Monday, October 31, 2011

Mercy Grad Gives Back!!!

2008 Graduate Anumari
Anumari’s friends feared she would soon die from a severe eating disorder when they told her about Mercy Ministries. She was also over-exercising, self-harming to cope with her pain and struggling with depression. In April of 2008, Anumari graduated from the Mercy Ministries St. Louis home with her life completely transformed and her hope restored! Today, Anumari is living back in her homeland of Finland and is causing a ripple effect in her community and around the world.

Anumari faithfully gives to Mercy whenever she can, and her favorite way to donate is through sponsoring Mercy graduation rings. Upon graduation, each girl receives a special ring provided by Mercy Ministries. The rings are designed by Angie Will, another graduate of Mercy, and include three stones representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is also a large “M” surrounding the stones to serve as a reminder of the freedom and healing the young woman receives while at Mercy. Anumari’s ring is very important to her and a reminder that there are hurting young women out there who still need help. The cost of a ring is $55, and Anumari has purchased six rings for Mercy graduates so far!

We want to offer you the same opportunity to purchase a ring for a specific girl. Upon graduation, you will receive a hand written note along with a photo of the girl whose ring you purchased. It is such a blessing for each girl to know that someone specifically provided the ring she will proudly wear as a sign of her freedom!

You can even go a step further, and invest in the life of one girl specifically by becoming a Sponsor a Girl donor. All of the young women we serve come to Mercy Ministries completely free of charge. Compare that to the cost of secular rehabilitation programs that charge as much as $2000.00 per day, per individual. Equally as amazing is the fact that our actual cost is approximately $200 per day, per girl…just 10% of the cost of other programs.

Your gift of $200 each month will contribute to the care of a Mercy girl – from the biblical counseling and the staff who support her each day to all she needs including food, toiletries, bedding, towels, the facility itself and everything else that goes into providing a loving environment for her – all of the things that are so vital in helping her transform her life!

When you sign up to sponsor a girl, Mercy will send you the name of a resident to pray for specifically. As part of the overall program, you will receive quarterly email updates including key ministry information, Nancy Alcorn’s audio teachings and success stories of girls who you are supporting. You will also receive an invitation to a Mercy Ministries luncheon and a graduation at any of our homes. Every six months, you will receive the name of a new resident to pray for.

If you are interested in either purchasing a ring for one of our graduates and/or sponsoring a girl, please contact Kay Strom at 615-831-6987 or kstrom@mercyministries.com. Your personal investment in young women like Anumari produces a ripple effect that extends around the world and to future generations!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three More Amazing Stories of Hope Restored!

“Once I realized that I had a choice, I chose life. I am so excited about my future now.” – Martha

St. Louis and Nashville celebrated the graduation of three more amazing young women this week! Whether it is because of past abuse, abandonment or even growing up striving for perfection, the girls who come to Mercy have at some point in their lives lost all hope. The three young women who graduated this week have had their lives transformed and their hope restored by the unconditional love of Christ, and we want to share their incredible stories of healing and freedom:

St. Louis
 
Candace

Before coming to Mercy, I had not dealt with the physical and sexual abuse from my past. I was very distrustful of people, especially those in authority, and I allowed fear and secrecy to dictate my life. I had a horrible self-image and developed an eating disorder as a result. I also struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts and would isolate myself and not talk to anyone. I heard about Mercy at a Girls of Grace Conference where Nancy Alcorn spoke. I still thought I could help myself, but years later, I was still was struggling. I remembered hearing about Mercy, and I decided I wanted a new chance at life, so I applied.

While at Mercy, God has done such a work in my life. He’s revealed His relentless and unfailing love to me. He’s a good God, and will use all that I’ve been through for good. God has taught me so much about forgiveness and how to see things from His perspective. He’s also taught me so much about trust. Honestly, the things I’ve learned here have saved my life, and I am forever grateful to this ministry. I hope and pray that more homes can be opened so that more girls can receive help.

After graduation, I plan to finish college with a degree in criminology or sociology, and aspire to someday attend law school. I really want to work on the legislative side of the sex trafficking issues in America. I also plan to get involved at my church and give back to the community through some volunteer efforts.


Amy

I suffered physical and sexual abuse growing up and struggled to trust others since authority figures in my life abused or abandoned me. I also struggled with insecurity and control issues which led to an eating disorder. I suffered through some miscarriages and started having suicidal thoughts. All of this was causing problems in my marriage, and I was feeling completely hopeless. I heard about Mercy from my cousin, who is a graduate of the program. I knew that I needed a relationship with God, and I wanted to be a better mom for my children. I knew the program was free, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me unconditional love, and I know I can lean on him no matter what. I am no longer defined by my issues, and I know that I am beautiful and forgiven. I now have the tools I need to handle difficulties and problems in life. I also know that God can do anything, and I trust Him. Mercy has changed my life, and I have so much hope now! I would have died without Mercy’s help.

After graduation, I plan to go back to work, raise my three sons to be godly men and live my life for God.


