Monday, May 30, 2011

She Refused To Be A Statistic Or A Casualty…

First of all, I want to thank all the brave men and women of the various arms of our military services who lay down their lives to protect us every day. I’m so thankful that we have a day we actually set aside to honor those who serve our country in such a sacrificial way. Wherever you are today, I hope you are having a blessed time. If you think about it, say a prayer of thanksgiving and protection for our troops who are still potentially in harm’s way.

Here at Mercy we are oftentimes on the front lines. I received a really cool email from a young girl who almost became a statistic, because she wanted to die rather than continue to live in pain and bondage. However, she found out about Mercy, walked through our doors, graduated the program, and is now celebrating her college graduation. I just got this email a few days ago and thought you should hear it in her own words…

Hey Nancy,
Sheer joy of crossing the finish line!

Exactly one year ago, I was ready to die. College graduation was far from my mind, as I lived in a hellish pit of despair and cycles of sin. I felt stuck and honestly thought that there was no way out. It was exactly at that point that I got accepted to come to Mercy. Not only did I graduate from Mercy, but this weekend, I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Graduation day for me was not about putting on the Carolina blue cap and gown, singing the Tar Heel fight song for the last time as a student, or taking pictures by the Old Well with my amazing friends (although I LOVE these things!). Instead, it was a sweet reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness. I rested in the sweetness of our mighty God whose love alone can break the power of sin and depression, who sought me out when I was in darkness, and who has given me abundant joy and eternal hope. I never thought life could be this good. I wish I could more accurately express the overflowing gratitude in my heart for how the Lord has used Mercy to really breathe life into me again, but I pray that you’re encouraged and can see a glimpse of my joy in these graduation pictures. Thank you again for all that you and the Mercy staff do!

Alison, December 2010 Mercy Graduate

Alison (right) with her best friend, Lauren

Alison (center) and her housemates

Alison, I am so glad that you chose to go back and finish your college degree. We celebrate with you and we are so proud of you!!! God has huge blessings in store for you, and I know He will use you in amazing ways! Thanks to all of our monthly partners and financial supporters who helped make this possible!

Friday, May 27, 2011

1988 Mercy Graduate Pays Surprise Visit Today…

Jessica was 17 years old, facing an unplanned pregnancy when she walked through the doors of our Louisiana Mercy home in 1988. Little did I know that 23 years later she would come back to see me, bringing her husband and family for me to meet. I remember Jessica well and was thrilled to see her!

I fully remember that Jessica made the decision to keep her baby and become a single parent. That little girl is now 23 years old and was raised by her adoptive dad who came into her life as a little girl and is still her dad to this day. Not only that, but Jessica and John have had six other children, for a total of seven! The newest arrivals are a set of twin girls who are four years old and in the picture to the right. The three oldest were not on the trip to Nashville with John and Jessica, but we were thrilled to meet the four youngest. What a great time it was as John and Jessica spoke with and encouraged our current residents that they have a great future in front of them! Thought you would love to meet a Mercy girl who is still going strong for God 23 years and counting!!!

Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Busy Time…

Hey Guys,

Too busy with ministry to talk to you today, but I’ll talk to you later!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Need Some Encouragement Today…Check This Out!!!

I recently spoke at Crossroads Church in Lafayette, Louisiana where I had the privilege of seeing and connecting with several Mercy graduates who live in the area (see blog from Wednesday, April 13th). 2009 Mercy graduate, Emily, is a part of the Master’s Commission through Crossroads Church and sent me a copy of her testimony to share with others. I hope Emily’s testimony is an encouragement to you…

It says in Micah 4:7 (Message paraphrase) that He will transform the battered into a company of the elite and He will make a strong nation out of the long lost.

I came to Mercy two years ago struggling with an eating disorder and an addiction to alcohol. I was convinced that I was a bad person because so many bad things had happened to me. I attempted to gain some sense of control through an eating disorder because in every area of my life, I had lost control. I became physically addicted to alcohol at a young age and at one point I was rushed to the ER because I stopped breathing from alcohol poisoning. I literally had nothing. Everything that once had significance was taken from me either because of someone else’s mistakes or by my own decision making process.

