Friday, April 29, 2011

Interview With Holly Wagner and Mercy Graduates!

Mercy Ministries Executive Director of Communications, Eve Annunziato, played roaming resident reporter today at the Nashville home. Eve had the honor of interviewing an incredible group of Mercy heroes, graduates of the program, about our special guest speaker today, Holly Wagner! Holly is a mother, teacher, speaker, author, leader of GodChicks, and co-pastor of Oasis Church in Los Angeles, California.  She is also one of our favorite people and a long-time supporter of Mercy. Please enjoy hearing some of her words of wisdom!


Thank you, Holly, for investing your time and talent and pouring into our girls! Also, a special thanks to all of our amazing graduates who came back to visit today and enjoyed the special opportunity to hear from one of the most gifted speakers of our generation.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Update - How You Can Help End Sex Trafficking One Victim at A Time!!!

Mercy Ministries has been helping victims of sex trafficking for several years, and we continue to receive more and more calls for help. These hurting young women are looking for hope and freedom and desire a new life. Mercy Ministries’ transitional care department helps graduates by providing extensive life-skills training as well as assistance with securing housing and transportation, job placement and school application. Our goal is to have each young woman not only complete the program, but also discover the purpose for her life and bring value to her community as a productive citizen.

Unfortunately, there are women around the U.S. who are struggling to move on with their lives because of wrongful prostitution charges during the time they were trafficked. Several states around the U.S. are working towards legislation that would help these victims start their new lives with a clean slate. Check out this recent article from New York:

Convicted Sex Trafficking Victims Have Chance at Clean Record
by Angela Longerbeam

Applying for a new job or apartment is hard enough for any of us, right? In the U.S., former sex trafficking victims can hit an even bigger snag when securing employment and housing, especially if they have been (wrongly) convicted of prostitution. So, in addition to physical and emotional recovery from sexual exploitation, these victims often will be denied the basics, as well.

Kudos, then, to the State of New York (NYS) for recognizing this issue and proposing legislation that will do something about it. Bill S.4429/A.7670, which is being sponsored by Senator Thomas Duane and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, will give sex trafficking victims a clean slate by allowing them to expunge their records. The bill has already been passed by the Assembly, and is currently in the Senate Codes Committee.

READ MORE…

Conference Call
If you would like to know more about what Mercy Ministries is doing to help victims of sex trafficking, join our free 30-minute conference call on Thursday, May 19 at 12:00 PM EST. In the U.S. and Canada, call toll free 1-866-642-1665. To RSVP for the conference call, email kmontgomery@mercyministries.com

EndSexTrafficking.com wants you to "like" us on Facebook. Help spread the word and tell everyone you know to give us the "thumbs up!" CLICK HERE to see our Fan Page and show your support.

Freedom Forums!!!
Students at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga
EndSexTrafficking.com was on the campus of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga earlier this week. Kristy Spring, Mercy’s Volunteer Director of Student Relations, set up a table at the University Center and met with students to increase awareness and inspire young leaders to get involved in the fight against sex trafficking. They held a mixer on Tuesday evening and showed the trailer for The Candy Shop, a powerful film about the issue of domestic sex trafficking. Today, EndSexTrafficking.com will head back to the campus of Tennessee State University in Nashville. If you are in the area, be sure to check it the Freedom Forum with Q & A at 6:30 PM in the Women’s Center!

Mercy Ministries’ End Sex Trafficking T-Shirts Now Available
This t-shirt plays an important part in our campaign to help young women who are victims of domestic sex trafficking. We need your financial support to help more hurting young women who have been brutalized by this horrific crime.

By purchasing this shirt, you will help victims of sex trafficking who come to Mercy Ministries' free-of-charge Christian residential program to find hope and healing. When you wear this t-shirt, you will help spread the message about the growing epidemic of sex trafficking in the U.S. and what Mercy Ministries is doing to help sex trafficking victims.

