Monday, March 30, 2009

Joel Osteen Partners with Mercy Ministries through Signature American Greetings Card Series

I just got back from Australia last night, so today I am having a day at home catching up on paperwork and getting over jet lag!! I have some very exciting news to tell you! America’s oldest greeting card company, American Greetings, has just released a new line of Joel Osteen-inspired Easter cards that will allow people to share Joel’s message of faith and optimism, and also support Mercy Ministries in the process. Joel has committed to give 100% of the proceeds from these greeting cards, as well as all greeting cards that will be released in the future, to the work of Mercy Ministries in the U.S. Along with the six Easter cards that can already be found in Wal-Mart stores, there will also be cards released Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and everyday cards will be released in the Fall. Plans are that these future cards will be available in all outlets where American Greeting cards are sold. We went out and bought a set of all six cards that were just released. They are really, really cool. You will love them. Check them out for yourself!

By the way, speaking of the Osteen’s, Joel and Victoria will be featured TONIGHT on The Sean Hannity Show on the Fox News Network at 8:00 pm CST. We are so thankful for our close friends and associates, and for their heart of generosity to bless the work of Mercy Ministries in this nation.

Nancy Alcorn pictured with Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen
Pictured with Joel and Victoria Osteen at the groundbreaking
for our Sacramento home

Friday, March 27, 2009

Support Comes from the Coolest Places!

I just received this letter in the mail from a young girl, along with a $60 contribution to Mercy Ministries. I thought it was too cool not to share…
Dear Mercy Ministries of America,

Last month my family and I participated in a home-school craft sale. We chose to give one half of our profits to Mercy Ministries. While we were there a lady approached me and asked for more information about Mercy Ministries. After I finished telling her about Mercy Ministries of America her face just seemed to light up and she looked at me and said, “I have a close friend that has a daughter who is going through some really tough times and this might be just the thing for her!” After that she said goodbye and left.

I was so excited that God used all of you at Mercy Ministries through me! I am also glad that Mercy Ministries can reach so many hurting girls like this one. I have also enclosed one half of our proceeds and a little extra too. I know that God will use this money and put it where it needs to go! Thank you so much and God bless all of you tremendously!

God Bless,
Kathryn


We never cease to be amazed at how God provides and how He uses Mercy Ministries to touch hearts and change lives. We call it the ripple effect. As young women’s lives are transformed by the love and power of Jesus Christ, they go on to impact their families, friends, and communities. This young girl, Kathryn, was eager to be a mouthpiece for Mercy and in doing so, she offered hope to another girl in desperate need of freedom. It is so exciting to watch God work through His people in so many different ways.

I also hope this encourages you as much as it did me. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Victoria Osteen Supports Mercy Ministries

At Mercy Ministries, we deeply value all the relationships with different people who has God connected us with for His purposes. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” On the path of life, God places amazing people along the journey for us to meet and connect with. The entire Osteen family has been one of those God connections for me and Mercy Ministries. Check out the devotional below by Victoria Osteen.

Words of LIFE: "Opportunities" with Victoria Osteen

This devotional comes from Victoria's book:
Love Your Life

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on….” (Philippians 3:13-14)

When I look back over my life, I can see where I’ve missed out on some God-given opportunities. Maybe you are saying the same thing. If so, I want to encourage you: Don’t live in regret. Don’t let lost opportunities make you feel disappointed and discouraged. God is bigger than your lost opportunities. He can still get you where you need to go in life.

Everyone has missed opportunities to do something good, help somebody or go to the next level in one’s career. For one reason or another, we’ve allowed that opportunity to slip through our fingers. But let bygones be bygones; don’t get trapped in the past. Don’t allow yourself to focus on the things you’ve missed or could have done better. Allow Him to bring back any opportunities that you may have missed.

Joel’s sister, Lisa, and her husband, Kevin, tried for years to have children, but Lisa was not able to conceive. She went through all the fertility treatments and even several surgeries, but still…no baby. Finally the doctor told Lisa there was nothing more he could do; they weren’t going to be able to have children. Lisa and Kevin were devastated. It looked like their dreams had died, but God always has a plan. One day out of the blue Lisa received a call from Nancy Alcorn of Mercy Ministries, a home for at-risk young women based in Nashville.

“Lisa, I normally wouldn’t do this,” Nancy said, “but we have a young woman who is about to give birth to twin girls and we were wondering if you and Kevin might be interested in adopting them.”

