Friday, May 29, 2009

Phillip Hunter, Founder of ZOE Student Ministries, Visits St. Louis Home

Mercy Ministries St. Louis residents and staff were honored to host Phillip Hunter, founder and director of ZOE Ministries, and Ashley King, Girls’ Director of ZOE as their special guests on Wednesday morning. ZOE, a parachurch ministry to the metro St. Louis area, is aimed at encouraging young people to live fulfilled lives with hope and security through Jesus Christ.

ZOE Student Ministries has come alongside Mercy Ministries in a number of ways. They helped host a MPower Seminar in St. Louis this past April to raise support and awareness for the ministry and equip parents, pastors, teachers, and leaders to help young people with some the issues they are plagued with today, such as cutting and eating disorders. ZOE has also been involved by bringing youth into the home for cleaning and organizing projects. Ashley King is also part of the St. Louis Run for Mercy 5K committee.

Hunter has been working with teenagers for the last eleven years. During his time at seminary, God gave Phillip the vision to start what is now known as ZOE. The vision of ZOE is to have a place where students from different backgrounds and experiences can fellowship together. ZOE student ministries would state that their purpose is to simply provide students with the knowledge of how to live the Christian life of faith through the uncompromised teaching of God's Word, while providing a family-like atmosphere for all members to experience.

Using apologetics, Phillip took the St. Louis residents on a walk through the Bible with a message he entitled, “Why the Bible is Trustworthy to Be the Authority for Your Life”. Teaching on creation, the fall of man and why we need a Savior, he showed the girls that Jesus needs to be our authority and ruling our lives every day. He asked the girls these questions, “Who is on the throne of your heart? Is it you or is it Jesus?”

“I loved Phillip! I liked it when he said that ‘your emotional and physical healing will come when you are spiritually healed’. And it finally makes sense to me! When I finally allowed God into my heart and my life, that is when I truly began to heal and my heart was fixed.” - Kim

“I always thought I had a good understanding of the Bible. However, when Phillip came, he communicated in such a practical way that made it easy to understand the ‘deep’ stuff that I was never able to grasp before.” - Ashlie

“Pastor Phillip made it crystal clear why God is trustworthy to have free reign of my heart. He made it evident while explaining to us how there is no way that the Bible could be any different than what it says. It’s already been scientifically proven and still today, science shows that the truths line up! This definitely was a boost to increase the level of intimacy I have with God” - Becki

To learn more about ZOE Student Ministries, visit or

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Branch Family Church Volunteers at Mercy Ministries

Senior Pastor Derek Turner and his wife Sarah, founders of The Branch Family Church in Charlotte, NC, have been long-time friends of Nancy Alcorn and faithful monthly supporters of Mercy Ministries for many years both personally and through their church. Pastor Derek and Sarah share a desire to live out God’s plan for their lives by making a tangible difference in the lives of others. Recently, The Branch Family Church donated 8 acres of property to provide Mercy Ministries with the land for our future home in Charlotte, NC. Not only has this couple and their congregation given abundantly, but they serve endlessly.

This past week, The Branch Family Church made their 3rd annual trip to volunteer at Mercy Ministries. This year, a group of 15 ladies came to volunteer an entire week of their time at the Nashville home. This amazing group of women offered a helping hand with any task from corporate paperwork to domestic organization. Our staff was so thankful for the practical help and our residents thoroughly enjoyed their company as well as the gift baskets that they received from the ladies.

We are so grateful to Derek and Sarah Turner and The Branch Family Church for their willingness to serve. We are looking forward to their next visit!

Here is what some of the volunteers had to say about their time at the Nashville home.

Tami said, “I am absolutely amazed at the handy work of God and the vision that God has given Nancy for Mercy Ministries. It is a ministry of excellence – down to the finest details. To see the transformation in the girls of Mercy, some in just a very short time, is almost more than words can convey. Mercy is the lifeline for those who would otherwise remain hopeless. Thank you to all who make it possible.”

Kara said, “It is always a joy to serve at Mercy. The love and grace of God is so evident in everything that is done. The staff and the girls are so amazing! We always leave feeling as though we received more than we gave.”

Volunteers from The Branch Family Church
pictured with our 40 Nashville Residents

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Celebrating Eight More Restored Lives

Staff, residents, friends and family gathered together at our Nashville and St. Louis homes to celebrate eight more beautiful young women as they graduated from Mercy Ministries. These eight ladies have been restored from the pain of their past. Now, they are pressing forward into a future full of expectant hope. We are excited to share their stories with you.



Before Mercy, I spent my entire life thinking that I had to be perfect. At age 13, I developed a severe eating disorder. I went through treatment center after treatment center and the doctors told me that I would always struggle with the disorder. As I got older, I became rebellious and started drinking. I felt hopeless and then started harming myself. During one of my visits to a treatment center, I met a girl who was already in the process of applying to Mercy. Not long after that conversation, I decided to apply to Mercy because I saw she actually had hope of being free. I was looking for that same restoration.

God completely gave me my life back while I was at Mercy. Now, I can look at my future and be excited about it. God has shown me how His love is unconditional and that He will never leave me! After graduation, I plan on going to college in the Fall to major in Nursing and to play volleyball. In the future, I hope to work at Mercy Ministries.


My life before Mercy was a nightmare. My past was a never ending cycle of mess-ups, falling on my face and getting back up to do it all over again. It got to the point that no rehab or support group would help. I was ready to try something that would really work, which is when my brother told me about Mercy Ministries.

During my time at Mercy, I have learned that I can truly be free. The Lord has shown me how to walk out my freedom. I realized that He has always been there for me and that He will continue to be with me the rest of the way no matter what.

After Mercy, I plan on attending college to become a Registered Nurse. Someday, I would like to go overseas to work with Youth With A Mission. I am looking forward to the plans that He has for me.


I grew up in a Christian home, but received mixed messages about God throughout my entire life. I was sexually abused as a child and raped as an adult. As a result, I tried to earn God’s love. I increased my involvement at church as a means to escape the pain of my past. My desire was to do great things for God, to know Him more and to love others, but all at the expense of not taking good care of myself. At that point, I began struggling with bulimia as another means of coping with pain and failure. Since my identity was in what I did as a Christian and ministry leader, the guilt and condemnation from my struggle overwhelmed me and led to more binging and purging. I could not break this addictive cycle in my own strength, but I continued to cry out to God for freedom. Nancy Alcorn visited my church, The Life Church of Memphis, and I finally surrendered my plans and applied to Mercy. I was ready to find freedom through learning how to rest in Him.

