Are You a Healthy Plant or a Nuisance Weed?

By Patrick Hawthorne

dandelionOur past need not dictate our future.  It’s easy to admit this as an older adult who knows the power of God’s love.  But, what about the young person whose limited life has been so traumatic it could serve as subject matter for a “Made for Television” script?  How hard is it for them to see a future when their limited past has held nothing but pain and sorrow?  For this reason, success stories are all the more special for me.

Mercy Ministries, founded by Nancy Alcorn, reaches out to young women who are in desperate situations ranging from sexual abuse, eating disorders, drug/alcohol addictions, unplanned pregnancies, sex trafficking, and so much more.  Mercy Ministries, whom my church has partnered with for thirty years, teaches young women the love of God and shows them that they can have dreams of a better life.

Through the years I have heard many success stories, but one in particular really moved me.  It involved a 2009 graduate named Amnoni.  At a very young age, Amnoni was removed from her home because of abuse.  As is often the case with government run programs, the fix to the problem actually created more problems.  Instead of stability, Amnoni was shuffled from foster home to foster home where in some cases the physical abuse continued.

As the years went by with no adoption, Amnoni reached a point where she “aged out,” of the foster care system. Her governmental assistance ended as quickly as it began and she suddenly found herself alone with nowhere to turn.    That is when she was introduced to Mercy Ministries.

Through Mercy Ministries, Amnoni learned that God had a plan for her life.  Instead of living life according to her past, she has used her past to find a focus for her future.  Armed with her personal testimony and the power of God, Amnoni set out to make critical changes on how children are placed in foster homes.  Through an appointment that could only be orchestrated by God, Amnoni received an opportunity to present a policy report to the White House staff and Congress, making recommendations on “Standardized, trauma-informed care practices and training for foster and adoptive parents.”

The point of this success story is simple.  Thirty years ago, a chain of events was set in place as a young Nancy Alcorn yielded to the voice of God and began Mercy Ministries.  Neither Nancy nor her staff could have known they would be helping a young woman who would one day stand before Congress giving her testimony.  They were simply doing what God had called them to do; they were healing the wounds of hurting young women, one of which happened to be Amnoni.  They were planting seeds.

As I reflect upon this true life story, I am forced to pause and think about my own life.  Have I been faithful with the gift God has entrusted me?  Have I planted seeds that will yield healthy plants?   Or, am I like the dandelion, a nuisance weed full of nothing but fluff?


To learn how to be a part of Mercy Ministries, please visit

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