The house that love built

Mercy Ministries Surrey

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.

 

26 Responses

  1. Jamie! These are SO beautiful! Thank you so much for capturing the home in a way that captures your heart for it too! Hopefully I can meet you one of these days at one of our benefits or something, I just love your heart!

  2. Summer Rose says:

    This is now my most fav blog post of yours. You are an amazing woman of God!

  3. lesley says:

    oh my goodness, who did the interior of this place? i’m in loooove, this is my dream home!LOVE Mercy Ministries, we must have been at the same conference! so fun being involved!

  4. Sarah Kehl says:

    Who was the interior designer/decorator? Because WOW, gorgeous! (By the way I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I am a fan!)

  5. Rebecca Sehn says:

    Oh I LOVE IT! Especially the lit up HOPE sign and all the walllpaper choices. So gorgeous, and so cool that you’re a part of this!

  6. WOW! I Love it! Not too sound weird, but I LOVE that they actually put thought, money and heart into it and made it feel like a gorgeous home, not just some ‘shelter’ – what a great legacy!

  7. Lyles says:

    This house is amaaazinnng!! Who is the designer? I LOVE what they did in this house! I love that it is for girls to have a place to come to feel love and to be cared for

  8. Rachel Clarke says:

    That house is BEAUTIFUL. What an incredible ministry, too.

  9. Jenny Krughkov says:

    PTL!!! This is AMAZING!! What an amazing job capturing these shots! my friend is going to fall over… I am like near tears..I have a heart for women and ED as well and also heard Nancy Alcorn at C3 women’s conference and our friend has been chosen as one of the 20 girls being accepted to the program starting this fall! I am sooo happy for her! I am nearly exploding at seeing these pics! my best friend Bek and I did a program for girls called Shine girl and we have this heart for girls to know they are LOVED, valued, have strength, and created with PURPOSE! how we would LOVE to see something like this here in Ontario… God you are the provider of every good and perfect gift from above!!! Amazing job Jamie in capturing these! Be blessed… go into the world and keep SHINING!

  10. rebekah says:

    wow! absolutely amazing and you did such a fantastic job capturing mercy ministries’ home! such a fabulous organization with a true mission.

  11. Rachel Perry says:

    Wow. What a cool house!!! How beautiful to have written words on the walls before they were finished.

  12. Heather Corporan says:

    What a sanctuary for those women. I look forward to poking around the website. sounds like an awesome work of God’s love. Thank you for sharing so much of ‘you’ on your blog Jamie (especially since part of you is your heart for Christ!) I pray that God would strengthen you as you volunteer in the lives of these women! He truly blesses us only that we may bless others in return!

  13. so awesome! great post!

  14. Gail says:

    What a GORGEOUS place to seek salvation and rest. Beautiful job capturing it!

  15. Arielle says:

    Wow. What a stylish place for a ministry! I’m sure the donations were substantial…it seems a little extravagant to me but they’re helping people and that’s the important part.

  16. Faith Bowyer says:

    Wow! That house is amazing!! What an amazingly beautiful place to go stay and seek/worship God. So amazing. (yes, I know I need to find a better word than amazing haha)

  17. Lydia says:

    What a beautiful place! So excited that it will be used to bring girls to Jesus!

  18. Evonne Wong says:

    Wow, what an amazing place and such a fabulous organization.

  19. mandie says:

    jamie, i am so excited that you are partnering with mercy ministries. i have a friend who stayed at a mercy house here in the states. i’m a total supporter of what their ministry does. you photographed the house beautifully.

  20. Absolutely stunning!

  21. Jessica says:

    This house is stunning. I can’t help but fall in love with it through your images. Beautifully captured. What an amazing place this must be.

  22. Christa says:

    What an awesome place! Great images :)

  23. Rebecca Roth says:

    Hello!! I was a resident of this home for 7 months, and I actually got there the day it opened!! Imagine my suprise when I walked in to like, THE coolest home I’ve ever seen!! Lemme tell you, we were sooooo blessed with just everything!! I am so glad you took these pictures! I wish I could scrapbook them, you captured the home so well. I am a Mercy graduate of this home, and my first room was the rose room, which has now been converted to the med room, lol! My second room was the peacock room, and I remember one night using the ends of the bed as a balance beam when we were supposed to be asleep, lol! On behalf of all the girls I got to live with and witness God transform their lives… THANKYOU for donating to Mercy!! Thankyou for sowing into our lives. I know I would not be alive if it weren’t for Mercy, and I actually think these pictures are the best I’ve seen taken of the home. You were very thorough and so I am going to bookmark this page!! GOD BLESS YOU!!

  24. Kirsty S says:

    This is absolutely beautiful!! My sister in law will be going to the tennesse campus in January! I truly hope that she can get the help she needs!

  25. Janine N says:

    I realize this is a very old thread, but for what it’s worth! Danica Goward with Wallflower Boutique was the designer for the home. She was amazing! She had a really tight budget and had to create the whole space in literally weeks. It’s so thoughtfully done and so, so gorgeous!!

    http://www.wallflowerboutique.com

  26. Janine N says:

    Hi Ladies.. Yes, an old thread revived on FB.. I loved designing the house, and I love the worlds Jamie has used to describe it.. It really does just reek of LOVE. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful canvas to paint on..

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