Thursday, January 28, 2010

Graduate and her Family Give Back in A Very Special Way!!

We just received the coolest letter from the parents of 2006 Mercy graduate Bethany along with a generous donation. Since graduating from the program, Bethany enrolled in Texas A&M, and has been there since 2006 majoring in veterinary medicine. She has gone on several mission trips, and has continued to keep in close touch with us. The last time I got to see Bethany was at a fundraising event for Mercy in the Dallas area. She had volunteered to tell her story at this event, and she brought her boyfriend whom she had been dating for over a year. Since that time, they have gotten engaged and are getting married this summer.

Me pictured with Bethany and her soon to be husband Beau
at a Friends of Mercy event in Dallas this past November

Bethany is currently in South Africa on a mission’s trip. This letter from her parents totally made my day, and I wanted you to be able to read it in their own words:

Dear Nancy and Mercy Staff,

Bethany will be graduating from Texas A&M Veterinary School of Medicine on May 13, 2010. She is also getting married on June 5, 2010. We praise God that because of Mercy Ministries, she has been able to reach these two milestones!

We had a “wedding marathon” this past week while she and Beau were here to get as much done toward wedding planning that we could before she left for her six week externship in South Africa. We discussed the option of donating to a cause of Bethany’s choice rather than purchasing wedding favors that are often left at the reception. She chose Mercy Ministries and said, “Mercy saved this life!”

So in honor and appreciation of Beau and Bethany’s wedding guests, we are making a contribution to Mercy Ministries. It is our hope that other girls suffering from eating disorders, addictions and abuse may find hope, healing and restoration like Bethany did. May they too be able to attain their goals and see dreams come true.

With Love and Gratitude,

Craig and Judy

Craig and Judy also asked that we be praying for Bethany while she is in South Africa for her safety and health, and for lives to be touched through her. We are SO proud of Bethany and all that she has allowed God to do in and through her life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Maximizing Your Strengths!

Yesterday in Nashville, we had some very special guests with us for a training seminar with our girls and staff. Dr. Alina Lehnert, Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership at Evangel University, and her sister Briana Leach volunteered their time to do a day-long workshop with our entire staff and residents on discovering our strengths using the Strengths Finder material (

It was especially fun to have these young ladies with us as I used to go to church with their mother, Nevell, back in the early 1980s right before I moved to Louisiana to start the first Mercy home - I remember Alina was about 7 years old, and Nevell was pregnant with Briana. It was so cool to reconnect with them last fall when I was speaking in Springfield, Missouri at the Designed for Life Women's Conference at James River Assembly and to find out that both girls were all grown up and happily married. It was at that time that I found out that Alina was teaching at Evangel University in Springfield, and had actually gotten her PhD in Organizational Leadership and had done her dissertation research on strengths in leadership. I learned that Briana had gotten her Master's in Counseling and has done most of her work with young women, so she was excited to join her sister in walking all of our staff and girls through the Strengths Finder material.

Nevell, Alina, Nancy and Briana

We learned about our unique strengths and how God has made each of us differently and with a different part to play. We were created with individual strengths and talents, and learned how we can capitalize on our strengths in the workplace and in our daily lives. This training was so encouraging for our staff and girls as we not only learned about our own strengths, but also one another’s.

Here is what a few of the girls and staff had to say about the special training time yesterday:

Shaina, a resident, said,”Wow! Boy did I enjoy this seminar, it made me realize a lot about myself and why I am the way that I am. The speaker said “the more you know yourself the easier it is for you to relate to others. I see now that God fashions people differently. All these years I’ve wasted wanting to be like someone else, God was just waiting for me to discover what and who He made me! AND He did a beautiful job! I am uniquely Shaina!”

Kay, a staff member said, “It was eye opening to hear that our culture has taught us to be “well rounded”, however, God made us each with unique strengths, not to do everything well, but do what He created us for with excellence. It was also encouraging to realize when we partner with others, our different strengths compliment each other and make us better together than we are alone.”

