Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nancy Alcorn Featured in Who’s Who

Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, is highlighted in the current issue of Nashville’s Who’s Who Magazine. This magazine is designed to provide information and profiles on the community’s leading individuals and businesses. It is mailed to homes across middle Tennessee and can be found in many local businesses as well. This season’s issue highlights leading women in Nashville and Nancy is honored to be included in this prestigious group. Click here to see the magazine online and read the article about how Mercy Ministries is taking action to help victims of sex trafficking.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meet the Staff!

Back in August, we did a story highlighting the medical staff at Mercy Ministries and it was such a hit, we wanted to give you the inside scoop on another one of our amazing staff members! Joy Graham is the Director of Adoptions here at Mercy Ministries. Joy lovingly walks alongside the young women who come to Mercy with an unplanned pregnancy and have chosen to place their baby for adoption. We have an in-house, licensed adoption agency located in our corporate office in Nashville and Joy works with the girls as they select a family and develop a birth plan. Joy has such an incredible heart for these girls and does an amazing job of walking them through this difficult process. Here’s what she wanted to share with Mercy friends and supporters:

I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Central Florida. In high school, a passion began stirring inside of me to work with and counsel young adults, specifically men and women facing unplanned pregnancies. After finishing graduate school, I was blessed to begin working as a birthparent counselor for a Christian adoption agency in Florida. This was an incredible experience, and I never imagined that the Lord would guide me to be involved in the adoption process!

I began my journey at Mercy in September 2007, working in the Nashville Home. I cannot begin to tell you what a privilege and blessing it has been to walk alongside some of the most courageous young women I’ve ever met. These girls boldly walk through Mercy’s doors seeking out the freedom, healing and transformation they know the Lord has for them…wow, it’s just incredible! Last September, the Lord again blessed me with the opportunity to transition into a new role at Mercy, Director of Adoptions! I was so excited not only to have the opportunity to work with our precious birthparents, but to connect and walk with our wonderful awaiting adoptive families! There really aren’t words to express what this journey has been like at Mercy. It is such an honor to be involved in these life-changing decisions. I have to say that working in the Adoptions Department serves as a daily reminder of the sacrifice God made in giving His only Son – Jesus – so that we may be in forever relationship with Him. Whether it is making the decision to place your child for adoption or answering the Biblical call to care for the orphans and widows, adoption is one of the most selfless, loving acts I’ve ever seen. It never ceases to amaze me what courage, strength, obedience and vision the Lord gives our precious birthparents to not only choose life for their babies, but then to obediently walk out one of the most amazing sacrifices – God is SO good!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Special Blessing From Our Donors

Each year, Mercy Ministries’ donors have the opportunity to write a personal note of encouragement for our residents on paper ornaments. These notes are hung on the branches of the Mercy Christmas trees in each of the homes. The girls were so grateful for your donations this Christmas, and your inspiring words have really made an impact. For many residents, the sacrificial giving and encouraging words from hundreds of people who do not even know them often heals some of the very painful memories of the past. Thank you so much for taking the time to express your love through these ornaments. You are such a blessing to the young women we serve.







Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mercy Sex Trafficking Website Launches Today!

Mercy Ministries launches a new website today – www.endsextrafficking.com! For several years now, Mercy Ministries has helped victims of sex trafficking in our residential homes. The last couple of years, we have felt a tug in our hearts to get more involved with fighting this horrific issue. Mercy wants to be a voice that brings light to the disturbing fact that sex trafficking is happening in the U.S. – right in our own backyard. The U.S. now ranks 5th in the world for sex trafficking, with more than 350,000 cases reported last year and thousands more going unreported. The average age of entry into sex trafficking in the U.S. is 12 to 14 years old and over 200,000 youth are at high risk for commercial sexual exploitation each year.

