Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Graduation Announcement!

I just received this amazing update from a graduate that I had to share with you. Jill came to Mercy in 2005 without a hope for her future after having been told she would never be able to finish college. She just celebrated her graduation from college and is doing great! Her email totally made my day, and I just wanted to share it with you…

Dear Nancy,

Before I came to Mercy, all of the experts told me that I would always be dependent on the mental health system and would never be able to finish college. Thank you so much for your faithfulness to what God has called you to do. It is because of Mercy that I was able to graduate from college on December 15, 2009. I graduated from Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota with a bachelors degree in psychology. I graduated with both academic and departmental (psychology) honors.


God is so good! If there is anything you are facing at the beginning of this new year, remember that with Christ all things are possible. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 says, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” We are rejoicing with Jill as she celebrates her graduation and know that God will continue to use her in great ways. I pray this encourages you to go after the things God has called you to and not let the things of this world hold you back!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Jude!!!

Today is Jude’s birthday – he is 11 years old! Interesting story behind Jude and the timing of his birthday...

On December 28, 1998 – exactly 11 years ago today, I found out that my dog, Nehemiah, who was 13 at the time was diagnosed with cancer and would only have a few weeks to live. The doctor was surprised to find that he made it all the way to February 26, 1999 – almost two full months. Dr. Vaden, who is the most awesome vet in the world, told me that he was pretty sure Nehemiah was kept alive on love because physically he should not be able to live for two more months. During that two month period, Nehemiah actually celebrated his 14th birthday. As you can imagine, I was pretty torn up at the loss of a dog I had had since he was six weeks old.

Well, I made it about two weeks before I realized that I had to go get another dog. I have always had Shelties, and they have always played a huge part in the ministry to the girls at Mercy. I contacted a local breeder and was told that she had two males that I could choose from that were approximately eight weeks old. It didn’t take me long to figure out which one belonged to me because as soon as I picked Jude up, he snuggled up to my face and gave me a big wet kiss on my cheek. It was then that I knew that he was the one for me.

For some reason, I felt to ask the breeder when these puppies were born, and she quickly told me that they were born on December 28th, 1998. It’s pretty cool to learn that the very day I found out that Nehemiah had cancer and wouldn’t have long to live was the very day that this little guy was born. And he has been, quite frankly, the best dog I have ever had.

Whether it’s grief over the loss of a pet or the loss of a loved one, God always brings His comfort in some way. Jude has been such a blessing in my life, and I just wanted to take you back in time and show you the first day that I picked him up when he was about eight weeks old and how cute he was. There are also some other pictures of him with me and hanging out with some of the girls at the home. Today’s shout out is for Jude. Happy Birthday to a very special friend to our staff and girls, but mostly to me! I hope you have a great day.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Me and Jude!!!

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to take a quick moment and wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I pray that you have a blessed day with family and friends, and that you remember the true reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

I want to encourage you to take time today to read the story of Christ’s birth in Luke 2. I also love Isaiah 9:6, which says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Enjoy your day! Jude sends his love. He is really in the Christmas spirit. See his cool pictures below!

By the way, the Titans are playing the San Diego Chargers tonight! Go Titans!

Merry Christmas!!!

Love to all,


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Big Thank You from All the Mercy Girls in the U.S.!!!

We just finished up our annual Christmas parties in the four U.S. homes located in Nashville, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; W. Monroe, Louisiana; and Sacramento, California. What a great joy it was to see God so lavishly pour out His love on these girls, who were literally moved to tears.

A special thanks to all of you who gave so generously to make Christmas for our girls so very special. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the highlights from all of the homes. I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed they were.

One girl wept as she shared her testimony because she had been praying for God to give her the money she needed for eye glasses, and now she will be able to make this much needed purchase.

Another girl shared how she had never had a new pair of tennis shoes, and because of the generosity of so many, she will be able to go pick out a brand new pair of shoes. For others, there were needed necessities like coats and other personal items they will now be able to buy.

Thank you so much for all of the gifts that were given, as well as the generous funds that were provided for each girl to be able to have her own personal Christmas shopping trip. The joy you have provided is beyond words!!

