Monday, January 31, 2011

Mercy Multiplied Talks Serious Teen Issues with Global Experts

Like the hurting young girls who first enter Mercy Ministries, teens across the country are dealing with serious life-controlling issues. Did you know that 12 to 17 year olds are the largest consumers of internet porn, 60 percent of high school students have thought about committing suicide, 34 percent of teenage girls get pregnant at least once and it’s estimated that one in every 200 teenage girls cuts themselves regularly?

Kristy and Dave Spring
We’re honored to have student ministry experts, Dave and Kristy Spring, joining us again on the airwaves THIS Sunday. The Springs will once again keep the conversation real and raw and answer all your questions about the challenges faced by students on a daily basis. No topic is off limits. Dave and Kristy have over 18 years of experience working with teens around the globe including the U.S., Mexico, Jamaica, Ireland, England, New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia. The Springs are also generously lending Mercy Ministries their worldwide campus ministry expertise as we launch our campaign to get college campuses involved in our efforts to help victims of sex trafficking (Stay-tuned for more on this initiative soon).

Join us for this very important discussion on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM CST, or listen live from around the country at www.mercymultiplied.com. Whether you are a teen, a parent of a teen or someone who struggled with these issues as a teen, we want to hear what you have to say. Call us at 615-737-9986 with your stories, questions and concerns. Podcasts of all the shows are available here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Abolition!!! Global Anti-Sex Trafficking Crusader Speaks At Mercy Ministries

Guest speaker, Lisa Thompson
Girls ages 11-17 are the most marketable sex trafficking victims in America, and the demand is high. Mercy Ministries staff and residents at the Nashville home were honored yesterday to hear from Lisa Thompson, the Salvation Army’s National Liaison for the Abolition of Sex Trafficking and coordinator for Initiative Against Sex Trafficking (IAST). Lisa is a highly sought after presenter and expert on the issue and travels around the world speaking out against this horrific crime.


Sex trafficking in the U.S. is an issue the Salvation Army has been fighting since the 1800’s but as Lisa pointed out, the objectification and prostitution of women goes all the way back to Biblical times. She feels passionately that curbing demand for commercial sex is essential to ending sex trafficking.

One example Lisa showed of an ad exploiting young girls
Lisa delivered a powerful presentation exposing the roots of this epidemic by showing several examples of what she called the “pornification” of America. She displayed illustration after illustration of advertisements, magazines and videos that promote the idea that young girls are sex objects to be used by men. These provocative and disturbing messages are all around us and the girls being used as sex objects are getting younger and younger…and so is their target audience. Many of the images, especially those of girls as young as 6 and 7, brought gasps while others left many in the classroom speechless.

While the issue of sex trafficking weighs so heavily on her heart, Lisa told the girls there is hope in the Lord, citing Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” She read Psalm 139, reminding the residents that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and encouraged them to guard the images they allow into their hearts and heads. Lisa concluded by encouraging everyone to begin addressing this issue by speaking openly about it within their immediate circles of influence.

Our staff and girls were captivated by Lisa's presentation

Mercy Ministries has been helping victims of sex trafficking for several years, and we continue to receive more and more calls for help. To find out how you can partner with us to bring hope and healing to these hurting young women, go to www.endsextrafficking.com and sign up to be a part of one of our street teams.

Kristy and Dave Spring (on right) are lending us their global campus ministry expertise for our anti-trafficking cause
 To find out more about The Salvation Army’s efforts to fight sex trafficking, go to http://www.iast.net.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Promise Keepers Set an Example for the Monroe Residents

Promise Keeper, Rick Nolan, with Monroe Residents
Volunteers who take the time to come to a Mercy Ministries home and sow into the lives of these hurting young girls make a huge impact. To receive unconditional love and encouragement from people who don’t even know them has a powerful affect on their lives. Promise Keepers is a ministry dedicated to men who desire to encounter God’s Word, embrace their identities as His sons, and invest in meaningful relationships with their families and with each other. For over 13 years, a local chapter of Promise Keepers and their wives have been faithfully visiting the Monroe, Louisiana home once a month to spend time with our residents.

