“Do something!” I shouted to God three years ago when I learned children were being sold for sex, not only around the world, but in my own city. Why don’t you? God whispered to my heart. These are the daughters you have longed for. (I have three amazing sons.) That moment changed the direction of my life and lead me straight into my destiny. I started a non-profit organization to equip, encourage, and empower individuals to discover their purpose. Yet in doing so, I found mine.
Six months after that conversation with God, in a room full of government workers at the State Capitol in California, I boldly declared, “We will build a home for children rescued from sex trafficking.” I was more shocked than they were when the words left my mouth. I was filled with such an urgency to do something that I made the declaration as an act of water-walking, knee-knocking faith. I had no money, no land, and no plan. But I had an extraordinary belief that God has the power to do what He says. And He says “I will be a father to the fatherless.” I didn’t realize at the time that His plan to be a parent to these vulnerable, invisible children would be through people—ordinary people like me and you.
I remember my attempt to disqualify myself from partnering with God to set these captives free. I’m just a mom! I thought. I didn’t realize that statement was the exact on-the-job experience God required. More important than a physical house, a good education, spiritual guidance, and targeted trauma therapy is the fact that these precious children need someone to call them family. They need a place to belong and someone to believe in them. My excuse became my qualification for building homes around the world for children rescued from sex trafficking.
It has been two and a half years since I blurted out that faith-filled proclamation. At the time, there were only three long-term residential homes in the nation for minor victims of sex trafficking, with a total of thirty six beds. None of them were Christian homes. It was hard for me to believe this type of 21st Century slavery existed… until I looked into the wounded eyes of children as they shared the atrocities and trauma they endured at the hands of men who purchased them for sex. Often, I heard how their own parents participated and/or profited in the transactions. I am still sickened by the images trapped in my mind from their unique stories—stories too painful to type on this page.
These are the stories that fuel my passion to be a mom to these kids, to call them family and build them homes. It is my pleasure to announce that we have been “unofficially” open at Courage House Nor Cal since May 27th of this year. Quietly—without fanfare, public announcements, or grand openings—we opened our doors and hearts to several precious young ladies (over the age of 18) who have endured more in their short lives than most of us could ever imagine. I have personally witnessed God transform, redeem, and restore their lives. They are in training to be peer mentors and staff at Courage House. These girls call me mom. I call them daughter, for they are the promised daughters of my heart.
We are just weeks from submitting our application to the California State Licensing Board. We must obtain this license to officially open our doors to minor children rescued from sex trafficking. Our plan is to start with six children and then build out the 52-acre property (a safe house location) for seventy. Courage House Nor Cal will be the largest home specifically meeting the needs of these victims in the U.S. and the first Christian, long-term residential home of its size in the country. But there is still much to be done in order to make this dream come true. In addition to the license, we need financial commitment from the community. Currently, we have $100,000 in the bank, which is required by the California License Bureau to submit the application. We need that amount each month to operate Courage House Nor Cal and Courage House Tanzania. Because we will be a licensed group home, the State of California will fund a portion of that monthly expense. However, we can’t open until we have monthly partners committed to providing these children a home.
This month alone we’ve had to say, “No, we aren’t open yet,” to three child victims. God divinely intersected their paths with ours and it broke my heart to tell them Courage House is still just a dream for minors. Because Courage House isn’t open yet, each of these young ladies ran away. We don’t know where they are today.
By faith, C2BU, as a board and primarily volunteer staff, continues to move forward convinced that God has the power to do what He says He will do. He will be a father to the fatherless at Courage Houses all over the world! Won’t you join us in the dream?
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