Monday, August 31, 2009

Nancy Alcorn Visits Mercy Ministries Friends and Partners in Wyoming

Last Monday, Mercy Ministries’ founder, Nancy Alcorn, along with Christy Singleton, Executive Director of Development, had the special opportunity to visit Sheridan, Wyoming to share the Mercy vision at a private gathering of friends and community leaders, hosted by some Mercy’s most special partners, Casey and Sue Osborn. The Osborn’s support Mercy Ministries very generously financially, but are also personal participants in the ministry.. Nancy and Christy considered it a joy to get to spend the day with the Osborn’s, touring their offices, seeing some other projects they are involved in, and sharing the vision at Mercy with some of their friends and family.

Sue Osborn said, “We look at our relationship with Mercy Ministries, not as a one way relationship of just financial donations, but a two way partnership where both parties share in the harvest of the seeds planted by the other.”

Casey also shared with us why he loves partnering with Mercy Ministries.

“Sue and I have been supporters of Mercy Ministries for over 15 years. We do not want to be just contributors or donors. We want to be participants and with Mercy, we are!”

This amazing couple has a heart for building God’s Kingdom and are also heavily involved in the Sure Foundation Family Ministry that cares for the healing, transformation and protection of the families of the Crow Indian Reservation in south central Montana. Casey and Sue are involved in helping to build a church on the Indian reservation in the Crow Community. This project is near and dear to them and they wanted to be sure to share their hearts for this project during this visit. During their visit, Nancy and Christy had to opportunity to see the progress on this new building and meet some of the special people who are making this kind of ministry possible. Here is what Nancy Alcorn had to say about her experience:

“We actually got to meet the pastor and the worship leader at this new church, who were also there helping to finish the building. It was so special to us to meet these precious men of God and to see their heart for their own people and the entire ministry that will undoubtedly happen in this building when it is finished.”


After visiting the church, Nancy and Christy were able to get up close and personal with an elk and some buffalo! To read more about Nancy’s time with these special friend’s of Mercy, visit her blog at http://nancyalcorn.blogspot.com.

A special thanks to Casey and Sue Osborn for their faithful ongoing support of the work of Mercy Ministries!

For more information about the Sure Foundation Family Ministry, check out their website at www.sffministry.org.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Special Guests at Mercy Ministries – Dr. Neil Anderson and More!!

Nashville residents and staff had an incredible week of teaching and encouragement with several very special guests. Last Wednesday, it was a privilege to have Dr. Neil Anderson, well-known speaker and author of “The Bondage Breaker,” “Victory Over the Darkness,” and many other books, take time away from his busy counseling and speaking schedule to offer his incredible wisdom insight and wisdom to our girls and staff.

Dr. Anderson shared with the residents and staff about the power of forgiveness. Having had to forgive for some tragic events in his own life, Dr. Anderson explained that even after tragedy, there is life and hope and God doesn’t have to fix our past - He frees us from it. He shared that forgiveness is more about finding freedom for ourselves than it is about the other person. Check out this video clip from our awesome and powerful time with Dr. Neil Anderson:

To learn more about Neil Anderson and his many resources, visit his website at www.ficm.org.


Then on Thursday, residents were excited to hear from Karen Philpott, former Marketing Director for Mercy Ministries and author and speaker, Leighann McCoy, who pastors at Thompson Station Church alongside her husband Tom McCoy. Both of these ladies have a huge heart for Mercy Ministries and we are excited to continue building a relationship with this awesome church.



Karen Philpott had an impactful time with residents when she shared a powerful message from her heart on the power of prayer. Leighann continued this intimate discussion by passionately illustrating the undeniable worth each person has as a child of God. Residents and staff were impacted in a powerful way!


Here is what a few of the girls had to say about these very special visitors:

Ashleigh said, “I always thought that I had to get myself right before I could forgive people, but it’s the other way around. I love when Dr. Anderson said, ‘You forgive in order to heal,’ because I can begin to let go of bitterness and let God do the judging.”

Michelle said, “God is going to keep telling me the same thing until I believe it. I loved Leighann’s message about how God gives me power to act in His image and if I seek Him I will find Him.

Caitlin said, “One of the biggest things I am working on is staying in consistent prayer continually throughout my day so that I can learn and not feel helpless or insecure. I plan to journal more so I can listen for what God is saying to me.”

Check out these video clips of our time with Dr. Anderson, Karen and Leighann.










