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Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: My Soul Magnifies the Lord

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.Luke 1:46–48

Reflecting on our experience teaching this song in the Up-Country this past month, we remembered the humility of Jesus’ birth. Mary’s home might have looked something like the Eila Rubber Plantation we were in there. You hear chickens clucking just outside and the creek running down a little beyond.

It’s quite possible that in the humility of their lives, the people who live at Eila understand Mary’s position better than we ever could. “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate." Teaching them to sing these words, we pray that the good news of Christ would continue to take root and flourish in their hearts, that they would grow up to confidently confess who their savior is and what he has done for them.

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde.

Funke News: A Way in the Wilderness

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.Isaiah 43:19b–21

Early this month, we finally fulfilled a long-standing promise to our children that we would take them on a real safari before we left Tanzania. Since school was on break and a missionary friend of ours was able to get us a reduced rate with Masumin Tours, we loaded up in a safari truck on September 1 and began a wonderful family adventure in the Serengeti. Over the next three days/two nights, we watched as our kids marveled at and learned about God’s creation—lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, jackals, owls, hyenas, a leopard, wildebeest, hippos, crocodiles and ostriches. The first day everything was dry and brown with hippos literally getting sunburnt due to the lack of water in their ponds. However, that first night we watched a storm roll across the Serengeti, bringing us our own amazing lightning show. With it came a refreshing rain. The next day many more animals were out enjoying the coolness. After a late afternoon storm, we were treated to the most glorious rainbow. The trip was like water to our parched spirits. It reminded us of the verse in Isaiah 43 about how God makes a way in the wilderness. That idea has continued to follow us this month as God has made and continues to make a way through many wildernesses.

Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School

We have the most wonderful news! After seven years of jumping through bureaucratic hoops and raising money, the new school in Mwanza finally has students! Praise the Lord! In Tanzania the school year typically starts in January and ends in December, but students in Standard 7 (eighth grade) take their national exams mid-year and then have to wait to receive their results before beginning high school (Form 1). Therefore a lot of secondary schools offer Pre-Form 1 classes September through December and this year the new Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School is among them! Not only that, but they already have 185 students! The bad news is this means that the diocese is scrambling to buy more desks and chairs even while it still doesn't have the money to put a roof on the kitchen. The good news is this bodes really well for recruiting students for the first school year. We still need $2,350 to put a roof on the kitchen. Please email us if you know of a Lutheran school or group that would like to do a fundraiser on behalf of this new school. If you would like to make a personal donation, press the “GIVE” button at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/MwanzaSchoolProject/ and write the donation amount next to Projects—“Funke: Mwanza School.” Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” and put “Funke: Mwanza School” in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023. Every little bit helps! We pray that the kitchen will be finished in time for the new school year.

Other Happenings

Right after our safari, we stayed with our friends the Soards while continuing to advocate for Baraka at Bugando Hospital in Mwanza. He was admitted on September 3, but due to other hospital priorities was not able to get into the operating room for anesthesia and casting until September 5. The doctor said that the next day his legs would be x-rayed and then he would be released. However, on September 6 the doctor forgot to schedule the x-ray, finally showed up around 2:00 PM, said the x-ray wasn’t necessary, shortened the casts that were already rubbing his legs raw, released him at 5:00 PM and told us to return in six weeks for new casts. Then we had the challenge of finding his medication, as for the first time ever we were not able to find baclofen anywhere in Mwanza. It is dangerous to go off baclofen “cold-turkey,” so we reduced his amount, prayed, and continued looking for a place to order it. By God’s grace, we found someone who could order a nine-month supply, which came in on October 1. Baraka continued to complain of pain this month, but we were not sure whether it was from his muscles and tendons stretching (normal) or something else. Finally, after four weeks of these casts, we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. When we removed the casts on October 2, we discovered huge abscesses on his heels and sores all over his feet. We were absolutely heartbroken. Please pray for healing for Baraka and for wisdom as we determine best next steps. Also, this month we spent over $500 on his medical care, so if you would like to contribute towards any of those costs, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This month the chairs arrived, so Community Health Evangelism (CHE) leaders can now begin their chair rental business. All of the proceeds from this business will pay for travel and materials for future trainings at schools. This project will hopefully allow CHE to continue long after we have moved back to the U.S. The CHE team led a week-long seminar at the Makala Bible Training Center. During the week, future evangelists and parish workers learned about the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health, and learned how to teach and empower their communities towards healthy living. The also learned the basic principles of community organizing and how to use local resources to solve community problems. The class was very well received, and they all left with materials to share with their communities.