In my season with Mercy, I had to learn how to open my heart up to God and people. It wasn’t easy because I had been hurt so many times. I had to do a lot of things afraid. And if I were being totally honest, I still do a lot of things afraid. However, the pain in my life was the catalyst that encouraged a heart change toward the possibility of transformation. Once I understood that God could be trusted, I slowly unclenched my fists and became vulnerable to the healing process. I found that as I completely surrendered myself to the Lord, I experienced freedom in my mind and emotions.

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost two years since I‘ve graduated from Mercy. I wish I could say that life after Mercy is perfect. But the reality is that with life comes calamity, disappointment, and pain. In spite of all this, He promises to never forsake you in the midst of affliction. Yes, there is the name of addiction, abandonment, abuse, and heartache. But His name is above every other name and every knee has to submit itself and declare Him as Lord.

The life I live today is truly a testimony of God’s faithfulness. As of June 2011, I will have graduated from 9-months of Master’s Commission which is a discipleship / ministry training school. In my time with Master’s Commission, I have been involved in children’s and youth ministry through providing on-going spiritual leadership, discipleship, practical service, and availability to students as well as their families. I learned the fundamentals of ministry through hands on training and classroom instruction. Recently, I traveled to the nation of Romania, my nationality and original country of birth, for ministry purposes. While in Romania, I had the opportunity to spend time at a girl’s home for young victims of human trafficking. I also provided humanitarian aid through food distribution and ministry to Gypsy villages. In addition to being a student at Crossroad’s Master’s Commission, located in Lafayette, Louisiana, I am also taking online classes to earn a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Counseling. I am expected to complete my degree in the summer of 2012. My graduation from Master’s Commission would not be possible without the grace of God and the people He placed into my life to help me walk out my freedom. Any successes that may ensue as a result of my involvement with Master’s Commission is because of their involvement in my life.

Mercy doesn’t heal people. God heals people. Mercy acts as an extension of God’s love and compassion through providing a safe environment that fosters lifelong transformation. I want to encourage anyone who may be considering Mercy Ministries as an option to just do it. On the other side of your obedience are answered prayers, life, fulfillment, wholeness, hope, and restoration. God is so relational and He isn’t a child abuser. He is personally acquainted with you through observation and participation. I believe God will make every step toward you but one. And that final step belongs to you. When the pain in your life outweighs whatever may be holding you back - fear, pride, shame - I believe you’ll be thirsty enough to make that step. And when you do, He’ll be right there; ready to walk you through the healing process.

Emily and I had a chance to catch up at Crossroads Church in Lafayette!
Thanks so much Emily for taking the time to share your amazing testimony!! You are definitely letting your light shine and we are so proud of you!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Mercy Girl Graduates College!!!

I always love when graduation time comes around every year, because I so enjoy receiving updates from our Mercy graduates who are now getting their college degrees. I just received this awesome email from Kristi who came to the Nashville Mercy home in 2007. Kristi is now living life to the fullest, and I wanted to share her amazing update with you…

Hey Nancy,

Four years ago, at the end of April, I graduated from Mercy Ministries, and I am finally graduating from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with my B.A in Spanish. I cannot believe four years have passed since Mercy, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity I received when I was accepted into Mercy. I am eating disorder free and living life to the fullest!!

I just wanted to share with you what's going on in my life. My Mercy ring is so precious to me, and I am always getting compliments on how beautiful it is. I didn't even buy a college graduation ring because nothing compares to the triumph of being a Mercy grad, and walking out life in the freedom of the Lord. My Mercy ring is a beautiful reminder of how blessed I am.

Love you!

- Kristi

We are so proud of you, Kristi!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guest Pastors From Minnesota Connect With Girls!!!

We had a great time today with Pastors Rob and Becca Ketterling from River Valley Church! First we heard from Becca, and then Pastor Rob shared an amazing message about his own background and family that so connected with the hearts of our girls. It was a very special time, and we have received so much positive feedback from our girls about how this message changed their perspective. We will share more in a web story tomorrow, but just wanted to give you this news hot off the press and show you some amazing pictures from our time together. I have been invited to come and be a part of the weekend services Saturday and Sunday, June 25th and 26th – I am so looking forward to my first visit there!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Great Weekend At Living Word Family Church!!!

