Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mercy Ministries Celebrates Two More Changed Lives!

Residents and staff gathered at the Lincoln and St. Louis homes last week to celebrate the graduation of two more incredible young women. Each of these young women has shown great courage and are now experiencing the freedom that can only come from walking with God. Here are their compelling stories of transformation:

St. Louis

Meghan C

I endured a lot of abuse growing up and never felt like I had any worth. I tried to appear perfect to gain acceptance, but my efforts never seemed to be enough. I learned to hide my emotions and be self-sufficient at a very early age never trusting anybody. By the time I came to Mercy, I had been battling an eating disorder and self-harm for 10 years, was addicted to drugs, and wanted to die. I was full of guilt and condemnation and saw no hope.

At Mercy, God set me free from everything! I am a precious daughter of the King and am loved with an everlasting love. God will take everything that the enemy meant for harm and use it for my good. He has shown me the truth of who I am and given me the freedom to be the person I was created to be!

I plan to return to college to finish my degree as a Child Life Specialist. I hope to get a Master’s Degree in Counseling and work in full-time ministry.

Lincoln

Laura M

My life before Mercy was chaotic and full of heartache. Each and every day was a battle to try and stay alive. I was trying to fill a void in my life to get that love and attention. I never knew how to deal with my emotions, and I would stuff my feelings. It soon came to a point where I used heroin to help numb my emotions completely.

God has released me from my addiction of substance abuse. He has taught me how to deal with my emotions so I no longer want to numb the pain. God has taken all the past hurt and pain that was tormenting me and filled me with a love and peace that the world can’t offer. I have been forgiven and healed.

My plans are to get involved in my church and continue seeking God. I plan on pursuing a fashion degree and opening my own fashion line and boutique.

Congratulations Meghan and Laura! We are so encouraged by your stories of freedom and to see your hearts filled with the love of Christ. We look forward to following your journey as you embrace the future with hope!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mercy Graduate Adds New Chapter to Her Life…Marriage!


"They told me I was too stupid to go to college," but God had a different idea..."I am a pre-med student with a 3.7 GPA." --Maddy

Maddy came to Mercy in 2008 struggling with an eating disorder and choosing to self-harm as a way to escape the pain of her past. While at Mercy, God totally healed Maddy and showed her how beautiful she truly is (pictured right)!

Since graduating from Mercy, Maddy has gone on to college and is really involved at her church leading a Bible study for high school girls. Maddy also met a wonderful guy, Tim, and they recently got married on June 12th! Below is the letter we received from Maddy along with a wedding invitation just weeks before they got married. We have her received her permission to share this with you…

Nancy,

First of all, thank you for everything that you have done! Thank you for following God’s calling in your life. I know you get a million letters like this a day, so I will be short.

I was sexually molested when I was 10 years old and that started the 8 year downhill destruction of my life. I was also sexually involved with many guys and my life was full of drugs and alcohol. I had an eating disorder that landed me in a treatment center a couple times. The doctors told me I was a hopeless case and that I was just a waste of fresh air. They told me that I probably wouldn’t make it to age 20. Well I am 21 and more healthy than ever! I graduated Mercy Ministries November 6, 2008 and my life has changed. God showed me for the first time at Mercy that I was truly beautiful and that I am unique! I did not think that could even happen for me! As you can see, I am getting married in a few days to the most incredible man of God. I work as a Bible study leader for high school girls and I love it! I feel that if I got the chance to change, so can they. People told me that I was too stupid to go to college…well, I am pre-med with a 3.7 GPA and am getting ready to start nursing school.
I now listen to what God says about me! Thanks to Mercy Ministries for showing me the love of God that I was blinded to.

Thank you, Nancy, for giving me a second chance at life. My life is now built on a solid foundation that I can stand on with God’s help. I cannot express the gratitude I have for Mercy Ministries. My fiancĂ© loves me no matter what my past is. He is a youth pastor and never in a million years did I think I would be a pastor’s wife! Weird how God plans our life! Thank you! Thank you!!

Love always,

Maddy

Whenever, we hear stories like this, Isaiah 61:7 comes to mind – “Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.” Maddy is definitely receiving the double portion! We are so happy for you, Maddy and Tim! Congratulations!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mercy Ironman Raises Big Bucks for Mercy Ministries in Canada

So many people told John Burns, Pastor of Relate Church in Canada, that it could not be done, but he would have none of it! Not too many people train for a solid year and commit to do 100 holes of golf in one single day, which also means running over 27 miles between holes since no golf cart or caddy was used. The truth is, this would be a feat for a professional athlete in his prime, yet John Burns, a man in his early 50’s, accomplished this challenge on Monday.