Last night, these dedicated couples came to the home and cooked an amazing dinner for the girls. They always insist on cleaning the kitchen afterwards, giving the grateful residents a cherished break from this household task. After the meal, everyone gathered for a devotion with Promise Keeper, Rick Nolan. Here’s what Rick had to say about how he got involved with Mercy Ministries:


Mercy Ministries is so thankful for the love and support of this special Promise Keepers group. It is always an encouragement for our residents to see such great examples of godly men and these couples present a beautiful picture of love and faithfulness in marriage that gives so much hope to the hurting young girls at Mercy. Read what one Mercy resident had to say about the Promise Keepers:

Rick told us that Promise Keepers was formed to show women that there are good, safe guys out there, and they wanted to get involved at Mercy to encourage us! The unconditional love of God is shown through the time they take in coming and serving us a meal and then sharing a powerful word from God with us. They have created a beautiful picture in my mind of who God is as a father and protector. Thank you Promise Keepers! - Anita

To learn more about the Promise Keepers, visit their website at www.promisekeepers.org.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mercy Ministries Backs The Pack!

The women of the University of Nevada basketball team have become close friends of Mercy Ministries. Head Coach, Jane Albright, is a longtime supporter and good friend of Mercy Ministries Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn. Last weekend, our Monroe residents spent time with the Wolf Pack when they travelled south to take on Louisiana Tech. The Monroe staff and residents got decked out in their “Mercy Backs the Pack” t-shirts and had a great time cheering on the team. It was a tough loss, but the girls really enjoyed hanging out with Nancy and getting to know Coach Albright and some of the players after the game. We are so grateful for these special Mercy supporters and thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures from the fun-filled evening.

Monroe Residents at the Game

Mercy Backs the Pack!

Player Kayla Williams, Coach Albright, and Nancy Alcorn

This wasn’t the first time the University of Nevada Wolf Pack hung out with Mercy residents while on the road. Last November, Coach Albright and the team travelled to California for a big game and took the time to have a special dinner with our residents at the Sacramento home. Here are some photos from that special night:
University of Nevada Women's Basketball Team with our Sacramento Residents



Monday, January 24, 2011

Mercy Ministries Supporter Pam Winters Featured in Achieve Magazine

Mercy Supporter Pam Winters
About 15 years ago, Pam Winters came across an article about Mercy Ministries in a magazine she was reading and she knew right away she had to help. “I was so touched when I learned what they were doing to help young girls; I thought, ‘This is something I need to get involved in.’”

Pam and her husband, Larry, are the founders of Leadership Team Development (LTD). The Winters passionately support the work of Mercy Ministries by spreading the vision of Mercy to thousands through their business, as well as being financial partners with the ministry. Pam was recently featured in Achieve Magazine and spoke about her support of Mercy Ministries. “We feel so blessed to be able to help these girls. We’ve always considered our business to be a type of ministry because we give hope to people all over the world for a better future.”

Nancy Alcorn and Pam Winters
Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn said, “Pam has fully embraced the heart and vision of our mission. Her influence, generosity and commitment have had a profound effect on helping thousands of girls find hope and healing. She is a leader, mother, mentor and friend whose life has truly impacted eternity.”

In the past 10 years, Pam and her husband Larry have helped bring in millions of dollars to support Mercy Ministries. The Mercy home in St. Louis has dedicated a dining room to the Winters family and the LTD team in honor of their support. Mercy Ministries wants to say a special “thank you” to Pam and Larry Winters and all of LTD for their amazing support throughout the years. Your faithful contributions provide hope and healing to so many young women and you literally help save lives!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Underage Sex Trade Still Flourishing Online

By Amber Lyon and Steve Turnham, CNN
January 20, 2011 3:51 p.m. EST

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) -- Her ankles and wrists are shackled. She's wearing used sweats in the bright colors of the jailhouse, orange, blue and yellow. She shuffles to the courtroom to face the judge, her mother, and an uncertain future.

Selena is a 13-year-old who was sold for sex.

She wants to go home to her house in the suburbs and the baby sister she hardly knows. And now, facing a sympathetic judge and a loving mother who wants to make sure she's safe, Selena is being told she can't go home.

