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!