TEXAS -- Start of Cornerstone Children’s Ranch ministry was not so easy. However, as the seed was planted, God has watered it and let it produce abundant fruits.
Founded by a couple in South Texas, Lori and Steve Mercer, who had been foster parents for many years, Cornerstone was born under a Baptist church but soon they decided to remain an independent organization so that they could receive support from other non-Baptist Christians as well.
The initial mission of Cornerstone was to provide a home for children but they have grown to meet the needs of more than 26,000 people of all ages. Soon they grew into a relief ministry that helps to provide food, clothing, medical supplies, automobiles, and other supplies to individuals and institutions on both sides of the Rio Grande with a 10-acre site for construction of a 6,000-foot warehouse.
"We work with unwed mother homes, orphanages, medical clinics and churches. We take it to the churches, and they distribute it to the people they minister to in their communities. Also, some of it has to go to the pastors themselves because some of them give all they have just to keep their churches going," Mrs. Mercer said.
They also help a ministry to illegal aliens who are being deported to Mexico. Most are far from home with no money and no food.
The Mercers' ministry filled a niche in the region, said Jack Calk, retired director of missions for Del Rio-Uvalde Baptist Association. "Bringing all these things together in one place and then distributing them is one of the things we needed to have done in the area, rather than trying to do it piecemeal," he said.
Many of these people have already experienced the bottom and they know how emptiness feels like. They immediately respond to Cornerstone’s mission and proceed to next step: receiving Christ. After listening to the message of the gospel, they are given food and encouraged to spread what they heard to others.
"Prayer will always be our No. 1 need," she said. "All of this depends on God's provision."
"Piedras Negras has a population of more than 1 million people. River Ministry does an awful lot of work down here, but there are still so many people whose needs are not being met," she said.
Cornerstone continuously plans for greater development. Cornerstone Children’s Ranch will build a new headquarter with apartments for volunteers. Mrs. Mercer said, "I think the Lord sometimes uses your plans to gets you where he wants you until you realize what he wants you to do as he reveals his will for your life.”