Lisa and Kevin had not yet considered adoption since they were still hoping to have children naturally, but suddenly Lisa’s interest was piqued.

“There’s only one problem,” Nancy said. “I know you and Kevin have most of the qualifications that the birth mother wants for the adoptive parents, but she also has a stipulation that her babies should be placed in a family with twins in their background.”

Nancy had no idea that Kevin had a twin sister, and as soon as she said that, something inside Lisa’s heart confirmed this was a “God opportunity.” A few months later, Lisa and Kevin adopted those twin baby girls and then, three years later, they adopted another “Mercy” baby boy.

God gave Lisa and Kevin three children they could not have naturally. Their hearts were open for what God wanted to do in their lives even though it wasn’t the way they first anticipated. God gave them another opportunity to be the parents they desired to be. They could have just as easily given up and closed their minds, but they didn’t. They remained open and God brought back that opportunity in a different way.

You may be thinking you’ve wasted years of your life in the wrong career or associating with the wrong people. You may think that it has been too long, you’ve been through too much, and you’re never going to see those new seasons of increase. But I believe God is saying to us today, “I can restore the years that you’ve lost.” (Joel 2:25)

The same God who gave Lisa and Kevin three beautiful children can make up for your lost time. He may not always do so in the way you are expecting, but open your heart and mind to the possibilities. Be ready to embrace the opportunities that God will bring across your path. As you do, you’ll rise higher and higher and you will love your life the way God intends.

This Week
Ask God to give you back every opportunity that you’ve missed. Focus on God’s ability to restore dreams, plans and goals.

Prayer
“Lord, I know you can resurrect dead dreams and that you have a way to bring them about. Thank you for restoring those dreams and desires to me. Thank you for working a restoration in my life as I walk in faith in you.”

(Reproduction of this devotional is used with written consent from Life Outreach International
.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Graduates Unite Through Mercy Ring

We continue to be so proud of our graduates. They leave here and go on with their lives to do great things; however, they always remain a part of the Mercy family. I just got this update and wanted to share the good news!

Hi Nancy! I am not sure if you remember me, but my name is Lindsay and I am a Nashville Mercy graduate. I came into the program in 2003 for an eating disorder and graduated in 2004. Today, I am a senior at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach and am about to graduate from nursing school! God is amazing! In fact, I am coming up to Nashville over Spring Break because I applied for a position in a nurse residency program at Vanderbilt Medical Center, and they invited me up for an interview. If I get the position, I will be moving to Nashville in June! I am going to be staying with Michele and Christina (both Mercy graduates) while I am there. I actually go to school with Christina – can you believe that we met because she recognized my Mercy ring and she knew that we had something in common?! I know that I definitely want to come visit the Nashville home while I am up visiting and I know Christina would like to come with me. I am so excited to visit! So glad to be in touch with you!

God bless!
Lindsay
Lindsay and Christina on their visit to Mercy Ministries in Nashville

Isn't it cool how God orders our steps and directs our paths? I love hearing how these girls connected and became great friends because Christina recognized Lindsay's Mercy ring - a special ring that each girl is given on her graduation day. The Mercy ring (pictured to the right) was designed by a Mercy graduate from 1989, who is now a designer of jewelry. She hand makes every Mercy ring, and also includes a personalized inscription on each one. The three stones represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and they are separated by an “M” that represents the Mercy of God. I hope this encourages you to stay open to divine connections that God may have in store for you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

To All My Friends and Supporters,

Sometimes I wish that I could have each and every one of you come and spend a week with us at Mercy so you would fully understand the amazing things that happen in the hearts and lives of the girls we serve. I just received a letter from Kendyl’s mom, a recent graduate of Mercy Ministries, that really touched my heart. When Kendyl walked through the doors of Mercy, she felt so hopeless. Today she is a completely changed young woman who is ready to face her future head on. It’s one thing for one of the girls to write and say how great the changes in her life are, but it is all together different when one of the parents can attest to the fact that their daughter is completely and totally new. I just received this letter and wanted to share it with you. Hope you are encouraged by it, and that you have a great weekend.