During my time at Mercy, I have learned who I am in Christ apart from what I do. I am a daughter of the most high King, clothed in righteousness because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. I experienced God and was able to allow His love to shatter the walls around my heart. Now, not only do I receive love, but I give it as well. He has healed the pain of my past and taken the depression and bulimia. He replaced my nightmares with dreams from Him and has given me strategies to continue walking in freedom through the power of His word.

Upon returning home, I plan to complete a Master’s of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition while working part-time. I will also begin the process of compiling God’s promises to me into a devotional book. Someday, I hope to work as a nutrition coordinator at one of the Mercy homes. My dream is to reside in Cape Town, South Africa.


Before coming to Mercy I was sexually abused as a very young child. I was threatened not to tell anyone, including my family, and if I told, I would be killed. Carrying that secret led me into coping with life by beginning to starve myself when I was 12, which was followed by a cycle of bulimia starting at the age of 16. Soon after, depression set in. When the eating disorders weren’t enough, I started drinking when I was 17 and cutting myself when I was 19. I also engaged in very risky sexual behavior, which included sleeping with hundreds of men that I met online, as well as prostitution - all of that resulting in rape. I felt as though I could not turn to God because I “knew better.” I “knew better” because my dad is a pastor and I was raised in church. As a result, I fell deeper and deeper into shame and condemnation. I fell so far away from God and felt horrible about myself. My life was entirely out of control and I knew that I needed to surrender all control to God. Terrified, I looked online for Mercy Ministries’ application and applied.

While at Mercy, I learned that I am not my past. I am forgiven and God sees beyond my faults and failures. Each morning is a new slate. When I stumble and fall, I can rise AT THAT MOMENT and move on. My shame and guilt are in the past. I realized that I am human and therefore, I am not perfect. I also learned that God hurts when I hurt. When I cry, He cries too. I never saw God this way before and it has helped me to gain an understanding of His heart for me.

After graduation, I will be going back to school in the Fall to obtain my Nursing degree. As of right now, my education is entirely paid for. I will also be able to finish my RN degree within two and a half years due to transfer credits. My goal is to work on a pediatric floor or as a trauma nurse with women who have been abused. I want my life’s experiences to help others who have been where I have and I want to show them that life after pain is possible!

St. Louis


Before coming to Mercy, I felt so alone in this world and I was not sure if I would ever be happy. When I was a little girl, I had to have surgery on my back, which led to feelings of shame and low self-esteem. As a result of a poor self-image, I had no friends and many problems in school. At one point, my family moved, which meant that I had to attend a new school. So once again, I had no friends and I continued to act out in school. I had terrible grades and my life felt like a vicious cycle. I felt like my life was going nowhere. Luckily my mom told me about Mercy and I applied immediately.

While I was at Mercy the Lord rescued me from the pain of my past. I am no longer who I was, but I am a new creation in Christ. The Lord has replaced the old things with His promises!

After Mercy, I plan on going home to be with my family. I am also looking forward to attending college. I am not sure where I want to go or what I want to study, but I trust that the Lord knows. I am also excited to help teach Sunday school classes at my church.


As a child, I experienced a lot of different forms of abuse. I put up many walls to prevent anyone from getting in. I did not trust anyone but myself. My life was extremely painful. I felt worthless, unlovable, forgotten, and hopeless. I lived to numb myself through drinking, an 8 year battle with bulimia, and working all the time. I did not care if I lived or if I died, and I treated my body so badly that there were times when I was not sure if I would wake up the next morning. I was depressed and could not stop my destructive behaviors on my own. My grandma mentioned Mercy Ministries to me so I got on the web to apply.

Since being at Mercy, I have laid down my pride and let God touch my heart. He did an amazing work in me. I let go of deep rebellion and started to listen to God, which led to even more freedom. I experienced unconditional love and released my past hurts. I learned how to accept myself and others. My heart has been softened, and I am learning how to accept love and give love too. Now, I know I have hope and a future!

After Mercy, I plan to go back home and find a job. I am looking forward to doing all of the things I love, which are dancing, quilting and canning food. I am also planning on getting involved in my local church as one way to continue learning and growing in Christ.


I have never known my father and therefore, my mother raised me. My childhood was extremely chaotic with a mom that was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive. Most nights were filled with fighting, screaming and fits of rage from my mom. I felt abandoned and unloved. I was sexually abused at the age of 4, and numerous other times between the ages of 7 and 9. I felt dirty and ashamed. As a result, I became extremely sexual as a kid, which only led to increased shame and confusion. When I was 9 years old, I began struggling with anorexia. As a teenager, I began struggling with bulimia, self-harm, depression and suicidal ideation, which led to an addiction to alcohol, cocaine and crystal meth. I tried every different kind of treatment and nothing worked. In the midst of my struggle, my cousin came to me and told me about Mercy Ministries. Eleven programs later, I finally decided to give Mercy a chance.

Since being at Mercy, God has taken away all of my guilt and shame from the sexual abuse and sexual perversion. He has healed my wounds from my mother and father. I am learning how to see Him as my Daddy. I am no longer a recovering addict nor am I defined by an eating disorder. Those things have become choices instead of labels. Christ has given me the strength to say no to those labels and to choose life. I am no longer defined by my past. I am forgiven, my slate is clean, and I have been made BRAND NEW!

After graduation, I plan on getting a full-time job, serving in my church, and eventually going to a school of ministry. I hope to one day work for a church and have a teaching ministry or work at Mercy Ministries. I am excited about life!


Before coming to Mercy, I grew up in a verbally, mentally and emotionally abusive home. I looked for approval and love in men because I did not get it from my family. All of this left me feeling guilty, ashamed, filthy, unworthy, abandoned, rejected and unloved. I felt dead on the inside, and I knew that there had to be more to life. When my friend told me about Mercy Ministries, I did not hesitate to apply as I wanted to know who I was.