Nashville
 
Martha

I was raised in a Christian home, but I started struggling with perfectionism at a very early age. I don't remember a day in my life when I didn't want to die. I started self-harming at age 11, and I attempted suicide for the first time at age 12. I had a huge fear of being alone and thought that controlling my outward appearance would be a good way to control whether or not people liked me. This eventually led to anorexia and bulimia around age 12. The eating disorder and self-harm got a lot worse in high school. I attempted suicide for the second time when I was 14 and for a third time at age 17. My counselor told me about Mercy in December of 2010, but I didn't think I really needed it. Then I met Kelly, a graduate from the Nashville home, and she really encouraged me to apply. I decided to apply because of her testimony.

When I arrived on May 20, 2011, my mindset was that I would prove to everyone that this doesn't work, but during my time here, God has completely brought me from death into life! I didn't believe that I had a future worth living for, but now I know I do. I can now look in the mirror and actually believe I'm beautiful. God has shown me that I don't have to punish my body by self-harming because His blood covers all my sin. I have also learned the power of words and how important it is to speak life over myself. Even though I still have negative thoughts, I no longer speak them out of my mouth. Once I realized that I had a choice, I chose life, and I decided to work the program like nobody else. I am so excited about my future now.



Congratulations Candace, Amy and Martha! We are so proud of you for choosing life in Christ! We look forward to all God has in store for you and know that as you share your story, you will bring hope to countless others!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Supporters Run for Mercy in Tennessee and Louisiana!

The weather was cool and crisp in Nashville last Saturday, just perfect for the 3rd Annual Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk. The event was a huge success with 855 participants, including some of our Nashville Mercy residents! All the girls cheered everyone on and were amazed at the outpouring of love and support from the Nashville community. Here’s what some of the girls had to say about this special day:

I loved being at the Run for Mercy 5k. It was amazing to see how many people were supporting us and encouraging us all throughout the day. I felt very blessed and so thankful! God is so faithful to all of us, and we are so thankful for all He has given us! - Danielle

It was fun to watch on the sidelines and cheer my Mercy sisters on! God is good and has provided so much for us! I’m so thankful for the people, organizations, and other ministries that support us. I’m definitely going to be participating next year! - Alyona

This was an awesome experience! I had a great time walking with my Mercy sisters. We laughed, talked, and had fun! It was cool to see all the people supporting us and their encouragement. It gave me a great feeling, and God showed Himself so much to me through the 5k. - Andrea

Mercy graduate, Jen, and her mom show their support
This was a very family friendly event with special activities for the kids including face painting, bounce houses and an exciting Kid’s Fun Run.



After the race, awards and door prizes were handed out, including a drawing for a free iPad. Our top fundraiser, David Houston, won an Apple gift card for his efforts.
Top Nashville fundraiser, David Houston

Lauren, a 2008 Mercy graduate, shared her amazing story of how her live was transformed while at Mercy ministries. Not only did her time at Mercy have a life-changing impact on her, but her entire family has been impacted and restored.
2008 Graduate, Lauren

Our special thanks to sponsors Exodus Health Center, Churchill Mortgage, Southwestern Investment Services and Monarch Landscaping for making this event possible. A total of $50,985 has been raised so far by our sponsors and participants, and if you missed this event, you can still help us reach our goal of $75,000 by going to www.runformercy.org and making a donation.

Check out this amazing video of race day done by The Funky Umbrella:


Nashville Mercy Run 5k 2011 from Funky Umbrella on Vimeo.

Runners, walkers, families with strollers and Mercy girls were also lining up in Monroe, Louisiana Saturday. This amazing community came out and showed their support in the first ever Monroe Run for Mercy 5K. The race was a big hit with 380 participants and a total of $26,897 raised. Mercy graduates came in from around the country to show their support and encourage our current residents. Many Mercy supporters travelled great distances to attend the event!

Recent Mercy graduate, Malorie, blessed the crowd with her beautiful singing prior to race time and afterwards shared her powerful story of how God saved her life through her coming to Mercy Ministries!

2011 Graduate, Malorie
Our special thanks to Lamar Advertising, William Rogers and Fit Right Active, LTD (Leadership Team Development), Louisiana Pain Care, the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, and the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women for sponsoring this event. Thanks also to AOPi Sorority for providing 30 volunteers to help the race run smoothly.

AOPi Sorority Volunteers
We would like to thank all of the many volunteers and staff who worked tirelessly to make both of these races successful. Whether you ran, walked, strolled or volunteered and cheered, you made a huge impact on the lives of the hurting young women we serve. Some of our residents were out on the course participating with you and others were cheering you on, but each one of them was so excited to get to see the love and sacrifice that was poured out by you for Mercy. Your support helps make the difference in the lives of so many hurting young women!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mercy Ministries Surprised With Prestigious Award!

Last week hundreds of people representing over 20 nations were in person at Vision International Church in Santa Rosa Beach, FL and thousands around the globe watched live via the internet to commemorate the 25th International Gathering of Apostles and Prophets (IGAP) Conference. This historic event was a time of celebrating the impact the Prophetic and Apostolic has had on the Body of Christ for the past 25 years. Mercy Ministries Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, and a few members of the Mercy staff attended the conference.

