When I held my oldest daughter for the first time, I thought: “I could be the father of only girls.” And that was a welcome thought. In the manner that I tend to do, I started daydreaming about the subject at hand and envisioning myself as a “girl-dad.” My heart was warmed, and I was proud.

As it turns out, we ended up with a boy in the mix with our girls. Nonetheless, I am also a girl-dad. Still proud!

Fast forward and that tiny baby is finishing up her education at a better school than I could have ever been accepted to myself. She will have a career path of her own choosing and opportunities afforded her on measure with the work that she has put in. She’s never known differently – a reality that I am forever grateful for.

When she was born, I had no visions of Compassion First or any thought of being in a field that served young women. I would not have forecast a growing professional team of mostly women – all of them excellent. I did not know that her mother, my wife, would be the conduit of God’s voice and assignment on my life, encouraging me to run freely with the dream of seeing girls rescued from sexual slavery. Now, I couldn’t imagine anything turning out differently.

To our growing family of professional women: you are simply the best. You make Compassion First what she is. I have no understanding of a professional environment where you would have had to jump through hoops and over hurdles to make this happen. Further, I cannot imagine why any professional environment wouldn’t want the very best and wouldn’t clear a path to get it. That said, I realize this is still a reality for some, and severely so for the women and girls that you serve.

To the girls we are so privileged to serve: you are an inspiration – every one of you. We’re proud of each of you. To those who are pursuing higher education and professional careers, to those who are starting young families, and to those who have just come into our care – it is our life’s privilege to be a part of your story and your success. You are living examples of the goodness of God.

To the women who support Compassion First: God bless you. Your generosity and service tell the story of God and of His desire to redeem every story. You share the piece of His heart that wants to end all oppression. You are an inspiration and an encouragement.

And, also, to the men who serve Compassion First on this International Women’s Day. While we are the minority in this unique environment, you are a very special group. You are stoic, strong, and humble while maintaining a softness of heart. You are necessary, irreplaceable, and loved by many. Thank you for believing in empowering women and girls.

And, last, to my wife, Kymra. You continue to inspire. As you chase down your own dreams, remember your words of encouragement and assignment have carved out massive pathways for others to do the same.

Blessings to all of you on this International Women’s Day.


Mike Mercer
President of Compassion First


Learn more about supporting aftercare of the incredible girls we are privileged to serve here.

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