The weekend in Raleigh began on Friday night, as I had the privilege of launching the first session of the 2011 Influence Women’s Conference. I was so excited to spend time with my fellow speaker and dear friend, Terri Savelle Foy. Terri is the author of “Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Memories” published by Regal Books – a tremendous and inspiring story. I had the privilege of speaking again on Saturday morning followed by two amazing messages by Terri. I promise you that you want to know all about Terri’s ministry and hear her firsthand. Check out her website and how to get her book and teaching materials at Some of you may recognize the “Savelle” name and there is a reason for that. Her parents are Jerry and Carolyn Savelle who are well known for their amazing messages and leadership in Christian circles. I strongly encourage you to resource your life with these tremendous tools that Terri has put together to enable people to fulfill all of their destiny and see their highest dreams fulfilled.

Me with Connie (center) and Terri (right)

I then had the privilege of speaking at both of the Sunday morning services at Living Word Family Church. We had a great time, and I so honor Pastors Steve and Connie Caronna for their vision and for their leadership in the Raleigh community and beyond. I also want to thank LWFC for the monthly mission support that they have given to Mercy for years and years. YOU ARE A PART OF EVERY CHANGED LIFE!!!

Me with Pastors Steve and Connie

Thanks for a great weekend! We loved being there!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Special Friends Of Mercy Gather In Charlotte At King’s Kitchen…

Me with Jim and Karen Noble, Owners of The King's Kitchen
It’s not too often that you go to a restaurant named after the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Yesterday, however, I had the opportunity to gather in such a place with my dear friends Jim and Karen Noble, founders and owners of The King’s Kitchen. Jim and Karen are long time personal friends of mine as well as Mercy supporters. They opened up their amazing restaurant and also their hearts to allow us to host a Mercy luncheon there yesterday. We had such a great time!!! First of all, if you live anywhere near Charlotte or are ever in the area, you have got to go check out this restaurant – it is amazing! Not only is the food above and beyond, but this place provides employment and training for people in the Charlotte community who have fallen on hard times. One hundred percent of their profits go to help feed the poor in Charlotte! You might say it is a combination of restaurant, a cool place to gather in the community, and a training ground for ministry. Before I get into the actual event, I want to give you the website so you can check out The King’s Kitchen for yourself

Guests at The King's Kitchen, enjoying the event!
Yesterday around noon in Charlotte, NC, this amazing restaurant was packed out with people in support of Mercy Ministries, both old friends and new. Not only that, but there were seven graduates in attendance from the North Carolina area, one dating back to 1998 – 13 years ago! This young woman came because she wanted to tell me thank you for what Mercy did in her life. I had the privilege of casting the vision for what Mercy is currently doing in the state of North Carolina, and plans to do in the future. In addition, we heard awesome stories from two of our North Carolina graduates. Their stories were so powerful. Julia told about how she is now fulfilling her lifelong dream of being a missionary to nations around the world. Alyssa shared about how she was abused as a child and before Mercy, always thought she would end up abusing other children. But after her time of healing and restoration at Mercy, she has now been entrusted with a ministry that actually nurtures and cares for children. She spoke of how amazing it is that God can take what was certain to destroy her life and reverse the curse, so she can now reach out and help those children who are less fortunate.

Graduates, Julia and Alyssa, sharing
After we heard from our graduates, our special guest Jordan Rubin, well known author, speaker and entrepreneur, told of his personal connection to Mercy and how he and his wife, Nicki, adopted a baby through Mercy several years ago named Samuel. Jordan also shared about how he and the birth mother look like they could be brother and sister. You can check out more of what Jordan is up to these days at
Jordan with his adopted son, Samuel
Jordan Rubin sharing
Me with Jordan Rubin
We want to especially thank Jordan and Nicki Rubin for their gift of $10,000 to Mercy at this luncheon. We also want to thank Penny Maxwell. She and her husband are the pastors of Freedom House Church in Charlotte, NC, and they presented Mercy with a check for $20,000.
Me with Penny Maxwell and their gift to Mercy for $20,000
All this support that came in yesterday will go to help provide for the young women that are currently in our facilities, many of whom are from the state of North Carolina. If you would like to contribute to help hurting young women from North Carolina or any of our other girls from all 50 states you can do so by clicking here.