During the Wednesday evening service, Christian International Apostolic Network’s (CIAN) founder Bishop Bill Hamon, CIAN Directors Gale and Shelly Sheehan, and event hosts Pastors Tom and Jane Hamon of Vision Church took the stage to announce the ministry of the year in recognition of a Kingdom-based ministry of excellence. Much to Nancy Alcorn’s surprise, the announcement was made by this select group of leaders that Mercy Ministries was chosen as their global impact ministry of the year. The Hamons proceeded to invite Nancy to join them on stage as they took the time to show a new four-minute video highlighting the work of Mercy around the world. Then, they presented Nancy with a dozen roses in a beautiful engraved crystal vase along with an award plaque.

Gale Sheehan (left), Jane Hamon, Dr. Bill Hamon, and Tom Hamon present Nancy Alcorn with the award.

Shelly Sheehan, Jane Hamon, Dr. Bill Hamon and Tom Hamon congratulate Nancy


Dr. Bill Hamon and Nancy Alcorn

It was such an honor for Nancy to receive this incredible prestigious award on behalf of our entire staff and ministry. Here is a portion of what is inscribed on the plaque:

Christian International Apostolic Network presents the 2011 ministry of the year award to Mercy Ministries and Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn. This award is the recognition of a kingdom-based ministry of excellence with success in the transformation of lives, impartation of hope and restoration of destinies. May you continue to cause the light of Jesus Christ to overpower the darkness of the enemy in the lives of the girls around the world.

Our sincere gratitude to Bishop Bill Hamon and his wife Evelyn, Pastors Tom and Jane Hamon, and everyone at CIAN for this very special and meaningful award. The Hamons have been dear friends and generous supporters of Mercy Ministries for years and give generously of their time, pouring into the lives of our staff and residents through the teaching of God’s Word and personal ministry to each individual. We consider the Hamons to be honorary members of our staff and an extension of all that happens in this ministry.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Six More Graduates Celebrate Hope Restored!!!

“I decided I was ready for change and willing to do the work, so I decided to apply,” said recent graduate, Julie. The Mercy Ministries counseling model is Choices That Bring Change. Each young woman who comes to Mercy has made the brave choice to confront her issues head on and let God bring healing and restoration to her life. Six more amazing young women have had their lives transformed and graduated the program. Here are there amazing stories of hope restored:

Nashville

Julie

Growing up was difficult for me. I was born pre-mature and had Nephrotic syndrome (a kidney disorder). I was also bullied in school. I struggled with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I began to self-harm to cope with my pain. My mom heard about Mercy Ministries from one of her co-workers and told me about it. I was desperate and knew if I didn’t get help, I would probably kill myself. I decided I was ready for change and willing to do the work, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I was transparent with God and He started to change my heart. He uprooted a lot of the lies I believed when I was a child. God replaced my spirit of fear with a shield of faith, a spirit of shame and self-hate with a seed of love and compassion, and a seed of mistrust with trust in the Lord. I have learned how to just step into God's presence and glorify Him.

After graduation, I plan to go back to college and finish my degree in psychology. I am also looking forward to spending some time with my parents. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! God really met me here, and I am forever grateful!


Samita

I was sexually abused as a child and abandoned by my parents. Growing up, I struggled with depression and used anorexia, drug and alcohol addiction and self-harm to cope with my pain. I was completely broken when I heard about Mercy from a friend who worked there. I knew I needed healing, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I learned about God’s grace. He showed me His unconditional love for me and it transformed my life.

After graduation, I plan to finish nursing school. I want to tell the world about Jesus. Thank you to our donors for being obedient to God. I, along with countless others, am on the other side of your obedience and my life has forever been changed.


St. Louis

Abigail

Life before mercy was a blur of insanity. I was in one unhealthy relationship after another. I used drugs to cope with my pain and almost killed myself because I would try anything and everything people gave me. I used my body to get whatever I wanted, sleeping with any guy as long as he would give me a quick fix. At the age of 17, I came to a breaking point when I found myself pregnant. I had to choose between aborting my son, parenting him or placing him for adoption. I chose life and adoption. This was obviously the best choice for us, but it still tore me up inside. I heard about Mercy from a friend who graduated from the program. I wanted a life that was worth living, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has truly given me a whole new perspective on life. I no longer wake up wishing that I was dead. My time here at Mercy has been incredible, and God has shown up in huge ways. He has taught me that He is always with me. My faith has gone from being head knowledge to me truly knowing and believing it in my heart. I know that the change I feel inside me and that I see daily is real. God has given me the confidence to be able to trust Him as well as others.

After I graduate, I plan to work in either a children’s hospital or a nursing home.