After the school break, Eric began finalizing national exam registration and preparing brochures, calendars and a video for the school’s graduation. Linda taught a “lessons in the movies” class, continued to homeschool Michael and Julia, helped get government approval for the new home for vulnerable children, worked on Cheryl’s work permit and resident permit applications and wrote a grant proposal for another project. We also had the joy of hosting Maryknoll Lay Missioner friends, the Berry-Stablein family, for a weekend. We loved showing them around our home, our school and the diamond mine in Mwadui.

The following weekend we traveled to Mwanza so that we could show new Lutheran Bible Translator (LBT) missionaries, the Olson family, around the city and introduce them to other missionaries in the area. We also were able to grab dinner with Jim Laesch, the S/E Africa regional director for LBT, when he visited Shinyanga. Finally, we held a joint birthday party for Linda and our young friend Divine Medard on Sept. 24. We were joined by a few dear friends who have known and loved us for all seven years in Tanzania.

New Missionaries to Tanzania

Cheryl Kruckemeyer is still in the support discovery process. We are so excited for her to live in our house and serve at our school when we move back to the U.S., and we continue to pray for her in this part of her journey. She is currently at 40% of what she needs in order to move to Tanzania. If you are able to help reach her next goal of 50%, please go to www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Kruckemeyer. If you have ideas for places she can present, please email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We are still on the lookout for more new missionaries to Tanzania. Do you know any teachers (preschool, elementary, or high school), nurses, doctors, chaplains, social workers, DCEs, deaconesses, computer gurus, agricultural specialists or childcare workers who might be interested in serving in Tanzania? If so, please download the one-page descriptions of these opportunities at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Funke and/or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This is a wonderful place to live and work.

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.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com, where you can also find photos and videos and make donations.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Oh Come, Let Us Sing to the Lord

Around 35 youth learned to sing these words in the Venite (Psalm 95) in our first music training event last week. Psalm 95 is an invitation to worship that Christians have historically sung before or during morning prayer.

The goal of this music program in Sri Lanka is simple: help Christians sing God’s word. It’s a simple yet powerful object. Because the more unified, the more beautiful, the more “theirs” that their singing of God’s word is, the more they will be encouraged and built up by that word, and the more they will have a clear, strong proclamation of that word to their neighbors.

The very simplest path to attaining this goal is to sing the Scriptures. The Bible is full of songs that God’s people have been singing for thousands of years. The more we sing God’s word, the more it will become a part of our daily life, a part of who we are.

So that is our primary objective with the music program. When they showed up last week, if any one of them had been asked to stand up and sing Psalm 95, they wouldn’t have known where to start. But after several hours working with them over two days, they sang it strongly with one voice. You could hear the words clearly, and it sounded like they truly believed what they were singing. Some of the young men actually knew the music well enough to teach others to sing it.

The event last week was about more than one song, however, We laid the groundwork for future music teaching. We even identified a few individuals with high musical aptitude who might carry on teaching the music after we are gone. On top of all that, we think the youth actually had some fun. We are praying that God is working a love for His word in their hearts along with a love for music.

The Lord blessed this initial music training event. We pray that the youth will come to the next and be committed along with us to developing edifying Christian music here in Sri Lanka. We thank you, our dear supporters, for your commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel here in Sri Lanka.

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde.

Funke News: That the Works of God Might Be Displayed

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.John 9:1-3

There are some questions we can’t answer: Why must one mother struggle to find resources for two children who are differently-abled, while another mother births children who can see, walk and play without extra assistance? Why do some have easy access to quality schools, while others walk miles to schools where the teachers may or may not show up? Why are some born into poverty while others are born into privilege? Life seems so unfair sometimes. Yet, this month we were reminded that even in the tough parts of life, or maybe especially in the challenges of life, the works of God are displayed. We give thanks for each and every work of God.

>Visit from Kim Davis (Linda’s Mom) and Lori Whiteley Linda’s mother, Kim Davis, shared this family’s story with her physical therapist friend, Lori Whiteley. God spoke to their hearts, and they began planning a trip together. On August 8, Linda’s mom and Lori arrived safely in Tanzania. We are so thankful to Linda’s mother for showering Michael and Julia with love and attention during the week, so that we could give our full attention to helping Lori serve this family. We are also thankful to Julia Mutungi, who interpreted throughout the week, supported the family and helped connect us to medical resources in Tanzania. Lori brought walkers with her for both children, which they absolutely loved!