Make a statement right now and help end sex trafficking, one victim at a time, by purchasing an EndSexTrafficking.com t-shirt. This high quality Good Work(s) brand t-shirt features the EndSexTrafficking.com logo on the front. Printed on the inside of the shirt, you will find the incredible and inspirational story of “Ally,” a young woman who escaped sex trafficking, came to Mercy Ministries and had her life completely restored! Purchase this t-shirt, and you can help bring hope and healing to victims of this horrific crime and ultimately save a young woman's life! To order, click on the button below.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mercy Graduate Priscilla Encourages St. Louis Residents

2010 Graduate, Priscilla
Before coming to Mercy Ministries, 2010 graduate, Priscilla, was a victim of sex trafficking. She was abused and held captive for four years by a former boyfriend who turned out to be a pimp/trafficker. This man is now serving a life sentence in prison, and Priscilla is walking in complete and total freedom.

Priscilla loves to share her testimony to raise awareness that sex trafficking is happening right here in the U.S., but more importantly, to let other hurting young women know that freedom is possible! Residents at the St. Louis home had the incredible opportunity to hear Priscilla’s story firsthand last week. Here’s what some of them had to say about her amazing testimony of transformation:

The encouragement she gave us to get everything we can out of this process really impacted me. It’s important to get all the secrets and all the skeletons out so that there are no roots that remain. This is a safe place to do it. - Stacy


I’m really thankful that I got to hear Priscilla share her testimony. I am glad that she was real and honest. Hearing her encourages me to want to get all that I can out of this program. I want to take hold of all that I am learning here so that I can walk it out in life. - Kelsay


I loved listening to Priscilla. She was very encouraging and real. I really liked two points she made: You have a freedom to choose, and you always have a way out. I really like that she reiterated that, because I see in my life where I had choices but still chose poorly. There were times God tried to give me a way out, but I overlooked it. In the future, I will look for those times when God is giving me a way out and take it. - Kayla


It was so encouraging to hear her advice for when we leave Mercy and how to prepare ourselves. God is so good! This message was really encouraging. - Sarah


I loved it when Priscilla said that we are never really stuck; we always have the freedom to choose. I am so grateful that I have God now, and I don’t have to live in bondage. I have a choice, and God always provides a way out of temptation and trials for me when I put my trust in Him. - Jessica

Priscilla speaking to the St. Louis residents last week
To read Priscilla’s incredible story and to learn more about what Mercy Ministries is doing to help victims of sex trafficking, go to www.endsextrafficking.com and click on “stories.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Seven More Graduates Celebrate Hope and Freedom!

“I knew that Mercy could help me not just deal with my issues, but also help me to know who I am in Christ and how to live a victorious life for God,” said recent graduate Candace. Mercy Ministries exists to provide opportunities for young women like Candace to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power.

We wanted to share the inspirational stories of Candace and the six other incredible young women who recently graduated from our Nashville, St. Louis and Sacramento homes. They have not only been set free from their life-controlling issues, but know who they are in Christ and look forward to the future God has in store for them. Read these incredible stories of transformation:

Sacramento

Candace

I was raised in a loving Christian family, but a family friend molested me and exposed me to pornography at a young age. This left me angry and confused and I lost any sense of self-worth. I grew up feeling like I couldn’t trust anybody because of the sexual abuse I experienced. I went to college and played basketball, but when I was abused by some players on the men’s team, I got involved with drugs, alcohol and self-punishment to deal with my pain. Soon, I found myself in one abusive relationship after another. I went into a deep depression and all I wanted to do was die. I heard about Mercy Ministries from a pastor. I knew that Mercy could help me not just deal with my issues, but also help me to know who I am in Christ and how to live a victorious life for God, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God showed me that I am loved, and I have worth. I have learned how to deal with things in my life according to God’s Word, and I really am a new creation. I also learned that my past does not define me, nor does it determine my future. I am so thankful and blessed that God put Mercy Ministries in my life. It is a good feeling to wake up and be excited to be alive.

After graduation, I plan to get involved in my church and give back. I want to show others God’s love. I will also be returning to college in the fall to play basketball and pursue a degree in paralegal studies.

