Monday, August 30, 2010

Mercy Graduate Serves in Uganda…

It is always so exciting to be able to support former Mercy residents on mission trips to share the love of Christ and to see them help others because of what they have learned here at Mercy. I just received this awesome email from 2006 Mercy graduate, Emily, sharing about her mission trip to Uganda. It made my day! Wanted to share it with you…


I got home Sunday night from two weeks in Uganda and I didn't want to let too much time go by before sending you and all of the staff at Mercy a huge thank you for helping to make this trip possible! God is so faithful and I am in awe of the incredible work that He accomplished in me and through me on this trip. What I saw in Uganda was nothing short of a miracle. Women traveled for hours on buses to stay for a month in a common house in Nansanna, Uganda, which is just outside of Kampala. Classes were held daily to train these women in the Word of God. They were so excited to hear the truth of the Bible and to get to know God! I was so impressed by the depth of their faith.

Our church also has an orphanage in Nansanna called the Children of Grace. Most of the girls who live there are in their teens and we were able to spend a lot of time with them. We even took a group of them to the zoo, which they loved! Another thing we helped with was getting a room ready which will be the Grace Women's dorm so that women can come to Bible College in Nansanna.

God used this trip to wake me up and motivate me. He spoke to my heart about the importance of true intimacy with Him. I definitely left a portion of my heart in Uganda and can't wait to return!

Thank you again and God bless you!! I’ve also attached a few pictures from the trip.

Emily's smile is contagious!

Emily with some of the children of Uganda



I am so proud of you, Emily!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mercy Graduate Now Missionary in Guatemala...

I just received the most amazing update from Mercy graduate, Kim, about what God is doing through her ministry in Guatemala!!! NOT ONLY THAT, but she gave me an amazing update of how God has restored her relationship with her family! This past month her family came to Guatemala to serve with her for a week, and Kim sent me this amazing update about how God has restored her family. I have also posted pictures highlighting Kim reaching out to others there, along with pictures of when her family came. This story is way too powerful not to take the time to read and we share this with Kim’s permission.

In Kim’s own words…

Hey there Nancy!

I hope you and everything in Nashville are going wonderfully!

I wanted to take a moment to share something with you…

I am still here in Panimaquin, Guatemala, continuing to stand amazed as to how the Lord desires to use me and how He is using my former shame to bring about hope and encouragement for the people here in the village. I am continually in awe of our Abba's immense love and how He pours it over me and through me.

This past month in the village, the Lord blessed me in such an amazing way... he brought my family here to serve for a week! My mom, step-dad, and cousin all boarded a plane to come to minister here in Guatemala... It was a confirmation that brought so much peace to my heart. There are not words sufficient to describe this immense blessing! For me, it was a certain picture of how the Lord has not only restored and redeemed me, a once tattered, hopeless, depressed, and severely bound individual, but how He has also restored my family! For years, I never wanted my family to be a part of my life, and I did all I could to keep distance between us, but God has restored my family! He has restored the relationship with my mom that was destroyed in many ways, and He has given me a relationship with my step-dad who was never given an opportunity to hold a place in my life due to much fear and transference of past abuse from my own father... It was absolutely an experience for me that will be forever etched in my heart!

Thank you for opening Mercy's doors to me, not only to me, but to my family as well! I am so grateful for how the Lord has used Mercy to change my life, but also to change the life of my family!

God bless you!
Thanks so much!


Kim we are so proud of you, and so proud to be one of your supporters!

Kim with a young woman she's reaching out to...

Kim with some of the kids she works with

Kim with her mom and stepdad

Kim's cousin, Michelle, with the children

Kim and her family with all of Kim’s students after a devotional where they all received Bibles

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

9 Year Old Daughter of Former Mercy Girl Raises Hundreds of Dollars for Mercy!!!

Today in the mail I received these pictures along with a check from 9 year old Brittney who is the daughter of one of our former residents, Kristy (pictured left), from years ago. Brittney got it in her heart that she wanted to help raise money for Mercy because she knows that we have a lot of needs at the moment, and she decided that she wanted to do her part. Brittney (pictured right) made a decision to make the bracelets (pictured below) and sell them for $1 apiece. She made and sold 503 of these bracelets and sent us a check today for the entire amount!!! I thought it was one of the most awesome things I have heard straight from the heart of a child who cares about others. I hope it touches your heart as much as it did mine. We can all do our part, and together we can make a great difference!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Newly Renovated Mercy Home – Check Out Yesterday’s Open House/Dedication

It was such a joy yesterday to walk back into the very home where Mercy first began in 1983! The thing that made this day so special is that we were all there to celebrate and dedicate our newly renovated facilities. Our residents were so blessed that 250 people in the local community dropped by to tour the home and offices, and to be a part of our official dedication.