Lori was able to determine that Amani doesn’t have the same walking challenges as Baraka and simply needs to build up muscle strength and confidence. Eric was able to set up the hammock swing Lori brought for the kids and built a standing frame with the pieces Lori brought over. During the week, Lori offered physical therapy a couple of times a day, and we saw progress every single day. It was hard and beautiful. We also enjoyed showing Kim and Lori around town, introducing them to our friends and taking them to Saanane Island for hiking and animal viewing on their last day in Tanzania.

On Lori’s recommendation, we took Baraka to Bugando hospital on August 15 to see if they would be able to provide botox injections and serial casting. By God’s grace, Dr. Heakyung Kim was visiting from Cornell Medical College and one of her specialties is botox injections. The following day was her last day at Bugando, and she hadn’t been able to show the Tanzanian doctors this procedure yet. We were amazed by God’s timing.

The actual day of the procedure was incredibly difficult. After driving almost three hours to get to Mwanza, we waited almost another three hours to receive the medicine for conscious sedation. Then we unsuccessfully tried to get Baraka to drink the bad-tasting medicine. The doctor gave him two shots to compensate, but he never became as relaxed as we hoped. Apparently sometimes conscious sedation doesn’t work properly for kids with sensory processing disorder (SPD).

Even with sedation, it took eight adults to hold Baraka still enough for the procedure. Then we had to wait for casting and putting on the casts was also extremely scary for a kid with SPD. We managed to get casts on, but not in the hoped-for position. We had those casts removed nine days later when he started developing a sore. Bugando hospital has agreed to book an operating room for September 4, so that the doctor can use anesthesia for the next round of casting. Please pray that everything goes smoothly on September 4.

Our Sister School in Mwanza

On August 14, we had the joy of seeing all of the progress on the new kitchen at Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School. Thank you again to St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas, for making this possible! The diocese has now hired a headmaster, accountant and several teachers, and will fully open in January 2020. The diocese still needs $2,600 to finish the roof of the kitchen.

If you are interested in helping this school get off the ground, you can make an online donation by pressing the “GIVE” button at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/MwanzaSchoolProject/ and writing the donation amount next to “Projects—Funke: Mwanza School.” Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach,” put “Funke: Mwanza School” in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023. We continue to pray that God will use this school to bless the lives of many generations of students.

In Other News We recently received word that our diocese will soon receive funding to build a home for vulnerable children on our school grounds. Praise the Lord! In preparation, Linda traveled on August 23 with our school’s headmaster, assistant headmaster and two deaconesses to see two family-style children’s homes in the Mwanza area. It was an inspiring trip, and we look forward to sharing more about this exciting new ministry in the months to come!

Eric continues teaching computer classes, assisting in national exam registrations, typing exams, training teachers in how to use his gradebook program and compiling grades. Linda taught a “Lessons in the Movies” class and continues to homeschool our kids. Linda’s mother brought some new books for the school’s library, and the library now has ceiling board. School will close for a two-week break at the beginning of September, and we look forward to the break.

Our car, unfortunately, continues to have problems. We have spent over $2,500 on it since January, and it has been eating away at our family’s budget. Please pray that these most recent repairs last.

In happier news, another mother dog has given birth to six adorable puppies on our property. We had no idea we were opening a canine maternity home, but here we are. Life continues to surprise us, and we continue to delight in how God works through it all.

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.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com, where you can also find photos and videos and make donations.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Blessings in the Mountains of Adjustment

Adjustment and assimilation into a new environment is a long, challenging process. Here we are in our third month since arriving in Sri Lanka, but there are still a mountain of adjustments for us to scale. There’s a new language; new (and spicy!) foods; new schedules; a new landscape (literally) to traverse; new germs and viruses to fight off; and new neighbors. It’s overwhelming, but we thank God who keeps us going. He put us here. And he is blessing us and our witness of Jesus even using these difficulties.

Transportation is a huge challenge. Most of the Tamil Lutherans we partner with live in the mountains, a six- to eight-hour drive from our home in Colombo. Simply getting out of the house with our kids to spend time with our Tamil brothers and sisters is difficult. But God uses this difficulty for good, as it leaves us relying on people we would never have known otherwise.

