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The Wolf Pack in Kenya: God’s Work in Ghana

Let the lit­tle chil­dren come to me and do not hin­der them, for to such belongs the king­dom of heaven.Matthew 19:14

Lit­tle Del­bert snuck to the front of the small mud brick church and grabbed the missionary’s hand. “He held my fin­ger dur­ing the whole ser­mon,” chuck­led Rev. Dale Kaster, as he shared a recent expe­ri­ence preach­ing to the peo­ple of Tamale in north­ern Ghana. John vis­ited Rev. Dale and Suzanne Kaster dur­ing his first trip to west Africa.

I was truly impressed with the work of the Kasters, with both their bless­ings and chal­lenges. With the help of local Pas­tor Kon­bat, Rev. Kaster con­tin­ues the efforts of for­mer LCMS mis­sion­ar­ies to train men in four dif­fer­ent peo­ple groups on their path to become pas­tors. He’s even taken on an effort to trans­late the small cat­e­chism into the lan­guage used in Tamale.

Many men are farm­ers, so pas­toral stud­ies occur around plant­ing and har­vest, funeral sea­son and dry and rainy sea­sons. The Holy Spirit is at work in this area where peo­ple are tempted by Islam, tra­di­tional prac­tices or beliefs promis­ing suc­cess and wealth. The Kasters have nur­tured many rela­tion­ships that not only help them find resources but also share with oth­ers about Christ.

Back in the Ghana cap­i­tal of Accra, I noticed a feel dif­fer­ent from other Africa cities. The peo­ple were warm and friendly. When cued by a red traf­fic light, young women, car­ry­ing upon their heads trays of peanuts, phone cards, bags of cold water and other items, would weave among wait­ing cars sell­ing goods. Lin­ing the road­ways were many bill­boards adver­tis­ing spe­cial appear­ances of preach­ers, prophets or vision­ar­ies promis­ing suc­cess and pros­per­ity in this earthly life through the Bible. Such mes­sages tempt new Luther­ans and pas­tors away from the Gospel of what Christ has done for us to earn our sal­va­tion and life with Him.

My stay in Accra was hosted by long-​time mis­sion­ar­ies, Rev. David and Joyce Erber, who gave me a quick yet very worth­while intro­duc­tion to mis­sion work in Ghana. I had a chance to meet some of the lead­ers of the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Ghana, includ­ing Rev. Paul Fynn (pres­i­dent) and Rev. Boatang (sem­i­nary direc­tor), and hear about the ELCG empha­sis on train­ing men to become pas­tors, both through the Mis­sion Train­ing Cen­ter (MTC) and sem­i­nary pro­grams. I briefly vis­ited the ELCG sem­i­nary near the hills in north­ern Accra, where LCMS mis­sion­ary Rev. Steven Schu­macher teaches. A cou­ple of stu­dents had arrived a week early before the fall ses­sion. Greek will be their sub­ject for first two weeks. Over the course of their train­ing, the abil­ity to read Scrip­ture directly from the Bible helps pas­tors arm their con­gre­ga­tions against the temp­ta­tions of false Chris­t­ian practices.

One pas­tor I met shared the story of his child­hood. As a new­born, the vil­lage sooth­sayer iden­ti­fied him as spe­cial child who would one day become a great sooth­sayer. Trained in the ways of the local tra­di­tional reli­gion, he was given a fortune-​telling stick. Even after learn­ing about Christ as an young adult and reject­ing his ances­tral reli­gion, his par­ents and rel­a­tives pres­sured him exten­sively to con­tinue sooth­say­ing, tell for­tunes and make deci­sions for the vil­lage. He broke his stick, then destroyed it so oth­ers wouldn’t think he used it until it fell apart. Today, this man is a pastor.

By God’s grace, the efforts of LCMS mis­sion­ar­ies to first spread the Gospel in Ghana in 1958 has resulted now, nearly sixty years later, in a still-​growing church body, a sem­i­nary to train new shep­herds and faith­ful pas­tors who teach that, in spite of our sin, God is faith­ful and just and for­gives our sins because of what Christ has done for us.

John Wolf is the Africa Region Project Man­ager for the Lutheran Church — Mis­souri Synod. He and his fam­ily, with the sup­port of LCMS churches like Saint John’s, are serv­ing in Kenya. Please keep them in your prayers! We encour­age you to fol­low their fam­ily blog, www​.hereiamsendme​sendme​.blogspot​.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mail­ing list and make donations.

Funke News: Tears of Joy and Sor­row

And I heard a loud voice from the throne say­ing, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peo­ple, and God him­self will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, nei­ther shall there be mourn­ing, nor cry­ing, nor pain any­more, for the for­mer things have passed away.Rev­e­la­tion 21:34

If we were to describe this month in a word, that word would be “intense.” We have expe­ri­enced great joy — wel­com­ing our friends back from Diako­nia, hear­ing their sto­ries, receiv­ing more com­put­ers for the school’s lab, sup­port­ing teen girls through the Huru pro­gram, learn­ing that the lab­o­ra­tory in Mwanza is now fully funded thanks to St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas, receiv­ing our approval-​to-​adopt let­ter, finally meet­ing our daugh­ter and get­ting the next round of paper­work for her in record time! So much joy!

At the same time, all three of us have also expe­ri­enced bouts of ill­ness and have spent most of the month on one med­ica­tion or another. We have strug­gled with set­backs in obtain­ing Eric’s res­i­dent per­mit renewal and set­backs in the CHE pro­gram. We had some really scary moments when two of our stu­dents were bit­ten by snakes this week, but by God’s grace they should recover. Finally, we expe­ri­enced the joy of meet­ing our friend Omary’s pre­cious baby boy Joshua, only to grieve Joshua’s pass­ing three weeks later. Through it all, we cling to the promise that ill­ness, pain, and sep­a­ra­tion are only tem­po­rary. Some­day God will wipe away every tear of sad­ness from our eyes, and all that will remain are tears of joy. In the mean­time, we are grate­ful for the moments of joy and pray that we can con­tinue to bring Christ’s mes­sage of hope and love to a weary world.

Our Daugh­ter— Julia Karena Funke

Thank you all who have been pray­ing for our adop­tion jour­ney this past month! On July 14 we finally received our let­ter of approval for a sec­ond adop­tion. Then, on July 17, we headed to For­ever Angels in Mwanza to meet the two lit­tle girls that were eli­gi­ble. Over the course of two prayer­ful days, it became increas­ingly clear that we were falling in love with Julia and that she is exactly right for our family.

