Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mercy Multiplied in Louisiana!

At Mercy Ministries, we are always grateful when a new community embraces the vision of Mercy and commits to support the hurting young women we serve. A Friends of Mercy Luncheon was held for the first time in Ruston, Louisiana at the beautiful Historic Ruston Fire Station on Tuesday, September 28th. Over 40 new friends came out to hear about the life-changing work being done at Mercy!

Dana Owens, Community Relations Manager for Mercy in Monroe, Louisiana, was there to cast the vision and Mercy graduates, Crystal, Rebecca, and Jessica, shared their powerful testimonies of hope and healing. Two of the graduates are now staff members at our Monroe home. Jessica graduated from Mercy six years ago and is now one of our counselors and Crystal, who came to Mercy with a severe eating disorder, is now the Fitness and Nutrition Manager! All of these amazing young women experienced the transformation and freedom that is possible in Christ and are great examples of Mercy being multiplied!

Special thanks to Event Sponsors, Dr. John and Dee 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 change lives! We are also grateful for Community Board Member, Stanley Dupuy, who played a critical part in bringing the vision of Mercy Ministries to a wider audience. Thanks to all who have faithfully supported Mercy Ministries throughout the years and are committed to spreading the vision of Mercy to others. Your support is essential to seeing the lives of hurting young women restored!

If you are in the Monroe area and missed the Ruston Friends of Mercy Luncheon, please join us for our upcoming Louisiana Fish Fry on Thursday, October 14th. This event is free of charge and is sure to be a lot of fun! For more information about the Fish Fry, contact Heather Robinson at 615-831-6987 or hrobinson@mercyministries.com.

Monroe Community Relations Manager, Dana Owens

Graduate and staff member, Crystal, shares her story

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monroe Graduate Tells Her Story of Transformation!

Residents, staff, family, and friends gathered at the Mercy Ministries home in Monroe, Louisiana today for a special graduation. Whitney, a former drug addict, is a great example of the life changing transformation that happens at Mercy. Here is her story:

Whitney

Before Mercy, I was battling drug and alcohol addiction. I started smoking marijuana at 16 to cope with depression, but soon marijuana was no longer enough so I started experimenting with cocaine and prescription pills. Before I knew it, I was stealing to pay for my addictions. I stole money, drugs, and I shoplifted frequently. When I was 21, I accidentally overdosed and ended up going to rehab. The withdrawal was so terrible, I swore that I would never use again, but as soon as I got out, I picked up right where I left off. My addiction grew even worse and I added alcohol to the mix. The only reason I got out of bed was to get high or drunk and I didn’t care about anyone unless they were helping feed my addiction. My life was miserable and I hated myself and who I had become. I carried so much guilt and shame that I felt there was no hope for me. Someone at my church suggested Mercy Ministries, so I went to the website to get more information. I knew God was the only one who could pull me out of the pit I was in, so I decided to apply.

God has taken me on an incredible journey at Mercy. It’s been hard but amazing! He has shown me that my identity is in Him and not in being a drug addict. I know I can choose life and now I have hope. I am excited about my life and my future!

After graduation, I plan to go to Beauty College and pursue a career as a hair dresser. I also have a desire to work in ministry some day.

Whitney is one of several girls to graduate from Mercy Ministries each month. Upon graduation, each girl receives a special ring provided by Mercy Ministries. The rings were designed by a graduate of Mercy and include three stones representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is also a large “M” surrounding the stones to serve as a reminder of the freedom and healing she received while at Mercy. We want to offer you the opportunity to purchase a ring for a specific girl at the cost of $55. Upon graduation, you will receive a hand written note along with a photo of the girl whose ring you purchased. What a blessing it will be for each girl to know that someone specifically provided the ring she will proudly wear as a sign of her freedom!

If you would like to purchase a ring, click here and select Other when asked, “What prompted you to give?” Type in the word Ring when asked, “If Other, please let us know why you are giving.” This will ensure that your donation will go toward the purchase of a graduate’s ring. If you have any questions, please contact Kay Strom at 615-831-6987 or kstrom@mercyministries.com.

Thank you for partnering with us to change lives and congratulations to Whitney!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Supporters Run for Mercy in Charlotte and Sacramento!!!