Vimal, a Tamil Hindu in his thirties, picks us up in his three-wheeler (or “tuk tuk”) when we need a ride somewhere in town. A thirty-minute drive to church costs about $2, and he will sit and wait for us at $1 per hour if we ask. His wife and baby boy live four hours away in Kandy.

Mohan, of similar age, worked in Nuwara Eliya (the Up Country) until the Easter terrorism devastated the tourism industry. He started driving for Uber in Colombo, and that’s how we met him. Last week he made our journey to the Up Country possible by arranging our hotel stays (he knows everyone up there). We visited him and his family in their home in Kottagala, and he graciously drove our luggage up to Nuwara Eliya while we took the train. The Tamil people eagerly welcomed us as friends, especially when they hear us speaking in their own language.

Our trip into the mountains last week was a huge step. In spite of all the insecurities of not being fully adjusted to Sri Lanka, we decided we needed to go. This was our first trip as a family that we ourselves planned, without Pastor Mahlburg taking us around. We relied heavily on Mohan and his contacts. We learned a lot. We’ll be a lot more prepared to do it again next month. Best of all, we spent quality time every day for five days with Tamil people, paving the way for future fellowship with the Christians and outreach.

Traveling as a family is slow and difficult. We have to consider things like packing diapers, making room in the day for naps, and getting Larson good food that’s not too spicy. But it’s best this way. It’s good for us to be together. And the kids are assets to the ministry, not impediments. They open doors and cross barriers we never could by ourselves. God is richly blessing our family as we adjust to our life and work in Sri Lanka. We pray he will use us as instruments for His Gospel.

Thanks for reading and staying in touch. We’re so grateful for your support and prayers.

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Sharing the Good News

During semester breaks at the seminary, we are able to focus on other areas of ministry. Meanwhile, the seminary students are excited to go back to their home regions, visit family, enjoy home cooked meals and participate in ministry within their local communities. While they are home, we often get invitations to visit and share in various aspects of ministry. We are thankful for opportunities to visit the students outside of a normal school day, meet families, share time together and participate in the evangelism work that they are dedicated to in their villages.

Most recently, we visited students who serve at a newer Lutheran church and school. Many of the neighborhood children attend the school, which creates a need for evangelism so families can learn more about the local Lutheran church. The seminary students had already been doing evangelism in the local community, but created a special program that invited the families to the church after an intentional time of going door-to-door to share with all the neighbors.

There is always great joy walking in the local communities sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. It brings great encouragement to both the church and the neighborhood. Those visited are intentionally noticed and recognized, which leads to strengthened relationships. The time together with the various families allows them to share their joys and challenges and provides opportunities for the church to listen and point them to Christ.

These moments enable the seminarians to share more about the church as people seek to better understand the teachings of the Lutheran denomination. Please praise God with us for the continued work of the LCU and their seminary students, who are passionate about sharing the Gospel with their neighbors. We pray the Holy Spirit continues to water the seeds of faith that are planted.

Life and Mission Update

Mark has been working with the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) to work on the Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU) chapel. The grant for this project is through the LCMS along with Mission Central. It provides the roofing and upgrades the building to a useable level. We, along with the LCU, are very grateful for the generosity of the supporters who have made this possible.

The chapel at the seminary is not just a building project. With this grant, it allows the LCU to have another avenue for outreach to the community, as the chapel serves as Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Magamaga. The chapel is also used for ministerial aspects including LCU youth gatherings, daily worship services at the seminary, and other opportunities to gather together. We praise God for His provision and ability to move forward with the seminary chapel! Thank you to all those who partnered together in ministry in this way.

LCU Ordinations

We are always thankful when we get to celebrate alongside the LCU as they teach, train and ordain more pastors for ministry. This past month we traveled to southwestern Uganda as the LCU ordained four men. We praise God that the Holy Spirit called these men into public ministry, and for the church to send them out to preach and teach His Word. We are thankful there are now thirty pastors to do this work within the Lutheran Church of Uganda! Please continue to pray for the LCU leadership and its pastors as they share the love of Christ and proclaim His Word throughout Uganda.

Mark and Megan Mantey serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as career missionaries in Uganda. Mark serves as the project manager for the seminary, and Megan is the seminary’s instructor of Christian education and counseling. You can follow their work at www.facebook.com/MissionMindedManteys.

