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Mission-Minded Manteys: Preparing the Way

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10

The Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) has continued their work of training men for ministry, especially through the Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU) these past several months. Even with the disturbances of COVID-19, the LTCU was able to finish the semester that was interrupted by the lockdown in March. So, the 2019–2020 school year finished in late October. For the past several months, there have been two training centers for the students to finish the semester: one was at the seminary in the eastern part of the country while other students gathered in Masindi, which is in the midwestern part of the country.

As the semester ended, twelve men from five different deaneries were ready for their vicarage. Vicarage is an internship year that is completed during the third year of seminary training and is done in students home regions. Because of health protocols in Uganda, the Lutheran Church of Uganda had two separate commissioning services, located in the same deaneries as the training took place. These twelve men will spend their internship year putting into practice what they have learned at seminary thus far. They will be supervised under the pastors and deans in their areas. These students are the third class of vicars since the seminary started in 2016, so we praise God for the continuation of this ministry.

As the vicars prepare for their year of service and hands-on learning, the LTCU started the first semester of the 2020–2021 school year in November. Typically, this semester starts in August. So, as vicars were preparing to be sent out, new and returning students were preparing for seminary. For this school year, the first semester will go from November to February. The second semester of the 2020–2021 school year will resume in March. We praise God that the Holy Spirit continues to prepare men for ministry through the Lutheran Theological College Uganda.

Ministry Information

After being at our home in Jinja, Uganda for most of the year, it was a joy to travel with the Lutheran Church of Uganda in November to celebrate life and ministry together. As the vicarage commissioning services were in two different locations this year, we were able to go and visit with people that we are not able to see as often. It is always a joy to be with the students as they prepare for this stage in ministry in their year of learning and practical application. We praise God that we have been able to walk alongside the three classes of vicars since we came to Uganda in 2017.

When we travel to different areas, we praise God for the friendships we have in Christ Jesus as we serve Him together. Sharing a meal, worshipping together and learning about life and ministry since last together always brings big smiles and great joy, even when sharing about the trials and tribulations. Life together is always worth celebrating, especially when centered on Christ.

Every two years LCMS missionaries have the opportunity to return to the United States and share a ministry update with congregations and individual supporters. This December, January and February, we are happy to be able to visit some congregations and individual supporters in some parts of the US. This home service we are limiting our travel, but we are thankful we are still able to connect via Zoom with many congregations. We are also thankful for time to connect with our family in North Carolina and New Mexico. We look forward to visiting in person with other regions at a future time. Thank you for keeping us in prayer as we travel and share ministry updates with congregations this winter.

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.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Vanderhydes End Service in Sri Lanka

Dear Christian Friends and Family, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, greetings! We have the privilege of sharing with you that our service in Sri Lanka as missionaries of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is ended. We celebrate all that God has accomplished and will yet accomplish as His master plan unfolds.

We already miss our life in Sri Lanka and our Christian family there. We still feel strange in this old but new home, the USA. But we thank God that He is preparing work for us to do our entire lives. This was, after all, a vicarage, a time for us to learn and grow into being a pastor and a pastor’s wife and pastor’s children. We have more learning and growing yet ahead—one more year of seminary at least—before the call and ordination. But we feel like nothing could ever compare to this vicarage experience when it comes to being formed as Christians and as a pastor’s family.

Thank you, dear brothers and sisters who have supported us these past two years, who prayed for us and with us. We thank God who used your gifts, given out of thankfulness and faith and love, to serve His purpose. We thank Him who uses the work of each of us individual members of Christ’s body to build up His Church in love.

This entire vicarage we have constantly felt like we were receiving more than we were giving. Our prayer is that we may one day be able to give of ourselves as our fellow missionaries and our Tamil brothers in Sri Lanka gave of themselves to us, becoming our family and our support. So, in the spirit of that prayer, we rejoice! And we wait with anticipation for God to show us the next doors He would have us walk through, the next neighbors He would have us serve.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

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.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Final Newsletter from the Vanderhydes

This September, we returned to the USA. With uncertainty in the air and a baby on the way, our LCMS team thought it best to give us a good cushion of time between our return and the due date. We are sad to be apart from our brothers and sisters in the faith who remain in Sri Lanka. But we are also excited to see what God has in store for our family as we near the end of seminary.

The church held a farewell ceremony for the Vanderhydes. It was the first time all the pastors and evangelists had been able to gather since February. Some of the youth sang and played the keyboard, demonstrating what they had learned in the music program.

We want you to know how much your prayers and support have meant to us over the past two years. This has been a really good thing. Vicarage is about preparing us for the ministry of a called and ordained pastor and his family. So as we return to the seminary and resume classes in January, know that you are in our hearts, sharing this journey in the ministry with us.

