Last Sunday, under sunny skies and a cool breeze, board, staff, supporters and graduates of Mercy Ministries gathered to celebrate and thank God for everything that He has done over the last year. After enjoying delicious barbequed delicacies and cool drinks, supporters settled in to hear ministry updates from Executive Director Nicola Bartel.
Of course the biggest reasons to celebrate are the lives that have been transformed and the hope that has been restored, to broken lives. 8 young women rededicated their lives to God and 7 were water baptized in the last year alone. Graduates (one who came from Edmonton for the occasion!) and current residents stood to applause for their courage.
2012 graduate Jenn DuLong shared her moving story of freedom, from sexual promiscuity, and an eating disorder through the counseling, care and biblical teaching at Mercy Ministries. Then she told of a miracle God performed in her life as part of her journey, just as she was beginning to blossom within the security of the Mercy home:
“At 17, I had started having severe panic attacks, and I developed obsessive-compulsive disorder. I was so afraid of germs that I would wash my hands until they would literally bleed; I would never touch doorknobs; I would never shake hands; and if someone at my mother’s house got sick I would go stay with my dad for a couple of weeks until the sickness was out of the house. When I first came to Mercy I had to wear gloves in order to participate in meals and wouldn’t shake hands.”
The Christmas after I came to Mercy Ministries, someone anonymously donated a plane ticket to me so I could visit my family in Nova Scotia for Christmas – I don’t know who they are but thank you if you’re here. At first, I was really concerned about being away from Mercy; however, God surprised me with a very special Christmas present. While I was home, God randomly took away my obsessive-compulsive disorder. Out of no where, I was able to eat without washing my hands, shake others’ hands, and take communion for the first time in over 10 years! I was initially in shock; all I could do was cry and worship God for the two weeks I was home. Imagine Mercy staff surprise when I came back after Christmas and had a bite of an apple without washing it!”
“The fact that this happened while Jenn was away from the Mercy home is a reminder that, it is God who does the work, not us.”said Nicola after the testimony that followed her report to supporters. Nicola reported on the many ways God had provided and worked through Mercy Ministries since the first anniversary celebration last August. Some of the highlights include:
- The family of Ed Spence, an enthusiastic supporter of Mercy ministries who passed away suddenly from a heart attack, donated money to construct an external building to be used for counselling and transitional care.
- Mercy Ministries Canada became the first Mercy home to have a doctor who makes weekly house visits.
- A generous businessman donated a second van and paid for the first year’s insurance. Giving us enough transportation to fill the home to its capacity of 20 girls!
- In 2011 Mercy Ministries of Canada miraculously met budget for the first time in its history.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (psalm 11:25)
Thank you for the refreshing you’ve brought into the lives of young women who need Mercy!