Friday, November 27, 2009

Amazing Volunteer Opportunity for St. Louis Residents

Albert Pujols, star first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, and his wife Deidre, are long time supporters of Mercy Ministries. This amazing couple has a beautiful daughter with Down Syndrome, which has inspired them to reach out and love children and families of children with the same issue. The Pujols Family Foundation provides hope for families and children who live with Down Syndrome.

As part of their ministry, Albert and Deidre host an annual prom that gives local teens and adults with Down Syndrome the opportunity to attend a formal dance. Mercy Ministries St. Louis residents were invited to the Crown Plaza in Clayton, IL as volunteers to greet the prom guests at the red carpet entrance with cheering and applause, as they were welcomed to their prom.

Each couple had the chance to pose for a traditional “prom picture” with a photographer and enjoy amazing food, but the highlight of the event was of course the dance. After everyone arrived, Mercy residents spent most of the evening dancing with the guests. The entire event was a blast for everyone!

Here is what a few of our residents had to say about their volunteer experience at the Pujols Family Foundation prom event:

Amy said, “Having the opportunity to volunteer at the Pujols’ Prom was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Seeing the excited look on all of their faces as they walked the red carpet was a reward in and of itself. Not only that, but having a fun, cut-loose time on the dance floor made the evening one I’ll never forget.”

Mandie said, “Honestly, I had more fun than I did at my own prom! We danced the night away! Not only did we bless them, but I felt so blessed and the guests made me feel special. This experience really impacted me and is definitely a Mercy memory I will never forget!”

Katie said, “This was one of the most inspirational experiences of my life. It was an honor to participate in such a heartwarming and joyous event. I could have danced with them all night long. I wish my own prom had been this fun!”


To learn more about Albert and Deidre Pujols and the Pujols Family Foundation, visit their website www.pujolsfamilyfoundation.org.

Check out these fun pictures from the Pujols’ Family Prom night!



Thursday, November 26, 2009

St. Louis Girls Assemble Thanksgiving Meals for the Needy

This Thanksgiving season, St. Louis residents and staff joined together at the St. Louis Dream Center to pack donated food items for needy families in the area. Founded by Mercy Ministries’ supporters, Joyce and Dave Meyer, the St. Louis Dream Center is a church focused on ministering to the needs of the inner city through a homeless outreach, discipleship programs and the “adopt a block” ministry.

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The Mercy girls created an assembly line, sorted all the food, packed boxes, and carried the assembled Thanksgiving gifts to the storage area. The gift boxes included everything from potatoes, green beans and corn to, of course, a turkey! Residents had the opportunity to learn that just because they are still in the Mercy program working out their own issues, that doesn’t mean God can’t use them right where they are as His hands and feet to help a hurting world. We are so proud of how our residents worked as a team to bless the St. Louis community!

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Here is what some of the girls had to say about their time volunteering at the St. Louis Dream Center:

Lindsee said, “This was such an amazing experience because it gave us a chance to get our minds off of ourselves and give back. It breaks my heart to know that there are people who don’t get to have a Thanksgiving, so I feel blessed to just be a part of helping them have a nice meal!”

Rachael said, “It was truly a blessing to have an opportunity to reach out to this community and bless them for Thanksgiving. Praise God that we could give a little of our time to make a difference in the lives of families in our area.”

Brye said, “I loved going to the Dream Center and helping out. I worked carrying heavy boxes and was happy I could do this small thing. It was awesome!”


To learn more about the St. Louis Dream Center, visit their website at www.stldreamcenter.org.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Afternoon of Mercy in St. Louis

On Saturday, Brenda Warner, community philanthropist and New York Times best-selling author of the book "First Things First," and co-founder of First Things First Foundation in St. Louis with her husband, NFL great Kurt Warner, currently the quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals , joined Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries as the keynote speaker for An Afternoon of Mercy ladies luncheon in St. Louis. There were over 160 guests who were greeted by Mercy graduates at The Country Club at St. Albans, just outside of St. Louis. This was an exclusive fundraising and awareness event to support the work of Mercy Ministries and nearly $25,000 was raised for the young women we serve!

