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Katya – 2018 Graduate

I was born into a family that was and is passionate about sharing the Gospel. I’ve known about Jesus my entire life. At 4 years old, I accepted Jesus into my heart. When I started school, I was constantly bullied and rejected by the other kids. This traumatized me and I was convinced that I was a worthless outcast. When I was 8, a neighborhood boy sexually harassed me. This made me think I was even more dirty and unacceptable, and because of this, I became consumed by fear and guilt. I was afraid to tell anyone. I felt lost and invisible, both to my family and to God. When I was 12, my family was accepted to be missionaries to Austria, but they rejected us only a short time later. I thought God was punishing me for not telling anyone, and I thought it was all my fault. In order to cope with all the guilt, fear, and pressure to be perfect, I started habitually lying. I was afraid that if I ever told the truth or if anyone ever found out I had lied, no one would love me anymore. I held onto any love I felt I had with a death grip through more lying. When I was 17 years old, I lied to my parents by telling them I had been raped. We filed a false police report, and through that lie I was finally feeling like someone unconditionally loved me. But it didn’t last. Lying is a lonely prison cell and the walls are painted with condemnation. I carried this lie as my identity through three failed college semesters, a stay in a hospital, and a failed relationship in which I was emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive.

I found out about Mercy through my school’s prayer department, and I decided to apply when God told me to. I had just looked at the website, and God filled me with His peace and told me that when I came to Mercy, He would give me peace through this program. When I came to Mercy, I was lying about what I’d been through, and felt like telling the truth was the worst thing I could ever do. I was impatient, lazy and mostly scared.

A turning point happened to me when a guest came to pray over all of the residents. She told me that God had already extended His favor in my legal situation, which had to do with the lies I had told. She also told me that I was carrying a lot of false responsibility around and had been for many years. This broke me, and I submitted to God finally, letting Him come heal me. Shortly after that, I was put on probation and I didn’t have a lot left, except that I knew I wanted to have peace. I was pushed to a point where I truly had no other option except maximum effort. During my time at Mercy, God has become real and I know that He loves me. He has forgiven me of sins I thought He never would, and He has proven to me that there is no one exception to His grace and mercy. He has shown me the freedom that comes in Him, more than just waking up every day with fear and guilt. He has shown me that the future I have in Him as a missionary to nations is not just my dream, it’s His dream for me.

After Mercy, I’m going to live with my parents at first while I get back on my feet, while I pursue returning to college and becoming a missionary. I’m ready to tell the truth, and set free not just me, but anyone I can help.

I just want to say thank you to everyone who donates and supports Mercy. Every single dollar is worth it. I can’t put a price on the peace and freedom I have come to know during this program. As a broke, depressed young woman, I couldn’t have gotten the help I needed without you. I never could have afforded it. Everything you give goes to freedom for girls like me, who truly have come to the point where only Jesus can save them. Not just spiritually, but emotionally and physically as well.