The years Nancy Alcorn investigated child abuse cases, supervised foster care, and worked at a correctional facility for girls ignited a passion for helping broken young women find healing.
Issues such as self-harm are pervasive in today's society, says Alcorn. One in every 200 teen girls regularly practices self-abusive behavior, and up to 10 million teens have eating disorders.
In 1983 Alcorn founded Mercy Ministries (mercyministries.org), a non-profit organization designed to stop the destructive cycles of women aged 13 to 28. Mercy Ministries' primary focus is a free, six-month residential program in which women who face life-controlling issues receive biblically-based counseling, nutrition/fitness/life-skills education, and aftercare planning assistance.
"Most experts don't talk about freedom—they talk about coping," says Alcorn. "But Jesus is not about behavior modification; he's about transformation. We talk about how you can let go of your identity as a person bound by an addiction and become a new person in Christ.
"Your past does not have to destroy your future," she adds. "You can use your past to give someone else a future when you get on the other side of it."
The four books in Alcorn's "Mercy For" series—Cut, Starved, Violated, and Trapped—speak directly to girls who engage in self-harm, have an eating disorder, or live with sexual abuse or addictions. With accompanying workbooks, they examine the causes behind the behavior, explain how to permanently break free of self-destructive cycles, and share testimonies from women who now live with joy and freedom.
Mercy Ministries now has facilities in Nashville, St. Louis, and Monroe, Louisiana with 11 more locations planned worldwide.
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