Mercy Staff,

There is no way to thank you enough for all you have done for my daughter, Kendyl, and our family. God used your ministry to change the course of her life and I still stand in awe. To know where she was and to see her now is so incredible. When I found this program through Joyce Meyer, my friends and family thought I was putting all my faith in it. I was putting all my faith in a life-changing God and He came through using Mercy Ministries. No amount of thanks or money could ever repay my gratitude, but we did become Mercy partners in January!! Keep up the Lord’s work! You are awesome!

--Julie Jackson


Kendyl's mom, Julie, and step-dad

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mercy Ministries Graduate Now on Staff

I just received a hand-written card in the mail from Katie Johanson, who graduated from the Nashville home in October of 2003. Katie went on to attend Oral Roberts University for four years and graduated in May of 2008 with a degree in Communications and Psychology. Katie applied for a Residential Assistant position with Mercy Ministries at our St. Louis location, and was hired effective February 16, 2009. We are so proud and so honored to have her on our staff. It means so much to know that she is also proud and honored to be a part of our staff, as reflected in this hand-written note. I have received Katie’s permission to share this with you.

As a point of reference, Katie sank into a deep depression and eating disorder during her teen years. She was taken to the best doctors, nutritionists, therapists, and psychiatrists in the country and was put on numerous medications, yet continued to grow worse. After a serious suicide attempt, her parents were desperate and wanted to find help and explore every option available. Katie’s mom’s search led her to the Mercy Ministries website. As she read the stories of girls who had been transformed, healed, and restored, she knew in her heart that Mercy Ministries was the place for Katie to go. The rest is history.

Now, six years later, Katie is sharing in her own words. Here are her words received on Monday, March 16th.
Nancy,

Just a reminder that you are loved and appreciated. I am reminded daily of the blessing of Mercy in my life and in the lives of others. I can’t believe 6 years ago, I was a resident in Nashville and now I have the honor of working in the St. Louis home as night staff. I enjoy going to work each night and witnessing God actively working miracles in the lives of others. Thank you, Nancy, for your sacrifices and for your desire to see changed lives. I love life, and I thank the Lord for you and the staff and the role Mercy Ministries has played in my healing.
I speak His blessings over you and pray you are daily reminded of His love for you! I love and respect you so very much.

Love,

Katie

For anyone who is out there hurting and without hope, I pray that Katie’s story of overcoming will be an inspiration to you in whatever it is that you are facing. May God meet you right where you are, and may His love and compassion bring about an eternal change in your life.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mercy Ministries California
– Coming Soon!!!

I wanted to let everyone know that we are getting very close to the official opening of the new home in the Sacramento area – we are so excited!!! We hosted a fundraiser at the home last night, and we had such a great time. Three graduates from the California area shared their stories, and everyone was so moved. I thought you might enjoy getting a glimpse of the new home and our special event there last night. I also thought you might like to hear from these three awesome young women…check it out!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kingdom Connections

I just got the coolest letter in the mail today from a young girl who graduated high school last May in Wisconsin. She actually learned about us on Natalie Grant’s website and then later on decided to go back and check us out online. Today she sent me this awesome letter with a $100 contribution, and I just wanted to share it with you. I was so moved by her letter that I asked my assistant to contact her to email some pictures so that we could put a face with the name.

I never cease to be amazed at how the Holy Spirit will connect people for Kingdom purposes. I hope this will encourage you to reach out to those you believe you have been divinely connected with. Have a great weekend.

Dear Ms. Alcorn,

I sincerely would like to thank you, your staff, and volunteers for all of the wonderful work that you do with all of the Mercy girls. I know that both the girls and their families are extremely blessed by your work, your faith, and most importantly your Savior.

About a month ago, I came across your link on Natalie Grant’s website. I had seen it before, but I had never paid much attention to it. This time, however, I was overcome with curiosity and I explored your site. I ordered your books and I can’t begin to describe how much of an impact they have made on my life. They have been such a blessing to me as I am seeking God’s will for my life after high school. The Father has been showing me, for over a year now, what true unconditional love is through different people and His Word. I am so grateful that you took the time and energy to write “Echoes of Mercy.” I was completely overwhelmed by the work that Jesus Christ did and continues to do through you because you decided to allow Him to use you. His Spirit is so radiant within you. I thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving you this vision and allowing you to have the patience, grace, love, and strength to carry it out.

May God the Father continue to bless you and His ministry to these young women. Continue always to walk in His ways.

