Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gospel Singer/Songwriter Niyoki Visits Mercy Ministries in Nashville

Nashville residents were excited to have up and coming gospel singer and songwriter Niyoki come by the home for a special private concert last Thursday. Niyoki first found out about Mercy through a close friend and wanted to learn more, so she came for a tour of the Nashville home and corporate offices last fall. She was deeply touched by what she saw and fell in love with our heart for and our ministry to hurting young women. In turn, Niyoki gave a copy of her newest album to all 90 U.S. residents for Christmas. The residents loved her music so much that we decided to invite her back to the Nashville home to share her musical talent with the girls and staff.

Niyoki spoke about growing up in a musical family and how she came to a point where she made the choice to surrender a music career and trust God with her future, rather than chasing fame and worldly success. Niyoki’s time with our residents was so uplifting as she sang songs from her new album “Rest”. She sang about her love for the Lord and the peace she finds in using her God-given talents to glorify Him, rather than striving to get ahead or to be known. Niyoki has a real joy for life that rubs off on everyone she meets!

Here is what a few of our girls had to say about her visit:

Andrea said, “Joy is completely different from happiness or how we feel about certain situations. How many people would not be blessed if Niyoki had not decided to walk in the will of God? It makes me think about my life; not walking in the will of God can be selfish in so many ways.”

Andi said, “Now, I realize that I can come to God just as I am and give Him my burdens. He knows right where I am at. It does not matter what my struggles are because I need to allow God to move and I must have joy in the midst of struggle.”

Abby said, “I realized that I need to give everything to God and He will take care of me!”

Check out this video of Niyoki’s time at Mercy:



To learn more about Niyoki visit her website at www.niyoki.com.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mercy Ministries Close Friend and Supporter Kyle McCarter Appointed to Illinois State Senate

Kyle McCarterWe want to congratulate Mercy friend and supporter, Kyle McCarter for his recent appointment as Illinois State Senator! Kyle McCarter and his wife Victoria live in Lebanon, IL, where they own and manage Custom Product Innovations and Custom Coating Innovations. Prior to being appointed as State Senator, Kyle served on the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for six years, including two years as President and four years as Chairman of the Economic Development Committee from 2004-2008. Kyle graduated from Oral Roberts University in 1984 with a degree in accounting. Kyle and Victoria also have a huge heart for ministry.

The McCarter’s have two sons (pictured right) of their own and an abundance of spiritual daughters at Mercy Ministries. The McCarter’s know all to well the issues young girls face as their daughter, Amber, died tragically in 2006 from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 21. Mercy Ministries has over 700 girls currently in the application process, and the McCarters have taken a stand and agreed to do their part in making sure young women get the help they need before it’s too late. Victoria said, “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.”

Kyle and Victoria McCarter
at the St. Louis Run for Mercy in 2007

Over the past few years, Kyle and Victoria have taken on the role of ‘mom and dad’ to the residents in our St. Louis home. Not only has this couple spent a lot of time in the home encouraging the girls, but they have also been faithful advocates and financial supporters of Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries hosts annual marathons as one of our many fundraising efforts. In September of 2008 and again this April, Victoria participated in our St. Louis Run for Mercy as event chairman and participating runner. Victoria said, “This is my sixth 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.”

Congratulations, Kyle McCarter, on your recent promotion as Illinois State Senator. We are excited to see what this new chapter holds for you. Thank you to the entire McCarter family for pouring into the lives of our residents. We are so grateful for your faithful friendship and support and we are honored to have you as members of our Mercy family.

To read more about Kyle’s appointment to the Illinois Senate, check out http://www.herald-review.com/articles/2009/02/23/news/local/1039344.txt.

The McCarter family at the Mercy Ministries
25th Anniversary concert

Monday, April 27, 2009

3rd Annual 'Run for Mercy' Marathons in Nashville and St. Louis

Team Mercy in St. Louis

Mercy Ministries in St. Louis, MO welcomed its 3rd annual Run for Mercy marathon team on Sunday, April 19th and Nashville did the same on Saturday April, 25th. There were 26 participants in the St. Louis marathon and 46 participants in the Nashville marathon. These runners came together to help raise support and awareness for the work of Mercy Ministries.

All of the runners gathered the night before each the races in the St. Louis and Nashville homes for a pre-race pasta party. Everyone got to hear a personal testimony from a current resident, and then several runners shared about what inspires them to run for Mercy. Allison, who flew from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas to participate in the St. Louis marathon told about how deeply she has been impacted by the Ministry and that she shares the vision of Mercy with everyone on her college campus.

James Gaines, another St. Louis marathon participant, said, “Team Mercy is by far the best team I have ever run with. I have run competitively since the 6th grade, but this is the first time I had a purpose bigger than myself. The night before the race we went up to the Mercy house for a pasta party. Each girl wrote us a letter of encouragement, and that’s when it hit me – I was running for a cause. So that night I put that letter in my shoes. And every step I took, it made me think of the Mercy girls and how their lives are being changed through being able to get the help they need, free of charge.” James literally placed the letter from Susanna in a plastic bag, placed it in his shoe and ran with it in his shoe the entire race!