"I want to go home and I want to be with my family, that's all I want," she tells Juvenile Court Judge William Voy, her face bathed in tears. "This isn't making me any better in here."

Selena was arrested by undercover police on the Vegas strip on prostitution charges. But although she exchanged sex for money, in the eyes of the law, she's a victim, by virtue of her age and the circumstances under which she was sold: by a pimp on the website backpage.com, a pimp who used drugs to entice her, and took everything she earned.

"It made me feel so nasty, I always just want a shower and get it off. I was like, oh, it's so disgusting," she said. "And it never made me feel pretty, not one time, not one time."

READ MORE…



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.

Studies show that rescue falls short without a comprehensive residential program where victims can be cared for in a safe environment. This puts Mercy Ministries in the unique position of being one of the few programs of its kind. It is our desire to help even more hurting young women who have been brutalized by this horrific crime.  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!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Matthew West On Mercy Multiplied This Sunday!

Grammy nominated songwriter Matthew West and his beautiful wife Emily will be joining Nancy Alcorn this Sunday, January 23rd, on Mercy Ministries new live radio show, Mercy Multiplied. Matthew and Emily have become great friends and supporters of Mercy Ministries; Matthew is one of Mercy’s Artist Partners and Emily volunteers at the corporate offices every week!

Matthew and Emily first got connected with Mercy after the release of his latest album, The Story of Your Life. The inspiration for the album came when Matthew asked his fans to tell their stories and he received more than 10,000 responses. Those stories turned into songs about sexual abuse, addiction, unplanned pregnancy and many other life-controlling issues faced by residents of Mercy Ministries, and a partnership was soon formed.

Tune in this Sunday at SuperTalk 99.7 WTN from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM and hear Matthew and Emily talk about their passion for those dealing with abuse and addictions and why they love Mercy Ministries. We want to hear from you, so don’t forget to call in with your questions at (615) 737-9986. If you live outside the Middle Tennessee area, you can listen live at www.mercymultiplied.com. Podcasts of all the shows are available here.

Check out this powerful video of Matthew West behind the scenes:

The Story Of Your Life Album Trailer from Matthew West on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sex Trafficking Activists Speak to Mercy Residents

Nancy Alcorn with Liney and David Chacko

The staff and residents in our Nashville home were blessed to hear from Liney and David Chacko, an amazing couple that helps victims of sex trafficking around the world. The Chackos talked to the residents about the girls and boys they have taken in who have been victims of sex trafficking in Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. They also encouraged the residents that God loves them unconditionally and wants a personal relationship with them. Everyone came away excited about what they had learned. Here’s what some of them had to say about the Chacko’s visit:

This message was great! Time spent with God is so vitally important and God is really showing me over and over how wonderful He is. When Liney prayed for me and told me how beautiful I was, it really spoke to me and reminded me how much I am loved. - Bethany


This message gave me an even a stronger desire to seek God. I want to know Him more and more! I feel so excited to live for God and I know that is from Christ! - Becca


This was incredible! I am so encouraged to make God 100% first in my life! It reminded me that God loves me and always has! - Jorey


This message was awesome! I loved when David said God has called me to this place to be a true disciple of Jesus, not just to be in the program. I plan to not be just a hearer of God’s word but a doer of His word! - Jessica

To learn more about what the Chacko’s are doing to help sex trafficking victims worldwide through their ministry, Global Renewal, go to http://www.globalrenewal.org.

David Chacko speaking to Mercy residents

Outreach to young girls in a Cambodian village

Mercy shares a similar vision with the Chacko’s. Over the past couple of years, Mercy Ministries has seen an increase in the number of calls from young women who are victims of sex trafficking. Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, has felt a tug in her heart to help even more of the domestic victims of this horrific crime. 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. We have launched a new website to serve as a resource for all who are concerned with this issue. To find out more about how you can get involved and partner with Mercy, visit our new campaign website at www.endsextrafficking.com.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Community Board Members Excited for 2011

“I love knowing that I can be a part of God's love story to the hurting young women at Mercy Ministries,” said Nickie Haas. This is the heart of the dedicated supporters who serve on each Mercy Ministries Community Board.