In Christ,

Lauryssa

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Natalie Grant Visits Mercy Ministries

We had a great time with Natalie Grant last week. She came and did a special concert for our girls and staff. I thought you would love to hear about it from her perspective so I am including a link to her own personal blog entry about that day. Check it out. Natalie Grant is a faithful friend and a huge blessing to Mercy Ministries. After reading her blog, feel free to post a comment thanking her for all she does for Mercy Ministries!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mercy Ministries Girls from Around the Globe

Sometimes I think I am the most blessed person in the world getting to do what I do on a daily basis. I get messages from girls all over the world almost daily updating me on their lives and telling me how Mercy Ministries changed their life. Recently, I have heard from several girls that represent the different Mercy homes in all of the different countries who just have a great report about what’s going on in their lives since they graduated from the Mercy Ministries program. I thought it would be cool for you to read an international update from some of our former residents. We are so excited to share this great news. I hope these individual stories are really encouraging to all who read my blog.

United States of America

Dear Nancy,

When I walked though the doors of Mercy St. Louis, I found myself in a place like none other. I was used to being locked in hospital wings for the severely anorexic, monitored 24/7, shut in padded rooms, drugged against my will, force-fed through a NG tube, and stripped of every right known to man. I crossed the threshold of Mercy thinking that this would be no different - another program, another place, another failed attempt. Very quickly, however, I realized that this place was different - girls were walking and jogging outside, laughing and joking, seeming to enjoy being in this place. I was not locked in a room, or hallway, or even house for that matter. I was treated as a person and not as some case study or hopeless situation only trying to get stabilized. Mercy helped me with life - the staff poured into me when I deserved nothing short of being kicked out. This was hard for me to grasp as I desperately fought off every attempt of someone reaching out to me. With God's help, Mercy got to the root of my struggles - I was scared, alone, and walled in my own sphere of self-destruction. I wanted to die and no one was going to stop me. God had other plans.

Six and a half months into the program I graduated as a new person - I knew my identity in Christ, I no longer resorted to self-destructive patterns of behavior, and more than anything, I looked forward to life rather than abhorring it. God had changed me from the inside out and I was glad to be alive.

Has life outside of Mercy been all glorious and pain-free? No - I have struggled, fallen, picked myself up again, and moved forward. Do I still have occasional thoughts about reverting to my former behavior? Yes. Will I act on those thoughts? No. I am still human and the world is still filled with a fallen people. I know, however, that I am now equipped with the love, truth, grace, freedom, and peace of the Lord and I am excited to share that with others. That is what my recent mission trip to Mexico was all about - living out the life of Christ, sharing his love, and ministering his grace. I praise the Lord that he saved me for such a time as this.

Renee

Australia

Hi Nancy,

I would love to tell you what I have done after the program. I left Mercy Sydney in late November. In my final weeks in the program, Mercy helped me find a place to live back in my home town - Hobart, Tasmania, Aus. I came home a changed person, a person that was more interested in others and in love with God. I am also back at school and working hard in what I am doing. I love being at school again. While I was away, my mum worked out a lot of things too and me and my mum are great friends now. I also have my own great my church now, and I have been able to help with things I love doing.

In about a week’s time, I am walking in a 24 hour walk for people with cancer.

God bless,
Susie

Hi Nancy,


I am a graduate from Sydney, and I just want to say thank you so very much for making mercy a possibility for girls like myself to be able to get help here in Australia. It has truly saved my life and given me a future. THANK YOU


Katelyn

United Kingdom

Hi Nancy,

I graduated from Mercy UK last October and I am so grateful for the work you have done in beginning the ministry and your passion for seeing girls walking in freedom. Over the past year my life has been continuously transformed by developing a personal relationship with God and knowing who I am in Christ. I had experienced 14 years of trying secular health service programmes, and I can say without a doubt that true healing came only from giving my hurts to the Lord and allowing Him to come in to restore, heal, and take the control which I fought so long to keep a hold of.

My journey at Mercy has given me a real hunger and desire to work with girls in similar situations, so I plan to apply for an internship at the Mercy house in Bradford. In the meantime, I am working with adults with addictions and depression and I plan to return to work part time in nursing, which is my background.

Thank you for your obedience to God, your passion and perseverance- it has provided me with an opportunity to walk in freedom and to understand what it means to be loved.