Leah

I had a rough childhood. I had a verbally and emotionally abusive family member who put a major emphasis on my appearance and my performance. This person would point out every flaw on my body. I felt so unloved, broken and rejected. When my dad passed away, I was hurt and angry at God. I became obsessed with my weight, and wanting to be perfect. This led to anorexia and bulimia. The eating disorders completely controlled me and were my whole identity. I hated myself and had no hope. I felt like I had no voice and I carried so much shame and guilt that all I wanted to do was run and hide. I heard about Mercy from a friend and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me His love! I learned I am accepted and loved for who I am. I have been adopted by Jesus. I am free from the eating disorder and depression, and I have given God complete control of my life. I have been learning how to have balance in my life and enjoy everything God has given me. He has given me dreams, purpose and a second chance. I am forever thankful.

After graduation, I want to give people hope through my testimony! I also plan to go back to school and become an RN. I want to be a nurse while touching every life with the amazing love of Jesus. Thank God for Mercy! I love and thank Jesus for a second chance at life!


Lincoln

Sarah

Before coming to Mercy, I was a drug addict with no hope. I carried a lot of false responsibility for a friend’s death and I tried to numb my feelings with drugs. I became extremely depressed and sought comfort in unhealthy relationships. I heard about Mercy from my Mom and decided to look into it on the internet. I thought Mercy might be able to help me, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy I learned how much God loves me. I was completely set free from my issues and now desire to reach out and help others.

After graduation, I plan to go back to college and finish my degree in speech communications.


Nicole

Before coming to Mercy, I was consumed with depression. I was crippled by anxiety, acute paranoia and deep shame. I began to self-harm to cope with my pain. I was also in several unhealthy relationships. I heard about Mercy from a family friend, and I knew that my life-controlling issues were out of control, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has given me a deep peace and has taken away all my anxiety. He has shown me His love, and I no longer have the desire for unhealthy relationships. God is satisfying my longings for love and affirmation.

After graduation, I plan to find a job. I have a medical assistant degree and desire to work in the medical field.

Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you for making the choice to trust the Lord and follow His leading. He has amazing plans for you, and we look forward to seeing how he uses you to bring hope to your schools, communities and the world!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Unforgettable Message Of Hope From Marilyn Skinner

Marilyn Skinner, Watoto Ministries - Uganda
Living in grave danger, nearly losing her life on several occasions, and yet walking in faith to bring the love of Christ to the people of Uganda – this is Marilyn Skinner’s life story. The staff and residents still cannot stop talking about one of the most powerful messages of faith over fear given by Marilyn this week at the Nashville and Lincoln Mercy Ministries homes. Marilyn and her husband, Gary, moved to Uganda in 1980 to plant a church they believed God would use to restore hope to the nation. Corrupt and oppressive rulers had slaughtered their people in a ruthless war, leaving nearly a million people dead. Today, more than 17,000 people attend Watoto Church at one of 20 different services in 8 districts.

Through the years, the Skinner’s have answered God’s call again and again to bring hope to the Ugandan people, especially the orphans and widows affected by not only war, but the epidemic spread of AIDS. In 1994, Marilyn and her husband Gary founded Watoto Childcare Ministries in response to the millions of African children orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS. Watoto Child Care Ministries now cares for over 2,500 children who now live in families of eight with house moms.

In early 2008, Watoto Ministries committed to transforming the lives of 1,200 women in Kampala and 900 women in Gulu who have been abandoned or widowed. The target group is HIV positive single women, former abductees and teenage mothers. They provide residential care, medical care, counseling, discipleship and life-skills training. They also help provide plastic surgery for young women who have been brutally tortured. Watoto is also reaching out to help former child soldiers who have been the victims of war by providing them with counseling and training.

Mercy Ministries has had the privilege of financially supporting Watoto ministries through the construction of two homes for orphans, but in July, we actually sent a team to do the work! All 18 team members (2 staff and 16 graduates) raised the financial support to cover the cost of the first ever Mercy graduate mission trip as well as everything needed to build four classrooms for the children in Kampala. You can read all about it at www.mercygoestouganda.blogspot.com.  You can see a slide show of their trip below:



Marilyn speaking to the staff and residents
Marilyn Skinner is an amazing example of bringing restoration and hope to a world that has been brutalized by war, hate and violence. We were so honored to have her speak to our staff and residents and share her own personal stories of God’s life-saving and transforming power. Marilyn encouraged the girls to let their faith be greater than their fear and that love for Jesus and love for others is the most powerful catalyst for change. She reminded them that in every great movement in history, God used ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Here’s what some of the Nashville residents had to say about Marilyn’s teaching:

Wow, words can’t describe how impacting Marilyn was to me. She is an amazing woman of God, and He has given her an abundance of joy and passion. The desire for social justice rose up in me throughout the entire time she spoke. I truly feel that I am being called to a higher level with God both spiritually and physically. I plan to believe in God’s mighty power and authority for my own healing and redemption. - Michelle

This has been the most impacting, meaningful, and amazing speaker I have heard. I want the faith and passion for the Lord that she has. Her words just pierced me with how powerful the God we serve is. I serve such an amazing God, and He wants to use me in ways I can’t even imagine. - Rebekah

Wow, I don’t even know how to put in words how impacted I was by this message. It was so powerful and God definitely spoke to me. This message was so encouraging, and Marilyn is most definitely one of my favorite speakers so far! - Alyona

Thank you, Marilyn, for your incredible, life-changing message of faith and love. You are truly an inspiration and role model for our girls to know that with God, they can not only have their lives transformed, but they can take that hope out into the world and make a difference for the kingdom! You are a world-changer and we’re honored to partner with you and Watoto Ministries.