The name Julia is a vari­a­tion on the mul­ti­ple names she has had in her short life. Two rea­sons we love the name are that it is a Bib­li­cal name, like Michael’s (Romans 16:15), and because julia is a type of but­ter­fly. With some of the pain she has already expe­ri­enced in the past few years, we love the butterfly’s imagery of new life. Her mid­dle name, Karena (pro­nounced ka-​REH-​na, with a short “e”), was cho­sen in honor of the many amaz­ing Karens in our lives, espe­cially Linda’s sis­ter and Eric’s mother.

Julia is about 2.5 years old and only recently became eli­gi­ble for adop­tion. She is kind, gen­er­ous, clever, curi­ous and spunky. She has such a won­der­ful, coura­geous spirit, and every time we visit we find new aspects of her that we love. We are so thrilled that she will soon join our fam­ily! Visit our Face­book page to see an adorable video of Michael and Julia. We hope and pray that the rest of the paper­work will go smoothly and that we will be able to bring her home by early September.

Baby Joshua

On July 9, Omary, his fiancée Zawadi and two-​month-​old son Joshua came to our house for a visit. We were so delighted to finally meet baby Joshua, for whom we had been pray­ing since we first learned of the preg­nancy in Sep­tem­ber. Only three weeks after that visit, we learned that Joshua was in the hos­pi­tal with pneu­mo­nia. Late on the night of July 29, Joshua was bap­tized. Only five hours later, Joshua entered his heav­enly home. We were in Mwanza at the time, but imme­di­ately changed all of our plans in order to return to grieve with our com­mu­nity. The next day, we and sev­eral of our neigh­bors jour­neyed to Tinde to spend the day with Omary, his mother, his grand­mother, Zawadi, her mother and sev­eral fam­ily friends. Please keep Omary, Zawadi, and their fam­i­lies in prayer as they grieve.

DIAKO­NIA World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence

Early this month we joy­fully wel­comed back Bishop Makala, Matrida Sanga and Grace Muta­buzi from the DIAKO­NIA World Assem­bly in Chicago, Illi­nois. When we met with them, they were burst­ing with sto­ries about new friends, new expe­ri­ences and new ideas for min­istry here in Tan­za­nia. The con­fer­ence sched­ule had included daily times of wor­ship with the 400+ rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 28 coun­tries, Bible stud­ies led by var­i­ous Bible schol­ars, ple­nary speak­ers engag­ing with each day’s themes and group dis­cus­sion. They also par­tic­i­pated in work­shops on “Demys­ti­fy­ing Grant­mak­ing” and “Part­ner­ships Among Peo­ple and Deacon/​Deaconess Com­mu­ni­ties” and deep­ened their spir­i­tual walk with elec­tives like “The Danc­ing Church” and “Col­or­ing Prayer.” They also had time to take in some of the sights of Chicago, includ­ing their first fire­works show. They returned with a long list of dreams for the future, includ­ing join­ing Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion, hold­ing a day of prayer for the work of Diako­nia, strength­en­ing their dea­coness com­mu­nity through yearly meet­ings, diver­si­fy­ing the edu­ca­tion of dea­conesses, open­ing a reha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter for peo­ple with phys­i­cal and men­tal health strug­gles and teach­ing project management.

Thank you again to all who helped make this oppor­tu­nity pos­si­ble! A spe­cial thanks to Claire Schoepp for help­ing make arrange­ments for them, to the Byerly fam­ily for host­ing them the first and last night, and to Dieter and Diane Schulte for dri­ving them around. We praise God for all that has come out of their time in the U.S. and will con­tinue to come out of it in the future. Please visit our Face­book page to see more pic­tures or read more sto­ries of their adventures.

HURU Project

On July 15, Linda had the joy of assist­ing our friend Tay­lor Ger­man and her coun­ter­part Leah with the Peace Corps’ Huru Project at our school. Over the course of the very full day, they led the Form 24 girls in activ­i­ties about self-​esteem, self-​awareness, gen­der, puberty, risky behav­iors and how to be assertive. At the end, each girl received a kit with reusable men­strual pads so they will never have to miss a class due to men­stru­a­tion. If you would like to see more pic­tures from this inspir­ing day or learn more about Huru, please visit our Face­book page. What a joy it was to take part in this amaz­ing program!

We thank God that the joys out­num­ber the sor­rows, and that even in the hard­est times we find com­fort in God’s promises and in com­mu­nity near and far. Thank you all for being part of that prayer­ful community.

In Sep­tem­ber of 2012, Eric Funke, grand­son of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, fol­lowed God’s call to Tan­za­nia. Eric is teach­ing math and sci­ence at a sec­ondary school while Linda works for the Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Devel­op­ment. They work in the East of Lake Vic­to­ria Dio­cese of the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Tan­za­nia. Fol­low their mis­sion work at www​.afun​ke​timein​tan​za​nia​.blogspot​.com, where you can also find pho­tos and videos and make donations.

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Car­ried By Christ

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own under­stand­ing. In all your ways acknowl­edge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:56

I have a friend in the U.S. who shared a sim­ple for­mula to cal­cu­late the time to com­plete his home projects. Given the amount of time he esti­mated, he’d mul­ti­ply that by seven, and maybe result in the actual time take to fin­ish his projects. The same seems to hold for Kenya as well.

Although it’s not com­fort­able to talk about one’s self, we are encour­aged by fel­low mis­sion­ar­ies to some­times share what life is like in the field. We get used to dodg­ing pot­holes, cows and peo­ple on the roads, stock­ing up on sup­plies, things tak­ing more time and lock­ing up the house early at night. We learn to be flex­i­ble. Yet some­times God gives us “oppor­tu­ni­ties” to rely on Him rather than ourselves.

As our fis­cal year ended, things became busy with final­iz­ing the sta­tus of projects, iden­ti­fy­ing needs, coor­di­nat­ing sup­port, post­ing online, prepar­ing for the next year, writ­ing thank yous to project donors and vis­it­ing project sites. Fam­ily life con­tin­ued with school, weekly chapel with mis­sion­ar­ies, after-​school sports and activ­i­ties, boy scouts and evening devo­tions. Life’s hum­ming along, and we’re run­ning to keep pace.

Then our truck stops work­ing. For a week, mechan­ics trou­bleshoot while the vehi­cle remained in the office park­ing lot. Between bor­row­ing cars and taxis, we try to con­tinue fam­ily life. (Lord, thank you for dili­gent mechan­ics and help­ful friends.)

