Courage Worldwide board members traveled to Oahu in late 2010 to share the vision of Courage House at the request of Justice Project Hawaii, a group of local community members concerned over social justice issues- specifically sexual exploitation of children in their islands. Justice Project Hawaii arranged for Courage Worldwide to meet with a large group of government officials, various non-profits, juvenile justice leaders, ICE and the FBI, who apprised the group of the trafficking problem in Hawaii. Justice Project Hawaii also hosted another meeting where Courage Worldwide leaders shared the vision of Courage House and the dream to open Courage Houses in every city around the world that needs one. Over sixty leaders from the faith-based community attended and were brokenhearted over these invisible, vulnerable children in their city. Local media covered the event.
About Courage Worldwide
With Courage House locations open in Northern California and Tanzania, and with efforts underway to build a home in Hawaii, we are committed to not only rescuing child victims of sex trafficking, but also to restoring their lives. Our Courage Houses have a comprehensive program that offers a unique life plan (ULP) for each girl that brings healing to her body, mind, spirit and emotions. We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual preference.
Our business model has called for an army of volunteers to shoulder the day-to-day execution of all the tasks involved in carrying out our mission. We are grateful to the people who have believed in and, at one time or another over the past several years, financially supported the dream of building homes for children rescued out of sex trafficking. We are thankful for the professional services and materials that have been donated as well. And we are amazed at all that has been accomplished to open our first two homes.
The dream of rescuing and restoring children is now a reality and lives are being changed.
Courage House Hawai’i
For the past two years, efforts have been underway to build a Courage House in Hawaii. A solid team of local volunteers has formed under the leadership of Jeremy and Jessica Munoz to take on the task of developing a home in Hawaii. Jeremy and Jessica have been working directly with Courage Worldwide in planning the necessary steps to make this dream a reality.
Those words were whispered to Courage Worldwide Founder Jenny Williamson’s spirit one Sunday morning several years ago. She was sitting in church, never once thinking as she walked through the doors that morning that her life would change. But,as she describes in her own words below, it most definitely did…
I sat engulfed in the huge auditorium that day, waiting for the service to begin. Three thousand other church goers surrounded me. I didn’t know a single one. I was feeling lonely and melancholy. Our family had just relocated to Sacramento, California from the Bay Area … not by our choice. /we had recently faced financial ruin and our family was devastated. We lost our home, we missed our friends, and we longed for the comfortable life we had in the Bay Area. I could see no divine purpose in the move at the time. Daily, to keep my spirit up, I chanted a verse I had adopted and paraphrased as my own… “Against all hope and in spite of her circumstances, Jenny, like Abraham, chose to believe God had the power to do what He promised.” (Romans 4:18-25)
During this difficult time, God felt very near. He kept whispering encouragement to my soul. “Don’t reduce the size of your dreams and desires to accommodate your present circumstances – they won’t fit,” he whispered one morning. If I had not known Him intimately, the words would have seemed cruel in the midst of our circumstances. I had already started Courage Worldwide with two friends in the Bay Area where God had planted enormous dreams on our hearts. I believed in the fulfillment of each one of the dreams… spiritual daughters, Courage Conferences around the world, resource centers to equip, encourage, and empower individuals to be and do all God created them to, audiences of thousands… But when our family was forced to move by the unseen hand of God, I wondered how, or even if, they would ever come to fruition. At the time, it took all my strength and faith just to survive, one day at a time.
That was my mind and heart on that Sunday morning in 2007. Little did I know my life was about to be recalibrated. When the guest pastor began to speak, so did God…
“It’s a home… It’s a home… It’s a home.”
The pastor didn’t preach that morning. Instead he told of his own life change. With his words, he painted a picture I had not seen before: the horrific picture sex trafficking.
The phrase was totally unfamiliar to me. The pastor told of children in Cambodia, as young as five years old, being systematically sold to men for sex. Sold as if they were a commodity with no value, no feelings or purpose. My body was literally racked with sobs, much to my teenage sons’ embarrassment. At one point in the service, I looked around to see if I was the only one pierced by the images created in my mind’s eye. I felt I was the only one of the thousands attending that day who could hear these childrens’ cries, feel the trauma they had endured, and see the pain in their eyes.
