I live in a neighborhood where there is a great deal of new construction. Daily, homes are being built around me. My 17-month-old grandson Bodhi, loves coming to visit his Gigi so he can watch all the “big trucks”! On one particular day when Bodhi and I were waving to all big trucks, I noticed the signage on the side of one truck in particular.
Our Foundation - Your Dream.
Wow! Who knew God could speak to you through “big trucks”!
Foundations. In 2007 that was my word for the year! It was a difficult year. We had just experienced the economic downturn that so many other people did in 2006. We had to leave our home and the friends we called family, to move to a new place where we didn’t know a soul. Besides being difficult for our entire family, I was personally confused by the turn of events because I believed God had placed an enormous dream on my heart… to build houses around the world for a vulnerable population that needed a home and a family (Courage Houses) AND create profitable cafes (Courage Cafes) to be able to pay for the homes AND host conferences (Courage Conferences) to equip, encourage and empower others to be and do all they were created to.
Belief wasn’t a problem for me. I believed in this dream wholeheartedly. However, I didn’t realize at the time, that I needed a strong foundation to support that dream. As I stood looking at that truck, while holding my young grandson’s hand, I realized that one little phrase sums up how critical strong foundations are to our dreams. Our Foundation. Your Dreams. This company “cements” a foundation for one’s dream of a home. God had to do the same with me - build a foundation to support the dream he planted on my heart. Now, 16 years later, I feel encouraged to share with you what I – we - at Courage Worldwide have learned about foundations and dreams. Do you have a dream you are believing in, waiting for? I pray these words encourage you today! 1. Before you build UP - you must dig DOWN. Digging is hard, physical work that takes time. Literally. Whether we are digging into hard ground or into our own, often hard hearts. Before we can launch our dreams, we have to plow the hard ground and jack hammer our way through the hardness of whatever stands in our way. There is no growth in hard ground and there is no stable foundation at the surface level. I see the builders outside my window using jack hammers to break up the hard ground they intend to build upon. They know they must go deep to set the foundation of the house if it has any hope of it standing and lasting. A wise builder plans for the storms. There is no “if there is a storm” mentality; it is a “when storms come” will our foundation hold? Do you know what takes longer to build; which is most expensive? The foundation, the walls, the roof? You guessed it… the foundation. Deep foundations cost something, take time and are hard work. Foundations that go deep support dreams that rise up high. To ensure the success of our dreams, we too must dig down deep to lay a strong foundation that will be able to weather the storms of the future. When I started Courage Worldwide, I felt God press upon my heart the importance of a strong foundation. I believed He gave me the responsibility of building a strong foundation during my lifetime so that the next generation would be able to build up during theirs. Our children, the children who have called Courage House home, maybe even my young grandson, will be able to change the world one individual at a time in ways that I can only imagine – because of the hard work our team has done in making sure our foundation is strong. Strong core values that are stated and non-negotiable. Unwavering faith in the vision God placed on our hearts. Belief in the destiny of the children and young women we serve. All of these give our foundation integrity. However, they are not our rock. We were also intentional about “who” we would build our foundation upon. 2. Foundation types matter. The source of your foundation matters. What or who you build your foundation on matters. Shifting sand or a rock… which is more solid? Ever hear the phrase in a news report of a crime or on a TV show “he had a rock-solid alibi”? That means it is unshakeable. We need a rock-solid foundation if we are ever going to see our dreams come to pass.
We at Courage Worldwide, Inc. built our organization’s foundation on God and the belief that the enormous dream to see children and young women who were once victims of sex trafficking experience healing, a safe home and water walking destiny is from Him and Him alone. Therefore, we built our foundation on Him. We didn’t build on ourselves or our abilities, our donors or our bank account. We built on the premise that God called us to rescue and restore victims of sex trafficking around the world. That belief is rock-solid. It does not shift nor has it changed in 16 years even though we have navigated a multitude of storms and fought many a battle. At times, those battles and storms have literally stripped us down to our foundation where we asked ourselves, “Do we still believe God has called us to build homes for children who have been sold for sex and call them family?” Because of our deep and rock-solid foundation, we still answer “Yes”. We can build up because we took the time to dig deep.
A wise man builds on rock.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock”. Matthew 7:24-25 3. Rock-Solid foundations do not move but walls do. Again, the builders across the street remind me of our journey at Courage and the importance of both foundations and dreams.
As I have watched the walls go up across the street, I have noticed several things that remind me of our journey at Courage. While foundations take time and are expensive to build, walls go up fast and cost less. Walls can be moved and changed easily. Foundations not so much. Flexibility is important in building up. Change is a given just as are storms and wars. While a rock-solid foundation is non-negotiable; walls are.
When we started Courage, we started where we lived and where we loved. Northern California and Tanzania, Africa. We started with homes for minors. We bought land and were given land. One minor home remains and one was closed. We then opened an over 18 home as the license requirements in California changed. We explored opening homes in Mississippi and Texas. Those have not happened yet. We made plans to open a Courage Café in California. Those plans changed due to lease cost. We started doing case management only in California while we doubled, tripled, quadrupled our children’s home in Tanzania. We then opened a school, a preschool, an over 18 home, a leadership academy and now… the first Courage Café. We are having conversations with groups in Utah and Nevada about a minor residential program. We also have requests to bring a Courage House to numerous countries. The walls have changed. We have changed. However, our foundation remains and after 16 years some of the “walls” we only dreamed of are now being fulfilled… our foundation can support them! Don’t give up on the walls of your dreams … some just take longer to build than others. 4.Foundations can be the same and the walls different. As I have met my new neighbors, several have invited me into their homes. I have been so struck by how very different the insides of the homes are. Each is unique and beautiful in their own way – just different. We actually have the exact same foundations, even a few walls are the same but the décor and feel inside looks totally different. It is the same with non-profit organizations! There are many organizations whom have built their foundation on the rock of God and the belief that He has called them to serve the same population of victims as Courage Worldwide but in very different ways. That is okay. That is good. We need more people engaged in this war. The evil we fight outnumbers us. The homes that have been built around the world are not nearly enough to house the victims impacted by this crime. We don’t compete. We stand, complimenting each other; each attempting to do all that God has called us to. If God has placed a dream on your heart, don’t worry if someone else is doing something similar. Be true to the dream and do the hard work of building a rock-solid foundation. Foundations & Dreams. You have to have a rock-solid foundation to build your water-walking, giant slaying, history making dreams upon. You have to work hard. You must prepare for the storms & battles. You have to be flexible and patient as to the how and where of your dreams unfold. Embrace change. You can’t quit. Someone may be praying a prayer waiting on God; while is waiting on you to have the courage to be you! I hope you have been encouraged with my words. As we exit a pandemic year and look forward to this new one, that still small voice inside of me prompted me to encourage YOU. We have learned so much since we were founded in 2005, in this new season of my life (I turned 60 this past November), I feel led share all we have learned, hoping that those of you beginning a journey of pursuing your dreams will be encouraged to start and for those of you who have been around awhile may be encouraged to not quit. Know God put you on my heart. Blessings.