Then a sad event within a part­ner church. We coor­di­nate with mis­sion­ar­ies as we work with church and com­mu­nity lead­ers. The days were filled with emo­tions, grief, del­i­cate dis­cus­sions and prayers. (Lord, please heal this community.)

Then, the water heater breaks (this will take two weeks to fix?), the uphill water tank springs a small leak (drain water from house?), a visa for a trip is now required before I depart in two weeks (Lord, please give the embassy work­ers time to help me), when dri­ving home from the most won­der­ful bal­let ever — ok, I’m biased, three kids and Jenn were deeply involved in it — I made a wrong turn into a less than stel­lar neigh­bor­hood, and my GPS quits (God, please lead us out), our inter­na­tional driver’s licenses become due for renewal (Lord, we trust You’ll pro­vide help) plus a few other chal­lenges (Lord, please grant us patience).

Then I got sick, flat on my back. And all the tasks must be done before I depart to visit our mis­sion­ar­ies and projects in West Africa. I had read Psalm 27 the week prior and some images came to mind: in the day of trou­ble … con­ceal me under His tent … Lord is my strong­hold … army camped against me … I will not fear … wait for the Lord … be strong, and let your heart take courage … wait for the Lord! Through all of this, God was show­ing me to trust Him and put all things into His hands.

It had been years since I had taken a long hot bath, but sud­denly it seemed like a good idea. I huffed four large ket­tles of hot water upstairs (remem­ber, the water heater broke), but now aching mus­cles were able to move. A friend helps to drive, so I’m able to apply for visa. I get stuck in the same bad neigh­bor­hood again, but God pro­vided an easy way out. Prob­lems become eas­ier to deal with. Set­backs with dri­vers license occur — “Come back Mon­day” — but the psalmist says “take courage; wait for the Lord!

Although our pri­mary role is telling peo­ple about Jesus, there are many bless­ings and chal­lenges that are part of mis­sion­ary life. Even long-​term mis­sion­ar­ies encour­age us as they share sto­ries of bless­ings from sit­u­a­tions they expe­ri­enced. Road­side vehi­cle assis­tance, trust­wor­thy rela­tion­ships with local mechan­ics and com­mu­nity lead­ers, help­ful peo­ple in gov­ern­ment offices and prayers from friends were unex­pected bless­ings. It’s not just those we serve who need Christ; our mis­sion­ar­ies joy­fully rely on Him too!

John Wolf is the Africa Region Project Man­ager for the Lutheran Church — Mis­souri Synod. He and his fam­ily, with the sup­port of LCMS churches like Saint John’s, are serv­ing in Kenya. Please keep them in your prayers! We encour­age you to fol­low their fam­ily blog, www​.hereiamsendme​sendme​.blogspot​.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mail­ing list and make donations.

Funke News: Tak­ing Up the Cause

Since most of the stu­dents go home for June break, the month of June always pro­vides us with some dif­fer­ent oppor­tu­ni­ties for min­istry. This month we had the joy of sup­port­ing and encour­ag­ing oth­ers who are tak­ing up the cause to serve some of the most vul­ner­a­ble in our soci­ety — orphans, fam­i­lies liv­ing in poverty and peo­ple with albinism.

Walk­ing the Adop­tion Road with Friends

Since adop­tion here is such a long dynamic jour­ney, we have been so grate­ful to walk with other fam­i­lies who are on the same road. Early this month, we had lunch in Mwanza with Stephanie and Aaron Boon, friends from our lan­guage school days, just before they brought home their son from For­ever Angels. We are thrilled for their fam­ily and pray that the fos­ter period and court hear­ings go smoothly. We also love that we have pic­tures of their son Isaya and our Michael together as babies.

Later that week, we had the joy of host­ing Michelle and Dave Heed and their daugh­ter Olivia, friends from Kigoma, for a few days as part of their vaca­tion trip to Mwanza. Linda and Michelle met at a retreat at the very begin­ning of our fam­i­lies’ adop­tion jour­neys. While we have been sup­port­ing and pray­ing for each other for years, this visit was our first oppor­tu­nity to meet each other’s chil­dren. We greatly enjoyed wor­ship­ing God together in Eng­lish, exchang­ing par­ent­ing resources, and watch­ing the kids play together.

Reeds’ Field Visit

This month we also wel­comed Amber and Austin Reed, future GLO mis­sion­ar­ies to Shinyanga. Amber and Austin will be focus­ing on serv­ing young peo­ple with albinism. This will serve as Amber’s Direc­tor of Chris­t­ian Edu­ca­tion intern­ship through Con­cor­dia Uni­ver­sity in Austin, Texas.

Dur­ing their week-​long visit, we intro­duced them to orga­ni­za­tions that sup­port peo­ple with albinism, includ­ing SHADE, which teaches young adults soap-​making, batik-​making and other entre­pre­neur­ial skills, Buhangija Cen­ter, which houses and pro­tects chil­dren with albinism, and our diocese’s Right to Live With Albinism pro­gram, which teaches young girls sewing and life skills. They also vis­ited For­ever Angels in Mwanza, where they will vol­un­teer in the future and learn more about sup­port­ing vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies. We also began their paper­work for per­mits, showed them around Shinyanga, and intro­duced them to their new home church, Ebenezer Cathedral.

They have now returned to the U.S. to gather sup­port and will hope­fully begin lan­guage school this fall. We enjoyed our time with them and eagerly antic­i­pate their return.

DIAKO­NIA World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence

After so many months of fundrais­ing, prayer and prepa­ra­tions, we finally have three rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the DIAKO­NIA World Fed­er­a­tion con­fer­ence. Thank you again to all of you who helped make this dream pos­si­ble! Bishop Emmanuel Makala, Dea­coness Matrida Sanga (Coor­di­na­tor for Dia­conal Min­istries) and Grace Muta­buzi (Direc­tor of Edu­ca­tion) are cur­rently in Chicago fin­ish­ing up an amaz­ing week of wor­ship, learn­ing and networking.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from over 28 coun­tries gath­ered together for this event. The over­all theme was “Shaken by the Wind,” which explored how the Holy Spirit moves in the world. Each day also had a theme — to be gath­ered together, to cre­ate com­mu­nity, to rock the foun­da­tions, to face the chaos, to explore the unknown, to find a new per­spec­tive, to nour­ish hope and to be scat­tered to serve.