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: The Lord’s Work Continues

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye on you.Psalm 32:8

Since March, Uganda has been in some form of lockdown because of COVID-19. During the last three months, restrictions were lessened, but schools and public worship have not been able to resume. Nightly curfews also remain in effect. We share this to give insight to our day-to-day living and also to re-enforce the Lutheran Church of Uganda’s ability to adapt to circumstances for the sake of the Gospel. For, despite the challenges that continue worldwide, we witness that the Lord’s work continues. The Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) leadership met to discuss how they can best continue training their seminarians while also recognizing government operating procedures. This included limiting the number of people gathering together, not having formal classroom instruction and maintaining health and hygiene practices.

The LCU leadership decided to focus immediate opportunities for the Year-Four seminary students, as they were originally scheduled to graduate in June 2020 before classes were dismissed due to COVID-19. The goal was to finish the classes from March in a practicum or hands-on approach so the students could apply what they have learned so far. The arrangements included three different mission center locations for the students, which followed the government operating procedures. This also allowed other LCU pastors and leadership to participate and help prepare the seminarians for pastoral ministry.

In this hands-on, four-week program, the students focused learning on pastoral ministry, teaching the Small Catechism and Bible studies. They also reviewed and applied Hymnology for various worship settings, and finished theology course units that helped them understand and apply Scripture to their various contexts. Please continue to keep the LCU leadership and the seminarians in your prayers as they grow together. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

We are both so grateful to remain in Uganda during this time. Much of our lives has changed and yet much remains the same. We continue to work from home, but also remain in constant contact with the Lutheran Church of Uganda. The LCU has utilized zoom meetings to connect with leadership in the rural areas so ministry planning can continue. We have been able to join those calls and share greetings with far away friends in other parts of the country.

Since the seminary is currently not able to resume at full capacity, our day-to-day routine has changed substantially. Yet God continues to provide us with opportunities to serve Him. We still connect with students, faculty and LCU leadership. We still serve alongside the LCU and strive to learn more about how the LCMS can best collaborate with them. We still celebrate life together, whether it is birthday celebrations, worshipping together over the radio or socially distanced gatherings. We still listen to one another, mourn together and are present for one another … even though it looks different. For all of these opportunities, we’re grateful the Lord abundantly provides.

Thank you for your prayers as we navigate how to best serve and share the Gospel through our vocations amidst COVID-19. Please also pray for our LCMS and LCU colleagues as they also strive to do the same. We continue to pray for our friends and family (you!) who share in the Lord’s work in Uganda. Thank you for continuing to walk with us in this way!

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: At the Crossroads

Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.Jeremiah 6:16

Eight years ago today (September 7), we arrived in Tanzania to begin a new chapter of our lives. Thus, we figured today is the perfect day to send out our last monthly newsletter—our 101st since we first signed on with Global Lutheran Outreach.

On July 13–17, we attended an online debriefing retreat for returning missionaries. Thank you to Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis for paying for us to attend. We were deeply moved as leaders normalized so much of what we are experiencing. They shared that on average it takes returning missionaries one or two years to go from “old normal” to “new normal.” You can read more about our experience at that retreat on our blog, www.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com. Throughout the week we were reminded that God calls us to abide at these crossroads, processing all we’ve experienced, prayerfully seeking out the next best steps and remembering that God goes with us. We thank you all for walking with us during these years of ministry and for your prayers going forward.

The past two months have been tremendously full. We hosted ten more Zoom calls. Thank you to all of you who participated! It meant so much to us to see you and talk with you. We’ve continued settling into our house (a seemingly endless process of sorting through boxes from our lives before Tanzania). Because Linda’s U.S. driver’s license expired while we were in Tanzania, Linda endured a seven-hour online driver’s course, a written test, an in-person driving test, and two DPS appointments in order to get her driver’s license reinstated. Through additional testing, our doctor discovered that both of us do still have residual parasites, so we have started a three-month treatment. We’ve also learned new recipes as our doctor recommended changing our diet for these months—no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, etc. We are praying that no additional treatment will be necessary.

Eric hit a huge learning curve as he prepared to teach online Algebra 1 classes for North Garland High School. He still goes into the school building, but has been teaching online courses since August 10. He must be doing well though, because the administration asked him to continue teaching the online students for the foreseeable future. Michael and Julia started school virtually on August 19 and will continue online with Linda assisting them with asynchronous assignments for at least the first quarter. Linda was invited to give a homily at the virtual annual meeting of her deaconess community. We enjoyed a weekend of camping with Linda’s parents before school began. We also had the joy of celebrating the 40th anniversaries of both Linda’s parents and Eric’s parents this past month. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to take steps towards our new normal.