You can see John in action in the pictures! Driven by a deep passion to see young women set free of eating disorders, addictions, self-harm and the like (which began years ago with his own daughter who struggled for years and successfully overcame an eating disorder), John put his own body on the line to raise money for a cause he so deeply believes in. John’s vision was to get people to pledge the amount of money of their choosing for each hole with all contributions going to the establishment of Mercy Ministries in Canada.



Years ago, Nancy Alcorn met John and his lovely wife Helen, who are no doubt some of the most wonderful people that have ever hit the face of the earth. It is our joy to partner with John and Helen to bring Mercy Ministries to Canada. That home is only a few days away from taking in the young girls who have patiently waited and are desperately in need. Seven years ago John, Helen and Nancy began this journey together, and today we are coming together to celebrate the hard work of many people who have joined forces to make this possible. Well done, John and Helen Burns for the excellence in which you have brought this home into being!



By the way, for those of you who are reading this and are in awe yourself of John Burn’s incredible feat, it is not too late for you to make a pledge after the fact. You can do so by clicking here to give online. You simply need to designate your donation to “Golf-A-Thon.” This is the best way you can thank John Burns for a job well done.



Many people attended the Golf-A-Thon to cheer on John

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Special Guest, Terri Savelle Foy Shares with Mercy Ministries Residents

At Mercy Ministries, we are privileged to have some of the best speakers and teachers give of their time to speak directly to our girls and staff, and this week was no exception! Terri Savelle Foy, daughter of well-known minister Jerry Savelle and Executive Vice President of Jerry Savelle Ministries, came to the Nashville home and gave an amazing message straight from her heart! We wanted you to hear straight from one of the girls in the Nashville home about how inspiring this message truly was:





Terri also just wrote an amazing book called “Make Your Dreams Bigger than Your Memories” and it is available for purchase. For more information about Terri or to purchase a copy of “Make Your Dreams Bigger than Your Memories,” please visit her website at www.terri.com .

Thank you, Terri, for your timely and inspiring message!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mercy Multiplied in Chicago

This past Thursday night, Mercy Ministries hosted Mercy in the Evening at the famous Renaissance Blackstone Hotel on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.

Victoria McCarter opened the event. She and her husband Kyle McCarter, Illinois State Senator are two of the most amazing people to ever become involved with Mercy Ministries. Their direct involvement with Mercy has been life-changing for many girls in the St. Louis home and beyond.

Let us tell you how they got involved with Mercy Ministries. Over four years ago their daughter was suffering from a drug addiction and got an application to Mercy Ministries, but before she was able to follow through and get into the program, she died from an accidental drug overdose. It was heart wrenching. However, they made the decision that her death would not be in vain. They asked that memorial donations go directly to Mercy Ministries and they both became very involved with the St. Louis Mercy home through mentoring, volunteering on the community board, and by being a voice for the girls at Mercy and an encouragement to them as well!

Victoria (pictured right) opened the evening by stating that giving to Mercy Ministries literally makes the difference between life and death – she knows because she lived it as a mother.

Next in the program, Nancy Alcorn shared how Mercy Ministries began and then she was joined on stage by eight Mercy graduates from over the years. (See photo below) Each one of them told a bit of their story, and several of them spoke of having graduated from college and going on to professional jobs. Each of their stories was so moving, and one of the girls even announced her engagement at the event with her fiancé in attendance.



After these girls shared, Tara Knott 2008 graduate and her mother Susan came to the stage and told their compelling story. It was such an insightful time as those attending heard not only what Tara had been through but also what her parents went through. (See Tara and Susan pictured below) Tara’s dad came up to Nancy Alcorn afterward and gave her a big hug as he fought back the tears of joy. He told her that he would be a supporter of Mercy Ministries for the rest of his life because of their great gratitude.



Tara Knott was so excited about her part in the evening: “It's been a little over two years since I first arrived at Mercy, and if you would have told me back then that I would have been speaking at the same place with Nancy Alcorn and BarlowGirl, I never would have believed it! I'm so excited to represent a ministry that truly saved my life. It was really amazing to be able to share this night with my family and friends and to speak alongside my mom, who always believed there was still mercy for me even when the doctors told her I was out of chances.”

Last, but not least, the night was capped off by popular contemporary Christian artists and Dove Award nominees, BarlowGirl. Not only are they well-known to the masses for their music, but they are well known to Mercy because of their huge hearts. They travel all over the United States raising both awareness and finances for Mercy programs and as a result, there is such a special bond between Mercy Ministries and BarlowGirl. After their performance, there was a special moment shared with Brightie Lowe, a beautiful young women who over 19 years ago was born to a Mercy resident in 1991. She shared that BarlowGirl is her favorite group. (See below) It was such a fun evening; so intimate and so special.