The support of the local community is a vital part of Mercy Ministries and each of our homes (as well as future home site, Charlotte, NC) is blessed to have a strong group of dedicated volunteers who partner with us. The men and women who serve on our Community Boards have been faithfully supporting Mercy through prayer, personal giving, hosting events, generating new contacts, and volunteering their time and expertise at Mercy fundraisers.

Some of Nashville's Community Board Members who recently visited the house

"I am especially thankful that I get to help bring awareness to this area. Our city needs to know that Mercy is available to young women whose lives need REAL, LASTING restoration that only God can give." – Nickie Haas, Charlotte Community Board

"Mercy has an amazing reputation on so many fronts, so for me to be asked to serve on the Community Board was such an honor. I was blessed, strengthened, and reminded of the Lord’s hand upon each one of us. This experience has made me a lifelong supporter of Mercy and the precious ladies who enter their doors." -David Ask, Nashville Community Board

“The first time I learned about Mercy Ministries, I knew this was a ministry that I wanted to be a part of. I volunteer whenever I can and have worked at several events. I’m so thankful that God has blessed me with such an amazing opportunity and look forward to all the wonderful things that God has in store for our future. Thank you Mercy Ministries for what you are doing for EACH of these precious lives.” – Andrea Walker, California Community Board

Special thanks to each of our Community Board Members! Your dedication to showing the unconditional love of Christ to these hurting young women is inspirational!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mercy Ministries Residents Enjoy Inauguration Festivities

Residents and staff from our Nashville home were honored to be invited to some special events this weekend, celebrating the inaugural of Governor-Elect Bill Haslam as Tennessee’s 49th governor. On Friday night, the girls attended the “All Together Now” concert at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium. They had a great time singing along with award-winning Nashville recording artists Sara Evans, Diamond Rio and Bo Bice.




Diamond Rio
The girls continued the celebration on Saturday at the Inaugural Parade, wearing “Mercy pink” feather boas as they marched and waved to the crowd.




 Here’s what some of them had to say about the weekend’s festivities:

It was great to see a little bit of Downtown Nashville. I enjoyed getting to just hang out with the other girls and have a good time. - Amanda


Every bit of that concert was awesome! I grew up listening to Diamond Rio!! I really liked the energy they brought. - Joclyn


I enjoyed the concert. I was exposed to three music groups that I haven’t listened to before. Thanks for inviting us! – Alma


I had an amazing time today! It was so pretty outside, and it was an honor to represent Mercy and the lives changed through this ministry. I’m glad we got to be a part of it! - Jena


Today was so much fun! It was a great time to spread the news about Mercy and share Christ’s love. It was such a blessing to have been there to celebrate new beginnings for the governor and the city of Nashville. - Madison

Special thanks to Governor Bill Haslam for inviting Mercy Ministries to participate in these special events! Our residents were honored to share Mercy's message of hope and healing with the Nashville community!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mercy Multiplied Live Radio Discussion - Addiction

Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn
America has a significant problem with addiction and Mercy Ministries has helped thousands of hurting young women who struggle with this life-controlling issue. It is estimated that one out of every eight Americans has a significant problem with alcohol or drugs and millions of others suffer from addictions to food, pornography and sex. Addiction, along with associated mental health disorders, has become one of the most severe health and social problems facing the U.S.*  This will be our topic of discussion on this week’s live radio show, Mercy Multiplied, on 99.7 WTN.

Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, and co-host Eve Annunziato will be joined by Mercy graduate, Rachel. Rachel came to Mercy in 2008 battling a drug addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts. She and her husband had been divorced for about four months, and Rachel was heartbroken because her addictions and unhealthy relationships had caused her to lose custody of her children. While at Mercy, Rachel rededicated her life to Christ, and her life was completely transformed. Her relationships have been restored and when you hear her Mother’s Day story, it will blow your mind!

Please join us this Sunday as we talk about addiction and how to start 2011 with a healthy new perspective. We will be giving away FREE books to all of our callers so be sure to get in on the discussion!  Call us with your questions and comments at (615) 737-9986, and if you talk with us on the air, we will send you our “Mercy For” book series. This incredible four-book series covers the topics of eating disorders, self-harm, addictions and sexual abuse and shares the principles for finding freedom used in the Mercy Ministries program.