Special thanks to Dr. Neil Anderson, Karen Philpott, and Leighann McCoy. We are so honored and grateful to have these very incredible people take the time to pour into our girls and staff.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two St. Louis Graduates Celebrate a Bright Future

Staff, residents, friends and family gathered together at our St. Louis home to celebrate two recent graduates of Mercy Ministries. These ladies, like hundreds of others, have seen their once seemingly hopeless lives transformed by the love and power of Christ. We are excited to share their stories with you.



Jenny

My birth mother left me and my younger brother when I was 2 years old. One of my family members became controlling and abusive and would often punish me by making me spend hours on my knees against the wall and would often beat me. The physical abuse became worse as I got older. Other family members molested me and this abuse eventually escalated to rape. The emotional pain led to cutting and a long battle with self-harm and bulimia. I became very confused about my sexual identity and got involved in relationships with other girls. Because of my rebellion, I was kicked me out of my home and fled to a Christian friend. When I thought I was controlling all of my issues, I realized that they were actually controlling me. A Mercy graduate who attends my church shared her testimony one Sunday morning, and I decided to seek lasting change for myself.

During my time at Mercy, I learned that God already knew all of my past and my mistakes but He still accepts me just as I am. All I have to do is be willing to surrender everything and lay all my burdens down at His feet. I experienced the overwhelming love of Christ when I finally put on my crown of forgiveness and gave Him all of the ashes of my life. I am so thankful that God took my past and turned it into something that would ultimately make me turn to Him and fall in love with Him.

After Mercy, I plan to go home to Mississippi and pursue a degree in Elementary Education. After this, I know God will lead my steps and reveal His plans for me.


Ashlie

Before coming to Mercy, I looked like I had everything together on the outside and no one knew that on the inside, I was dealing with a great deal of pain, guilt and shame. Childhood abuse mixed with addictions to pornography, various prescription and over-the-counter drugs and an eating disorder had created a miserable and potentially deadly reality. I was at the end of my rope and that is when my mom told me about Mercy Ministries.

At Mercy, God’s love has allowed me to forgive, let go, change, grow, challenge, convict, move forward and most importantly, love myself as a perfectly made child. I still don’t fully comprehend God’s love for me, but perhaps I never will, but what I do get blows my mind. I now know who I am in Christ. I have learned that I can’t be in control because this life is not my own. I can’t always do what I want with it, but I can trust that my God knows best!

After graduation, I plan to return home and finish my Master’s degree in Counseling so I can work either in a group home with teenage girls, or as a behavior specialist. I hope to open a chain of counseling centers to help people understand the REAL God - the one that loves them unconditionally.



Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you, and we are excited to see how God will use your gifts and talents to change lives!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nancy Speaks at Charisma Church in Paris, France

Last weekend, Nancy Alcorn was invited back to speak at the largest church in France, Charisma Church in Paris, with approximately 10,000 members. Nancy was so honored to get to visit this dynamic church again and see the growth since her last visit four years ago. She spoke on Friday night, August 14 at a women’s gathering and again on Sunday for all three of their packed-out Sunday services. Pastors Pedro and Natalie Nuno not only pastor the largest church in France, but they have also raised up leaders to help plant over 130 churches throughout the nation. They are truly impacting the people of France! As Pastor Natalie interpreted for Nancy, there was a great sense of expectancy and anticipation among the people as Nancy shared stories of freedom and transformed lives. Nancy also spoke about vision and encouraged the church in their ministry.

paris1 paris3

Nancy was accompanied on this trip by her Executive Assistant, Cassidy Carlgren and the Fitness Manager at our Nashville Mercy home, Nandi Pryce. Nandi played soccer while she was in college at UCLA and also played for a gold medal winning USA team. When the pastor found out that Nandi had been a gold medalist and had actually played in France at the national stadium, he asked her to share her experiences with the congregation at every service because soccer is such a huge pastime in France!

paris2

Another highlight of this trip for Nancy was reconnecting with church members that she had met in 2005. This is what she had to say about her visit:

“I was approached by a nice young man after the last service on Sunday who wanted to let me know that when I was there four years ago, that he was there as a visitor and when I gave the altar call, he came up and asked Jesus into his heart. Now, four years later, he’s serving there and living strong for the Lord. He wanted to say thank you. We were blessed beyond words by the awesome people in this great church.”

paris4

We are excited that churches like Charisma have embraced the vision of Mercy Ministries and have committed their support. Thank you for your prayers as we continue to take the message of hope and freedom to the nations, and see God extend His mercy to hurting people all over the world.