We have launched a new website to serve as a resource for all who are concerned with this issue. We will be providing practical ways for you to get involved in the fight against sex trafficking! We will be sending out Street Team kits, selling t-shirts that bring awareness and raise money to help victims, as well as posting up-to-date news stories, statistics and information about what is going on right here in America. Raising awareness about sex trafficking in the U.S. is important, but our primary goal is to help those who have been victimized by this horrendous injustice. To find out more about how you can get involved and partner with Mercy, visit our new campaign website at www.endsextrafficking.com. Together we can make a difference to see lives transformed and hope restored to victims of sex trafficking!

Mercy Ministries Celebrates Four More Graduates!

Life-controlling issues like abuse, depression and addictions have left so many young women without hope. At Mercy Ministries, we have the privilege of seeing hurting young women have their hope restored by God’s unconditional love. Four more amazing girls graduated from our Monroe home last week and we wanted to share their stories of transformation with you:

Alison

Throughout my childhood, I was physically, sexually and verbally abused. I made straight A’s in school, played sports and had lots of friends, but I was consumed with shame. I struggled with anorexia and bulimia and began to cut myself. I became extremely depressed and suicidal and knew I couldn’t get better on my own. I had a friend who graduated from Mercy and I longed for the freedom and hope that she had, so I applied.

While at Mercy, the Lord restored me. Although it has been really hard to work through my past and pain, He has healed me and shown me how to walk in the freedom and authority I have as a believer. I’ve learned to see God much more clearly and know that He was not the author of my pain. I am so joyful and grateful for all the Lord has done in my life and heart.

After Mercy, I plan to finish my last semester of college with a double major in psychology and Spanish. After college, I plan to go to seminary and get a degree in Biblical counseling. I know that God is calling me to help others who are struggling with the same things that I have overcome by His grace, and I am so excited to see all the good that God has in store for me.


Chelsi

I was raised in a Christian home and my father became a pastor when I was 9. Growing up, I was constantly made fun of for being overweight, smart and a pastor’s kid. I was also molested several times during my childhood. At 11, I began to use drugs to numb my pain and at 14, I began to self-harm. Later, I developed an eating disorder and began to over-exercise. After years of struggling with these issues, a friend told me about Mercy, and I knew I had to apply.

While at Mercy, God has taken away my fear and restored my relationship with my family. Being at Mercy has been the most life-changing experience I’ve ever had! I have learned that my identity has nothing to do with what I do or how I look. I know who I am in Christ. He has healed me of all my wounds and shown me that He is the only thing I need.

After graduation, I plan to finish my bachelor’s degree in psychology and get involved in the young women’s ministry in my church.


Lauren

I lost many loved ones at a young age and became severely depressed. I started using drugs in my teens, and soon they took over my entire life. I felt like my hopes and dreams for the future were snatched away from me. I knew I had to get help or I wasn’t going to survive. I found Mercy on the internet and decided to apply.

Being at Mercy changed my life. I now have hope for the future. I’ve learned that my past does not determine my future, and in Christ I am a new creation. I am completely free from drug addiction, and I have never experienced such joy and happiness.

After graduation, I plan to go to cosmetology school. I am so excited to finally start fulfilling my God-given destiny.


Colie

I experienced a lot of verbal abuse growing up. This led to fear, anxiety, eating disordered behavior and depression. I cut myself to numb the pain I was feeling and to punish myself. I hated myself and felt I could never be good enough. I used over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs to try and kill myself. I heard about Mercy from a friend and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has literally saved my life. I know I am forgiven, loved and accepted by God. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am not my past and I have a life worth living in Him.

After graduation, I plan to work on finishing my creative writing degree. I also hope to get married someday. I want to share God’s love!

Congratulations Alison, Chelsi, Lauren and Colie! We are so proud of you! We have truly seen your lives transformed by the unconditional love of God and can’t wait to see what He has in store for you in the future!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mercy Ministries Graduates Share Their Stories In An Unforgettable Way!

This is something you have to see for yourself! On Friday, December 10th, we had our Merry Mercy Christmas celebration in Nashville, TN, and over 25 graduates put together a surprise presentation that touched the hearts of everyone there. We were able to capture it on video and wanted to share this amazing moment with you.