During my time at Mercy, God has shown me His unconditional love and acceptance. He has taught me that it is valid to have feelings and that I am wonderfully made. I learned that Jesus shed His blood so that I would not have to take on any guilt, shame or rejection.

Once I get home, I plan on getting my Bachelor’s degree, but I am still undecided on what I want to study. Most of all, I am looking forward to getting married and raising a family.

Congratulations Girls! We are so proud of you and we can’t wait to see what God has in store for your futures!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mercy Graduate Impacts Thousands of Lives through Missions!!

In addition to being faithful supporters of Mercy Ministries, John and Suzanne Galvin are also missionaries to Kenya. Through their partnership with Mercy, they met Mercy graduate, Amy Lambert, and quickly learned of her similar heart and passion for missions. Amy and the Galvin’s connected several times to share ideas for mission trips to Africa. This past month, Amy realized a dream and was able to go with the Galvin’s on a mission trip to Kenya as an “evangelist” from the United States sharing her story of freedom from addiction and the unconditional love and hope she found only in Jesus Christ.

We just received this update from Suzanne about their recent trip to Kenya along with an amazing video of Amy speaking – check it out!!

“My family has a small ministry, New Commandment, which supports pastors in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. We have worked with the local pastors to build a school, a medical clinic, several sewing clinics, a baking ministry, and other holistic services to reach the people of the slums with the gospel. We primarily work in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. It consists of approximately 1 million people living on 300 acres with no plumbing and little electricity.

We just returned a week ago from our latest trip. We knew God called us to speak His truth and healing to our dear brothers and sisters there. The team we took was amazing. It included a young evangelist, Amy. Each night, she would go to the heart of Kibera and preach the Word with power and authority! The first night, we watched as roughly 5,000 people assembled to listen to her testimony. She shared how she was there in love and not in judgment, how Jesus had reached down and touched her and saved her from a life of drugs, addiction and sin, and how He had now sent her to Kibera to do the same for each of them.

After her powerful testimony, hundreds and hundreds responded to the altar call. As the crowd swarmed forward, we cried. You see, this young evangelist had overcome so much. She was a 2005 graduate of the St. Louis Mercy Ministries home! It really hit me then--the work we do for Mercy Ministries not only impacts the lives of those precious girls in the home, but it also impacts every life the girls come into contact with afterwards. In this case, literally thousands of lives have already been impacted, radically changed by God's love. These people responding to the altar call were the very people who caused so much havoc last year, and now they have found hope! It is my prayer that this nation, when faced with another round of elections, has a better chance at peace--all because of this Mercy graduate. To God be the glory!


Below is a video of some of Amy speaking—so powerful!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Monroe Residents Rock with Skillet

Grammy Award Nominee quartet band, Skillet, recently released their newest album Comatose. Skillet has been performing their way throughout the U.S. on their 2009 Spring Tour. On May 10th Skillet made an appearance in Monroe, LA, which made convenient for our Monroe residents to get to attend the concert!

The Monroe residents and staff were so excited to see Skillet perform live at the Assembly of God Church in Monroe, LA. The residents had so much fun at the concert!

Here is what some of the girls had to say:

Hannah said, “For the first time in my life I sang, danced, laughed, and head-banged. I was able to act like a child while worshipping God, and I did not care what anyone thought of me.”

Angel said, “It was awesome to see the dynamic worship of a generation of radical rockers. I really appreciated the opportunity to experience a type of worship I had never been exposed to.”

Amanda said, “I used to listen to secular heavy metal rock music and was always under the impression that there was no room in a Christian lifestyle for this style of music. But to come here and hear the lyrics that spoke truth really encouraged me. I don’t have to give up my favorite music to be a Christian.”

Krystal said, “At the concert, I realized that I could have fun without any substance to help me. I had an absolute blast!”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

St. Louis Residents Volunteer with the Pujols Family Foundation

Albert Pujols, star first baseman for the Cardinals, and his wife Deidre, are long time supporters of Mercy Ministries. Albert is widely regarded as one of the better players in the game today and credits his success in baseball to his Savior, Jesus Christ. Several years ago Deidre visited the Mercy Ministries St. Louis home and expressed her heart to help and encourage young women. Albert and Deidre have a beautiful daughter with Down Syndrome, which has given them a heart to reach out and love children and families of children with this same issue. Albert and Deidre said, “We did not choose Down Syndrome, Down Syndrome chose us.” As part of their ministry, Pujols Family Foundations, Albert and Deidre host an annual Mother/Daughter Bowling Event as one way to live out their mission of ‘faith, family, others’. The event focuses on bringing together girls with Down Syndrome and their mothers for a special time of fun.

This past Sunday, May 17th our St. Louis residents were excited to volunteer at the Pujols Family Foundation Mother/Daughter Bowling Event at Brunswick Lanes. Each resident was paired with a mother-daughter team to host, serve and cheer them on as the guests bowled. The St. Louis residents had a great time helping the girls bowl and taking pictures. However, the highlight of the event was when Albert came to spend time with the guests, bowling, dancing, taking pictures, and building relationships. The entire event was a blast for everyone!

Here is what a few of our residents had to say about their volunteer experience with the Pujols Family Foundation Mother/Daughter Bowling Event.

Lindsay said, “Tonight was event that I will never forget! Not only was it amazing to be able to host these beautiful girls and their mothers, but it was so much fun to dance, laugh and be carefree with them.”

Lici said, “This was such an amazing experience. It felt so good to bless these families. Nothing can compare to the way that those girls touched my heart.”

Ashlie said, “The ‘Mother/Daughter Bowling’ was an incredibly humbling experience. To be around those girls and see the unconditional love that these mothers give to their daughters was similar to the love I have been shown by Christ.”

Jenny said, “The evening was probably my favorite night during my stay at Mercy so far. The girls were so outgoing and full of joy. I felt so blessed to be able to share the evening with those mothers and daughters!”