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baby Daniel is Born – Mercy Ministries Celebrates New Life!

baby danielWe are excited to announce that on Tuesday, August 11, 2009, Mercy resident Amber gave birth to an adorable baby boy, Daniel Survivor. Baby Daniel weighed in at 9 lbs, 2 oz and measured 21 inches long – baby and mother are happy and healthy! Amber made the decision to be a hero to us by coming to Mercy Ministries and choosing life for her child. Amber chose to place Baby Daniel for adoption with a loving family.

Because of our supporters, girls like Amber who are facing unplanned pregnancy can receive the help they need, and then choose to parent or place their babies for adoption. Your support is literally saving and changing lives every day. We thank God for our supporters – you make it possible for us to see lives transformed and hope restored!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

COLMANblue Visits Mercy Ministries!

Christian alternative artists, COLMANblue, wanted to encourage the Nashville Mercy Ministries’ residents and staff by leading worship and sharing their hearts at the home last Thursday. Chrissy Katina and Kristin Schweain, formerly of Dove Award-winning music group ZOEgirl, and Kelli Trontell, 2007 Top American Idol Songwriter, have teamed up recently to deliver a new and defining worship sound.

Between sharing some of their new songs, Chrissy gave a powerful testimony that really hit home with many of the girls, and also shared how her sister-in-law went through the Mercy Ministries program and graduated from the Monroe home. She encouraged residents to surrender their plans to God because His plans are much greater than our own. One of their hit songs, “Flowers and Grace,” described how much women love receiving flowers – yet knowing what God has done for us – He’s given us so much more than a bouquet of flowers, He’s given us forgiveness!

COLMANblue has a straightforward approach using scripture filled lyrics and intentional dependence on God that touched the hearts of the Mercy girls. We are so thankful that they took time out to share their talent and give encouragement to our residents. Here is what a few of the girls had to say about their visit:

Nicole said, “Chrissy’s testimony was cool because we got to see how God fulfilled her dream in a better way than she thought. I can have faith and believe that God has His best in mind for me.”

Brandy said, “They really showed me how when we give up our will and follow God, we always end up happier in the end. I’m learning to surrender."

Karen said, “When the girls were singing, I had a memory come to mind of a night last year when God spoke very clearly to me. I was reminded to keep pushing forward and do what He’s called me to. This visit really empowered me to find healing no matter what it takes.”

Kristan said, “Despite the fact that we mess up a lot, His grace is enough. His mercy covers us. It’s such an awesome reality!

Check out this video of COLMANblue’s time at Mercy.

To learn more about COLMANblue, visit their website at www.colmanblue.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mercy Supporters Larry and Pam Winters Honored in St. Louis

Last week, St. Louis residents and staff were honored by a visit from Larry and Pam Winters, founders of “Leadership Team Development (LTD).” The Winters passionately support the work of Mercy Ministries through spreading the vision of Mercy to thousands, as well as being financial partners with the ministry. During their visit, they hosted the St. Louis residents in a private box at the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Larry and Pam were also in town to be celebrated for their personal contribution to the Mercy Ministries’ St. Louis home. After commemorating with the girls and staff at a resident graduation on Tuesday, the Winters were honored with a dedication service for the home’s dining room that the couple personally sponsored.


As a part of this special dedication, Selah Hirsch, Director of Development for the St. Louis home, introduced the Winters family and described their connection to the very heart of Mercy. “The dedication of the dining room wonderfully reflects the Winters’ amazing efforts to support Mercy. In times like these, I believe we link our hearts together toward the goal of saving lives,” explained Selah.

Hearts were touched as Pam shared part of her personal testimony as many of the residents identified with her story of past abuse. Larry Winters then shared about how much he loves his wife and explained that he is so passionate about Mercy because it is a ministry that helps women receive freedom from life-controlling issues. The girls and staff were incredibly moved by the couple’s amazing commitment to Mercy Ministries.

It was a privilege to have the Winters family and guests in the St. Louis home for a beautiful day of celebration. Here is what some of the residents had to say about these special events and this amazing couple:

Kim said, “I was so moved and personally touched by how the Lord worked through the Winters to provide for Mercy! Our seats at the Cardinals game were incredible and it made the game that much more exciting. The Winters are amazing people!”

Sydnie said, “I enjoyed the Winters coming to graduation. They are like family now and I’m so glad they came to celebrate and have lunch with us. They are such a blessing to Mercy!”

Rachael said, “I really appreciate Pam Winters’ testimony about her experiences with abuse in the past. This touched the hearts of the Mercy girls so much!”