We have a great deal of ground to make up in our fundraising efforts as many have been hit hard by these difficult economic times. Everything you see in this video was made possible because donor support allows us the freedom to share Christ. If you wish to celebrate the birth of Christ by giving a gift in someone's honor, we will send you a link to a printable card for you to give to the person you are honoring.

To give a gift in honor of someone
To give a year end gift

Please share this with your friends and family and help spread the message of hope this Christmas.

Five More Graduates Restored and Free!

Miracles happen every day at Mercy Ministries as we continue to see transformation and healing in the lives of the young women we serve. The entire staff at Mercy and hundreds of volunteers are dedicated to making sure every broken girl who walks through our doors knows that her future can be one of hope and freedom. Five more amazing young women graduated from our St. Louis home last week and we wanted to share their stories with you.

Marcy

Before coming to Mercy, I was a cutter. I never grieved the loss of my dad, and I felt depressed and hopeless. Self-harm was my way of coping with my pain. The counselor I was seeing told me about Mercy. I wanted to walk with Christ, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me that I am loved and beautiful. Jesus took my punishment, so I don’t have to punish myself. He has shown me I’m a new creation and that He’s always been with me, even in my toughest times.

After graduation, I am going back to school. I believe God has called me to be a police officer and do inner city ministry and prison ministry.


Amanda

Before I came to Mercy, I was sexually and verbally abused. My way of coping was to stuff down my feelings. I struggled with rejection, low self-worth, and feeling unloved. I did not want to forgive my abuser. I heard about Mercy from a friend and decided to apply because I wanted to move on from my past.

While at Mercy, God healed my heart and showed me how faithful and trustworthy He is. I learned to recognize the lies of the devil and replace them with the Truth.

After graduation, I plan to get a job and continue my college education. I would like to be a writer. I also plan on getting involved in my church and community. I know God will use everything that happened in my life for good.


Brittany

Before coming to Mercy, I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. I was a victim of sexual abuse and incest and felt completely lost and depressed. I heard about Mercy from my aunt and uncle and had no place to go, so I applied.

While at Mercy, God has brought me back to life. I can feel again, and I am completely free of drug and alcohol addiction. I am happier than I have ever been. God still does miracles, and my life is proof of that.

After graduation, I plan to go to school. My dream is to one day run my own daycare.


Shannon

I grew up in a Christian home and my family was very involved in our church, but I never really fit in very well at school. I got made fun of a lot and never really had friends. Once I got to high school, the abuse got to be too much, and I started cutting to deal with the pain. I was put on medication for depression and was hospitalized several times for cutting and suicidal thoughts. My parents did all they could, but nothing seemed to help. After high school, I started partying and going to raves. I became very promiscuous and struggled with drugs and alcohol. I heard about Mercy from my mother, and I applied because I felt powerless to change my life on my own.

While at Mercy, God has shown me that even when I mess up, He loves me just the same. God has completely taken away my anxiety, and I am completely free of any medication. I have learned to rely on the strength of God and have hope for the first time in years.

After graduation, I plan to attend the Discipleship Training School through Youth With a Mission, so that I can help other teens dealing with life-controlling issues.


Holly

From a very early age, I struggled with my identity and comparing myself with others. I felt like I could never measure up which led to a deep self-hatred. I was angry with myself and my family and got heavily involved in substance abuse. As I got older, I got involved in unhealthy relationships with men who sexually abused me. I heard about Mercy from my pastor and believed it was the best place to receive God’s help with my issues.

Since coming to Mercy, I know that God knows me personally, and He truly loves me. I believe He has a future full of good things for me. I am growing in His Word and it’s powerful and alive inside of me. I believe that God will do what He says He will do.

After graduation, I’m going to apply to colleges. I also plan to get more involved with my church and use my gifts for God’s glory. I really want to step out and reach others for Christ.


