Friday, July 29, 2011

From Hopeless to Victorious – Three More Amazing Transformations!

“I never understood what it meant to fall in love with Jesus until I came to Mercy.”
- Kelly

The three young women who recently graduated from the California home had spent so much of their lives looking for love in unhealthy places. While at Mercy Ministries, Kelly, Destiny and Katlyn experienced the transforming love of Christ, and they are now walking in complete freedom and victory, ready to share the love of God with others. This is what it’s all about, seeing hurting young women have their lives transformed and hope restored, and empowering them to take the message of hope into their communities. Here are their incredible testimonies of three of our recent graduates:

Kelly

My life before Mercy was chaotic and out of control. I was molested by a family member as a child. This caused me to become depressed later in life and eventually led to bulimia. I hated who I was and believed that I was weak, ugly, overweight, and worthless. I was dependent upon relationships to make me feel good about myself. On the outside, I appeared to be popular and have it all together, but on the inside I was just a frightened little girl who was looking for love in unhealthy relationships. Someone at Remuda Ranch recommended Mercy to me, so I went to the website and did some research. I saw that lasting freedom was possible and decided to apply.

While at Mercy Ministries, God absolutely transformed my life! I now know who I am in Christ and believe that I am strong, adequate and beautiful. I never understood what it meant to fall in love with Jesus until I came to Mercy. I am confident and excited for my future!

After graduation, I plan to work with elementary and middle school age kids. I want to help prevent eating disorders by instilling the love of God in others at a very tender and young age. I would like to write about and speak to others about my story and passion for God. I will be recommending Mercy Ministries to every girl that I come into contact with who is struggling with life-controlling issues.



Destiny

Before coming to Mercy, I felt abandoned, abused and rejected in so many relationships. I wanted to hide from God and people. My life was dark and hopeless. I wanted to die every day and spent long hours sleeping to try and escape. I had so many hurts in my life and nothing helped take away the pain. I had a deep sense that Jesus was the only way to find freedom, so when I heard about Mercy from a family member, I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God transformed my whole life. He opened my eyes to the truth about who He is. He loves me unconditionally and has restored my hope. The biggest thing I learned was that I have a choice to make. I can choose each day to live in the abundance God has for me.

After graduation, I want to pursue music and join the worship team at my church. I also want to study Arabic so I can go to the Middle East one day. Coming to Mercy has been one of the best experiences of my life. I know I will not be moved from the truth, and I am so grateful to have a fresh start at life.



Katlyn

Before my life-transforming journey at Mercy, I was struggling with self-harm, an eating disorder and over-exercising. I was sexually abused, and the great shame I felt and fear of rejection left me with no hope. Darkness consumed my life, but I was desperate to find freedom and restored hope. I heard about Mercy from a friend and decided to apply because I wanted victory in my life.

While at Mercy, I was tenderly and gently restored by Jesus. His grace, forgiveness and love cover every area of my life. I have learned that I have value, and I now walk boldly in the light of His word. My identity is in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.

After graduation, I will go back to college to finish my senior year and graduate in the spring of 2012 with a degree in psychology. I want to immerse myself in the person and work of Jesus. I am going to love God, love His people and allow Him to continue to transform my life. Freedom and victory are worth it. May this testimony bring you closer to the heartbeat of God. He is especially fond of you!


Congratulations Kelly, Destiny and Katlyn! Your positive choices, growing faith and ongoing transformations are so evident and we look forward to seeing your futures unfold.

Our graduates leave Mercy and go on to accomplish mighty things for the Kingdom. These transformed lives are transforming lives! We are so proud of the team of 16 graduates and 2 staff members who are in Africa right now on our first ever Mercy graduate mission trip serving Watoto Ministries. The group is being led by Mercy staff members, Katelyn Rollins and Nandi Pryce.


This team is in Uganda and has just finished building four classrooms for the Watoto children. Not only did our graduates build these classrooms, but they also raised the money to be able to pay for them. One of the most impacting things they have experienced is spending time with the babies and children in the various Watoto homes during their stay this week.

Our girls loving on the babies:






Our girls pouring out love on the children:




 Check out our team hard at work:



One of the host families they had lunch with:



We also want to share a special note that one of the Mercy graduates, Natalie, posted on the team’s blog at http://mercygoestouganda.blogspot.com. Yesterday was day seven of the trip as well as Natalie’s five year anniversary of having graduated from Mercy. (see Natalie – pictured right).