Mercy would like to thank table hosts, Jacquie Francis, Allison Kelley, Derek and Christina Lee, Pastors John & Debbie Lowe from New Life Christian Church, Sam & Heidi Stevens, Pam Winters and Richard & Barbara Wood, whose participation made this event a success. Special thanks to event sponsors, Greg and Jacquie Francis and the support of their LTD Team, Bert VanderMark of Visual Parables, Senator Kyle & Victoria McCarter, Lowell & Joan Jurgens and Dr. Robb & Linda Thompson of Family Harvest Church whose faithful contributions provide hope and healing to so many young women.

Hope you enjoy these pictures!

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Ever Mercy Ministries Movie Night a Huge Success

We wanted to try something new this summer, so we had a free movie night in the backyard of the Nashville home this past Saturday. Over 100 people from the Nashville community showed up to watch the movie, The Blind Side and take tours of the home! A big thank you to The Gathering who paid for the whole evening all the way from the movie projection system down to the popcorn!


Here’s what some of the residents had to say about the evening:

“I had a really good time at the movie night. I am so grateful for “The Gathering” putting on this event for us. The snow cones, popcorn, and cokes were great!! Plus, the “Blind Side” was awesome—go rebels!!” - Holly

“It was so kind for volunteers to come here and give of their time to help Mercy. We could really see Christ’s love as the unity of believers from all walks of life came to serve us. I felt really blessed.” - Kristen


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mercy Ministries Celebrates Six More Graduations!!!


Last week residents and staff joined together with family and friends to celebrate the amazing transformations of six more beautiful young women as they graduated from Mercy Ministries. These graduates are leaving Mercy after experiencing the life-changing power of God’s unconditional love. We would like to share their stories with you:

St. Louis

Tina

My life before Mercy was filled with years of self-hatred and I struggled with thoughts of suicide every day. Caught in a cycle of depression, hopelessness and isolation that included an eating disorder and self-harm. I burned my body with anything I could get my hands on. I had no love for myself and was trying to make everyone around me happy when I felt completely rotten on the inside.

After hearing Nancy Alcorn on TBN, I applied to Mercy and since being here, God has 100% healed me! I have my life back, have hope for my future and I am excited about living! I have learned who I am in Christ and I am constantly renewing my mind with His Truth. No longer am I defined by the labels that others put on me – I am who God says I am!

After graduation, I plan to return to college to pursue a degree in either fashion design or the medical field. I am so thankful to have a reason to live again!


Nashville

Shelby

When I went into High School everything started to go down hill. I got involved in drugs, alcohol, parties and guys. I looked for love in all the wrong ways and showed off to get attention and acceptance from guys. At the age of fourteen, I became sexually active and by age fifteen, I found myself single and pregnant. I was very young and very scared.

While at Mercy, God has shown me His unconditional love . He has also given me a peace about placing my baby boy for adoption. I have learned that I don’t have to be a “druggy” or an alcoholic, but instead I can be a new creation in Him.

After graduation, I plan on going to cosmetology school and pursuing a career as a hair stylist. I have loved my time at Mercy and I am excited to share with others what Mercy has done in my life!


Heather

Starting at age seven and continuing through high school, I was sexually abused at the hands of multiple people, bullied by kids at school and suffered from feelings of abandonment. I began to restrict my food and over-exercise, while comparing myself to others. My eating disorder got worse and the doctors told me I wouldn’t make it. I wanted to die.

Since being at Mercy, God has brought me from death to life. He has healed my scars from self-harm and I now have hope and know that God loves me no matter what. He has shown me that He is my Father and will never hurt me, leave me or forsake me. I no longer compare myself to others and have found my identity in Christ. I am fearfully and wonderfully made and for the first time I can look in the mirror and say and believe that I am beautiful.

After Mercy, I plan on going to college to get my undergrad in psychology and then my master’s in social work. I have a passion to help others who have been abused. Thank you Mercy!


Jennifer

I always remember struggling with depression, even from a young age. I never really saw myself worth anything and began to self-harm at age fourteen. I developed an eating disorder at the age of sixteen that continued on for years. When I went on to college, my eating disorder and self-harm got worse. I lived every day wishing I would die. After a suicide attempt, I started a cycle of going from treatment center to treatment center, each time seeing no lasting change. My identity was tied to my eating disorder and I was scared to give it up because I didn’t know who I would be without it. I was a “Christian,” but God just seemed so far away.