Over 500 people came out to “Run for Mercy” in Charlotte, North Carolina and Sacramento, California last week! The Mercy Ministries home in North Carolina hasn’t even broken ground yet, but there is already a huge amount of support in the Charlotte community. This was the first ever Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk held in North Carolina! On the following weekend, over 250 people from the Sacramento area came to the California Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk and many stayed to tour the Sacramento home afterwards. Both events were a huge success and together raised over $40,000!

Here’s what some of our participants had to say about Run for Mercy:

“I run in a lot of 5Ks around the city, and this was one of the most well done races I have ever been in! It was really cool knowing that I was running for such a great cause, too.” – Brian

“WOW! It really inspired me to keep going to see all the signs reminding me of why I was doing this along the way…my favorite one reminded me that my support was helping to restore a young woman’s HOPE!” – Jennifer

It’s not too late for you and your family to join in the fun! Our upcoming races include St. Louis, Missouri on October 16th and Nashville, TN on October 30th. As a way to say thank you for your support, participants receive a “race-day bag” that includes a Run for Mercy 2010 T-shirt, coupons and freebies from local stores, restaurants, and service providers, and if you refer a friend, you can get an aluminum Mercy water bottle. If you want to participate, but can’t make the trip, a great way to show your support is by signing up as a “virtual runner.” Register online at http://www.runformercy.org/ to join an existing team, form a new team or participate as an individual runner. You don’t want to miss out!

Mercy Ministries would like to thank not only our runners, but also the sponsors and many volunteers and staff that commit their time and resources and work tirelessly to make these events successful. We look forward to seeing you in St. Louis or Nashville in October!


Hundreds turned out to Run for Mercy!

There were lots of activities for kids including the Fun Run!

Signs like these inspired everyone along the way!

This one says it all!

Monday, September 27, 2010

24 Nashville Residents Water Baptized!!!

In a beautiful picture of the new life in Christ experienced by the young women at Mercy Ministries, 24 residents from the Nashville home were baptized last Wednesday! Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, was so honored to stand with, pray over, and baptize each girl. Again and again, they testified to the transformation and healing they have received and their desire to demonstrate, through baptism, the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new! Don’t miss this powerful video of the girls sharing what baptism means to them:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Eight Amazing Stories of Freedom!

Graduates of Mercy Ministries each have a unique and powerful story of transformation. Despair turns to hope, fear to power, and death to life! “Opening up my life to Him and allowing Him to walk me through every hurt was the most liberating experience for me,” said Jessica, one of our most recent graduates. Seven other young women graduated from Mercy along with Jessica this week! Residents, staff, family, and friends came together in Nashville, Lincoln, and St. Louis to celebrate the hope and healing these young women have found in Christ. Here are their powerful stories of transformation:

St. Louis

Elyse

Growing up, I felt like I had to be perfect in order to be accepted and loved, so I wore a lot of masks. After a while, I didn’t know who I was anymore. It seemed that no matter what I did everyone left me and I felt rejected, abandoned and forgotten. My life was spinning out of control, so I began starving myself, abusing laxatives and diet pills, over-exercising, and cutting in order to deal with all the pain and hurt. I cried out to God for help and one night I couldn’t sleep so I downloaded one of Joyce Meyer’s podcasts. She was interviewing Nancy and they were talking about Mercy Ministries and how it was a program for girls who struggled with some of the issues that I was dealing with. I knew Mercy was where I needed to go.

When I first got to Mercy, I tried to act like everything was okay and I would smile all the time but the staff kept encouraging me that it was okay not to be happy and smile and to just be real. It was so freeing! God has totally changed my life and for the first time I have hope for my future. I know now that I don’t have to be perfect in order for God to accept and love me.

My dreams for the future are to go to Bible College to get my bachelors in pastoral ministries, get married and have kids, and one day build an orphanage in Africa.


Joy

Growing up, I was picked on about my weight and the way I looked. I was told by various dance instructors that I would never make it because I wasn’t the right size or shape or because I was “too fat”. I was also sexually abused as a child. I didn’t feel like I mattered to anyone and whenever there were problems, I believed I was to blame. I started drinking, using self-harm, and restricting my food to gain a sense of control because everything else seemed so out of control. I heard about Mercy from a couple of friends and decided to apply because I knew the path I was on would lead to death.