Day 7 – The Bulrushes and the Craft Market…

Today has been hard to describe. It was wonderful to have a little extra sleep this morning before heading out to The Bulrushes, Baby Watoto, where we were able to stay for several hours. It’s so easy to love those precious babies, to give them my heart, but my heart also aches for them. They are all so tiny and fragile, unaware of their stories, unconcerned with their situations. They lay in groups of 15 or more on the hard concrete floor, but yet they are still just babies, God’s children—born with a purpose and a promise. They are cared for very well by the nannies and the volunteers, and we were blessed to share in that as we fed, changed and rocked many of the babies. I felt at peace loving on those babies. My mind was still, not racing with what was next or where I needed to be, just calm. I looked around and saw the beauty of creation and the simplicity of the Gospel, and I felt at rest.


After we left the babies’ home, we went to the Garden City Mall for lunch, which proved yet again to be an adventure. Our host, Melvin, took us into a grocery type store to get some snacks and led us straight to the candy isle…we all went crazy!! Once we left the mall it was time to go souvenir shopping at the craft market. This is always a fun experience because you have to barter! We all shopped like true women and bought many gifts for our family, friends, and supporters. We ended this evening with an appreciation dinner from Watoto at Mambo Place.


It has been a wonderful day, topped off with the fact that today is a personal victory for me. Today is my five year anniversary of graduation from Mercy Ministries. I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be a part of this ministry and to be on this trip on this day in my life! As I reflected throughout the day, God really placed Isaiah 61 on my heart. Thank you so much for you continued prayers and support. Our team is doing very well and has become very close!


- Natalie

It is so powerful to see the pictures of these young women who once walked through the doors of @mercyministries broken, not even knowing if they wanted to live, and now they are so full of joy and giving out to others. When you give to Mercy, it has a ripple effect, and you are causing Mercy to be multiplied throughout the nations of the earth. These girls represent thousands of graduates over the years who are making a difference in the lives of others and helping build the kingdom of God, one life at a time. We hope this touches your heart as much as it has touched ours. If you want to see all the pictures and read the updates each day, go to www.mercygoestouganda.blogspot.com. You will also have the opportunity to comment with an encouraging word. Our Mercy graduate team in Uganda would love to hear from you, and know that you’re cheering them on from a distance!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mercy Ministries on the Mission Field – Transformed Lives Transforming Lives!

Our amazing mission team of 16 Mercy Ministries graduates and two staff members arrived in Uganda safely (as did every piece of luggage!), and they are already seeing the power of God at work. Our team is working with Watoto Ministries – a community that provides a holistic home environment, as well as quality education to children that have been orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Upon arrival, the group was welcomed by the Watoto team members and treated to their first delicious Ugandan dinner – rice, chicken, fresh pumpkin and pineapple. Below is a photo of the girls with their amazing Watoto team host, Melvin.

Watoto Team with Melvin
On their second day in Uganda, the Mercy team went to Watoto headquarters in Kampala and learned more about the work they would be doing. Here’s what team member, Jen, had to say about the classrooms they will be building:

“Our project manager explained the classrooms we will build as a symbol of what we will accomplish during our time here, but I know that the relationships we are building with each other as a team, as well as those relationships we are building with each Ugandan, will outlast any building we erect.”

One of the greatest blessings the team has experienced so far was visiting the Watoto babies’ home, also known as “The Bulrushes.” This home is for the care of infants who have been abandoned, severely abused and malnourished. The girls shared a great time of praying for these little miracle babies and pouring love into them.


Yesterday the team went to the Watoto church for worship, followed by a visit to Bbira, the children’s village where there are about 1,000 kids living in Watoto homes and going to school. Here are some more photos from the exciting first days of the trip:

The Bulrushes Babies
The Watoto Church
Lunch at one of the Bbira homes
Please join us in daily prayer for this amazing team of graduates and staff as they continue to share the love of Christ in Uganda. Continue to pray for their health and safety, the classroom project they will complete and that God continues to enlarge their hearts for the people of Uganda. If you would like to follow their progress and read more exciting stories about the work being done by this incredible team of Mercy graduates and Watoto ministries, check their daily blog posts at http://mercygoestouganda.blogspot.com/.