Each party was somewhat different, but the overriding theme that came out of the heart of each girl was how they felt so loved by people, most of whom they have never met. They also mentioned over and over how they felt that God was teaching them about how to receive what they know they did not deserve – an actual picture of what Christmas is all about…receiving the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Thanks again for everything!! I pray your Christmas is wonderful and meaningful. I hope you enjoy seeing some of the pictures from our Christmas parties…

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Gift that Keeps on Giving…

I love seeing God’s gift of a new heart and a changed life. The cool thing about that is that when a person’s heart is transformed, they want to give to others. They see themselves in a whole new light. I want to share with you a perfect example of what I’m talking about. We just received this email from Kelly, who graduated from our St. Louis home in March of this year. She is now the music teacher at Red Rock Elementary School in Arizona for grades K-8. She had her 8th grade students put together Scripture cards for the St. Louis Mercy girls for Christmas. The healing and transformation that has occurred in her life is amazing, and I wanted to share her email with you…


I've got the gifts for the Mercy girls wrapped, with names on them and all packed. My 8th graders did such an awesome job with making these sweet note card flip books. I was actually pretty impressed with their artistic talent! The inside cover says that we wanted to help them sow the Word of God into their hearts, so we made these note card verse flip book things for them. We also included Proverbs 4:20-22, which was my verse that I was glued to on my Mercy journey. It says, “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

My musicals are over now! So good to be done, but sad at the same time. The kids did an amazing job. So perfect and wonderful! God is so amazing to give me all of this. I love what I do…I love making kids sparkle and shine on stage. I love putting musicals and plays and songs together. I love performances. I was in tears the other night when I started thinking about the person that God has changed me into and how far I've come. The old Kelly would have not committed to any of this, and would have run away from responsibility. Not the new Kelly! I was thinking about all the mess in me that you put up with, and how you never got sick of me, never ran away from me, and were still so proud of me when I graduated. God just really made clear to me recently that He is proud and you guys are proud of me too. And I'm not meaning to be prideful! This first semester out of Mercy, and seeing the fruit that has come out of me, and the person I am and becoming is so cool. This musical just really made clear to me the strengths that God is developing in me. I'm really organized, I think of all the things that could possibly go wrong and fix them before it happens, I have a ton of energy, I'm good with music, I'm really good at presenting things and putting together performances, and a new thing I’m learning - following through and giving your best ALL THE TIME! At the same time, God is also working on my weaknesses - PLANNING, not stressing out over the little things, and how to let go and let God be in control even when there are things you can't get finished in one day.

I'm singing lots over here...."so I’ll stand, my soul, Lord, to you surrendered. All I am is yours. So I’ll stand arms high and heart abandoned. All I am is yours."

I love you. Merry Christmas. Fa la la la laaaaaa, la la la laaaaaa!


Check out this short video clip of the school-wide Christmas musical Kelly directed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two Years and Still Going Strong

I just received this amazing email from a Mercy graduate that I had to share with you. Devin just celebrated her two year anniversary from graduating the Mercy program and is doing awesome! Her email totally made my day and I wanted to share it with you…
Dear Mercy,

It has been two years since I walked out of the doors of the Nashville home and into the big, scary, real world! At times I can’t believe it has been so long and other days it feels like yesterday that I was standing in line for a meal or lining up for rec! I remember life before Mercy and it doesn’t even seem like my old life. In retrospect it seems like another life time or a completely different person, which I guess is partially true.

Before coming to Mercy, I struggled with an eating disorder for six years. Added on top of that was a long list of root issues and other addictions stemming from deep self-hatred. It didn’t feel like I suffered from an addiction, but that I was the addiction. I was so wrapped up in my past hurts, bitterness, anger, rage, family problems, and self hatred that I could not even fathom a life different than what I knew. I was hopeless and never thought I would make it past my eighteenth birthday. At Mercy, I not only found freedom but I learned how to live again. For years I felt like I was already dead, just a cocoon of a broken and shattered life. But at Mercy I came alive again while working through my counseling, laughing with my friends, sitting in class, and during worship. I left Mercy two years ago, full of hope, in love with God, and happy about my future, along with countless amazing memories and a whole bunch of priceless friends that I still stay in contact with!

Since leaving Mercy, I have started college and will graduate in four months with a degree in Marketing and Sales. I have not only seen my eighteenth birthday but my nineteenth birthday and have plans of seeing many more! I also started my own business called Legacy Photography this past year and have been blown away by God’s blessings! Last December I also became an Aunt and am so grateful to Mercy for giving me my life and future back so that I can experience all the joys of having a niece. In addition, I have seen such restoration with my relationship with my family that only God could do. My dad and I now go out to lunch every other week and I talk with my family on a daily basis! My relationship with God has continued to grow and even when the big, scary, real world is hard to handle- I know Who to run to for protection!