“It’s a home.”
What seemed like hours later, (when really it was only minutes), Don Brewster, the guest pastor, began to tell how his life had changed when he learned of the plight of these Cambodian children. It was simple. When he and his wife Bridget learned of this hideous crime against children from a TV show they watched, they knew they had to do something. So they did what any of us would do: they quit their jobs, sold everything they owned, and moved to Cambodia to start a home for children rescued from the sex slave trade. Simple.
At that point, the atmosphere in the church service dramatically changed. Instead of horror being recounted over and over, there was hope that was being delivered in large doses.
“It’s a home.”
Don began to tell what a difference a home–a family–makes in the lives of these vulnerable, often invisible children. He told of the tangible difference the home they started had made for children—children with names and beautiful faces. These were the stories, the smiling faces that changed my life. They were stories of hope, transformation, and restoration. It is God’s story, a story told and repeated in the Bible. A story God wants to write in each of our lives – the story of God doing extraordinary things through ordinary people.
“It’s a home.”
For days after that church service I prayed… “Cambodia? ”You want me to go to Cambodia, Lord?”
I really didn’t think, with our current financial and emotional situation, that my husband was going to agree to that. So I wrote the biggest donation check that would clear our bank account to the Brewster’s non-profit, thinking that was all God was asking me to do.
Yet still, I cried for weeks.
I cried for the children being sold to strangers by the parents that were supposed to love and protect them. I cried as if they were my own daughters. When I confided to a friend that I thought I was going crazy with grief for children I had never met, children that felt like my own, she told me that she believed Jesus was letting me feel what he feels for these precious little ones. “It’s unbearable,” I sobbed. Eventually I had a fight with God over this whole hideous issue of children being sold for sex. “You could make this stop. You could take it off the table!” I angrily shouted.
I felt His whispered response to my heart… “What age would that be? Five years old? Ten? Is it okay for a fifteen year old to be tortured, raped and sold for sex? A twenty-five year old?”
I could see this arguing with God was going nowhere so I shouted from the depths of my soul, “JUST DO SOMETHING!”
Before I had time to take a breath, He said to me, “Why don’t you?” That was a holy moment. Time stood still…
“It’s a home.”
“These are your daughters, the daughters you have longed for … find them.” As the weeks and months of 2007 came and went, I continued to be brokenhearted for children I had never met. Though I daily battled my family’s difficult financial situation, the desire to do something for these kids acclerated in my spirit. During the beginning of 2008, I sought direction, answers and wisdom from the place all God-fearing people go … Google! I began researching the words “sex trafficking” and “human trafficking” expecting to see details of this horrific crime in countries I had never visited. I was shocked to the core of my being when the words appeared on my screen… Sacramento, Sacramento, Sacramento.
My home? My city? Through my research, I learned children were being sold for sex right in my own backyard – in my city, my state and my country! While the reality of children being sold in Cambodia broke my heart, the news that they were being sold in my own backyard outraged me and propelled me into action.
I then knew what God wanted me to do: build a home for children rescued from sex trafficking.
Courage House. It’s a home.
A home in my city and in every city around the world where there is need for one. It sounded so simple.
Almost five years later, with two homes succesfully open in Northern California and Tanzania, Africa, and with plans underway to build a Courage House in Hawaii, this dream has become a reality and our story continues. One of our Courage Girls just graduated from high school (the first in her family to do so) and is starting college at a four year University.
It has been encouraging and awe-inspiring to observe all God has done and is doing through our volunteers and donors. We have always believed that collectively we are able to do more than we dare imagine individually, and we still believe that.
We also believe in a future where children will not be sold for sex. Thank you for believing with us.
-Jenny Williamson, Founder and CEO, Courage Worldwide
- To build a Courage House in every city around the world that needs one.
- To eradicate sex trafficking.
- To be an international, non-profit organization, self-funded for all of its administrative overhead so that 100 percent of all donations go directly to changing lives around the world.
- To have an executive team and board comprised of individuals who love God and each other.
- To be an organization where employees can earn market-comparable salaries to meet the needs of their families while they are changing the world, one individual at a time.
- To build a legacy for our children and the next generation.