Funke News: To the Glory of God Alone

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:20–21

This month a friend asked us to put together a video devotional for the Vacation Bible School at her church. The theme for the day was “To the Glory of God Alone” and we immediately thought of the graduation of the Right to Live With Albinism program. During the graduation some of the women danced to the song, “I Know Who I Am" by Sinach. Through this song these women—women who have been teased, ostracized, threatened and abused because of their lack of melanin—boldly declared, “Take a look at me, I’m a wonder. It doesn’t matter what you see now. Can you see His glory? For I know who I am.” God’s glory shines through these women and through so many here in our corner of Tanzania. Today during Bible study, a passage stood out to me: Ephesians 3:20–21. Only when I started writing this newsletter did I realize how well it fit with the theme and that these verses are the continuation of last month’s theme verses. It served as a beautiful reminder to me that God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” To God be the glory!

Early in July we traveled to Mwanza for Michael’s appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist. Thankfully, Michael did really well, and the doctor was able to determine that he has allergies that have been impacting his vision. We thank God that after several weeks of eyedrops, his eyes are much improved, and there are no signs of other problems. While we were in Mwanza, we also took time to celebrate the Fourth of July by eating hamburgers, pizza and fries and taking our kids to the local waterpark. They had a blast! As we celebrated, we remembered how God has guided us on our kids’ journey to U.S. citizenship. Lord-willing, by this time next year, they will be U.S. citizens.

On July 10 we celebrated with the fifth graduating class of the Right to Live with Albinism Program. We are so proud of the twelve women who graduated and the deaconesses who mentored and taught them. During the past four months, they learned how to make batik cloth, clothes, mats, baked goods, lotions and soaps. They also learned how to start a business to sustain themselves and their families. A fundraiser was held during the graduation so that each woman will return to her community with her own sewing machine and start-up materials. Usually we donate money to purchase one sewing machine. However, thanks to generous donations we received during our furlough last year, this time we were able to contribute the money for three sewing machines! Thank you all! We pray that these new graduates will be able to live with security and dignity.

Our Sister School in Mwanza

The new Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School continues to make progress towards welcoming students in January 2020. The diocese took out a loan to finish the library building. St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas, raised over $4,000 towards building the needed school kitchen. Thank you so much! The diocese still needs $2,600 to finish the roof of the kitchen and another $4,700 for the gas system, water system and furniture for the chemistry laboratory. If you are interested in helping this school get off the ground, you can make an online donation by pressing the “GIVE” button at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/MwanzaSchoolProject/ and writing the donation amount next to Projects—”Funke: Mwanza School.” Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” and put “Funke: Mwanza School” in the memo line,and send it to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023. There is some urgency, because the next inspection is coming up soon. We continue to pray that God will use this school to bless the lives of many generations of students.

Community Health Evangelism (CHE)

One of our goals has been making the CHE program sustainable, so we asked the leaders to put together proposals for income generating activities. They put together proposals for a bee farm, chicken farm and a chair rental business. After much discussion and prayer, we agreed that the chair rental business had the least risk (i.e. chairs don’t die) and the most potential for income as chairs are often needed in Shinyanga for large gatherings—weddings, funerals, seminars, etc. Therefore we pulled $2,000 from our general fund to pay for this project. If you would like to help offset the costs of this project, you can go to www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Funke and give to our general account. The profits from the chair rental business will cover all travel expenses for our CHE trainers as they travel to different schools to teach about physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Now that schools are back in session after the June break, our CHE training team has been busy teaching lessons at various schools, such as Ndala Primary School.

Our School

With June break over, Eric is back to teaching computer classes, typing exams and holding science department meetings. This month Linda taught classes on Forgiveness and “Four Lies the World Tells Us” (including the prosperity gospel) with the help of her co-teacher, Deaconess Esther. Linda also wrote out and translated with the help of friends her six-hour Sex and Relationships seminar. This year, Linda asked six teachers to lead all the topics so she could assist and make note of changes needed to the curriculum. The teachers did a phenomenal job! At the end of the seminar, the girls went with the female teachers to ask their questions and the boys went with male teachers. The open communication between students and teachers was wonderful and uplifting. We thank God that this yearly seminar can now continue even after we have returned to the U.S. We are also grateful for the curtains in the multipurpose hall that we were able to purchase a few months back. Those curtains allow students to see images from the projector with much greater ease. This month we also finally received over $1,000 of new books for the library. Thank you to those who donated to the library while we were in the U.S. last fall! We continue to be amazed by how God is at work in this school.