Friday, July 22, 2011

You Can Help Victims of Sex Trafficking and Other Abuse – RIGHT NOW!

Helping victims of sex trafficking and other abuse is now as easy as picking up your phone. Give $10 right now by simply texting the word MERCY to 85944, and help hurting young women have their lives transformed and hope restored! Sex trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S., and an estimated 300,000 American youth are at risk every year. The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 13. Young women brutalized by this horrific crime are graduating from Mercy Ministries completely healed and transformed through the unconditional love of Christ.

Mercy Ministries serves a diverse population of young women from various socio-economic backgrounds, ages 13-28, who have been physically and sexually abused, including victims of sex trafficking as well as those who face life-controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, depression and unplanned pregnancy.

By supporting Mercy, you provide a safe place to live, Biblical counseling, life-skills training and transitional care for victims of sex trafficking and other abuse. Join the fight, and text MERCY to 85944 to help bring hope and healing and ultimately save a young woman's life!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cornerstone Toledo Youth Visit Mercy Ministries Today!!!

We had such a great time today hosting a group of 25 girls and guys from the youth group at Cornerstone Church in Toledo, OH pastored by Bishop Michael Pitts and his beautiful wife, Kathi. It was extra special today to host this very special group of youth leaders because of the relationship we have with this church. Not only have they provided financial support for Mercy Ministries, but our Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn has also had the privilege of speaking at their women’s conference and visiting the church over the years.

The 25 Toledo visitors were hosted today by Merri Duff, one of our Mercy youth volunteers who is a local college student at Trevecca University here in Nashville. Merri was actually born to a Mercy birthmother in 1991 and placed for adoption through our adoption agency. That is why it was so special to have her host this awesome group of youth leaders from Cornerstone.

All of these lives intersect for the next three days, as they are in town to participate in CeCe Winans “Always Sisters, Forever Brothers” conference beginning tonight and continuing through Saturday night. This conference features nationally known music artists, along with internationally known speakers. The kick-off for the conference begins at 9:00 PM tonight at the Curb Center on Belmont University’s campus. If you are reading this and want to be a part of it, you can show up and register at the door.

Not only are the youth from Toledo a part of this conference, but the girls and staff from Mercy Ministries' Nashville home will be attending as well. Nancy Alcorn was honored to once again be asked to participate in the conference, not only as a speaker, but also as one of the sponsors for the event. It has been our great joy to be a part of this conference every year, and it is always so amazing to see the way God moves in power to bring impact to the lives of those in attendance. Please say a prayer for this very special conference, that it will be life altering and that the ripple effect will be felt throughout the entire nation and beyond.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

20 Years of Service to Mercy Ministries and Still Going Strong!!!

Over the past 20 years, Monroe Program Director, Sharon Manuel, has faithfully served and shown unconditional love to hundreds of young women at Mercy Ministries, and she’s not finished yet! Yesterday, Sharon shared a powerful and challenging message with the residents at the Nashville home about God’s plans for their time at Mercy and their futures. She reminded both the staff and residents that no one is here by accident, and we all need to surrender fully to God, seize the moment and embrace change. Here’s what some of the girls had to say about Sharon’s inspirational teaching:


This was really encouraging. God confirmed to me, through Sharon, that I am in the right place at the right time. I deserve the freedom that I am going to receive here. - Martha

Wow, the entire message was so amazing, and God totally spoke to me through it. God revealed to me that He has so much more for me in the rest of my time here than I have believed Him for. I am so excited now about the awesome work God is going to continue to do. I am going to let God work, choose life and embrace change! - Becca

It was really inspiring to hear from Sharon. It really made me excited to graduate next week and live life fully. I have laid the foundation, and I am ready to start building. - Ashley


Sharon, you have made a huge impact on Mercy Ministries through the years, and we honor you for your service, dedication and godly example. You are an incredible blessing and a huge asset to our staff. We love you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mercy Graduate Gets Her Miracle!

Ashley came to Mercy Ministries in 2006 battling for her life. She struggled with a severe eating disorder and was desperate for freedom from this life-controlling issue. After so many years of damage to her body, one of Ashley’s concerns was that she might never be able to have the children she and her husband Josh dreamed of. While at Mercy, Ashley found her healing and value in Christ, and since graduating in 2006, she has gotten very involved with her church, shared her powerful testimony with others and is walking in complete freedom! She recently shared some other exciting news that we wanted to pass along to you.