Congratulations ladies! We are so excited to see you leave Mercy with a passion for life that is contagious as you reach out to others who are in need of His healing! We are excited to see where the Lord will take you in this next season of your life!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mercy Ministries Wants to Hear From YOU on Sex Trafficking

Listeners have been calling in to our live radio show, Mercy Multiplied, and voicing their outrage at the horrific crime of sex trafficking in the U.S. The internet has been used as a tool by traffickers to lure young girls into the sex trade, then sell them to customers. We wanted to share a recent article with you about what one human rights group is doing to try and stop backpage.com from allowing sex ads on their website.

Sex Slave Outrage
by Michelle Goldberg
December 9, 2010

Part of the add done by The Rebecca Project
NEW YORK - A startling new ad campaign aims to humiliate websites that quietly allow pimps to sell young girls for sex online.

In September, when Craigslist dropped its “erotic services” section, Backpage.com, the classified advertising network owned by Village Voice Media, became the nation’s premier online sexual marketplace—and the most mainstream venue for the buying and selling of underage girls. Now The Rebecca Project for Human Rights, the group that got Craigslist to drop its sex ads, is trying to convince Backpage to do the same, and to do it before February, when activists expect a spike in sex trafficking around the Super Bowl. READ MORE…

This Sunday, December 19th from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (CST) we will wrap up our discussion and we want to hear from you! We have seen God transform the lives of sex trafficking victims at Mercy Ministries and we continue to receive more and more cries for help. It is vital that we stand together against these criminals and be a voice that brings hope to these hurting young women. Join us live by calling (615) 737-9986 and share your stories, questions and concerns on this issue. Middle Tennesseans can tune in to 99.7 FM but anyone can listen live at www.mercymultiplied.com. If you missed a show, the podcast is available here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mercy Ministries in the News!

CIRCLESLIDE AND MERCY MINISTRIES ENCOURAGE iTUNES LISTENERS TO KEEP LOOKING UP

Nashville, Tenn. (December 16, 2010) - Circleslide is getting into the spirit of giving this holiday season with the release of "Looking Up," their latest single on iTunes. The band enlisted an all-girl choir comprised of young women from Mercy Ministries to sing background vocals for the song. 100% of the proceeds of sales from the single go directly to Mercy Ministries, which provides hope and healing to young women who are seeking freedom from life-controlling issues free of charge, through a biblically-based residential program.

"We are so excited that Circleslide has decided to partner with Mercy Ministries by donating the proceeds from their song, 'Looking Up,'" comments Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries. "Our girls were really moved by the song and it was so much fun for them to be a part of recording it. These guys are the real deal and we are so blessed to have their support."

"This fall we were given the rare treat of witnessing four young ladies graduate from the Mercy Program. All of us in Circleslide were profoundly impacted by each girl's story of sadness, shame and ultimate triumph and redemption. We couldn't be more honored to partner with a ministry like Mercy!" says Circleslide frontman Gabriel Martinez. "We asked the girls of the program to join us in the studio and add their vocals to our song 'Looking Up,' a song that celebrates God's ability to carry us in the midst of our own frailties and weaknesses. It wasn't about capturing pristine vocal tracks...but letting the girls' stories resonate in their voices and in the song. We hope more people will hear about the wonderful work Mercy does across the country as a result...and choose to give or get involved."

Since the band's debut project, which landed them on Christianity Today's list of "Best New Artists of 2006," among other accolades, Circleslide — whose lineup includes frontman Gabe Martinez, lead guitarist Jonathan DeAnda, bassist Eric Vickers and drummer Lee Yoder — has toured unceasingly, refining their modern rock ruminations, while keeping their ministry agenda firmly in focus. In addition to shows with newsboys, tobyMac, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Salvador, Jaci Velasquez and downhere, the guitar-driven band has headlined everything from clubs to churches and colleges, with plenty of youth camps and outreach events in between — all of which build off the group's Youth With A Mission beginnings.

Produced by fellow Save the City labelmate Brandon Bee (Stacie Orrico, Lanae Hale, Benjiman) Echoes of the Light, is explosive, dynamic and melodic, with choruses that are instantaneously contagious from an initial spin of the album.