Many of Linda’s dea­coness sis­ters have sent pic­tures of our friends enjoy­ing the con­fer­ence. Please keep them in prayer as they begin their trip back to Tan­za­nia. We look for­ward to shar­ing many more pic­tures and sto­ries after they return.

Adop­tion Update

After wait­ing for over three weeks for our approval let­ter to be typed, the let­ter was finally sent to Dodoma for the commissioner’s sig­na­ture. Because the com­mis­sioner now lives seven hours away from the main office in Dar Es Salaam, we’ve heard it takes about three weeks to get any­thing signed and sent back. Long story short, we expect to receive our let­ter any day now. Please keep us in prayer as the next step will be to prayer­fully decide which child is meant to be our daughter.

Mwanza School Lab­o­ra­tory

We want to extend a huge thank you to St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas. Not only have they offered a $7,000 match­ing grant for build­ing the lab­o­ra­tory at the new Mwanza Lutheran Sec­ondary School, but they also raised $3,350 through their Vaca­tion Bible School this past month! Fel­low mis­sion­ar­ies Dixon and Chris­tiana Gbean­quoi have also raised $1,300 towards the lab­o­ra­tory. Thus the school only needs $2,350 to com­plete the match grant and fin­ish the lab­o­ra­tory. Once the sci­ence lab is fin­ished, the school can finally open!

If you are able to help, please go to Glob​al​Luther​a​nOutreach​.com/​s​u​p​p​o​r​t​-​g​b​e​a​n​q​u​o​i​.​h​t​m​l and write the dona­tion amount next to GBEAN­QUOI: MWANZA LAB. Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Out­reach” with GBEAN­QUOI: MWANZA LAB in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Out­reach; 6709 Ficus Dr., Mira­mar, FL33023. We would love to see this school opened so that it can begin to nur­ture stu­dents aca­d­e­m­i­cally and spiritually!

Home and School

We enjoyed a relaxed Father’s Day this month with home­made cards, a home-​cooked steak din­ner, home­made cin­na­mon rolls and movie night after Michael went to sleep. Eric also spent over eleven hours of break cut­ting eth­er­net cable and get­ting the com­puter lab set back up. We used the rest of the break to get some home repair projects done and spend some qual­ity time together.

School is back in ses­sion now, and we are set­tling back into our rhythm. We look for­ward to see­ing what new activ­i­ties and causes God will bring into our lives this next month!

In Sep­tem­ber of 2012, Eric Funke, grand­son of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, fol­lowed God’s call to Tan­za­nia. Eric is teach­ing math and sci­ence at a sec­ondary school while Linda works for the Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Devel­op­ment. They work in the East of Lake Vic­to­ria Dio­cese of the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Tan­za­nia. Fol­low their mis­sion work at www​.afun​ke​timein​tan​za​nia​.blogspot​.com, where you can also find pho­tos and videos and make donations.

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: This is the Church We Were Look­ing For

As they went out, the peo­ple begged that these things might be told them the next Sab­bath … many Jews and devout con­verts to Judaism fol­lowed Paul and Barn­abas … urged them to con­tinue in the grace of God.Acts 13:4243

Last June, as we pre­pared to deploy, a cou­ple churches we vis­ited were prepar­ing for their vaca­tion bible schools. Their pro­grams fea­tured an effort to help local Africa con­gre­ga­tions com­plete their church build­ings. After gath­er­ing sto­ries of the Lutheran church growth in Africa and how pas­tors teach so many chil­dren and fam­i­lies about their sal­va­tion in Christ, we were able share with VBS chil­dren some faces and sto­ries about the “Tin Roofs for Africa” project.

Since that time, many more African con­gre­ga­tions have ben­e­fited from gen­er­ous gifts pro­vided by VBS chil­dren and their churches. One par­tic­u­lar church is in a refugee camp in Uganda. Recently, we shared the story of Rev. Oti Charles, a Lutheran pas­tor from South Sudan, who as a child escaped with his fam­ily to Uganda and learned about Christ while in a refugee camp. Although Rev. Charles now serves in South Sudan, there are still many from that coun­try liv­ing in refugee camps in Uganda, and who can learn about Christ through con­gre­ga­tions and pas­tors there. By Feb­ru­ary, a con­gre­ga­tion in the Naki­vale refugee camp had already formed many of the bricks needed to build a church build­ing. By work­ing with the Lutheran Church in Uganda, funds from the Tin Roofs in Africa project is now help­ing the con­gre­ga­tion pro­cure cement for mor­tar, tim­ber and metal sheets to build the roof struc­ture. Through Tin Roofs in Africa, eight con­gre­ga­tions in four coun­tries are roof­ing their locally-​made church build­ings, and nine more will be soon.

The Lutheran church con­tin­ues to grow. As part of his work, John gets to work with mis­sion­ar­ies in other parts of Africa. One is a part­ner mis­sion­ary from the Lutheran Church in Brazil, Rev. Car­los Wal­ter Win­terle, who serves in Mozam­bique. He shared with John a heart­warm­ing story from that coun­try. Lutheran pas­tors vis­ited the town of Chimio, where an elderly Pen­te­costal pas­tor asked for help to shep­herd his nine con­gre­ga­tions. Six hun­dred peo­ple gath­ered to hear the vis­it­ing pas­tors share about sal­va­tion by grace, by faith alone. The peo­ple asked, “but we don’t need to do some­thing to be saved?” For two days, the pas­tors shared God’s Word and about Christ’s sac­ri­fice for us that earned us sal­va­tion. Peo­ple affirmed that this was the church they were look­ing for.

John Wolf is the Africa Region Project Man­ager for the Lutheran Church — Mis­souri Synod. He and his fam­ily, with the sup­port of LCMS churches like Saint John’s, are serv­ing in Kenya. Please keep them in your prayers! We encour­age you to fol­low their fam­ily blog, www​.hereiamsendme​sendme​.blogspot​.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mail­ing list and make donations.

Funke News: Tend­ing the Gar­den

Ear­lier this month our friend Abel invited Michael out to the school’s gar­den, teach­ing him how to pick okra and hoe the earth. As he worked, I thought about how plant­ing the seeds are not enough. Gar­dens gen­er­ally take con­sis­tent main­te­nance and care, and, even then, only God can make the plants grow. We are cur­rently in one of those sea­sons where many seeds are planted — projects started and papers sub­mit­ted — and now we con­tinue to tend the gar­den, trust­ing that God will bring forth a har­vest. We rejoice in the many buds of progress so far!

Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence in Chicago

Won­der­ful news! The trip for our Tan­zan­ian col­leagues is now fully funded, and Matrida received her pass­port. Thank you all for your con­tri­bu­tions and prayers! We also man­aged to get a great price on tick­ets. We basi­cally bought three round-​trip tick­ets for what we nor­mally pay for two. These sav­ings are espe­cially help­ful since the trip to Dar Es Salaam to get their visas is going to cost more than we orig­i­nally antic­i­pated. Their visa inter­view at the U.S. Embassy is sched­uled for June 12. Please keep them in prayer. Lord-​willing, by the time our next newslet­ter comes out they will be in Chicago with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from dozens of other countries.

School

We spent a large amount of time at school this month. In addi­tion to teach­ing com­puter and physics classes, Eric over­saw a com­plete rewiring of half the com­puter lab. He was alerted to prob­lems when both he and a stu­dent received a shock from a com­puter that was turned off. We are so thank­ful that he dis­cov­ered the prob­lems before any­one was hurt. An elec­tri­cian was called in to run new wire to ensure the safety of the stu­dents and building.

Mean­while, Linda led the yearly 6.5 hour Sat­ur­day sem­i­nar on Sex and Rela­tion­ships, with the help of the school nurse and fel­low teach­ers. It cov­ered the basics of sex, abuse, the phys­i­cal, emo­tional and spir­i­tual ram­i­fi­ca­tions of sex and how to develop healthy rela­tion­ships and make deci­sions for their futures. We always sep­a­rate the boys and girls at the end, so Eric and other male teach­ers can answer the boys’ ques­tions and Linda and other female teach­ers can answer the girls’ ques­tions. This month, Linda also taught a les­son on bul­ly­ing — what it is, what causes it, how can we respond to it and we keep it out of our school. We’ve also hosted a few movie nights to give the stu­dents a fun way to con­tinue learn­ing English.

Now we are prepar­ing for the June break, when all the stu­dents will return home except the Form 4 stu­dents prepar­ing for national exams. Eric will be heav­ily involved in get­ting all the grades logged and prepar­ing grade report sheets for fam­i­lies. This month we also received our order of 107 books for Form 5 and 6, funded by the money brought in for books last November/​December. Thank you to all who helped add more books to the school’s library!

Mid-​South Dis­trict Visit and the Future Clinic

This month we had the joy of wel­com­ing back return­ing friends and some new friends from the Mid-​South Dis­trict. They spent most of their week in the vil­lages of Maswa dis­trict, but were able to come one after­noon to see all the progress at our school.

The teach­ers selected Eric to be the chair­per­son of the fundrais­ing com­mit­tee for our school’s new clinic. As such, he shared with the group the school’s goal of rais­ing $30,000 to fin­ish the clinic build­ings by Jan­u­ary. Dur­ing the June break, stu­dents will be try­ing to raise $10 each and teach­ers will be rais­ing $25 each, with some prizes as an incen­tive. Another fundraiser will be held dur­ing the school’s grad­u­a­tion on Octo­ber 7. While the school hopes to raise $13,000 with these fundrais­ers, they will still need $17,000 to com­plete the build­ings. Eric shared with the team that we are hop­ing to find four or five groups or churches in the U.S. will­ing to raise $3,0005,000 toward fin­ish­ing the clinic buildings.

Every year our school spends almost $7,500 on med­ical costs for stu­dents who have to go to the local expen­sive hos­pi­tal for any med­ical care. This clinic will cut down stu­dent costs and will also offer a more afford­able option to com­mu­ni­ties near the school. The clinic will thus give the school another source of income and will be an out­reach tool for the church into the com­mu­nity, demon­strat­ing God’s uncon­di­tional love and mercy for all peo­ple. If you know of a group or church that might be will­ing to part­ner with our school to help build this clinic, please email Eric at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Prepar­ing for the Reeds

This month we have also been prepar­ing for Amber and Austin Reed’s field visit — set­ting up appoint­ments, send­ing them infor­ma­tion they will need for their trip and prepar­ing doc­u­ments for their future work and res­i­dent per­mits. We also vis­ited SHADE, one of the min­istries with which they will be part­ner­ing. SHADE tutors young adults with albinism in aca­d­e­mic sub­jects, teaches them entre­pre­neur­ship skills and trains them in mak­ing batik cloth and soaps. Since the stu­dents will be on break dur­ing the Reeds’ visit, we went ahead to get a few pic­tures of them. We were very impressed with their work.

Cel­e­bra­tions

Ear­lier this month, Michael and Eric made Mommy home­made flow­ers and gave her lots of hugs and kisses in cel­e­bra­tion of Mother’s Day. Then this past week­end (May 29) we cel­e­brated our sixth wed­ding anniver­sary. Thanks to our fam­i­lies, we were able to spend two days at Wag Hill Lodge, about thirty min­utes out­side of Mwanza. We enjoyed breath­tak­ing views of Lake Vic­to­ria, deli­cious foods, a fun motor­boat ride and a boat-​driving les­son for Michael, the oppor­tu­nity to pet horses and camels, steep hik­ing paths, climb­ing obsta­cles, games at the pool table, a brisk swim­ming pool and a glo­ri­ous morn­ing canoe trip. It reminded us of our days at camp. We are so thank­ful for six beau­ti­ful years of mar­riage and for this oppor­tu­nity to make new mem­o­ries together.

Adop­tion Update

Last but not least, we’ve heard that the social work­ers at the Min­istry of Social Wel­fare have received and approved our appli­ca­tion. Now we are just wait­ing for the sig­na­ture of the Com­mis­sioner in Dodoma. After the doc­u­ments go to Dodoma and return to Dar Es Salaam, they will send our approval let­ter. Then we will be able to iden­tify and meet our daugh­ter! We hope and pray that will be soon.

In Sep­tem­ber of 2012, Eric Funke, grand­son of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, fol­lowed God’s call to Tan­za­nia. Eric is teach­ing math and sci­ence at a sec­ondary school while Linda works for the Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Devel­op­ment. They work in the East of Lake Vic­to­ria Dio­cese of the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Tan­za­nia. Fol­low their mis­sion work at www​.afun​ke​timein​tan​za​nia​.blogspot​.com, where you can also find pho­tos and videos and make donations.

