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Filling the Gaps | Cruzada Humanitaria con Nelly | New Mercy Ministry

Our Mission

While many challenges confront our community – the one that is at the “Heart” and stirs the soul of our organization is the Challenge of being a single mom and other issues facing women in poverty in the greater Gresham Metro Region.

The situations facing single moms and women of low income in our community are not unique to one race, religion, or ethnicity.  Therefore we have strategically (with divine intervention) put together a team that not only understands the challenges of being a single mom but those facing all women who are underserved in our community.

At all levels of government huge amounts of money have been spent for decades to solve these problems with dismal results.  We know there is an answer for each and every situation but the network is not there to provide the support and training that is needed to stop the ongoing cycle.

Many Single Moms feel forced to get into unhealthy relationships in an effort to try to minimize the demands both financial and physical of trying to work and raise children on their own.  This leads to many societal problems that just further the negative cyclical path of these families.  In addition, child abuse while not specific to lower incomes is a by product of unhealthy relationships.

In addition, many women face divorce after raising a family and are confronted with having to be responsible for supporting themselves and providing for their retirement.  These are women with great skill sets but many times without the formal education to pursue a career that will allow them not to be dependent on any outside support.

We believe with love and a hand-up (the right resources at the right time for the right reason) we can break the chain of cyclical poverty faced by many female heads of household.   


by Filling the Gaps


by Cruzada Humanitaria con Nelly


by New Mercy Ministry


Kim - Who We Are

There is always that last straw – her’s is too painful to verbalize.  After years  of abuse – both physical and mental she loaded the van with a couple of garbage bags of clothes and her six children.  Just before she trned the key to begin their escape she remembered she must have the daily medication for her son with Cerebal Palsy.  To save his life she would risk hers – one last daring trip back into that house.  

She made it out of the house and went on to raise those children.  Along the way there were lots of struggles.  Too many 20 hour days to count, the loss of a child, but there were also great achievements.  Kim earned her degree in Speech Pathology, a sucessful career and the blessing of using the lessons learned to help others.

Kim Vestal – Founder of Extending Grace

Born in the Dominican Republic she came from a family of those that serve.  Her mom was her role model serving as a General in the local Fire Department.  She first came to the United States for an education and ended up with a husband and two children.  Only finishing her education after a divorce, going to college at the same time as her daughter.  

She is that woman that had to reinvent herself to survive, never imagining she would be on her own for the past 30 years.  She never stopped, her careers have been numerous, with the most notable being her television show on Univision – “Cita con Nelly”= – being the only locally produced Spanish language television programming in the Portland Metro Area for more than 15 years.  Earning her the designation of the “Latina Oprah”.  Her interviews served as Public Information for a diverse community desperate for local answers to problems facing the Hispanic Community.  She lives to serve, particularly women, and this non-profit is her way to continue that service.  

Nelly Rodriguez, Champion – Cruzada Humnaitaria con Nelly

Nelly - Who Are We
Maxine- Who We ARE

Twelve years of marriage ended with an unwanted divorce.  Every divorce is tragic but when combined with four children and a lifetime of trauma it is devastating.  She felt ostracized and a failure, so much so that it threatened her own health.  While she worked and tried to find a way to complete her education she continued to make bad choices that led to another two failed marriages. And the circle of trauma continued while she raised four biological children and two stepchildren from her marriages.  

Working hard was never an issue.  She not only completed her B.A. but went on to complete her Doctorate in Ministry.  Only when she found ministry where she could bless others who had traveled a path more tragic than hers was she able to heal.  And heal she did.  She has gone on to be a force of good that has steered so many women down a path to recovery, redemption, and prosperity for themselves and their children.

Maxine Lawrence – Founder of New Mercies Ministries

She had been raised to believe that “marriage was forever” so when her husband left – she was devastated.  It seemed she never stopped crying.  She and her son were alone in a huge city where the family had just relocated with virtually no network of friends nor family.  It was a big decision, “move back to her small hometown and regret never trying to make it on her own” or “move forward and never be afraid of a challenge.”

No one does it alone.  With the help of great neighbors, friends, and an Aunt that would drive two hours to help her with anything she survived.  Her success was not immediate, many dues were paid, some decisions were not the best, but hard work did pay off.  Today she credits what she thought was the worst day of her life as her biggest blessing.  And blessings are made to be passed on.  Her dream is being realized by “Filling the Gaps” for others in similar situations. 

Bess Wills, Champion of Filling the Gaps

Bess Wills - Who We ARE

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