Circleslide's Echoes of The Light is available on Save the City Records and distributed through Provident-Integrity Distribution. For more information on Circleslide and Echoes of The Light, visit circleslide.net or savethecityrecords.com.

Mercy residents record "Looking Up" with Circleslide
To see a cool video of the guys talking about why they wanted to do this project, check out the Mercy Ministries Video Blog HERE!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Awesome Mercy Ministries Christmas Event in Nashville, TN

It was a night to remember with one-of-a-kind auction items, award winning entertainment and a surprise presentation that brought everyone to tears. Over 400 supporters filled the ballroom of the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel on Friday night, December 10th for the Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit in Nashville. This year’s event was chaired by popular radio show host and New York Times Best Selling author, Dave Ramsey and his wife Sharon. They encouraged everyone to give generously to the work being done at Mercy.

Event Chair, Dave Ramsey
The evening began with a silent auction which included everything from beautiful original artwork to relaxing weekend getaways. One of our most exciting auction items was a celebrity autographed piano donated by country music legend, T.G. Sheppard and his wife, country music singer/songwriter Kelly Lang in conjunction with Samick Music Corporation. The piano was signed by some of Nashville’s biggest stars such as Brad Paisley, George Jones, Dierks Bentley and Michael W. Smith just to name a few!

T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang

Michael W. Smith

After an amazing dinner, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, shared the vision of Mercy Ministries and how the past does not dictate a girls' future and how all things can be made new through Christ. In a powerful  illustration of hope and healing, more than 25 Mercy graduates attended the event and shared their stories of transformation with a powerful cardboard testimony. Be sure to check our website next week to see a video of this unforgettable presentation.

Nancy Alcorn casts the vision


Before and After

We would also like to thank Christian Music Legend and Dove Award winning artist, Phil Keaggy for providing the incredible entertainment.  Phil and his band performed an awesome Beatles tribute that had everyone rockin' and rollin'!

Phil Keaggy


Our emcee, Nashville News Channel 5 Meteorologist and Weatherman Charlie Neese even gave us a personal weather forecast for the evening.

Emcee, Charlie Neese
Here are more pictures from the festivities: 


Nancy with some of our graduates
Original artwork done by Nashville residents

Silent auction items
We'd also like to thank renowned Nashville photographer, Tommy Quinn, for donating his services.

Thank you to all of our amazing supporters for helping Mercy Ministries bring hope to the young women we serve. We continue to get more and more calls for help and as the need grows, so must the financial support. Your donations make it possible for these girls to get the help they need completely free of charge and can make the difference between life and death. For more information about how you can help, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Six More Incredible Transformations at Mercy Ministries!

With issues like an unplanned pregnancy, a life threatening diagnosis and severe eating disorders, the girls who graduated from our Nashville home last week have real reasons to celebrate life! Residents, staff, family and friends came together to show their support for six more amazing young women last week and we wanted to share their incredible stories of transformation with you.


Kayla S

For years, I struggled with eating disorders, self-harm, and depression and felt completely hopeless. I didn’t think I could ever live a normal life. I tried treatment centers and other approaches, but nothing seemed to work. I was dying, so when I heard that Mercy was a Christian program and read some of the girls’ testimonies on the website, I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God completely changed my life. He has given me dreams, passions and a hope for my future. He’s restored my joy and has shown me His gracious, loving heart toward me. I have learned that my identity is not in my appearance or what others think about me - my identity is in Him. God hand picked me for a purpose and He has amazing things for me in the future!

After graduation, I am looking forward to getting involved in my church and meeting new people. I’m also planning to go to nursing school! I can’t wait to see where the Lord leads me. I know I want to use my journey to help other people find freedom. Thank you so much Nancy and staff! You have changed my life forever and I’m so grateful!


Ashley P

Before Mercy, I was caught up in my addictions. I had a traumatic brain injury when I was 16 and at 19 I was diagnosed with leukemia. I had a negative self-image and low self-esteem and got into some bad relationships with men who verbally and sexually abused me. I also struggled with a binge eating disorder and depression, and every day I woke up wanting to die. My therapist recommended Mercy and since all the government programs I had been to did not work, I decided to apply.