I don’t know if this will ever be shared with anyone else but I would also just like to say “THANK YOU!” to all the Mercy supporters. I am forever indebted to you for helping to provide a place, completely free of charge, where I could regain my life. You may never know what an impact you have, but I am one life you saved from the grips of death.

Thank you for teaching me how to live again!


Me with my good friends from Mercy!

Nancy and I while still at Mercy

This Christmas season I am so grateful for the incredible life-transformations that we get to witness on a daily basis that are only possible through the gift of Jesus Christ.

A special thanks to all of our Mercy supporters who give so generously and sacrificially to see the lives of the young women we serve transformed through the power of Christ.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Special Thanks to Truly Amazing People!!!

I wanted to blog today and give you a glimpse at some truly amazing and wonderful people who gave selflessly to ensure that our Mercy event last Thursday night called the Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit was above and beyond. I continue to be amazed by the quality of people that God sends to us to insure excellence of care for the young women that we serve.

First of all, I want to say a special thanks to Bob and Marie Parks who served as our co-chairs for the event (Pictured below).

Bob and Marie Parks, Event Chairs

In addition to the great people who attended and the wonderful food that was served, we had great performances by Tommy Sims, who penned the song years ago called “Change the World,” which he performed for us live, as well as Tammy Trent, who sings like an angel and blessed us with two powerful songs, and also deeply touched our hearts through telling her personal story. You can learn more about Tommy Sims and his music at and you can learn more about Tammy Trent and her music at

Tommy Sims and his all-star band

Tammy Trent

The evening absolutely would not have been the same without the two Mercy graduates who told their stories, Sandra and Rachel. At one point, Sandra didn’t think she wanted to live, she didn’t believe in herself, had always been told that she wouldn’t be able to complete her education, and yet she will graduate next week Summa Cum Laude from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Psychology. We are so proud of Sandra! Then, Rachel told how she had overcome a serious drug addiction and saw how God put her family back together, there was not a dry eye in the house.

2004 Mercy Graduate, Sandra Plummer

2008 Mercy Graduate, Rachel Hardcastle

I also wanted to mention that we had a wonderful Emcee for the Evening, Charlie Neese, Meteorologist for Nashville’s Channel 5 News, the local CBS Affiliate. He did a great job – he was so funny, but from the heart at times as well.

Charlie Neese

I also want to thank Bob Parks for bringing his auctioneers who did a fabulous job with the live auction segment. A special thanks to all the people who bid so generously to make it an overwhelmingly successful fundraising event.

Live Auction

Silent Auction Items

Last but certainly not least, the night was capped off by a stunning performance from world renowned artists, Jars of Clay. I am so moved that these talented musicians gave of their time and talent to give us an evening that we will always remember. Check out their website at ENJOY THE PICTURES!!!

Jars of Clay performing live

Jars of Clay

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Mercy Moment with Pastors John and Helen Burns

It has been an amazing last couple of days as we have had Pastors John and Helen Burns with us from Vancouver, Canada. The girls and staff have been greatly impacted by our time together. John and Helen also got to be a part of our great Christmas fundraising event last night, as well as attend our graduation today. I just wanted to give John and Helen an opportunity to share with you on today’s blog….

Pastor John Burns -

“It has been another time of the revelation of how important dads are. With all of these amazing girls, I hear their stories and just recognize that the world is in pain, but that we can make a difference. Mercy is a miracle house. If people don’t believe in miracles, just come to Mercy. We’ve witnessed amazing miracles in these young girls after the pain that they have gone through. I recognize as a dad how important it is that I not only be a good dad, but hopefully teach others and become a part of the answer to such a hurting world out there.”

Pastor Helen Burns -

“I’m so excited! What a full few days of coming along and getting to speak to the staff and girls. It’s absolutely mind blowing what can happen in such a few short days and hours. We were also able to be here last night for the wonderful Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit. Wow, that was so inspiring because we are getting ready to launch Mercy in just a couple of months in Canada! I feel like we’re just taking it all in, absorbing, getting great ideas, and feeling more proud than ever to be involved with an organization as magnificent as this. It really is amazing in every way – the staff and obviously Nancy – she’s a legend - but to watch the staff come together has been incredible! Today we were at a graduation and wow! We saw six amazing women with some of the most unbelievable stories. The stories are just heartbreaking, yet you see so much hope. You see such healing, and I am so excited that we get to be a part of this ministry and bring the miracle that Mercy is to Canada as well. It’s been truly two of the most impactful days of our lives. Thanks for being amazing.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Special Time with Dave Ramsey and Staff

It was my great privilege to be invited by my dear friend, Dave Ramsey, to speak to his staff of around 300.

