this is one of those posts that i wish i had had the time to sit down and write immediately after shooting. i first heard about mercy ministries at a women’s conference a couple of years ago. since recovering from an overexercising disorder in my early teens, God has given me a real desire in my spirit to see women confident and secure in who they are in Christ. it’s a passion of mine that I know God will continue to stir and provide different opportunities for me to express it in throughout my life. a few years ago, the process started to bring the first mercy ministries house to canada: only a half hour’s drive from my house. from their website, mercy ministries canada “provides hope and healing to desperate young women who are seeking freedom from life-controlling issues such as drug and alcohol addiction, depression, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancy, physical and sexual abuse and self-harm.”
in january, the house started undergoing renovations and i officially became a “volunteer” of the organization. one of mercy ministries volunteer requirements is to read “echoes of mercy” by nancy alcorn. nancy alcorn started the first mercy house in alabama back in 1983. i brought this book home and read it cover to cover in three hours on the couch. it was that good. i found myself crying in certain chapters; completely, completely overwhelmed by God’s amazing provision and grace and anointing upon this ministry. i wanted to be involved in anyway possible and they had a need for great photos of the renovations. i’ve been there a handful of times over the past year documenting the changes. i’ve gotten to know a few of the amazing staff that have worked tirelessly in the portables on-site.
the summer season hit and i haven’t been able to get to the house since april. i was really bummed that i wasn’t able to attend the official launch dinner at the vancouver club OR the grand opening of the home as i was shooting weddings. mercy has been on my heart (as it always is) and i received an email from one of the staff saying the girls were set to move in sometime in the next few weeks. it was time to photograph the finished house! after the girls move in, a lot of the areas of the house will be completely off-limits for outsiders, so now was our only chance. i drove out to the home two weeks ago, not sure what to expect. i walked in the front door and… i felt love. that’s the only way i can explain it. i felt Jesus. everywhere.
i photographed the house for a full hour (a far cry from the ten minutes it used to take me to take photos of some drywall and cement foundations!) and i think i blinked back tears about ten separate times. i am goosebumpy writing about it now, days later. i remember walking in in february… the walls bare, the floor cold and covered with nails, the air dusty. i walked through the rooms, some dry-walled, some simply framed. there were scriptures written all over the walls–scriptures of promise and hope and blessing that is ours through the death on the cross of Jesus Christ. i looked around at this gorgeous, gorgeous house and shivered with emotion, knowing that underneath this beautiful wallpaper is God’s truth: written on the walls. in the foundation of this home, literally and spiritually.
this ministry has been laid upon my heart in such a powerful way and i’ve recently become a partner. i don’t have the words to explain it. i encourage you to read their website, check out their facebook page (and like it!), follow them on twitter, donate your money. money: who needs it? it truly is such an overrated thing if kept for yourself. enjoy looking through this amazing house: may the photos touch you like the experience of shooting them touched me.