While at Mercy, God has rescued me from death and has given me another chance at life. I’ve learned that God truly loves me, more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve learned who I am in Christ and I’ve learned how to combat the lies of Satan with the truth of God’s Word. I know God’s work is marvelous and I’ve learned that my worth isn’t based on what the scale says, but on what God says about me. My identity is no longer in my eating disorder, but instead, it is in Christ. I’ve learned that I’m not a hopeless case because God has promised great plans for my life.

After graduation, I plan on going back to college and finishing my degree in social work and Biblical studies. I plan on going home and living with my parents, and one day hope to work with young women who are hurting and have no hope.


Mariah

Before Mercy I was not living according to God’s plan for my life. I was sexually abused at a young age, which led to drinking, smoking and an attempted suicide.

During my time at Mercy, I have developed a closer relationship with God and I now know who I am in Christ!

After Mercy, I plan on finishing high school and then going to the Honor Academy in Texas. I also want to share my testimony with my youth group about how God has totally healed me.




Selena

From ages one to three, I was physically abused and exposed to sexual actions. I was put in a shelter and then placed in a foster home for four years. When I was seven years old, I was adopted. In sixth grade, I began to steal things and by seventh grade, boys started to touch me inappropriately. I began to hurt myself looking for a way to deal with the pain.

Since coming to Mercy, God has given me hope in life. He showed me that He loved me for who I was. He showed me that I had a bigger purpose and plan in life and that I am NOT a mistake. He created me for a reason.

After graduation, I want to help girls who have been involved in sex trafficking. When I am old enough and married, I want to adopt a child who has gone through the same things as me and help them to deal with it.



Congratulations Tina, Shelby, Heather, Jennifer, Mariah and Selena! We are so proud of you for making a choice to live your lives unto God! You are an amazing group of young women and we look forward to hearing all that God continues to do in you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jeff Fisher and Tennessee Titans Play Ball for Mercy Ministries

On Sunday June 13th, Mercy Ministries’ residents joined hundreds of fans at Greer Stadium in Nashville for the chance to watch their favorite Tennessee Titans’ players compete in the 10th Annual “Jeff Fisher & Friends” Charity Softball Game. The game featured present and former members of the Tennessee Titans competing against each other, while raising funds to help the community. Proceeds from the game benefited Mercy Ministries, as well as several other local charities. Thanks to Jeff Fisher and all the Titans players who came out in support of the Nashville community.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Private Concert with Jaime Jamgochian!


On Tuesday evening, June 8th, Mercy Ministries’ residents, staff, and guests were treated to a mini-concert with Jaime Jamgochian at the Nashville home. The Christian-pop artist and host of the “Modest is Hottest” conferences agreed to do a private concert as the grand prize for the individuals and groups that raised the most money for Mercy Ministries’ Run for Mercy team in the Country Music Marathon in April. As a Mercy artist partner, Jaime says of Mercy, “I wholeheartedly believe in Mercy Ministries and the impact it has on these girls. Having spent some time at Mercy I know it is a top notch, world class, anointed ministry that is changing the lives of so many young people.”

Nashville Community Board Member and captain of the winning Team Exodus, Dr. Josh Axe commented on Mercy, “As a physician, I see more and more girls struggling with issues of self esteem, abuse, and eating disorders. Mercy Ministries gets to the root of the problem by treating the whole person and looking to Jesus as the healer. The girls who go through this program don’t only leave Mercy changed, they leave completely transformed. I am a huge supporter of Mercy Ministries and Nancy Alcorn and want to thank them for showing Christ’s love to these girls.” Team Exodus raised the most money towards the Run for Mercy team in the Country Music Marathon, totaling $5200 dollars. This was an awesome evening full of musical inspiration and personal encouragement.

Check out the video footage from this special night with Jaime Jamgochian!!



To learn more about Jaime, visit her website at www.jaimejam.com.

To learn more about Dr. Josh Axe and the Exodus Health Center, visit his website at www.draxe.com.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

2010 Births at Mercy…Your Support Gives Life!!!


We wanted to share with you these beautiful photos of babies born to Mercy girls in the last few months. Some of the girls decided to parent their babies, and some of the girls decided to place their babies with loving adoptive families.