During my time at Mercy, God has shown me who I am in Christ and what true freedom is. God doesn’t look at me and see a mistake, He sees Jesus in me. Now I can go to God without fear and know that He loves me and wants a relationship with me.

When I get home, I’m going back to school to start my bachelor’s in photography/studio art. I would also like to get a second bachelor’s in journalism and work with a travel company or magazine that has Christian values so I could travel on different assignments. And, like most girls, I hope to be married one day to a very godly man.


Lincoln

Jessica

I was sexually abused as a child and felt completely worthless. Secretly, I tried to cope with my pain by using self-harm. As I grew older, I began to numb myself with alcohol and became very depressed. I felt like my life was out of control and I was a hopeless mess when I heard about Mercy Ministries at my church. I wanted to know God personally and how He could heal my past, so I applied.

While at Mercy, I wrestled with God for a few months, but eventually I surrendered and put my trust, hope, and expectation in Him. Opening up my life to Him and allowing Him to walk me through every hurt was the most liberating experience for me. He met my need for unconditional love through the program and the staff and He has shown me that He values me and that I have purpose!

After graduation, I am planning on going to school to become a midwife. I would love to serve on the mission field and someday have my own ministry. I want to do for hurting people, what Mercy did for me.



Kaitlin

Before Mercy I was living on auto pilot. I had no hope and no sense of purpose. I struggled with anorexia, bulimia, and depression and I was so consumed by fear that I did not want to live. I felt like I had to be perfect and I thought I could survive just by looking good on the outside. On the inside, I was desperate and knew God must have more for me. I found Mercy Ministries on the internet and decided to apply.

Since coming to Mercy, God has set me free! His love and grace have allowed me to live in the freedom to fail, grow, and be humbled because He is more then enough for me. All the things I was afraid of before don’t scare me anymore because I know my God is bigger than all of them.

After graduation, I am moving home and applying to colleges. Someday, I hope to get married, have babies, and a house in the country with a swing on the front porch! To all of the staff – Thank you! I love and appreciate you all. The examples you set helped me to see what a godly woman looks like.


Nashville

Beth
 

I was sexually abused at a young age and quickly learned how to keep secrets. I was molested, abused, and raped multiple times throughout my life and used drugs, alcohol, and self-harm to cope. I also attended a strong performance-based school where I developed an eating disorder. I was barely surviving and constantly looking for ways to numb myself, yet I gave off the appearance that I was living the perfect life. I was very alone and isolated by my secret life and was constantly struggling with depression and suicidal ideation. God was someone I knew of, but despised, because so many of my abusers came from the church. I believed the church was my enemy, but I remained active and involved, so I was totally miserable. While at a conference, I met Nancy and heard about Mercy. Mercy seemed to provide something different and it sparked hope deep within me. I wanted the healing and Jesus that Nancy talked about to be true, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I learned that I can choose life and have it more abundantly! I learned to forgive the church, my abusers, and everyone who let me down. I realized God wasn’t the author of my pain, but through Him, I could have power, love, and sound thinking. My relationship with my parents has been restored and God has started building a firm foundation in me.

I plan on taking the next year to just lay low, study the Word of God, and stay active in ministry. In the future, I want to speak to the nations and declare God’s justice to those who are suffering. I want to be a voice that brings change and to see mighty miracles happen throughout the earth. My life has truly been totally transformed!


Kelsey

Because of my relationship with my mom, I grew up having a hard time trusting women. I was constantly bullied at school and no one wanted to hang out with me. In the 8th grade I started self-harming as a way of escape. I was sick and tired of living a lie and wanted to get my life back when I heard about Mercy from a graduate.

Since coming to Mercy, God has taken the place of my desire to self-harm and my identity is in Him, not my issues. I now have total confidence in myself. I’ve learned how to trust people, especially women, and after not having many friends growing up, I now have lots of amazing friends from Mercy!