Friday, May 15, 2009

St. Louis Residents Guests of Senator Kyle McCarter

Just yesterday, our St. Louis residents were invited to spend a day at the Illinois State Capitol with Mercy partners, Senator Kyle McCarter and his wife, Victoria. Senator McCarter and Victoria are also very involved in volunteer work with our girls, and have been for several years. Not only do they attend almost every graduation, but Senator McCarter and Victoria also serve as Co-Chairmen of the Community Board for Mercy Ministries in St. Louis. Senator McCarter invited the Mercy residents and staff to be his special guests at the Illinois State Capitol where they were announced on the Senate floor. Senator McCarter’s wife, Victoria, went along as well. The Mercy residents had a great time touring the Capitol and spending the day with Senator McCarter and Victoria! However, not only were the residents blessed by their time at the Capitol, but Senator McCarter and Victoria sent an email expressing what yesterday meant to them. Here’s what Victoria had to say in an email she sent to Nancy.


I wanted to share a few photos with you from the Mercy girl's trip to Springfield. We took the girls to the governor's mansion, then to the Capitol where the girls were announced on the Senate floor and Kyle spoke about Mercy and their success rate. Next, the girls watched the Senate while it was in session and took a guided tour of the capitol.

Afterward, Kyle spoke with the girls about not limiting what God can do in their lives. Finally, our Senate minority leader, Christine Rodogno, met the girls on the steps of the capitol and spoke to them with a similar message. We were absolutely blessed with beautiful weather and the day going off without a hitch - a rarity at the capitol! Kyle and I are so excited about having the opportunity to do this for the girls, and we will continue to promote the work of Mercy in the state of Illinois!

Much love to you, Nancy! We are truly grateful for your friendship and for the work Jesus is doing in the lives of the Mercy girls. Being with the girls is always the highlight of our week!


We are so thankful for Senator McCarter and Victoria, and all they do for Mercy Ministries!

St. Louis Mercy residents and staff with Senator Kyle McCarter and wife, Victoria, at the Illinois State Capitol

St. Louis Mercy residents and staff with
Senator Kyle McCarter and wife, Victoria

Senator McCarter encouraging the
St. Louis Mercy residents and staff

Senator McCarter pictured with
St. Louis Mercy graduate, Britney in his office

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monroe and St. Louis Homes Celebrate 6 More Amazing Young Women

In the month of April, Mercy Ministries in the U.S. celebrated a total of 25 girls who graduated the program! This is always such a special time for us as we honor the young women who have worked so hard to face, deal with, and get to the root of their issues, and who have found real and lasting freedom through Jesus Christ's unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. It is also a special time because graduation means that we get to welcome in 25 more girls into the program and off of our waiting list so that they too can get the help they so desperately need. Please pray for the new girls who have just come into the program - that they will choose to commit to the program and find freedom in Christ!

Last week, staff and residents in the St. Louis and Monroe homes joined with friends and family to celebrate new life and new hope for the future! We wanted to share with you the amazing stories of the girls who just graduated from the St. Louis and Monroe homes.



My life before Mercy was a mess. I came from an extremely unstable family due to poverty and my parent’s drug abuse. I was very depressed as a child, and at the age of six I was raped. At that point, I became afraid of men and sought approval from everyone I encountered. I was rejected by my peers, and at the same time I was being verbally and emotionally abused at home. At age ten, I began struggling with an eating disorder, self-harm and suicidal tendencies. I was desperate for love and acceptance, which led me down a promiscuous road after my eighth grade year. I made numerous unsuccessful suicide attempts up until October of 2008, which is when I finally decided to apply to Mercy.

While at Mercy, I have learned that I do not need everyone else’s approval; God has abundant love for me. He has shown me how faithful He is in meeting all of my needs and desires. I have been extended such genuine grace and mercy even when I make mistakes, which has been amazing. I am undeserving of love, but it has been given anyway!

After graduation, I plan on getting a job to save some money, and then I would like to go back to school. I have hopes of pursuing a degree in social work and nutrition. I know that my Creator has purposeful plans for my life!


My life before Mercy was very unstable. I had one foot in the church and the other in the world. I was a hypocrite living a secretive and deceptive life. My father was absent until my mother sent me to live with him at the age of fourteen. My last memory of him was at the age of three, which left me with feelings of abandonment. While living with my father, he was sexually, verbally and physically abusive, which caused me to develop a deep hatred and anger toward him and all men. As a result, I became caught up in a homosexual lifestyle for seven years. I was lying to everyone about how I was living and looking for love in all the wrong places. I was trying to fill the void of love in my life with a coping mechanism while at the same time knowing that I had a major call on my life. I applied to Mercy in 2007 shortly after the Lord had set me free from lesbianism in 2006. However, I had not dealt with the root issues of the abuse and rejection, which is why I came to Mercy in 2008.

My time at Mercy has been the hardest and most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. God has stripped me of all control. He has given me beauty for ashes and joy for my pain. God has restored my purity and my desire to love. He has also restored broken relationships with family members and friends. He has given me a new life and a new heart. I also learned that blessing comes from honoring authority, which is something I was horrible at before Mercy.

Once I graduate, I plan on going to the International House of Prayer in Kansas City for a three month internship. After that, I plan on returning home to attend nursing school.


At 13 years of age, I started cutting myself and stealing my parents’ pain killers as a way to deal with my dysfunctional family. At the same time, I was diagnosed with severe depression and bipolar behaviors and I quickly became addicted to drugs and alcohol. By the time I turned 16, I was an alcoholic simply because it felt better than cutting myself and it did not leave a scar. I was on a destructive path with no way out and I knew something needed to change, so I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries as my last hope.

Since being at Mercy, God has shown me His unfailing and unconditional love. I have learned how to communicate and be real with people instead of always hiding behind coping mechanisms. I love myself and I am content with who I am in Christ.

After graduation, I plan on pursuing a college degree. Although, I am not sure what I want to study, I know that God has amazing plans for my life.


Before Mercy, I lived under depression for years due to the absence of my parents. In other words, I met my mother when I was 14 years old and she already had her own family separate from my father and me. I needed her and she was not available. My father had his own life as well and he only did what he could for me if he had the chance. I was intrigued with death and my mind was constantly telling me to take my life. I was scared to commit suicide because I knew it meant that I would go to hell. I just wanted to be loved. I became very promiscuous searching for love, but I still felt empty and unloved. A friend told me about Mercy Ministries, so I immediately applied as I was desperate for hope and freedom.