Nicole

I was physically and sexually abused many times throughout my life by several men. I was also verbally and emotionally abused and eventually ended up in a cult where I was totally manipulated. All of this resulted in a life of drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, suicide attempts and psych wards. My life was chaotic, unstable and completely godless. I was in so much mental and emotional turmoil, I felt completely hopeless. I heard about Mercy from a counselor and decided to apply, because I knew I couldn’t keep living life the way I was.

While at Mercy, I came to know Christ. I want to take the unconditional love and mercy that I received and impact the world for Jesus. Because of Mercy, I know who my Heavenly Father is and now have an identity I can be proud of. I also learned the value of community and support. I was trying to get through life alone before, but I’ve come to realize that people, safe people, are a huge part of healing. I’m eternally grateful for all Mercy has done for me.

After graduation, I will start my new job. In September, I plan to go to a 9-month discipleship program at the Rock of Roseville. I want to grow in intimacy with God and would love to be a wife and mom one day.

Whitney

I was sexually abused as a child and developed an addiction to exercise at the age of 9. I was deeply depressed and hated myself and everyone around me. At age 11, a boy my age started touching me, and I felt so much shame, I started restricting my food. My senior year of high school I was sexually assaulted again. I felt violated and had no hope. By the age of 20, I was partying a lot and destroying my body with the eating disorder. After a failed treatment center and relapses that left my family over $100,000 in debt, I began self-harming. I heard about Mercy from a graduate I knew. I thought I would die if I didn’t get help. I decided to apply because I wanted to live and fulfill the purpose God has for me.

While at Mercy, my life was completely restored! God can truly take all the bad and hurtful things in your life and turn them into beauty. I now know who I am in Christ. The enemy has no power over me now, because I am a confident woman who knows the authority I have. I am so thankful that the eating disorder, self-harm, alcohol and sexual abuse no longer control me. I now stand in freedom and have true joy.

After graduation, I plan to finish my degree in psychology. I have a huge passion to see captives set free, because I was once that captive. It is possible to live in freedom! Thank you, Mercy, for providing a place where my life could be completely restored. I have hopes and dreams again.


Nashville

Nikki

While at Mercy, God showed me who He really is. He brought me out of despair and hopelessness, and my past is now behind me. I know who I am in Christ. I have forgiven the people who hurt me, and I now want to show God’s love to others. God is also restoring my relationship with my mom. I love my life now, and I am excited for my future and the plans God has for me!

After graduation, I plan to finish high school and get involved in a wonderful church back home. My dream is to go to college and pursue a career as a veterinarian.

Madison

I grew up in a Christian household, but I never really knew God. I was also very sheltered as a child and knew nothing of the troubles of the outside world. I always tried to please everyone around me, but when I started middle school, I was physically and verbally abused by my classmates. After being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts when I was 12, I started cutting as punishment, because I hated myself. I eventually turned to bulimia and alcohol as further punishment. When I found out about Mercy, I knew I had to apply, because deep down I didn’t want to die, I just wanted help.

While at Mercy, God transformed me from a suicidal wreck into His glorious princess. I am safe, and I am healed. I don’t feel like I need to hurt myself anymore because my pain is gone! He has taken away every single addiction I struggled with and set me free!

After graduation, I will prepare to return to high school in the fall for my sophomore year. I will be celebrating my freedom and rejoicing in the time with my family.

Rachel

I started having anxiety and depression when I was in 6th grade. I started cutting when I was 12, but I had been self-harming in other ways for as long as I can remember. I struggled with suicidal thoughts as well. I didn’t believe in God and had no hope for my future. I got in trouble with my school for drinking, and one of the school counselors told me about Mercy. I knew I needed help, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God restored my hope for the future, and I’m actually excited for what’s to come in my life. I’m free from self-harm and am no longer depressed. My relationship with my parents has also been restored, and we can now function as a normal, healthy family. Most importantly, I have learned that God really is there, that I can actually have a relationship with Him and that having that relationship is worthwhile. He has given me His peace and joy, and I learned that I can go to Him with anything and lean on Him for strength.

After graduation, I plan to finish high school. I want to go to college and major in either social work or Christian counseling.