Ashley Speaking to our Nashville
Hello Nancy! I thought I would send you an e-mail and share some great news. Josh and I just found out this week that we are expecting! We have been trying to conceive since we got married, which was almost seven years ago!  This story is truly a testimony to God!

Not only am I excited about this child we are about to bring into this world, but God has got me all kinds of excited about HIM! He is so full of surprises. I have learned that God's timing is perfect, and He is the only One who can make such a miracle happen. I could go on and on! I'm just so excited about what God is doing in our lives and praying that the girls at Mercy can truly come to know their awesome Father. Please take care and know that I am praying for you.


Love and God Bless,
Ashley

Ashley came for a visit in April and spoke to the Nashville residents about her experience at Mercy and life after graduation. We are excited to tell you that at 11:39 PM on July 4th, Joshua Jr. was born weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. and everyone is healthy and doing great! Congratulations to Josh and Ashley as you begin your journey as parents to this beautiful baby boy.


If you would like to know more about how you can help bring hope, healing and a future to young women like Ashley, go to www.mercyministries.com and click on “How to Help.” When you support Mercy Ministries, you are not just investing in these young women while they go through the program, you are investing in future leaders, wives and mothers and impacting generations to come!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mercy Ministries Graduates Change the World!!

Mercy staff, Katelyn and Nandi
After two years of planning and praying, a dream is finally coming true! Next Wednesday, July 20th, two Mercy staff members, Katelyn and Nandi (pictured right) will be leading a team of 16 Mercy Ministries graduates to serve on a mission trip in Kampala, Uganda! Many of the girls who graduate from Mercy Ministries have a heart to give back and share the hope they have found, not just in their communities, but around the world.

This amazing group is partnering with Watoto Ministries – a community that provides a holistic home environment, as well as quality education to children that have been orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic in Africa (www.watoto.com). As a part of Mercy Ministries’ missions giving, we have had the privilege of building two homes for orphans in conjunction with Watoto. Now our dedicated team of staff and graduates will be traveling to Uganda for the purpose of building a set of four classrooms for the children in Kampala. Each team member worked diligently to raise the financial support to cover the cost of the trip as well as everything needed to build the four classrooms.

One of the graduates going on this mission trip, Aubrey, is an incredible artist! God restored Aubrey’s love for art and painting while she was a resident at Mercy, and now as a graduate, Aubrey uses her artwork to express what God is doing in her life and heart! Over the last few months, Aubrey made a special painting that expressed her heart for this mission trip. Here is what Aubrey wrote about her artwork entitled Marks of Mercy:

“Isaiah 61 reveals the hope of transformation through faith in Jesus, and His desire to redeem His children. My sin had made me a prisoner and I was a slave to my addictions. Yet in that place of captivity, my broken heart encountered the tangible love of Jesus through Mercy Ministries. Isaiah 61 is not only a testimony of what Jesus has done in my life and what He desires to do in the lives of every one of His children, but it is a commission to share the love of Christ with a lost and dying world. Every word in Isaiah 61 seems to resonate with the heart of Watoto. The picture is of the entire continent because I believe that when children receive the love of Christ and are taught to make Him the Lord of their life, it changes the course of a generation, that generation changes a nation, which can impact a continent to become a beacon of hope to the rest of the world... all for His glory!”

Thank you so much to all our supporters who help girls like Aubrey and the rest of our team of graduates have their lives transformed by the unconditional love of Christ. Your investment in these young women produces a ripple effect that has a global impact. Please pray with us for the people of Watoto, safe travel, that the team would stay healthy as they work and serve and that God would use each one of them mightily in the lives of the people they come into contact with.

If you would like to keep up with our team while they are in Uganda, you can visit their blog at www.mercygoestouganda.blogspot.com. They will be sharing photos, quotes, prayer requests, praise reports and general updates on all that God is doing in and through the team.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Friends of Mercy Ministries Across Tennessee Show Their Support!!

Tennesseans showed their faithful support for Mercy Ministries once again at the recent Friends of Mercy Luncheons in Nashville and Chattanooga. More than 180 leaders, supporters and friends came to hear incredible stories of healing and transformation and to learn more about how they can help the young women we serve!

At the beautiful Chattanooga Golf & Country Club, Mercy Ministries Executive Director of Communications, Eve Annunziato, shared the vision and mission of Mercy. She spoke about how Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, followed God’s calling to build a home where women can find freedom from life-controlling issues and be restored to wholeness by the unconditional love of Christ.

