Friday, October 29, 2010

Mercy in the News!

By Harriet Vaughan • THE TENNESSEAN • October 29, 2010
BRENTWOOD — Organizers are putting out one final push to get people registered for the second annual Run for Mercy.
The 5K event raises money for Mercy Ministries, a faith-based program that helps women ages 13-28 break free from addictions, abuse, eating disorders and depression and offers help with unplanned pregnancies. They do so by offering the program, free of charge, at their live-in Brentwood campus.
So far, 848 have registered for Run for Mercy, which will be Saturday in Shelby Park in Nashville. The registration fee is $25 and final registration will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday with the race set to begin at 9 a.m.
The run will be a family-friendly event with activities for kids, such as bounce houses, face painting, Ozzie from the Nashville Sounds and the mascot cow from Chick-fil-A. Goody bags, bread sticks from Fazoli's restaurant, tickets to Nashville Predators games and the Nashville Zoo will also be given away. There also will be live music from David Ask.
"The only reason girls can come to our program is because it's free. You're not just paying a registration fee. You're saving someone's life. It's another example of how, when many people come together, they can make a difference," said Whitney Nall, spokeswoman for Mercy Ministries.
In the first few months of registration, the number of participants outgrew last year's event by nearly 200, forcing organizers to move the run to Shelby Bottoms Park, a larger venue. That's good news for the program. Also, one of the bigger draws is the introduction of chip timing, a request from avid runners. The chips, worn by each participant, offer the most accurate race results. Awards will be given for each age group.
Run for Mercy raised $35,000 last year. Due to the large response, they raised the goal this year to $60,000. They've raised $52,982. It is the second-largest fundraiser, next to the program's annual Merry Mercy Christmas benefit, which will be Dec. 10 at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville. Tickets for that event are $125. For more information, call Heather Robinson at 615-831-6987.
Contact Harriet Vaughan at 615-771-5415 or hvaughan@tennessean.com.
Come on out and join us tomorrow!  The weather is going to be beautiful!  Here's your personal Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk Forecast: 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three More Graduates Celebrate Life!

The young women who come to Mercy Ministries have often been told over and over again that they will never be free from their issues. With no hope for freedom, many of them try to end their lives as a result. The three amazing girls who graduated from our St. Louis and Sacramento area homes this week all made attempts at suicide. But while at Mercy, they discovered that God had a plan for their lives and that only He could bring the healing and restoration they so desperately needed. Here are their powerful stories of transformation from death into life:

St. Louis

Sherri

Over the past 18 years, I tried to find happiness through drugs, alcohol, food, cutting, and the approval of others. I saw myself as a failure and believed the enemy’s lies that everyone would be better off if I wasn’t “in the way.” I tried to commit suicide but was unsuccessful. For a year and a half I was in and out of treatment programs and was unable to complete a single one of them. This confirmed my idea that I was a hopeless case and nobody could help me. I heard Nancy speak at the Designed for Life 2009 “So Loved” Conference at James River Assembly in Ozark, MO and I felt hope for the first time. I thought that maybe, just maybe Mercy could do the same thing for me that he had done in the lives of the girls Nancy spoke about.

While at Mercy, I learned how to have a relationship with God. I learned that I don’t have to know every answer to every question—I just have to trust Him. He is faithful and as long as I continue to seek Him, He will direct my paths. I know that when I do go through trying times, God will use it to stretch me and prepare me for the amazing future He has planned!

After graduation, I am excited to get plugged back into my church. I look forward to being the mom, sister, daughter, and friend that God created me to be. I also plan on looking for a job in the nursing field. I’m not sure all God has for me but I look forward to living the life God created me to have!


Claire

My mom basically had a breakdown when I was nine and it shook my world. I felt abandoned and began looking in the wrong places for love. This eventually led me into an abusive relationship. I was severely depressed and suicidal and was cutting every day to deal with my pain. I would sleep as many as 17 or 18 hours a day, and even when I was awake I couldn’t function like a normal person. I had a friend who used to work in the Nashville Mercy home and she told me about Mercy Ministries. I knew I needed help so I decided to apply.

Since coming to Mercy, God has healed my heart. He has shown me that He loves me deeply, and that He will use my story to reach others. For the first time in many years I am genuinely happy.

After graduation, I plan to get a job and then return to school in January to complete my degree in social work.


Lincoln

Lora

Before coming to Mercy, I was completely hopeless and suicidal. I was sexually abused by a family member as a child and the rest of my family ignored it. I developed severe OCD as well as an eating disorder and would cry myself to sleep every night. At 13 I began cutting and pursuing unhealthy relationships with guys. I hated God so much that I called myself an atheist and began wearing all black. At 15 I was sent to a doctor for meds and counseling and later that year was my first suicide attempt. After spending time in 4 different treatment centers and three hospitals, I was sentenced to a state facility. I didn’t want to go so I told the judge about Mercy. I had been working on the application for many months, but I lied and said that I’d already been accepted. Miraculously, the judge let me go, but under close watch and wanting proof that I did leave for Mercy. By the grace of God, after a short time, I got the call to go to the California home! I really wanted to go to Mercy because I knew that I needed healing and that could only come from God.