I have known Dave for years, and I am so proud of him and all of the people he has helped in the financial arena through his great radio and television shows, as well as his best-selling books. I count it a great honor to call Dave and Sharon Ramsey my friends, and I was even more proud today as I saw the impact they are having on so many people in this country and beyond. Times are tough, and Dave continues to give great wisdom about financial matters, budgeting, planning, living within your means, living debt free, etc.

Probably one of the things that I appreciate the most about Dave is that he carves out a time once a week, every Wednesday morning, to bring his staff together for a devotional. This week, I was the special speaker. We stayed afterwards for a while to mix and mingle with some staff and connect with some truly wonderful people. I just want to give a personal shout out to Dave Ramsey for being such a great leader and such a wonderful friend. I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures from today.

Monday, December 7, 2009

First California Graduation – A History-Making Day!

I am traveling back to Nashville today, but as promised, I just wanted to take a minute to share with you some of the pictures from the first ever graduation at our new Lincoln, California home. It was a very special time as we celebrated the transformation that has occurred in the lives of three young women since they each made the brave decision to call a time out in their lives to come to Mercy Ministries to get help with their life-controlling issues. It was just amazing to be able to see and hear first hand about the work that they have allowed the Lord to do in their lives, and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold for them! Check out a few of the pictures from this very special day. Thank you for all of your prayers and support that made this day, and many graduation days to come, possible!

Graduate Lauren with her parents

Graduate Lauren sharing her story of what God
has done in her life since being at Mercy

California staff share words of encouragement with the graduates

Me encouraging the girls

Me and the girls’ individual counselors praying
over them during their graduation

Mercy California Program Director, Cheryl Bangs and I
pictured with two of the three graduates – Lauren and Sydnie

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Big Hello from Sacramento!

Today is a very special day at the Lincoln home in the Sacramento area – actually, it is a history-making day! I am here today for the first ever graduation in our newest home, and we have three young ladies who will celebrate the completion of the program with their friends and family. I am so excited to see this beautiful home all decorated for Christmas, and the joy that abounds with this very special season in which we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I can see such growth in the young women that are in this home since I was here a month ago for a few days. It was then that I had the privilege of teaching in the home for the first time, and I can already see tremendous changes in the lives of these young women in such a short time.

I am excited to gather together with all of our residents, staff, families, and special supporters in this area to celebrate this great milestone in the lives of three young women. This is our first ever graduation in our first ever California home, but it will definitely not be our last!!! I just wanted to share the joy with you, and I will share more with you next week!

I hope you have a great weekend!



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Update from Australia…

I just got the coolest email from one of our Australian graduates and wanted to share it with you. I AM SO THANKFUL FOR ANOTHER CHANGED LIFE!!!

Dear Nancy,

I hope this finds you well! As I was chilling this afternoon and looking around a few blogs, I stopped by your blog and read and looked at the pics from the Sacramento home opening. It excited me and made my heart smile, knowing that God is continuing to work through Mercy around the world. I pray and dream for the opportunity to one day come and visit some of the homes in America.

I continue to be so grateful for my opportunity at Mercy and the lives that I continue to see changed, especially the lives of my precious Mercy sisters here in Australia. Thank you again for listening to the Holy Spirit and birthing Mercy Ministries.

As for me, I continue to be doing great. I have recently had a book printed - a collection of devotional type writings I have written over the years during my journey. I am also about to start my first full-time job since graduating from Mercy, working in youth residential care. It has been a long wait, but I know that God has ALWAYS been in control and I have trusted in Him always, knowing He will provide for me.

I have known for a few years now, even before my time at Mercy, that God has birthed an amazing ministry within me, in which He is starting to prepare me for now, and I believe that this job that I am about to start is just the beginning of it!! I am so blessed to be in an amazing church that supports my hopes and dreams.

Luke 1:45 "Blessed is she who believes that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished"- it keeps me going through my fears and doubts.

Thanks again Nancy!

Much love,

Alice x