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Christ Who Lives In Us

I have been cru­ci­fied with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Him­self for me.Gala­tians 2:20

Things change when we spend time in God’s Word in prayer,” shared a long-​term mis­sion­ary in Africa. “It helps make projects less money-​focused and more ministry-​focused, and our work is about get­ting Jesus into the lives of peo­ple. If we aren’t doing that, then why do a project? Not for the sim­ple sake of doing some­thing good, there are plenty of other peo­ple doing that.”

Sim­i­lar wise words have been shared with us from many other expe­ri­enced mis­sion­ar­ies who have men­tored us. There are so many worth­while oppor­tu­ni­ties to help those in need. But where to start? Which efforts will have long-​lasting effects? Which assis­tance is help­ful (and what is harm­ful)? What are the vision and needs of our part­ner churches? I’m begin­ning to see the chal­lenge of project work in Africa: despite the many oppor­tu­ni­ties to improve lives, help­ful efforts are those which share God’s Word to help meet spir­i­tual and bod­ily needs.

This month has been a great deal of learn­ing about the many projects our LCMS has cur­rently in Africa: efforts to help young church bod­ies in many coun­tries train new pas­tors, efforts to bring the Word to refugees and those in need and efforts for mercy through water, bibles, lit­er­acy, children’s edu­ca­tion and health care.

Through this, I have met many won­der­ful folks: our mis­sion­ar­ies (to learn about their work and the needs of the peo­ple they serve), our regional busi­ness man­ager in Africa, sup­port teams in St. Louis (who taught me about resources we have for par­tic­u­lar project areas), com­mu­ni­ca­tions per­son­nel (who encour­aged me in ways to tell peo­ple about LCMS projects, and advised in devel­op­ing a project cat­a­log and web­site). I’ve also been able to work closely with mis­sion advo­cates at Mis­sion Cen­tral and in St. Louis, who inter­act directly with peo­ple who want to walk together with our mis­sion activ­i­ties and with broth­ers and sis­ters in Christ in Africa.

Last sum­mer, our region coor­di­nated with Vaca­tion Bible School pro­grams through CPH to bring aware­ness to the need for roofs for many new churches in Africa. The response was over­whelm­ing, with nearly 600 churches in the US pro­vid­ing sup­port to the “Tin Roofs for Africa” project (that was a lot of thank you’s to write!).

This sum­mer, with our Project Cat­a­log for the Africa Region, churches may choose from a vari­ety of projects to sup­port through vaca­tion bible school, mis­sion fes­ti­val, LWML ral­lies or other activ­i­ties. With the rec­om­men­da­tions of other mis­sion­ar­ies, each page has been for­mat­ted for indi­vid­ual use as a flyer if a church group desires to focus on just a few efforts. Our Project Cat­a­log is ready and down­load­able from our “LCMS in Africa” web­page at LCM​Si​nAfrica​.word​press​.com>. This page is con­tin­u­ally updated, so please visit (and visit again) to learn more about how our church is help­ing spread the Gospel in Africa.

John Wolf is the Africa Region Project Man­ager for the Lutheran Church — Mis­souri Synod. He and his fam­ily, with the sup­port of LCMS churches like Saint John’s, are serv­ing in Kenya. Please keep them in your prayers! We encour­age you to fol­low their fam­ily blog, www​.hereiamsendme​sendme​.blogspot​.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mail­ing list and make donations.

Funke News: Invited

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the mar­riage sup­per of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”Rev­e­la­tion 19:9

Easter is a beau­ti­ful reminder that through Jesus’ death and res­ur­rec­tion, we have been invited into an ongo­ing lov­ing rela­tion­ship with Him, and ulti­mately we will join Him at the great­est party ever. While that is the best invi­ta­tion imag­in­able, we have received some addi­tional won­der­ful invi­ta­tions this past month, and we have enjoyed oppor­tu­ni­ties to extend hos­pi­tal­ity to oth­ers as well.

Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence in Chicago

Great news! We are just $175 short of hav­ing all three of our Tan­zan­ian par­tic­i­pants fully funded! If you would like to help us cross the fin­ish line finan­cially, please go to glob​al​luther​a​noutreach​.com/​s​u​p​p​o​r​t​-​f​u​n​k​e​.​h​t​m​l. Press the “Online Dona­tion” but­ton and then write the amount you wish to give next to the head­ing “Funke: Dea­coness Project.” Make sure it is “Funke: Dea­coness Project,” not “Eric and Linda Funke” or it will go to the wrong account! Alter­na­tively, you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Out­reach” with “Funke: Dea­coness Project” in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Out­reach, 6709 Ficus Dr., Mira­mar, FL 33023.

Please also pray for the logis­tics of this trip. We are hav­ing some prob­lems get­ting Dea­coness Matrida Sanga’s pass­port, as Tanzania’s immi­gra­tion office claims to have run out of pass­port books. We have con­tacted our immi­gra­tion agent in Dar Es Salaam and pray that this sit­u­a­tion can be resolved soon so that we can pur­chase plane tick­ets and obtain visas for all three participants.

LCMS African Mis­sion­ar­ies Retreat

We were so grate­ful to be invited to the LCMS African Mis­sion­ar­ies Retreat in Watamu, Kenya this month. We were also grate­ful that the orga­niz­ers got a great rate at the hotel, that the LCMS paid all our travel expenses and that GLO paid for part of our stay. We loved get­ting to know fel­low mis­sion­ar­ies serv­ing in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. Rev. Dar­rell Zim­mer­man from Grace Place Well­ness Min­istries led wor­ship ser­vices every morn­ing and evening and helped us reflect on dif­fer­ent types of well­ness through the lens of Eph­esians 4. Dur­ing the rest of the day, we enjoyed inten­tional fam­ily time play­ing on the beach, kayak­ing, swim­ming in the pool and eat­ing deli­cious foods. The only bum­mer was that Michael devel­oped a mean cold which he later shared with us, but even that gen­er­ally just meant a bit more rest and read­ing time in the after­noon. Over­all, the time was spir­i­tu­ally, phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally refresh­ing. It was exactly what we needed.

Easter

We greatly enjoyed cel­e­brat­ing Christ’s res­ur­rec­tion with our friends in Mwadui. The Sat­ur­day before Easter our young neigh­bors came over to dye Easter eggs. We did an Easter egg hunt with Michael before church on Sun­day and then cel­e­brated with our church fam­ily. Our neigh­bors, the Nzelu fam­ily, invited us and the two remain­ing board­ing stu­dents over for Easter lunch after church. It was a joy­ous weekend!