Join us from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (CST) at SuperTalk 99.7 WTN or listen live at www.mercymultiplied.com from anywhere in the country. A podcast of all the shows is available here.

*Source: SAMHSA (U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Special Woman Visits Mercy Ministries

This week, residents at our Sacramento home enjoyed meeting Marcia Bethke, a woman with a huge heart for young people. Marcia and her husband Kyle oversee the student ministries and internship program at Sunset Christian Center in Rocklin, California. Sunset Christian Center is the home church of our California residents and some of our graduates intern with the Bethkes after graduating. Marcia has also worked with the counseling staff at Mercy Ministries to help establish accountability partners for the girls who stay in the Sacramento area after graduation.

Marcia’s words about standing firm in Christ were such an encouragement to everyone. She spoke to the girls about being ready when temptation comes. She reminded them that Mercy is equipping them with the tools they need to stand firm and in Christ they are victorious. She also encouraged them that nothing can separate them from the love of Christ and that even when they fall, He will be there. The girls were impacted by her powerful message and loved her sweet personality.

I really liked Marcia’s analogy that who we are in Christ is like an anchor keeping a ship in place during a storm. That really gave me strength and hope. - Sarah

Marcia has such wisdom and her joy in the Lord made me yearn for a deeper relationship with Him. Her words helped equip me for everyday life as well as the future. – Ellen

Marcia’s teaching today reminded be that after I graduate from Mercy I will still face temptations, but now I have the tools and knowledge to defeat Satan and his lies and live a victorious life. – Candace
Marcia Bethke (second from left) with some of our residents

To learn more about Marcia Bethke and Sunset Christian Center, visit www.sunsetchristiancenter.org.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mercy Ministries Speaks Out

Yesterday, 1-1-11, marked the first National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and Mercy Ministries is speaking out on this issue! Mercy Ministries has been helping victims of sex trafficking for years, and we continue to receive more and more calls for help. Studies show that rescue falls short without a comprehensive residential program where victims can be cared for in a safe environment. This puts Mercy Ministries in the unique position of being one of the few programs of its kind. It is our desire to expand so that we can help even more hurting young women who have been brutalized by this horrific crime.

Shared Hope International completed five years of national research for the Departments of State and Justice, and they believe the most pressing policy need is “The increase in specialized shelter care for domestic minor sex trafficking victims beyond the mere 100 beds specifically provided for these victims.” Not only does Mercy Ministries provide a Christian residential program for these victims, but we do it completely free of charge!

January is the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and Mercy Ministries is launching a campaign to expand our facilities so that we can help more sex trafficking victims. Please visit our website at www.endsextrafficking.com to find out how you can partner with Mercy Ministries to provide more beds for these hurting young women. Together, we can help them know the unconditional love of Christ that brings hope and healing.

Mercy Ministries Celebrates The Arrival Of Baby Aiden!

Mercy Ministries is celebrating the birth of a happy and healthy baby boy to Nashville resident, Hannah. Aiden Thomas was born last night, 1/11/11. He is a big boy, weighing 9 lb 2 oz and measuring 22 inches long! Hannah made the brave decision to come to Mercy Ministries, choose life for her precious baby, and place him for adoption with a loving Christian family. We are so honored to be a part of this amazing process.

Because of our faithful supporters, girls like Hannah who are facing an unplanned pregnancy can receive the help they need to reach a 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!

Click here to learn more from Mercy Ministries Director of Adoptions, Joy Graham.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mercy Ministries Speaks Out On This Historic Day!

It is time for Americans to realize that their citizens are for sale, and today, 1-11-11, marks the first National Human Trafficking Awareness Day! Eighty percent of human trafficking victims are females and ninety percent of human trafficking is sex trafficking. According to studies done by Shared Hope International, the majority of domestic sex trafficking victims are American citizens, most of them underage girls.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, sex trafficking is defined as “a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion.” But ask the victim and you won’t hear that she was “sex trafficked,” you will hear that she was brutally raped, beaten and forced to fulfill the fantasies of someone who viewed her as a plaything, not a person. You will find a hurting young woman who feels she is unlovable and life is not worth living.