St. Louis

Esther

Before coming to Mercy, I was going through the motions. There was no joy in my life, only secrecy. I wanted to reach out and connect with others, but I was too afraid of being rejected, so I kept myself isolated. I was consumed with negative thoughts due to abandonment in my past. I was struggling with eating disorders, self-harm and depression and couldn’t seem to overcome my issues. I knew I needed help, but I couldn’t afford to go anywhere to get it. I heard about Mercy from a friend at church and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God showed me His true character. The staff gave me unconditional love and a lot of mercy. I’ve learned the true meaning of grace and that God made me beautiful.

After graduation, I’m going to get plugged into a church, and I’m planning to get a job. I want to thank all the staff and donors for making it possible for me to be here, for not giving up on me and for loving on me.

Congratulations ladies! It is so awesome to see you walking forward in faith, knowing you are already victorious in Christ. We are so proud of you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Mercy Ministries Miracle - It’s A Girl!

It was an extra special Easter at the Nashville home when resident Elizabeth started having contractions, and it became clear that another Mercy baby was on the way! In the wee hours of this morning, Elizabeth gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby girl. Kayla Lexi was born at 4:34 AM this morning weighing 6 lbs. 7 oz. and measuring 19 ½ inches long. Mother and baby are doing great and looking forward to starting their new journey as mother and daughter.

To our faithful supporters - you make it possible for young women like Elizabeth, who face an unplanned pregnancy, to be nurtured in a safe environment, surrounded by God’s unconditional love. Your support is literally saving and changing lives every day. Please pray for Elizabeth as she begins this new season in her life of being a mom, and thank you for being a part of this precious baby girl’s future!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fun-Filled Weekend With Mercy Ministries

The residents of Mercy Ministries love getting out into their local communities for fun events and volunteer opportunities. Last weekend was no exception, with the Nashville residents volunteering at a local 5K and Easter egg hunt and the St. Louis residents enjoying a special weekend retreat away from home.

Several of the Nashville girls spent last Saturday volunteering at the Diary Dash, Purity Dairy’s “Moosic City” 5K/10K Run. Proceeds from this year’s Dairy Dash went to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. Some of the residents dressed up as characters to entertain the kids, some worked the silent auction table and the rest served ice cream and other refreshments at the concession stand. Here’s what some of them had to say about volunteering at the Dairy Dash:

I really appreciated being able to volunteer at the Purity Dairy Dash. I enjoyed being helpful and cheering people on as well as just being in that environment. It was a wonderful opportunity. - Cecilia


Being at the Dairy Dash today was such a sweet blessing!! I wore the cow mascot costume and got to interact with all the children. What a great atmosphere of team work for all those involved. There was a good turnout for the event and it was cool to connect with the community like that. I would enjoy doing more events like the Dairy Dash. - Crystal


It was fun to go to the Dairy Dash and interact with people from the community. I’ve always loved doing community service/volunteer stuff - it was a lot of fun! - Amanda

The rest of the Nashville residents spent that day volunteering at the Christ Church Easter Egg Hunt. The children at the event loved the face painting, pony rides and especially hunting for hundreds of eggs filled with special treats. Here’s what the Mercy girls said about their day:

I had a lot of fun. I loved helping putting out the eggs, and seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. It was really good for me. - Sarah


I really enjoyed working at the crafts table with the children for “Eggs in the Park” They were adorable and reminded me that I should show God’s love to everyone. I love Christ Church. - Julianne


It was great to paint the kids faces and see how much they loved it! I loved helping the people set up and watching the kids have a great Easter! - Ashley

In St. Louis, some amazing women from Spark Ministry prepared a wonderful weekend retreat for the staff and residents. The weekend kicked off with an entertainment variety skit show called “Rhinestone Cowgirl Stampede,” featuring comedic skits starring the Spark volunteers and some of the residents. The girls loved their time at the Cedar Creek Conference Center in New Haven, MO making crafts, having an Easter egg hunt, flying kites and gathering around the campfire.



Special thanks to Spark Ministry for an incredible weekend and to Purity Dairies and Christ Church for the opportunity to give back to the community. Please enjoy this video of last weekend’s events and have a Happy Easter! He is risen!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Unexpected Gift from an Amazing Church!!!

When Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, spoke at the Sunday morning service at New Life Christian Church on April 17th, she had no idea the surprise that awaited her. Pastors John and Debbie Lowe presented Nancy with a check for $65,000 to be used to help the hurting young women who come to Mercy! This is in addition to the monthly support that New Life Christian Church has given to Mercy for years.

Nancy speaking

Pastor John Lowe presenting the check
This gift was especially timely because of the great need which currently exists, and Nancy was so moved by their generosity. While the program is always free of charge to the young women who come to Mercy for help, Mercy Ministries takes no government funding that might interfere with the ability to share Christ. We rely solely on the financial support of businesses, individuals and amazing churches like New Life Christian Church to help us bring hope and healing to the young women we serve.

Nancy and Mercy Ministries share another special connection with Pastors John and Debbie Lowe that goes back a long way. They were chosen 20 years ago by one of the Mercy girls facing an unplanned pregnancy to be the adoptive parents of her child. That child, Brightie Lowe, is now a passionate youth leader at New Life Christian Church, plays drums on the worship team and is doing an internship working with teenage girls who struggle with life-controlling issues.

Brightie playing the drums

Nancy and Brightie

Nancy with Pastors John and Debbie Lowe
To read more about Nancy’s amazing weekend at New Life Christian Church in Warsaw, IN, check out her blog at nancyalcorn.blogspot.com. She connected with lots of old friends and even some of our graduates were there!

A special thanks to Pastors John and Debbie Lowe and New Life Christian Church for their amazing hearts to give and serve others so generously!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kristin Rollins Speaks to Nashville Residents About Abuse

Every nine seconds, a woman is abused in America. This was just one of many shocking statistics guest speaker, Kristin Rollins, shared with our Nashville residents yesterday. Kristin is a powerful and captivating speaker who has had the privilege of talking to teens about domestic violence and relationship abuse. She also happens to be married to Trey Rollins, an amazing musician and the brother of our very own Katelyn Rollins who is Nancy Alcorn’s Executive Assistant.

Trey, Kristin, Nancy, and Katelyn
Kristin spent several years working with Safe Harbor, a program in South Carolina that provides assistance and shelter for victims of domestic violence. She spoke to the Nashville residents about how to recognize the signs of abuse, red flags in relationships and how to have healthy relationships.

Kristin shared the story of Megan, a young woman who was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Megan’s parents formed The Megan Project to help educate teens about relationship abuse and what true love looks like. Kristin encouraged the residents to know who they are, whose they are and how to recognize a counterfeit relationship by studying the original, a relationship with Christ. Here’s what some of the residents had to say about Kristin’s challenging message:

The whole message was amazing! I want the recording to send home to my friends. I love that she said if the person you are dating really cares about you, they will want what is best for you. - Samita

This was great! Hearing this opened my eyes to how much God saved me from! God has a specific plan for my life and He knows the right man who will treat me with respect, the way a princess of God should be treated. - Samantha

I found her message so helpful and important. When we know who we are and whose we are, all areas of our lives will be clearer, because we stand on the truth. - Becca

Happiness is circumstantial. In a truly loving relationship, if you really care for the person, you will do what is best for them, not just what makes them happy. It is also important to be aware of counterfeit relationships, and the more I know Jesus’ love, the more I will be able to spot a counterfeit. - Kassandra

Thank you, Kristin, for addressing this important topic with our residents! You really equipped the girls with some important tools to help them recognize and cultivate healthy relationships.

Guest Speaker, Kristin Rollins



For more information about Safe Harbor and The Megan Project, go to http://safeharborsc.org/what-we-do/megan-project.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mercy Ministries Cheers for the Predators to Get a Big Win!!!

The Nashville residents will be cheering tomorrow night for the local NHL team, the Nashville Predators, in the chase for the Stanley Cup. Mercy Ministries is proud to be one of the 2011 Grant Recipients for the Predators Foundation, the charitable arm of Nashville’s NHL team. The Predators have not just blessed the Nashville residents with their support, but have also invited them to come to a game and provided hundreds of tickets for all of the Nashville 2010 Run for Mercy participants.