Since being at Mercy, I have learned that God loves me so much and He has a purpose for my life. God showed me that He has never abandoned me. I learned that my past does not determine my future and that I am a new creation in Christ. I have so much joy and peace now. Every day I wake up excited to live for God!

I want to thank Nancy for all that she does. I am so blessed to have gotten the opportunity to come to Mercy. It has changed my life and I want to help other teenage girls who are struggling. After graduation, I plan to go back to college and pursue a career in social work. My dream is to work in an oncology unit at a hospital and work with children.


Tatum E

Before Mercy, my identity was in my relationships and how I performed. I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship and struggled with depression. I didn’t believe in myself, have confidence, or think I was worthy. All that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy that left me confused and stressed, not knowing whether to parent or place my baby for adoption. I heard about Mercy from my mom and decided to apply.

Since coming to Mercy, I know I don’t have to find my identity in anything or anyone but God. He has given me wisdom and discernment, especially when it comes to listening for His voice. I am a daughter of the King and I can do all things through Him!

After graduation, I plan to finish my junior and senior year of high school, go to college, and raise my daughter.


Ally R

Before coming to Mercy, I struggled to get up each morning and survive the day. I tried to deal with life by numbing myself. My family had high expectations for me. Their support was based on my performance and I considered myself a burden to my family and the world. I spent most of my life trying to please others, but always fell short. I learned to wear masks and self-harmed to cope with my pain. I could no longer afford seeing my Christian counselor, so when I heard about Mercy and that I could go there FREE of charge, I thought there might be hope for me.

While at Mercy, I decided to give my life to Christ. I have learned that God is not the author of pain and that He loves me despite the choices I have made. He has shown me His unconditional love and how much He values me. Now I can see all the miracles He has done in my life.

After graduation, I am moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. I plan to get involved in church as God continues to reveal His plans for me. I want to use my testimony to impact others and one day I plan to help victims of sex trafficking and girls facing unplanned pregnancy.


Ashley M

I grew up in a Christian family and went to church, but I didn’t know I could have a relationship with God. I developed an eating disorder in the eighth grade and soon after, began harming myself. I was literally dying in front of my parents’ eyes. Nancy came to my church and spoke about Mercy Ministries and I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God took me on a journey of getting to know Him personally. He opened my eyes to see His hand at work in my life. I walked through the process of healing and forgiveness and it built my faith in God with each step forward. He gave me joy and freedom and has made me whole.




Sharayah

Before coming to Mercy, I was trapped in a vicious cycle of depression and hopelessness. I wrestled for over 12 years with self-injury, suicidal thoughts and anorexia. A pattern of abusive relationships, which culminated in an abusive marriage, reinforced my belief that I was worthless and powerless. I applied to Mercy because I knew that there was something very wrong with the situation I was in and I needed help to get out. While I was on the waiting list, I found myself pregnant and homeless.

At Mercy, I was constantly reminded that my child and I had worth and value in God’s eyes and that He had a hope and a future for us. I knew right from the start that I wanted to parent my son, but was afraid that either my fear of his father or things in my past would interfere with my ability to bond with him. Because of the healing I received while at Mercy, Josiah was born and I completely fell in love with him. I have adored being a mom!

Since graduation, God has been so faithful to Josiah and me in so many ways! I have seen Him provide for us over and over again. God has brought many relationships into my life to continue the work he started at Mercy. I've been learning how to daily put into practice all the things I learned while in the program. Thank you so much for making it possible for me to spend the last 6 months of my pregnancy in a safe environment, surrounded by godly people who genuinely cared for me and my unborn child. Without God’s intervention in my life through Mercy Ministries, I am not sure that I would even be alive, much less thriving, loving life and being a mom!