Thought I would share some of the joy with you in picture form. It was definitely a day to remember, and we will be doing a complete web story on this event later this week. Thanks to everyone who made this day such a huge success!!!

I was greeted by Isaiah and Israel when I first walked in the doors. They are so special to all of our residents.

One of our residents giving guests a tour.

Official dedication ceremony

Pastor Sam and Becky Carr

Praying over the home

Speaking at the dedication

With all of the Louisiana Mercy girls.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Surprise Visitor 18 Years Later!! You’ve Got To See This!!!

Almost 19 years ago, a young girl named Angela walked through the doors very distraught in her life and facing an unplanned pregnancy. Yesterday that same girl walked back through the doors of Mercy, now a beautiful young woman who is happily married with three children of her own and currently serving as a youth pastor. Not only did Angela come to visit me, but along with her was the adoptive mom that she chose to raise her son over 18 years ago. Miles made the decision that he was ready to meet his birthmother, and his adoptive mom Wendy was thrilled to help facilitate and bless their meeting for the first time. They came together on Monday and met for the very first time, and yesterday they dropped by Mercy to share their joy with me. I thought it would bless you to know that what was a little baby boy 18 years ago is now a fine young man who is in a military training school. He was so proud to show off his uniform and tell me all about his life. Not only was Miles adopted, but his adoptive mother Wendy, was also chosen by two other Mercy birthmothers as well, which means that Miles has a little brother and a little sister that are very special to him. It was such a joy to me to see how God has blessed all parties involved just as He promised that He would so many years ago when these decisions were first made.

Me, Miles, Wendy (Adoptive Mom), Miles' brother, Samuel, and Miles' sister, Savannah

Me, Angela (Birthmother), Miles, and Wendy (Adoptive Mom)

Me and Miles

If you are facing a difficult decision today, I hope God’s faithfulness in the lives of all involved in this story will speak to your heart and encourage you.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Canadian Publisher Highlights Mercy Graduate’s Story…

After 27 years, it is not uncommon for our graduates to be featured in various publications across the United States and beyond. I was not aware that this article was coming until it was forwarded to me this morning. Mercy graduate Natasha Files was asked to tell her story to Peach Arch News, and I wanted to pass this on to you. Special thanks to Natasha for inspiring others to overcome the difficult things from their past and to also reach out to others to make a difference. We are so excited to know that the Canadian girls no longer have to come to America to get the help they so desperately need. I know this will inspire you...

A special thanks to John and Helen Burns and our team in Canada for the great job they are doing!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mercy Resident Gives Birth – Another Life Saved!

We want to welcome baby boy Rainey Miles into this world, born yesterday to Mercy resident, Sarah. Both mom and baby are doing amazing! Thank you for making this choice of life possible…we value your support!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Star Recording Artist Surprises Mercy girls…

Jonny Diaz stopped by the Mercy home in Nashville yesterday to deliver several copies of his new book “More Beautiful You – A Study in True Beauty,” as well as surprised the girls with an impromptu performance of a few of his songs! Our girls were so excited that Jonny came by personally – it made them feel so special!! Check out the video of Jonny singing live to the Nashville Mercy residents…

Jonny wrote the book “More Beautiful You – A Study in True Beauty” with the help of his mom, Gwendolyn Diaz, to encourage young women that they are beautifully created by God for a specific purpose and that they are loved just as they are. We are so excited to add Jonny’s book to the libraries in each of our Mercy homes! If you would like more information on Jonny Diaz and how you can purchase a copy of his book, or to hear the radio version of his #1 song “More Beautiful You” and read the lyrics, check out

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don’t Tell Nancy I Hijacked Her Blog…Shhhh…

Nancy’s Executive Assistant, Katelyn here. While Nancy is on a plane – surprise, I know, I decided to take over her blog to share with you about an awesome phone call I had this afternoon with a Mercy graduate named Abbey. Abbey arrived at Mercy exactly one year ago today with an unplanned pregnancy and made the brave decision to place her baby for adoption. Now one year later, Abbey is getting ready to head back to college to continue her degree in Education and has just returned from her very first mission trip!!