Thanks to everyone who made this day so special!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mercy Graduate Now Pastry Chef…

It’s almost been three years since Tammy graduated from the St. Louis home in 2008. To hear her story of how she went from barely graduating college in 2004 to just graduating from a Culinary Arts school with a 4.0 is inspiring! Tammy came to Mercy struggling with drugs, alcohol, and an eating disorder, but is now living a life of freedom and sharing her testimony with others! I just received this amazing update from Tammy that I wanted to share with you with Tammy’s permission…

Hey Nancy and Mercy Staff!

I just wanted to write and give an update! In less than two months it will be three years since graduating Mercy in St. Louis! I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone! I guess it seems quick because the first part of my life seemed so long. I just kind of floated by and did my best to “fit in” with the crowd, never wanting to stand out, never wanting to overachieve or even succeed. I barely graduated from college back in 2004 and from that point on my life took a turn for the worst. I tried everything from alcohol to drugs to cutting to anorexia/bulimia, everything but God! For four years I held on by a thread and finally made it to January 2008, the beginning of a new life! I walked through the doors of Mercy and life as I knew it became just a memory. I began to experience God in a new and real way, something that I had never experienced before, something I couldn’t even describe with words. I also began to experience people and relationships in a new way. Soon I couldn’t go through the day without smiling because no matter how bad a situation looked, I knew I had a good, gracious and merciful God on my side! I began to see the life God had for me, a life that was so much more than I could ever dream of or imagine! While at Mercy I got the opportunity to work in the kitchen and remembered how much I loved to bake. I had always loved baking while growing up, but kind of lost my passion for it along with my zest for life. God began to bring that passion back to life as well as breaking my heart for the young women who don’t have a voice. After graduating from Mercy, I prayed and decided to go back to school for Culinary Arts specializing in Baking and Pastry.
Tammy with her degrees and award

I am pleased to tell you that over the weekend I graduated from school with my degree in Baking and Pastry, as well as a degree in Dietetics. I was awarded an Academic Achievement Award for having the highest GPA in my major. God has been with me through this whole process, from receiving a full scholarship to graduating now with a 4.0. I am now a pastry chef in a downtown Pittsburgh high-end member’s club, called the Duquesne Club. This avenue has brought me down a different road, but I’m learning to adjust and use the opportunity that God has given me to share with my co-workers the testimony of my life. Every day I have to work with knives, alcohol and food…three things I have struggled with majorly in my past. But everyday God gives me the strength and the will to overcome my past and to continue walking in freedom. Every day I wake up and choose to live life, I choose to make the best of every day, even when it’s hard and even when I make mistakes. I choose life because God has given me this precious gift of life! These past three years have been incredible. Thank you for your diligence and obedience to God’s calling! I love you and am forever grateful to you and all of the Mercy staff who unconditionally love God's girls!


A sample of the delicious and beautiful desserts Tammy makes!

Tammy (far left) with the pastry staff at Duquesne Club

Tammy, we are so proud of you!!! To all of our wonderful contributors, your support of Mercy Ministries is an investment in the lives of the young women we serve and we are so grateful for you. Tammy is another life that was changed through your generous giving. THANKS for what YOU make possible!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Special Guest Speaker Connects Heart to Heart…

Today was my first day back after being gone for two weeks! It was so great to see the girls and staff, and to also have my very dear friend, Penny Maxwell, here to speak to our Mercy residents. Penny and her husband, Troy, pastor Freedom House Church in Charlotte, NC. We are so thankful that this church supports us on a monthly basis and that they are a part of every life that is transformed.

The girls were completely and totally captivated as Penny shared her amazing story of how she overcame past sexual abuse from a family member to now being able to be a good wife and mother of three, which she never dreamed would ever be possible! I thought it would be great for you to see a picture of her family.
The Maxwell Family

Penny and her husband Troy not only pastor a church, but Penny is in the process of writing a book about her amazing journey of healing and transformation. A special thanks to Penny for keeping it real -- you really touched the hearts of our girls in a very special way!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mercy Graduate, Rachael, Tells Her Story Of Hope And Transformation...

