grant at Adventure Church in Roseville, CA. Natalie also arranged for a special meet and greet with the girls to make them feel extra special and loved. Residents loved having the chance to get out and enjoy this powerful time of worship with three critically acclaimed artists.

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Here is what two of the girls had to say about their experience:

Amy said, “What a blessing it was to meet such an anointed woman of God and be a part of the Natalie Grant and Jeremy Camp concert. God rocked the place through their amazing talents.”

Lily said, “It was such a blessing to get to meet Natalie Grant. She was so personable and sweet! Everyone had a really inspirational message of hope in Christ!”

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To learn more about Natalie Grant and to check out her upcoming concert dates, visit her website at www.nataliegrant.com.

The next day at ARCO Arena, Mercy Ministries’ Sacramento residents and staff were excited to join 5,000 other young women at the Revolve Tour, the teen division of the nationwide, faith-based organization, Women of Faith. Designed to lead young women toward an understanding of God’s love and grace, this year’s “4Real” themed tour provided a safe place for conference attendees to discuss relevant questions about school, relationships, sex and other peer pressures.

Mercy Ministries would like to take the opportunity to thank Revolve Tour representatives for gifting the Mercy California girls with tickets to attend this empowering conference. This year’s keynote speaker Chad Eastham, was joined by other special guests, television and film personality, Yvette Nicole Brown, Courtney Clark Cleveland of Team Empty Chair and Austin Gutwein with Hoops of Hope. The gathering also featured bands like Group 1 Crew and Stellar Kart who led the crowd in amazing worship.

It was truly a life-changing event and one that Mercy Ministries California plans to be involved in for years to come! Here is what some of the residents had to say about the Revolve Tour:

Janelle said, “The whole place was filled with so much energy. My favorite part was listening to Chad Eastham. He was super funny and really had some great insights into relationship issues. I felt really blessed to have had the chance to attend the event.”

Lily said, “The praise and worship and drama made the event so exciting. I got so much out of it!”

Beth said, “I learned that how I view myself is also a reflection of how I view God. I do not need to wear a mask to fit in with others or please people. I learned a lot. The Revolve Tour was a wonderful blessing.”

To learn more about The Revolve Tour, visit their website at www.revolvetour.com.

Check out this slideshow of pictures from this inspirational weekend.