Ally, a resident, said, “Finding out what my strengths are and understanding what they mean was interesting. The way they all work together made me understand myself better. I also realized how unique we are and how we can all work together and compliment and feed off others. Seeing the good in some of my strengths and understanding how to use them in productive ways was helpful. I plan to implement this information by reminding myself that God made me and on one else is just like me.”

Dave, a staff member, said, “It was such a great way to not only find out something new about myself, but also a great way to confirm things I already knew. It's an amazing opportunity to find out about those surrounding you in order to build up the overall strengths of the ministry.”

Here are a few pictures from our time together.

Dr Alina Lehnert teaching our Nashville staff

Briana working with our girls

Briana, Nancy and Alina

Friday, January 22, 2010

Graduate Touched By Mercy!

We recently received the coolest letter from a 2007 Nashville Mercy graduate along with a $1000 gift to the ministry. She was so overwhelmed with thankfulness for all God did in her life during her time at Mercy and all that He has continued to do that she wanted to give back. We wanted to share her heartfelt letter with you:

Dear Mercy,

I’m so glad I am finally able to give you something in return for all that you given to me. You loved me even when I did not love myself. You gave me a peaceful home to stay in and provided delicious food for me to eat. You did not think of yourself when you gave all you had, you thought of me. When I was at the bottom of the pit you reached your hand out towards me and brought me to the light. You showed me that the darkness I called life was only lies. While I was in your care I was able to seek the truth. Because you showed me love, I can now hope. Because you led me towards the One Who saves, I now know freedom.

Thank you for loving, thank you for giving, thank you for all you have done for me!!

With much love and gratitude,

Lindsay currently lives in Tacoma, WA and is in school studying International Public Health. She would eventually like to help improve the standard of living for people all over the world. I hope Lindsay’s story encourages you to reflect on all that God has done in your own life and all that you have to be thankful for.

Have an awesome weekend!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to Someone Special!

In Romans 7:13, it says to give honor to whom honor is due. Today I wish to honor someone who definitely deserves much more honor and credit than she would ever admit – that person is our very own Director of Development, Christy Singleton.

I am only using her birthday as an opportunity to share about this amazing woman who works tirelessly behind the scenes so that many young women can literally be saved from death. I just met Christy a little over five years ago when she began volunteering for Mercy Ministries in the area of Development. Christy’s family has a foundation who gives to Mercy, and their family foundation rule is that at least one member of their family has to get involved as a volunteer to any organization they give to. Christy was the unanimous choice to be that person to volunteer for Mercy after her family gave a generous gift.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over five years since we met Christy, because today she is full-time staff member who actually started our Development Department as an unpaid volunteer, and has grown our development team to 14 full-time people. In fact, Christy just gathered her entire team at our international headquarters in Nashville for a two-day leadership summit. (SEE PICTURE BELOW)

Mercy Ministries' Development Team

I cannot even begin to imagine where we would be today without Christy and her leadership. She has reproduced the same quality of excellence that she carries in the heart and spirit of each person that she has added to the team. Christy is so modest and so humble that she will probably be mad at me for even giving her a shout out in front of so many people, but since I am her boss, I shall not fear!! Ha!!!

Christy, please know that you are very loved and very appreciated, and I hope that everyone who reads this will take the time to say a prayer of thanks for all your work and labor of love. I believe that if God himself could say something to you today, it would sound something like what we read in Matthew 25:21 – “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”!

The Singleton Family
Left to Right: Elizabeth, Steve, Christy, Steven, and Rachel

One of Christy's favorite things is spending time with her family at the beach!
(Christy's kids: Rachel, Elizabeth, and Steven)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mercy Girls Cheer on Vanderbilt Commodores

Every year Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball donates season tickets to all of their home games for our Mercy girls to go and cheer them on. The girls love to attend the games and enjoy a night out.

Last Thursday, the Lady Vanderbilt Commodores had a huge game against previously undefeated and #6 nationally ranked Georgia. The Lady Commodores had lost their last 2 games, and really needed a win. However, this was going to be a challenge because no other team had been able to conquer the streaking Bulldogs. The Mercy girls were so excited to be a part of supporting the team and cheering them on to victory. The Lady Commodores showed up ready to play, and ended with a dominating win – 66-44!! Congratulations to the Vanderbilt Commodores and thanks for allowing our Mercy girls to be a part of cheering you on!