Your sister in Christ
Pamela xo

New Zealand

Hey Nancy,

I don’t know if you remember me, but I met you in the New Zealand home when you were there for its grand opening in Dec. 07. I hope all is going well. OK well an update in my little part of the world is…well, I graduated in August 08, which is so exciting. I was able to get past some pretty huge issues - an eating disorder, self harm, alcohol addiction, sexual abuse & rape. Not that things are fully healed and perfect, but now I can actually live and enjoy my life. I'm just working in retail for the time being and in April/May, hopefully going to move to Australia to live. I don’t know what the future holds for me yet but I know it's going to be good.

Thank you for all your hard work. If not for you and Mercy, I wouldn’t be here today.

I love you heaps and respect you immensely! Thanks Nancy, love you lots and look forward to hearing from you.

Melissa

Hi Nancy,

I just wanted to give you an update and let you know that I’m working full-time as a receptionist for a charitable trust that counsels children who have been abused or in domestic violence situations. (in NZ) I love seeing the kids come in, sometimes not with a smile, but they always leave with a smile. They do play therapy, so it's heaps of fun for them.

I also recently was in the paper for the Mercy walk here in Hamilton, NZ. I appear to be the only grad in Hamilton, and my church is the one who officially runs the walk here in Hamilton. So a paper interviewed me and I shared my testimony at church, and then opened the walk on the day. It was heaps of fun. Although the enemy tried everything he could to stop me from sharing my story, but he didn't succeed! Praise God!

God bless,
Jules xoxo

Canada

(Natasha is from Canada, but she is actually a graduate of our St. Louis home. Her life is truly transformed, and now she is helping the Mercy staff in Canada get our first Canadian open – it is scheduled to open this spring!! Natasha has been encouraging girls who are on our waiting list and she has also mentored several girls who have struggled with the same issues she has found freedom from!)

Hey Nancy,

I wrote this email yesterday, my 1 year since graduating, but didn't have a chance to get Internet to send it...so a day late, here it is!!....

I sit here so in awe right now. I question why I even took time to put on make up this morning because I have cried it off over the course of the hour. I am alive! I am not holding on by a hair either, I am alive, set free, joyful, loving life and excited for the future. A year ago today I graduated from Mercy Ministries and the dream of walking out a life of complete freedom in Christ was a hope. I knew that it was a possibility, but also knew that trials would come. Where was my foundation? I knew it was in Christ, but was entering a new stage of life in faith that I would continue to choose freedom.

Well I did choose - I chose life and life more abundantly each time the trials came. It has not been an easy road, but because of the tools I learned while in Mercy, and our faithful Father, I have been able to stand firm on the Truth. I am overwhelmed. I honestly did not expect to be alive in anticipation of my 23rd birthday; before Mercy I lived my life literally trying to die and today I live it more alive than ever.

During worship this morning I was brought to my knees. Just 2 years ago I tried to end my life, the very gift that God created personally for me. He formed my inward parts and chose me as His own, yet for so many years I rejected who He created me to be and tried to null His workmanship – me! Praise God for Mercy Ministries. Nancy, I know I keep telling you how grateful I am, but today it is more of a reality than ever. I have been running in freedom for a whole year! I used to strive to have one good day, and now I am sitting on a year of amazingness. I am stepping into who He called me to be and am seeing Him work through me to bring others the same freedom that He so freely gave to me. You helped equip me to, not only walk it out, but to also take the beautiful Truth to others.

I love you so very much and do not have the words to describe how I am feeling. I AM ALIVE!!! THANK-YOU.

Natasha xo

Peru
(FYI – Giovy is from Peru, but she is actually a graduate of our Nashville home. She is one of the greatest miracles we have ever seen, and now she is super involved in helping us get our first Peru home up and running!)

Hey beautiful Nancy!!!...How are you guys doing? I am finally back home, in Peru land…and I wanted to let y’all know how awesome God has been so far.

Ever since I left Mercy, God has been proving Himself faithful and His goodness keeps blowing me away…starting with my relationship with my parents. God has totally done more and beyond what I could think, dream, or imagine. It’s like I am living a dream, one of the wildest dreams that I thought was too much like a fairy tale to be real.