While at Mercy, God has shown up in every hurt. He has softened my heart and is restoring what was lost. I can’t imagine a day without Him now!

After graduation, I plan to go to college and get an art degree. I would love to teach art classes. In the future, I would like to also get a psychology degree and work somewhere like Mercy.

Congratulations Sherri, Claire, and Lora! We are very proud of you and your accomplishments! You’ve shown heart and determination in the journey to regain your life and we are very excited to see you live out your freedom!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recent Report Out – Sex Trafficked Minors on the Rise

A study done between August 2009 and February of this year showed that sex trafficking of minors in the U.S. is a fast growing crisis. The total number of girls trafficked through Internet classifieds and escort services increased in double-digit percentages in several states over the six-month period.

For several years now, Mercy Ministries has been helping victims of sex trafficking in our residential homes. The last couple of years, our President and Founder, Nancy Alcorn, has felt a tug in her heart to get more involved with this issue by making a way to actually help the young women who have suffered this terrible abuse. We believe God has called us to become more public with the fact that we are caring for victims of sex trafficking. We also know that we need to be a voice that brings light to the disturbing fact that sex trafficking is an epidemic here in the United States – right in our own backyard.

According to the U.S. State Department, there were 350,000 reported cases of domestic trafficking last year. However, this number is much higher as there are so many cases that go unreported. Young women who suffer such devastating abuse are true victims who need a place to find help and healing. They need a place where their hearts can be transformed through the love of Christ. They need Mercy Ministries.

We believe God has called Mercy Ministries of America to help these domestic victims. We have already served girls facing this issue, but the cries for help are increasing. Our long-term mission is to build a facility specifically dedicated to serving victims of sex trafficking, and we feel that the time has come to begin speaking out this vision.

You can see more shocking statistics about sex trafficking in the U.S. by going to http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/six-month-report-domestically-sex-trafficked-minors-on-the-rise-in-key-states-102957239.html

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mercy Graduate in Switzerland!

When Justine came through the doors of the Mercy home in Louisiana, she had a serious eating disorder that had taken all of her time, money and energy over the past five years. While at Mercy, Justine experienced the life changing power of God’s unconditional love and today she is completely free from her eating disorder! Justine graduated from Mercy in September and is now attending Discipleship Training School through Youth with a Mission in Lausanne, Switzerland! We wanted to share a recent email we received from Justine:

Bonjour from Lausanne!!

Hello, everyone! I hope this letter finds you all well! I have been at YWAM for one week now, and everything is going amazing! The city of Lausanne is absolutely beautiful! I can see the Swiss Alps from my bedroom window! The people here at YWAM are even more beautiful and amazing. I have felt at home in this community since I walked through the doors. Even though we all come from different parts of the world, we are one big family here at YWAM-Lausanne. My Discipleship Training School class has nineteen students representing ten different countries. The class operates in English and French (yes, everything gets translated), and then further translation takes place between the students as necessary. There are two French girls in my room who speak very little English (though they are improving each day!), and we have had a lot of laughs over the past week as we have tried to communicate how to live with one another in such tight quarters. It's amazing to realize that we all come from completely different cultures and backgrounds, but we all find meaning and identity with the same true God. I am extremely excited to see what God is going to do in and through each of us during our time here with YWAM!

I feel indescribably blessed to be here, and I am so grateful to you all for supporting me! I have never experienced God like I have in the past week. I have become like family with people with whom my only commonality is God. I feel like I am learning more about Him everyday as I discover more of His creativity and love through all of these people that are from such different backgrounds and cultures, all of which have their unique ways to worship and glorify God.

Love,
Justine

We love hearing from our graduates and are thrilled to have the opportunity to support Justine as she spreads the love of Christ in Lausanne. Special thanks to all of our contributors who gave so that Justine could find freedom from her eating disorder and make a difference in the lives of others.

Justine (Center) with some of her YWAM classmates on the streets of Lausanne

Monday, October 25, 2010

Visual Parables Supports Mercy Ministries Through Art

Artist, Bert Vandermark
About five years ago, artist Bert VanderMark founded his ministry, Visual Parables, as a way to equip people to communicate “visual” praise and worship to God through art. The inspiration for this ministry came from the example of Jesus, who often used parables to teach the truths of God’s Word. Bert has worked closely with the residents of Mercy Ministries, helping them understand the purpose of God-given creativity, see more clearly the truth of God’s Word in their lives, and to paint those experiences as an act of visual praise and worship. These powerful works of art tell their amazing stories of healing and transformation.