After graduation, I’m going back to high school and I’m going to tell my story to the girls in my youth group. After graduating high school, I’m going to try out for American Idol! I also want to go to Paul Mitchell cosmetology school


Alexis

As a child, I was sexually abused but I didn’t tell anyone in my family. I was 8 years old when I started restricting my food and by the age of 10, I was using self-harm daily. At 13, I was raped by a group of boys and became pregnant. I miscarried right before my 14th birthday and one week later, I attempted suicide for the first time. When God wouldn’t let me die and all my hope was gone, I went on the internet looking for help. Mercy Ministries was the first place I found. Later, a Mercy graduate came to speak to my church youth group and encouraged me to apply.

During my time at Mercy, God has truly taken me from death to life. He has restored my hope and my relationships. I’ve learned that everything is better when I let God be in control.

After graduation, I want to get a degree in social work and communications. God has put a passion in me for every person who feels like they don’t have a voice. I want to be that voice.


Alishia

I grew up in a tense home environment with an emotionally absent father and a physically ill mother and I felt it was my job to play peacekeeper. Over time, I began to isolate myself. I rarely received affirmation from my father so I convinced myself that I didn’t want or need it. I felt my worth was in performing well in music and academics. I developed an eating disorder at 12, began cutting at 16, and became alcoholic at 19. I spent years in the vicious cycle of these addictions until I was so hopeless that I wanted to die. I purchased Nancy’s book Starved and decided instead to apply to Mercy Ministries.

During my time at Mercy, God has brought me back to life! I had no hope before Mercy, but God has given me new hope and shown me that He has a plan for my life that is so much more amazing than anything I could dream of. I know that He created me for a purpose and I have learned what balance looks like in every area of life.

In the very near future, I plan on working Dave Ramsey’s baby steps to financial peace, so that I can pay off my debt and go back to school to pursue a degree in nursing. I love Mercy Ministries! I am so thankful for this place!

Congratulations ladies! We are so excited to see you leave Mercy with a passion for life and a calling to reach out to others who are in need of His healing! We can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From 30 Years of Addiction to Eternity in Christ!

Earlier this week, residents from the St. Louis and Nashville homes were blessed to hear from Denise Roman, a drug addict for over 30 years who just celebrated her two year anniversary of freedom in Christ! Denise heard Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, speak at a GodChicks Conference in 2008 hosted by Holly Wagner at Oasis Christian Center in Hollywood. At the end of the day, Denise walked up to Nancy and handed her a large black bag full of drugs and drug paraphernalia and told Nancy she wanted to be free from the drug addiction and that she was going to choose life! Nancy prayed over her and that was the last time Denise ever wanted drugs again! She has been drug free and sharing the love of Christ with everyone she meets for the past two years.

After sharing her inspiring story, Denise spent the rest of the day talking one-on-one with the girls, spending time with them, and praying for them. Her impact is still being felt, and we thank God for this beautiful friend that God has given us. Denise is a true miracle, and a true example of the freedom and transformation that is available through Christ. Mercy is being multiplied, and we are so thankful that when we call upon the Lord, He hears us and He answers us.

Here’s what some of our residents had to say about meeting Denise:





Denise sharing her story with the Nashville residents

Denise celebrates her two year anniversary of freedom in Christ!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mercy Graduate Now a Doctor!!

When Bethany walked through the doors of Mercy Ministries in the Spring of 2005 no one knew that she would one day be a doctor. God knew the plans that He had for her, and a miracle was about to happen! Bethany came to Mercy with a serious eating disorder, an obsessive compulsive disorder, and a serious problem with self-harm. But God has promised us in Isaiah 61:7 that instead of our former shame, He will give us double honor and now Bethany Solomon is Dr. Bethany Schilling. That’s right – she went to Texas A&M where she graduated with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2010 and got married just a few months ago to a wonderful godly man. As you can see from these pictures Beau and Bethany are totally enjoying their life together. Just recently we received a $500 donation from them thanking Mercy for transforming Bethany’s life and for believing in her when no one else did. In Bethany’s own words,

“Without Mercy I don’t know how this could have ever happened. I am so thankful to God for life, and I plan to use all the life that I have left to glorify Him and share the hope of the Gospel with the lost, broken and hurting people in this world. Beau and I will be lifetime supporters of this ministry, and I hope and pray that the amount we can sow will grow in time. I pray that the Lord blesses the hands of His servants at Mercy to keep shedding light and bringing treasures out of darkness by the resurrection power of Christ.”

Bethany’s words say it all. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost and He came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. We celebrate Bethany’s freedom with her today and we celebrate the beautiful marriage of Bethany and Beau for a lifetime.

