Written by Jenny Williamson, CEO Courage Worldwide
Happy Fall Y’all! I previously greeted you with “happy spring” and now our world is washed in fall colors! The older I get, the quicker the seasons change; in nature and in my life. In my last update, I shared the spring concepts of purging for more organizational capacity and pruning for more growth. I updated you on how we closed dead programs and pruned those where we saw growth but no lasting fruit. I talked about how we even cut back on programs that our current root system (our human and financial resources) lacked an ability to grow. I even shared how cutting back, slowing down, and pruning are against my nature! However, we stayed the course, endured the cuts, and now I am thrilled to share with you how those steps, combined with our faith in God and in our girls, caused incredible growth during the past 6 months! It’s harvest time!
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
The promise of a harvest. It is why farmers do the hard work of farming. It is what keeps me going during difficult seasons in my life. “If we do not give up.” I have contemplated these words and this verse many times. They are powerful. WE. WILL. Reap a harvest. IF. We. Do. Not. Give. Up. It seems our harvest—whether personal, professional, relational, emotional, or physical—depends on us not giving up.
I ran into a dear mentor friend the other day—a person who has had profound influence in my life for the past 10 years. When he noticed me, he looked surprised. He hugged my neck, looked deep into my eyes and said “most people would have quit by now—I am proud of you.” Trust me…I’ve wanted to. Quit. The work we have been called to at Courage Worldwide is extremely difficult. Attempting to meet the needs of and provide resources to victims of sexual exploitation and trauma, securing consistent monthly funding for those resources, navigating the needs of staff members who go weary doing good, surviving negative publicity, educating the community, managing setbacks…all weigh heavily on the team. I think most of us would have quit at some point…except for the promise of the harvest. We have had a motto around Courage Worldwide since its inception 14 years ago—quitting is not an option—because our harvest is seeing children and young women rescued and restored from the ravages of the crime we call sex trafficking. We can’t quit because lives are at stake.
At Courage Worldwide, we believe every individual was created on purpose for a unique purpose. We simply wanted to help people find theirs. In 2007, however, we realized we live in a world where children are sold for sex—not just our world but in our own country, in our own backyards. We were overwhelmed that these children and young people were never going to have the opportunity to be and do all God created them to—if somebody didn’t do something. We decided to be the somebodies. We decided to do something. We started out naïve and inexperienced. We made mistakes, experienced setbacks, and learned much along the way. We opened homes, brought girls into our own, called them family, adopted their children, started schools, and provided tangible resources so they can be and do all God created them to. Now, many who were once called tortured and traumatized are called rescued and restored; living lives focused on discovering their true identities and fulfilling their destiny. This is our harvest and just like farming, the work is messy, difficult, expensive, and sometimes even dangerous.
Our work involves both rescue and restoration. Rescue implies removing someone from a dangerous situation. Restoration is the long process of returning something to its original purpose and intent. Rescue means physical safety. Currently, we have a young girl who has a targeted hit on her life. This is not the first time one of the young people we serve has been in danger AFTER their rescue. I personally have had death threats because perpetrators fear our testimony will put them in jail. Rescue is dangerous. Restoration is difficult. A person who has been bought and sold as if she has no value, who has been beaten, assaulted, and repeatedly raped, carries within her the invisible chains that bind her to her perpetrator and the trauma she experienced. These symptoms do not disappear overnight though she is physically safe. Flashbacks, body memories, panic attacks, anxiety and nightmares assault her day and night. It takes courage to face the past and walk confidently into the future after suffering the trauma and torture that is inherent to commercial sex trafficking.
This is the restoration process and it takes years. During these years, with your help, Courage Worldwide provides stabilization so the healing process can begin. We ensure a secure launching pad to healthy relationships, independence and a trauma free future. We are committed to seeing their childhood, their dreams and their future restored!
You, our donors and supporters, are instrumental in their rescue and restoration. Your financial support enables us to do all God called us to. Our pruning season has transitioned us into a plentiful harvest! We are serving more girls, young women and their children than we ever have in the past. We are seeing growth in ways we only dreamed of in the past. Thank you! You are literally changing the world one individual at a time.
As 2019 is coming to a close and we are planning/budgeting for 2020, we ask that you prayerfully consider Courage Worldwide for your end of the year giving. We are launching a campaign to raise $150,000 by January 15th. Currently, we have donors who have pledged $25,000 to kick off the campaign as matching funds — you give; they give — doubling your gift! So $25,000 becomes $50,000!
If we are able to raise the $150,000, in 2020 we will launch the first Courage Cafe to serve as program revenue as well as provide employment for our over 18 girls. We will also be able to increase the number of victims we serve here in the US and in Tanzania with housing, rent, school fees, college tuition, trauma therapy/counseling, food, childcare, transportation … as well as being a continued, healthy presence in their lives equipping, encouraging and empowering them to be and do all God create them to. They are our promise. They are our harvest! We could not do what we do without you… thank you for your prayerful consideration.
In the upcoming weeks of this campaign we will be sending weekly emails, giving firsthand testimonies from our girls as well as plans and dreams for the future. Stay tuned!
Jenny Williamson, CEO
Courage Worldwide, Inc.