We are so excited to finally share some of these inspiring works of art with you and give you an opportunity to support Mercy through Visual Parables. You can now purchase the paintings done by our residents by visiting the website at www.visualparablesart.com and placing a bid in the online auction. All of the artwork has been donated by the residents and 100% of the proceeds will go to Mercy Ministries. Bidding starts at $175, the cost of caring for one Mercy girl for one day. By purchasing one of these paintings, you become a part of providing these hurting young women with the help they need, completely free of charge.

Here is some great video of a session with Bert and the girls as they describe their experience:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mercy Ministries Goes Mobile!

Now it is even easier to get up-to-date information about Mercy Ministries while you are on the go.  Mobile web design company, ur mobile, donated their services and created a mobile website for Mercy that allows you to connect to us right from your phone!  This mobile version of our website loads more efficiently and has a more user-friendly interface than a traditional website.  More importantly, this technology also makes it easier than ever before to give to Mercy!  You can make a donation whenever and wherever you want by visiting www.mercyministries.org on any web-capable mobile device.  With just a few simple steps you can help make a difference in the lives of the hurting young women we serve!  Be sure and check it out!  

Here is what they had to say at urmobile about working with Mercy:

“Mercy Ministries is doing amazing work with young women in crisis and we at ur mobile felt honored to be chosen as the mobile website provider for Mercy Ministries. We wanted to donate our creative time to build a dynamic and engaging mobile presence for Mercy Ministries that would allow them to share their ministry of hope and healing effectively through the mobile channel.”

Thank you to ur mobile for donating this incredible technology!



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pastor Kathy Farrington visits Mercy Ministries

Kathy Farrington speaking at the California home
Residents at the California home were excited to see the familiar face of Pastor Kathy Farrington yesterday as their guest speaker. Kathy and her husband Greg are the pastors at Sunset Christian Center, the home church of our Sacramento area residents. Kathy is also the daughter of Buzz Oates, a commercial real-estate developer, who generously gave $2.5 million and the land for the building of the California home.

Kathy spoke to the girls about the power of forgiveness and choosing to let go of offenses. She encouraged them to take the hurt and resentment they have kept hidden in darkness and bring it into the light. They learned that exposing their issues is what gives them the power to overcome and walk in victory. Here’s what some of them had to say about Kathy’s visit.

“Kathy’s passion for Mercy girls to be free is very evident through her teaching. A huge thing that impacted me was hearing that as I uncover my issues, God completely heals them and I no longer have to worry about my past!” –Whitney


“Kathy’s love and passion for God touched all of us. I am so grateful for her and her kind heart. She is like a second mom to all us girls!” - Sara

The girls were so encouraged by Kathy’s words and always love spending time with her. To see Kathy’s husband, Greg, baptizing 22 girls from our California home, CLICK HERE.

Kathy with all of the California residents

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mercy Ministries at Catalyst 2010

Mercy Ministries had the incredible opportunity to attend the 2010 Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA this month. Catalyst is the largest gathering of young church leaders in the country. Mercy Ministries Church Relations Director, Eve Annunziato, had the privilege of co-hosting a luncheon for more than 120 women in ministry who attended the conference. Over 100 different churches were represented. Here is what Eve had to say about the luncheon:

“It was such an honor to speak to such a beautiful, diverse group of women in ministry. These powerful leaders are making eternal differences in their communities and I was inspired and humbled by their passion to help those who are lost and hurting.”

During the luncheon, Eve shared the vision of Mercy Ministries and the need for churches to commit their support. Mercy graduate Kim Brownie told her powerful story of freedom and transformation from sex trafficking victim to college student and mentor. Hear Kim’s testimony in this short video from the event:



Special thanks to Leading and Loving It and Cultivate Her, two ministries that encourage, support, and connect women in leadership, for co-hosting the luncheon. We are so grateful to all of the amazing women who took the time to attend the luncheon and hear more about Mercy Ministries. Churches investing their time, expertise and financial resources in a partnership with Mercy Ministries can directly save the lives of the young women we serve!

Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, welcomes everyone via video
Over 100 different churches were represented at the luncheon!

Graduate Kim Brownie and Director of Development, Selah Hirsch

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

St. Louis Runs for Mercy in Biggest Race Yet!

Some of our St. Louis Residents
The weather was absolutely perfect as over 500 people gathered at the starting line to show their support for Mercy Ministries in the St. Louis Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk this weekend. We had double the amount of participants this year and double the amount of money raised for a total of $55,000!!! This is the most money ever raised at one of our 5K events! Serious runners, mothers with strollers, families, and even dogs turned out to participate in this fun family event.

Before the start of the race, pink balloons were released in celebration of all of the amazing young women to come through the St. Louis home. It was a powerful picture of the freedom from life-controlling issues these girls receive while at Mercy Ministries. It is because of supporters like you that these hurting young women can get the help they so desperately need.

