Bringing Mercy Home with Nancy Alcorn
Drugs, eating disorders, physical and sexual abuse, depression and self-harm are just some of the issues that plague our youth. While many want to prescribe medication or treatment to help them, Nancy Alcorn wants to offer transformation through Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries is an organization comprised of Christian residential facilities throughout the United States and abroad that offers hope to young women. In addition to the residential facilities, Alcorn also has authored, “Mercy For,” a book series addressing life-controlling issues by offering practical advice and scriptural insight as well as hosting a live radio show called, Mercy Multiplied. We interviewed Alcorn five years ago and talked with her about how she started Mercy Ministries and how she has seen it grown over the last 30 years.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a]) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:7-10
Alcorn shares why she decided to start a program for girls.
“I spent eight years [in the 1970’s] working for the state of Tennessee at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls and later investigating child abuse cases. Most of my experiences with the government were heartbreaking. The times I was threatened by girls were not my worst experiences; the worst were the times I saw the broken lives of those girls getting worse at the facility instead of being restored. They needed to forgive and be forgiven. They needed to discover that they could be set free from guilt of all that they had done. Yet no matter what kind of programs the government offers, no matter how many tax dollars it spends, and not matter how many experts it hires, the government cannot forgive their sin-not even one. These girls needed transformation, not modification. From that background, I moved into a position with Teen Challenge, a Christian organization that reaches out to men and women with drug and alcohol problems. There I saw lives changed. It [Christian teaching] made me realize that only Jesus Christ could bring restoration into the lives of the girls who were desperately hurting and searching for something to fill the void they felt in their hearts.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water. John 4:11-15
Alcorn reflects on how the ministry has grown over the last 30 years.
“We have helped approximately 3,000 girls [with a 93 percent success rate] we have locations throughout the United States including Monroe, Louisiana; Lincoln, California; St. Louis, Missouri; and Nashville, Tennessee. International locations include Bradford, UK; Vancouver, BC Canada and New Zealand. Current plans also include homes for the Panhandle of Florida- where we already have the land in Santa Rosa Beach and Charlotte, North Carolina- where we have land designated for us. We currently have a waiting list of over 600 girls. Most of the experts of the world who charge large sums of money for services, don’t say you can overcome [life-threatening issues] or you can be free. One girl told us her parents spent several hundred thousand dollars and no one ever told her she could be free. They [experts] will label, they will medicate, they will give tough love mechanisms, but they say this may one day kill you, you are going to be this way the rest of your life, there’s nothing you can do about it. And that is not true, it is one thing to offer treatment, and altogether different to offer transformation. We do it through a structured program that is designed to develop and foster each girl in the areas of spirituality, emotional and physical well-being and life-skills. Mercy Ministries exists to provide opportunities for young women to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and life-transforming power. That’s the difference.”
Have a friend or family member that could benefit from Mercy Ministries? Walk alongside them and get them connected. Ask God how you can present the option for help to them. Pray that their heart would be open to receiving help and healing. Consider reading through Alcorn’s book or listening to her radio show to get a feel for what will be taught.
Pray for transformation. Take time this week to pray for Mercy Ministries and others like it. Pray that God would provide the resources they need to operate. Pray for wisdom as they counsel people that they could provide words of healing, hope and transformation. Ask God to work radically in the lives of the men and women who are going through these programs that they would submit their lives to Him and want to be free from addiction. Pray that God would raise up laborers and professionals who are willing to donate their resources and time to help out programs like this.
Be an agent of mercy. Reflect on Luke 4 and the story of the women at the well this week. Remember that each of us has sin in our lives and we are not perfect. But God in his mercy and his grace loved us and sent His son to die for us. Ask God who you can show mercy to this week.
To read our entire interview with Nancy Alcorn click here. If you have a friend or family member that could benefit from Mercy Ministries click here.
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