Vis­i­tors

Over the course of the two-​week break, we also wel­comed numer­ous vis­i­tors. Our for­mer Peace Corps vol­un­teer, Lucy, came to visit from south­ern Tan­za­nia. She has been work­ing for a non­profit there that sup­ports fam­i­lies affected by HIV and houses orphaned chil­dren. It was great to see her again. We also loved catch­ing up with Omary. He has been work­ing in Tinde, but just started a new job in Mwanza. Then the Leens came to see us the week­end after Easter. The visit was bit­ter­sweet, because in just a few weeks they will be mov­ing back to the U.S. We will miss them greatly, but are excited to hear more about their new adven­tures stateside.

New GLO Mis­sion­ar­ies!

Our next bit of news has been in the works since Octo­ber, but now it is offi­cial. We are happy to announce that there will be new Global Lutheran Out­reach mis­sion­ar­ies in our area soon! Amber Reed stud­ied at Con­cor­dia Uni­ver­sity in Austin, Texas, to be a Direc­tor of Chris­t­ian Edu­ca­tion, but she needs a one-​year intern­ship to com­plete her pro­gram. She and her hus­band, Austin, share a pas­sion for serv­ing vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren, hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked in orphan­ages in Haiti. Amber and Austin will be part­ner­ing with our dio­cese to serve chil­dren and teens with albinism, who are reg­u­larly hunted by witch­doc­tors who believe their body parts are good luck. They will come to visit us June 715 and then will return to the U.S. to begin fundrais­ing. Lord will­ing, they will begin Swahili lan­guage school before the end of the year and then begin the full intern­ship in 2018. We are so excited to meet them in per­son and wel­come them to this area! We know God will do great things in and through them.

Home and School Life

On April 27, we cel­e­brated Eric’s birth­day. Michael helped make the card and cake. School is also now back in ses­sion, and the com­put­ers are finally back in the com­puter lab. Eric and Sundi are hard at work get­ting them all net­worked and updated. Eric has also begun teach­ing Form 3 physics since one of our teach­ers took a gov­ern­ment job. Linda will begin teach­ing again this week, and her Bible study has started a new cur­ricu­lum. We are so thank­ful for all the peo­ple who reg­u­larly invite us into their lives, includ­ing all of you! Thank you for your ongo­ing prayers and encouragement!

In Sep­tem­ber of 2012, Eric Funke, grand­son of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, fol­lowed God’s call to Tan­za­nia. Eric is teach­ing math and sci­ence at a sec­ondary school while Linda works for the Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Devel­op­ment. They work in the East of Lake Vic­to­ria Dio­cese of the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Tan­za­nia. Fol­low their mis­sion work at www​.afun​ke​timein​tan​za​nia​.blogspot​.com, where you can also find pho­tos and videos and make donations.

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Help­ing Pas­tors Spread the Word

You then, my child, be strength­ened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the pres­ence of many wit­nesses entrust to faith­ful men who will be able to teach oth­ers also.2 Tim­o­thy 2:12

When I was young, taken by spies, to be trained in the bush … they were train­ing us to be sol­diers. Then I fell sick when I was in the field,” says Oti Charles, stu­dent at Matongo Sem­i­nary in west­ern Kenya. He shares with me how chil­dren in his coun­try of Sudan would be abducted from their homes to train and serve as mil­i­tants. Oti, who fled to Uganda, where he learned Eng­lish and became a Lutheran in a refugee camp, has years later returned to his home in what is now South Sudan. In the grow­ing Lutheran church in South Sudan, Oti now serves as a pas­tor sup­port­ing seven congregations.

Ear­lier this month, I had the chance to visit the Matongo The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. Although this small sem­i­nary is man­aged by the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Kenya, it plays a crit­i­cal role in pro­vid­ing pas­tor and dea­coness degree pro­grams for men and women in this region of east­ern Africa where the Gospel is spreading.

Won­der­ful har­monic voices filled the chapel as we sang hymns and liturgy in Swahili from Ibada Takat­ifu (the Divine Ser­vice, lit­er­ally “Ser­vice Holy”), the name of their hym­nal and a result of a com­bined LCMS and ELCK hym­nal project. After sit­ting in on a lit­er­a­ture class, I met with some stu­dents on the lawn in front of the din­ing hall.

Pas­tor Paul Sereniko over­sees nine con­gre­ga­tions and preach­ing sta­tions in cen­tral Uganda. When he com­pletes his degree, he hopes to return to Uganda to train other men to become pas­tors. I had the chance to meet other stu­dents from Kenya, Ethiopia, Tan­za­nia, Uganda and South Sudan.

The Matongo Sem­i­nary is also the ser­vice loca­tion for three of our LCMS mis­sion­ar­ies. I explored the newly refur­bished library that mis­sion­ary Ms Geor­gia Witt cares for, and spent time with Rev. Dr. Charles Froh and Rev. Dr. Tom Aad­land, who both teach within the seminary.

Africa has a great, great need for pas­tors and dea­conesses,” shares Dr Aad­land, who has served nine years at Matango and is the cur­rent Dean for The­o­log­i­cal fac­ulty. “The church here is really grow­ing. Peo­ple live here with a cer­tain imme­di­acy of faith … they believe the Gospel, and that estab­lishes, of course, the link­age of faith and life that fol­lows. But because peo­ple don’t have vehi­cles, a motor­cy­cle or even a bicy­cle, they have to live within walk­ing dis­tance of a church. Con­se­quently, the churches will be very thick in a given area. We need pas­tors that have the abil­ity to get to five, six or seven con­gre­ga­tions in a parish, but one pas­tor to serve all those peo­ple is spread­ing them so thin. We are grad­u­at­ing many fine con­fes­sional and bib­li­cal pas­tors and dea­conesses, but the need con­tin­ues to grow.”

I enjoyed the oppor­tu­nity to visit Matongo, our fel­low LCMS mis­sion­ar­ies and the stu­dents. Please visit our blog to see a video about the stu­dents, sights and sounds of Matongo. To learn more about the Matongo schol­ar­ships for inter­na­tional stu­dent project or to sup­port a stu­dent, visit www​.lcms​.org/​p​r​o​j​e​c​t​c​a​t​a​l​o​g.