It is hard to imagine that just two years ago I was homeless, hopeless and addicted to meth. There were many times that I expected the drug to take my life in an overdose, or to be arrested and put away for my involvement in selling it. These were my only options: death, jail, and institutions. Or at least, that’s what I thought. So, by the time I had the opportunity to meet Nancy in May of 2009, I was so physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted from the long, dark road I had been traveling down that I hardly expected her to be able to help me. How did I get here? After all, I had grown up in a loving Christian home, even had a full ride scholarship to Auburn University for gymnastics. How could this have happened?

During the six years that I was addicted to meth and cocaine, I had been in two different rehab facilities, both temporarily changing behavioral problems but neglecting to find the root issues. The bottom line: God wasn’t in it, so there was no lasting change. But when Nancy shared with me about Mercy and encouraged me to apply, there was finally a light at the end of my tunnel! I walked into the Nashville home on February 2010.

That is how God used Mercy Ministries to save my life. I allowed GOD to come in and restore my spirit, soul and body because He is the ultimate Healer and Counselor. I will never forget how relieved I was that He saved me from death and replaced my pain with tears of joy and gratitude. He gave me a NEW life.That is why it is hard to imagine what it used to be like, because the old is gone! Before I graduated from Mercy last February, Nancy was able to connect me with Pastor Debbie Lindell from James River Assembly in Springfield, MO. Today, I am a student at James River Leadership College (JRLC) studying to get an Associates Degree in Leadership. I never would have thought this would be possible. My experience at JRLC has been abundantly more than I could have ever imagined. I have been given the opportunity to share my testimony on several occasions and I also get hands-on experience working with people who have life-controlling issues. This is my passion: to help hurting, broken people see that there is a light at the end of their tunnel. If God has shown me His grace and mercy, everyone else deserves it as well. One thing I will always remember is that it is NOT about me, it is about HIM!

Mercy Graduate, Rachael, with Nancy’s Executive Assistant, Katelyn

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guest Blogger, Whitney Nall!

Hey there!

Whitney Nall here! As Community Relations Manager for Mercy here in Nashville, one of my favorite things to share with you is Run for Mercy! This past weekend we had 65 people RUN FOR MERCY in the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon. So far the team has raised over $32,000 for Mercy through their personal fundraising efforts. It’s so true that “we have not because we ask not” and it’s been amazing to see the funds come in as each of these people has asked their contacts to donate towards Mercy. I thought you’d enjoy seeing some pics from the fun weekend! It all started on Friday night with a Pasta Party here at the Nashville Mercy Home.

We woke up before the sun on Saturday morning, and as the runners took their marks, some volunteers and I set up the Mercy tent over in Charity Village near the finish line. It was fun to have team members stop by the tent throughout the day after they finished the race.

The Nashville Mercy girls were at the finish line cheering on the runners as they came around the last turn of the race. The runners could easily spot them in their bright pink shirts and each team member I spoke to said that seeing them cheering was the highlight of their run! The girls are the reason they were running in the first place.

One of my favorite things about Run for Mercy events is that they are fun for the whole family. Whether it’s coming out to cheer on the runners at the marathon or an early morning run in one of our upcoming 5Ks, Run for Mercy events are something that each person in the family can be a part of. Here is a photo of my family on Saturday!! (Including our dog, “Major!” He is actually a boy but wore his pink Run for Mercy bandanna just for the race)

Hope to see you at one of our upcoming Run for Mercy events soon!! Check out this website to find out when an event is coming to a city near you: To see a video of the Mercy girls at the marathon, click here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eve Does Another Video Interview with Amazing Mercy Guest Charlotte Gambill

Eve here again wearing my roaming resident reporter hat... This time, I had the privilege of interviewing a special guest from across the pond, Charlotte Gambill. Charlotte and her husband, Steve, came to the Nashville home to speak to our staff and residents. When Charlotte is not helping her parents, Pastors Paul and Glenda Scanlon of Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England as the Senior Associate Pastor, she travels around the world speaking God’s truth! And, boy this amazing woman of God doesn’t hold anything back. And, we love her for it! You won’t want to miss her words of wisdom. Take a look:

Just for the record, I love precious Jude, and obviously so do the Gambill children, Hope and Noah (pictured below)!

Thank you, Charlotte for pouring your heart into our residents and our entire staff here at Mercy. You have blessed us in such an immense way, all for His glory! We love and appreciate our UK family!

Charlotte Gambill speaking to the Nashville staff and residents
Steve Gambill speaks to our residents