Marilyn talking with our residents

Nancy Alcorn and Marilyn Skinner

Monday, October 17, 2011

Great Things Ahead At Mercy Ministries – Be There!!!

We have so many exciting things going on this fall, and we don’t want you to miss out on the fun! We will be hosting a Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk in Nashville, TN and Monroe, LA this weekend and it’s not too late to sign up. More than 900 people registered for the Nashville event last year and this year we hope to see more than 1,000 runners, walkers and virtual runners! This will be the first time for a Run for Mercy 5K in Monroe, LA, so come on out, show your support and join the fun!

If we don’t have a race in your area, you can participate from anywhere as a virtual runner, or better yet, host your own 5K and help spread the message of Mercy! To register for a race, go to www.runformercy.com, and if you would like information about hosting your own race, contact Amy Lentz at (615)831-6987 ext. 1126 or alentz@mercyministries.com.

As December approaches, we look forward to one of our biggest fundraisers, the Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit. On Thursday, December 1st, we will kick off the holiday season in Nashville at the beautiful Renaissance Nashville Hotel. Guests will enjoy an amazing gourmet dinner and participate in a silent auction to raise money for Mercy Ministries. Travel packages, sports memorabilia, jewelry, artwork and gift baskets will go to the highest bidders of the night. Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, will be speaking at the event and entertainment will be provided by American Idol Finalist, Melinda Doolittle!

Then, on Sunday, December 4th, Merry Mercy moves to Charlotte, NC and the famous Palm Restaurant. This will be an amazing time to hear straight from several Mercy graduates who have been rescued from death and darkness and had their lives transformed by the love of Christ. Finally, on Wednesday, December 7th, we will wrap things up with our first ever Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit in St. Louis, MO at the 9th Street Abbey in Historic Soulard. Again, guests will have the opportunity to bid on some amazing auction items to benefit Mercy and help hurting young women have hope for the future.

To register for any of our Merry Mercy events, go to www.mercyministries.org/HowToHelp/Events. If you are unable to come but have an item you would like to donate for the auction, please contact Ali Howard at (615)831-6987 or ahoward@mercyministries.com. To see some highlights from last year’s events, type in “Run for Mercy” or “Merry Mercy” in the search box to the left and click on “Go.”

We are excited about all that is going on in the coming months, and we hope you will partner with us to help more girls experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and life-transforming power! Please pray about your part in these events and that God would touch people’s hearts to help with our current financial needs. We look forward to seeing you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Four More Graduates Celebrate Freedom and Restoration!

Miracles are happening every day at Mercy Ministries as hurting girls experience God’s life-transforming power. Four more amazing young women recently celebrated their healing and freedom as they graduated from the St. Louis home and we wanted to share their miraculous stories of restoration with you. “If He can save me, He can save anyone,” said recent graduate Emily…


Emily

My parents got divorced when I was two, and my older sister and I lived with my mom. My mom got remarried when I was three, but my life was chaotic, and I was constantly walking on eggshells. When I was about five years old, a family friend began abusing me. As I grew older I was also picked on a lot at school. In the seventh grade, I started a cycle of eating disorders, self-harm and substance abuse. I just barely made it through high school when my stepfather tried to commit suicide. While he was in the hospital in a coma, I got high at a friend’s house, and her brother took advantage of me, leaving me with a lot of shame. I looked online for free residential programs that might be able to help me and found Mercy, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I learned that He is bigger than I could ever imagine - even bigger than my doubts. He is my strong defender when I am weak. My God is an awesome God. If He can save me, He can save anyone.

After graduation, I want to help and support young girls in my community who are struggling and don’t know where to turn. I want to point them to Jesus.

Cassie

Throughout my childhood, my mom was very sick and was constantly in and out of hospitals. I started looking outside of my home to meet my emotional needs. I also started cutting at the age of 12 as an escape. I eventually fell into an inappropriate relationship with a coach when I was 15 and thought I had found the love and support that I was looking for. Then one night at a party, I was raped by four guys from my school. I was in and out of unhealthy relationships over the next 6 years and found myself spiraling deeper into depression. I turned to alcohol, drugs, self-harm and restriction of food to escape the hurt I had experienced. A counselor told me about Mercy, and when a friend mentioned it a second time, I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has literally pulled me out of the pit that I was in and has set my feet upon His firm foundation. Mercy Ministries and the staff at the St. Louis home showed me the love of God in action, and His love has truly transformed my life and set me free! The more I learn about Him, the more the desires of my heart begin to change. He has shown me who I am in Christ and that I don’t have to hate myself or anyone else for the things that happened. He has shown me His goodness and that He is a God who loves me and truly wants what is best for me. He has freed me from depression, the desire to hurt myself through self-harm, drugs and alcohol and struggles with food. God has filled my heart with the desire to live for Him and share with others who He really is and what He wants to do for them!

