“You hold your heart in your hand and give it away to all of us.”
These words were spoken by our newest Courage Girl at our quarterly character awards ceremony. One of our older girls at Courage House had helped make her first day a bit easier. “It is so hard and scary coming home to Courage House, but you inspired me to stay, by the way you give and receive love so freely. You hold your heart in your hand and give it away to all of us.” Tears rolled town her cheeks and she covered her eyes as these words of affirmation pierced her heart. The award she had received was titled “inspirational”.
The rest of us in the room silently cried with her because we realized the dream we have fought so hard for has now become a reality. We have been very intentional to ensure Courage House would not just be a program, but a place where traumatized girls would find healing, belonging and family. As we continued to listen to the girls encourage each other and share how they have watched each other’s character grow, we began to see that the dream has not only been carried in our hearts, but it has been birthed in theirs as well. During the ordinary days at home, they have created a sisterly-bond and now call each other family. Our hearts were bursting at the realization. The reality these girls now experience at Courage House is so far from the reality they knew just months or years prior when they were being tortured and sexually exploited. We cannot help but ache for the eighty girls we have turned away since the beginning of the year, or the hundreds of thousands more out there that have yet to know this reality.
This past month we were given the funds by generous donors needed to move forward on the water well and water quality testing required by the county in order to receive the permits to build our first cottage and expand our capacity. We had heard reports from our neighbors who struggled to get water on their properties and had needed to drill multiple wells in order to get even a slight flow. We did not have time for that because children are being raped, abused and tortured night after night. So we prayed. We asked God to bring us water. At the first drilling, we felt like Moses when water shot up out of the rock. Not only did we hit water, but we hit a table of water under the earth that was so powerful, that it came gushing forth! This was a huge obstacle we have been trying to overcome for over a year. Thanks to some amazing donors and the help of Placer County, we are getting so close to obtaining the building permit and breaking ground on the next cottage! More children will be brought into our ever-growing Courage Family! More children will know they are loved and believed in. More will find that they have treasures under the surface that are worth digging for just like our water.
We continue to be amazed at our girls’ individual and collective successes and achievements – from education to horse riding, soccer leagues, music recitals, and art classes. Some are preparing for their first job and looking at college courses, a few are getting ready to transition into Courage Families. Their healing is evident as they begin to consider their future while their childhoods are being restored. Our hearts are prepared to welcome more children home as our Courage girls have made room in their hearts for more sisters. Expansion is coming! Thank you, thank you for believing, praying, supporting and giving towards the dream of Courage House.