Team Mercy in Nashville

This year, the marathon participants in Nashville and St. Louis raised a total of $30,000! As a way to say thank you for their support, participants received a ‘race-day bag’ that included a copy of Nancy’s book of testimonies, Mercy Moves Mountains, a Mercy bracelet, a pair of Under-Armour running socks, a Run for Mercy shirt, a Mercy monogrammed face towel, a personal note of encouragement from a current resident and a Mercy Magazine.

On the day of the races, residents from the Nashville and St. Louis homes attended the marathons and cheered the runners on. One of the Nashville residents, Michaela, said, “It was awesome to meet the runners who were raising money and running to support all of us girls here at Mercy! We are all in this race together, and I know God is cheering us on the whole way through!”

For more information about running for Mercy, check out our website at www.runformercy.org.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Six More Lives Transformed – Read Their Stories!!

Family, friends, staff, and residents gathered at the Mercy Ministries Nashville home to celebrate six more lives transformed by love of Jesus Christ. These young women have graduated the program with hope for their futures and incredible stories of freedom and new life. We would like to share their stories with you:

Susie

When I was in the 4th grade, I started struggling with anxiety, depression and panic attacks. I always felt like a freak because I had the most irrational fears. I was very skinny as a child and my peers consistently made fun of me, which caused me to be extremely insecure. So as a way to fit in, I began drinking, smoking, partying and hanging out with older guys. At 15 years of age, I fell into a controlling and abusive relationship with one of those men and started using alcohol as way to cope. Finally, I turned to anorexia to help me control the pain. I ended up in a six year battle with anorexia that almost took my life. I was in and out of residential treatment facilities that were not helping just searching for find freedom. I came to a place of desperation without hope, and I knew that Mercy Ministries was an answer to my prayers! I had read about Mercy years before I actually applied, and I remembered hearing stories about other girls who had found freedom. I completed the application, and was accepted into the program.

Since being at Mercy, God has transformed me from the inside-out! I have finally found freedom and a renewed hope for the future. God has shown me that I am forgiven, accepted, and treasured in His eyes! I have learned that I can turn to God whenever I need comfort, peace or strength to face the day. I am excited to see the journey that He takes me on.

After I graduate, I plan on going back to Illinois State University to finish my degree in Health Education. After college, I want to pursue a career where I can help other people who struggle with addictions. Someday, I would love to work at Mercy Ministries or some other ministry similar to Mercy helping hurting young women find hope and freedom in Christ.

Sarah

My life was chaotic and out of control 24 hours a day. When I was four years old, my parents separated and my sister and I were left to live with our father. When my mom left, I became overwhelmed with feelings of rejection, neglect and abandonment. In the 3rd grade, my sister and I were illegally taken from our dad and we lived with our mom for five to six months. During that time period, my mom was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. I believe that the abuse was the root of my battle with an eating disorder, self-harm and multiple suicide attempts. The brokenness that defined me became unbearable, and that is when I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries.

Wow! Since being at Mercy, my relationship with my parents has been restored. I have found real freedom in Christ. The Lord has softened my heart towards people that I never thought I would be able to forgive. He has given me an authentic smile and real inner joy. I am truly thankful to be alive and to live the abundant life that the God has planned for me.

After Mercy, I plan on going back home to Texas to be with my amazing family. I am looking forward to finishing high school, and after I graduate, I am open to whatever the Lord calls me to do!

Caroline

I grew up feeling very misunderstood. Throughout middle school, I was consistently teased for being so small, which eventually led to me hating my body. I hated being ‘cute little Caroline’. In high school, I was referred to as anorexic. I became very angry, and as way to prove myself as big enough, I chose to become involved in the party scene. At first, I was doing it to prove myself, but I ended up destroying my reputation. During all of this, I was raped and basically hated myself. I was certain I would be dead by 18. Drugs owned my life, and I did not know how to stop. I found out about Mercy and knew it was my last chance to get my life in control.

While at Mercy, God gave me my life back. He released me from all the shame and guilt I carried around for so long. He has restored my hope for an amazing future full of His plans. If God can see past all my flaws and still love me, then I can love myself too. I have learned to trust Him, to trust others and to trust myself.

I plan on attending Middle Tennessee State University in the fall and working with children to show them God’s love. I would also like to return to Mozambique on a mission trip. I will always share God’s transforming work in my life as a way to encourage others.

Grace

Before Mercy, my life was controlled by an eating disorder and self-hate. I was addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex. All of those behaviors were just a way to cope with the pain of my childhood physical and sexual abuse. Finally, I tried to commit suicide, and when I failed, I realized that I had no more hope. I desperately needed help. When I found out about Mercy, I immediately saw a glimpse of hope for healing.