Current Mercy resident, Allie, shared her struggles with perfectionism which led to a severe eating disorder. Since coming to Mercy, she has learned to receive God’s unconditional love and is having her life transformed and her hope restored.

Allie
2003 Mercy graduate, Brooke, also shared her story of suffering from severe depression and suicidal thoughts before coming to Mercy. Brooke is now happily married and knows the true freedom and joy that comes from having a relationship with Christ.

Brooke
At the Nashville Mercy home, guests were welcomed by Community Board Member Cherie Hammond. Mercy graduate, Janice, then spoke about how she struggled with feelings of abandonment, rejection and betrayal. Before coming to Mercy, she turned to an eating disorder and several addictions to cope with her pain. Janice, who graduated in December of 2010, is now walking in complete freedom and is excited to be serving in her church’s youth program and sharing hope and freedom with others.

Janice
Everyone was moved by these inspiring stories of hope and healing. All of these young women are powerful examples of the transformation and freedom that is possible.

We are so grateful for the love and support of the Chattanooga and Nashville communities. Special thanks to Chattanooga Patron Sponsor, Coca Cola Consolidated and Luncheon Sponsors, Chattem, and Luken Holdings. Our sincere thanks also to Nashville Event Sponsors, Dan and Cherie Hammond. We are so grateful for all of the table sponsors at each event whose faithful contributions played a critical part in bringing the vision of Mercy Ministries to a wider audience. Your ongoing prayers and donations are greatly appreciated as we continue to expand the vision to see more lives transformed!

To find out more about how you can help a struggling young woman find freedom and restoration, go to www.mercyministries.org and click on “How to Help.”

Executive Director of Communications, Eve Annunziato
Community Board Member Cherie Hammond
Guests touring the Nashville home
Guests at the Chattanooga Luncheon

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Day on the Lake with In His Wakes Ministries!!!

The Nashville residents grabbed their swimsuits and sunscreen and headed out to the lake for a day of facing fears, trying new things and having fun with In His Wakes Ministries. This awesome group has hosted a “Day to Remember” for the girls at Mercy Ministries in Monroe several times over the past few years. This month they made the trip to hang out with the Nashville girls for the first time and gave them a life-changing experience they will never forget!

In His Wakes is a ministry that uses water sports to share the love and hope of Christ by challenging the participants’ physical and emotional limits. For the Nashville residents, it was a day of facing fears, trying new things and having fun by swimming, knee boarding, water skiing and tubing. During the opening session, Coordinator Nate Miller shared that just as the boat is the power source for water skiing, God is the power source to overcome fear. We can only experience hope, victory and purpose when we are willing to get off the dock!


The girls cheered each other on as they stepped out of their comfort zones and conquered their fears! Here is what a few of our residents had to say about this exhilarating day on the lake:

We’ve been discussing overcoming fears for a while and this was the perfect, practical way to walk out what we learned. It was fun and I had a blast. The staff and volunteers were encouraging and completely willing to go above and beyond to help us. It was a wonderful way to get away and have some fun. – Molly


Today was absolutely amazing. I overcame my fear and was able to go tubing and water skiing. “I’m not good enough” wasn’t on my mind today. I am a conqueror. – Tori


Today with In His Wakes was an absolutely amazing experience. All the volunteers and people who came together to take us out on the water were such a blessing. When I conquered my fears, I knew that God carried me through as He always does. I am very grateful for today. – Crystal


Today was such a blessing. I am so grateful for everyone who came together to give us such a very special day. I was very nervous about today, but the volunteers and workers were so kind and encouraging. I am so thankful for them helping me overcome so many fears. - Michael Ann

Thank you, to all the staff from In His Wakes Ministries for faithfully partnering with Mercy Ministries. We always look forward to having a blast under the sun and on the water with your talented team.

To learn more about this unique ministry, check out their website at http://www.inhiswakes.com.

Friday, July 8, 2011

EndSexTrafficking.com News and Updates

Brooklyn DA: Sex Trafficking Ring Broken Up After Slave Tips Off NYPD

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Four men were arrested Wednesday in connection with a brutal sex trafficking operation in Brooklyn after a 20-year-old woman bravely came forward after eight years as a sex slave, officials said.