After graduation, I hope to find a job working with kids and go back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree in sports management with a minor in coaching. I hope to use my platform in athletics to share God’s good news!


Chelsee

My father passed away when I was 15 years old, and I was never really able to process my feelings about his death. I didn’t want to feel anything at all, and I found that using drugs would temporarily do away with all my hurts. I held on to unforgiveness and anger from my past and the drug use quickly became a full-on addiction. I started selling myself for drugs and money. Soon, I was struggling with depression and lost the will to live. I heard about Mercy from my probation officer. Nothing I had tried in the past had worked, and I couldn’t afford to pay to get help, so I decided to apply to Mercy’s free-of-charge program.

Before I arrived at Mercy, I was angry at God and blamed Him for all the things that had occurred in my past. Not only has He completely transformed my life while at Mercy, but He has made Himself real to me for the first time. I’ve really taken hold of his promises and gotten into His word to find out who HE says I am.

After graduation, I plan to start working full-time while I save up for school. I want to pursue degrees in biology and psychology. Eventually, I would love to work in the medical field and go on mission trips with teams to Africa and help HIV victims. I also plan to get involved in my church and begin attending a local Bible study.


Whitney

I was sexually abused on a regular basis between the ages of 9 and 11. My life was completely out of control. Growing up, I was bullied and teased a lot by my classmates. I became extremely depressed and started cutting myself on a regular basis. I often had flashbacks and nightmares of the past abuse. After just three months in college, I had to quit because I was so depressed and suicidal. Then I started an inappropriate relationship with a married man who introduced me to pornography. His wife found out about us, and our relationship ended. I hated myself for what I had done. I heard about Mercy from a friend, and deep down I knew that God was the only one who could save me, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God showed me that the past is the past. He has forgiven me for what I have done and chooses not to remember it anymore. I have learned how to forgive myself and love myself because God has forgiven me. I’ve also learned that I am valuable, and I have a voice. I now have peace and joy that I have never had before.

After graduation, I will be working full-time to save money for college and pursuing either a career in missions or working with kids. Mercy has completely changed my life. I honestly don’t think I would still be alive if it wasn’t for what I learned here.


Congratulations Emily, Cassie, Chelsee and Whitney! It is incredible to see how your lives have truly been transformed! We are so excited to see where the Lord will take you in this next season of your life as you trust and rely on Him!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mercy Graduates Give Back – This Week on Mercy Multiplied!

One of the most exciting things about the work being done at Mercy Ministries is seeing our graduates go out into their communities confident, excited and living for God. Many of them go on to share the love of Christ to the far reaches of the world. Some of our amazing graduates are even giving back by joining the staff of Mercy Ministries!

These amazing graduate-turned-staff members will be the topic of our next Mercy Multiplied live radio show. Tune in this Sunday from 6:00-7:00pm CST (7:00-8:00pm EST) to hear from two Mercy graduates who joined our staff and are now helping other girls who are hurting and desperate for freedom, just as they once were.

Mercy Graduate, Lindsay
Joining us will be Lindsay, a graduate who now serves on Mercy Ministries’ staff in Monroe, Louisiana. Lindsay had lost all hope, was cutting and eventually became suicidal. While at Mercy, Lindsay learned about the love of God and that He had a plan and purpose for her life. Her hope was restored, and she is now paying it forward by serving as the Household Manager at our home in Monroe. Here is what she had to say about working at Mercy:

"I was bound by depression, self-harm and a desire to die, but while at Mercy, I met Jesus who saved me and set me free. Now I get to serve Him by working at Mercy and helping other hurting girls find the same freedom I found in Christ!"


Mercy Graduate, Jen
We will also be talking to Mercy graduate, Jen. When Jen came to Mercy as a resident, she had deep, emotional wounds from sexual and physical abuse. To escape the pain and feelings of rejection and abandonment, she began to self-harm and became suicidal. While at Mercy, Jen learned that she was loved and valued by God, and she was completely restored to wholeness. Jen now serves on our Nashville staff as a residential assistant. We are so proud and so honored to have these incredible young women on our staff.

This Sunday, you can call in to 1-855-MercyLive (1-855-637-2954) speak to our graduates, share your own personal story or ask questions about how to find freedom from life-controlling issues.

Be sure to join us each Sunday evening from 6:00-7:00pm CST (7:00-8:00pm EST)! You can listen to the show on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, or tune in across the country by going to www.mercymultiplied.com. You can even download a free app for your iPhone or Droid by searching for KXEN 1010AM in the app store, and hear the live show wherever you go!

If you miss the live show, you can always download the podcast from any of our episodes at www.mercymultiplied.com. For information about how you can be a sponsor for the show, contact Eve Annunziato at 615-831-6987 or mercymultiplied@gmail.com. We hope you will join us!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Six More Amazing Stories Of Hope and Freedom!