How do we intend to do this? Through Courage Concerts, Courage Cafés, Courage Merchandise, and Courage Publications to provide the necessary, consistent funding for all administrative overhead and through Courage Houses to provide rescue and restoration to child victims of sex trafficking, while helping them see their value and discover their purpose.
Courage Concerts & Awareness Events
What began as a song written by C2BU board member Stephanie Midthun to express God’s desire to rescue children from sex trafficking has turned into an entire fundraising project called “Believe in Me” complete with music CD, video and live performances. The song caught the attention of LA-based director and film producer Aaron Schnobrich who created an incredible music video that tells the story of a young girl exposed to the hideous life of sex trafficking. 100 percent of the proceeds from the CD/DVD go towards Courage Worldwide.
Currently, Courage Concerts & Awareness Events are being held in various venues nationwide. In addition to the artists performing from the CD, other guests make presentations to bring awareness as to the crime of sex trafficking and inspire people to get involved.
Courage Cafés, the Courage Worldwide online store, Courage Conferences, and Courage Concerts will all offer exclusive products and gifts which will all declare a message of courage and purpose using Courage Worldwide’s trademarked tag lines. Proceed will go to Courage Worldwide.
What is a Courage Café? Warm welcomes. Big smiles. Flavorful brews. Scrumptious eatables. Extraordinary gifts. Exclusive merchandise. A place where encouragement is free. A community meeting place where you can sip an exceptional cup of coffee, enjoy a delicious meal, read Courage Publications, shop Courage Merchandise, and view video and photographs of real people making a difference in our world—one individual at a time. Profits will go toward Courage Worldwide.
Courage Worldwide Publishing intends to publish a magazine that highlights personal stories of courage and purpose from around the world – stories of real people making a real difference and being courageous. Courage Worldwide Publishing also intends to publish quality, unique books.
Courage House Program
Courage House is the only group home that doesn’t feel like a group home. It is a place where hope is given, healing is offered, and children’s lives are restored. The girls who come to Courage House receive tangible resources to equip, encourage, and empower them to discover and fulfill their unique purpose. Our facilities and programs are intentionally designed to provide a long-term home for children who have suffered the severe trauma of sexual exploitation, as opposed to an opportunity to graduate from a program. Statistics show the majority of the young women who are victims of this crime do not have safe homes and loving families to return to once they have “graduated from the program.” Our Courage Houses offer a long-term solution and unique life plan (ULP) for each girl that brings healing to her body, mind, spirit and emotions: The Unique Life Plan
All of our resources also include processes to prepare the girls for a successful transition to self-sufficient, independent living, with future plans to open a transitional home, Courage House Too.
We believe it is never too late for an indvividual–especially a child–to be rescued and lovingly restored to a life filled with purpose and hope.
We desire to equip, encourage, and empower all individuals to discover and embrace their God-given purpose (nothing more, but absolutely refusing to settle for anything less) and to then encourage everyone in their life to do the same.
We serve and hire people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, age, or gender.
Some of our corporate values are:
Jenny Williamson is the Founder and CEO of Courage Worldwide, an international, non-profit organization that is building homes around the world for children rescued out of sex trafficking. Through personal passion and professional leadership, she works tirelessly to inform communities about child sex trafficking and involve individuals and businesses in building Courage Houses – homes where these children can be rescued and restored.
For her efforts and impact in the community, Jenny was awarded the FBI Director’s 2010 Community Leadership Award. She was also awarded the 2011 Community Spirit Award by Sacramento’s District Attorney, Jan Scully. Because of her leadership and expertise, Jenny has been invited to be part of the California Attorney General’s Working Group on human trafficking as well as Shared Hope International’s Practitioners Working Group for their 2012 National Colloquium meeting in Washington, D.C. She has spoken to thousands of people about the issue of sex trafficking.
Jenny and her organization have spearheaded a comprehensive program to rescue and restore child victims of sex trafficking and have done ground-breaking work regarding therapy models and the healing process for these victims. Courage Worldwide has successfully opened two homes for rescued children – one in Northern California and one in Tanzania, Africa. In addition, the organization has efforts underway to build a home in Hawaii. Jenny’s greatest passion is to see these rescued children discover their individual identity, fulfill their destiny, and to see their lives completely restored.