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Brenda Warner pictured with Nancy Alcorn

The guests were given an opportunity to purchase original pieces of art created by St. Louis residents under the direction of Bert VanderMark, who is a local artist and Founder of Visual Parables. These pieces of artwork entitled “Portraits of Mercy” were sold at the event with proceeds going back to support the work of Mercy Ministries. Thanks to our supporters, we were able to sell 30 pieces of art! Mercy Ministries would also like to give a special thanks to the St. Louis photography group, Lightwriters, who generously donated 12 beautiful photos for the art sale.

Sarah Vaughn led guests in worship and everyone had a chance to hear life-transforming testimonies from graduates. Nancy Alcorn shared the heart and vision of Mercy Ministries and told several stories from her personal testimony. Brenda Warner then shared a bit of her personal story of overcoming tragedy and adversity as she shared her heart for young women.

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Nancy Alcorn pictured with graduates

Julianne Fogt, Community Relations Manager for Mercy Ministries in St. Louis, and An Afternoon of Mercy organizer, shared about this special event:

“After many months of planning, it was incredible to see the room decorated so beautifully and to stand before the works of art created by these precious St. Louis Mercy girls. I was blessed beyond measure by the generosity of those who attended this event, both in their giving and in their offers to help through volunteering and prayer.”

Thank you to our ministry partners who join with us to extend the unconditional love of Christ to hundreds of hurting young women each year. Your faithful prayers and support make hope and transformation possible for the girls we serve.

Check out these pictures from the luncheon.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friends of Mercy Ministries Brunch in Dallas

1Mercy Ministries hosted a Friends of Mercy Brunch at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving, TX, just outside of Dallas. We had over 100 friends and supporters join us for this event that raised awareness and $12,000. Sarah and Tyler Vaughn led guests in worship and everyone had a chance to hear life-transforming testimonies from Monroe graduate, Kim, who recently won the title, Miss Congeniality, in the Miss Oklahoma pageant and St. Louis graduate, Bethany, who is finishing Veterinary school at Texas A&M University.

Then, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, shared the history and vision of the ministry. Nancy was joined by long time Mercy supporters, Doug and Lea Witt who opened the event with prayer and Suzanne Newell followed by clearly defining how to get more involved in supporting Mercy Ministries and the young women we serve.

We would like to thank Darla Denton for creating the gorgeous floral arrangements. And a big thanks to Jimmy and Kirie James for helping to sponsor this event.

This brunch was a great success! We are so thankful to our friends and ministry partners everywhere who have joined with us in reaching hurting young women with the unconditional love and life-transforming power of Christ. Your commitment to Mercy gives hope with eternal value to the girls within our reach.

Check out these pictures from this special Dallas event.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Pastor and Author, Jill Sweetman, Shares with the Nashville Residents

1Residents at our Nashville home were excited to welcome Pastor Jill Sweetman and 12 amazing women from Christian City Church (C3) in Atlanta for a special tour of Mercy Ministries in Nashville. Jill and her husband Dean, originally from Australia, not only pastor C3 in Atlanta and also in Studio City, CA, but they also oversee all of the C3 churches in the U.S. under the international leadership of Pastors Phil and Chris Pringle. Pastors Dean and Jill have been in ministry for over 20 years, raising leaders and planting new churches worldwide.

Mercy Founder, Nancy Alcorn first connected with Pastor Jill when she was invited to speak at C3 Atlanta’s Imagine Women’s Conference in April of this year. Pastor Jill was so excited about the mission and vision of Mercy Ministries that she wanted to personally come and visit our home and international headquarters in Nashville and find out how they could get more involved. So, in July, a group of 30 women from C3 Atlanta came to see the home and spend time getting to know the girls and staff. This was such a special time, that we were excited to host them for a second trip!