At Mercy, I found freedom from drugs, alcohol and the eating disorder. My joy and hope have been restored. I have also received a greater revelation of God’s grace and unconditional love for me. I have forgiven my abusers, and I have learned to trust God even when life is difficult.

When I return home, I plan on working at a Christian summer camp and pursuing a degree in Leadership and Communications at Regent University. I am excited to see where the Lord is going to take me.

Georgianna

At 16 years of age, my dad left and I desperately tried to regain control through bulimia, anorexia and over-exercising. Before I knew it, these things had taken control of me. I began overdosing on pain medications and sleeping pills. I also started self-harming as a way to cope with the pain of my dad leaving. I was depressed and hopeless thinking that there was no way out. I truly thought that I would be trapped in darkness until the day that my heart stopped beating. Out of desperation and a life that was falling apart, I applied to Mercy to regain control of my life.

I walked through the doors of Mercy with a lot of doubt and distrust. I did not believe that God could really heal me. Within a few days of being at Mercy, I got a glimpse of hope for the first time in six years, and I cried out for freedom. God honored my heart of surrender and obedience by completely healing and restoring me. I have learned that He is trustworthy and more than enough. I have realized that He is all I need to define myself.

After Mercy, I will be leading worship at my church. I plan on going back to college to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. I am not sure what all of that will look like, but I am totally trusting God!

Ashley

I was physically and sexually abused for most of my life. At one point, my mother and father abandoned me, which left me confused by feelings of rejection and abandonment. I became an addict for four years as a way to numb the pain of my past. I hated my life and I hated myself. I would have done anything to leave the world, but I knew I needed help. I did not want to live that way anymore so I applied to Mercy Ministries.

At Mercy, I learned that I have a choice for life or death. I realized that I am a child of God with an amazing future in Him. He has restored my joy and shown me unconditional love. Now, I love myself!

When I leave Mercy, I plan on going back to Virginia and getting a job. I am looking forward to letting God lead me wherever He wants me to go!

Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you and we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for your new journeys.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Graduate Returns to Join Mercy Ministries Monroe Staff as Nutrition and Fitness Manager

Crystal came to Mercy Ministries after battling an 8-year struggle with anorexia and bulimia. She believed that she would never be free from the eating disorder, which led to struggles with depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm and prescription drug abuse. Each year, her chains of bondage grew tighter. Eventually she was hospitalized and went through several counselors, but nothing helped. Her life was a mess. After a severe wake-up call when she was hospitalized yet again for major complications from the eating disorder and laxative and diet pill abuse, Crystal was confronted with reality and knew that she would die if she did not overcome the eating disorder.

Soon after the wake-up call, a close friend told Crystal about Mercy Ministries. Crystal was already a Christian and knew that there was no other way to freedom but through Jesus Christ, so she began the application process to Mercy. Crystal was accepted into the program and arrived at our Monroe home in 2005.

During her time at Mercy, God did an amazing work in her life. She learned to apply God’s Word to her life in a real and tangible way. She was able to break free from the tough life issues that were at the root of her destructive behaviors. Due to a childhood full of loss, hurt, instability and abuse, she did not have much value or self-worth. Crystal was overwhelmed with feelings of rejection and she was unsure of how to cope with the hurtful choices that others had inflicted upon her. God revealed to Crystal that her true identity is in Him and not in the things of this world. He revealed His amazing love and forgiveness to her and enabled her to begin to see herself through His eyes. Crystal said, “God used Mercy Ministries in such an awesome way, and He brought healing, freedom, health, value and truth into my life. I am able to forgive and live life to the fullest now!"

After graduating from Mercy, Crystal moved on to obtain her college degree. Crystal felt called to Nutrition and Fitness. The Lord made it very clear that Crystal’s greatest struggle would now be her greatest area of ministry. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Louisiana Tech University. Crystal immediately began working as a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist at a local hospital and fitness center. During that time, God called her back to school again to finish a Master’s degree in nutrition. He paved the way and provided all the necessary resources. In March of 2009, Crystal graduated with a Master’s degree in Nutrition.

Soon after, she began feeling the desire to return to Mercy Ministries and work as the Nutrition and Fitness Manager, so she submitted her resume and waited. God opened the doors and it became a reality in February of 2009. Crystal said, “It has been amazing to come back to Mercy to work and serve with the gifts and talents that the Lord has given me. I love pouring out all that the Lord has taught me. It is an incredible opportunity to help these girls find the same love and freedom in Christ that I have found.”

Crystal also said, “This past year has been one of much fulfillment and blessing, words can not even describe! I am working in my dream job and acquired my Master’s degree. I also purchased a new home and married the love of my life just a few weeks ago, which is a miracle in itself. I always said that I would never take a man’s last name, but God has healed and restored me in that area as well, and He brought me a wonderful and godly man. The Lord has truly blessed my obedience to Him. I have learned what it means to live an Ephesians 3:20 life, which is blessed, beyond anything I could ask or imagine!”

