- Written Jun 07
Today’s article is much different from the normal read here on the Jernie Group blog. Different, but an incredible story, and one we are very proud to be a part of. We tracked down Chris Field, founder of the Mercy Project for an interview. Mercy Project it is a non-profit Christ centered organization on mission to bring freedom and hope to enslaved children in Ghana, Africa. Chris takes us down a heart-felt path discussing his call to start Mercy Project, the power of the Aggie network, and how people like you and I can help. Jernie Group, in partnership with TexAgs.com is hosting our second annual Premium Membership Party in College Station, TX on July 14th 2012. The proceeds raised for the event will go to help Mercy Project continue to do the work described in the interview. Are you compelled by the story, want to help, but are not going to the Event? Support Mercy Project Online. Enjoy!
Jernie Group: How did the Mercy Project come to be?
Chris: I traveled to Ghana in the summer of 2009 to try and find a family mission trip for the church I was pastoring in Dallas at the time. What I found was a heartbreaking situation that I simply could not walk away from without trying to do something.
Jernie Group: Tell us how you settled on the name “Mercy Project”
Chris: Great question My wife was about 6 months pregnant with our first child when I made my first trip to Ghana. We knew it was a little girl, and we had settled on the name Micah like the prophet in the Bible. As soon as we found out it was a girl, we started praying over that belly that our child would act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). When it came time to pick a name for our non-profit, we settled on Mercy Project after that verse of our daughters. We wanted our kids to know that we took seriously the idea that we all have a personal responsibility to make the world a better place.
Jernie Group: What issues, frustrations, red tape, etc have you experienced on your Mercy Project journey?
Chris: I think the biggest challenge for me is being patient. This is such a massive problem, such a deeply rooted cultural dynamic, such a systemic and perpetual economic problem, that it’s going to take a lot of time for us to help fix it. We looked around at what some other groups in Ghana were doing, and we said “Why is no one taking a long-term, “this is a huge problem” kind of approach?” All we saw was quick fixes, and we knew that wasn’t going to cut it. So that’s easy for me to say, and I know it’s right. But it’s hard to be patient sometimes and really let the process play out at the speed it needs to for this to work.
Jernie Group: Where can people like us help propel Mercy Project to achieving their goals?
Chris: One of the greatest gifts people can give us is to become advocates for these children. To really let their stories intersect with your own in a way that compels you to do what you can to help. Of course financial gifts are always needed on something like this. But we also need people who are gifted and talented at being successful in business to use those gifts and talents to help us solve the problem in Ghana. This is a huge problem, and we need visionary and dynamic people to help us solve it.
Jernie Group: How is Mercy Project primarily funded?
Chris: We are funded nearly 100% by individual donations. We receive no government money, and a just a couple of thousand dollars a year here and there from religious organizations. But the vast majority of the money comes from people just like you guys who choose to join us on the journey of making the world a better place by helping these kids in Ghana.
Jernie Group: Why did you choose A&M? By way of where?
Chris: I was born in Houston but moved to CS when I was 5 years old. My dad started working for A&M in 1987 and is still there today. I’ve been a huge fan of A&M since the day I can remember caring about colleges/sports. Family legend has it that I fell asleep, in the stands on the student side, at an A&M/tu football game in the late 80′s. I’m still trying to live that down :)
Jernie Group: What did you study and when did you graduate?
Chris: I was class of ’05 and Speech Communications major. But I actually ended up transferring and graduating from ACU after I decided to be a minister.
Jernie Group: What is your fondest memory of A&M as a Student? As an alumni?
Chris: The red, white, and blue game was my freshman year and was amazing. I was on the first row of the second deck and will never forget that. Since then, connecting with Aggies all over the country has just been amazing. I was in the airport in Ghana, Africa a year ago when I saw a guy with an A&M hat on, and it turns out that he was a former student who happens to post on TexAgs. The Aggie family is huge and unbelievably supportive of our work. We truly couldn’t do it without them.
What in incredible story! Again, we are honored to be a part of it with you Chris! We wish you the absolute best. If you have a question about Mercy Project that was not answered in the interview, please leave a comment for Chris below and we will get an answer for you.