Candace said, “The Cardinals baseball game made my first day at Mercy very memorable. The Winters are very kind and big-hearted people.”

We are honored to be able to dedicate the St. Louis dining room to the Winters as one way to say “thank you” for their generous support and partnership with Mercy Ministries. We wanted to share this slideshow of pictures from the special time we had with the Winters family.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Five More Girls Celebrate Transformed Lives!

Five residents at the Nashville and St. Louis homes were honored at their graduations from Mercy Ministries! This was an exciting celebration of transformed lives and girls who are walking in the freedom they have received in Christ. Here are their powerful stories:



St. Louis


CeCe

CeCegradBefore I came to Mercy, my life was in shambles. I allowed my identity to be completely wrapped up in materialistic things such as my basketball career, friends, clothing and my appearance. I didn’t think anyone would love me for who I was, and I didn’t really know the real me, so I acted phony. After getting a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at Auburn University, I started heavily abusing drugs and alcohol and participating in the party scene. I got involved in a homosexual relationship and hated who I had become. Eventually, my coaches took me to a rehab center and I lost my scholarship. I felt like I had nothing left. When I left rehab, my parents told me about Mercy Ministries.

Since I have been at Mercy, God has completely redefined me and healed my heart. He has also shown me my identity in Christ and I no longer worry about what people think all the time because I now know that only God can truly satisfy me.

Once I graduate, I plan to attend Lee University in Cleveland, TN on a full-ride basketball scholarship! It is my dreams to one day fully fund a Mercy Ministries’ home.



Jenna

Before Mercy, I believed that I didn’t have a voice. I struggled with the belief that I just wasn’t good enough and that I didn’t measure up. An eating disorder and addiction to excessive exercise was controlling my life. Due to the choices that I was making in my life, I suffered with depression, mood swings, panic attacks and insomnia. I hated who I was and I didn’t think that I deserved to enjoy life. I wasn’t living; I was just existing. After deciding that I didn’t want to take part in a secular eating disorder program because I didn’t want to spend my life “in recovery,” I heard about Mercy Ministries. I wanted complete wholeness and freedom, so I decided to apply to the program.

During my time at Mercy, God has revealed His unconditional love for me as an individual. He has taught me that I am royalty and that my life can be full of abundance and joy. My confidence and security is now found completely in Him and as I seek Him above all else, He will work out all the details in my life. Now, I have no need to worry!

After graduation, I plan to move back home with my family and begin college in January so that I can pursue a degree in Human and Social Development.


Nashville


Samantha

My life before Mercy was filled with depression, self-harm, an eating disorder, thoughts of suicide and a very unhealthy relationship with a controlling and manipulative older man. I felt worthless and abandoned by the people in my life. I was quickly spiraling downward, and I knew that if I didn’t get help, I most likely wouldn’t make it to my 18th birthday. I saw an ad for Mercy Ministries in Brio Magazine and decided to apply.

Since being at Mercy, God has completely restored my joy. He has shown me who I am in Christ and now I don’t feel the need to find my value in relationships with guys or by controlling my weight. My life has been restored and I have the tools to walk out my freedom.

After I leave Mercy, I plan to finish my high school education and work in childcare at my church. I then want to pursue a degree at a Bible College or Christian University and to someday work in ministry. I want to help hurting teenage girls!

Julie

When I was younger, I was abused. I began self-harming at the age of 13 in order to gain some control over my desperate situation. I also began dealing with self-image and became anorexic. By age 14, my use of inhalants spiraled into frequent hospitalizations and eventually a heart attack. I felt abandoned, alone, and completely hopeless, but I knew that if I didn’t get help, I would die. I was accepted into the Mercy Ministries program knowing that I had been given a second chance for life.

While at Mercy, God has completely taken away my self-hatred and shame. I know now who I am in Christ and how much He values me. I learned that my past does not define my future unless I let it, and that God is my perfect Papa. Today, I choose life.

After I graduate, I plan to finish my senior year of high school back in Vancouver, Canada. I then want to get a business degree so that I can open a center for youth in Vancouver that will show them the love of Christ.

Danielle

Before Mercy, I grew up in a loving home. The desire to be special and maintain control over my life is what led me to deal with a 12 year struggle with anorexia. I thought that men, looks, success and a career were my greatest desires, but once I achieved those things, I still felt completely empty and alone. I spent a lot of time in and out of many secular hospitals and programs, which never seemed to have any lasting effect and I really wanted lasting freedom. Soon after that, I learned about Mercy Ministries and decided to apply.