We are so proud to have Crystal on staff at Mercy Ministries and we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for her future.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Final Four Championship Brings 50 NCAA Coaches, Players and Friends to Visit Our St. Louis Home

Over the years, Nancy Alcorn, founder of Mercy Ministries, has developed lasting friendships with many NCAA coaches across the country through her ministry to young women and her love for sports. Last week, in honor of the Final Four Championship being held in St. Louis, Missouri, Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries' staff and girls hosted a large group of nearly 50 coaches, players, and friends at the Mercy home in St. Louis.

The group arrived in time to join our residents and staff for lunch, which allowed for an extended time of casual conversation and sharing. Nancy then shared her heart for hurting young women and the mission of Mercy Ministries. Nancy was then encouraged by several of her closest friends to tell some of the hilarious and touching stories from over the years. All our guests took the time to stand and personally introduce themselves to the group.

After the introductions and time of sharing, the group moved into an incredible time of worship led by well-known worship artist Jami Smith and one of her band members, Janet Hubbell. This talented duo ministered in a powerful way with songs like Faith in You, Love is Deep, Sit with You Awhile and Come unto Me. Hearts were touched, tears were shed and God was glorified in a mighty way! Jami came bearing gifts of her latest CD entitled Faith in You for each Mercy girl, and they could not have been happier to receive this generous gift!

The NCAA group, including Deb Patterson from Kansas State, Kristi Curry from Texas Tech, Jane Albright from University of Nevada, Donna Noonan with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Maurice Hilliard from Pepperdine University, Erica Montgomery & Mamie James from North Texas University and Eric Scholz of Utah State University to name a few, all took tours of the home and saw the many ways God is at work through Mercy Ministries.

Here is what some of our residents had to say about this amazing time of fellowship and worship:

"Having Nancy and Final Four ladies and gentlemen at the Mercy home yesterday was such a so much fun! Jami Smith did an amazing job leading the worship and God touched my heart in a huge way! Nancy is so down to earth and made us feel so loved. Thank you!" - Tiffany

"I thought the worship was transparent and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Jami did a great job connecting with us." – Emily

"I was overwhelmed by the love Nancy has for us girls. It was apparent as she walked into the room and started talking with us. I just praise God for placing the vision of Mercy into her heart and that she was willing to obey no matter what! To have that kind of faith and incredible obedience to God is so encouraging." - Jenna

"It was encouraging to see the NCAA coaches and players come out to the home and just ‘hang’ with us. As faith-filled believers, the love they shared with us ministered to my heart. I have no doubt now that there are people out there that really do care about us and support us – God showed me that through this special visit." - Lauren

Special thanks to this group of coaches, players, and friends who took the time out of their busy schedules to come and visit! Also special thanks to Jami Smith for leading us in a special time of worship!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Three Monroe Graduates Celebrate Freedom and Hope for the Future!

Monroe staff and residents joined by family and friends came together to celebrate three more lives that have been transformed by the love of God. Here are the stories of three incredible young women:

Ashley:

My life before Mercy was unstable and empty. I was constantly looking for way to fill the void in my heart. I looked to people, substances, or really anything that would fill me up and make me feel whole. I changed momentarily according to how the person or group I was with wanted me to be. No matter how hard I tried to define myself by guys, drugs or alcohol, I just felt more empty and incomplete. I lost who I was created to be. My life was out of control and I ended up in a psych hospital for the third time. I lost my job and I realized that my life was headed down a dark road. I knew needed to do something different and that is when I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries as my last hope.

After arriving at Mercy Ministries, I discovered that Jesus is the only one who can truly fill me up and satisfy all my heart’s desires. During my time at Mercy, He has given me joy for the first time in my life. I found the kind of joy that does not diminish according to current circumstances. Rather, I have joy that is rooted in my identity in Christ because I am accepted and loved by Him. I have learned to hear the voice of God as He reveals His amazing plans for my life. Now, I am excited about my future.

When I go home, I plan on getting involved with a ministry that focuses on reaching the world’s outcasts and the undesirable. No man deserves to be written off. I want to bring lasting change to hurting lives through helping people embrace the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ!

Savannah:

My childhood was rather normal until my dad went to prison. As a result, my mom became very ill with Chron’s disease and as a way to cope with it all, I became addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was raped at the age of 16, which caused me to fall deeper into my addictions. I became very promiscuous and began to prostitute my body for drugs. Things kept spiraling out of control, and I started feeling overwhelmed by shame and guilt. I began self-harming and dabbling in witchcraft. Cutting became a way to cope with my poor decisions. Eventually, self-harm became my life. During all of this, not only was my mom sick with Chron’s disease, but she also had to have brain surgery. Finally, we had to put her in a nursing home because it was too much responsibility, and soon after she passed away. After my mom died, I was cutting to control the pain, using drugs to numb the pain and sleeping with boys to cover the pain. I was absolutely hopeless and desperate to find something worth living for. I found out about Mercy Ministries through a magazine about a girl who struggled with cutting, yet she was able to find hope and freedom. I decided to apply to the program for myself.