As a way to say thank you for your support, participants received a “race-day bag” that included a Run for Mercy 2010 T-shirt, coupons and freebies from local stores, restaurants, and service providers, and those who referred a friend, received a Mercy water bottle. A drawing was held for those who took part in the $100 challenge and one excited participant received a free iPad!

We would like to thank the many volunteers and staff that worked tirelessly to make this our most successful 5K yet and special thanks to sponsors Joy FM, Leucal Consulting, Faith That Works, Faith Church St. Louis, CHAN, Faith Family Church, and Destiny Church!

It’s not too late for you and your family to join in the fun! You can still Run for Mercy in Nashville, TN on Saturday, October 30th or participate in the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA on Saturday, December 5th. 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 www.runformercy.org to join an existing team, form a new team or participate as an individual runner. Your support helps make the difference in the lives of so many hurting young women!

Check out this awesome video of the race day events!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Power Packed Weekend for Nancy Alcorn!!!

For Mercy Ministries Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, this past weekend was filled with many exciting opportunities to speak and share the heart and vision of Mercy throughout the Chicago and St. Louis areas! On her first stop in Chicago, Nancy was a guest speaker at the “Reality” Women’s Conference, hosted by Linda Thompson and Family Harvest Church. You can see the amazing energy and passion of everyone involved by clicking here to see the follow up video from this event.

Nancy then headed to St. Louis to speak at the Destiny Church Women’s Rally. Destiny Church is the home church of our St. Louis residents and all 30 girls from the home were able to attend, as well as the staff! The love that Pastors Jim and Jessica Stern have for our girls was so evident and Nancy was honored to be asked to speak at all of their weekend services on Saturday and Sunday. She especially loved spending time with the girls and seeing how they have grown spiritually since her last visit a month ago!

Overall, the weekend was filled with amazing opportunities for Nancy to share how God is using Mercy Ministries to help transform the lives of young women all around the world. It was such a blessing to see the outpouring of support to help more young women be set free!

For more information about Dr. Robb and Linda Thompson and Family Harvest Church, visit their website at www.familyharvestchurch.org. To learn more about Destiny Church, go to www.destinychurch.org.  Check out these photos of Nancy's weekend:


Nancy and the St. Louis girls!

Nancy spending time catching up with the St. Louis residents

Nancy sharing at the Women's Rally

Nancy and Pastor Jim Stern at Destiny Church

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mercy Ministries Graduates See A Bright Future!

One of the six amazing young women to graduate from Mercy Ministries this week is looking forward to getting home and volunteering her time with disabled children, showing that Mercy graduates not only find freedom from their life-controlling issues, but they give back to their communities. Residents and staff gathered together with family and friends at our St. Louis and Sacramento homes to celebrate the graduation of these incredible girls and we wanted to share their powerful stories of transformation with you:

Sacramento

Leslie

Before coming to Mercy, I was depressed and barely functioning. I struggled with anorexia and bulimia and thoughts of food consumed my life. I also struggled with self-harm and substance abuse and frequently had thoughts of death. I was completely void of hope and felt I could never be redeemed from my mistakes and failures. I was out of options and out of money when I heard about Mercy Ministries from a social worker. I believed in God but I didn’t understand why my prayers didn’t seem to be working. I wanted to feel Him, so I decided to apply.

During my time at Mercy, I’ve learned that through the death of Christ, I am redeemed and that God no longer remembers my past failures. I am loved and cherished by God and through Him I can do anything! He has renewed my hope and I can love myself for the first time, even in my imperfection.

After graduation, I plan to finish my master’s degree in clinical psychology and I would like to work as a counselor. And of course, I want to get married and have children.


Kristin

I had unrealistic expectations placed on me at a very early age which led to perfectionism. I was so consumed with people-pleasing that I kept quiet, assumed responsibility for things that weren’t my fault, and placed all of my value and worth in my academic and athletic accomplishments. I struggled with self-hatred, anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. I also began to use self-harm to deal with my pain. I heard about Mercy from a friend who graduated from the program and decided to apply because I was tired of fighting.

At Mercy, the Lord has given me hope and joy and I’m excited to be alive! God has shown me that my value isn’t based on my performance or other people’s opinions of me; my value and identity are found in who I am in Christ. God has forgiven all my sins and He loves me unconditionally. My past doesn’t determine my future because I am a new creation in Christ and my old self is dead and gone.

Upon returning home, I will be working part-time as a mentor for children with disabilities while I review my nursing materials and volunteer in the medical field. I plan on getting involved in a Bible study and small group at church and spending quality time with friends and family. In the future, I want to pursue a nursing career, write a book, and minister to others who are lost and hurting. I want to thank Mercy Ministries and all the staff for all that they have done for me. This has been a life changing experience!