The Nashville Predators have taken a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals against the Anaheim Ducks and have a chance to take a commanding series lead tomorrow night. There is no better in-arena atmosphere in professional sports than a Stanley Cup Playoff Game and we are excited to support the Predators and help them provide the team with the real home ice advantage of a sell-out crowd. Go to www.nashvillepredators.com/ward and enter the special offer code: preds for a great deal on tickets for tomorrow night’s game. Let’s go Predators!

We would like to say a special thank you to the Nashville Predators Foundation for their support. To learn more about the incredible impact they have on the Nashville community, CLICK HERE.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mercy Ministries on the Church Conference Circuit!!

We have had the awesome privilege of being a part of several major conferences this month. Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, spent this past weekend in Rockford, IL, speaking alongside Lisa Bevere at the Original Women’s Conference hosted by Pastors Jeremy and Jen DeWeerdt of Rockford First Church. Nancy also spoke to an amazing group of students in their leadership and ministry training program at Rockford First. It was incredible to see God raising up such passionate young leaders who are having a tremendous impact in their community. Here’s what Nancy had to say about the event:

“The conference was so much fun, and it was so cool to hear the other speakers as well, including Lisa Bevere, Erin Campbell, Lisa Yonke and conference host, Jen Deweerdt. I had the privilege of speaking at the closing session, and truly felt that I connected heart-to-heart with the women in attendance.”

To read more about Nancy’s weekend, check out her blog post at nancyalcorn.blogspot.com.

Nancy speaking a the Original Women's Conference

Nancy with conference hosts Jeremy and Jen DeWeerdt

Nancy speaking to the students at Rockford First Church

Earlier this month, nine Mercy graduates participated in Pink Impact, an annual women’s conference hosted by Gateway Church in Southlake, TX. These inspiring graduates hosted the Mercy booth, handed out resources and answered questions about the Mercy Ministries program. They also loved hearing from some amazing speakers at the event, such as T.D. Jakes, Priscilla Shirer and Charlotte Gambill. Charlotte is the Senior Associate Pastor at Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England. The Gambill’s and Abundant Life had the vision for and helped open our UK Mercy home.



Mercy grads at Pink Impact
Mercy Ministries was also excited to send our Volunteer Directors of Student Relations for EndSexTrafficking.com to the ARC Conference with Mercy Director of Development, Selah Hirsch. This conference for church leaders and church planters across the country featured inspirational speakers like Mercy supporter Pastor Dino Rizzo of Healing Place Church, Pastor Greg Surratt of Seacoast Church, and Pastor Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands. These church leaders really know how to equip and encourage pastors and church planters to grow in ministry.

Coming up in May, Nancy Alcorn will be the featured speaker at the 2011 Women’s Conference, “You Are Beautiful - You Are His,” at Living Word Family Church in Wake Forest, NC. If you are in the area, you won’t want to miss it! To see more of the events on Nancy’s schedule, CLICK HERE. We’d love for you to come hear more about the work of Mercy Ministries and the young women who are having their lives transformed and hope restored!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nashville Home Hosts Friends of Mercy Luncheon

Nashville Friends of Mercy Luncheon
It is amazing to see how God continues to move in the hearts of people who take time out of their busy schedules to learn more about Mercy Ministries. Churches, businesses, college students and many others across the state of Tennessee are embracing the vision of Mercy and showing their support. More than 65 special guests attended the Friends of Mercy Luncheon at the Nashville home yesterday and heard about the work being done to help hurting young women have their lives transformed and hope restored.

Those who attended were moved to tears by the testimonies of current resident, Jordan, and recent Mercy graduate, Jena. Jordan grew up in a Christian home and was very involved in her church, but after her parents divorced, her life began to unravel and she got involved in an unhealthy relationship with a much older man. She came to Mercy feeling hurt and unloved, but now Jordan is full of joy and hope for the future. She is graduating today and will finish her senior year in high school before heading off to college to prepare for full-time ministry.

