Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Moved By Mercy

Hi! I’m Linda, Executive Director of Mercy Ministries of America. I’ve been serving at Mercy for over three years and have been blessed every day to be a part of seeing God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power impact young women from all over the country.

Before joining the Mercy Ministries team, I worked in the corporate world for 15 years at Wells Fargo Insurance where I built a business line in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was an amazing experience to create a new business line under the umbrella of such a strong corporation. We went from initially processing 1,500 orders per month to building an automated process for managing over 200,000 orders a mon
th and tracking more than 2 million records. It was exciting and very fast paced. I was fortunate to have amazing men and women mentor and challenge me in all aspects of business and have been able to bring those experiences, skills, and knowledge to Mercy.

Prior to 2002, I did not know anything about Mercy Ministries. I literally found it on the Internet; the story is truly a testimony of how God works! So here’s the quick version…if you follow football, you may remember that a few years back, a particular Minnesota Vikings player found himself in hot water after pushing a traffic officer with the front of his SUV. Yes, you read that correctly - a human being was literally pushed in the street by the football player driving the SUV. It was BIG news at the time, and as my family was watching this appalling situation on the evening news, my impressionable young son thought it was funny. I literally looked over to my husband, who just happens to be a college football coach, and told him I would be shopping for a new NFL team to support. It wasn’t the type of behavior we wanted our kids to look up to.

So, the next day, I shopped for teams that had quality coaching staffs with accountability and integrity as key components of their programs. We decided on the Titans because my husband and I both grew up in Southern California like Coach Fisher, and my father-in-law had grown up in Nashville, TN. It looked like a good fit for our family.

Of course, we couldn’t really watch many Titans games from Minnesota, so I started tracking the team online and sharing updates with the kids. In reading about the teams’ activities and what the coaches supported, I ran across an article about Mercy Ministries, which I quickly dismissed. God had a different plan because the name and article kept coming to my mind. One day, I sat down and checked out the web site and I literally logged off within seconds of reading what the ministry was about, basically because it hit too close to my own life experiences.

Eventually a few days later, I opened up the web site and read all about the amazing work of the ministry. I literally wept as I read testimonies posted online and learned more about how God was transforming lives at Mercy Ministries. I immediately shared the ministry with my husband, David. We made a contribution to the ministry, and I sent a letter to Nancy Alcorn asking if there was a way to volunteer from afar to support the ministry. Mind you, I didn’t think I’d hear back because I had quickly figured out that Nancy was very busy. To my amazement, I had a voice mail message from Nancy’s office a few weeks later asking if I would be open to meeting Nancy briefly when she was in Minnesota at, of all places, my own home church for a Girls of Grace conference! We met and connected quickly sharing how the ministry was growing and brainstormed ways I could help.

I began volunteering along with another volunteer, Christy Singleton, who is now our Executive Director of Development, and helped research grant information and other data to support Christy’s fundraising efforts for Mercy. It was great fun to help from a distance and know that I was making a small contribution toward helping transform the lives of young women. As time passed, I was able to share my business knowledge with other Mercy staff and help them as they began developing growth strategies.

In January of 2006, I was asked if I would be interested in working for Mercy Ministries in Tennessee. In the natural, I had absolutely no desire to move my kids, ages 10 and 13, from their schools and friends, but once again God had a different plan. I shared this news with my husband and he felt immediate confirmation that we were being called to leave our comfort zone and serve. I went through the interview process and began serving God’s mission at Mercy Ministries in March of 2006. As God always does, He had worked out every detail of my family’s transition, including providing a wonderful church, a coaching opportunity for my husband with Vanderbilt University, and great friends with whom we now “do life.”

Day to day at Mercy, I work closely with our staff and Board of Directors to ensure our team is focused on the initiatives and strategies that best serve our mission and the young women seeking for their lives to be transformed and hope to be restored. Practically speaking, this involves overseeing our accounting, human resources and IT team initiatives, as well as management oversight of our development and program leadership. Each day, I am focused on ensuring we are good stewards of the resources that our generous contributors send to Mercy and that our efforts are aligned with our mission and core values. In addition, I focus on the growth and development of our staff – a wonderful team who is very committed to serving God’s mission at Mercy Ministries. I also work on our growth initiatives and this year, my number one priority is coordinating the numerous aspects of opening our Lincoln, California home so we can welcome 40 additional young women to Mercy Ministries and continue to see God’s unconditional love and forgiveness transform lives.

It’s simply amazing to see how God has moved in my own life through the obedience of answering His call to serve at Mercy.


Ali Davis said...

that is an amazing story! God works in amazing ways!

Tamara said...

yay Linda!! I love hearing how the staff came to Mercy, everyone has their own story. I'm so glad you came to Mercy!