The tools I learned there at Mercy work and there’s no way I won’t use them. It’s like having a present in front of you given to you, and you not wanting to open it….HOW RIDICULOUS! God is so good and faithful - teaching me new things every day and allowing me to go through different situations so that I can grow as a person, in my faith, my character, and in my relationship with God. I’m determined not to compromise

Ok…so I came back home and as I said it before I'M LIVING A DREAM…I never thought I could love life so much and that life could be so enjoyable…I wouldn’t change this for anything. So I got to Peru and had some job opportunities. I ended up getting a job with World Vision, which is awesome….just translating some stuff but I can do it at home….which works perfectly because I don’t have to miss any of my church meetings or Mercy meetings. Yesterday I was asked to go to the Mercy Peru staff meeting and share some of my Mercy experience and my heart….it was so awesome….God totally knit my heart with Mercy Ministries and it was like something clicked and complete peace came to me all during that meeting. When I was hearing the plans for the home in Peru and the staff talking, my heart got more and more passionate for Mercy and I want to be part of it here in Peru!! I still have a couple years to get my degree in psychology which I’m starting next year here, but I’m already doing whatever is necessary at Mercy to help so we can open sometime soon… in Gods timing. So I go to Mercy on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and they are going train me. Maybe when the house opens I can volunteer while I’m still in college….I don’t know….Ill do whatever God wants me to do because I know that in His will I’ll find happiness and its going to be the perfect thing….but I’m excited for the days ahead.

I always wake up with great expectancy to see God’s hand over my life in that new day….He s soooo flipping cool! I love HIM!

Anyways so this is what’s been going on so far…and I wanted u guys to let u know….Thanks for helping me realize who I really am in Christ and for being that instrument God used to get the victory in my life…I’LL be forever thankful to God for putting you in my life. I LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH!

Giovy

Friday, March 6, 2009

Encouragement from our first-ever UK Graduate!

I’m sure that you are excited it’s Friday, and I just want to be one of the first to tell you to have a great weekend!!

I thought a great way to close out the week would be to highlight one of the stories I have received of one of the girls from one of our international homes. I just got this amazing update and pictures from Kirsten, our first ever graduate of Mercy Ministries in the United Kingdom. Kirstin graduated exactly two years ago in March 2007 – here is her story...

My life before Mercy Ministries is best described as hopeless. I was always striving for happiness and love, perfection and control, but was never able to attain any of it. I spent so much of my life trying to fix everything including myself, but the more I tried, the more out of control everything got until eventually I gave up trying. I allowed the depression and addictions that were controlling my life to take me over. Yet despite it all, there was always something inside of me that could not give up. I now know that was God.

I found out about Mercy Ministries during a time that I spent in Australia. Just reading about the program began to spark that sense of hope that lay dormant inside of me. I wanted to apply in Australia, yet being from the UK it would not have been possible for me to enter the program there. I figured that was it. I had no idea that they were even thinking about opening a house in the UK. Of course God knew. He knew all along what was best for me and the right time. As soon as I found out that there was a home opening in the UK, I knew that it was the right place for me.

Kirstin with her friend, Thandazile, whom she met
on a recent mission trip to South Africa

Mercy was literally my last hope. I was accepted into the program before the house was ready for girls and I called the staff up regularly, wanting to know when I could come. I knew that this had to work. I was at a point in my life where I had had enough. I knew that things had to change; that I had to change. I had tried it every other way, now I had to try it God’s way. Upon entering the program I learned that with God’s help, I had the power to make choices that would, step by step, take me out of the darkness that I found myself in. It was a time when I was able to intensively soak in the truth of God’s word and learn His thoughts towards me.

Being the first UK Mercy graduate is a privilege. It still completely overwhelms me how amazing God is that He has directed the course of my life despite me. Even when I gave up on myself, He never did. When I look back, I see his fingerprints throughout and I realize more and more how much He loves me. Now I am excited for the future. God has used Mercy to give me my life back and more. I have learned that by giving God the control, I no longer need to worry. I used to be petrified of being on my own, but now I know that I never really was and never will be.

God is so cool! There is no time or distance in the Spirit and He is all about setting people free, regardless of where they live!

Have a great weekend!

Love to all,
Nancy Alcorn

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy to be Alive!!