Kiersten

Before Mercy, I had no direction and no hope of ever going anywhere in life. I was sexually abused and was caught in a horrible cycle of cutting, an eating disorder, and drug overdoses. I felt completely worthless and wanted to die but couldn’t. I found out about Mercy from the website and decided to apply.

Since coming to Mercy, God has given me hope. He showed me who I am and how He sees me. I know I am loved and forgiven, worthy and wanted.

After graduation, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in social work and work with developmentally delayed children.


St. Louis

Monica

I battled with an eating disorder for over 15 years, and struggled with self-harm, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. I grew up in an alcoholic home, experienced all forms of abuse, and as a result, I made many poor choices. I truly despised myself and my life. I lost my health, my job, my apartment, my dog, valuable relationships, and so much more. I knew I needed more than what any hospital counselor or medication could give me. I needed the Lord, fellowship, and my mind to be renewed by the Word of God.

While at Mercy, God has transformed me by the renewing of my mind with His Word. I have learned that I have a choice and I don’t have to listen to the enemy’s lies. The Lord has shown me that I am worthy of love and because I am forgiven, I can forgive others. His love and His Word have healed and restored me. I no longer dread the future and I have a desire to serve and bring glory to God and His kingdom.

After graduation, I am going home to live with my mom. I am considering going back to school for art ministry. I want to find a job, get involved in my church, and do what I can to give back. I am so grateful for Mercy Ministries!


Sarah

Growing up, I had unrealistic expectations for myself and as a result I developed an eating disorder and began to self-harm. I also shopped excessively, became obsessed with men, and was very reckless in my behavior. I felt hopeless and went to a secular treatment center for help. Nothing seemed to work so I eventually left. My mom made contact with the mother of another girl in that program and found out she had applied to Mercy Ministries. When I looked into it and read the testimonies of some of the girls, it gave me a ray of hope, so I decided to apply as well. I wanted to be free!

During my time at Mercy I learned that I have a future. I learned how important community and accountability are. I no longer strive for perfection, but desire to do my best with what God has given me and enjoy it. I learned how important community and accountability are and that I have a beautiful family. I’m so excited about life!

After graduation, I plan to live in accordance with the Word of God and to fulfill His plans for me with a right heart.


Kody

My father was an alcoholic and my mother was addicted to prescription drugs and very suicidal. My life growing up was chaotic and painful. There were constant screams, tears, and pain. Hiding in dark closets was a part of life with my father. When I was 12, my dad left and my mom’s drug abuse got worse. I became the mother to her and my younger sister. I believed I was worthless, selfish, a huge failure, lazy and ugly. I received Jesus into my heart, but I thought He was just going to leave me too one day. I trusted no one. I heard about Mercy through a friend and thought, “I’ll just apply and see what happens.”

While at Mercy, I remember the day the truth that God really loves me pierced my heart. I was overcome and amazed! He really loves me! I know I don’t have to worry about Him leaving me because He is trustworthy. I am free and for the first time in my life I look forward to the life God has for me.

After graduation, I plan on working so I can earn money for college. I will go to school this coming spring of 2011. I am not sure what God wants me to study but I know this: He has a plan!


Congratulations ladies! It is so wonderful to see you trusting God with your future and looking forward to what he has in store for you! We are so proud of you and it is such a joy to see you so excited about life!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mercy Ministries Gets Coveted 4-Star Rating for Financial Responsibility

At Mercy Ministries, we understand how important it is for you to be able give with confidence to a ministry worthy of your trust. We are proud to tell you that for the 3rd year in a row, Mercy Ministries has received an exceptional 4-star rating, the highest rating possible, from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities! Only 14% of charities rated by Charity Navigator have received at least 3 consecutive 4-star ratings, indicating that Mercy Ministries of America consistently executes its mission with fiscal responsibility, and outperforms most other charities in America.

We desire to demonstrate accountability, complete transparency, and quantifiable results with our finances as well as with the services we offer to the hurting young women we serve. You can give with confidence to Mercy Ministries, knowing that your support is truly helping to save lives. Thanks to Charity Navigator for providing our supporters with the essential information they need to have confidence in their choice to give to Mercy Ministries! To access this unbiased and objective ratings data, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Former President of Apple Records Speaks at Mercy Ministries

Not many 73 year olds on the planet can connect with the youth of today’s generation, but Ken Mansfield is definitely an exception! Yesterday we experienced an amazing time as Ken shared about his close personal relationship with The Beatles and his journey out of eastern religion into experiencing Jesus as his personal savior. Our girls sat on the edge of their seats as Ken shared the significant details of his life, including his past drug addiction and the emptiness of fame and fortune.