Thanks to all of our supporters for making this changed life possible!

Way to go, Dr. Bethany – WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Weekends are for Having Fun at Mercy!!!

Each weekday at Mercy Ministries is structured to serve the girls as they go through the healing process. They have meals together, praise and worship, two class periods, biblical counseling, and of course some recreational time. But by Friday, everyone gets a little “cabin fever” and is ready for a little time off. On Friday afternoons, the residents go out to lunch together and take a trip to the mall. They stop by Target or Walmart to pick up any personal items they need and then finish up the afternoon at the Christian bookstore.

On Friday nights, the girls watch movies, sports, home makeover shows, or play board games. On Saturday mornings, they are allowed to sleep in and can stay in their pajamas all day. They play guitar, give themselves manicures and pedicures or just hang out and relax. Sometimes they are even invited to go to a local sporting event or to a Mercy supporter’s home for a pool party.

Weekends are also a time for the girls to make and receive phone calls from family and friends and after 30 days in the program, each girl is allowed a weekend pass so she can stay with her family either at home or a local hotel.

The residents at Mercy Ministries come voluntarily and are serious about getting the help they so desperately need but it’s important that they take time to rest and have fun too! Check out this video of residents from all of our homes enjoying the weekend:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Local Baseball Player Pitches for Mercy!


After securing his team’s place in the Championship Game of the Nashville Men’s Baseball League, Brandon Nall came up with a unique and exciting way to support Mercy Ministries. Brandon is the husband of Nashville Community Relations Manager, Whitney Nall, and is an avid supporter of Mercy. For every strikeout Brandon threw, he pledged to donate $10 to Mercy Ministries and asked his friends, family, and the Nashville community to do the same. Brandon’s team may have lost in the end, but Mercy was a big winner when Brandon threw 10 strikeouts in the game to raise over $2000!

Special thanks Brandon for using his talents to benefit Mercy and to the Nashville community for embracing the vision of Mercy Ministries and showing your support!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nancy Alcorn Speaks in Arizona!

Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, had the incredible opportunity to speak at the City of Grace Women’s Conference this past weekend in Mesa, Arizona. Terry and Judith Crist are the pastors of this awesome church and do an amazing job of reaching out to the Phoenix area with the love and mercy of Christ!

The theme of the conference was “Flourish”, encouraging women and girls of all ages to flourish in God’s love and compassion. It was a joy for Nancy to share the platform with Pastor Sharon Kelly from Wave Church in Virginia Beach, VA who was also a featured speaker at the event. Everyone was touched and changed by the challenging messages and many came to Christ as a result! Pastors Judith Crist and Sharon Kelly are truly champions for the cause of Christ! Check out what these amazing women are doing!

Pastor Judith Crist at City of Grace
Pastor Sharon Kelly at Wave Church

Nancy with Pastors Judith Crist (center) and Sharon Kelly (right)

Nancy speaking at the City of Grace Women's Conference

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spa Night at Mercy Ministries!

Residents at the St. Louis home recently enjoyed a special “Spa Night” complete with hand scrubs, thermal foot massages, and relaxing neck wraps! Nancy Bogart, Founder of Jordan Essentials, first heard about Mercy Ministries when she heard Nancy Alcorn speak at the Designed for Life Women’s Conference at James River Assembly in Springfield, MO. She was moved by the girls’ stories and the work being done at Mercy and wanted to get involved. Jordan Essentials offers bath, body, and spa products so she set up a special night of pampering for the St. Louis residents. She also brought beautiful gift boxes filled with products from her skin care collection for each of the girls. Check out this video of the special night:




Special thanks to the ladies from Jordan Essentials for putting together this special night of pampering for our residents!



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nancy Alcorn on TBN with Joyce Meyer!


Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, along with our Nashville residents, were honored to be a part of the Praise the Lord program hosted by Joyce Meyer which aired on TBN Monday night. Having suffered sexual abuse in her childhood and the pain of an emotionally abusive first marriage, Joyce relates to the transformation offered to our young ladies through the Mercy Ministries program. Her book, Battlefield of the Mind is a standard part of the program for all Mercy residents and she has just released a follow-up book called Power Thoughts.