At Mercy, God has revolutionized my life. I discovered that His love is the only thing in this world that is constant and unchanging. He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. Now, I can praise and thank God in all circumstances, good and bad, seen and unseen. Not once was the word “recover” mentioned, because at Mercy, I discovered for the first time that with Jesus there is no “living in recovery,” there is only freedom.

After graduation, I plan to return to my job as a legal assistant back in Long Island, New York and pursue fulfilling the passion of reaching those lost in the sex industry and porn addiction.




Congratulations ladies!! We are so proud of each one of you and are so excited to hear about all God continues to do in and through you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rocknations Rocks the UK!!

This past weekend, Nancy Alcorn joined over 1,000 young people from all over Europe, including the Mercy UK girls, as a keynote speaker at Rocknations Youth Conference in Bradford, England. Founded and hosted by Steve Gambill and Abundant Life Church, Rocknations is a unique conference for young people across the European nations that is dedicated to empowering this generation to change their culture for Christ.

Nancy Alcorn was thrilled to be joined by speakers, Phil Dooley, Pastor of Hillsong Cape Town in South Africa and Steve Gambill, who is passionate about helping young people reach their full potential. The gathering also featured bands like RPM, the Rocknations Worship Band, plus Four Kornerz and The Gentlemen.

The youth were challenged to experience how awesome God is and remember that to forget God, is to forget who they are and why they are here on the earth. Before and after the general sessions, the youth had a blast trying to choose between all the special activities at Rocknations like bungee trampolines, a dance workshop, wall climbing, battle of the bands, skate city and a surf simulator!

Here is what Nancy Alcorn had to say about this incredible event:

“It was so exciting to be a part of Rocknations 9th annual conference. After a great message from Steve Gambill, 212 young people came forward and committed their lives to Christ. The hearts and lives of the youth here were changed by the love and power of Christ - I love my job!! It has been an amazing weekend!”

Rocknations is evidence of the powerful work God is doing in Europe. Mercy Ministries is already making plans and looking forward to participating at next year’s conference!

Check out this slideshow of pictures to view some unforgettable memories!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Worship Leader Kari Jobe Visits the St. Louis Home

On Thursday, St. Louis staff and residents were honored to get some girl time with song writer and international worship leader, Kari Jobe. Whenever Kari has an opportunity to visit the Mercy girls, she loves to get vulnerable and honest with them right from the start, sharing her own testimony of transformation and offering heartfelt advice. Kari’s visits always become a very personal and intimate time for the residents but are also a time to celebrate being a girl!

During her time with the girls, Kari wove songs together with her personal testimony and also prayed over the residents. Sharing a great story about how fun it is to be a girl, Kari described how she had just learned that you can use a hair straightener to actually curl your hair! She also shared stories of pain she had experienced in her own life and many of the residents related to her transformation with tears. At the end of her sharing time, Kari surprised the girls with the news that she and ZOE Ministries, a parachurch ministry to metro St. Louis youth, were giving all the girls and staff tickets to attend her worship event that night. They were ecstatic!

At West County Community Church that evening, the residents were greeted to a special reserved section of seats and were given another opportunity to worship God along with Kari. This was a passionate night of worship, and many people made commitments for Christ that night.

We were so excited to have Kari visit our St. Louis home and host the Mercy girls for another amazing night of worship. Here is what some the Mercy girls had to say in response to Kari’s time at Mercy Ministries:

Lindsay said, “Being able to be in the same room with one of my absolute favorite worship pastors ever almost made me speechless. Kari is real. She walks the walk and talks the talk! She is truly genuine and that is something you can’t help but notice as you see her heart and witness her love for the Lord.”

Mandie said, “Kari was absolutely amazing! Her music ministry, along with her testimony really touched my heart and I can’t wait until I can tell my testimony to hurting young women someday as well.”

Jenn said, “I came to Mercy a short time ago. I thought because I grew up in church that I was saved. Kari’s worship music truly opened up my heart to the Lord in a new way!”

Rachael said, “The presence of God as we worshipped was amazing. I began to cry as He reminded me of mountain and valley experiences and told me that He was there with me. I will forever remember this worship experience with Kari Jobe and I thank God for showing up like He did.”

To learn more about Kari Jobe’s music and ministry, visit her website at www.karijobe.com .


