It’s hard to describe the joy I feel today sitting here working while sipping my coffee at our newly-opened Courage Cafe in Moshi, Tanzania. We just returned a few days ago from our speaking tour as well as time with the family in the U.S.
In September as we were getting ready to leave Tanzania for a couple of months, it was really hard to leave. So much growth had recently happened: our Courage House campus was at full capacity, we opened a new larger transition house for our older (over 18) girls and the grand opening of Courage Cafe in May. We had just promoted some of our executive staff to lead the organization in Tanzania, and Joel and I were promoted to Regional Directors (soon we will share more later about exciting expansion in other regions!).
We had a lot of excitement as several girls were finishing high school, and would be soon moving over to the Courage House Too (transition) campus. Other girls were leaving for college and some would soon be finishing their college. It’s a fun season and I guess you could say I had some FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out!). It’s been a joy to witness our older girls learn new life and job skills at Courage Café before they leave for college. Some even changed their college major because of the new experiences they were having in learning about business.
As we traveled the US for 10 weeks speaking at churches, meeting with supporters and sharing with our board of directors all that God was doing in transforming the lives of our girls, it was clear to everyone that we are witnessing miraculous growth at Courage Tanzania. We now employ 40 national staff and we are caring for 60 girls and their children. Our Executive Team is doing a great job leading the organization in Tanzania. That is a dream come true!
When we returned several days ago, I sat down with Esther, our newly promoted Executive Director, to get a detailed report on how things were going since we’d been gone. She said the girls are thriving and have been peaceful even in taking their national exams, which is normally a very stressful time and total meltdowns are normal. But this year was different. The staff have been working faithfully and in unity. The café has continued to profit and customers from all over the world are coming. She shared good news after good news, and even some very challenging situations our team faced and handled well and the situations were resolved. Everyone was healthy, praise God!
When we left finances were very tight at Courage Worldwide, which is usually the case at the end of the summer. We made a few cutbacks, and our staff and girls responded and said they were grateful for a roof over their heads, food and their jobs. They live in a country where many many people have lost their jobs during the pandemic, since tourism revenues are down by 72% and the number of tourists decreased by 60% in 2020. Tanzania faces high rates of poverty, this past year increasing to 50.4% based on the international extreme poverty line. To have a good job, especially one that pays consistently and well-above minimum wage, is a big blessing and they don’t take it for granted.
Esther then said, “The girls and staff have been praying daily for you, Mama Jenny and all of our supporters that God would bless and protect you and provide for every need.” When our team and girls commit to pray, they take it very seriously. We felt those prayers. When we returned to Tanzania and reported that our finances improved so that we were even able to give the girls their traditional Christmas gifts (new dresses and shoes) as well as send them to their favorite Bible camp, and give our staff a Christmas bonus, there has been much rejoicing on this side of the world.
Our girls joyfully danced around and proclaimed,
"God heard our prayers! God really heard our prayers!”
Yes, girls, God heard your prayers and ours. We know that God works through people like you and we are so grateful for your partnership and including Courage Worldwide in your giving. We know it’s not an easy season for many of you and we feel especially touched by your sacrifice. Each and every donation is transforming many lives, both this past year and we know it will in the year to come! We expect great things for 2022 and will share with you in the next weeks the vision to expand and continue to change the world, one individual at a time.
I have a specific ask, would you share with one other person how giving a gift to Courage Worldwide is investing in changing lives? Our hope and prayer is for more people to partner with us to bring girls home to Courage House, with an end of the year goal of $50,000. Will you join us?
Joy to the world!
P.P.S. Download our latest 5 Year Impact Report here: CWW Impact Report