Friends of Mercy Luncheon Held in Monroe


Another successful Friends of Mercy Luncheon was held on Tuesday at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. Over 60 friends came to the event this year to hear the powerful testimonies of transformed lives and hearts experienced at Mercy and to learn how they could share in that vision. Crystal Fox, a graduate of the program and current staff member, shared her testimony of the power of God’s love in her heart and life. When guests heard from graduate Rebecca Doles who spoke of the freedom and hope she now has in Christ, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Here’s what some of our guests had to say about the experience:
Crystal Fox


Rebecca Doles

“I did not know about Mercy until I was invited to the Friends of Mercy Luncheon today. It is so good to know a place like Mercy exists and that they provide the care they do free of charge. I work with troubled young women and now I know about the help Mercy can provide that is Christian and full of hope” LaShelie Jordan, Anthony Strawder Ministries

“Seeing the testimonies from the girls today was beautiful. I know that many young women today have chains they need to break and a lot of girls don’t have anyone in their corner or anywhere to go to get help. Mercy is a place for them to go and to have hope.” Jessica Smith

We are so grateful for those who have faithfully supported Mercy Ministries throughout the years as well as for our new friends who embrace the vision and make a commitment give. Your support is essential to seeing the lives of hurting women transformed and restored!

Special thanks to our sponsors, Kerry Wooten Photography www.kwootenphotography.com, who donated his photography services for the luncheon again this year and Dr. John Ledbetter of Louisiana Pain Care www.lapaincare.com who once again underwrote the cost of the event. Your continued support of Mercy Ministries is helping to change lives!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Eating Disorder Professionals Said She Would Die…


By Nancy Alcorn

In December 2003, Mary Ellen walked through the doors of Mercy Ministries full of fear and fighting for her very life. Only 14 years old and battling with a life-threatening eating disorder. Her parents’ eyes were filled with tears as they told us how the doctors who were eating disorder professionals told Mary Ellen that if they did not do something, she would die. NOW, almost seven years later, Mary Ellen has returned to Mercy Ministries once again…but this time, she is here as a junior in college doing an internship with our Nutritionist who works closely with our girls who came to Mercy struggling with an eating disorder.

Mary Ellen stood in front of all of our staff and residents in our Nashville home this week and told her story of victory and complete freedom! It was such a powerful time and so encouraging to our girls who are sitting in the same seats that Mary Ellen once sat in. I had a very busy day on Monday, but I made it a priority to be there to introduce Mary Ellen to our girls and be there to hear her story firsthand. Even though Mary Ellen and I have kept in touch and her story is very familiar to me, I still wanted to honor her and be a part of this special time.

I also wanted to be there firsthand so I could share with you about the impact Mary Ellen had on our current residents. It was so cool to watch it all unfold, and I have included pictures (see below) to see what it was like as the girls gathered around afterwards to ask questions. It is so exciting to me to see how she’s come full circle and is about to graduate from college and use her training to help other young women get through the same struggles that she has now overcome.


I thought it would be cool to take you back in time and show you our Mercy magazine that we did in 2004 when Mary Ellen had just graduated from the program and had gone back home to finish high school. This gives more of the details of what it was like as a family, straight from the heart of her dad, as well as her own personal account at that time. Click here to read the magazine article about Mary Ellen.

Please share this with others so they too can be encouraged, and thanks to all of our supporters for making this possible.











Friday, June 4, 2010

Grand Dedication for Mercy Canada

Not even the Vancouver rain could dampen the spirits of the multitudes that turned out for our Grand Dedication on the afternoon of Saturday, May 29th. What a great celebration we had as we cut the ribbon and marked this milestone moment!!!

Good things take time, but great things take more time… that seems to sum up the journey for Mercy to be established in the nation of Canada. John and Helen Burns, television co-hosts and founders of Relate Church in Surrey (Vancouver area), put their hands up over 7 years ago for Mercy to be established in Canada. (See John and Helen pictured with Nancy as they cut the ribbon on this new facility) The seven year waiting period involved taking their time to find the right piece of property, as well as opening the home debt free. The decision to take a longer period of time also involved the decision to take in more than 20 girls at a time rather than a much smaller number. Because John and Helen Burns made the decision to make room in their already busy lives to help even more people, others have come alongside to make it all possible. Those decisions and the desire to choose best over good all culminated this past weekend in a major time of thanksgiving and celebration.

I thought you might enjoy seeing some highlights from the weekend in Vancouver, including our Mercy Gala on Friday evening at The Vancouver Club.
























When asked what the highlight of the weekend was for Nancy, she immediately stated it was when the 5 young Canadian women who have graduated from our US homes stood on the stage to share the joy of opening our first Canadian home.

People were so touched as they told of all they had to overcome, and are now in university preparing to be able to help others with the same problems they themselves have been through. It was such a great weekend!

After the Grand Dedication Celebration, Nancy then spoke at 3 different church services, one on Saturday evening and two Sunday, and the weekend culminated with a special meeting on Monday with our Mercy Ministries Canada staff. Hope you enjoy the still shots and slide show we have included.