Both Nancy and Joyce spoke about the importance of thinking right thoughts, renewing your mind through scripture, and walking in the Spirit. Nancy was able to share the stories of several Mercy graduates who were impacted by Joyce’s teachings and got the healing they so desperately needed.

We are so grateful to Joyce and her husband, Dave, who helped Mercy Ministries open our St. Louis home in 2005 by donating the property and funding the renovations on the house. They have continued to be generous monthly partners of Mercy Ministries over the years as well as helping spread awareness of the devastating issues young women in our country are facing.

We encourage you to take a moment to watch if you missed the program because it will inspire you!

You can follow the instructions below to view it:

1. Click here to go to the TBN website
2. Once there, select the "September 13, 2010" program
3. Nancy's portion of the show starts approximately 37 minutes into the show

Monday, September 13, 2010

Victoria Hearst visits Mercy Ministries


Residents and staff of the Nashville home were honored to have Victoria Hearst as a guest speaker this morning. Victoria is the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, best known as the head of a media empire and creator of the famous estate, “Hearst Castle.” The kidnapping of Victoria’s sister, Patty, by terrorists in 1974 thrust the Hearst family further into the public eye.

Victoria spoke words of encouragement as she shared her journey through a life without Christ until age 40. Before that moment, she tried to find satisfaction with what the world had to offer, including a difficult relationship with her boyfriend. Victoria gave her life to Christ in 1995 and formed Praise Him Ministries in 2001. She encouraged the girls to always put God first, to learn to forgive, and to spend time in God’s Word. She told them, “Never say I can’t, but rather I’m currently having difficulty but I will soon improve!”

Victoria invited Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, to take part in the popular NightVision Music Festival in July 2011 which is produced by Praise Him Ministries. This huge renowned festival will feature top Christian artists such as Toby Mac and Chris Tomlin.

The staff and girls at Mercy were so blessed by her wisdom and encouragement today and we look forward to working with Praise Him Ministries in the future!

Nancy Alcorn with Victoria Hearst

Friday, September 10, 2010

Six More Remarkable Graduates Celebrate!!!

Residents, staff, family, and friends gathered together in the Monroe, Lincoln, and St. Louis homes this week to celebrate the graduation of six more amazing young women from Mercy Ministries! They have experienced the life changing power of God’s unconditional love and are excited to share their stories of freedom and transformation:

Monroe

Mary Elizabeth

Between the ages of two and fifteen, I was the victim of sexual abuse. My life was characterized by shame, secrecy, and depression. When I was nineteen, I revealed my secret and all of the darkness and pain I felt exploded to the surface. I became suicidal and alienated myself from everyone who loved me. I heard about Mercy from my parents and decided to apply.

Since being at Mercy, God has shown me that He has always been with me through the pain and suffering from the abuse. I know that God will use that which Satan intended for my destruction and turn it around for His glory. He has shown me that I am not a hopeless victim, but a daughter of God.

After graduation, I plan to go back to college to pursue a degree in nursing.


Justine

I grew up with two loving parents but I was always the peace-keeper in my family. I stuffed all of my feelings down so that I wouldn’t cause anymore tension or problems. Additionally, I thought I had to be perfect, and I worked hard to keep up the fa├žade. Unfortunately, this led to bulimia and food quickly grew into an all-consuming addiction. For the next five years, it took all of my time, money, and energy to support my eating disorder. I tried to stop my behavior countless times but always failed. I thought I was a lost cause and beyond all help. My mom heard about Mercy through a friend and I knew I needed a change in my life.

During my time at Mercy, God has given me a heart of love, peace, and joy in place of a heart of stone. Instead of hiding my weaknesses, I can celebrate them because I know He is strong where I am weak. I no longer feel the need to stuff myself with food because I am now filled to overflowing with God’s love. I get to live the abundant life that Jesus died to give me.

After graduation, I will be attending Discipleship Training school through Youth with a Mission in Lausanne, Switzerland. I also plan to go back to college to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. I am eternally grateful to Mercy Ministries for helping me to experience the love and grace of God and to grow in my identity in Christ!