The alleged victim was a vulnerable young girl from a good family who in 2003, at the age of 13, was raped by two men and forced to become a prostitute, officials said. The woman said she was beaten, stabbed and forced to sleep with homeless men when the proceeds she brought in weren’t perceived to be enough.

It began with Damien Crooks allegedly raping the girl in a neighborhood park, followed by a non-stop campaign of terror for the next eight years while the girl lived with her parents.

“Crooks would not let her go. He followed her. He threatened her. He showed up at her work and at school and through threats of physical abuse he continued to force her to have sex with numerous men, keeping all the money for himself,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.

READ MORE…


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Conference Call

If you want to learn even more about what you can do to help us end sex trafficking one victim at a time, join us for a free 30-minute conference call on Thursday, July 21 at 11:30 AM EST. We will be launching a new End Sex Trafficking initiative that includes our Freedom Teams. If you would like to be a part of a Freedom Team, go to www.endsextrafficking.com. For more information and to RSVP for the conference call, email kmontgomery@mercyministries.com.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Three More Lives Transformed in St. Louis!

The world tells hurting young women that the best they can hope for is to learn to cope with life-controlling issues. What God says all throughout His Word is that you can be healed, restored and free! Recent Mercy Ministries graduate, Sarah, testified to this truth, saying, “I came [to Mercy] hoping to learn to cope without using self-harm, but the Lord has given me complete freedom!” Sarah and two other amazing young women graduated from the St. Louis home last week with their lives transformed and hope restored. Here are their incredible stories:


Sarah

I was molested at the age of eight. When I was 15, my mom and two of my cousins died. I held in all the hurt and pain from these events and for emotional release, I self-harmed. I was always depressed and often thought about suicide. I heard about Mercy from a friend, and I knew the Lord had freedom for me, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has done an amazing transformation in my life. I came hoping to learn to cope without using self-harm, but the Lord has given me complete freedom! He has given me confidence and revealed His everlasting love for me!

After graduation, I plan to finish college, and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me. Mercy is an amazing program! God is definitely changing lives.


Kayla

I was physically, emotionally and sexually abused growing up and felt rejected and abandoned. My mother terminated her rights when I was 16, and I went to live with an adoptive family. I struggled with self-harm, an eating disorder and substance abuse as I tried to make the pain go away. I didn’t see a point to life and felt like I had lost everything. I heard about Mercy through a family friend, and I wanted a better relationship with God, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God totally transformed me. I’m not insecure because I have found my confidence and security in Him. I realized God chose me and loves me with no strings attached, and I can't do anything to lose that. He will never leave nor forsake me.

After graduation, I look forward to working as a nanny. I don't know where I would be today if I didn’t come to Mercy.


Nicole

I became a people pleaser and perfectionist at a young age and felt the need to be in control of everything. After moving a lot and having trouble adjusting, I fell into addiction and an eating disorder. Eventually, doctors diagnosed me with several disorders, and after many months in psychiatric hospitals, I was told I would probably live in one the rest of my life. I ended up getting into more trouble through the years and was sexually abused, raped and arrested four times. At the age of 25, I found myself in psychiatric care again. I knew I needed Mercy, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me that love and forgiveness is not a feeling but a choice, and regardless of how hard I work or mess up, it does not change how He feels about me. He finds me beautiful and captivating just the way I am. He has broken 26 years of bondage to perfectionism and people pleasing. When I took my eyes off myself, put them on Him and gave Him control, I realized I didn’t have to be afraid anymore. I found my identity in Christ and I know who I am and where I belong-with Him!

After graduation, I will be working and finishing my degree. I would like to get involved in helping children with special needs and inner city kids. I am also getting married next year! God is so good!


Congratulations Sarah, Kayla and Nicole! We are so proud of the courage and determination you have shown on this journey! We are cheering you on as you take hold of the abundant life God has for you!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom Is Not Free... But It Is Priceless – A Message From Our Founder And President

Happy Fourth of July! Here at Mercy Ministries, we would like to commemorate this Independence Day by sharing a special message of hope and freedom from our Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn:

As we celebrate our freedom as citizens of the United States of America, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those in our military who have served in the past or are currently serving. My dad has been in Heaven for over ten years now, but he is one of those people who helped protect our country and our freedom. We need to pray for those that are in harm’s way and to express gratitude for the privilege of living in such a wonderful nation.


