Mercy Ministries Founder and President Nancy Alcorn: Hey I’m at C3 church tonight in Atlanta, Georgia with five of our amazing graduates from Mercy Ministries. And we had the best time tonight. I actually got invited to come to a service and not speak that much myself but let these amazing young women whose lives have been changed do that. And these five represent Mercy Ministries graduates from 2002 on up to the year 2007. And this is Caitlyn right here, Mary Ellen, this is Natalie, Katie, and this is CeCe. We had a blast tonight but I want you to hear, we’re gonna show you, highlights from their stories tonight. The women of Atlanta loved it. It was so great. And these five girls are five of my heroes and I thank God for what He has done in their lives.
Mercy Ministries Graduate Mary Ellen: I came to Mercy Ministries when I was fourteen years old in 2004 with a severe eating disorder of anorexia. I was severely depressed and I had been to countless doctors and counselors, pretty much the best of the best. And they all told me the same thing, that I would struggle with this the rest of my life and this was something I was just going to have to learn to cope with, so deal with it… The following week my aunt sent some brochures, she lives in the Nashville area, some brochures of Mercy Ministries, and they instantly knew that was the place I needed to go… So God did a fast and complete work in my life. I graduated Mercy Ministries in four months; usually it’s a six-month program. But the Lord really met me and did a complete work. And so I graduated on April 21st, 2004 and since then I graduated high school and I’m currently a junior in college at a Christian University and I’m majoring in Elementary Education. And this past summer I’ve gotten to intern, go back to the Mercy Ministries Nashville home and intern, in the house and be with the Mercy Ministries girls and just be a ray of hope. And it’s been absolutely incredible.
Mercy Ministries Graduate CeCe: My story is very different. But like her, I graduated from the Mercy Ministries program in four months. And it really is just like a tremendous testimony to Him because when I was younger I was sexually abused at a very early age, probably like a lot of people in this room. And that just started a whole lot of shame in my life, shame that I never told anyone about… And through the love of God, He fixed my relationship with him, just completely made it stronger, deeper. And it talks about in Ephesians 3:16 ya know the heights, widths, depths of His love. He’s just blown me away.
Mercy Ministries Graduate Natalie: I went to Mercy Ministries in 2005 right before my 20th birthday. And there is a lot I can tell you about my time before Mercy Ministries. The enemy had it out for me but God had better plans. God has already prevailed. So I can stand here today and say that the enemy has already lost in my life. I come from a wonderful family. I love my parents. I love my siblings, my niece and nephew. I’m the baby by a lot of years and I love that too. My family loved me but they didn’t know what was going on in my life. There was a lot of darkness before Mercy Ministries from starting at age six until I was eighteen and leaving for college I was sexually abused… Something God told me last night that I wanted to say is that freedom isn’t perfection and it’s not never struggling. It’s knowing who you are in Christ and it’s knowing that you are an overcomer and knowing that you are loved and that you’re a co-heir with Christ and it’s knowing that you can stand on those truths in the midst of your struggles. Because I have struggled since Mercy Ministries. It’s been four years since I’ve been out and it’s been a great four years but it hasn’t been easy every day. Struggles that you deal with from the time you were 10 don’t just disappear. But if I didn’t have those struggles, I wouldn’t need my Savior to stand on and so I appreciate those struggles. You know sometimes you don’t realize how important your legs are or something. But if you break one and have to walk on crutches you know. So my struggles remind me that I have that brokenness and that I need to be leaning on God to get me through everything.
Mercy Ministries Graduate Katie: I grew up in a very godly, Christian home. My dad was in the ministry. So everybody in the community where we were knew who our family was. So we kinda lived in a glass bowl. And growing up I was one of those girls that other people look at and say, “Oh she’s got it all together. Ya know she’s got the best life.” From a very young age I can remember, ya know being like in second grade, and having friends say, “Your family is so perfect. I wish I could be in your family.” My parents’ friends telling my sisters and myself, “Ya know we wish our kids were like you all. You’re just such good girls.” So I started to try to live up to that expectation and that perception of perfection that other people had of myself and my family… I had heard God loved me my whole entire life. But it sunk into my heart and I learned that He was chasing after me like nothing in the world. And I got that. And so from that point it was one revelation after another of God just breaking walls down.
Mercy Ministries Graduate Caitlyn: Before Mercy Ministries my life was full of confusion more than anything else. I did not understand anything. I had little contact with the outside world, meaning outside of the house that I lived in because I was taken out of school after the first grade. I wasn’t educated after that point at all and I was allowed very little contact with anyone. No outside relationships, nothing. Because no one could see what was happening on the inside which was very, very bad. However, I did not know that. I had no way of establishing a sense of normality so I thought everything that was happening was normal and was good… One of the other big things in my life was the academic deficiency. I started college. It was a very hard time for me. I worked sixteen hours a day, every day, studying to catch up. And the Lord gave me so much favor and grace and allowed me that. And I have more than caught up. I have had great opportunities and I graduated just this last May with two Bachelor degrees in German and Biology… Um, 3.9999 I got one B. And I’m very proud of that grade because I worked very hard for it. But earlier this year I was awarded a US Fulbright Scholarship which means basically it’s a very prestigious award that is going to pay for a year of Neurosurgical Research that I will be moving to Germany to help lead. And it will be investigating complications following a stroke and potentially being able to prevent literally hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. It’s amazing. I am blown away, honestly, because I look at my own life and I could never deny that God is real, though I have tried to at sometimes. I know that He is. I know that I am a kid who came from a first grade education, I had nothing. And now I have International Academic Acclamation. I came from a person who just wanted to die, whose life was literally in danger. And now I love life. I’m happier than anyone I know. My favorite quote says, “I have only just begun to fight.” And I’m not fighting anymore for my survival, but I have all this energy now that I use toward thriving. And I’m so excited because it’s like I know I’m twenty-two years old. I’ve already experienced so much of the Lord and yet, me and Jesus, we’ve just begun.
Mercy Ministries Founder and President Nancy Alcorn: You know what? Our Mercy Ministries graduates have a message they want to send to those of you who financially support Mercy Ministries. Go ahead girls…
Mercy Ministries Graduates: Thank you! We love you!