Congratulations ladies! We thank God for your lives. It is so exciting to see your new found hope for the future as you move forward! We know God has amazing plans for you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mercy Ministries Is Outraged, And Thinks You Should Be Too!

Do you think you’ve ever passed a quiet house in your own community that operates as a hub for sex trafficking? Have you ever stayed at what appeared to be a clean and safe hotel, while down the hall young women are being forced into the sex trade? Unfortunately, it’s quite possible you have. The truth is, sex trafficking is happening right here in our neighborhoods and Mercy Ministries is committed to being a voice that brings light to this issue. This weekend, The Tennessean reported that five men operating a sex trafficking ring in Nashville, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, and Columbia, Tennessee are now facing federal charges. One of the men indicted in this case advertised the young women on backpage.com and then bragged about the money he earned as a pimp on MySpace. Despite the maximum penalty for this horrific crime of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, the sex trade continues to flourish in Tennessee and around the U.S. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that 1 in 4 runaways are approached by a sex trafficker within 48 hours of leaving home!

We have seen God transform the lives of sex trafficking victims at Mercy Ministries and we continue to receive more and more cries for help. It is vital that we stand together against these criminals and be a voice that brings hope to these hurting young women. For the past two weeks we have discussed the issue of sex trafficking on our live radio show, Mercy Multiplied, with special guests Stacia Freeman and Dove award winning artist, Natalie Grant, both of The Home Foundation. We will continue our discussion this Sunday, December 19th from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (CST) at SuperTalk 99.7 WTN. Join us live by calling (615) 737-9986 and share your stories, questions and concerns on this issue. Middle Tennesseans can tune in to 99.7 FM but anyone can listen live at www.mercymultiplied.com. If you missed a show, the podcast is available here. To read more of this news story from The Tennessean, click here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Natalie Grant Teams Up With Nancy Alcorn On SuperTalk 99.7 THIS Sunday!

Natalie Grant and Nancy Alcorn
Christian singer/songwriter, Natalie Grant, will join Mercy Ministries Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, this Sunday at 9:00AM CST for our live radio show, Mercy Multiplied, on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN. Natalie shares our passion for helping victims of sex trafficking and is committed to fighting for their freedom. In 2005 she formed The Home Foundation to educate communities, build shelters and orphanages, and provide medical equipment to those ministering to victims of this horrific crime. Be sure to tune in as we continue our discussion of the real life, ongoing tragedy of sex trafficking happening right here in the U.S. and our desire to expand to help even more young girls. One of our recent graduates, Priscilla, escaped sex trafficking and you can read her inspiring story below. She is a beautiful example of coming from complete darkness into light and hope for the future.

Please call and get in on the discussion at (615) 737-9986 between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM CST. Middle Tennesseans can tune in to 99.7 FM but anyone can listen live at www.mercymultiplied.com. If you are unable to listen live, the podcast of the radio show is always available every Monday on the website.

More Graduates Have Their Hope Restored!

We have three new graduates at Mercy Ministries who have shown incredible courage and determination as they learned to leave the past behind and embrace the future that God has for them. One of these inspiring young women escaped the horrific crime of sex trafficking and is now looking forward to her new future of freedom! Residents, staff, family, and friends celebrated at our California home yesterday and we wanted to share these inspirational stories of hope and healing with you.

Priscilla

Before Mercy, I struggled with an eating disorder, drug and alcohol addiction, self-harm, and depression. I was a victim of sex trafficking and managed to escape but later found myself pregnant by a casual friend. I gave my daughter up for adoption but my life was chaotic. It was a dark and scary time and I didn’t know or care about God. I heard about Mercy at a Barlow Girl concert and decided to get help.

During my time at Mercy, God has shown me that I am not an accident. The times of praise and worship really helped me to seek Him and feel His presence. He has also given me a deep appreciation for the Bible. Jesus is my true love and I’m excited to share His hope with others back home.

After graduation, I am going to St. Louis Christian College to get an Urban Missions degree.