St. Louis

Keela

Before entering the Mercy Ministries program, I struggled with depression, self-harm, and anger issues resulting from sexual abuse. I struggled with relationships and was very emotionally detached and awkward. My life was a disaster and I kept myself busy with work to avoid dealing with my issues. I isolated myself and slept a lot and had no joy or peace. Trying to keep the secrets of my past hidden was emotionally and physically draining. I decided to apply to Mercy when I finally reached a point where I could admit that I needed help.

While at Mercy, God has shown me the roots behind my struggles. He showed me how to forgive and set boundaries in my relationships. I learned how to meditate on God's word and apply it to my life and how to be the woman God created me to be.

After graduation I plan to get a job and attend church regularly. I would also like to get involved with a Spanish Ministry and eventually apply for employment at Joyce Meyer Ministries. I plan to build on my relationships with God, family and others while applying the tools I was equipped with while at Mercy.


Lincoln

Shelby

My life before Mercy was chaotic and out of control. I was physically and sexually abused which led to unhealthy relationships, depression, and an eating disorder. I had incredibly low self esteem and let men use me for their pleasure. I drank a lot and went to bars multiple times per week. I tried to get a handle on these issues but I knew that I needed help beyond my own ability to change. I heard about Mercy through a friend and went to the website to find out how to get the help I needed.

While at Mercy, God has shown me how He sees me. He met me exactly where I was when I walked in the doors and He has redeemed me, forgiven me and washed me clean. I have learned who I am in Christ as worthy, lovely, and treasured.

After graduation, I plan to go home, live with my mom and dad, get my GED, get a job, and start college classes in the spring. Who knows where God will lead me from there! Mercy Ministries was truly the vessel that God used to save my life. I cannot wait to live life! It is going to be an adventure!


Sarah

I was physically and emotionally abused which led to deep depression and self-harm. Although I knew Christ, I was consumed by my self-destructive behaviors and addiction. I felt dead on the inside. I went to the Mercy website and felt it was a place that offered some hope, so I decided to apply.

Since coming to Mercy, I have encountered God in the most raw, beautiful, and intimately personal way. His love has covered the ugliness of my behaviors and addiction and equipped me with the tools I need to move forward in victory.

After graduation, I will be doing an internship with a local church. I don’t know what God has in store for me after that but I have a strong passion for teen ministry, especially teenage girls.


Kelly


Before Mercy, I had a serious drug addiction. I allowed Satan to fill my mind with lies and didn’t know who I was in Christ. My life was full of destruction and I kept trying to find happiness in all the wrong places. There was a void in my heart that nothing seemed to fill and I became very depressed. I heard about Mercy from a pastor and I knew God was the answer to overcoming my addiction.

During my time at Mercy, God has completely redeemed and restored my life. I went from living in darkness to light and from bondage to complete freedom. God healed the deep hurts in my soul and now I know how to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh.

After graduation, I plan to finish my degree in Criminal Justice and hope to be involved in prison ministry. I am determined to live the life God has planned for me. I will be forever grateful to Nancy Alcorn and all of the staff and supporters of Mercy Ministries. Thank you so much!

Congratulations ladies! The change in each of you is so evident and it is so exciting to see your new found hope for the future! We know God has amazing plans for you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lincoln Residents Answer “The Call”

On Saturday, September 4th, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, along with the staff and 40 residents of our California home gathered with thousands from across the nation at TheCall in Sacramento. Lou Engle is the visionary and co-founder of TheCall which invites young people to come together to worship, fast, and pray for justice and spiritual awakening in our nation. Nearly 15,000 people gathered for a special time of praise and worship at Raley Field Friday night, September 3rd to kick off this powerful time of prayer.

Nancy and the brave young women from our California home took the stage at the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento to share their powerful stories of freedom and healing and to pray for the young women of our nation who have suffered from trafficking, cutting, eating disorders, abuse, addictions, and other life-controlling issues.

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

“It was really empowering, like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t realize we had so much power through prayer and standing in the gap for something you believe in.” - Diane

“I loved the worship. It was so powerful. I’ve never felt anything so strong before.”Breanna

Our residents and staff were deeply impacted by this entire event, and it was such a joy for our girls to be personally encouraged and ministered to by Lou Engle’s wife, Therese, world-renown author and speaker Cindy Jacobs, and Lou’s parents. Lou’s dad was celebrating his 90th birthday and still took the time to bless and minister to the young women who are currently in our California home. We are so thankful for Lou Engle and his family for their great love for people and the wonderful sacrifices they have made!!