As a professionally-trained life coach and results-driven business leader, Jenny is known for her energy and passion to change the world. She and her family live in Northern California, where she also acts as Chief Financial Officer of their family business.
To find out more about Jenny and her speaking topic and dates, click here.
Board of Directors
Jenny Williamson President/Chairman
Courage Conference Speaker, Jenny Williamson not only believes that each and every life has value, but that each life has a God-given purpose and destiny. She believes that discovering and fulfilling that destiny is the adventure of a lifetime. Jenny’s passion and purpose is to equip, encourage and empower everyone that crosses her path to be all that God created them to be—nothing more, but absolutely refusing to settle for anything less.
Jenny is a professional life coach, former Women’s Ministry Director, business owner, founder of Courage to Be You, Inc. an international non-profit organization that helps people find their purpose and builds homes to rescue children from sex trafficking. She is also a wife, mother, and passionate cheerleader of those wanting to embark on a journey of purpose and passion.
Her own life was forever changed when God branded the very personal and profound question upon her soul: “Do you have the courage to be you—the you I created?” Scared to death, and with all the courage she could muster, Jenny began the journey of discovering that before time began she was, “created on purpose for a purpose.” Now intentionally running like crazy toward everything God has planned for her, she loves speaking to audiences around the world encouraging them to do the same, while at the same time making them aware of a invisible, vulnerable population of children you are being held captive and sold for sex daily.
Melissa seeks to passionately follow Christ and be used by Him to encourage and serve others – however God desires. Melissa wants each day to have purpose!
After graduating in 1986 from CSUS with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Melissa enjoyed a ten year career with Aetna Life & Casualty in commercial insurance claims. God blessed her with the love of her life, Jim, and husband of 20 years (she’s still crazy about him). They have two incredible teen children at Bradshaw Christian School where Melissa substitute taught for six years. She served in women’s ministries for fifteen years, which also included the role of Women’s Director at their church in Elk Grove. Melissa is currently on staff full time at First Baptist Church and is privileged to watch God at work transforming lives!
Melissa passionately believes that the enemy has ripped us off… sold us a lie… especially in the area of sexuality. Her heart cries out for these young girls, who’s virtue has been stolen, and desires to do her small part to aid in their rescue and healing. Through the focused work of Courage House, may each of our girls one day testify of God’s amazing redemption and restoration.
Barbara Wilson is the founder of Freedom Bound Communications, a ministry that brings healing and hope to those with a sexual past and the former director of the Sexual Health Education for faith-based Alternatives Pregnancy Center in Sacramento, California.
Damon is the Senior Pastor at Grace Community Church in Elk Grove, California.
Joel has been pastor of Living Water Church in Elk Grove, CA since he and his wife planted it in 1999. He loves teaching, leading worship, and encouraging others to live out God’s purpose for them. He grew up as a missionary kid in Madagascar and has a passion for missions and seeing local churches of all denominations work together.
Dr. Gil Stieglitz
Dr. Gil Stieglitz
Dr. Gil Stieglitz is an author, speaker, catalyst, professor, and leadership consultant. He is Executive Pastor of Adventure Christian Church in Roseville, California. He is currently a professor at Western Seminary, a District Superintendent for the EFCA, a church consultant for Thriving Churches International, and President of Principles to Live By. His desire is to help as many people as possible achieve their maximum potential for God’s glory.
He is the author of eight books: Spiritual Disciplines of a CHRISTIAN; Becoming a Godly Husband; Becoming a Godly Wife; Mission Possible: Winning the Battle Over Temptation; Marital Intelligence: A Foolproof Guide to Saving and Supercharging Marriage; Going Deep in Prayer – 40 Days of In-Depth Prayer; Touching the Face of God – 40 Days of Adoring God; and They Laughed When I Wrote Another Book on Prayer…Then They Read it.
For 17 years he was the Pastor of the Twin Lakes Community Church in Southern California. He now resides in Roseville, California, with his wife Dana and their three daughters. He received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Talbot School of Theology.