Mercy Ministries has been helping victims of sex trafficking for years, and we continue to receive more and more cries for help from victims of this horrific crime. Today we ask you to stand with us and be a voice that brings light to this issue. Please join us on this historic day, and pray that these hurting young women would know the unconditional love of Christ that brings hope and healing.

Check back tomorrow to learn more about what Mercy Ministries is doing to help victims of domestic sex trafficking. Click here to read the incredible story of one victim of sex trafficking who had her hope restored and life transformed while at Mercy Ministries. To find National Human Trafficking Awareness events in your area, click here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

St. Louis Residents Enjoy "A Night of Hope" With Joel Osteen!

Pastor Joel Osteen
Residents at the St. Louis home were so encouraged by Pastor Joel Osteen’s inspiring message at A Night of Hope this past weekend! Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas encouraged everyone to believe that 2011 can be a year of new beginnings, better relationships, better lives and hope for the future. What an incredible and appropriate message for the hurting young women of Mercy Ministries! Here’s what some of our residents had to say about the event:

I enjoyed hearing Pastor Joel speak. His message was a great way to start the New Year. It challenged me and this is the first year that I am going into a new year actually having hope for my future. - Nadia


The Night of Hope was a refreshing and encouraging way to spend my first Friday night of 2011. I loved the worship and hearing the testimonies of hope. Pastor Joel has such a heart for people and it really shows when he speaks. I am grateful to have been able to go to this event. It has really set my 2011 up for success. - Kimberly


The Joel Osteen Night of Hope was definitely inspirational. You could really see his heart for people and his desire to share God’s love. I really appreciated that he gave us tickets to attend the event. - Bethany


Joel and Victoria Osteen and Lakewood Church are generous supporters of Mercy Ministries and we are so grateful for their partnership in helping hurting young women have their lives transformed and their hope restored. Lakewood Church is one of America's largest and fastest growing churches with more than 45,000 attendees and television broadcasts to nearly 100 nations worldwide. To find out more about Joel Osteen Ministries and Lakewood Church, go to http://www.joelosteen.com/ or http://www.lakewood.cc/.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mercy Ministries Birthmother and Son Reunited After 18 Years!

This past Christmas was incredibly special for one Mercy Ministries graduate who is now on staff in our Monroe home, Melissa Taylor. Melissa came to Mercy Ministries in 1991 with an unplanned pregnancy. She chose life for her son and made the difficult decision to place him for adoption with a loving Christian family. Just a couple of weeks ago, Melissa was reunited with her son for the first time, after 18 years! We want to share the amazing story of how God brought restoration and healing to her family this holiday season:

My name is Melissa Taylor and I’m the Household Manager at Mercy Monroe. Nineteen years ago I was a resident here at the Monroe home. I was pregnant for the second time and had placed a child for adoption the prior year. I had no intention of placing this child for adoption but while at Mercy, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and God spoke to me about His plans for this baby. God told me He had a place for him and I knew then that’s what I was to do. Sharon Manuel was working for Mercy that year and was the staff member I had in the delivery room with me.

Three days after delivery, in November 1991, I placed a son for adoption through Mercy Ministries. His birth name was Benjamin Christian Martin. The adoptive parents I chose did not know the name I had given my son, but God did. As they prayed about what to name their new baby, the Lord gave them the name Christian. The name Martin was a family name, so Christian Martin became his new identity! God is so good. I married the birth father, Brett Taylor, on December 31, 1991. We are still married and have three children we have raised together.

We hadn't heard anything about Christian for 18 years. I have been a staff member for almost two years now, and Sharon Manuel is now the Program Director of the Monroe home. Sharon and I were talking one day and I mentioned possibly getting a photo of Christian for the baby wall (pictured right). She suggested we try to get an updated photo of him and that’s what started the process. I spoke with Joy Graham, the Director of Adoptions at the Mercy Ministries Corporate Office in Nashville, and she was able to locate the family and Christian. God opened the doors wide for all of us to be reunited within two weeks of finding him!

Nancy, Christian, Melissa, and Brett
Meeting Christian has been the highlight of our year. God has truly blessed us by allowing us to reconnect with him. Christian has had an amazing life and is blessed with the most wonderful parents and family. He was also able to meet Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, while on his Christmas break visit here. It was wonderful to be a part of such an amazing experience. God is truly an awesome God!