The Next Generation of Missionaries to Tanzania

Do you know any teachers (preschool, elementary, or high school), nurses, doctors, chaplains, social workers, DCEs, deaconesses, computer gurus, agricultural specialists or childcare workers who might be interested in serving in Tanzania? If so, please download the one-page descriptions of these opportunities at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Funke and/or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com, where you can also find photos and videos and make donations.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Church Music Program

We have been in Sri Lanka one month. Already we have a place to live and are becoming familiar with our surroundings. We thank the Lord that we are finally beginning the work that he’s been preparing for us!

We are currently laying the groundwork for a church music program for all the congregations of the CELC. Pastor Devanesan of Immanuel in Colombo graciously offered to host “Music Club” at the church on Wednesdays. This should prove very helpful for us since there is so much to learn about South-Asian music and, in particular, Indian Carnatic music. The Tamil service at Immanuel is also exposing us to the Tamil hymns and liturgy, upon which we will focus heavily in the music program.

Benjamin is diving into the Tamil liturgy, studying how the text and the music interact. The goal of church music is that the music serves the Word, that the music lifts hearts even as the Gospel of Jesus lifts to new life. Training and enabling Tamil musicians will be pivotal in attaining the goal because God uses musicians to proclaim the Gospel! For now, it looks like we will not have the program in full swing until the new school term in September. But this gives us time to become more familiar with the liturgy and hymns. May God give us strength, wisdom and patience!

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde.

Mission-Minded Manteys: A Season of Growth

This time of year in Uganda, you can look out at the many farms and see growth. We have had a later rainy season, but we praise God for his provision. The fields and gardens continue to grow. On the road to the Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU), you will witness this growth. Fields upon fields you can see sugar cane, rice, potatoes and field corn growing steadily. In the midst of the bountiful farms, the LTCU is visible. It is a great reminder to know that there is a lot of growth happening at the seminary as well. Although it is different than that of the fields, there are men who are daily growing in their knowledge and understanding as they study to become pastors.

This June, twelve more students were commissioned as vicars in the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU), which means they will have a year of practicing and implementing all that they have learned so far at the LTCU. The vicars will grow as they continue to learn and serve in the congregations and preaching stations throughout their perspective regions in Uganda. Kugonza Cleophas and Otesa Anthony are two of the 2019–2020 vicars serving in the Midwestern Deanery. During this year of growth, Cleophas stated that "vicarage is a way to learn, practice and monitor what we have learned. It’s assessing how we are using knowledge to be servants in our congregations. We will also learn from congregants as we are sharing the Word of God with them.”

All the vicars know there are challenges during this time of learning, but they trust in God as He leads and guides them. During the vicarage process, the LCU and LTCU leadership work with the new vicars and share the expectations and support systems that are implemented during this integral year of learning. The vicars are called by God and sent out by their congregations. They have vicarage supervisors, LTCU faculty advisors and regional deans who provide oversight, direction, and educational opportunities during the vicarage year. We praise God for the protocols and systems in place that allow the vicars to learn, practice and serve.

Excitement and Prayer Requests

As Cleophas and Anthony shared with us about their vicarage year, they focused on the joys of serving in ministry. Anthony, who has a heart for the youth, stated that his favorite aspects are “sharing the Gospel with the youth and visiting sick.” He is grateful his vicarage will provide opportunities for these personal ministry connections. Cleophas has a more regional perspective, stating that he wants to “share the good news of Jesus Christ with those who haven’t heard.” He also stated he wants to spend time with congregations and help the pastors reach congregations more frequently. We are thankful the Holy Spirit continues to guide and lead the LCU as they prepare more workers for the field. We praise God for this year and opportunity of growth and learning.

As the vicars are sent out, please keep them in your prayers. In the words of Cleophas and Anthony, “please pray that we can be encouraged by the Holy Spirit to stay true in the faith and be faithful to God and the congregations. Also, that God continues to give us knowledge, wisdom and understanding on how to teach His Word.”

Mark and Megan Mantey serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as career missionaries in Uganda. Mark serves as the project manager for the seminary, and Megan is the seminary’s instructor of Christian education and counseling. You can follow their work at www.facebook.com/MissionMindedManteys.

Funke News: Wide, Long, High and Deep

[May Christ] dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3:17b–19

Earlier this month we attended a retreat where the theme verses were Ephesians 3:14–21. As we swapped stories with missionaries from across Africa and enjoyed the beauty of Lake Victoria, we were reminded just how wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ for us and for all the world.