I thought might enjoy seeing a few pictures from the game:

Have a great night!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Graduate Gives Back in a Special Way!!

Mary Ellen came to Mercy in 2003 when she was just 14 years old. Her doctors had told her she would never be able to get over her eating disorder and that she would probably die. Not only is she alive and well today, but she made it through the program at Mercy in 4 months and graduated with a totally transformed life.

She is currently a sophomore at Abilene Christian University where she is majoring in Elementary Education and is a Christian leader on her campus. She plans to do an internship here at Mercy this summer.

We were so excited to receive a package from her in the mail today with the following note:
Dear Nancy,

First and foremost, I'm so excited about the New Year for Mercy and the staff! I wanted to send you a little something and wish you a Happy New Year filled with new blessings and revelation! I did a painting this summer and decided to make cards out of it. I named it, "A Joyous Heart"- this is a representation of my heart and how the joy of the Lord is my day-to-day strength. I am selling these cards all around Abilene to friends, family, and in stores. I am going to send half of the proceeds to Mercy because it is due to this ministry that my heart radiates this kind of joy!

Nancy, I am thrilled about interning at Mercy this summer and am preparing my heart for even a greater joy! I love you!

-Mary Ellen Alexander
We are so proud of Mary Ellen and all that God has done and is continuing to do in and through her life! We thought these cards were so awesome. If you are interested in knowing how to order some of these beautiful cards for yourself, you can send an email to I hope you have a great weekend!

Much love to all,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

God-Given Relationships are Such a Gift!

I have found over the years that there are friends who come with the good and go with the bad, but then there are those friends who are with you through thick and thin, heaven and hell, the good and the bad, no matter what may come. I have found such friends in my dear friends, Dino and DeLynn Rizzo, Pastors of Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (

I am so excited that Pastor Dino is here with us in Nashville this very day and that he will be speaking at my home church in Nashville (Christ Church) tonight at 6:30 pm. I know that he has a message of impartation to our church about serving others and meeting their needs. Pastor Dino has just written a book called Servolution, and I can honestly tell you that this book blessed me beyond words. I challenge every Christian who truly has a heart to help others to read this book! It is the best read I have ever experienced on practical advice to make a difference in our own communities. Pastors Dino and DeLynn are not only dear friends, but also Mercy Ministries’ supporters. I have had the great privilege of speaking at their church in Baton Rouge on a number of occasions, and I just wanted to share this awesome book with you and encourage you to read it. I believe it will change the way you think and challenge you out of your comfort zone.

I hope all is well with you!



Monday, January 11, 2010

A Weekend in Delaware!

I want to give a shout out to a very special church that I experienced over the weekend. I had the awesome pleasure and privilege of speaking at Seeds of Greatness Church in New Castle, Delaware. This church was founded by Pastors Jerome and Lisa Lewis (pictured below). You can check them out at

We had a special Tea for women of all ages on Saturday afternoon, and then I had the privilege of speaking at both Sunday morning services. The name of this church is called Seeds of Greatness, and I can assure you that this name certainly applies to this amazing group of people. Their leaders, Pastors Jerome and Lisa, really touched my heart in a special way. They are not only great leaders, but they are great people. The thing that stood out the most to me about them was their humility and their love for people exemplified by their servant’s heart. If you are ever anywhere near New Castle, Delaware, I strongly urge you to check out Seeds of Greatness. I am so thankful for this new relationship.

At this first day of our work week, I want to say that I hope this week will be very fruitful and very productive for you. I also want to say that I hope the temperatures rise in the South because this Southern girl is not used to the cold!! I sure do miss the heat! Have a great week!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

An Update from Jordan…

Coming up on two years ago, Jordan graduated from Mercy. We just received this update from her, and I wanted to share it with you as well. I hope this encourages you that there is no such thing as a hopeless case. God is a God of the impossible, and He is in the business of changing hearts and changing lives for His glory. I hope you enjoy this update and have a great weekend!
Hey Nancy and Mercy Ministries Staff, as well as my wonderful Mercy sisters!