Once I arrived at Mercy Ministries, I read a passage in Ezekiel that talked about how God could take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. He did just that! He took my old, cold and hard heart and He changed it to a soft and loving heart. God has shown me that I am worthy to be in His presence and that He is my Father who loves me unconditionally. He has set me free of issues that people told me I would have to struggle with for the rest of my life!

After graduation, I want to go to college to become a counselor. After that, I want to go to seminary. Eventually, I want to open a rehab program to help women who struggle with the same things I struggled with. My heart is to help hurting people and to tell them the truth about hope in Christ.

Eden:

Growing up was difficult for me because I was emotionally and verbally abused by my dad. As a teenager, I hated myself, my life, my home and my school. By my junior year in high school, I turned to alcohol and cutting to ease the pain and depression. After my dad passed away, I turned to food for comfort. I began purging as a way to control my weight. When I graduated from college, I was addicted to alcohol, cutting, bulimia and prescription drug abuse. That cycle continued for several years, which caused me to become consumed with thoughts of suicide and death. My life was spiraling out of control and the darkness began to close in on me. I wanted a way out. After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries. I completed the application process and was accepted into the program.

While at Mercy Ministries, God taught me that my identity is in Him. He also taught me that life is not perfect, but that He is guiding, directing and protecting me each step of the way. I realized that I have to relinquish control to Him. The Lord has also shown me that His mercy and forgiveness will always cover my mistakes.

After Mercy, I plan on moving back home and finishing the certification requirements to be a teacher. Once I am a certified teacher, I plan on finding a teaching job. I am also looking forward to getting involved at my local church.

We are so proud of you Ashley, Savannah and Eden. We are looking forward to what the Lord has planned for each one of you as you leave Mercy and move into a new season!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Testimony of Transformation

Jaime came to Mercy Ministries in June of 2007. She was completely broken and desperate to be loved. She wanted to share her testimony with you as well as what God is doing in and through her life after Mercy…

“I grew up in an abusive family with alcoholic parents. I was raised to be atheist. I was sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused during my entire childhood. As a result, I developed an eating disorder at the young age of 4 years and began seeing a psychiatrist at age 5. When I was 12 years old my father left home and never returned. Soon after he left, my mother had a nervous breakdown that lasted for what seemed like a lifetime. Now, not only was I struggling with anorexia and bulimia, but I began smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking hard liquor, practicing witchcraft, stealing and I started self-harming. I quickly became addicted to drugs and alcohol and had multiple attempts at suicide. I went from one treatment center to another, spent time in hospitals and psych wards and was diagnosed with 11 psychiatric disorders. Around the age of 21, I was living as a hermit because I was too afraid of the public.

Finally, I cried out to God, wondering about the life He had given me. The next day I was online looking at suicide information and Mercy Ministries came up. I laughed at first because it was a faith-based Christian program. But out of despair, I applied immediately. By the grace of God, I was accepted and I arrived at Mercy on June 19, 2007. One month later I gave my life to the Lord! Being a Christian was so foreign to me, but the love of the staff at Mercy became tangible proof of the love of God. Time and time again, I was given another chance. That’s what opened my eyes to wanting to know more about God. After months of facing my issues in counseling, renewing my mind with the Word of God, and replacing the lies I believed with the truth of the Word, I graduated from Mercy Ministries on December 17, 2007.

After graduation, I returned to the same volatile and destructive home environment that I had removed myself from for the past few years. Therefore, it was a trying time. I fell and got up again, but something was different this time. I had been born again and I was now a new creation in Christ. No matter how far I fell, I could not get away from the love of God. . However, I continued taking medications that were shutting down my body’s systems. Finally, in August 2008 it became apparent to me that I was to stop taking my medications and move to Tulsa, Oklahoma from Ohio.

As soon as I arrived in Tulsa, I started attending Victory Bible Institute and the In Ministry Training program. I was a beautiful disaster; a mess with a new and amazing hope. Due to my obedience and pure desire to follow Christ, I have had amazing opportunities to serve God and my mother actually gave her life to the Lord! I am given lots of opportunities to witness to and serve a hurting world. A team of us, from Victory Bible Institute, go pray and hand out groceries in the poverty stricken areas. We also hold church service for the children in the area.

I am walking in freedom, and I have never had such a “real” smile! God has used everything that was considered a “flaw” to the world for His good! My pain and wrong choices have been used to help others see their bondage as a testimony and not a label. My testimony has been used to inspire others to want to experience freedom that is found only through the love of God. I am living the life that I could not even fantasize about, which is a life that I truly did not know existed. I thank God every day for Mercy Ministries taking me in and loving me despite my mistakes. There is no doubt in my mind that I would be dead without the transforming work of the Lord through Mercy Ministries.