Mercy Ministries has an in-house, licensed adoption agency located in our corporate offices in Nashville. If you are interested in applying to be an adoptive family through Mercy Ministries of America, click here to download the Adoption Process document. If you are an expectant mother who is interested in our residential program or know someone who may be interested, we invite you to contact us at (615) 831-6987 or adoptions@mercyministries.com.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mercy Ministries Takes Action AND YOU CAN TOO!

The month of January has become a time to fight for freedom here in the U.S. On Tuesday, January 4, 2011, President Obama declared the month of January as the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Eighty percent of human trafficking victims are females and ninety percent of human trafficking is sex trafficking. Mercy Ministries has been helping victims of sex trafficking for years, and we continue to receive more and more cries for help from young women who are victims of this horrific crime.

The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12 to 14 and over 200,000 youth are at high risk for commercial sexual exploitation each year. Check out this powerful video released by GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services) of a young woman describing how she was lured into sex trafficking:



Because many victims of sex trafficking are abused, homeless and in danger, one of the major keys in helping them is to provide a residential program. At Mercy Ministries, we not only provide a residential program free of charge, but we show them the unconditional love of Christ who is the ultimate key to freedom and transformation!

We have launched a new website to serve as a resource for all who are concerned with this issue at www.endsextrafficking.com. Raising awareness about sex trafficking in the U.S. is important, but our primary goal is to expand and provide more beds to help more young women 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!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Join Mercy Ministries in the Country Music Half & Full Marathon

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get healthy in 2011, helping the hurting young women of Mercy Ministries might be just the motivation you need. Now is the perfect time to join the Run for Mercy Team in Nashville’s Country Music Half & Full Marathon to be held on April 30th! Ideally it takes 16 weeks to train for a marathon, so sign up now and receive your personalized training plan to help you get started.

You can join our team by going to www.runformercy.com and then register for the Country Music Half & Full Marathon at www.cmmarathon.com. Walk, run or if you can’t make it to Nashville for the race, sign up as a virtual runner! All team members who raise $100 through their personal fundraising page at www.runformercy.com will receive a FREE Run for Mercy lululemon athletica tech shirt and an invitation to a special team dinner the night before the race. The dinner will be held at our Nashville home so this is a great opportunity to visit Music City and meet some of the hurting young women whose lives you are helping transform!

Besides helping more young women find freedom, we have some other great incentives for joining our team. Raise $1,000 and receive a gift card to Apple, lululemon, Southwest Airlines, Fleet Feet or a local day spa. Raise $2,500 and receive a $250 gift card or raise $5,000 for a $500 gift card! Participating on the Run for Mercy Team is a great way to bring together your friends and family and help the residents at Mercy Ministries receive hope and healing that completely transforms their lives.

For more information about the Country Music Half & Full Marathon, go to www.cmmarathon.com. For more information about joining the Run for Mercy Team, go to www.runformercy.com. Check out these photos from last year’s race:

The starting line

Mercy Staffer, Christy Tullos

Some of our residents cheering on the Run for Mercy Team

Enjoying the pre-race meal

Members of 2010's Run for Mercy Team

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mercy Ministries Featured in The Tennessean’s “Season to Give” Series

During the holidays, one of Nashville’s biggest newspapers, The Tennessean, ran a series of stories called “Season to Give." Each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a different nonprofit organization was featured, encouraging Middle Tennesseans to give a donation and volunteer their time. On Christmas Eve, Mercy Ministries was blessed to be highlighted in the series.

Mercy graduate, Sarah Opperman, was interviewed for the piece and shared how her life was transformed while at Mercy. Sarah has continued to be a part of the Mercy family for over 13 years and now serves on staff as an Intake Coordinator, helping other young women as they apply to the Mercy program. Here is the article featuring Sarah’s amazing story of redemption:

Young women get help at Mercy Ministries
Christian center offers life skills, ways to cope
By Chris Echegaray • THE TENNESSEAN • December 24, 2010

Sixteen and pregnant, Sara Opperman's thoughts were racing — thoughts of giving the baby up for adoption, thoughts of ending the pregnancy, thoughts of ending her own life.