Since being at Mercy, I realized that only God’s love can satisfy my hungry heart. I know that God’s love for me is unconditional and I have learned to choose to live above my circumstances. God has also shown me that I do not need to hold grudges against people that hurt me, but that I can develop relationships even when I face conflict. The Lord has helped me express my pain instead of holding onto it. I realized that the Lord has plans to prosper me!

When I leave Mercy, I plan on finishing my degree in Education. I am excited to see where God leads me to teach and love others the same way that He loves me.


I grew up in a dysfunctional family with parents that were constantly fighting, and they eventually divorced when I was 11 years old. During my childhood, my mom always put a lot of pressure on me to be perfect in everything I put my hands to. When I failed, she became very angry, which frustrated me because I simply wanted her to love and accept me. My dad was never really in my life, which left me feeling abandoned. I wanted to be loved, and the only place I was finding love was in relationships with men. I became sexually active in high school as a way to boost my self-image. I also began self-harming and doing drugs. Eventually, I prostituted myself for drugs and I ended up getting raped, which is when I finally hit rock bottom. I went to Teen Challenge, but was kicked out because of the self-harming. With no where else to turn, I decided to apply to Mercy.

While at Mercy, God has strengthened me and has removed my perfectionist mindset. I realized that I do not have to perform to be loved. He has shown me that true beauty is on the inside and that I am beautiful. He has removed my shame from prostitution and made me a completely new creation in Christ. I now know the only person I need approval from is Him.

After Mercy, I plan on going to school and getting a degree in Art History. Once I finish school, I hope to share my story with others and bring His love to many. I do not want young girls to have to live bound by their past like I did. I want everyone to know that His plans are good!

St. Louis:


Before coming to Mercy, I partied my life away. I spent a lot of time at my friend’s house, which is when my friend’s dad sexually abused me. I was not sure who to tell or how to tell about what happened to me so I kept it to myself. My life began to spiral out of control. I worked as many hours as I could and spent the evening drinking until I passed out. I was also promiscuous, which then led to feelings of shame and guilt. I began cutting my thighs and hips to punish myself for being promiscuous. The self-hatred I felt for myself went so deep that I did not want to live. I finally got tired of running. I desperately wanted to find my purpose in this life, so I applied to Mercy Ministries.

While I was at Mercy, the Lord has traded my feelings of hopelessness for His truth. He has shown me unconditional love and how trustworthy He is as my Heavenly Father. I have encountered His grace and forgiveness, and have allowed Him to be my comforter in my pain and shame. The Lord has granted me peace and the freedom to be who He created me to be!

After I graduate from Mercy, I plan on going to Trinity International University in Illinois as a full-time student to pursue a degree in English or Music. Who knows, maybe I will double major! I am also looking forward to playing soccer and singing with the praise and worship team at my church.

Congratulations Stephanie, Jessica, Sharon, Gracie, Leah, and Bridget! We are so proud of you!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Former Mercy Resident Owns Successful Cosmetic Business!

Ashley came through the doors of Mercy Ministries 3 years ago. She was bruised and broken by circumstances that were beyond her control. While at Mercy, she learned about the love and acceptance of God, and that her past does not determine her future.

Today, Ashley is happily married to a police officer, the mother of a one-year-old little girl, Gracie, and the owner of a successful internet-based business, Louie Belle Enterprises and Princess Louie Belle Cosmetics. Ashley sells brand new, high-end wholesale cosmetics from lines such as Clinique, Bobbie Brown, Stila, MAC, LancĂ´me, Estee Lauder, and many more!

Ashley’s business has flourished as she has been faithful to give a generous portion of all her earnings back to Mercy Ministries. We are so grateful for Ashley and her desire to partner with us. We are also excited to watch the Lord bless her and give her the desires of her heart!

If you are looking for a great deal on brand name cosmetics, please take the time to check out her websites at or at

We also thought you might like to hear Ashley’s story in her own words…

I know nothing of the first 3 years of my life except that I was almost at death's door due to starvation. I do not know what any biological family may look or sound like and I do not know my age or birth name. My life as I know it started one cold morning in Seoul, South Korea, when I was almost 3 years old. I had been left in front of the clock tower, which is a typical drop spot for children who are orphaned since at that time in Korea, parents could not walk into an orphanage and give their children up for adoption. The clock tower is located right next to the police station where regular rounds by officers are made and an abandoned child can be discovered and taken to the orphanage for care and hopefully adoption.

I suffered severe abuse while in the orphanage - bites covered every inch of my skin and the malnourishment continued. But God was watching over me and sent me a family that wanted me even though I was way past the desired adoption age. The fact that I was the same size my daughter was when she was 5 months old was probably a factor that helped me.

I would like to say that I went into a loving family that poured into me and I grew up in a home that was stable and full of unconditional love, but unfortunately, the opposite was true. My father left less than a year after the time they brought me to the States, which was somewhat of a blessing, as I still remember the constant terror and abuse I suffered at his hands. My mother fell apart and blamed me for their divorce, and has therefore spent the rest of her life with anger and jealousy towards me. I never knew if I would come home to find everything I owned out on the front lawn for some minor teenage mistake. I regularly was left at seedy motels or on the side of roads when my mother became angry with me or if I was no longer of use to her. It was a way of life for me.

By the time I walked through the Mercy St. Louis doors in 2005, I was a complete mess. I was abused at the hands of almost all the men in my life, “care-givers” and family. The pain of the abuse manifested itself into a girl who had a 15-year battle with a severe eating disorder, cutting, daily drinking and constant pill popping as a pathetic attempt to numb and escape the pain. I handed my body out with the belief that I was exercising my power or believing that I was attaining love. I lived through six serious overdoses, two of which I should not have survived by any means except by the Hands of the Creator who knew there was more to me than what the world had the ability to see. That was all I knew: abuse, rejection and unworthiness of love or care.

However, by the grace of God, I found Mercy Ministries. Through my time at Mercy, I learned that there really is a God who not only loves, but is love. His love is a concept that was introduced to me at Mercy, but that I am still learning due to its incredibly large capacity which no human can ever truly comprehend. I learned that I did not have to walk the path of death and destruction. I learned that I am wanted, loved, worthy and that I have been created for a purpose in God’s Kingdom. That purpose is beyond my comprehension. I was finally given the strength to run the race and a heart to bring as many to this Great Race as possible!