Rebecca

Before I came to Mercy I was controlled by bulimia and depression. I hated myself and my life. Trying to fit in at school and competition with my older brother led to poor self-esteem and chronic dieting. I didn’t think anyone could help me, but I heard about Mercy from my aunt and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I learned the tools I needed to walk in freedom. I have confidence in myself because of who I am in Christ.

After graduation, I plan to finish my degree in psychology. I also want to pursue singing and acting.


Tierra

Before Mercy, depression, self-harm, and an eating disorder took over my life. It was my way of coping with the physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse of my past. Because of the abuse, I hated men and didn’t trust them. I heard about Mercy from some of my friends and decided to give God one last try.

While at Mercy, I learned that God is a protector, restorer, redeemer, friend, and a very present help in times of need. God is good and He loves me and nothing can separate me from His love. I have value and deserve good things.

After graduation, I plan to work to save money so I can attend the International House of Prayer University, Forerunner School of Ministry in August.

Congratulations Priscilla, Rebecca, and Tierra! We are so proud of your commitment to face your issues and fight for freedom!! 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!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christian Rock Band, Circleslide, Sings With Mercy Girls!

The talented guys from up and coming Christian rock band, Circleslide, were so moved by the work being done at Mercy Ministries, they knew they had to do something to help! Little did we know what an adventure was in store for everyone! Gabe Martinez (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Eric Vickers (bass, vocals), Jonathan DeAnda (electric guitar, vocals), and Lee Yoder (drums) came to one of our graduation ceremonies last August to perform for the girls and learn more about our ministry. Here’s what they had to say about that experience:

"The band and I were not prepared for the life-changing event that was our visit to Mercy Ministries. We were so humbled by the experience and each of us walked away in awe of how God’s grace has the ability to restore us all.”  -Gabe Martinez


“From the moment I walked in the doors at Mercy Ministries, I knew God's work was being done there. The healing that takes place in the girls’ lives is so undeniable. I've always known that love is a powerful thing. I have an even better grip on how powerful it is now. After seeing the lives changed, because of the love displayed to these girls, I would encourage everyone who has thought about it, to invest into Mercy Ministries!”  - Lee Yoder

The guys really felt their song “Looking Up” described the journey of a Mercy girl and we couldn’t agree more, so when they asked some of our Mercy residents to be a part of the recording, they jumped at the chance! This August, about 20 of our Nashville residents went to The Sound Kitchen Recording Studio to meet up with the band. The girls had a great time hanging out with the guys, singing together, and talking about what the song meant to each of them. We are excited to share that “Looking Up”, the Mercy Ministries Mix, is now available for purchase on iTunes and 100% of the profits will go to Mercy Ministries! By purchasing the single, you not only add a truly inspiring song to your music library, but you also help bring hope and healing to the hurting young women in our homes. Click here to buy it now and be sure to check out this video of the band talking about why they wanted to do this project:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Celebrities Come Out To Sign The Mercy Ministries Piano!

As you already know, a one-of-a-kind celebrity autographed piano is being auctioned off by Dave Ramsey for our Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit this Friday night, December 10th at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel! More of Nashville’s biggest stars have graciously stopped by to sign the piano since our last story and we wanted to give you an update. Check out the latest celebrities to show their support:


George Jones

Julianne Hough

John Rich

Bo Bice

Ricky Skaggs

Two Foot Fred
 
Kevin Mawae and Dave Ramsey


The piano was donated by country legend T.G. Sheppard and his wife, singer/ songwriter, Kelly Lang, in conjunction with Samick Music Corporation. The piano is currently on display in the lobby of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza in Brentwood for anyone who would like to stop by and see it in person. Bidding started on Thursday, December 2nd and continues through midnight on Saturday, December 11th. All proceeds from the sale of the piano will go directly to Mercy Ministries, so be sure and place your bid for this amazing one-of-a-kind item!

To learn more about the piano and place your bid, go to www.daveramsey.com/piano. For more information about the Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit, contact Heather Robinson at 615-831-6987 or hrobinson@mercyministries.com or go to www.merrymercychristmas.com/nashville.