Featured Difference Maker:
Founder and President of Mercy Multiplied
“It is our belief that if we provide places at no charge where girls can come and receive new life through Jesus Christ, as well as professional training in other areas, their lives will never be the same!”
– Nancy Alcorn
Several years ago, upon meeting native Tennessean, Nancy Alcorn Founder and President of Mercy Multiplied, (formerly Mercy Ministries), I was struck by her gracious, humble demeanor, and gentle southern accent that revealed her native Tennessee roots. When I asked her to tell me more about her ministry, her demeanor suddenly changed and with eyes blazing it became obvious that Nancy Alcorn is on a mission and she isn’t taking prisoners!
Nancy is smart, driven, articulate, charismatic, and full of passion and energy. She spent the first eight years of her career working for the State of Tennessee at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls and investigating child abuse cases. You can imagine this results-driven go-getter’s frustration when her daily encounters with secular programs were not producing permanent, life-changing results. Nancy was aghast to see so many of the girls she was working with in the juvenile facilities “graduate” right into the women’s prison system as soon as they reached 18 because they didn’t get the help they needed.
After five years she was transferred to the child protective services department. There she was on call 24/7 and witnessed the most horrific abuse of children that was so dreadful that it rattled her very fiber and gave her nightmares. Kids had been beaten and sexually abused in such horrendous ways it made her physically sick to her stomach. After three years of this she cried out to God asking why He wanted her to see this. His answer was, “You spent five years dealing with angry teenage girls and now I’m taking you back in time to show you why they are so angry.”Any judgment she might have had disappeared as she understood how these young girls had been shaped by their horrific abuse-filled early lives and that the key to helping them had to begin with understanding what made them the way they were.
His answer was,
“You spent five years dealing with angry teenage girls and now I’m taking you back in time to show you why they are so angry.”
After experiencing dismal results working for the government she recognized that true transformation would never come as the result of any government system or program. She decided that a faith-based program where all of the employees knew that Jesus was the only way to obtain peace, joy, and love was needed. She left the state-run programs for good and accepted a position as the Director of Women for the Nashville Teen Challenge program where she worked for two years.
She was happier at Teen Challenge but still felt that God wanted her to do something else. She had a decade of on the job training, and had developed her own unique insight as to what a program should entail. Nancy understood that only Jesus could bring hope and true restoration into the lives of girls who were desperately hurting and searching for something to fill the void in their hearts. She began to understand that God was unfolding His plan prompting her to leave the security and benefits of her job at Teen Challenge and step out in faith to found her own ministry to help hurting young women. The key to helping them began with understanding what made them the way they were. Mercy was a keyword in her vision.
In January 1983, Mercy Ministries of America was born, and the first Mercy home was opened in Monroe, Louisiana. Early on, the Lord put on her heart that there were three principles to which she must always remain faithful: (1) accept girls free of charge, (2) always give at least ten percent of all donations to other organizations and ministries, and (3) do not take any state or federal funding or any money that interferes with the freedom to share Christ.
One of the most fascinating successes achieved through Mercy Multiplied was a young girl whose early life was filled with pain, confusion, hurt, and most of the time lived in real danger. She had basic things such as food, water, and clothing, but the right to shower, or use a toilet was withheld by her sadistic parents. Her brothers routinely sexually abused her and found other ways to degrade and hurt her. She was severely beaten by both of her parents and was taken out of school after the first grade and had no further education past the age of six.
She used to pray over and again, “God, please don’t let them kill me,” but was still very young when she began praying to God,
“If You love me at all, You will let me die because I cannot handle this pain.”
“If You love me at all, You will let me die because I cannot handle this pain.”
Finally, child protective services intervened, and she was in and out of various foster homes until at 15 she came to a Mercy home. There she was treated with gracious support and remembers that she heard consistently about God and love. Mercy staff members and her Mercy sisters became her first family. The road was long to ever build trust and to rid herself of the fear ingrained in her, but she graduated Mercy at 16 and got a scholarship to a Bible school.