The Nashville residents and staff were deeply moved as Pastor Jill shared her personal story of starting with literally nothing but a heart for ministry. She shared about how she and Dean overcame poverty and marriage problems by surrendering control of what they thought their life should look like to God. Pastor Jill challenged the staff and residents to expect God to answer prayers as they choose to surrender all areas of their hearts to the Lord. Her time praying with the residents and ministering to them individually was so encouraging! We look forward to visiting with Pastor Jill again and continuing to build relationship with this dynamic church!

Here is what a few of the girls had to say about Jill Sweetman’s visit:

Jen said, “Pastor Jill reminded me that I have to give my dreams to God and let Him be in control.”

Heather said, “God has gifted each of us differently, but He can’t deposit anything in my life if I have a closed heart. I have to surrender.”

Shaina said, “She said that we need to place our worth and value in Jesus and not other things, our accomplishments or other people. I’m asking God to tell me who I am.”

Alex said, “God shows us who we really are through the things we do every day. What I choose to do today, will effect my tomorrow.”


To learn more about Pastors Dean and Jill Sweetman and their ministry, visit their website at www.deanandjill.com. To learn more about Christian City Church in Atlanta, visit their website at www.christiancitychurchatlanta.ning.com.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lincoln Residents Cheer Sacramento Kings to Victory!

Mercy Ministries would like to take the opportunity to thank the Buzz Oats Foundation for providing tickets for the Mercy California girls to attend the NBA’s All Star Team matchup between the Sacramento Kings and the Memphis, Grizzlies – the Kings first home game at Arco Arena. Residents and several staff enjoyed a fun night out together supporting the Kings in their purple shirts. It was an exciting game as the Kings beat the Grizzlies in overtime, 127-116.

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

Laura said, “This was my first day at Mercy and going to the game that night was really uplifting and relaxing. My favorite part was being out with the girls all together just having fun!”

Lily said, “It was a great energetic and positive environment at the game. We all had a really fun night out.”

Sydney said, “This was a fun first outing for Mercy California. It was a thrill to be at the arena!”


Our Lincoln girls and staff wanted to personally thank the Buzz Oats Foundation for inviting them to the game. You can follow the King’s season at http://www.nba.com/kings/schedule. Go Kings!



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nashville and St. Louis Graduates Celebrate Changed Lives!

Friends, family, residents and staff gathered together in our St. Louis and Nashville homes to celebrate the graduations of nine incredible young women. These young women have taken personal responsibility for their lives by taking a time out to face their problems head on and they have each experience true freedom through Christ. We would like to share each of their stories with you:








St. Louis


Lindsay

8Before coming to Mercy, my childhood was relatively functional. I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents. It was in school that I became an easy target, often being teased about my weight or about how I dressed. Through a very difficult series of events, I lost all my friends, my extra curricular activities diminished, and I became extremely depressed and suicidal. I was consumed by death and even tattooed the words “Silent Asphyxiation” on my forearm, branding myself for death, not thinking I’d live to see my 21st birthday. I heard the music group Barlow Girl promote Mercy Ministries on the radio, and decided this might be my last chance for help. After investigating the website, looking up a couple online videos about Mercy and crying like a baby, I printed off the application and decided to go for it.

During my time at Mercy, I have been redeemed from 9 diagnoses and have been taken off ALL the medication doctors told me I would be on for the rest of my life! I have grasped the reality of the truth in God’s Word! Now, when I look in the mirror, the young woman staring back at me radiates beauty, confidence, and undeniable passion! I am called and equipped for a great future!

After graduation, I will be returning to live with my parents, attend an awesome church, and will begin the process of looking for a job. I want to save money so I can go on a mission trip next summer. Eventually I see myself becoming a full time missionary.



Katie

7Before Mercy, I grew up in a dark world that was fully of physical and sexual abuse. As a result of the guilt and shame, I became sexually promiscuous. This just led to depression and an addiction to self-harm. I wanted to give up, but I also new that I could not pull myself out of the pit I had fallen into without God’s help. My godmother told me about Mercy, and I’m so glad I took her advice and applied.