Not only was Ken a trusted companion of The Beatles, but he was also the former U.S. Manager of their corporation, Apple Records. He has worked with a number of other memorable performers including The Beach Boys, Waylan Jennings, and James Taylor. His many accomplishments also include winning a Grammy Award as a producer.

Ken shared about his rise to fame and riches and his heavy involvement in the New Age movement. In the 1980’s, Ken’s career declined into bankruptcy and desperation and in 1984, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee a broken man. Soon after, he met his wife, Connie, a long time friend of Mercy Ministries Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn. It was Connie who eventually led Ken to Christ. Today, years later, Ken is using his past as a platform to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

In 2000, Ken established a literary career with his book The Beatles,The Bible, and Bodega Bay, a book about his journey and the only book ever to be approved by the Beatles. He has since written two more books about his life, The White Book - The Beatles, the Bands, the Biz: An Insider's Look at an Era and Between Wyomings. Today Ken is a highly sought after public speaker and appears at churches and colleges across the nation. We are so grateful to Ken for taking the time to share his incredible story with our staff and residents! Ken and Connie are also generous monthly partners with Mercy Ministries, and Ken gives a percentage of the sales of all of his books to the work of Mercy Ministries. For more information about Ken Mansfield and his ministry, check out www.kmansfield.com.


 Ken connecting with our 40 Nashville residents and staff


Ken and Nancy share a moment afterwards…


No generation gap here!!!

Mercy Ministries Celebrates New Life!

After laboring all night, Nashville resident Laura gave birth to a precious baby boy at 9:19 am this morning! Dakota Richard was born via c-section weighing 8 lbs. 10 oz. and measures 21 inches long. Both mother and baby are doing well and look forward to starting their new lives together.

Because of our faithful supporters, girls like Laura 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!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nicole C. Mullen Visits Mercy Ministries!

Nicole C. Mullen
The residents and staff at our Nashville home were so excited to have Nicole C. Mullen as their guest speaker yesterday! Not only is Nicole an award winning singer and songwriter, but she is a gifted teacher of God’s Word as well. She shared her personal testimony of learning to forgive and trusting God even when you don’t understand. “We get to the other side because we choose to trust Him in the middle,” she told the girls.

After her teaching, Nicole blessed everyone with her music and a special presentation by TeamNCM, a group of teenagers Nicole mentors who tour with her and minister through dance and drama. These amazing teenagers demonstrated the power of God’s Word in their lives as they quoted whole passages of scripture they had memorized and encouraged our residents to make God’s Word a top priority in their lives.

Nicole and her team hung around afterwards to spend some personal time with the girls, pose for pictures, and personally autograph the 8x10 promotional pictures she brought for each girl. We are so grateful to Nicole and TeamNCM for taking the time to encourage us all. Her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and solid teaching were a blessing we won’t soon forget!

Nancy Alcorn with Nicole C. Mullen and the TeamNCM girls

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nancy Alcorn Speaks at Northridge Church

Nancy Alcorn shares the story of Mercy Ministries
Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, had the incredible privilege of speaking at Northridge Church in White House, TN yesterday pastored by Derek and Rachel Capello.  Nancy spoke about the struggle she faced working in a girls’ juvenile correctional facility and the frustration of not being allowed to share Christ.  She knew that life transformation would never come as a result of any government system and that only Christ could bring restoration to the lives of these young women.  Nancy shared her journey of obedience in starting Mercy Ministries and challenged everyone to examine God’s call on their own lives by asking, “Who is on the other side of your obedience?” 

Following the service, Nancy and the Nashville residents had lunch at Pastors Derek and Rachel Capello’s home.  Special thanks to Pastors Derek and Rachel and Northridge Church for your support of Mercy Ministries.  

We also want to thank Shelayne McDaniel, the State Director of One Heart Ministries and member of Northridge Church, for her love and care for our girls.  Not only is she overseeing a mentoring program for some of our graduates, but she is also directing a statewide campaign to raise awareness and bring in funding for a new Mercy home.  This campaign was called 10-10-10, a takeoff of October 10th, 2010, as the ending date for a campaign that has been going on since July.  We will be reporting on this at a later time once the results are in.  A special thanks to Shelayne for her awesome friendship and strong support for the hurting young women we serve.

For more information about Pastors Derek and Rachel Capello and Northridge Church, check out www.thenorthridgechurch.org.  Also, to learn more about One Heart Ladies and the 10.10.10 campaign, check out www.oneheartladies.org

Pastor Derek Capello of Northridge Church

Nancy, Pastors Derek and Rachel Capello, and the Nashville Residents

Shelayne McDaniel, Nancy Alcorn, Pastors Rachel and Derek Capello

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mercy Ministries Receives Generous Golf Tournament Donation!

Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, flew to Oklahoma City Thursday to be with special friends, Bill and Cindy Stewart, owners of Petra Industries. Nancy first met Bill and Cindy when they adopted their son Gabe from one of our birth mothers in 1991 and through the years, they have been dear friends and generous supporters.