More recently, I have been called to be a “cop’s wife” that displays godly strength through Christ, in order to be the helper that is rare to find. I also have a daughter whose constant laughter and joy is used by God to show that beauty really is more than skin deep and that love is much more than I had ever understood. Recently, I started a business that was never in the farthest corner of my mind, but is now a corporation that distributes worldwide not only the best high-end cosmetics, but the message of the Kingdom. My business is only in its beginning stages with six internet stores but I want to be a good steward and faithful in little so God can make me ruler over much!

The woman I am today is not the woman who walked through the doors of Mercy over 3 years ago. Have I fallen flat on my face? Oh yeah. Have I given in to the old behaviors that I had hoped would be so easily gone? Yes. But what is the difference? I get back up. Now, I know what mercy truly means, what it is and the power it holds to transform my heart with each passing day. I know that I am not condemned, that I can get back up, shake that dust off, grab my Abba, and go forth with my head held high - for I am a Daughter of the Most High King! I know that each time I choose to hold fast to Him instead of the things of this world, my roots in Christ go a little bit deeper. I also know in the deepest, most secret places of my heart that God has called me to be a world-changer and nation-shaker. Mercy is a place where women are transformed by the unconditional love and power of Christ from brokenness to wholeness.

My life is not merely a world of makeup and deal-making - a place where things are ordinary and can so easily be used for vanity - but is rather a place where miracles flow and lives are transformed by the seemingly innocuous clicking of my keyboard and the love and obedience of my heart. This is what Mercy has done for me. This is what my God has done in me. And to think, this is merely the beginning, the small beginnings of which I do not despise.”

We are so proud of Ashley for all that she has overcome and for all that she has allowed God to do in and through her.

We encourage you to visit her websites at and

Mercy Ministries' First West Coast Home to Open in 2009

Sacramento's Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation gives land, $2.5 million, to help make 40-resident California home for troubled girls a reality

Nashville, TN (PRWEB) May 8, 2009 -- Thanks to a $2.5 million gift and one acre of land, all from the Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation (, Mercy Ministries of America ( recognition of May 7, National Children's Mental Health Awareness--today announced the completion of its first West Coast home, an approximately $6 million, 40-resident facility in Lincoln, Calif., just north of Sacramento. Additional funds for the home were obtained through private donations and in-kind gifts acquired by Mercy Ministries and the Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation. Mercy Ministries has not yet announced an opening date for the home, but plans to open the facility in late summer or early fall of 2009.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Mercy Ministries of America is a Christian residential counseling program that serves girls and young women, ages 13-28, who face a combination of life-controlling issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, addictions, depression, eating disorders and unplanned pregnancies. Since 1983, Mercy Ministries' free-of-charge program has served more than 2,000 girls and young women with its combination of best-practice clinical interventions and faith-based counseling.

The Sacramento-area home will be Mercy Ministries' fourth American home, but first on the West Coast -- a fact that Mercy Ministries' founder and president Nancy Alcorn ( says is important. "So many girls from California have sought our help over the years, but they have always had to travel across the country to find a Mercy Ministries facility. Before the construction of the California home, Mercy Ministries in St. Louis was our closest home to California. Now we will truly be able to serve girls from the West Coast in their own backyard," Alcorn said. "I am so grateful to Buzz Oates, a generous man with a huge heart, and his foundation, The Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation, for giving such a large gift to make this home for hurting young women possible."

The Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation -- a Sacramento-area non-profit focused on faith-based initiatives -- became acquainted with Mercy Ministries after its namesake, entrepreneur and businessman Buzz Oates, expressed a desire to fund a home for women with unplanned pregnancies.

Kathy Fairrington, Oates' daughter and a Foundation board member, eventually spearheaded the project. Fairrington said: "It made sense for us to partner with an organization that had the specific passion and expertise of Mercy Ministries. After spending time getting to know Nancy Alcorn and touring the ministry's Nashville operations, it became clear we were on the right track with an organization that would connect with my father's goals and honor his vision through its operations."

Oates added, "This project's completion has been a dream of mine. I'm excited to be part of the Mercy Ministries organization and grateful for Kathy's careful oversight. This home for troubled girls and young women also wouldn't have been possible without the support and contributions of numerous friends and business partners."

Mercy Ministries' six-month residential counseling program has always been free-of-charge and incorporates Christian principles with best-practice clinical interventions like individual and group counseling and on-site nutritionists. In a recent independent survey of former residents, over 93 percent of respondents said Mercy Ministries transformed their life and restored their hope, which is Mercy Ministries' key objective.

Mercy Ministries of America ( currently has homes in Monroe, La.; Nashville, Tenn.; and St. Louis, Mo. Mercy Ministries has global affiliates in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Peru. For more information, visit To schedule an interview with a Mercy Ministries' representative, contact Jonathan Burns at (615) 522-7016, or via email at

The Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation is dedicated to supporting community faith-based organizations like Mercy Ministries. Its founder, Marvin "Buzz" Oates, is Chairman Emeritus of The Buzz Oates Group of Companies, a fully integrated commercial real estate development company located in Sacramento, Calif., which offers a single point of contact for a full range of construction, real estate and property management services. For more information, visit For media interviews, contact Shelley Christopher at (916) 379-3817, or via email at

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Contact Information
Jonathan Burns
Mercy Ministries

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Another Graduation Day – Celebrating Six More Lives Transformed!!

Nashville residents and staff joined together with family and friends to celebrate six more amazing young women as they graduated from Mercy last week. These young women have been changed by the love of Christ and are looking forward to the future. We would like to share their stories with you:


My life before Mercy was desolate and broken. I was struggling with depression, which led to a multitude of many other self-destructive behaviors. I hated myself. My parents ended up running out of money to send me anywhere for help, and I knew I would die if I gave up on seeking freedom. I found out about Mercy through my school counselor and decided to apply.

My time at Mercy was life changing. I came seeking freedom, and freedom is exactly what I received. God has set me free from my past, my pain, and my struggles.