Abbey went with a team of 20 people from her church (pictured right) to serve in Guatemala on a medical mission trip. The team saw 900 patients in 6 days – WOW!!! As I talked to Abbey, this is what she had to say:

“I’ve never met more joyful people in my whole life! Even though the people we were serving didn’t have anything, you would have never known because of how happy they were. Being in Guatemala made me realize how much I take simple things like running water for granted, and being around the Guatemalan people made me realize how much more joyful and grateful I can be in every area of my life. It was such an awesome trip and I hope to go back next year!”

I thought you might want to see some pictures from Abbey’s time in Guatemala…

Abbey with one of her favorite patients

Abbey taking care of one of the little ones!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meet Our Intake Staff!!!

I thought it would be cool for you to meet our Intake staff who works tirelessly answering the desperate cries for help that we receive on a daily basis, an average of 1,500 calls each month. These days as the founder of Mercy, which has existed for 27 years, I get way too much credit for the great work that goes on. I felt like I should give a shout out to one department who has gone above and beyond to meet the needs of these young women we exist to serve, and that would be our Intake Department.

The cool thing about this department is that the Director of Intake, Rebekah Adams, has a Master’s Degree in Counseling. She actually started out as a volunteer and worked countless hours exemplifying the passion she has for hurting young women. When the position for the Director of Intake came open, for us it was a no brainer to hire Rebekah. She leads a talented team of people who I am featuring in today’s blog so that those of you who call in can put names and faces together.

The other cool thing about this department is that we actually have two graduates of Mercy that are a part of this team, and obviously they have a perspective that the other members of the team do not have. Sara was in the program in 1997 and Kathryne was in the program in 2002. Denise, one of the other Intake Coordinators, and her family have supported Mercy since Denise was a little girl and it is so great to have her as a part of the team. Besides Rebekah, Sara, Denise, and Kathryne, we also have Brandy who serves the department as the receptionist.

I really wanted to brag on this group, but I also thought it would be good if you got a personal inside look at who they are as individuals, so I asked each of them to write something they would want to share with our friends and supporters. I am so proud of our entire staff, and I will be highlighting more departments from time to time in the future…

Rebekah Adams – Director of Intake

I started in this position in September of 2009 and I will never be able to fully express to you just how thankful I am for my job! I count it as a gift and a treasure to be a small part of seeing young women's hearts, minds, and lives restored by the power of Jesus Christ! Yeah!!!!

I was raised in a tiny little town called Rensselaer, Indiana, (if you look close enough you might see it on the map). I'm the youngest of 4 girls, (seriously, we're like the book "Little Women"... best friends!). I moved to Nashville in 2000 to go to Trevecca Nazarene University where I graduated with a Bachelor's in Social Work and a Bachelor's in Interpersonal Communications. I then continued on to get my Master's Degree in Counseling. Soon after completing school, I met my soon-to-be husband at church and we were married in September of 2008. He is truly the Lord's perfect provision for me and he was well worth the wait!!!! I love spending time with my husband (he’s hilarious!), shopping for great deals (just ask the Intake team), interior decorating, and singing.

Sara Opperman – Intake Coordinator

I have been part of the Mercy family for thirteen years. I initially found out about Mercy Ministries through a magazine article when I was sixteen, unexpectedly pregnant, and looking for a place to get help. Mercy Ministries provided an environment for me to draw closer to God, hear His voice through the challenging circumstances, and find clear direction and peace about the life-changing decision I had to make. I graduated from the program in 1997, and went back home with my beautiful baby girl, Alexis.

I have now worked in the Intake Department for almost three years, and feel honored to be a part of what God is doing in young women’s lives through this ministry. I am thankful for the opportunity to encourage them through the challenges they face, while also sharing my personal story of God’s amazing grace, love, forgiveness, and restoration. I feel blessed beyond measure for all that God has done in my life and continues to do - He is so faithful! Being a mom is by far my favorite role in life! Together, Alexis and I enjoy horseback riding, basketball, water skiing, and playing with our little dog, Rosie. I also enjoy playing soccer, cycling, ballroom dancing, and spending time with friends and family.