Today I received an email from Kristin, and it absolutely made my day!! Kristin has given me permission to share what she has written with you in the hope that it will encourage your heart and give you hope. Mark 5:25-34 tells the story of a woman with the issue of blood - it says that she spent everything she had at the hands of many physicians, but instead of getting better, she just kept getting worse. That account was set back in the Bible days, but Kristin’s story is a modern day version of a very similar story. I can’t improve on her words, so I’ll just share them with you. I hope you are as uplifted by this as I was…

Dear Nancy,

Today is a very special day for me, I am celebrating being alive. A year ago I hit rock bottom and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital on suicide watch. I had no hope to live. I was suffering from a life-controlling anxiety disorder, self-harm and an eating disorder. I didn’t think I would ever find freedom from my issues. I had gone to secular doctors and counselors, but even with their help, my life never improved. They never gave me solutions; they only gave me “coping mechanisms”. I had concluded that I didn’t want to just “cope” with life, so in the psychiatric hospital I cried out to God for a solution. His solution was Mercy Ministries- I am now a Mercy Ministries Graduate!


Now, life is better than I could’ve ever imagined! The things that I learned at Mercy impact my life everyday. I learned how to eat healthy, exercise and take care of my body. But most importantly, I learned how to be led by the Spirit and not by my emotions and how to give God my anxieties. God used Mercy to change my life forever. Currently, I am in college with a major in biology and the desire to continue on to medical school and become a doctor.

Thank you Nancy for following God’s call and starting Mercy Ministries- my life has been changed!

Love,
Kristin

In closing, I just want to mention that at Mercy Ministries, we have great psychiatrists and medical doctors that work directly with us in monitoring and adjusting the medications of the girls as needed. Often times, as in Kristin’s case, by the time they work through their spiritual and emotional issues, they no longer need medication. I thank God for trained counselors, psychiatrists, and the entire medical profession, but at the end of the day, the ultimate healer is Jesus Christ. I hope this is encouraging to you, whatever you may be facing in your life. Kristin is a perfect example of what God spoke directly to us in Jeremiah 29:11 – These are the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. Kristin’s hope has been restored and her future is bright. That scripture was not written to a few, but to all who choose to believe it.

Have a great day.

Nancy

Monday, March 2, 2009

Encouraging words from Rebecca

I never cease to be amazed at the variety of talents and gifts that are in the young women who walk through the doors of Mercy Ministries for help. So many of them have been trampled on by the circumstances of life, and they actually feel that they are worthless and have nothing worthwhile to offer. However, we are helping them to receive the emotional healing that they need and to believe in themselves once again.

A few weeks ago, we made the decision to have a Creative Arts Director come in and do classes with the girls twice a month. These creative gifts are being unwrapped so they can be a blessing to the world. The Internet is one way I can share with you some of what is happening. There is one young girl named Rebecca that has only been here a very short period of time, yet already she is greatly blossoming, and it is so cool to see how a smile has returned to her face. With her permission, I wanted to bless you with one of the creative pieces that she wrote recently about what has been happening to her since she has been at Mercy Ministries. She already feels the need to take the encouragement she has received and encourage others with it (2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God).

I can see that you are discouraged
I understand your confusion
But to allow Me to heal you
Believe that I’m not just an illusion.

I’ve seen the tears
That have stained your face
And I long to hold you
In My warm embrace.

You’ve got to see for yourself
That I can rescue you
From all the feelings that torment
The precious angel I see in you.

My darling, My angel
Open your heart
Welcome Me in
That’s where you should start.

I love you dearly
I hope you know
That I want to hold you
I want to see you grow

My fragile flower
You’ve been trampled and broken
But see for yourself
That I am what I have spoken

I love you just the way you are
And you can’t even see
That to Me you shine more radiantly
Than the brightest northern star

I made you with flaws
With hopes and dreams too
I know you better
Than you think I do

So please stop running
And hiding in shame
Just reach out your arms
And call out My name

I can sense that you’re hurt
Can be too much to bear
But lean on me, My Darling
And know that I care

You don’t understand My ways
No one ever does
But believe that you can triumph
Because you have My love

I will walk with you through the desert place
And guide you through the darkness that may come
But believe Me when I tell you
I love you more and then some

So let Me light your path
Let Me lead you through
Just follow Me and realize
I will always stand by you

Just think of Me
When you’re feeling gloom
And realize you’re more beautiful
Than a rose in it’s springtime bloom

Follow My voice
Watch where I step
And I will lead you
Out of your blackest depth

I see where you’ve been
And where you are
So if you ever forget
Just look at My scars

Know that I will guide you
And if you follow Me
You will always end up
Right where you need to be

So think of Me when you’re down
Or ever feeling blue
And rejoice in the fact
That I love YOU!

--Rebecca

If you took the time to read this, it is my prayer that the same work that God is doing in Rebecca will also be done in you.