Jaime

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Graduate Impacts Lives through FCA

Kate graduated from the Mercy program in 2007. She came to Mercy Ministries struggling with an eating disorder, self-harm, depression and rejection issues. For the past year and a half, Kate has been on an amazing journey of continued restoration and truly living out the freedom she gained while in the program.

When Kate’s time at Mercy Ministries came to a close, she went home to Kennesaw, GA to attend Kennesaw State University as a full-time student and to coach a club volleyball team through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Last October, when Kate took the coaching position with FCA she was also asked to assign a volunteer chaplain from the community to each volleyball team at all of the local high schools. Kate said, “I felt a call to ministry at a very young age while I was at a church camp. This position with FCA is an amazing opportunity to fulfill this call!”

When she moved back to Kennesaw, Kate also got immediately involved in North Star Church as part of the leadership team over the young singles ministry. As part of their outreach, the young singles ministry reaches out to widows in the community. Kate volunteers her time twice a month to serve local widows through yard work and any other odd jobs that these women cannot do on their own.

Between being a full-time student, working with FCA, and being very involved in her church, Kate is a very busy girl! She is so grateful for all that God has done in her life and she is eager to give back in any way that she can through sharing her story and touching the lives of others. We are so proud of Kate and all that she has accomplished since graduating the Mercy Ministries program!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sister Kathi Pitts Visits Mercy Ministries


Charlotte Scanlon-Gambill, Kathi Pitts, Nancy Alcorn
(Pictured L to R) Charlotte Scanlon-Gambill,
Kathi Pitts, Nancy Alcorn at Cornerstone Church's
Impact Woman
conference in February
Kathi Pitts, wife of Pastor Michael Pitts of Cornerstone Church in Toledo, OH, recently invited Nancy Alcorn to be a featured guest speaker at their annual women’s conference along with Charlotte Scanlon-Gambill from the UK. As Nancy shared about the work of Mercy Ministries, Kathi connected with Nancy’s heart for hurting young women and immediately following the conference, she and one of her key staff members scheduled a visit to Nashville to come and see first hand the home and international headquarters and learn more about the ministry.

While she was in town, we invited Kathi to speak to our residents and staff. Kathi spoke a powerful and timely message about distractions and how they can divert your attention from walking with purpose into your destiny. Kathi encouraged our residents to identify distractions in their lives.Kathi closed by saying,“Distractions only effect you if you let them. You have to always choose destiny over distraction! Your steps are ordered by Him so you need to be willing to fight for your destiny!”

Kathi and Dawn stayed and had lunch with the girls and connected with them personally. We are so grateful for their time with us, and we are looking forward to their next visit!

Here is what a few our residents had to say about Kathi’s message:

Michaela said, “This message was very timely and fitting for me. I often find myself obsessing over distractions and not focusing on God. Now, I plan on bringing all my distractions to God in order to allow Him to help me refocus.”

Abby said, “This message helped me understand how to pursue God's purpose for my life. I need to know when I am being distracted. Distraction only works if I allow it to. I plan on believing, obeying, and listening to God.”

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Graduate Effects Change in the Nations

Lindsay graduated from the Monroe home in May 2004, and went to Bible school for two years at Christ for the Nations Institute (CFNI). After that time, she applied to work at Mercy Ministries and was hired to be on staff as our Household Manager in the Monroe home in October 2007. After being on staff with Mercy for two years, Lindsay was offered an amazing opportunity to return to CFNI in January 2009, as the Assistant Dean of Women. We rejoiced with her in this awesome opportunity and encouraged her to accept the position and move into what God had for her in this next season. We are excited to share her story with you…

Lindsay’s story is one of great victory and we would like to give you a bit of background on how it came to pass. In Lindsay’s words, “After I graduated from Mercy Ministries in 2004, I knew I was called to ministry, and I was willing to be trained first. I went to Christ for the Nations Institute for two years as a student where I was equipped and trained for full time ministry. During this time, God revealed to me my passion for young women, as well as my heart to help girls who have struggled with the same issues I had. After finishing my two years CFNI, I was excited to be considered for and then offered a position on the Mercy Ministries staff. It was such an honor to go back to Mercy to serve in the very ministry where I found healing. I also felt like my time on staff at Mercy was a training ground to prepare me for ministry elsewhere.”

By word of mouth, Lindsay found out about a job opening at CFNI. During Lindsay’s two years as a student at Christ for the Nations Institute, she became involved with the women’s department and developed wonderful relationship with those who work in administration. Lindsay felt that this was the Lord calling her back to Christ for the Nations.