So often, the hurting young women who come to Mercy Ministries have tried to find freedom from their life-controlling issues by relying on their own strength and failed, leaving them hopeless and full of despair. When they come to Mercy, they experience God’s unconditional love and transforming power, and their lives are forever changed. “I feel like I’m alive for the first time!” said recent graduate, Kristina. Kristina and five more amazing young women recently celebrated graduation in Monroe and St. Louis and now have hope for the future. We wanted to share their powerful stories of freedom with you:


Monroe

Jodee

Before coming to Mercy, I was struggling with depression and anger as a result of sexual abuse. My whole day would be spent idly passing time, doing nothing constructive. I also became very promiscuous, wanting to please others and get their attention. I dug myself into a pit I couldn’t get out of. My counselor told me about Mercy, and I wanted help, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy I learned to see God and myself in a new way. I am so thankful for the staff not giving up on me at times when I was difficult. I’m so grateful to have a relationship with the one true God.

After graduation, I plan to get involved in ministry through my church. I will also be attending college and pursuing a degree in music. I will continue to pray for God’s favor toward Mercy Ministries, and I will be recommending Mercy to other hurting girls.

Heather

Before coming to Mercy, my life was spiraling out of control. I was very depressed and using alcohol and self-harm to cope with my pain. I was also secretly struggling with an eating disorder. I was filled with so much shame and had no hope of things ever changing. Many days I prayed for God to just let me die. In July of 2010, Nancy Alcorn came to my church and spoke at a women’s conference. I wanted help, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God opened my eyes to His love for me. For the first time in my life, I believe that God loves me and there is nothing I have ever done or will do that will stop Him from loving me. I am no longer filled with shame, because I know I am a new creation in Christ. I am unconditionally loved, protected and delighted in by a loving Heavenly Father who has amazing plans for my life.

After graduating from Mercy, I plan to get involved in my church and spend lots of time with my daughter. I also plan to apply to college. I look forward to following after God. Thank you to Nancy and Mercy’s staff, volunteers and supporters for allowing God to use you in this process of transforming my life! I am forever grateful and truly blessed!


Jessica

I grew up in a Christian home, and my family was very involved in our church. I constantly heard about the love of God, but I was also being sexually abused regularly. I believed I was too worthless, damaged and ugly to be truly loved by God or people. After being raped and molested again in my early teens, I became very angry and was determined to feel in control. I began partying, drinking, doing drugs, stealing, cutting and being promiscuous. I was in and out of unhealthy relationships, and by age 17, my obsession with my appearance and my desire for control led to severe anorexia and bulimia. Eventually, I became suicidal and was in and out of rehabilitation centers, hospitals and psychiatric wards. After my second suicide attempt, a graduate of Mercy who was on staff at my school told me about Mercy. I had accumulated tons of medical bills and couldn’t afford to go to another facility that cost money and only taught me to modify my behavior. I needed a free, safe place to deal with the roots of my problems. I knew Mercy would help me deal with the real hurt and anger at the root of my issues, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God took the lies I once believed and exchanged them for the truth. He took everything I thought I knew and redefined it. As I let go of the shame that previously kept me from experiencing His love, He proved to be trustworthy. God has revealed my purpose and taught me about true beauty and value in Christ. His truth has truly set me free.

After graduation, I plan to return home and finish Bible College. Eventually, I would like to work in full-time ministry and help women who struggle in the same areas I did. I would like to help women overcome their issues as they experience the love of God and the freedom in having a relationship with Him. Mercy has been such an amazing journey. I am truly grateful!


Kristina

I was raised in a dysfunctional home and did not know about Jesus. I was sexually abused by a family member and found comfort in eating disorder behaviors and self-harm. The only healthy outlet I had was academics, but after I was raped on campus during my first week of college, that world was shattered. The eating disorder behaviors escalated, and I attempted suicide. I was in and out of expensive treatment centers, but they all failed to get to the root of my issues. I was out of money and out of hope when I heard about Mercy from the family of another patient in secular treatment. I was desperate for change and knew I needed help that could only be found in Christ, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God showed me what a loving father looks like. I know that He died for ME and my sin is forgiven. I am now able to forgive my past offenders, and I am on fire for God. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced, and I love it!

After graduation, I’m returning home to be with my husband. I plan to volunteer and teach English as a second language. I also want to get more involved with my church, and I dream of one day having children. I am so glad I came to Mercy and feel so blessed for being given the opportunity. My whole life has been transformed. I feel like I’m alive for the first time!


Sarah

Before coming to Mercy, I was angry with people and even angrier with God. I had been severely hurt and betrayed by people in the church multiple times. I figured if God’s people hurt me, I didn’t want anything to do with God. My weight was always an issue growing up, and my doctors put me on several diets. This is where the root of my struggle with an eating disorder began. Later, I became very depressed and was failing out of college. I knew if something didn’t change, I would die. When I mentioned on my blog that I needed a free program that could help me, a girl commented and told me about Mercy Ministries. I’d tried to overcome many times on my own, but I couldn’t do it, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I have experienced God’s true character, and I now know that He loves me. I’ve learned that I have a choice; I don’t have to live in shame and guilt, because my Heavenly Father has cleansed me.