At Mercy, God has taken my guilt and shame away and clothed me in His beauty. He has revealed to me that I am pure and spotless in His eyes. I am chosen to be His precious daughter, and I am living proof of a life transformed.

After my time at Mercy, I plan to enter the Job Corps program so I can pursue a degree in either photography or media. I’m looking forward to the journey!




Nashville


Andi

2Before coming to Mercy, I hated everyone and more than that, I hated myself. Physical and sexual abuse left me depressed and without hope and I used self-harm and an eating disorder to cope with the pain and try to gain acceptance. I remember asking God to allow me to fall asleep and never wake up. Tortured by my past, I felt stuck and like I couldn’t move forward. For a long time I could not find anyone to help me, but I learned about Mercy on the Life Today television show, decided to apply to the program, and I haven’t looked back.

At Mercy, God has miraculously healed me. I now know who I am in Christ and I know how much He loves me. Learning to like other people has taught me to like myself and I’m so thankful that God is continuing to make me whole in my spirit, my mind, and my body.

After graduation, I know God will reveal my next steps and take me on a journey with Him. I’m looking forward to it.



Amber

1Before I knew about Mercy, my life was consumed with drugs, smoking, alcohol, and constant self harm. I felt like the living dead. After being violently attacked during my 8th grade year, I began smashing breakables against my body to numb the pain I felt inside. Eventually, an addiction to purging my food took control of my life and I did not feel like God cared about my pain. During a Girls of Grace conference I noticed many women who genuinely had joy in their lives and I decided that I wouldn’t settle until I had the same thing. With my mom’s encouragement, I applied to Mercy Ministries.

During my time at Mercy, God has freed me from bulimia and has healed my broken heart. He showed me how to live again, and I am so thankful that I have a personal relationship with a God who I can talk to all the time and who has a perfect plan for my life.

After I graduate, I plan to pursue a speech therapy degree and work with children who are deaf and autistic. Another desire that I hope to fulfill is to someday travel to Zambia and work with children. I’m ready to “run the race” and glorify God in everything I do.



Bethany

3I have always had trouble dealing with my emotions. Fear, anger and hurt consumed my life, and after surviving a traumatic event in my childhood, the depression became debilitating and led to an emotional breakdown. I began an 8 year struggle with an eating disorder and self-harm because physical pain felt more comfortable than the emotional pain. On the verge of committing suicide, I came to the end of myself and tried to find help online. I applied to Mercy because I desperately needed to find hope.

At Mercy, I have received a revelation of God’s radical love for me. I trust Him in a way that I never have before, and He is truly the lover of my soul. Self-hatred is a thing of the past! I am so excited that I am becoming what God created me to be!

After Mercy, I will be returning to my hometown in Kentucky. I don’t know exactly what God has prepared for me, but I have no doubt that He will provide. He has placed a dream in my heart to minister to teens that are hurting, and I want to be a youth evangelist.



Meagan

9Before Mercy, I felt trapped in a self-destructive cycle of confusion. Bulimia and self-harm took over my life. Not understanding the roots of my struggles led to more frustration and anger, and I progressively became hopeless. A couple of friends put a mirror in front of my face and helped me make the decision to seek help. I was desperate, so when I learned about Mercy - a program that was Christ-centered and that would take me in for free, I knew I had to apply. I would not have been able to afford any other programs.

During my time at Mercy, God has revealed the reasons why I have struggled. Despite growing up in church, I never truly understood the value I have in Christ. God replaced all the lies I believed with the truth from His Word and He has shown me how much He desires to have a relationship with me.

After graduation, I plan to pursue a degree in Christian studies because I feel led to work in ministry. I know I can trust God to lead me one step at a time.



Jessica

6Before coming to Mercy, my parents divorced when I was very young. Although my mother remarried and I had a wonderful stepdad, I never understood the absence of my biological dad, who was an alcoholic and drug addict. Feeling abandoned by my father, I began seeking love and acceptance from guys. When I was 16 years old, I was raped and the emotional scars left me afraid and alone. Drinking, smoking and sexual promiscuity became a daily routine, and eventually I entered into an abusive relationship with an older man. I lacked hope, but I knew that if anyone could help me it was God so I decided to reach out for help.

