Behind the scenes, a couple dozen volunteers roll up their sleeves for hours of preparation and then don their satin and sparkles for a long awaited evening of recognition – each volunteer a light for God’s promise of hope, transforming the bare ballroom into a royal oasis of living color, candles, crowns, and conversation… a team of angels bringing a celebration to life.
For all to see, fifty-nine tiaras twinkle under the spotlights in the historic Sacramento Grand Ballroom – each tiara a symbol of promise and hope; a magnificent collection of the laughter, love, and life awaiting Courage House; a glowing reminder there are fifty-nine girls still longing to come home.
For the first time, the vision of life lived freely among lush acres and majestic oaks is revealed through the architects’ plans for Courage House – a home to fulfill a promise and nurture hope; a collection of cottages encircling a chapel of Christ’s glowing presence during the darkest of nights; where knowing you were created on purpose for a purpose permeates the grounds.
On center stage, two young women courageously share their stories of surviving childhood torture and sexual exploitation – each woman full of promise and hope; two shining examples of pursuing dreams and lying to rest the living nightmares; God’s precious princesses, who are finally home, so we can call them family.
Clayton Butler, Agape International Missions’ Director of U.S. prevention, receives his Courage Award for his role in leading the fight to rescue and restore children who have been victims of sex trafficking. Through his efforts he has helped to define promise and hope in the darkest corners of Cambodia. He has a passion to see the same transformative power that he witnessed in Cambodia come to every city, town, and country where slavery and child abuse exists. Clayton speaks of two kinds of tears in the world of slavery: the tears of sorrow for the atrocities that unfold before your very eyes, and the tears of joy when you set your eyes on achieving and witnessing victory and freedom for each victim; encouraging us to put our efforts and energy into winning each personal war.
Honoree and Police Chief Nick Sensley receives his Courage Award and speaks to us all when he calls for a “new abolitionist movement.” When nearly eighty-five percent of law enforcement remained unaware of the modern day slavery that thrives in our nation and world, Chief Nick Sensley blazed a trail of freedom for the oppressed – he planted and continues to nurture the seeds of promise and hope; he is recognized as an international expert on efforts to combat sex trafficking, and is the architect of the first human trafficking task force in the United States. Gone are the days perpetrators can thrive on the ignorance of the people – the truth will set the captives free.
One has shined on the silver screen, while the other has spent a lifetime serving the public and securing freedoms: honorees Academy Award Winning Actress Mira Sorvino and Congressman Dan Lungren. Unable to attend the gala, both find ways to share their messages of promise and hope Sunday evening:
Ms. Sorvino, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador to combat sex trafficking, shares her support for Courage to Be You by writing a letter which reads, “Courage to Be You is telling every survivor that she is seen, loved, appreciated, and worthy; that her life is an open book for her alone to write on from here on in. They [C2BU] are messengers of God’s love, grace and the Word in action.”
As an instrumental partner in the fight against domestic minor sex trafficking, Congressman Lungren has given a voice to the young victims of sexual exploitation both locally and nationally. He has faithfully rallied behind the efforts of Courage to Be You and continues to do so in his Courage Award acceptance video:
Hearing God’s call and leading the way in our community, Jenny Williamson shares her heart, the truth, and the need – her unwavering childlike faith feeds the hope, which has led the way to fulfilled promises. A true history maker, Jenny courageously listens to the Lord and prayerfully paves the way to bring girls home; she says she’ll breathe her last breath fighting this fight, and I’m certain it will be with the same fervor she’s shown bringing this fight into the light.
This past Sunday night’s Ties and Tiaras gala was a glowing success. I have never been in a room that shone so brightly with the Lord’s favor, as each guest, volunteer, honoree, and speaker exhibited God’s love for these young and silent victims. Amongst the glitz and glam, hearts were broken, the truth revealed, and plans made. With the hope for a better tomorrow and the promise to bring sixty girls home to Courage House, the community responded faithfully to pledge their support.
Each of the fifty-nine remaining twinkling tiaras will be presented to a precious princess who finds her way home…I know this to be true, because He has already faithfully delivered the first one.