I just wanted to share an update about life after Mercy. I entered the Monroe home nearly two years ago (Feb 6, 2008), lost, angry, and living selfishly in the chains of a twelve-year battle with an eating disorder, a five year addiction to alcohol and pills, as well as dabbling in cutting with thoughts of suicide - all of which stemmed from a life time of heartache and abuse. I was lost and hopeless living in the pit of utter despair.

When I arrived at Mercy I was scared and went into the program desperate for change but telling myself that if this didn't work, that was the end. I was going to end my life. The first few months of the program I questioned absolutely everything that I was told. My head and my heart were filled with so many lies, and I wasn't sure what was real anymore. Finally, one night in my prayer time, I truly surrendered to the Lord, crying while repeating "no more games! No more games!" I felt the presence of the Lord at that moment, and it was like from that moment on, my chains were breaking off one at a time. I was being freed from the pain and hurt I had endured for so many years. Everything I was holding on to, I was suddenly letting go of.

Even though I still struggle at times with old thoughts, I know I don't have to strive for perfection because I would be striving to obtain the impossible. I can make mistakes and be forgiven just like I can now forgive those who have also made mistakes. Thanks to the unconditional love I learned to accept and receive as well as the patience of the staff at Mercy, I have learned how to press through , forgive, and show the same grace and mercy that was shown to me. The trials I have faced have shown me that I really am free. I really can handle life's problems without harming myself in order to cope. I can't believe I am FINALLY the woman God has created me to be!!

I now look at the hard times as a time to put on my armor and accept the calling on my life - to be a warrior in the army of Christ! I cannot thank you enough for the time, love and all the effort you have put in to taking this broken girl and making her whole again. I love you all so much and my gratitude is truly endless.

In Christ,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Barometer for Spiritual Growth

One of our staff shared a great beginning-of-the-year devotional on Monday using Charles Stanley’s suggestions about what our priorities should look like in the year 2010 as believers. This was so helpful to all of us that we wanted to share it with everyone. A special thanks to Charles Stanley for his years of encouragement to so many!
A Barometer for Spiritual Growth - 13 Signposts to Mark Your Progress

Dr. Stanley compiled a list of 13 things for believers to use as a barometer for Spiritual growth…

  1. A hunger to know God more – if we are maturing in our Christian walk, then we will certainly have a growing hunger to know God. We will not be satisfied with how well we know Him or his ways: instead, we will constantly yearn for a deeper understanding of our Father.
  1. A desire to know the truth of the Word – if we are growing in the Lord, then we will want to know what He says about everything. A vital part of our maturity is understanding the power and relevance of God’s Word for us today, in every area of our lives.
  1. An increasing awareness of our sinfulness – as we grow closer to the Lord, we become more and more aware of our desperate need for Him. This awareness means that our maturing spirit simply will not tolerate the same sins that once came so easily.
  1. A quick response to sin, involving genuine repentance – when we are growing spiritually we will want to bring sin to the feet of God and repent of our actions as quickly as possible.
  1. Joy in the midst of intense spiritual battles – As we mature in our faith, spiritual warfare will become more intense. As we trust in the Holy Spirit, we can still rejoice because we know that God is in the process of developing us into mature believers. Every time He brings us through a battle, we are left with the assurance that there is nothing beyond His power to overcome.
  1. Understanding trials and temptations as opportunities for growth – the truth is that we generally learn the most about the Lord during those periods when everything seems hopeless. Even though the situation is painful, mature believers recognize the potential for God to reveal Himself in a mighty way. When our backs are against the wall and we have no choice but to trust the Lord’s power to see us through the trial, we discover things about His character that could not have been revealed otherwise.
  1. Viewing service to God as an honor, not a burden – if we are growing in the Lord, we will want to serve Him. The motivation for our service will be love, not responsibility or obligation.
  1. Viewing everything – both good and bad – as being under God's control – if we are to be mature believers, then we must understand the Father’s complete and total sovereignty. In other words, viewing everything - both good and bad- as being under God's control, and not too hard for Him to help us overcome. His will is perfect and He is able to bring good out of any situation. It is important that His children believe what He says in Romans 8:28 – that God can and does work all things together for good to those who love and serve Him.
  1. Faith to ask God for bigger things – as we mature in Christ, so does our faith and confidence that God will answer our prayers. The Lord wants us to pray big; there is nothing we can ask that will be too much for Him to accomplish.
  1. Eagerness to share Christ with others – one of the signs that you are growing in the Lord is that you cannot stay quiet about it. God’s overwhelming grace may overtake you in such a way that you just have to tell someone what He is doing in your live. As our faith matures, we develop a heart for other people. And since we know what God has done for us, the most sincere way to help others is to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
  1. Earnest desire to give to the Lord’s work - one key evidence of a believer’s maturity is what happens to his pocketbook. Over and over again, Scripture warns us about the dangers of money. Jesus taught on this subject more than any other topic in the Bible. If we are not faithful in that area, then every other part of our Christian life will be skewed. Matthew 6:21 reveals that the heart – our true focus – will be where our treasure lies. If your heart is for ministry, then you will give gladly to the work of the gospel.
  1. An increasing awareness of God in every area of your life - a mature believer is one who is constantly aware of the presence and work of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us that a growing Christian prays continually. Faith is not a part-time commitment. If we are believers, we must believe at all times.
  1. The priority of a personal devotional life - the most important part of the day for a mature believer is the time dedicated solely to growing closer to the Father. It is then that we are filled with power, direction, and comfort. Our time of devotion sets the tone for the whole day. A Christian who is truly growing in the Lord will certainly guard that precious time with Him.