While at Mercy, I have learned that Christ is alive and real and He is the source of my life. I don’t have to live defeated because He has replaced deceit with truth!! God has rescued me and also transformed my family. He is so amazing and I am so thankful for His love.

After I leave Mercy, I will be studying at a Bible college. One day, I hope to work with disabled and hurting children.



Hannah

4My life before Mercy was miserable, and I felt like I had no life inside of me. Each day, I obsessed over my body because I never felt accepted by anyone, especially guys. I started restricting and binging in order to stay thin and maintain control of my appearance. Acceptance was my number one priority.

While I have been at Mercy, I have learned that my life is not my own. God has a plan and a purpose for my life and I don’t have to find love and acceptance in anyone but Him. He will satisfy all my needs.

After I graduate, I want to pursue a degree in counseling so I can pay it forward and help girls who are hurting and who don’t know God’s mercy.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Brenda Warner Helps Host Charity Luncheon for Mercy Ministries St. Louis

An Afternoon of Mercy serves as a Fundraising and Awareness event to support home for troubled young women

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, will be joining Brenda Warner, Community Philanthropist and Co-founder of First Things First, a local outreach ministry, as the keynote speakers at an exclusive ladies luncheon on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at The Country Club of St. Albans. A fundraising and awareness event to support the work of Mercy Ministries of America, the brunch will also feature powerful testimonies of young women who have graduated from the Mercy Ministries non-profit Christian residential program, and music from worship artist, Sarah Vaughn. Guests will also have an opportunity to purchase works of art created by St. Louis Mercy Ministries residents that will be presented, along with a silent auction of unique gift items.

Mercy Ministries of America exists to transform the lives of young women between the ages of 13-28 who face life-controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, physical and sexual abuse, depression and unplanned pregnancy.

Over 700 young women are currently in the process of applying to the program to be placed in one of the four residential homes in the U.S. With the numbers of applicants continuing to grow, Mercy Ministries looks to the St. Louis community to help with funding, volunteering and awareness so they can continue providing care to young women completely free of charge.

Julianne Fogt, Community Relations Manager for Mercy Ministries in St. Louis, had this to say about the upcoming event:

"This is the second year for our ladies luncheon and we hope it will create excitement in the community about the work we are doing here. Our goal is to encourage people to get involved in helping to change the lives of broken young women and give them renewed hope!"

To purchase tickets for $75 per person or to find out about purchasing a table for this event, please contact Julianne Fogt at (636) 326-2015 or email her at jfogt@mercyministries.com.

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mercy Ministries Graduates Change the World!!

After graduates leave the Mercy Ministries program, they often desire to find a way to give back and to share the hope that they have found in Christ with their communities and even the world. Several of our graduates dedicated weeks and months of their summer beaks to share the love of Christ on missions trips, and we were excited to help support them both financially and in prayer. Here are a few of their remarkable testimonies.

Ima
Traveled to the Dominican Republic
1Before Ima came to Mercy Ministries in 2005, she was living in the grip of an eating disorder as a result of a very painful childhood. She graduated from Mercy with restored hope and a new passion for life. Since she was a child, Ima felt God calling her to a life of full-time mission work in other nations. This past July, she had the exciting opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic. Ima was able to use her God-given compassion to serve others. Here is an excerpt from a thank you email Ima wrote to Mercy Ministries founder, Nancy Alcorn, about her experience:

“We were able to serve the pastors and the team of missionaries in the area. Our group raised about $2,000 for a local church and they were just overwhelmed as we delivered new sound equipment, instruments, chairs, and other items… This was truly a life changing experience for me. I received so much perspective and a love for the people there. I am blown away at all the Lord did in and through our team and I am sure we will all be processing and reflecting for a long time to come. Thank you again for all your prayers and support!!”

