I Saw Firsthand Lives Being Changed
I’ve known about Courage Worldwide for years. As long as I can remember, actually. My family was very involved in volunteering for Courage House, Sacramento. I’ve walked 5K fundraisers, organized clothes at the house for new girls, and even considered some of the girls, who called Courage House “home”, to be my friends as I got to know them over the years.
It seemed natural that my next step would be to intern at Courage House Tanzania - for eight weeks! On the front end eight weeks seems like a long time. When it’s over, it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye.
Eight weeks is how long I spent in Tanzania. It was long and short and beautiful and hard and joyful and crazy and growing. I spent hours at Courage Café, enjoyed walks through the neighborhood, and spent lots of time with the missionary community in Moshi! I learned a lot about myself and about the Lord. But I think above anything else, I was blessed. Blessed by the people I came to serve - the girls and the staff at Courage House.
When I first arrived in Moshi, I quite literally had no idea what I was doing. I was really unsure of what I had to offer and how I could help. I learned pretty quickly that teaching English to a classroom full of primary students was not how I would be most helpful. So instead, I started one-on-one English tutoring with the girls in Form 1-4 (high school). These sessions quickly became a highlight for me. The first time I met with each girl, I wanted to get a baseline of where they were in their English so I would know how to help. This meant asking them questions, silly things like their favorite soda and animal, and deeper things like what they hoped to do with their futures. Their answers blew me away. The girls of Courage House are the next generation of doctors, social workers, and teachers. Some have dreams of being pilots, accountants, and laboratory technicians. But above all, these girls just want to help people. They want to serve and bless others in ways they have been blessed. They want to use their careers as social workers and nurses to give back, out of the freedom and opportunity they now have.
I also asked the girls what they loved about Courage House… and a lot of these answers brought me to tears. An overwhelming thread of gratitude ran through each answer. Gratitude for an education, food to eat and clothes to wear. Gratitude for being taught about God and how much He loves them. Gratitude for a group of girls that have become sisters. They are just so thankful, no matter if they have been at Courage for 5 years or just 5 days.
I was also a part of starting a new club for the girls, called Shalom Club! The goal for Shalom is to tie in faith, English, fitness and fun for the girls after school one day each week. The club is being run by one of my sweet friends on staff, and she is doing an excellent job!
The primary school meets after class on Wednesdays, and the secondary school on Thursdays. We played some fun team building games, and are teaching the girls some basic Biblical principles and stories, like the 10 Commandments and David and Goliath. They memorize verses in Swahili and English, and learn new songs in English too! My personal favorite part was having the girls act out stories from the Bible. They go above and beyond - showing such a beautiful understanding of the story and what it means for them. We also started a worship team with the older girls, who get to learn how to build a set list and work on harmonies and leading songs together! In just a few short weeks, the fruit of the Shalom Club is so evident in the lives of the girls already.
I learned a few things about the girls in the day-to-day moments:
They love each other so well. Now, I’m sure 30 girls living together has its fair share of drama. But I also watched as they sat for hours and braided each other's hair, as they helped do laundry or held someone’s baby. They embody everything it means to be a sister in Christ.
They are fiercely competitive. Whether it's Uno or football or Easter egg hunts, everything that can be turned into a competition is done as if a million dollar prize waits for the winner. We played lots of games together!
They are joyful! I have never laughed so hard as when we danced together, they attempted to teach me Swahili, or we sang songs of praise together. These girls know how to have fun, and Courage House is never lacking in smiles or laughter.
They love Jesus. These girls worship like no other, and many of the girls asked me questions about how to know Jesus better. They dove into memory verses, acting out Bible stories, and learning new songs during Shalom Club! A couple of the girls even taught devotionals to the girls and staff at Family Lunch on Fridays!
I could share endlessly how much I adore each one of these girls and what my time with them has meant to me. Courage House is a place of hope, and I consider myself so privileged to have been able to witness the transformation taking place in the lives of each girl who calls Courage “home”. They love without limits and reflect the heart of God so well. I am changed by how they chose to serve and encourage me from day one.
So to the girls and staff at Courage, thank you! Thank you for allowing me to grow and be challenged in such an encouraging environment and thank you for the ways you revealed deeper revelations of Jesus to my soul. My heart is so, so full.
Nakupenda sana, and I’ll see you again SOON!
We are so grateful for each and every one of you, who dedicate your resources—time, energy, finances, and prayers—towards the restoration of the girls and young women here at Courage House. If you would love to give to the life-changing mission of Courage Worldwide, click the link below.