On February 9th, 2009, Lindsay became the Assistant Dean of Women at CFNI. Lindsay helps with the administrative work in the Women’s Department office assisting the Dean; however, she also resides on campus and spends the majority of her time meeting one-on-one with students. She counsels these women with their own personal struggles or roommate and family issues. Lindsay said, “I am right in the thick of things! The main part of my job counseling and pastoral ministry, which I love! My desire is to see these young women walk in the FULLNESS of all God has for them. I pray for them to walk out of this place totally healed and delivered of all that would hold them back. I also desire for each woman to be equipped with the knowledge of the Word of God. I can only hope that as they come to CFNI and have a face-to-face encounter with the Lord, that they will take all they have learned and experienced and bring it to a lost and dying world. What is so cool about my job here is the ripple effect of impacting these girls – as I help bring change into their lives, they will then be effecting change in nations.”

Lindsay, we are so proud of you! We are excited to see all of the amazing things that the Lord is going to do in and through your life.

For more information about Christ for the Nations Institute, visit their website at www.cfni.org.

American Greetings Introduces New Cards From Pastor Joel Osteen

CLEVELAND, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The greeting card aisle has always been a good place to look for supportive sentiments, and now finding the right words to inspire has become even easier. American Greetings Corp (NYSE: AM) has introduced a new collection of cards from pastor, New York Times best-selling author and inspirational speaker, Joel Osteen.

The cards feature the powerful words and inspirational messages that have made Osteen so popular across the world, among people of all faiths and backgrounds. These new cards come at the perfect time for shoppers hoping to send a particularly meaningful Easter greeting and can be found at your local Walmart store. Additional cards featuring Joel Osteen will be available for everyday sending occasions and holidays throughout the year.

"People around the world embrace Joel Osteen's guidance as they experience the joys and challenges of every day life," said Charlotte Bean , manager, business development at American Greetings. "His optimistic spirit, deep faith and inspirational messages resonate particularly well today, as consumers look for ways to encourage one another, and share appreciation for the relationships that help sustain them through good times and bad."

"Victoria and I are pleased to work with the fine people at American Greetings on this new faith-based line of greeting cards," said Pastor Joel Osteen . "It is our hope that they will bring loved ones closer together, that they will provide a hopeful word to those that need it, and that they will inspire everyone to consider and appreciate the important people in their lives."

Osteen has committed to give 100 percent of his proceeds from the greeting card series to Nashville, TN-based Mercy Ministries of America. Mercy Ministries is a Christian-based residential counselling program that has been serving young women in crisis for more than 26 years.

"This support from the Osteens means so much," said Mercy Ministries' founder and president Nancy Alcorn . "We rely on the generosity of our supporters to make our work possible, and thanks to Joel and Victoria Osteen , Mercy Ministries will be able to reach many more young women who are struggling with life controlling issues."

About American Greetings Corporation

For more than 100 years, American Greetings Corporation (NYSE: AM) has been a manufacturer and retailer of innovative social expression products that assist consumers in enhancing their relationships. The Company's major greeting card brands are American Greetings, Carlton Cards, Gibson and Recycled Paper Greetings, and other paper product offerings include DesignWare party goods, American Greetings and Plus Mark gift-wrap and boxed cards and Date Works calendars. American Greetings also has the largest collection of electronic greetings on the Web, including cards available at AmericanGreetings.com through AG Interactive, Inc., the Company's online division. AG Interactive also offers digital photo sharing and personal publishing at PhotoWorks.com and Webshots.com and a one-stop source for online graphics, animations, and more at Kiwee.com. In addition to its product lines, American Greetings also creates and licenses popular character brands through the American Greetings Properties group. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, American Greetings generates annual revenue of approximately $1.8 billion, and its products can be found in retail outlets domestically and worldwide, including Company-owned American Greetings and Carlton Cards stores. For more information on the Company, visit http://corporate.americangreetings.com.

About Mercy Ministries

Since 1983, Mercy Ministries' free-of-charge, voluntary Christian counseling program has served a diverse population of young women from various socio-economic backgrounds, ages 13-28, who face a combination of life-controlling issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, addictions, depression, eating disorders and unplanned pregnancies. Mercy Ministries of America has residential treatment homes in Monroe, La.; Nashville, Tenn.; and St. Louis, Mo., with a future home set to open in Lincoln, Calif., in 2009. Mercy Ministries has global affiliates in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Peru. For more information on Mercy Ministries, please visit www.mercyministries.com.


SOURCE American Greetings Corporation

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mercy Triumphs over Judgment

Nancy Alcorn spent five years as the athletic director at a Tennessee correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls. Then she spent the next three years of her life as a supervisor for foster care in Nashville, TN. While working at these government run facilities, Nancy realized the girls that were involved in drug use, prostitution, abuse and crime would return to their destructive lifestyles as soon as they were released from custody. Time and time again, she saw the same girls coming back to the correctional facilities with the same charges they had previously faced.