Kimberly
In Guatemala for Missions
3Kimberly came to Mercy in 2006 and allowed herself to submit to God’s love for the first time so she could ultimately experience complete transformation. Since then, she has followed her calling to do missions in Panimaquin, Guatemala, making a huge impact in the lives of hurting people by helping to provide opportunities through schools, feeding programs, health care, and vocational training. Here is an excerpt from an email Kimberly wrote us this summer while on the mission field:

“I would like to thank you for your prayer support and for supporting my stay here in Guatamala… Know that you are a vital part of this mission, and that you are involved here as well…bringing about change in the lives of many people, healing sickness, disease, and hearts once broken. Thank you for your willingness to serve the Lord with a generous heart. May you be continually showered by the love of the Lord, wrapped in His everlasting arms, and kept in perfect peace.”


Samantha

On the Mission Field in Haiti
4Samantha came to Mercy Ministries in 2008 and was set free from bondage to live victoriously in Christ! She has since gone on to pursue her heart for missions work in Haiti this past summer. As Samantha stated, “We want to be a light to those who are in darkness, as well as an encouragement to those who already know Christ as their Savior.”






Katie

Ministered to Orphans in Haiti
2Katie came to Mercy Ministries in 2006 to let go of a painful past and find hope for the future. This past summer, she had the opportunity to participate in missions work in Haiti, and has developed a deeper reliance on God through experience in Haiti. We received an exciting letter from her telling us about her trip. Here is an excerpt:

“We had the privilege of loving on many amazingly beautiful orphans and we fed new mothers… From the time the kids would awake until they were forced to go to their houses for bed, they were all over us because of our love. Thank you to Mercy for being a part of this trip, as well as for being the catalyst and home for me where I was brought into the full understanding of the love of my Savior who saved me from death and destruction. I was able to relate so much to these kids because of my experiences. I’m forever grateful!”


Audrey

Traveling to Thailand Next Year
Audrey came to Mercy Ministries in 2008, she felt hopeless and desperate for help. She has been transformed by God’s love and will be extending hope to other needy people in Thailand next year, ministering to the needs of those who have been rescued from the victimization of human trafficking. Here is an excerpt from a letter Audrey wrote us in preparation for her trip:

“I have never traveled overseas before, and this is a step that requires me to venture out in faith and in turn, walk out my faith, knowing that God has a perfect plan in mind. I am trusting that God will provide a way to make this possible. Please pray that the Lord would continue to teach me things that He wants me to learn and mold me more into His image.”

Here are our other graduates who have committed their time this past summer to serving in other nations.

Ali – Uganda, Africa
Chelsea – Honduras
Brooke – Guatamala
Rita – El Salvador

We are so proud of all these graduates who are using their own personal stories of transformation to extend hope to a lost and hurting world. Remember that your support for Mercy Ministries is a gift that gives over and over again as Mercy graduates leave our program transformed and ready to make a difference in the world.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mercy Ministries Celebrates Official Dedication and Ribbon Cutting of First West Coast Home!

This past weekend, November 7th and 8th, staff, residents and friends gathered together to celebrate a huge milestone in the 26 plus year journey of Mercy Ministries. Thanks to a generous gift of $2.5 million and one acre of land, donated by the Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation, Mercy Ministries’ supporters were excited to share in the joy with the official dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of its first West Coast home in Lincoln, California.

The Sacramento-area home is Mercy Ministries’ fourth home in the United States, but the 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 are serving 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.”

Greg and Kathy Fairrington, pastors of Sunset Christian Center and daughter and son-in-law of Buzz Oates, welcomed guests and opened the ceremony in prayer (pictured below).

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Pastors Greg and Kathy Fairrington of Sunset Christian Center welcoming guests

Guests heard from special music guests, Austins Bridge, up and coming Christian artists, and were excited to have Holly Wagner, founder of GodChicks and Co-founder of Oasis Christian Center and Mercy Ministries’ Founder, Nancy Alcorn as keynote speakers.