Once I graduate, I plan on going home to pursue a career as a Christian song writer as well as a motivational speaker. I am not sure what that journey will look like, but I know that the Lord has plans to prosper me as I follow Him.


My life before Mercy was empty and I hated myself. I was extremely angry, depressed, and I did not have a clue who I was. As a way to fill this huge void in my life, I began cutting myself and struggling with bulimia. I wanted to disappear altogether and I contemplated suicide. I was in self-destruct mode. As my parents helplessly watched me in self-destruct mode, they recommend Mercy Ministries and hoped that I would apply. Grasping for hope, I decided to apply, which is when I realized that the Lord had different plans for my life.

While I was at Mercy, God completely set me free from self-harm and bulimia. I no longer walk in depression and He has truly restored my joy. I genuinely laugh and smile, which I am so excited about! I have been able to develop a real relationship with the Lord.

After I graduate I plan on going back home to finish my home schooling. After that I am not sure what I am going to do, but I trust that the Lord will guide me in all my ways.


Before Mercy I was religious, but never had a real relationship with God. I was raised in a strict Christian home, and I often felt very controlled by my father. As a way to have control of something, I began obsessing about eating and my body, which only caused me to never feel good enough. I lived under constant comparison to everyone around me. I took on too much false responsibility and became very controlling myself. My friend told me about Mercy Ministries, and I immediately knew it had to be God’s plan because no other treatment center I had been through helped me find freedom.

During my time at Mercy, I believe that God saved my life! I was literally on death’s doorstep when I arrived, but since then I have been brought back to life. I have found a real relationship with the Lord, and I am hungry to know Him more. I have hope for my future, and I know that God has big plans for my life. I have experienced His unconditional love for me even when I mess up. Now, I believe that I am worthy of His blessings.

After graduation, I will be going home to complete two high school classes and then graduate in June. Afterwards, I do not have any definite plans, but I am full of hopes and dreams. I trust that God will lead me wherever He wants me to go!


Before Mercy, I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I was struggling with bulimia and anorexia on a daily basis. I also beat myself and made it a point to be self destructive in any manner that I could. These behaviors were my way of dealing with the pain of past sexual abuse and being bullied in school. I never had any friends, and I hated who I was. I thought that God did not care about me and therefore, I became hopeless about ever living an abundant life. I stopped caring about what happened to me, and I began stealing to support my addictive habits. I realized that thievery was my ‘rock bottom’ and I decided I needed help, so I applied to Mercy Ministries.

While I was at Mercy, God has rescued me from myself and restored my life. Now, I have a real relationship with Him, and it amazes me that He loves me so completely. He has healed my past hurts and I am so grateful to have my life back.

After graduation, I want to go home and finish my last year of college at East Tennessee State University studying Family and Consumer Sciences. I am going to be living at home with my parents and finding a job somewhere between my school and home. I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for me.


Because of a horrible childhood full of neglect and abuse, my life before Mercy was very broken, and I was extremely rebellious. I hated God and disrespected all authority. I was angry and hated who I was. I did not care what happened to me or what others did to hurt me. Confusion overwhelmed my thoughts, and I did not know what it would be like to feel safe. As a last hope, I applied to Mercy.

During my stay at Mercy, I felt safe for the first time in my life. The Lord has set me free, and He has shown me the love of a perfect father. My identity has been renewed in Christ, and I no longer define myself by my issues. I also learned how to build healthy relationships and to identify lies about myself. Now, I am truly alive!

After Mercy, I plan on going home to work and pursue college. I am not sure where I want to go, but I do know that I want to get a degree in Music and Psychology. I have great expectations for life as I move into a new chapter!


Before coming to Mercy, I hated God for allowing my family to split up and for allowing me to get raped. I saw life as a sick game where God was on one side and Satan was on the other side, and I had to out smart the two of them. I found my identity in my achievements and what people thought of me. I found that drugs, alcohol and sex numbed the pain and calmed my fears. I was so desperate for help and I did not want to hide anymore, so I applied to Mercy.

During my time at Mercy, God showed me my true identity in Him. He showed me that He is not an angry god waiting to smite me, but rather He is my friend, redeemer and a personal God. He is personal to each one of us, and I now know Him in a real way.

After graduation, I plan on going home to attend Queens University to pursue a degree in Human Services and Counseling. One day, I hope to help girls like myself find freedom in Christ!

Congratulations ladies! You are so beautiful and we are excited to see the plans that God has for you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nancy Speaks in Georgia, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma

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

Atlanta, Georgia

Nancy was recently invited to speak at Christian City Church (C3 Church) in Atlanta, Georgia. Pastor Jill Sweetman asked Nancy to be the keynote speaker at their annual women’s conference. The conference theme this year was ‘Imagine,’ and Nancy encouraged the women that lasting freedom is possible and there is nothing that is impossible with God. Nancy shared specific examples about how God has provided in miraculous ways for Mercy Ministries over the years. The women were encouraged to “imagine” all that God can do in their own lives through unwavering faith in Him.

For more information about this awesome church and Pastors Dean and Jill Sweetman, please visit their website at

Mesa, Arizona

.Nancy recently visited Living Word Church in Mesa, Arizona. Pastors Tom and Maureen Anderson invited Nancy to speak at The Living Word Women’s annual conference -Extraordinary 2009 on April 2-4. Nancy was honored to be a part of this incredible conference and have the opportunity to challenge the women. Other speakers included CeCe Winans, Mark Hankins, and Kelly Copeland. This conference was a dynamic gathering where women were encouraged to step up, step out, and live extraordinary lives for Christ.

For more information about Drs. Tom and Maureen Anderson and Living Word Bible Church, please check out their website at

Nancy with Dr. Maureen Anderson
Nancy with Mark and Trina Hankins

Hobbs, New Mexico

On Monday, April 13th, Nancy traveled to Hobbs, NM to speak at Choose Life Church with Pastors Dean and Kathy Shropshire in honor of their 20th Anniversary. As a part of their week-long celebration, Nancy spoke at their Monday evening service, and hearts were touched as she shared the message of Mercy. As Nancy shared testimonies of freedom through Mercy Ministries, people were moved to action to make a difference in their own community.