During this period of her life, Nancy realized that the government programs were inadequate and did not offer real transformation in the lives of hurting young women. Nancy explained, “I began to see a pattern. You know, girls would be there, and we were told because of separation of church and state that we couldn’t share our faith and Christian beliefs and we were not allowed to speak to them about the forgiveness of God and new beginnings. The kids would go back home to the same environment and a lot of the girls that were locked up there had been involved in gangs; and some had been involved with drug dealers. Some had even been involved in prostitution and their pimps were waiting on them. So these women were getting locked up for a year at a time and we would try to change them from the outside and change their behavior but it never seemed to transform their lives.” Nancy knew that only Jesus could bring restoration into the lives of these girls who were so desperately hurting.

READ FULL STORY from PFT Promise for Teens magazine, Spring 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Jesse Duplantis Ministries Partners with Mercy Ministries

Cathy Duplantis and Nancy AlcornJesse Duplantis and his wife Reverend Cathy Duplantis have been faithful monthly supporters of Mercy Ministries for numerous years personally, through their church, and through Jesse Duplantis Ministries. As the founder and co-founders of Jesse Duplantis Ministries, Jesse and Cathy, have spent over 36 years preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Together, they pastor Covenant Church in Destrehan, Louisiana and oversee the International Headquarters for JDM. However, much of their time is spent apart as they frequently speak at church meetings and conferences amidst hosting television broadcasts, writing books, and editing their monthly magazine. Jesse and Cathy host many of their own conferences and most recently, they invited Nancy Alcorn to be their keynote speaker at their Glorious Women Conference in 2008. Jesse and Cathy maintain a very busy schedule and are loved by many, yet they still manage to devote time to Mercy Ministries’ residents.

Over the years, our residents have thoroughly enjoyed the teachings of Jesse and Cathy Duplantis. The girls absolutely love how Jesse makes them laugh as he ties his personal, and rather entertaining, life lessons to biblical truths. As much as our residents look forward to hearing Jesse speak, they also adore Cathy and consider her a favorite guest speaker. Specifically, Cathy has spent personal time in our homes encouraging the girls that transformation through God’s Word is what brings lasting change. Cathy is an awesome teacher of the Word, who is dedicated to living by faith and inspiring others to do the same.

Cathy Duplantis, Nancy Alcorn and crewOur residents and staff have been consistently overwhelmed by the generosity of Jesse and Cathy as they not only support the ministry financially, but they also donate a wealth of teaching materials, books, CD’s, T-shirts, etc.

We are so amazed at how the Lord continues to build relationships according to His plan. As a ministry, we are grateful for the many years of friendship and support that Jesse and Cathy have allowed. Thank you, Jesse and Cathy, for pouring the love of God into Mercy Ministries and throughout the world!

To learn more about Jesse and Cathy Duplantis, visit their website at www.jdm.org.

Friday, April 3, 2009

2 Brand New Books Just Released!!


We are excited to announce that we have just received our next two books in the “Mercy For” Series - Beyond Starved: Mercy for Eating Disorders and Beyond Cut: Mercy for Self-Harm. These books include personal stories from girls who have found real freedom from these two issues as well as a guide to taking practical steps to overcome these self-destructive behaviors. Both books were written to bring practical freedom to all who are seeking to overcome these issues.

Sequels to CUT and STARVED, Beyond Cut: Mercy for Self-Harm and Beyond Starved: Mercy for Eating Disorders will show you HOW to break free from these issues and experience lasting change.

Click here to order your copies today!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nashville Graduate and Her Dad Volunteer Their Spring Break to Serve at Mercy Ministries

Kori graduated from the Nashville home in October of 2006. She came to Mercy Ministries desperate for help with a severe eating disorder. Kori’s dad said, “I credit Mercy Ministries for saving my daughter’s life.” Currently, Kori is attending college with a desire to go into full time ministry. She is not positive about what the Lord wants her to do, but she is looking into ministry options all over the United States.

This last week, Kori and her dad, Tom, returned to the Nashville home and corporate offices to volunteer their spring break serving in as many ways as possible. Together, they helped administratively with data entry, inventory, mailings, and errands. They also spent time in the home getting to know our current residents. Kori said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to Mercy Ministries. This past week was actually more of an encouragement to me than anything.” Her dad followed that up with, “It is an honor to come back to spend a small amount of time helping the ministry in anyway that I can.”

Tom works for the Reynolds Packaging Group in Hot Springs, AR . Plant Manager for the Reynolds Packaging Group, Mark Parrish, and Resource Manager, Paula Lattanzi, donated aluminum foil to our Nashville home along with t-shirts for the girls, which Tom brought with him when he came. Paula also made a personal financial donation to the ministry.

Upon leaving, Tom said, “Mercy Ministries has a special place in my heart and what they do is awesome. To bring girls in from all walks of life with all kinds of struggles and allow them to go through the program free of charge is an amazing thing. I am just so thankful for Mercy Ministries.”

Thank you, Tom and Kori, for spending your spring break with us serving and giving back!!