We were so happy to have had our CEO and Founder, Jenny Williamson, join us in Tanzania this summer for a few weeks! As we worked on building up a beautiful vision for the next five years of Courage, Jenny took some time to reflect on her gratitude for all of you, our incredible donors, as you have blessed us over the past few decades.
When my son was little, he had a difficult time seeing what was right about a situation, but he could easily pick out what was wrong. This was incredibly frustrating to a mom whose glass is always more than half full. At the time, I didn’t realize he was a critical thinker—a gift, though one I was not yet “grateful” for. In a very mom-like way, I assumed he wasn’t “grateful” enough and decided to fix that!
Being the incredibly positive person I am, I decided every evening at dinner each of us would share 5 things we were grateful for. I can’t say my family was enthusiastic about this new nightly practice, but they humored me and gave it a try (since they wanted to eat). This practice quickly grew to be more special than a quickly said “bless this food” prayer.
When I introduced “gratefuls” into our family dinners some 25 years ago, we didn’t know it would shape us all.
Gratefuls not only became our family tradition, but also became one we introduced at Courage House. It seemed our girls could also easily pick out everything wrong at Courage House but needed some encouragement to find things to be grateful for.
Dinner was a group effort at Courage House—some set the table, some helped cook, some served the meal. At 6 p.m., staff would call everyone to the table to eat together. It felt like a real home, a family—something all the girls longed for. When everyone had gathered at the enormous dining room table, food piled high on their plates, a staff member would casually ask one chosen girl, “what are you grateful for?”
Though it was asked every single night, the question never got old. It centered us. It touched us all in a deep place and caused us to think.
After a long day of therapy, girls not getting along, staff frustrated with girls, girls frustrated with staff, arguments over chores, and other petty things—this one question brought peace to the house. It united us.
What are you grateful for?
No one will come into my bedroom tonight uninvited.
I have heard all these responses at both Courage House in the U.S. and at Courage House in Tanzania, where I have just returned from.
An interesting difference between our Courage Houses is what our girls in America are thankful for and what our girls in Africa are thankful for.
The lights turning on.
Going to a doctor.
I never heard a girl in the U.S. articulate any of these.
Regardless of the trauma some of us have experienced in our path—like being trafficked for sex or living through the foster care system as our girls have—in the United States, there are things we all take for granted and never articulate our gratitude for because they are so familiar. They are our normal, our expectations.
We only notice them if we don’t have them.
We might feel inconvenienced if the electricity goes out, the toilet gets stopped up, or we can’t log on to our Wi-Fi—but we often forget to be grateful for them when we have them.
In Africa, it can feel more apparent when crucial, vital necessities are missing.
In Tanzania, we have the most beautiful campus—a beautiful house for the girls’ bedrooms, buildings for classrooms, and buildings for our staff to gather and cook the evening meal. The entire 2 acres is landscaped exquisitely and includes a playground area just for our little ones.
But we have no water.
We have huge tanks we must pay a company to come and deliver water to. We have been doing this for years but now, with the current drought, there are days when there is no water on the property.
We need to dig a well. We need water.
It will cost $13,000.
I am asking for your help. As I ask, our girls and staff are praying for water. Our prayers here at Courage Worldwide have always been answered by God through people just like you.
This past summer, we desperately needed to expand our campus. We had to say no to a 16-year-old and her 6-month-old twins coming to Courage House because we had no place for them to stay. To expand our ability to care for more girls, we needed $60,000 to build a second dorm in order to double our capacity and we needed $30,000 to buy furniture and supplies and to hire new staff for the second dorm.
In both cases, when we reached out to you, we had donors connect with us whose hearts broke for these girls just like ours do. We had one donor respond and donate the entire $60,000 amount for building the second dorm and had two donors pledge checks totaling the $30,000 needed to furnish and staff it.
Grateful? That is an understatement. I—we—could not do what God has called us to without YOU!
Because we had individuals respond to our invitation to give, we were able to go back to Social Welfare and say yes to the 16-year-old and her twin baby girls!
Your giving has an immediate impact! This hopeless young mother is now home and is making a home for her two babies with the help of the loving Courage House staff.
Not all of us can donate $60,000, or even $6,000, in one fell swoop—but we can all do something. The average donor gift at Courage Worldwide is $100. If we have 130 people donate $100, we can dig the well. If we have 13 people who donate $1,000, we can dig the well. If we have one individual who feels led to donate the whole $13,000, we can dig the well!
We can have water. We can bring more girls home.
Courage Worldwide is completely dependent upon people just like you. We don’t have large grants or corporations or foundations sustaining us (though one day, I hope we will!). We believe God called us to build homes and provide resources for children who have been sold for sex. We trust He will continue to do more than we have dared to ask or imagine.
We are so grateful—grateful to all of you who have prayed for us, supported us, believed in us, and financially given to us and the dream God put on our heart 15 years ago…
“build them homes and call them family”
We have and we will.
Thank you for your consideration. Blessings.
Founder & CEO of Courage Worldwide
Will you join us with a one-time or monthly donation?
P.S. Have you restocked your Courage Coffee? We’ve just gotten a new shipment in from Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania and with your purchase, it is freshly roasted in Modesto, California at Clayton Tea & Coffee. If you haven’t tasted our Hope Blend, it’s a must-try. Not only are you drinking some of the best coffee in the world, you directly support our programs here at Courage Worldwide!
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