Petra Industries hosts an annual golf tournament to which Mercy Ministries is one of the beneficiaries. Yesterday, Bill and Cindy presented Nancy (pictured right) with a very generous check for $30,000 to Mercy Ministries as a result of funds raised from the golf tournament. 100% of the proceeds of this gift will go to provide for the care of the young women we serve. We so appreciate all that Bill and Cindy do for Mercy Ministries, and we also wish to thank those who flew in from all over the United States to participate through their presence and generous donations. We pray God’s continued blessings on the Stewart family, and on Petra Industries. It is because of supporters like you, the young women of Mercy can get the help they so desperately need free of charge. Thank you!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mercy Ministries Graduates Excited for What the Future Holds!

“After graduation, I am excited to go home and excited about life – finally!” said recent graduate, Krista. Family, friends and staff came together with the residents in St. Louis and Lincoln to celebrate the graduation of six beautiful young women whose lives have been completely transformed! Each of them has experienced the freedom that can only come through Christ and we want to share their powerful stories with you:

St. Louis

Melissa
I was teased a lot about my size growing up which led me to develop a deep hatred for my body. I believed I had no value or purpose. I wanted to ruin and destroy my body so I tried to punish myself in every way I could. I restricted my food and had an intense fear of gaining weight. My mind became so distorted that I believed that I was overweight when I really wasn't. I would also cut myself as punishment to try and cope with my depression. My home life was not peaceful and it left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I wondered where God was and if He saw what was going on or cared that I was hurting. My parents told me about Mercy and I decided to apply in hopes that I could be free from the past and deal with the issues that were keeping me from truly living life.

While at Mercy I have learned so many things! I've learned that God hears me and that I am not forgotten! He knew when I was hurting and saw the things I was going through. He still loved me even when I didn't love Him. I've learned my sin isn't too big for God and because of Jesus' sacrifice, God looks at me as pure and lovely. He has also shown me through staff at Mercy that I am worthy of love.

After Mercy, I plan to finish high school. After that I'd like to go to a culinary arts college and get a degree in pastry and confectionary arts.

Sarah
I grew up in a single-parent home. My father was an alcoholic and drug addict who rejected and abandoned me so I grew up with a lot of fear and uncertainty. When I was in the 7th grade, the Christian school I attended closed and I started going to the local public school. That's when things became very chaotic. I got involved with drugs and alcohol and put myself in unsafe situations which most often ended up in sexual and/or physical abuse. During my senior year, I became extremely depressed and attempted to kill myself by overdosing on medications. A couple of friends told me about Mercy and I went to the website. I was completely lost and knew that in my own power, I could not overcome the struggles I was facing, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has restored my life and given me such joy and peace. He has taken all of my shame and guilt and has freed me from my addictions. One of the most life-changing lessons I learned while at Mercy is that God invites me into His presence just as I am, imperfections and all! It is amazing to truly know His unconditional love for me.

After graduation, I plan to return home, get a job, and go to college. I also plan to volunteer with my church. After attending the Designed for Life Conference recently, I am interested in checking out their Leadership/Bible school for possible enrollment. I’m also really looking forward to get back into music and art.


Amber
Before Mercy, I had a lot of pain in my life. My parents fought a lot when I was little and my dad was very violent towards my mother and older siblings, including using gun threats. Eventually my parents divorced. I also lost my vision in my right eye when my sister accidentally shot me with a bb gun. As a teenager, I had a poor self-image and developed bulimia. Before Mercy, I was throwing up several times a day. I learned about Mercy through a book called The Real Me written by Natalie Grant. I decided to look into the program and find out more about Mercy Ministries. After reading Nancy Alcorn’s books, I believed Mercy could give me the tools to be free from the life-controlling issues I was facing.

During my time at Mercy, I've learned to look to God as a loving Father and I know that I am not alone because Christ lives in me. I've also learned that I have a purpose for my life which includes helping others. I appreciate the encouragement and help I received from the Mercy staff and I felt safe in this home.

After graduation, I plan to finish up my general associate's degree, and then possibly transfer to a university to work on a bachelor’s in psychology. I also plan to get involved in serving my church and community.



Lincoln

Julie
Before I came to Mercy, I hated myself and my body and felt completely rejected. I would put on a happy face and go to school and church but secretly I was struggling with bulimia and self-harm as a result of sexual abuse. I was angry with God and really hated my life. I knew about Mercy because my friend Megan was at the Nashville home. I didn’t know how to get out of my situation and was desperate for help so I decided to apply.

During my time at Mercy, God truly showed Himself to me and He is good! I learned the true meaning of forgiveness and how to live a life of balance, especially when it comes to exercise. I’ve also learned how to set boundaries and how to have great relationships.

