June 8, 2018 | Mikayla Heldt
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumna Kristen Welch has impacted the lives of people throughout the world through her parenting blog and a nonprofit organization called Mercy House Global.
Welch has been an online influence to other parents and families since 2007, when she decided to create her own blog, “We Are THAT Family”. The website is a mix of inspirational stories, parenting, and her own experiences of obedience to God.
“It’s definitely just a personal journal of what saying 'yes' to God has looked like and how it’s changed my family. It really changed the way my husband and I parent,” she says.
In addition to her blog, Welch has written four books, two of which have been parenting books.
Welch’s blog grew in popularity very quickly. In 2010, Compassion International, the world’s largest child sponsorship program invited her to travel to Nairobi, Kenya, to write about the poverty as an effort to create more awareness and receive sponsors. This trip would completely alter Welch and her family’s lives forever.
“It was the catalyst, the first indication that my life was about to change and we were about to do something very different,” Welch says.
During her trip, Welch saw poverty-stricken slums where families were selling their young teenaged girls into prostitution. Many of these women were getting pregnant and forced to undergo abortions. Welch came home with a new global perspective and determination to help get these women out of prostitution and into more dignified jobs.
“When I returned from that trip in 2010, I knew I wanted to respond to what God had shown me, but I didn’t know how. I was a middle-class mom with 3 kids, and a writer,” she says.
This led to the founding of Mercy House Global, a nonprofit organization meant to provide these girls with better ways to earn money for their families in poverty. Welch oversees all of the operations and volunteers, while her husband Terrell is the CEO of the organization. He is also a SAGU alumnus who graduated in 1993 with a degree in Pastoral Ministries.
“Our mission at Mercy House is to rescue girls, and empower their families with dignified work so we can redeem future generations.”
In Kenya, Mercy House has three maternity centers to equip young women with skills, education, and hands-on activities such as crafting. There are also seven artisan centers and a fair trade program that has since developed into something called Fair Trade Friday. This is a monthly subscription club that delivers fair trade products to a few thousand homes across North America. Fair trade product sales made close to 1.5 million dollars in this past year alone.
Along with managing a nonprofit organization with her family and volunteers, Welch is disciplined to blog at least three times a week. She believes that this commitment to writing has helped her become a better boss and person.
“Just being disciplined and consistent has become a part of who we are and I think it started by having the integrity and character to really follow through and be committed.”
Welch says that both her time at SAGU and her experiences with the nonprofit have helped her learn obedience to God’s will. She graduated from SAGU in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and a minor in English.
“I think what I learned most at Southwestern was to submit myself to God and lay my life down as a sacrifice and walk in obedience,” she says.