Denise Ramsey – Intake Coordinator

I have been at Mercy for almost 2 years and love it every day. Since high school, I have felt like God put a calling on my life to help girls that are dealing with the many issues that young girls face in society today. I was born and raised in Nashville, TN. I went to college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where I majored in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology. I have a wonderful family and friends that have supported me through my life and have helped me develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. I have a sister and a brother who I am really close with, and I love going to football games, cooking, and going to the lake.

Kathryne Coonce – Intake Coordinator

I have been working at Mercy for almost 2 years now, and I love it! Mercy has a very special place in my heart, especially since I am a Mercy grad! Yep, I am a Mercy alum… graduated in 2002 after having an unplanned pregnancy. Mercy was such a blessing to me and helped me through so many hard issues that I needed to work through! Most importantly, I developed a real relationship with my Savior, which changed my life! I never really thought I would end up working at Mercy, but God put it on my heart about 5 years after my stay there, and soon after, He opened the door! I feel blessed to be able to give back to a ministry that gave me so much!

I graduated from College of Charleston with a degree in Psychology, and then moved back home to Franklin, TN where I was born and raised. I have 2 brothers and a sister, and lots of nieces and nephews whom I adore! I have been married for 2 years now and I love my husband! I want to have a big family, so we are hoping to have children in the near future. I love to cook and hang out with friends and my family... and I love girly movies. That’s me… ☺

Brandy Vancil – Intake Coordinator

I grew up in a small town in Virginia and went to college at Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. I am married to a great man named Nick and we have a wild and wonderful black and white cocker spaniel named Buddy. I enjoy creative writing, songwriting, leading worship with my husband, traveling, and taking part in Bible studies with good friends.

The passion of my heart is to see people’s lives radically transformed by the saving and redeeming power of Jesus Christ. I hope to one day finish up my Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling in order to further walk out the passions God has given me. It is a true joy and humbling experience to walk alongside the brave young women who seek help from Mercy Ministries as they take active steps to walk out the freedom and healing Christ has for their lives.

Friday, August 6, 2010

An Inside Look to Our New Canadian Home!

I am so excited about our new Canadian home!! The furnishings are so beautiful and I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the rooms so I’ve posted them here for you. I want to give Pastors John and Helen Burns and the Canadian team a shout out for a job well done. The Mercy journey is so exciting and we love it that every room is so beautiful because it speaks to the value that we place on the lives of the young women we serve who have been through such devastation.
I love the time I spent with our Canadian staff
along with Pastors John and Helen Burns!

Part of the Classroom

Counseling Room

The Gathering Room

Dining Room
Each room has unique artwork as well.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One Year Later…

One of my favorite things that I love to share is when I hear from one of our graduates. This particular graduate, Kati, just celebrated her one year Anniversary of coming into Mercy Ministries. Thought it might help somebody out there who’s thinking about seeking help to hear her perspective back then, and how much different she is today. If you’re out there and you need help, please let this testimony encourage you!

“I remember this day (July 22, 2009) very distinctly last year. I remember sitting in the airport bawling my eyes out afraid of what the future would look like if I went and more afraid of what I looked like if I didn’t. I went to Mercy wanting freedom but not truly believing that it was possible for ME.

I am so thankful that I took that scary step. I have no doubt that choosing life was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, but it is also the best decision I ever made. I went into the program full of doubt, shame, and fear, and I left free, knowing that Christ died for MY freedom! I still have to choose life each and every day, but ultimately, I know that the battle is already won whether I feel like it or not.

I have so much in life for be thankful for, and I often overlook all the blessings God so lavishly pours upon me. I am so thankful to everyone who played such an integral part in my journey over the past year. Thank you for your obedience in what God has called you to do because I was on the other side of that obedience. Thank you for your patience and love during the process. Thank you for giving me hope that life could be different than what I was living. Some days I may feel like I’m just flying like other birds, but ultimately, I know that I was called to soar!”

Celebrating Christmas in the Louisiana home

Kati while she was at Mercy