Check out these photos from the event:

Thousands worship together at TheCall in Sacramento


Our 40 California residents pray with Nancy at The Call

Crowd captivated by TheCall speakers at the Capitol Mall

Lou Engle's parents encourage our girls

Fun times with Mercy residents at The Call!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mercy Resident Chooses Life – It’s A Boy!!!


Mercy Ministries is celebrating the birth of a happy and healthy baby boy to Nashville resident, Holly. Baby Jeremiah George, was born at 2:42 pm via c-section on Monday, September 6th, weighing 6 pounds and 6 ounces, and was 19 ¾ inches long. Holly made the brave decision to come to Mercy Ministries, choose life for her baby boy, and place him for adoption with a loving Christian family.

Because of our faithful supporters, girls like Holly who are facing unplanned pregnancy can receive the help they need to reach the best decision about whether to parent or place their babies for adoption. Your support is literally saving and changing lives every day. Thank you for being a part of this special little boy’s future!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Time to Sign Up to Run For Mercy!

Runners across the nation are getting ready to lace up their shoes and hit the pavement once again to show their love and support for the young women of Mercy Ministries! Since 2008, Mercy has been represented in over 15 cities, with 1,200 participants on more than 100 racing teams in the Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk events as well as established marathons across the country. These runners have helped to raise over $200,000 for the Mercy Ministries program.

Run for Mercy isn’t just for grownups though.
Kids of all ages can participate in the Fun Run or enjoy face painting and free smoothies in the Kids Carnival Zone! Here’s what participant Mandy Heltsley had to say about the event:

"The Run for Mercy 5K is such a terrific family event. Not only did we get to walk the 5K with our kids, we also got to enjoy the local vendors, great music and hear some amazing testimonies. We can’t wait to make this an annual tradition!"

One Run for Mercy participant and St. Louis graduate, Teresa, said,

“Running the race to raise funds for Mercy Ministries was a great opportunity for me to give back to the ministry that changed my life. I would not have been able to participate in this race if it were not for the amazing work God did in me during that time at Mercy, and I want every girl to have the opportunity to experience that kind of freedom!”

Mercy Ministries’ Christ-centered residential program is completely free of charge. Our support comes from generous individuals, businesses and ministries who partner with us! When you Run for Mercy, you are making a way for more young women to get the help they desperately need completely free of charge! Right now is the time to get involved with a Run for Mercy event near you! You can run as an individual or with a team or you can even participate as a virtual runner! Check out the possibilities and register online at www.runformercy.org.

Be sure to sign up for one of our upcoming events:
Charlotte, NC - 5K and Family Walk - September 18, 2010
Lincoln, CA – 5K and Family Walk – September 25, 2010
St. Charles, MO - Marathon - October 3, 2010
St. Louis, MO - 5K and Family Walk - October 16, 2010
Nashville, TN - 5K and Family Walk - October 30, 2010

Thank you for running for Mercy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mercy Ministries Celebrates 22 Baptisms!!

Tuesday night in an awesome demonstration of the healing and transformation that takes place at Mercy Ministries, 22 young women from our California home were baptized! The special baptism service and dinner were held at the home of Buzz Oates, key supporter of Mercy Ministries. Buzz, a commercial real-estate developer from the Sacramento area, gave $2.5 million and the land for the building of the Lincoln home through the Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation.

It was an incredible night of celebration and praise for the lives changed as well as a time for the girls to show their gratitude to some of the California home’s biggest supporters. One of the residents, after being baptized, walked straight to Buzz Oates and said, “Thank you for helping to save my life.”

Greg and Kathy Fairrington, pastors of Sunset Christian Center and daughter and son-in-law of Buzz Oates were there as well as Lou Engle, Founder of The Call. Check out this inspiring video from the special night:



With the help of faithful supporters who are the lifeline of Mercy Ministries, we are able to give hurting young women the help they so desperately need. However, there are still room sponsorships available for the California home as well as much needed support for our current operations! If you are interested in knowing what needs still exist or would like to sponsor a room, contact Kaci Davis, Community Relations Manager at kdavis@mercyministries.com. Thank you!!!!