There, she received her GED and not long thereafter attended college as a pre-med student. She graduated at 22 years old summa cum laudeand promptly received a Fulbright scholarship which took her to an internship in Germany in a hospital. She returned to the states and ended up marrying a wonderful young man, something she thought would never happen. She is currently pursuing an education in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
God completely changed her life, her mind, her spirit, her body, and her heart. God gave a chance at life beginning at Mercy. There are so many beautiful stories like this one and I wish I could tell them all, but it would literally take volumes to chronicle all of the successes this ministry has achieved.
As with any start-up funded 100% by donations, there were times of tremendous difficulty particularly in the early days. However, Nancy was undaunted and full of courage and perseverance and the Lord blessed Mercy tremendously. Now, thirty-five years later, they have established beautiful, fully-equipped centers at multiple locations including Monroe, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Sacramento, California, and beyond the borders of the United States to include locations in the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand, with plans for more expansions both here and abroad.
One thing that distinguishes all her residences is that they in no way resemble a reform school, orphanage, run down home, or similar institution. They are first class and Nancy insists upon it. She maintains that these girls have experienced the worst in life and it contributes to their low self-esteem and she wants these young women to view themselves as being worth something and the least they can do for them is to provide them with an atmosphere conducive to that philosophy.
MERCY homes in the United States and abroad . . .
Mercy’s residential program is voluntary, biblically based, and is completely free of charge to young women ages 13-32. Nancy’s goal is to help their residents permanently put an end to destructive cycles, discover purpose for their lives, and become productive and thriving individuals. Over 3,000 changed lives later and a success rate of 94% gives you an idea of the merits of her program.
Mercy is still growing their residential program and adding more locations, including plans for the next home in Santa Rosa, Florida. She now sits at the helm of an international ministry and one would think she would relax a little, but she hasn’t slowed down a beat and has somehow managed to find time to write ten books that are now being used by other ministries and/or for self-help, with an 11th book forthcoming.
Perhaps most exciting is that she has taken the next step in her ministry and expanded beyond her residential programs to provide outreach programs to equip churches, educate leaders, and empower individuals through Mercy’s resources including books, study guides, podcasts, and workshops. There are people, churches, ministries and even prisons all over the world utilizing Mercy’s outreach which is spreading like crazy throughout America, Europe, Mexico, East Africa, Central America, India, and more!
Most importantly lives have not only been changed because of Nancy’s desire to serve the Lord by founding this ministry, they have been spared. Many young mothers thought they had no other option but to abort their children, but Mercy convinced them otherwise. Check out this small sampling of youngsters whose lives were spared the ravages of abortion.
This video is but one example of a young man, Parker, that was destined to be aborted but after his mother got involved with Mercy, she changed her mind.
Just think about all of the young women who have been helped thanks to Nancy deciding that there was a need and SHE was going to fill it. Who knows what would have happened to the thousands of kids that have been helped if she had not answered the call to start Mercy. She is the perfect example of someone making an extraordinary difference for God’s kingdom. Nancy did it with God’s help – Why not you?
If you know a young woman that needs help, or if you have a passion for helping young women, please share Mercy Multiplied with them.
They can be reached by phone at 615-831-6987, email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @MercyMultiplied.
Donate: Sponsor A Girl or Team Mercy 360
I know that Nancy and her team would highly covet your prayers, and of course they always can use donations. Perhaps you could bring her program to your church and volunteer, or start your very own ministry using the platform that God has afforded you. May the God of mercy and grace be with you always.
If you like this story, please share it with others. If you know of another difference maker, then please let us know so we can highlight their successes too.
The Jesus Alliance is uniting, equipping, & mobilizing Christ-followers around the world to counter billions of negative and anti-faith media attacks with messages of truth, hope, and the unconditional love of Jesus Christ – together we can rebuild a Godly culture.