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!