Joel and Stephanie Midthun – Courage Worldwide staff and Board members – relocated to Tanzania, Africa in the summer of 2017 to lead Courage House Tanzania and the C2BU School in Tanzania, Africa. The Midthun’s are also responsible for community development and partnerships in the country of Tanzania. Click here to support theirs and Courage Worldwide’s efforts to rescue and restore victims of sex trafficking.
“You only have authority over the storm you can sleep in…”
“Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!'”
During the middle of a storm that was stressing out seasoned fisherman, Jesus was taking a nap. When his anxious disciples woke him, he calmly took authority over the storm, released peace over it, and then expressed some surprise that the disciples didn’t do it themselves. The same peace that Jesus had inside his spirit was now influencing the world around him. This shows us how the kingdom works and how faith works: it works from the inside-out and it works from a place of rest.
One thing that God has been teaching us this year is how to rest during a storm. In the midst of a season where we experienced Stephanie’s father’s death, public slander and a draining family crisis, God did something unexpected… He called us to go full time to Africa. “Are we hearing you right, God?” We asked this question many times and God confirmed that it was a YES. We decided to obey and although it was an emotional goodbye, we had peace in leaving our loved ones as well as our Living Water Church family after 18 years, selling most of what we owned and navigating a move with a new language, culture and ministry.
We’re learning to trust God for daily wisdom, daily energy, daily manna, and daily faith. Resting is still being active, but it is activity that is not driven by hurry or anxiety.
Daily life in Tanzania
We are settling in and have enjoyed getting to attend and preach in a variety of churches from the Lutheran Cathedral, to the church that the Courage girls attend, to a new church plant led by a great U.K. couple around our age and we’ve been invited to be a part of their leadership team. We have been making new friends among the missionary and Tanzanian community and are braving Bajaji rides (3 wheel taxis), new food and enjoying the beauty of this country. Learning Swahili is painfully slow, but we plan to attend a language school in the near future.
Courage House Tanzania
Each week has new challenges and new breakthroughs as we oversee Courage House. We have weekly meetings with our executive team and are amazed at their leadership and handling tough situations with such grace and professionalism. Courage House is one of only 3 homes in all of Tanzania that focuses on minor trafficking victims and we have a strong relationship with social welfare. We are also excited to be invited at the national level to governmental anti-trafficking meetings and trainings and there is great interest in adopting the Not in My Country campaign!
Our time with the girls is varied and we especially enjoy the time of worship, bible study and even Joel playing soccer. It’s amazing to see the girls thriving – some after only a few months – and a couple of them will be graduating in November. National exams are next month so they are working very hard. Our onsite school is called “C2BU School” or “Courage to Be You School.”
The girls were thrilled to get their new uniforms and are very proud to be students.
We’re working on the reintegration part for them and it will look different for each one. One girl transitioned recently to a vocational college studying hotel management and another transitioned back home with her young son and wants to start a business. We are launching “Courage Micro-loans” for this very purpose. We love hearing their dreams of being a pilot, a lawyer, a judge, a police officer, a manager, social worker, teacher, entrepreneur, a nurse and a community leader. We are starting to have them meet with professionals and shadow them for a day. Our goal is to support the girls in their journey of reaching their dreams.
New Partnerships! We’ve been meeting with local police officials who want to collaborate on doing sting operations to rescue minors. We’re very encouraged that they also see the need and want to help get young girls off the streets. Trafficking of minors is generally ignored in this country or very underreported. Please pray for this growing partnership as we work it out, along with doing training with them.
We are so grateful to be able to form an official partnership between Courage Worldwide and the ELCT (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania)! They want to fight trafficking and partner to open more Courage houses in Tanzania in the future through their connections, access to land and buildings, and the favor they have throughout this nation. We will continue to help them with preaching, teaching, and training of pastors, women’s leaders and youth/students. Our U.S. board member, Pastor Nathan Hoff, is working to get other churches to support the work of Courage House and it’s future expansion and partnership with the ELCT.
Expansion! Courage House currently has room for 18 girls and 2 babies and our prayer is to be full by the end of this year if funding allows.
We are working on the expansion plans for the newly donated property that will be able to house 30-40 girls. Our hope and prayer is to get that completed by spring of next year and to keep our existing house for an entry-level place for new girls.
We are so grateful for your support and encouragement! Your prayers and giving are keeping us going in this land of extreme beauty and challenge that we now call home!
Joel & Stephanie
Health — for us, our girls and staff
Upcoming National Exams
Protection — for us, Courage House and over our partnerships/relationships here.
Reintegration and transition of girls
Provision for Courage Worldwide and for all that God wants to accomplish
Our family (we miss them!)
Rescue of new girls. Currently there are 4 girls that we are in process of interviewing.