The purpose of this list was not to give a precise report card evaluating whether or not you are “mature.” Rather, it is meant to provide a type of measuring stick by which you can assess your Christian growth. I think it is important to set goals in our Spiritual lives, and a New Year is a great time to do this!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year from Nancy’s Office

Cassidy and Katelyn here (Nancy’s Executive Assistants – see our blog dated April 27, 2009 introducing ourselves). We wanted to take the opportunity on our first day of the New Year back in the office to wish everyone a Happy New Year!! It is such a privilege to work for a ministry that gets to be a part of seeing lives transformed on a daily basis! One of the most fulfilling parts of our job is that we get to hear from former Mercy residents and Mercy supporters from all over the world and hear testimonies about what God is doing in each of their lives – what an awesome God we serve! It is our prayer that this year will be filled with your own accounts of what God is doing and has done in your life. We want to encourage all of Nancy’s blog followers to take to time to start this year by reflecting on all that you have to be thankful for, and focusing on God’s goodness and faithfulness (Philippians 4:8).

Thank you for your faithful support for Mercy Ministries and your ongoing prayers on our behalf. We are so excited about all that God has in store for this New Year and for all the lives that will be touched through this life-changing ministry.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

I wanted to take this time to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. There is something really cool about putting last year behind and having an opportunity to start over. In some ways, 2009 was one of the most difficult years ever, yet on the other hand, it was one of the most amazing years ever as well.

We were completely and totally blessed financially in every possible way even though the overall economic climate of our country is in a downturn. That in and of itself is something to be happy about because of our commitment to take every young woman we serve in free of charge. The other thing that was so great about 2009 is that we were able to open a brand new 23,000 square foot, 40-bed facility in the Sacramento, California area, and that means 80-120 more girls who will be able to graduate the program next year as a result. We have also formed many new relationships and there are many people who have decided to up their giving as a result of a lot of negativity on the part of others. It’s always cool when that kind of things happens.

We are also very excited about the property we own in two other cities, and we are also praying diligently about building a home for sex-trafficking victims. There is so much need and so much human suffering. I’m glad that I get to serve a God who cares those for whom there is no justice.

As we begin this new year, I want to challenge myself and you as well that our commitment be to serve others and to give like we have never given before. If we think according to natural terms, we will find reasons not to give. However, the real blessing is in giving above and beyond through the most difficult times. When we do this, we will see God move in ways we have never dreamed possible. Just some thoughts as we start this new year. I’m so excited that we have 365 days in front of us so that we can do our best to do what Jesus did – “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).

Happy New Year!!