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After high school, Mercer attended Baylor University, where she majored in German.
On August 3, 2001, the Taliban arrested the two women.  After their arrest, the Taliban raided the group's offices and arrested the six other aid workers that Mercer and Curry were teamed up with.
Their trial began on September 1, 2001. On September 13 the trial was suspended and relatives of the detained aid workers were ordered to leave the country. The trial resumed on September 30. On October 6, the Taliban made an offer to release Mercer and Curry, if the United States stopped its military action against Afghanistan. During her captivity, she met the British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who was arrested near the Pakistan border and brought to the same prison in Kabul. Yvonne Ridley informed her about 11 September and the subsequent military actions against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. On November 15, the women, along with the six other imprisoned aid workers, were freed from prison by anti-Taliban forces and flown to safety in Islamabad, Pakistan.
In 2003, Mercer returned to Iraq to serve Muslims. In 2008, she founded Global Hope—a nonprofit organization that serves in the Middle East. Global Hope provides customized services after it meets with individual families and local leaders to determine specific needs. This has included delivering necessities to building a community center. Global Hope was asked to establish a permanent presence in Iraq by a Kurdish Governor. To fulfill this request, Global Hope is building the Freedom Center, a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) multipurpose facility that will include an Internet café, playground, coffee shop and classrooms. The Freedom Center is currently under construction.
- "Baptist Press Uncertainty heightens for 2 U.S. women, other aid workers held in Afghanistan". Baptist Press. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "The New York Times 2 Americans Allowed to See Their Jailed Daughters in Kabul". 28 August 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "CNN Afghan prison ordeal ends happily for U.S. aid workers". Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "USA Today Two rescued aid workers meet Bush". Retrieved 4 November 2014.