John Wolf is the Africa Region Project Man­ager for the Lutheran Church — Mis­souri Synod. He and his fam­ily, with the sup­port of LCMS churches like Saint John’s, are serv­ing in Kenya. Please keep them in your prayers! We encour­age you to fol­low their fam­ily blog, www​.hereiamsendme​sendme​.blogspot​.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mail­ing list and make donations.

Funke News: Built Up

So the church through­out all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walk­ing in the fear of the Lord and in the com­fort of the Holy Spirit, it mul­ti­plied.Acts 9:31

This month we have seen God strengthen the church in so many dif­fer­ent ways: edu­ca­tion, bap­tism, the call­ing and send­ing of lead­ers, peo­ple giv­ing of their gifts. We con­tinue to be amazed by all that God is doing in our com­mu­nity and thank you all for join­ing with us in prayer and support!

Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence

So much is com­ing together for this con­fer­ence! We have already reg­is­tered three rep­re­sen­ta­tives and almost have enough money to send our Tan­zan­ian “dream team” to the Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence this sum­mer. We are plan­ning to send Matrida Sanga (Coor­di­na­tor for Dia­conal Min­istries), Grace Muta­buzi (Direc­tor of Edu­ca­tion) and Bishop Emmanuel Makala. Bishop Makala is a fairly recent addi­tion to our plans, but a sig­nif­i­cant one, as he will be the one to ulti­mately decide how involved the dio­cese will be in Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion in the future and which ideas from the con­fer­ence are fea­si­ble in our con­text. We have full con­fi­dence that these three will find the con­fer­ence an enrich­ing, inspir­ing and empow­er­ing expe­ri­ence and that they will bring back many new ideas and con­nec­tions with which to bless our com­mu­nity here.

Reg­is­tra­tion fees, air­fare and visas will cost about $3,300 per per­son. Of the $9,900 needed to send these three won­der­ful ser­vants of God, we have already received $8,350! Thank you to all who have part­nered with them! Now we only need $1,550. We’ll need the remain­der of the money as soon as pos­si­ble in order to buy plane tick­ets at a decent price.

If you can help us cross the fin­ish line finan­cially, please go to www​.Glob​al​Luther​a​nOutreach​.com. Press the “Online Dona­tion” but­ton and then write the amount you wish to give next to the head­ing “Funke: Dea­coness Project.” Make sure it is “Funke: Dea­coness Project,” not “Eric and Linda Funke.” or it will go to the wrong account! If you think your dona­tion may have gone to the wrong account, please email us at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alter­na­tively, you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Out­reach” with “Funke: Dea­coness Project” in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Out­reach, 6709 Ficus Dr., Mira­mar, FL 33023.

Baraka

After sev­eral months of research and calls, we finally found a school for the blind that was will­ing to see and eval­u­ate Baraka. Find­ing schools for chil­dren with vision impair­ment is hard enough here, but adding in devel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties is even more chal­leng­ing. Uhuru School in Dar Es Salaam has agreed to accept Baraka as a board­ing stu­dent later this year if he can become more self-​sufficient in eat­ing, bathing and dress­ing before then. Please pray for this fam­ily as they help their son pre­pare for school.

Grad­u­a­tion and Consecration/​Ordination of Dea­conesses and Pas­tors

On March 11, we cel­e­brated as seven new dea­conesses and sev­en­teen new pas­tors grad­u­ated from the Makala Bible Train­ing Cen­ter. As a dea­coness her­self, Linda spoke at the grad­u­a­tion. She also had the joy of pre­sent­ing to each new dea­coness let­ters of con­grat­u­la­tions from mem­bers of her dea­coness com­mu­nity in the U.S. and hand­made dea­coness stoles from First Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church in Long­mont, Col­orado. The next day even more peo­ple came together to cel­e­brate the consecrations/​ordinations of these dea­conesses and pas­tors. Linda and other dea­conesses read Scrip­ture over the new dea­conesses. The five-​hour ser­vice was full of joy, music, Scrip­ture and hope as these lead­ers com­mit­ted their lives to serv­ing God and their communities.

Our School

This month the com­puter lab was dis­man­tled so that ceil­ing tiles and air-​conditioning units could be installed. While work was going on in the lab, Eric spent a large por­tion of time cod­ing and cre­at­ing an amaz­ing grade­book sys­tem that mon­i­tors stu­dent progress. Linda taught lessons on goal-​setting, grow­ing in one’s rela­tion­ship with God and pro­tect­ing your­self from the pow­ers of evil. Our stu­dents are now tak­ing midterm exams, and the school is wind­ing down for the Easter break. We hope the break is refresh­ing for every­one after such a pro­duc­tive start to the school year.

Bap­tism in Mwanza

The week­end of March 1819, we trav­eled to Mwanza to catch up with friends and cel­e­brate the bap­tism of Fiona Leen, the daugh­ter of our friends Ash­ley and Michael. Linda had the honor of read­ing scrip­ture at the event, and Eric served as photographer/​videographer. It was such a spe­cial day and a great joy to wit­ness God already at work in lit­tle Fiona’s life. We also had the joy of meet­ing many other mis­sion­ar­ies in the Mwanza area.

Adop­tion Update

We are thrilled to announce that after six and a half months of wait­ing, our home study report is finally fin­ished. Let’s just say our sec­ond adop­tion has already had some hur­dles. Last Sat­ur­day we met up with our social worker and mailed all of the doc­u­ments nec­es­sary to begin another adop­tion to the Min­istry of Social Wel­fare. We pray that the papers land on the right desk soon, that there will be no addi­tional doc­u­ments needed, and that in two or three months we will receive approval to go select our lit­tle girl. We are all so excited!

Home-​Life

Linda’s Eng­lish Bible study fin­ished up a four-​week course, and we also had the oppor­tu­nity to host Jumuyia (Swahili Bible Study) at our house one day this month. Michael and Linda con­tinue to enjoy his home­school cur­ricu­lum. We were also very happy to wel­come back and cel­e­brate the belated birth­day of our Peace Corps friend Tay­lor. We look for­ward to more fam­ily adven­tures and oppor­tu­ni­ties to host next month!

In Sep­tem­ber of 2012, Eric Funke, grand­son of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, fol­lowed God’s call to Tan­za­nia. Eric is teach­ing math and sci­ence at a sec­ondary school while Linda works for the Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Devel­op­ment. They work in the East of Lake Vic­to­ria Dio­cese of the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Tan­za­nia. Fol­low their mis­sion work at www​.afun​ke​timein​tan​za​nia​.blogspot​.com, where you can also find pho­tos and videos and make donations.