For more information about Choose Life Church, visit their website at

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Nancy with Brittany, a former
Mercy resident from 2007

Nancy was recently invited to Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, April 18th to speak at the Sunday morning services at Guts Church with Pastors Bill and Sandy Scheer. Nancy also spoke to their staff on Monday morning and made herself available for a time of Q&A. She then spoke at their Guts Girls’ event on Monday evening – which was a night designed specifically for Nancy to be able to talk very openly about some of the major issues facing women in today’s society. At the end of the service, over 100 women came forward to make commit their lives to Christ. There is no greater joy than having the opportunity to witness individuals who have carried pain, shame, guilt and condemnation for years choose freedom in an instant.

Another highlight of this trip for Nancy was reconnecting with several former Mercy residents who came to hear her speak. This is something Nancy always looks forward to wherever she goes.

To read more about Nancy’s time at Guts Church, visit her blog at

And for more information about Guts Church and Pastors Bill and Sandy Scheer, check out their website at

Nancy with Pastors Bill and Sandy Scheer.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Four More Lives Made New!!

Friends, family, residents and staff gathered together at our St. Louis home to celebrate four amazing young women who just graduated from Mercy Ministries in St. Louis. These young women have been made new through the unconditional love and forgiveness of God. We would like to share each of their stories with you:


I struggled with an eating disorder for 7 years. When I was 13 years old, my grandmother died and that is when my self-esteem began to diminish. I became obsessed with being thin. I felt ugly and thought that I would go unnoticed if I was thin. I started calorie counting and exercising excessively, which led to anorexia and eventually bulimia. I found myself in a homosexual relationship with my best friend, which really confused me because I had dated guys for the past five years. Everything started getting worse as I began harming myself, taking pills and chemical inhalants, and I soon found myself considering suicide. I was overwhelmed with feelings of unworthiness, self-hate, betrayal and rejection. My heart was completely broken and I wanted to die. I was running out of places to turn and decided to apply to Mercy. I was accepted into the program and for the first time in a long time, I felt a glimmer of hope.

Since being at Mercy, God has amazed me by showing Himself to be undeniably real. My past does not have to be my future! I do not have to be defined by homosexuality because I am a new creation in Christ. I am NOT what I weigh. I have learned that sin separates me from the love of God, but I have been forgiven and my true identity is now found in Christ.

After graduation, I plan on going back home to Ohio to work at Famous Footwear. I also plan on working at a Christian summer camp. I am excited about getting involved in a church and living life for Jesus. Eventually, I hope to go back to college to get a degree in Youth Ministry. Someday I would like to run a homosexual support group for those who want to change and know that freedom is possible in Jesus Christ.


My life before Mercy was chaotic and destructive. I was never happy with who I was. The world taught me that life was all about the external, so I strived to be perfect in my performance and my image. At a young age, I was fully immersed into a lifestyle of anorexia and bulimia. I struggled with an eating disorder for 7 years. It was just an outward manifestation of the self-hatred I held inside. When the eating disorder could not fulfill the emptiness in my heart, I started to engage in sexual sin. Still I was left empty. In my heart I knew God was the only One who could satisfy me, but growing up in a legalistic church made me believe I was never going to be good enough to experience His love. With no hope left, I started cutting and attempting suicide. I was lost with no where to go. I just wanted to die. One day I was browsing the web and saw the success rate on Mercy’s website. I knew I had to apply if I really wanted one more chance at life.

While at Mercy, God has truly made my heart come alive. He has restored my hope and has given me a purpose. God who loves and accepts me for me. He has shown me that nothing I’ve done or will do can ever separate me from the love He holds for me, therefore, I am confident in knowing that I am valuable and cherished. He has placed within my heart new desires and dreams. He has truly taught me how to love again. He has revealed to me, time and time again, that He alone is my safe refuge, the One who will always protect me from harm. God has restored my life. He has brought excitement and joy back into my life. With Him, I’ve been made whole—He has satisfied me.

After graduation, my plan is to pursue a degree in Christian counseling and become involved in leading a youth worship team. At some point, I would love to go on missions trips to Honduras.


Before Mercy, my life was miserable and I was barely keeping it all together. My childhood was wrought with sexual abuse, which left me feeling out of control. I became very depressed and got involved with the occult. The past 13 years of my life have been defined by self-harm, over exercising, restricting and purging, and abusing over-the-counter pain pills. I isolated myself from family and friends and started spending hours on ‘pro-ana’ and ‘pro-mia’ websites. Finally, my sister told me about Mercy and encouraged me to apply as she knew I was at the end of my rope.

While I have been at Mercy, God has taught me that He loves me unconditionally and that He has good plans for my life. I learned what it means to trust Him and how to have a real relationship with Him.

After I graduate, I will be working at a Christian retreat center over the summer with plans to pursue a career that involves baking and ministry. I am basically just excited to live life for the first time and walk out my freedom doing whatever it is that God calls me to.


My life before Mercy was completely controlled by depression and self harm. I was filled with shame and a lack of worth due to a past of sexual abuse and other childhood trauma. I used whatever I could to numb the torment that I was feeling inside. I used food, drugs, alcohol, sexual sin and any other avenue to cope with the pain. I was afraid of being abandoned and withdrew from people who wanted to help me. My thoughts were full of suicide and hopelessness. I was so close to giving up on God and life. However, I found out about Mercy from Nancy Alcorn’s book “Cut.” I decided to apply to Mercy when I hit rock bottom after a seven year struggle with self-harm. I completed the application and was accepted into the program.

While at Mercy, I truly found life! God took all my shame and replaced it with double honor! Now, I rely on Him and run to His arms for comfort. He has forgiven me, and I have forgiven myself and all those who have hurt me. I know that I am worthy of receiving love. I was truly transformed during my time at Mercy. I know that He has a plan for me greater than I could ever hope or imagine!

After Mercy, I am going back to work in a salon! I am planning on getting involved in the local domestic violence shelter. My dream is to travel to different churches and youth groups and bring life-controlling issues like self-harm out of darkness and onto the light! Christ is the only way to truly find freedom!!!

Congratulations Ally, Lauren, Jodi, and Tiffany! We are so proud of your brave choice to come to Mercy, deal with your issues head-on, and find lasting freedom for your future! We can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of you!!