Bobbi Johansen graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene. She worked as a dental hygienist for six years. She took over the bookkeeping of her husband’s masonry business in 1986 and in 2002 she and her husband opened a retail stone business. In 2008 she retired from the masonry an detail business to have more time to seek out what God had for her life. She continues to serve in youth ministry at their church. She and her husband Leif have been married 28 years, and she home-schooled their three daughters through high school. Her passion is prayer and worship directed and fueled by scripture. It was through prayer her heart was made broken for the victims of sex trafficking 4 years ago. The Lord brought Bobbi and C2BU founder Jenny Williamson together in 2008. Jenny’s overwhelming love and commitment to what God has called her to ignited a passion within Bobbi to be used as God’s hands and feet to rescue these now hidden treasures of society. Her desire is that these hidden treasures be found, rescued, redeemed and restored — their lives hidden instead with Christ in God. In October of 2009, she accompanied her husband as he led a construction team to work on the Courage House in Tanzania Africa.
Mindi Russell Senior Chaplain
Senior Chaplain Mindi Russell
Senior Chaplain Mindi Russell is the Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy-Sacramento which serves a myriad of agencies and departments including: the Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento County Sherriff’s Department, the Department of Justice, and the FBI-Sacramento. She is a career Law Enforcement Chaplain overseeing several programs that include the Law Enforcement Chaplains Program that serves law enforcement personnel and their families, Community Chaplains Program which responds to crisis events, and the Outreach Chaplains Program under which C2BU chaplains serve.
She is an affiliated member of numerous boards, teams, and other organizations, including the U.S. Crisis Chaplains (USCC) Board Member as well as Courage To Be You ( C2BU) Board Member and is a LEO Task Force member (Anti-Sex& Human trafficking). In addition to being a motivational speaker, she has implemented chaplain academies to apply her wisdom and knowledge in a practical way. She has also been awarded the National Crime Victim Service Award from President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft. This prestigious award is the highest federal honor for victim advocacy given by serving at Ground Zero on Sept 11, 2001. On July 15, 2010, she received the John A. Price Award from the International Conference of Police Chaplains which recognizes chaplains doing an outstanding job in their own departments.
She and her beloved husband of 39 years, Chaplain Frank, were high school sweethearts. They have two children and two granddaughters. They own an English bulldog named, Choppers. “Life is good and God is great,” says Chaplain Mindi, “no matter what.”
Volunteer Director Courage House Hawaii Project
Originally from California, Jessica and her husband Jeremy have lived on Oahu for over 7 years where she is an active member in the north shore community. She and her husband have been involved in youth mentoring and outreach since moving to the island. She currently works for a private emergency physician group as a clinical nurse practitioner/provider at a local hospital. Her nursing career was a key factor in moving to Oahu and she initially began working at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children and attended graduate school at the University of Hawaii. Her passion for victims of sex trafficking started while writing her thesis on human trafficking and health care providers. Her research revealed that there is a gross lack of aftercare resources existing for these victims- especially the underage victims. The need for a long-term residential facility in Hawaii is a pressing need and one worth fighting for. Her extensive nursing with a heavy focus on pediatric trauma has helped her to understand the comprehensive needs of children who experience trauma and the need for a holistic place to offer healing.
Jessica has recently published two articles in an Emergency Physician Journal (Emergency Physicians Monthly) on identifying victims of sex trafficking. she is passionate about educating health care providers on the issue of trafficking the need for a tailored approach to aftercare with emphasis on a long term residential home.
Dr. John Jackson
Dr. John Jackson
Dr. John Jackson is the President of William Jessup University (WJU). He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Organizational Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His strong background in executive and organizational leadership has given him the opportunity to come alongside churches and business leaders throughout the nation to assist in furthering their organizational leadership and communications skills. He has spoken in national and global settings, taught and lectured in undergraduate and graduate classes and has written and co-authored six books. In 1939, William L. Jessup created San Jose Bible College with fourteen students. Today, WJU has grown to nearly 900 students who represent the traditional undergraduate program and School of Professional Studies.
Courage House Hawai’i
Volunteer Site Developement Director Courage House Hawaii
Courage House Hawai’i
Volunteer Director Courage House Hawaii Project
Courage House Hawai’i
Volunteer Director/Board Member
Courage House Hawaii