Thursday, March 5, 2009

Five Nashville Graduates Celebrate Hope and Transformation!

Five residents at the Nashville home celebrated their graduation this week! This was an exciting celebration of the lives that have been transformed by the love of Christ. Here are their stories of hope and freedom:


Joyia


I grew up in a Christian home but throughout my life, I dealt with many hardships. During my childhood, I became very angry at God because He didn’t answer my prayers to save my uncle’s life. I started to turn my back on God and my faith. Then during high school, I was molested by a co-worker. After all of these heartbreaks, I became very bitter and started to drink and use drugs. I used these destructive behaviors to numb the pain from the circumstances in my life. When I was 21 years old, I fell into a deep depression and I tried to end my life. The suicide attempt resulted in a 2 week coma and a liver transplant. I had to learn to function all over again.

Even after this near death experience, I still went back to my destructive ways. My partying continued and my addictions were controlling my life. I couldn’t bare the thought of putting my parents through more grief, so I started searching for facilities online. I found the Mercy website and I knew the program was my last chance for true freedom.

At Mercy, God has shown me who I am in Christ. I am His beautiful daughter and now I have joy and freedom through Him. He has shown me that I am loved, regardless of my past and He will never leave me nor forsake me.

I plan to go to college in the fall and pursue a degree in Biblical studies and social work. I would like to head back to Philadelphia and reach out to girls on the streets. Eventually I would like to open my own home for unwed pregnant girls and hurting women.


Jessica


When I was two-years old, I was taken out of an abusive home, and was adopted by a loving family. I began to be abused by a close family member. I was consumed with anger and hurt and I started acting out to get my parents’ attention. Because of the abuse I experienced, I had no concept of my self-worth, and I looked for acceptance in all of the wrong places. Then my grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Before she passed away, her one wish was that I would get help for my struggles. I saw information about Mercy Ministries on the Point of Grace website and decided to go through with the application process for my grandmother and for myself. I was ready to conquer my struggles and move on with my life!

While I was in the Mercy program, God showed me how to forgive my brother, my parents, and myself. I learned that God loves me regardless of my past and my sins. I know He is always with me. He has helped me learn to trust again. Now I am free from my depression and I have a desire to live life to the fullest.

After Mercy, I am going to go to college to become a teacher. I come from a family of educators- my mom, grandmother, aunts, and uncles are all teachers, and I look forward to carrying on the family tradition!


Mariah


I grew up in Liberia, West Africa. Life in Africa was very hard; when my mother was pregnant with me, my father left so I grew up without a father figure in my life. I also suffered physical abuse. My mom remarried, but I was rejected by my new step-siblings and step-father. The rejection caused me to leave home, and I lived on the streets. I moved in with a Nigerian family for a little while, but they decided to move back to Nigeria so I was sent to an orphanage. My biological father had passed away during this time, so I never had the opportunity to know him or form any type of relationship with him.

I went on to live in an orphanage for five years and then, when I was 15 years old, I was adopted by an amazing American family and moved to the United States. This transition was very difficult because everything was foreign and new to me. I struggled with culture shock, the effects of past abuse, and my new surroundings, and I became very depressed. I was overwhelmed with resentment and anger. I started to get into trouble at home and fought with my siblings and parents. My mom recognized that I needed to get help and she found out about Mercy Ministries on the Internet. She told me about the program and I decided to apply because I knew I needed to work on my issues and restore the joy in my life.

While at Mercy, God has been so good to me! I am so thankful for His unconditional love and goodness. I have learned how to forgive the people in my life that have hurt me. God has performed a total transformation within me, and I am free from the anger and depression that controlled my life.

Once I graduate from Mercy, I am going home to finish high school. Then I plan attend college. and I have a dream to go back to Africa to visit my biological mother. I would love to get involved with mission work in China one day and teach other children about God and help kids who are like me obtain freedom from their issues.


Emily


Sexual abuse left a scar deep inside of me that fed many lies and distorted the way I perceived myself. The abuse led to a 16 year battle with an eating disorder. This struggle left me lifeless and on the brink of death. Fear and shame controlled my life. I constantly ran from who I was, and I searched for anything that would detach me from my body. I started to practice self-harm and started experimenting with drugs. I was consumed with my life-controlling issues and I lost my passion for life. I was full of shame, and I felt like I was trapped inside a hollow shell. I knew I could not go on like this forever, so I started searching for help online and that’s where I found out about Mercy Ministries.

In the past six months, God has freed me from the bondage in my life and changed me from the inside out. He enlightened my eyes to the truth and I am no longer living in fear. I have grown to love myself just the way He created me. I have learned the power of forgiveness, which was a heavy burden lifted from me. I am standing confident with God on my side.

In the future, I plan to use my testimony to encourage others. As a young child, God told me I would make a difference. I desire to help others who are suffering to obtain freedom from their struggles. I would also love to pursue a career in graphic design and publish a magazine one day!


Congratulations Joyia, Mariah, Jessica, and Emily!! We are so proud of you, and we can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you!