Nashville Mercy resident, Jordan
Recent graduate, Jena, shared her powerful story of growing up in a very legalistic environment where she never felt she could meet God’s expectations. She got involved with drugs and alcohol and her identity became completely wrapped up in a man she was involved with. When he was killed trying to stop a robbery, she wanted to die too. She began selling her body for drugs and continued a downward spiral. In the depths of despair, she remembered her pastor telling her about Mercy and decided to apply. Jena is now completely healed and free and is serving in youth ministry at her church.

Mercy graduate, Jena
Following the luncheon, the Nashville residents gave tours of their beautiful home and shared what life is like in the Mercy program.


Touring the Nashville home

EndSexTrafficking Volunteer Kristy Spring with TSU Student Leaders

Brian Westerman, Crystal Watson, Angela Wilson, and Lee Wilson

Director of Development Whitney Cantrell with guests from Trevecca Nazarene University

Community Relations Manager, Whitney Nall (left) with event sponsor, Lisa Kelley

Mercy Artist Partners Christa DeJarnett (left) and Cortni Rochelle (right)
We would like to thank everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to come and hear about the young women at Mercy Ministries who are having their lives transformed and hope restored. Special thanks to Lisa Kelley of White Chocolate Visual Media who generously sponsored this event. If you would like to know more about how you can support Mercy Ministries, or would like to tour a home in your area, call (615) 831-6987 or email us at info@mercyministries.com for more information.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gifted Songwriter and Acclaimed Worship Leader Cindy Ratcliff Visits the Nashville Home

Cindy Ratcliff
Cindy Ratcliff is best known for her role as Director of Music and Worship at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, TX, but around Mercy, she is also known as the adoptive mother of Mercy twins, Merrick and Emory. The staff and residents were honored to have Cindy and her husband, Marcus, visit with them yesterday at the Nashville home.

Cindy spoke straight from the heart as she shared her testimony of how God used difficult times to grow her faith. She and Marcus were blessed with a son, Windsor, but over the next five years, were not able to have any more children. They heard about a young woman who came to Mercy Ministries pregnant with twins and needing help. This courageous young woman chose life for her babies and made the decision to place them for adoption with a loving Christian family. Cindy and Marcus were chosen by the birth mother and now the twins are almost three years old and thriving!
Cindy and Marcus with the birth mother and the kids



“Your brokenness is beautiful in the hands of the Lord,” said Cindy as she described how that young woman’s brokenness completed something in her family. She encouraged the girls with scriptures about their value and worth to God and how His plans are trustworthy. Here’s what some of our residents had to say about this special time with Cindy:

I really appreciated her honesty and willingness to share her heart with us. I was encouraged to hear the Lord worked in her life at a very vulnerable time in her life. She did not allow this heartache to define her, and she learned to rely on the Lord in a new way. It is a part of her testimony, and the Lord has honored her over and over again. I want to seek the Lord with all my heart and trust the Him with the plans He has for me. - Alma


God really spoke to me today. He really uncovered a lot of doubt and fear that I’ve been kind of ignoring. I need to get past that so I can fully rely on God and center my focus on Him and not on anyone or anything else. - Amanda


The whole message was so amazing. I tend to believe I am too broken to be healed and used. The truth is that God is going to use me in my brokenness. My brokenness is beautiful in the hands of the Lord. - Samita


It is interesting to hear a testimony of someone who sought after God and even did ministry for Him, and yet they still went through trying times. God uses those times to strengthen our faith and to guide us down the path he wants us to take. – Allie


I really, really enjoyed this! I have a lot of brokenness inside of me, and when I looked in the mirror I saw ugliness. But now I can see how some of that brokenness has been turned to beauty by God. I want what God has planned for me. - Samantha

We want to say a special thank you to Marcus and Cindy for taking time out of their busy schedules to visit with and encourage the girls. The Nashville residents were obviously greatly impacted by your words of encouragement. For more information about Cindy, visit http://www.cindycruseratcliff.com/. Here are some more photos of the visit with Cindy.

Cindy spent some time afterward talking with the girls

Cindy speaking to the staff and residents

Cindy and her husband, Marcus