We were fortunate to attend Global Lutheran Outreach’s first-ever regional missionary retreat June 10–13. With GLO Director Jim Tino and GLO Missionary Developer Dale Talsma in Kenya with their wives for a conference the week before, the timing for a retreat worked out perfectly. The retreat was held at the beautiful Wag Hill Lodge just outside of Mwanza, Tanzania, and seven families attended. During the retreat, each missionary family had an opportunity to share how God led them to this ministry, a bit about their ministries and a devotional based on the retreat’s theme verses. We also had time to take in some practical continuing education and to hear more about GLO’s dreams for the future. Likewise, we had a wonderful time worshipping together and enjoyed the many amenities of Wag Hill Lodge, including swimming, horseback riding, hiking, a sunset cruise and a barbeque dinner by the lake with Maasai singers and dancers sharing part of their culture. We are so thankful for this opportunity to be spiritually refreshed and to get to know other GLO missionaries better.

Bidding the Reeds a Fond Farewell

With the submission of Linda’s last mentor form, Amber’s internship is now officially complete. On June 18, we joined with many of Amber and Austin’s other friends here to celebrate their time with us and to send them off with our love and prayers. The celebration included cake, dancing, gifts, a Tanzanian feast, speeches and prayer. We then joined them in Mwanza for their final weekend before taking them to the airport on June 24. Amber has accepted a call to Memorial Lutheran Church in Katy, Texas. We know they will take all they learned and experienced with them as they begin their next chapter. We already miss them, and we are so thankful for their time here in Tanzania.

Community Health Evangelism

We are happy to say that the CHE program continues to help young people live healthier lives physically, mentally and spiritually. On May 11, the CHE leaders led a session for the newest class at the Right to Live With Albinism program. They taught about courage, hygiene, being made in the image of God and caring for all of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26–27, 31). Now that the basketball court is finished, they have also started leading lessons on Tuesdays for the young men who come to play. With lessons based around verses such as 1 Timothy 4:12, the CHE leaders have been sharing with the youth how they can set “an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” The leaders are looking forward to the opening of schools after June break, because they have plans for lessons in schools and hope to start a Saturday kids’ club.

Building a Missionary Team

Do you know any teachers (preschool, elementary or high school), nurses, doctors, chaplains, social workers, DCEs, deaconesses, computer gurus, agricultural specialists, or childcare workers who might be interested in serving in Tanzania? We are still hoping to build a missionary team in this region so that Cheryl Kruckemeyer has missionary colleagues. Plus Amber and Austin’s furniture is ready and waiting for new missionaries! We have prepared one-page descriptions of these opportunities that you can download at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funke. If you know of someone who might be interested or have other ideas for how we can get the word out, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Update on Our Kids’ U.S. Citizenship

Our paperwork at the U.S. Embassy continues to move forward, and we are now planning to travel to Dar Es Salaam for our children’s medical check and hopefully for the immigration visa interview. Once we receive the immigration visa, we have to travel to the U.S. within six months, so October is the earliest we want to get it. Before that however, we need to get Michael a new Tanzanian passport that has an electronic chip. They were already distributing passports with chips when Julia got hers, but Michael has the old version. Unfortunately the process of getting that passport was much more complicated than we expected. After seven stops—5.5 hours of waiting in offices—we have managed to submit Michael’s application. Please pray that we receive his new Tanzanian passport without any further problems.

Life at Home

Since most of the students are home for June break, we have had a lot more flexibility in our schedule and time as a family. We have had some unexpected family adventures, such as our car breaking down on the way home from the retreat in Mwanza. After an hour and a half on the side of the road, the school driver Gaspar arrived to tow us home. By God’s grace, we had take-out dinner and were able to have a car picnic during the tow. We used our neighbors’ car for the next week and have used Amber and Austin’s car since they left. Hopefully ours will be fixed soon.

We have also continued homeschooling our kids, and we love their creativity and desire to learn. Because Michael has been rubbing his eyes frequently lately, we took him to see an eye doctor in Mwanza. As soon as we returned, our kids wanted to play eye doctor. Thus, Eric built them an eye exam machine out of Tinker Toys. We also enjoyed celebrating what an amazing father Eric is with homemade Father’s Day cards, homemade cinnamon rolls, and a “sleep until you are done” nap. While we look forward to returning to a regular rhythm, we have been grateful for this time together.

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.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com, where you can also find photos and videos and make donations.

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