Monday, August 10, 2009

BarlowGirl Day at California Home


Two weeks ago, sister rock trio and Mercy Ministries’ partners, BarlowGirl, performed a private acoustic set for visitors at our brand new California home. Guests were thrilled to experience the band’s powerful sound and bold message of faith and hope in Christ live in our new West Coast facility – soon to open this fall! Barlow Girls, Becca, Alyssa and Lauren also showed their love and support for Mercy Ministries’ by taking time out to meet and greet fans and visitors from the local community, including representatives from several area churches who attended the event to learn more about Mercy and find out how they could get involved.

The new facility is still in need of furnishings, so BarlowGirl has decided to team up with Bed, Bath and Beyond to help supply the things that are needed. Fans can access a gift registry on BarlowGirl’s website to donate items for the home through December 2009. You can check out this gift registry at www.barlowgirl.com/index_enter.html.

During this special event, there was also a time for guests to hear from four Mercy graduates, who shared their stories of freedom from life-controlling issues and described the new found hope they have carried with them after graduating from the Mercy Ministries program. Monroe graduate, Michelle Melton, explained how she came to learn about Mercy and how the unconditional love and practical principals of freedom that she was introduced to in the program have changed her life forever. Visitors were also able to tour the 22,000 square foot home that will offer hope to 40 more girls who will walk through the doors to receive help in the coming months.

Thank you for your continued prayers as we prepare to open this home on October 1st. If you would like more information on the California home, or if you would like to make a donation, please contact Selah Hirsch at shirsch@mercyministries.com.

We would also like to thank BarlowGirl for continuing to partner with Mercy Ministries by sharing our heart for hurting young women at live concert events and always encouraging their fans to get involved by supporting this ministry.

Check out this slideshow of pictures from the concert!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vietnam Veteran, Dave Roever, Shares His Story with Monroe Residents

Mercy Ministries Monroe residents were invited to hear Vietnam veteran, Dave Roever, share his inspiring story of survival and triumph at First Assembly Church this past Sunday. Sought after both nationally and internationally as a motivational speaker to active duty military and to young people, Dave communicates the importance of perseverance, positive self esteem, hope and healing.

When drafted to enlist in the Navy in 1968, Dave had no idea that he would come home from Vietnam badly injured and disfigured from a grenade that exploded next to his face, severely burning most of his body. The girls were amazed to learn that when his body was still on fire, Dave jumped into a river. After surfacing, his next words were, “God, I still believe in you!” A buddy of his, realizing what had just happened, became aware of the reality of faith and gave his heart to God right there. The incident was incredibly horrific and painful, but because of his foundation in faith, Dave chose to trust God and believe that he had a divine destiny.

The resulting disfigurement and scars did not overcome God’s purpose for Dave’s life. He shared with residents that during his time in the hospital, he began to realize that his life would never be the same, but in the midst of that reality, he knew that God was going to turn his tragedy into triumph. Dave’s message seemed to strike a chord with the girls. That message being that no matter how tough things get, don’t give up on yourself because God can use any of us in a mighty way if we let Him.

Here is what a few of the girls had to say about Dave’s message:

Krystal said, “His testimony was eye-opening for me. It is inspiring that someone can come out of something so traumatic completely healed by the grace of God.”

Sarah said, “God can work through the terrible things that Satan throws at us. I need to fight through it because God has a plan for me.”

Katie said, “He was awesome! I can relate to pain and a desire to die for fear of not being loved. I was especially touched by the story he told about the man who carried him to the tub in the hospital and assured him that he was going to be alright. I’m so thankful that I have people who love me and tell me I’m going to make it.”

If you would like to know more about Dave Roever and his ministry, visit his website at www.daveroever.net.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Six Graduates Leave Mercy with Renewed Hope!

St. Louis and Monroe residents and staff joined together with family and friends to rejoice over six more extraordinary young women who have experienced God’s unconditional love and now have renewed hope for the future. We wanted to share their stories of transformation with you!



St. Louis

Alicia

My life before Mercy was full of violence and neglect. I was 8 years old when I began suffering from verbal and sexual abuse. As I sought approval from the people in my life, I began struggling with an eating disorder, depression and I experimented with self-harm. I could see my mother becoming more emotionally distant after she remarried, and that detachment was tough for me. Because my Christian faith had always been such an important part of my life, I knew I needed to find a place where God’s love would truly be evident. Several programs later, I had almost lost hope until I learned about Mercy from my eating disorder support group and knew this was the kind of help I was looking for.

At Mercy, I have learned that I am accepted by Christ and dearly loved by God. I began understanding that I am an overcomer because Christ is always with me and will give me strength to push through the challenges in my life. I now have abundant hope for my future.

