“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects…”
All the way to a prison in California
I have to admit I have been feeling pretty discouraged lately.
As I write this, wildfires caused by human beings are consuming the area near my home. Good friends and Courage Worldwide volunteers have lost their homes or they are battling to save theirs and their neighbors. It seems more fires break out daily producing smoke and ash that forces us to remain inside because the air is unsafe. It seems COVID isn’t going away like we thought. That virus has stolen family members and friends from my life, producing a sense of shock and grief that hovers around my heart. If I chose to turn on the news – which isn’t often — doom and gloom is all I hear. The stories are causing me to lose hope in humanity. I have family and friends who are dealing with serious, life-threatening illnesses which scares me that I may lose more people that I love. Then, there is my job here at Courage Worldwide. I not only hear stories of cruelty, abuse and exploitation of children but I get to meet them and know them. I get to see their pain up close and personal.
This season of life has caused a heaviness in my spirit that wants to convince me that nothing I do really matters. Then… I received a letter from an inmate in prison. Someone whom I have never met.
Not only did he write me a letter, but he also sent me check for a donation to our non-profit, Courage Worldwide.
He begins the letter by describing himself as “a 3rd striker, currently serving a 17 year plus 25 to life prison sentence for first degree burglary.” He wrote that he wanted to be a better person so he chose to surround himself with positive people – in prison. He then mentions another inmate by name, and number, who has been this positive influence. I didn’t recognize the name. This inmate told him about me and our (Courage Worldwide’s) work with child victims of sex trafficking. It seems this individual attended a training I did on human trafficking several years ago – in a prison. We thought if we could educate inmates on the impact trafficking has on children, its victims, they may discourage the behavior among other inmates. Pause. Are you still tracking with me? Something I said to someone, several years ago, that I don’t even remember, had an effect on someone else, who told someone, who then did something to help child victims of sex trafficking even though they are in prison.
Now that is a ripple effect!
Suddenly, I felt like my spirit was dialed into a different channel… one that encourages hope, one that reminds me:
What we say matters.
What we do matters.
We have no idea when we plant seeds of hope where they will take root and grow.
I so needed this letter; this proof that we – that I – am making a difference. Proof that what we do matters.
These are difficult days. Many people are suffering. Problems feel enormous. Solutions seem impossible. It is easy to convince ourselves that nothing we do or say can make a difference.
That is a lie! One we have to fight against. Like the man in prison who wrote to me, I am not going to let my current circumstances dictate my choices. I am going to continue fighting for children who are being sold for sex.
But I need your help. Your financial giving causes a ripple effect that literally changes the life of a child. When you give financially, you are giving her a new future. Right now, we have 44 children and young women under our care. The only reason we are able to do this is because many of you gave financially. We also have 14 of their babies who also call Courage House home… again, because you chose to give. This year we were able to double our number of beds, allowing us to rescue and restore more children. Next year, we want to do more. Next year we want to expand to other areas where there are no homes. But to do that we need your help. Courage Worldwide is 100% dependent upon people like you. Would you please consider a gift to our mission and vision of changing the world one individual at a time as we build homes for children who have been sold for sex and call them family? All donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your consideration.
Founder and CEO, Courage Worldwide
P.S. We’re kicking off a series of good news: tangible stories of the ripple effect and how our actions and words affect others. We want to combat the negative news. We want to encourage you!
Stay tuned for stories of incredible restoration! Blessings!