After graduation, I want to get involved with my church, especially with the youth. In the future, I would like to get a job and maybe go back to college and finish my art degree.


Krista
My life before Mercy was dark and lonely. I struggled with anorexia, bulimia and depression and my life revolved around thoughts of food. I spent most of my time sleeping and I isolated myself from others. I felt like I had failed at everything and was destined for a sad, horrible life that wasn’t worth living so I started thinking about suicide. I felt abandoned by God and I hated myself. I wanted something more for myself but I didn’t see any way that was possible. My sister told me about Mercy Ministries and I thought maybe they could help me.

Over the past six months, God has transformed me and my whole outlook on life has changed! I now know who I am in Christ and that I am accepted, valued, worthy and beautiful. I know that God has plans and purposes for my life and it is my desire to pursue Him and impact others with the love of God.

After graduation, I am excited to go home and excited about life – finally! I am planning to go back to school and either get a degree in education or do event planning. Most of all, I am so excited to pursue my relationship with God and I would love to one day have a loving husband and lots of kids!


Dianne
I was physically and sexually abused and struggled with drug addiction, self-harm, and an eating disorder before coming to Mercy. My life was in shambles and I didn’t know who I was. I felt so rejected and thought I was unworthy of anything. I knew I needed to go somewhere that was Christian-based and free and a place that would accept me just as I am. Nancy Alcorn, the Founder of Mercy Ministries, made a presentation at my school and so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me what it is to be free and to not live in bondage any longer.

After graduation, I am planning to go to college and pursue a degree in sociology. I am so thankful to Mercy Ministries for teaching me who I am in Christ!

Congratulations ladies! We are so encouraged by the incredible transformation we have seen in you. It is so exciting to see your newfound hope for the future as you move forward in your journey!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Christian Artist, Matthew West, Partners with Mercy Ministries

Grammy nominated songwriter, Matthew West, released his latest album, The Story of Your Life, this week and his songs hit close to home for the hurting young women of Mercy Ministries. West covers a range of topics from sexual abuse and generational patterns, to unplanned pregnancy and abortion. The inspiration for the album came when he decided to turn the microphone around on his listeners and let them have a voice. West asked his fans to tell their stories back in February and over the next couple of months he received more than 10,000 responses. Those stories turned into songs and this fall, he began The Story of Your Life Tour.

On Sunday night, residents from the Nashville home had the special opportunity to see Matthew West in concert along with Mercy Ministries Artist Partner, Jonny Diaz and Christian Artist, Josh Wilson. West’s latest album points not just to the issues young women face, but the healing and redemption they can have in Christ. This is the heart of Mercy Ministries and we look forward to partnering with him as he goes beyond the music and seeks to help his listeners get the counsel, resources, and freedom they so desperately need!

Check out this powerful video of Matthew West behind the scenes as he wrote the song Broken Girl:


Broken Girl by Matthew West (The Story Behind The Song) from emicmg on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dave Ramsey Hosts Reception For Mercy Ministries

Nancy Alcorn with Dave and Sharon Ramsey
Last night a special Mercy event was hosted by Dave Ramsey and his wife, Sharon, as a preliminary event to a special annual fundraiser coming up in December. As you may already know, Dave is a popular radio and TV personality and the New York Times Best Selling author of The Total Money Makeover. Through his business, he has helped countless people take control of their finances.

The Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit began as a simple luncheon in 2007, but this year, we are expecting a sold out crowd to fill the ballroom of the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel on Friday, December 10th. Everything from beautiful original artwork to paradise vacations will be auctioned off. Dave Ramsey has also agreed to serve as the emcee for this special event.

Here is a portion of what Dave had to say to the guests in attendance about why he and Sharon support Mercy Ministries:

“Since the business and the ministry that we’re in is that of transforming lives, we want to see a broken and hopeless life completely transformed. There are a few ministries that do that very well and there are none that do it better than Mercy. I don’t know how much more of a personal endorsement I could give something, but this is the first ministry we’ve ever given to and it’s one of the few today that we still have on our list of ministries that we give to lavishly.”

Over 100 people came to the Ramsey’s home to hear Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, cast the vision of Mercy. She shared the powerful stories of some of the hurting young women to come through the program and graduate Tara Knott was there to share her own personal story of healing and transformation.

Special thanks to Dove award winning artist Phil Keaggy who performed at the reception and will also be providing entertainment at the December 10th Merry Mercy Event. If you would like more information about the Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit, contact Heather Robinson at 615-831-6987 or hrobinson@mercyministries.com.
Congressman Marsha Blackburn, Dr. Josh Axe, and Nancy Alcorn

Nancy Alcorn with Phil Keaggy



Mercy Staff - Kay Strom, Whitney Nall, Nancy Alcorn, Heather Robinson, Christy Singleton, and Graduate, Tara Knott