Opperman was in high school in South Carolina when she decided that she'd move to Nashville and enter Mercy Ministries of America, a nonprofit residential program that helps young women with addictions, abuse, unplanned pregnancies and eating disorders.

"We had a monthly Christian magazine at home, and I saw the ad and I applied," Opperman, 30, said. "I had an unplanned pregnancy, finding my identity. I would say, overall, it helped me prepare for the next step in becoming a mom."

Three years ago, Opperman took a job as intake coordinator for Mercy Ministries, which also helps women who were victims of sex trafficking.

The clients are mostly between ages 13 to 28 and stay for six months addressing their issues, said Whitney Nall, a spokeswoman.

"They are not here on a court order," Nall said. "They are here by their own choosing. The major requirement is that they want the help. That changes everything."

Daily training offered
Each morning starts with daily Bible reading and counseling. They also have life skills training that address their personal problems. Another component is nutrition and exercise, Nall said.

"Some don't eat enough," she said. "Some eat too much. They are taught portion sizes and taught how to cook their own meals."

The local nonprofit, launched in 1983, survives strictly on donations from a variety of fundraising events, businesses and personal donors. It doesn't apply for state or federal grants because it wouldn't have the freedom to apply Christian teachings.

Mercy runs homes in Nashville, St. Louis, Sacramento, Calif., and Monroe, La., offering free help to about 260 clients a year. It costs $175 per day, per woman for food, shelter, clothing and classes.

"At any time, there are 500 girls in the application process," Nall said. "With challenging times we get more requests for services."

They raise funds with 5K races and will have a team in the Country Music Marathon raising money.

Kirsten Mickelsen of Nashville started volunteering at Mercy several months ago. She admired the way the organization helped young women find their way despite the challenges.

"I love the way they care for the girls," she said. "They learn while they are there and make sustainable changes in their lives."

We would like to express our gratitude to The Tennessean for featuring Mercy Ministries in this series. We also want to offer our special thanks to those who responded to it by giving. Mercy Ministries helps bring hope and healing to hurting young women dealing with abuse and life-controlling issues completely free of charge. Because we are a nonprofit that does not take state or federal funding, we rely solely on our generous donors to meet our financial needs. Increasing awareness gives more people the opportunity to help these hurting young women have their lives transformed and their hope restored. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dr. Josh Axe Joins Mercy Multiplied This Sunday!

The response to Mercy Ministries’ new live radio show, Mercy Multiplied, on 99.7 WTN has been amazing! Listeners from across the country have been calling in to discuss life-controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm and the growing epidemic of sex trafficking. Your stories of hope and freedom have truly been inspiring. This week we will discuss an issue that affects millions of Americans…addiction. It is estimated that one out of every eight Americans has a significant problem with alcohol or drugs. Millions of others suffer from addictions to food, pornography and sex. Addiction, along with associated mental health disorders, has become one of the most severe health and social problems facing the U.S.*

Dr. Josh Axe and Nancy Alcorn
This Sunday, January 9th, we are honored to have wellness physician, popular radio show host and coveted speaker, Dr. Josh Axe, join us as guest host on Mercy Multiplied. Dr. Axe has a vision to see people empowered with practical advice about God’s biblical principles for healthy living. He has donated hours of service and expertise to Mercy Ministries residents and staff in addition to being a generous financial supporter. Dr. Axe will take your questions during our live discussion, and if you or someone you know suffers from addictions, we can help you find freedom as you learn how to start 2011 with a healthy perspective.

This Sunday we will also be giving away FREE books to all of our callers! Call us with your questions and comments at (615) 737-9986, and if you talk with us on the air, we will send you our “Mercy For” book series. This incredible four-book series covers the topics of eating disorders, self-harm, addictions and sexual abuse and shares the principles for finding freedom used in the Mercy Ministries program.

Please join us from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (CST) at SuperTalk 99.7 WTN or listen live at www.mercymultiplied.com from anywhere in the country. A podcast of all the shows is available here.

To learn more about Dr. Josh Axe, visit www.draxe.com.

*Source: SAMHSA (U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)