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Recording Artists Austins Bridge performing at Grand Opening


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Nancy Alcorn with Buzz Oats and Holly Wagner


Several other key supporters echoed their congratulations for the ministry’s milestone including Ken Mansfield, former president of Apple Records and manager of the Beatles U.S. career Jerry Manuel, Manager of the New York Mets, and his wife Renette, and 2006 Mercy graduate Ashleigh Stevenson, who is originally from the Northern California area.

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Jerry Manuel, Manager of the New York Mets, and his wife
Renette sharing at the Grand Opening



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Mercy Graduate Ashleigh sharing her testimony

Buzz Oates and his entire family along with Mercy Founder Nancy Alcorn stood together as Nancy prayed the official prayer of dedication and Buzz cut the ribbon. Following the ribbon cutting, guests had the opportunity to tour the new home and greet fellow supporters at a reception inside.

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Official Ribbon Cutting with Buzz Oates and Family


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Guests entering the home after the ceremony for tours


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Buzz Oats and Nancy Alcorn entering the home for the first time!


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Guests enjoying a reception after the ceremony

Then on Sunday, Mercy staff and residents hosted an open house from 2 – 6 pm. This gave those who were unable to attend the dedication on Saturday night an opportunity to see the home as well as those who were at the dedication to bring their friends out to see the new Mercy home. Close to 1,000 people walked through the home this past weekend, including those who attended the dedication ceremony on Saturday and those who attended the open house on Sunday.

A big thanks to the many volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly to make this celebration a reality. Mercy Ministries would also like to thank the Sacramento community for welcoming our staff and our residents with open arms. This community and the faithful generosity of our supporters have made it possible for us to take 40 more hurting girls off our waiting list.

Here’s what several who attended this weekend’s celebration had to say:

"It brought tears of gratitude to my eyes to visually see all of the people who are helping make a way for us by their love, support and prayers" -Christine (resident)

"The grand opening was absolutely wonderful. The rooms are beautiful and the hospitality was warming!" -Nan

"Hearing the girls' testimony was moving and I'm excited to see what the Lord is going to do here at Mercy Ministries, Lincoln!" –Amy (local supporter)

"It was so awesome and encouraging to see how much faith, love, and support people have to Mercy Ministries. I loved the fact that people would travel from all over the world just to be a part of this wonderful event. The whole night was amazing and I could really see God working through it all" -Janelle



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Nancy Alcorn pictured with Mercy graduates Lauren, Britney, and Rachel

If you are interested in knowing what needs still exist or would like to sponsor a room in the California home, please contact Selah Hirsch at shirsch@mercyministries.com.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mercy Ministries Celebrates Three Monroe Graduates – Read Their Stories of Transformation!

Monroe residents and staff came together with family and friends this month to celebrate the graduation of three more amazing young women. These ladies are graduating from Mercy Ministries with hope that they are excited to take into their own communities. We would like to share their stories with you.


Sarah

2Before Mercy, I was severely depressed. Most of the time, I felt like it would be a relief for me to die. After breaking my back in an accident, I lived with severe pain. I took many risks when I abused medication and became addicted to prescription drugs. Because I lived in Littleton, Colorado, I experienced the traumatic Columbine High School shooting - I could hear the sirens from my house. The disturbing images and stories caused me to live in constant fear and my parents desperately wanted me to go somewhere to get help. After discovering that a friend of mine had graduated from Mercy, I decided to try the program for myself – I thought if God could transform her life, perhaps He could do the same for me.

During my time at Mercy, God has completely changed my life for the good. One of the greatest things I experienced was the healing power of God because my back pain has decreased and my spine has straightened! I have received healing in every area of my life and have had the opportunity to work through my struggles. I am no longer in bondage to pride, fear and poor self-esteem and I have joy for the first time in many years. I used to think that I did not deserve joy or that I would never have it, but now I am overflowing with it!

After my graduation, I plan to travel back to my hometown of Littleton, Colorado and take online classes at the University of Colorado. I am praying for guidance about whether to continue pursuing a double major in film criticism and film acting. I’m so thankful that I now have a reason to keep living.