After I graduate, I plan to finish my degree in Humanities and pursue my certificate in creative life coaching.



Courtney

Growing up as the heavy girl in school, my mother and I would frequently compete to lose weight. Eventually, this fixation led me to restrict food and over-exercise. Soon after, that turned into binging and purging and my battle with bulimia developed. Despite supportive friends and family and two hospital visits, one for an overdose of laxatives and the other for malnutrition, I still continued in the eating disorder behaviors. I would purge my food an average of 20 times a day and used self-harm to punish myself for what I had done. I was headed toward an early grave, but when my sister told me about the Mercy program, I decided to apply.

During my time at Mercy, I have fallen intimately in love with my Savior. I’ve learned what repentance truly means- to literally TURN from the sin that so easily entangles me. Most importantly, I have acknowledged that life simply is not about me anymore. Now, I am alive in the Lord, who overlooks my flaws and weaknesses and loves me unconditionally.

After Mercy, I am planning to attend Missouri Baptist University to study Nursing with the dream of coming back to work at Mercy one day. I also plan to play tennis for MBU and work as a nanny part-time. Ultimately, I have a heart for missions and will be sharing the truth about the love of Christ with everyone I meet.



Lacey

My mother and several other family members died tragically in a fire when I was 6 years old. After the accident, I clung tightly to my father and he became my entire world. When he remarried and had other children, I began to feel like I did not fit into his new life and that I was just leftovers from a life that I was sure he wanted to forget. These feelings of abandonment led me to choose relationships with men that were physically and verbally abusive and I allowed my boyfriends to have ownership over me. After having an abortion, my heart was broken. I heard about Mercy from my stepmother and I knew it was my last hope.

Since I have been in the Mercy Ministries program, God has shown me His unwavering and perfect love for me. I will never be the same again. I know now that I am precious to Him and I am so joyful that the same Creator of the vast wonder and beauty of the universe loves me personally and individually. I have learned how to truly like myself and to stop believing lies that are destructive.

After graduation, I plan to finish my degree in Broadcast Journalism with an emphasis in the entertainment industry. I eventually want to host my own talk show so that I can share with people that God is stretching out His hand at every moment to rescue them. I’m so thankful that I have been rescued!


Monroe

Sara

Before Mercy, I lived in fear. I was terrified about my unpaid debt due to my spending addiction that seemed impossible to overcome. I was afraid of going to prison. Furthermore, an emotionally and physically abusive relationship left me feeling worthless, ashamed and without hope. My fears only increased after being in a severe car accident. I needed to find my identity and my self-worth. My aunt and my mother told me about Mercy. I was sick of the way I was living and desperate for change, and I knew this could be my last resort.

During my stay at Mercy, God has completely freed me from my fears. My desire for drugs and alcohol is gone, and I now know that I have worth, hope and a great future ahead of me. Learning to trust God has taught me that He will restore to me all the things that I have lost, and now I have so much peace and joy. I am excited about the future and my new life with God.

After I leave Mercy, I plan to attend a technical school to pursue a certificate in Health and Information Services. I am thankful I have been shown God’s amazing love, and I trust that He will lead me in my new journey.



Ivy

Before coming to Mercy, I grew up with a single mother and found myself playing a parent-like role at an early age. I have been told that early in my childhood I was verbally, physically and sexually abused. I began smoking, drinking and utilizing self-harm in order to cope with my confused existence. Never feeling like I was good enough, I believed I had to earn my right to be alive, and suicide began to feel like the only option that I had. After leaving for college, sexual addiction became a powerful obstacle, and at the peak of my hopelessness I turned to the misuse of prescription drugs. I decided to apply to Mercy after unsuccessfully trying to turn my life around on my own. I knew the “God thing” was my last hope for life.

While at Mercy, I was able to see God and His continual blessings. He has moved in my life in so many ways. In addition to becoming a Christian, I was water baptized and have been so excited to leave all the junk of my past in the water that day. I have learned that I do have hope for a future and that I have inherent worth that is not based on my performance. God loves me for me. I’m no longer a victim, and I am able to trust in His love for me. Through God’s mercy, I have been able to forgive others and myself. My hunger for God is insatiable.

After graduation, I plan to go back to my hometown in Waco, Texas where I will get a job in the social work field. I plan to get involved in church and participate in the worship department. Eventually, it is my desire to move to Uganda to minister to orphans.