After graduation, I plan to go back to school and continue pursuing a degree in psychology. Eventually, I’d like to become a psychologist and help hurting young women.


St. Louis

Amanda

My life before Mercy was a juggling act. I wore so many different masks to hide who I truly was and to satisfy the people around me. I hid all of my struggles, thinking that it was weak to show them. I was angry and bitter about moving so many times growing up, and I craved the attention of others. I also never dealt with the grief and emotions of my mom’s death. Soon, I began cutting to deal with the pain I was feeling and had thoughts of suicide. I became promiscuous, and I hated myself. A family member found Mercy Ministries while searching online and told me about it. I had reached a point where I felt I had nothing left and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God helped me remove my masks and be honest about who I am and how I’m doing. I see now that I don’t have to pretend to be perfect, because none of us are. God loves me despite my imperfections and through my failings. I don’t need to perform or put on an act to be loved by Him.

After graduation, I plan to go to college and study business management and journalism. I am also interested in fashion and would love to one day start a Christian teen girls’ magazine.



Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you and excited to see what amazing things God has in store for you. Your stories will bring hope to so many hurting young girls, and we know God will use you in a powerful way.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Mercy Vision Spreads In Tennessee and Louisiana!

The dining room of the beautiful Historic News-Star Building in Monroe, Louisiana was filled with 150 guests who came to hear about the work being done at Mercy Ministries. Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, shared her heart for Louisiana, the location of the very first Mercy home, and her vision for the future of Mercy Ministries. To illustrate her desire to help more hurting young women have their lives transformed and hope restored, Nancy shared the powerful story of 2010 graduate, Priscilla. You can hear her amazing story firsthand, by clicking here.

Nancy Alcorn

Recent graduate, Becca, then shared her testimony of redemption and finding her identity in Christ while at Mercy. As a child, she was raped by a family member and abandoned by her mother. She was later adopted into a loving family, but struggled through the years with self-harm, drug addiction and promiscuity to cope with the pain of her past. While at Mercy, Becca discovered the redeeming love of Christ and learned to forgive those who hurt her in the past. She concluded by honoring her adoptive parents for loving her unconditionally through difficult times.

Recent graduate, Becca

Guests also heard the compelling story of transformation from graduate, Lindsay. Before coming to Mercy, Lindsay had lost all hope, was cutting and eventually became suicidal. While at Mercy, God showed her that the blood she was shedding in self-harm was a counterfeit solution and that the blood of Jesus had already been shed for her freedom. Lindsay is now paying it forward by serving on our staff in Monroe as the Household Manager.

Lindsay, Nancy and Becca

Sherry, a 1989 Mercy graduate, also spoke about how Nancy’s obedience to God’s calling to open the Monroe home in 1983 saved her life! Sherry is now a passionate Mercy donor and challenged everyone to give generously to help bring hope and freedom to hurting young women.

Sherry

Our special thanks to Susan and Hardeman Cordell, Hardeman, Jr. and Misti Cordell of Central Oil and Gas and to Dee and Dr. John Ledbetter for sponsoring this memorable evening of Mercy.

Thanks to photographer Jordan Smith, for donating her services and to Olivia Remsberg and Eric Welch for providing the music. We would also like to thank Aramark of Monroe for a wonderful dinner and Rick Ponthieux for providing audio and video for the evening.

Last week at the Nashville home, 30 guests attended the Friends of Mercy Luncheon and enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by our residents.



Current Nashville resident, Monica, then spoke about growing up in a Hindu family of the highest caste and the strain it put on her relationship with her parents when she gave her life to Christ. Monica struggled with knowing her family was ashamed of her faith in Christ and began self-harming in her teen years to cope with the pain of an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. She was excited to share how she is now being restored to wholeness at Mercy and looks forward to using the tools she has learned to fulfill God’s purpose for her life.

Mercy graduate, Jen, shared her story of the deep emotional wounds from sexual and physical abuse. To escape the pain and feelings of rejection and abandonment, she began to self-harm and became suicidal. While at Mercy, Jen learned that she was loved and valued by God and was completely restored to wholeness. Jen now serves on our Nashville staff as a residential assistant and is helping girls who are struggling just as she once was.

Jen (left) and Monica

Nashville Community Board Co-chair, Teresa Epps, finished the luncheon by sharing her passion for Mercy Ministries and encouraged everyone to partner with us to help more hurting young women have hope and a future.

We are so grateful for all those who have faithfully supported Mercy Ministries throughout the years as well as our new friends who embrace the vision and make a commitment give. Your support is essential to seeing the lives of hurting women transformed and restored! To learn more about how you can partner with Mercy Ministries, go to www.mercyministries.com and check out our upcoming events. Here are some more photos from these memorable events:






Nashville Community Relations Manager, Amy Lentz

Nashville Community Board Member, Teresa Epps