Update from Pastor Joel and Stephanie Midthun, Courage House, Tanzania
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.
—Psalm 37 Ever get overwhelmed, frustrated or discouraged by the level of evil in this world? Do you ever feel like the bad things may outweigh the little good that you are able to do each day – whether in your job, ministry, or family? I sure do – and you know what else? King David did too and he lived long before network news and social media… Even though he was living in the land promised by God to his ancestors (a promise fulfilled with the faith of Abraham, the leadership of Moses, and the courage of Joshua), he still faced various struggles even as he lived in the kingdom of God and fought to expand it. We face these same struggles — living in the light and joy of the kingdom and yet seeing the dark, heavy evil that is human trafficking, and the horrific effect it leaves on our girls. We also experience the seemingly untiring forces (physical and spiritual) that seek to steal, kill, or destroy all that God is doing in their lives, and in our efforts with them. Here in Psalm 37 are three temptations that face each of us who seek to live in the kingdom of light but also see the kingdom of darkness daily: Temptation #1: Losing rest and hope. Being still is resting in God and His love. Waiting patiently is waiting expectantly – continuing to do good, believing that God’s purposes will win out in the end – no matter the present circumstances. Temptation #2: Stressing out when you see the relentless power of evil in this world. Do not fret – that is, do not be anxious, worried or uneasy about the future. Instead, trust in God, His ways, and His timing. Temptation #3: Striving in anger to change the evil outcomes we see purely through our own power, revenge, control, or manipulation. Here we are tempted to turn from God – feeling that He has not or is not doing enough – and we must do what He is unable or unwilling to do. This temptation is to lose confidence in God’s power and in His goodness. Instead, continue to fight evil but do it with the weapons of the Spirit – rest, joy, hope, trust, humility, prayer, and perseverance. In this way we can continue to inherit and expand the land. During the first part of 2019 we have seen God begin to do this right before our eyes!
Occupying the land
Blessing the land We were blessed with four teams from the USA volunteering and ministering with us in January and February. Pastor Nathan Hoff and a team from Trinity Lutheran Church in San Pedro, CA ministered to our teams.
Sustaining the land One of our major goals for 2019 is to become more self-sustainable. Becoming sustainable involves both building up our core of regular monthly partners and finding new ways to bring in other income streams. It costs roughly $12,000 a month to operate Courage House in Tanzania. Currently we are 100% dependent on donors and support from the US. We are falling short of our monthly goals and so here is our prayerful goal for this year:
2019 Monthly Partners Goal – $5,000 per month increase. This is our top priority above anything else.
2 new church partners @ $500/mo. = 1,000
10 new individual partners @ 100/mo. = 1,000
30 new individual partners @ 50/mo. = 1,500
60 new individual partners @ 25/mo. = 1,500
Other income streams is our next priority:
African Kimonos made by the older girls
Courage jewelry made by the older girls
Courage Café in Moshi
Adjacent land for farming near Courage House.
Expanding the land: We have grown so much at Courage Tanzania. We will have 18 girls and 3 children at Courage House and recently launched 6 girls into college or vocational schools studying early childhood education, journalism, 2 studying hotel management and tourism, one studying social work/project management, and another sewing and design. We are also launching 2 others to college this year supporting some of our former girls as well. In the future we want to build another dormitory at Courage House in Moshi to double our capacity (in 2020) and also have a transition home as soon as possible. Because of funding we weren’t able to open that in January as we have hoped, although we have a great transitional program for those girls. In the next 5 years we have a dream to open Courage Houses in 3 other regions of Tanzania. Thanks to our faithful God and you our faithful partners – we are inheriting the Land! Joel & Stephanie Courage House Tanzania