Christine

My childhood was full of neglect and abuse. I had been abused from birth and I often was not fed. There were many times that I had to search for food from our neighbor’s house. Eventually, someone called Child Protective Services, and I lived for a while in foster care until a Christian family adopted me. When I was 9 years old, my adoptive mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and soon after passed away. I lost hope and began struggling with severe depression. At age 14, I became sexually active and didn’t understand that these relationships were self destructive. After I graduated high school, I moved out of my parent’s house and in with my fiancĂ©. At this point, I knew I needed help with my depression. My stepmother told me about Mercy, so I researched it online and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I have learned that no matter what happens, God loves me unconditionally and He will never leave me or forsake me. God has brought people into my life who love me for who I am, and now I know that I am a beautiful woman of God.

After I graduate, I plan to go to school in the fall and look for a job. I am looking forward to eventually opening an in-home daycare.




Congratulations Alicia, Courtney, Lacey, Sara, Ivy and Christine! You are our heroes and we are so proud of your transformation!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monroe Hosts Friends of Mercy Luncheon

Last Thursday, we hosted a Friends of Mercy luncheon at the Bayou Desiard Country Club in Monroe. This year, we had 100 friends join us, and we raised over $4,000 in support for the young women we serve. Everyone had a chance to hear life-transforming testimonies from two Monroe graduates who are now on staff at the Monroe home. Guests also heard from a current Monroe resident, Angel, who shared about how God has touched and healed her heart since being at Mercy. Sherry Peveto, a 1989 graduate, explained why she feels strongly called to give back to Mercy, and she challenged guests to become ministry partners and continue sow into the lives of future generations by giving to this program.

We would like to thank Kerry Wooten of Kerry Wooten Photography www.kwootenphotography.com for donating his photography services for the luncheon as well as Dr. John Ledbetter of Louisiana Pain Care www.lapaincare.com who committed $1,000 as a business sponsor.

This event was a great success! We are so thankful to our friends and ministry partners who have made the decision to invest their resources into programs with eternal value. Your commitment promises a message of hope to countless hurting young women.

Check out these pictures from this special event.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another Incredible Week at Mercy Ministries


Nashville residents and staff have had an empowering week of teaching and worship through the powerful teaching of Mark Hankins and the inspired worship of Higher Ground Ministries.

Mark Hankins and his wife Trina travel internationally, delivering a message of victory through the blood of Jesus Christ. When we heard that they were going to be in Nashville, Nancy Alcorn was so excited to invite them out to visit the Nashville home to see the ministry first hand and to share with the girls and staff about their identity in Christ. Teaching about fighting from victory rather than for victory, Mark shared with the girls that in order for faith to change things, we have to acknowledge every good thing that is in us in Christ and see our identities in Him. He shared many hilarious personal examples from his childhood, all of which kept the girls laughing and on the edge of their seats. The girls and staff were incredibly moved by Mark and Trina’s passion and ministry.


(Pictured L to R) Mark Hankins, Nancy Alcorn, Trina Hankins

Residents were also absolutely thrilled to enjoy a special private concert from Higher Ground, a dynamic gospel trio that not only makes amazing music, but touches hearts in a deep and personal way. Wayne Hilliard, Eddie Combs and Travis Adams were excited and honored to be able to share their musical talents and personal ministry with our girls and staff. The girls especially loved their song, “Woman in the House,” that spoke of God’s special design for women through their faith. Even more than the incredible music, was the way the men connected with our girls with their contagious and joyful personalities!


(Pictured L to R) Travis Adams, Wayne Hilliard, Nancy Alcorn, Eddie Combs

Here is what some of the Mercy girls had to say in response to this week’s dynamic and impacting visitors:

Kristan said, “I learned that the blood of Jesus removed all residue of sin. It does more than just forgive us, but cleanses us to make us new. There is not one little crack or crevice that the blood of Jesus does not touch. Our guilt for any past sin is removed. I know I’m not guilty anymore.”

Michelle said, “I have to acknowledge and act on who I am in Christ and not focus on my own efforts or on my past. I want to believe and act as the new creation that I am, refusing to let the devil cheat me out of my destiny!”

Jessica said, “I plan to implement the “In Christ” statements that Mark shared with us and make note cards from them so I can speak confessions of faith each day.”

Gina said, “The guys in Higher Ground have an amazing love for God. They were so truthful and their songs spoke to my heart.”


To learn more about Mark and Trina Hankins check out their website at www.markhankins.org.

To learn more about Higher Ground Ministries visit their website at www.hgmin.com.