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Waxahachie, Texas – July 17, 2014 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumna and well-known blog author Kristen Clark Welch published her second book "Rhinestone Jesus" earlier this year.

Speaker and author Arlene Pellicane said, "Get ready to take a trip back to the time when you once dreamed big. Kristen will introduce you to that girl once again. Her journey of faith and daily courage will inspire you. Who knows how this book will change the direction of your life!"

Throughout her book, Kristen tells about the journey God has brought her on. She shares about high school, the early years of marriage and the challenging days of motherhood. She tells the story of traveling to Kenya with Compassion International and being shaken awake from her American dream and called to make an impact in the lives of young, pregnant and rejected girls.

In 1994, Kristen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education with a minor in English. She met her husband, Terrell, at SAGU. For the first 10 years of their marriage, she worked alongside him in youth and children's ministry in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Florida. During this time, she endured the ups and downs of life. It wasn't until she became a busy mother of three, Madison, 14; Jon-avery, 12; and Emerson, 7; that she began to blog about her life in 2007.

Kristen said, "I always felt writing was a ministry for me. I just wrote to mothers and tried to encourage them through my experiences."

After gaining a wide readership, she was invited to Kenya, Africa, in 2010 with Compassion International, a Christian child sponsorship organization, to blog about poverty in the African community. "I thought I would be this voice for the voiceless, God completely rewrote my story. I returned to America a completely different person. I felt God was wanting a response from me after what I had seen."

When Kristen returned to America, she felt compelled to find an organization to donate to the young, impoverished girls living there. After weeks of searching, she was unable to find an organization specifically targeted to these girls. She started praying and a dream for a maternity home in Kenya began to grow.

"A lot of these girls are forced into prostitution by their families for food. Once they become pregnant they are kicked out of school and forced to provide for themselves and their child without an education, which is impossible." She continued, "God showed us a need, opened the doors and gave us the assistance to make an impact."

In 2010, Kristen and her family started The Mercy House to provide alternative options for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya. It aids them in education, nutrition, housing, prenatal care, Bible study, counseling and job skills for sustainable living.

Kristen’s blog following continues to grow, and many of the readers financially support the work of The Mercy House and the indigenous staff there. "Our 2014-2015 initiative is to take what we are doing at The Mercy House to the streets to be of assistance to these girls who can't reside due to capacity. Our readers have funded this project from the start and without them this project would not be possible."

In 2011, Kristen wrote her first book, a devotional for moms called "Don't Make Me Come Up There!". She is also one of Dayspring's (in)Courage writers, a frequent speaker, and a regular contributor to Lifeway's HomeLife and ParentLife magazines. Half of the proceeds of all her sales go to support The Mercy House.

To purchase "Rhinestone Jesus" click here. For more information or to donate to The Mercy House click here

Click to follow Kristen Welch's Blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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