Have Mercy!

This spring, Nancy Alcorn celebrates the 20th anniversary of Mercy Ministries, which offers God's hope and healing to girls struggling with addictions, eating disorders, unwed pregnancy, and abuse—girls not so unlike the bulimic teen she once was.

Bit by bit, Nancy saw God provide such things as the low-priced home outside city limits (away from stringent zoning laws) with lots of bedrooms; local media coverage that prompted donations; even a local doctor who gave Nancy $4,600 to pay off the remaining debt on her car. Additionally, her friends introduced her to various business and church leaders in the area who gave her money and opportunities to spread the word about Mercy Ministries. The fresh coats of paint were barely dry on the house when Nancy started receiving calls from parents of girls in desperate situations. Their first resident was 19-year-old Theresa, who was suicidal and heavily involved in drugs and alcohol. Theresa was followed by countless other hurting girls urgently in need of God's healing and hope.

Since then, the 20-bed Monroe home has been filled to capacity with a waiting list, and other Mercy homes have opened their doors. In 1990, Nancy moved back to Nashville and began planting seeds for a Mercy home that opened there in 1995. Both the Monroe and Nashville locations house an adoption agency for pregnant Mercy girls who decide to give their babies up for adoption. Since 1985, the ministry has placed hundreds of babies into loving adoptive families across the U.S. In 2000, worship leader Darlene Zschech and her husband, Mark, established Mercy Ministries of Australia and opened a Mercy home near their church in Sydney. Also that year, Joyce and Dave Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries deeded property to Mercy Ministries for a future St. Louis home. Funds currently are being raised for renovation costs for the facility on the St. Louis property as well as for a second home in Australia. Plans also are underway to open homes in New Zealand, the UK, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Houston.

This May Mercy Ministries will host a 20th anniversary celebration, including a banquet for graduates, adoptive couples, and financial supporters. Nancy hopes to get Theresa, the first Mercy girl, to come, as well as the first baby placed through Mercy's adoption agency. Also, this February Mercy will launch a new book series, beginning with Mercy for Eating Disorders, to help people wrestling with the various issues they treat at Mercy, as well as those who love them. These will join the other books in Mercy's library, Echoes of Mercy and Mercy Moves Mountains (available through Mercy's website, www.mercyministries.com). Last year, Nancy began speaking at Point of Grace's new Girls of Grace conferences targeted for girls ages 13-18.

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