By now you might recognize the bright, glowing faces of Mercy House.

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These precious girls and their babes are the literal poster children for miracles and God-sized dreams.

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But there are countless faces you and I don’t know. I’ve never seen the face of the mother who writes the $25 check every month that pays for the clothes and shoes the residents wear or the mom who balances her budget and decides her family can give $10 that will buy a bag of charcoal to power the jika (outdoor stove) to prepare a huge pot of beans because the electricity is out again.

I wouldn’t recognize the family that sacrificed a vacation to give $1,000 to pay for a c-section or the dad who gave a donation in his pregnant wife’s name at Christmas that made three counseling sessions possible for our new traumatized girl. Or the mom who invites her children to think of others:

“While trying to teach my girls that not everyone in the world is as blessed as we are in the USA, I asked them to pick out toys and clothes that we could sell and donate the proceeds to a good cause. My girls are 3, 6, and 9, and they did a wonderful job helping with the sale. I gave them a few options to choose where to donate the money. When I got to Mercy House, they were horrified by what had happened to the girls who now live in Mercy House (I only gave them a brief overview). They immediately wanted to give the money to Mercy House.

I don’t know the hundreds and hundreds of faces who make a maternity home in Kenya possible for pregnant girls who had no other options. But I know that every small gift has mattered. Not only has it offered hope and fulfilled the vision of Mercy House, it’s changed the giver.

“We’ve learned that our small gifts and support, when combined with others’ small gifts and support, can create a HUGE difference. 12 girls rescued, 12 babies saved. This is just amazing to us. Daily, our kids ask about ‘our family in Kenya.’ They look for ways to give to The Mercy House. Being a part of this journey helps us give our kids a wider, more comprehensive worldview. And it opens our eyes, too.

When we see the newest pictures of Precious and how big she’s growing or sweet Esther and how her insecurity is being transformed into confidence right before our eyes…well, I don’t know how to put that into words. We’re excited to be a part of The Mercy House family. So long as The Mercy House is rescuing people in the name of Jesus and showing them the love of God, the Goodwins will be standing by their side, supporting every move. We love watching God move in Kenya and work through The Mercy House!” ~ Lindsey Goodwin, monthly donor

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God called me to mentor young mothers-to-be. I thought I would actually BE doing the mentoring/teaching, but God’s ways are bigger and better and more amazing than mine. My support (with so many others) allows those He has called in Kenya to physically be with these amazing young women. I love seeing the transformation of these lives because God is working around them, in them and through them. Lives have been forever changed. And those babies are so cute!!!

Being part of this story has opened my eyes to many things…to the plight of young girls everywhere, to the reality of a slum, to the far-reaching impact that one person’s obedience can have. This story has deepened my faith in the miracle-working God I worship and my heart is more tender.” ~ Carol Darden, monthly Mercy House donor

The face behind Mercy House looks a lot like Kristen Howerton’s of Rage Against the Minivan:

I may not recognize all the faces behind mercy, but God knows everyone. He sees. And your gift of love, no matter how small, makes a difference.

Phase 1 of (in)Mercy is over halfway there and the 24 residents and six staff members will be able to ride to church and doctor’s visits, to the market without taking multiple trips in a new-to-us van!


Mercy House doesn’t exist in Kenya because of large government grants or big corporate donations. It rescues and loves the least of these because of you.

Stay tuned for Phase 2.

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{Photos by Bess Brownlee}
  • Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Especially in light of the recent atrocities, it is refreshing to see the faces of “mercy received” by the residents of Mercy House. Thank you for sharing a behind the scenes look at the lives being changed. May we all be called to make a small sacrifice in order to make a big difference in someone else’s life. We love because God first loved us…
    Blessings and prayers,

  • Rita

    Thanks for sharing! This touches me.

  • sonyamacdesigns

    … there is much beauty here.

  • Cindy

    Greetings! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. These girls look so young. May I ask their ages? Praying that they and their little ones grow up into God into every way. Thank you for what you are doing for them, and for all those who give and work with them. God bless you all richly!

    • Kristen

      The girls at Mercy House range in age from 15-18 years old…

  • Michele-Lyn

    I’m going to share with my husband about this. I know he will agree, we should help you with our financial support.

    Kristen, I’ve followed you along since the first inRL. I think of what you do in my everyday life; at the kitchen sink, sorting laundry, playing with tiny toes. And I keep the question on my mind, how can I use what is in my hand to help save the life of another? Your life and your work doesn’t just inspire, but impels. Thank you!

    • Kristen

      Yes, it’s a question we can all answer, we all have something in our hands to share with others.

  • Miriam

    What a beautiful mission!!!! Indeed, “adoption is a little bandaid.”
    Thanks so much for sharing! With teary eyes, I look forward to passing this along!

  • Rachel

    I feel that I want to give a gift to Mercy House but when I went on the website there was a sign up page. Wasn’t sure what that was. I am not much into social media and do not do Facebook or Twitter. Is there a way to mail a donation or is signing up and giving at least a one time gift online and maybe more again later possible?. Please let me know.

    • Kristen

      That’s so kind of you, Rachel. We’ve set up donations thru Pure Charity so they will be tax deductible. It’s a very quick sign up and you can easily make a one time donation if you’d like that way. Thanks so much for your support.

      • Rachel

        Thanks so much! This ministry gabbed my heart the minute I saw it. God has put women and children on my heart. I have so much and they have so little in comparison. Thanks for replying.

  • dukeslee

    Love this. Love your heart, Kristen.

    I had just posted a photograph on my Facebook of our most recent trip to Haiti. Our family supports a job-creation ministry down there, and it’s been amazing to see how this kind of work (and the kind of work you’re doing) keeps families together. I shared the following story:

    It was 2012, and a few of us were in a van, lurching down a rocky path in Haiti. One of the young Haitian women traveling with us waved her hands, shouted something in Creole, jumped up from her seat. The van driver stopped, and our friend leaned out the van door, with all of her queasy coming up and out. The men with us muttered about how she probably had motion sickness. A few of us moms in the van darted knowing glances: Morning sickness.

    A few minutes later, when we dropped her off at her one-room shack, she told us her news: She was pregnant. We hugged her, cupped her beautiful face in our hands, and we prayed for her and her baby.

    That pregnant mama? She’s an artist of an Iowa-based ministry in Haiti, making jewelry and making a living. When I left Haiti that week, I knew that her chances of being able to give birth and raise that child — her own child — were drastically improved because she had a good job with a fair wage.

    And I saw it with my own eyes, about ten months later, when our family was back in Haiti. That mama handed me her baby — her healthy baby — when we were worshipping in church. I cradled that child through the worship service, and even though her mama and I couldn’t speak the same language, I could understand some things clearer than ever before.

    (Thanks again, Kristen, for all you do in the Kingdom.)

  • grace tags

    This is so fabulous. You’re a woman after God’s own heart, Kristen.


  • Brittany Hall

    I love everything about what you are doing! My heart is all for Mercy… May the Lord bless you and these girls!

  • Jeramy Lee

    Thank you for the beautiful work you are doing here. May God continue to richly bless you and all those help make this ministry possible.