Samantha

1Before coming to Mercy, I had experienced childhood sexual abuse. I began acting out in anger and rage, and eventually became consumed with sexual promiscuity that led to an addiction. Food also became a drug for me - I used it for comfort. Because I was looking for love in all the wrong places, I found myself in a state of complete hopelessness. My mom heard about Mercy on a Joyce Meyer television program, and I decided to give it a try.

Since being at Mercy, God has shown me that His love is more fulfilling than anything I could ever seek for or desire. At Mercy, I’ve learned that there is no sin that Jesus did not die for. He has given me a renewed hope for a bright future, a love for Him and His Word, a completely transformed perspective, and a biblical understanding of my sexuality. God has not only restored my life, but He has also worked miracles in the lives of my family members.

After Mercy, I plan to pursue a degree in physical therapy. I know that I can rely on God to meet all of my needs.


Stephanie

As a young girl, I heard a lot about God. I was raised in church, but I put on my “church” face instead of really living with faith. Underneath that face, I was hurting and I made most of my decisions based on how I felt. When I was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, I felt very ashamed. I struggled with feelings of fear, anger, isolation, shame, confusion and hopelessness that led to an addiction to self-harm. Eventually, I attempted suicide. After a stay in an inpatient unit, I realized I was in way over my head and I needed real help. I researched ministries online, learned about the Mercy program, and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I have had a revelation of God’s everlasting love for me and His forgiveness. God has never abandoned me and He never will! I don’t have to have it all together for Him to love me. My past is forgiven and my heart has been healed.

I’m leaving Mercy with an excitement to walk out my freedom in Christ. I plan to get involved in my local church and I want to pursue a degree in ministry. I will still have struggles but I’m ready to seek first His kingdom.


Congratulations Sarah, Samantha and Stephanie! We are so proud of your courage and we can’t wait to see you continue to walk with God.



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pastor Tom McCoy Visits Nashville Residents

Nashville residents and staff had the opportunity to host a few really special visitors last week. Senior Pastors Tom and Leighann McCoy of Thompson Station Church in Thompson Station, TN, have recently come alongside Mercy Ministries as friends and partners. Pastor Tom shared a dynamic and timely message with the girls and staff. And then the Nashville residents attended Thompson Station Church on Sunday as special guests. As the girls arrived on Sunday morning, they were welcomed with personalized gift bags from the church’s women’s ministry!

Here is what a few of the residents had to say about Pastor Tom’s encouraging teaching at the Nashville home.

insley said, “He is such a tender-hearted man of God and I really liked how he said that it’s never too late to start doing what’s right. God created me to succeed.”

Ashleigh said, “When we’re at the end of what we can do, we’re at the starting point of what God can do. I don’t want to stop short of the miracle God has for me.”

Caitlin said, “He gave me a new perspective on humility and showed me to put all my pride aside and never give up even if I think there is nothing left in me at the end of the day.”

A special thanks to Pastor Tom and Leighann McCoy for taking time to encourage our girls. We are so grateful for all that they do and we appreciate their church family in Thompson Station for opening their arms to the Nashville residents. To learn more about Pastors Tom and Leighann McCoy and Thompson Station Church, visit their website at www.thompsonstationchurch.org.



Monday, November 2, 2009

Nancy Alcorn Featured on Dave Ramsey’s Fox Business Show Tonight at 8 pm Eastern (7 pm Central)

Dave Ramsey, a long-time supporter of Mercy Ministries, is known across the country as a personal money management expert. He is also an extremely popular national radio personality and author of New York Times Best Sellers – The Total Money Makeover, Financial Peace and More Than Enough. Over the years, Dave has generously donated his expertise and resources to the residents and staff at Mercy Ministries.

Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, will be a guest on Dave’s Fox Business Show tonight at 8:00 pm Eastern (7:00 pm Central). Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries will be highlighted along with Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse, on this National broadcast of The Dave Ramsey Show, which will be addressing the importance of giving.

Tune in to see how your support for Mercy Ministries is transforming the lives of young women all across the world! You don’t want to miss it!