There is no way that I can ever think about freedom without also talking about the freedom that is available to all of us through Jesus Christ. Even recently when I went to preach in the prisons in Texas, the theme of the whole weekend was that you can be in prison, but prison does not have to be in you. The inmates were so receptive to that message because they want to live with peace that passes all understanding and enjoy all that Christ died to give them, even inside the prison walls. I was so amazed by the abundance of gratitude they showed by the simple gesture of us giving them one of our books filled with Mercy testimonies. I could not help but be convicted and think about how those of us who live in the “free world” take so much for granted and fail to be grateful for even the smallest things. I hope that you will join me in taking time to thank God for the freedom that we share because of what Christ has done for us.


In closing, thank you for your support, because we are all about bringing freedom to people who have been held captive. Your support makes the way for freedom to be experienced – drug addicts, prostitutes, cutters, girls with eating disorders, victims of sex trafficking, the list goes on and on. Jesus Christ came to set the captives free, and your support makes a way for us to do just that. Thanks for all the thousands of lives that you have enabled us to bring this freedom to over the years, and thank you for all that you continue to do for us as we move ahead to help those who are still desperate for that freedom.


Praying for God’s protection over you today and that you have a wonderful holiday!

For more information about Nancy and to read her blog, go to www.nancyalcorn.com. You can also follow Nancy on Twitter @nancyalcorn as well as @mercyministries or on Facebook here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Transformed and Restored – Three More Amazing Mercy Graduates!

Alison, Ashley and Ceci all came through the doors of Mercy Ministries feeling completely rejected and worthless, with no idea of how to deal with the pain of the past. While at Mercy, they were transformed by the unconditional love of Christ and now have the tools to walk in freedom. Last week, family, friends, staff and residents gathered at the Nashville home for their graduation! Here are their incredible stories of healing and restoration:

Alison

My life before Mercy was a nightmare. I felt awful, hopeless and suicidal. I was miserable. When I was in the third grade, the mother of a family I was very close to said I was a “mistake,” and for no apparent reason, she rejected me and my family. I hid my feelings of rejection and began self-harming to cope with my pain. My sister graduated from Mercy, and I knew that everyone there was genuine and that the program worked. I was desperate for help and desired the same freedom my sister had, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has done things I never dreamed were possible. I have been completely transformed. I have a relationship with God and a restored family. I know that I am not a mistake, but my life is a testimony, and I have forgiven those who hurt me. I am so thankful because I wouldn’t be alive right now if I hadn’t come to Mercy.

I’m only 14, so after graduation, I will finish school. In the future I plan to go to college, and would like to become a teacher. I don’t know God’s plan me, but for now I will be living life and loving it. Thank you to Nancy and the Mercy staff. I will be forever grateful to you all and to God. This place is amazing!

Ashley

Before coming to Mercy, I had been in therapy and on medications since the age of five. I was physically, mentally and emotionally abused by a family member, and my parents divorced when I was about nine years old. I gained a lot of weight in elementary school, which led to kids teasing me. Then I met a friend in 5th grade who introduced me to pornography, self-harm and other self-destructive behaviors. Things got worse and when I was in ninth grade, I got kicked out of school for possession of alcohol. I had been in other programs, but nothing helped. I heard about Mercy from a family friend and decided to apply because I didn’t want to be angry and unhappy anymore.

While at Mercy, I learned that I am worthy and beautiful. God has shown me that I have a purpose, and I am a good daughter. I have learned that I don’t have to dwell on the past and that I am an overcomer.

After graduation, I am going to finish high school and hope to get a music scholarship for college.

Ceci

My life before Mercy was chaotic. I had no relationship with Jesus. I felt angry and bitter towards the world. I tried cutting, drugs and alcohol to help deal with the pain I endured from physical, sexual and verbal abuse. I was struggling with depression and wanted a change in my life. My aunt told me about Mercy, and I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has restored some of my family relationships. I no longer see myself as a victim. God has also taught me a lot about His character and how He is faithful, loving and just. He has walked alongside me through it all.

After graduation, I will finish high school and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me in my future. I love Mercy! The obedience of everyone involved has changed my life.


Congratulations ladies! We’ve seen your positive choices, growing faith and steady transformation and we are very proud of you and the commitment that you’ve shown. You are an amazing group of young women and we look forward to hearing all that God continues to do in you!