We will be closing out our Global Lutheran Outreach account by the end of the year. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and our ministry all these years! For those who have been giving monthly through automatic withdrawal, please email GLO () in the next few months to ask them to stop payment or to transfer your monthly support to another missionary. If GLO receives any donations for us in the months before our account is closed, those funds will continue to go toward our resettlement (likely healthcare costs) and toward students we continue to sponsor in Tanzania. We pray that in the coming months some of you will transfer your monthly contributions to our friends, Dixon and Christiana Gbeanquoi. They have a wonderful ministry in Tanzania and continue to live by faith financially. You can find their newsletters at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Gbeanquoi/our-blog.

The account for the Safe Schools Initiative will remain open until the project is completely funded. We continue to see the need for this three-year teacher training program requested by Headmaster Yohana Nzelu and Christian Education Director, Grace Mutabuzi. Even this past month, Cheryl Kruckemeyer witnessed a teacher slapping a student’s face. To learn more about this project and how you can help, please go to www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/safeschoolsinitiativeproject. You can make checks to “Global Lutheran Outreach” with Safe Schools Initiative in the memo line and send them to 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023.

We have so much great news from Tanzania! The Community Health Evangelism team made the most of their grant from the LCMS, traveling to many different villages and teaching about COVID-19 and hygiene in general. They distributed food for families in need and materials for making tippy-tap handwashing stations. Thankfully, Tanzania (and Africa in general) has not experienced the high mortality from COVID-19 that other nations have faced. Many theories are circulating as to why that is the case—an overall younger population, less obesity, the prevalence of the BCG vaccine, genetic factors, climate, the power of prayer, Africans having a greater ability to make antibodies because of previous exposure to other coronaviruses, malaria or other infectious diseases … whatever the reason, we are rejoicing and breathing a sigh of relief for our friends.

Cheryl Kruckemeyer continues to teach English, guidance classes and basketball. We also heard recently that her work permit appeal was approved! Praise the Lord! The students and teachers are currently on a two week break, but when they return, Cheryl will begin tutoring struggling students. We encourage you to sign up for her monthly newsletter at so you can receive regular updates from Mwadui.

The school has made more progress on the home for vulnerable children and hopes to begin welcoming children in just a few months. Rev. Nzelu also hired our former house helper Dinnah to do some work at the school, meaning she will be able to keep her home in Mwadui. Our friend Pastor Julia Mutungi recently started a nonprofit called the Inuka Foundation to advocate for families in need. Thanks to your donations, we were able to send some money for chairs and office supplies. Our friend Deaconess Grace Mutabuzi has sadly been very ill for several years. She let us know that because of medical fees and loss of work time, she couldn’t afford her daughter’s school. Thankfully, some of Linda’s deaconess sisters came together and paid her daughter’s school fees for the year. We praise God for all of these answered prayers and continue to pray for all of our friends in Tanzania!

In September of 2012, Eric Funke, grandson of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, followed God’s call to Tanzania. Eric taught math and science at a secondary school while Linda worked for the Department of Planning and Development. They worked 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.

Funke News: Perseverance

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.Romans 5:2–5

We have heard from so many friends that 2020 has been a particularly challenging year for a wide variety of reasons. As we enter the second half of the year, we are holding Romans 5:2–5 close to our hearts and praying that God may use these challenges to produce endurance, character and hope.

Early in June we submitted the lease agreement, school enrollment and bills necessary to prove residency to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. On July 3, we received the best Fourth of July presents ever—Michael and Julia’s Certificates of U.S. Citizenship! They are now officially Tanzanian Americans. Praise the Lord! Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, encouraged us and donated to the Funke Kids’ Citizenship fund during this long journey. We couldn’t have done this without you.

As we mentioned last month, you can now watch our final presentation at www.youtube.com/EricFunkeGLO. This presentation is what we would have shared with you all if we had been able to visit in person. It includes three sections: 1) a twelve-minute video recap of the past seven years of ministry, 2) a slideshow with more details about the past year and a half since we last visited the U.S., 3) a song with pictures. We hope it will be a blessing to you all. Since we last wrote, we have enjoyed Zoom calls with members of Messiah in Plano, Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis, St. Paul in Plano, and Saint John’s in Fort Collins. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the calls and asked such wonderful questions! You have been such an encouragement to us in this time of transition.

This month we had the joy of camping with Linda’s immediate family over Father’s Day weekend. Our kids greatly enjoyed Vacation Bible School at home with kits and videos from Messiah Lutheran Church in Plano. We also fulfilled our promise to our kids that they would get swimming lessons this summer. While group classes aren’t a great option right now, we are thankful that Linda was a swim instructor at Cooper’s Swim Academy for five summers and that friends are allowing us to use their pool so we can teach Michael and Julia to swim. They are doing wonderfully! Our kids also enjoyed their first Fourth of July in the U.S. as we were able to see fireworks from our front yard.

It has been a rough month for our family health-wise. On June 12, Michael started running a high fever so we went into quarantine mode until we could make sure it wasn’t COVID-19. Thankfully his fever broke after two days. Then during our camping trip, Linda was completely eaten up by chiggers (130+ bites). That week she experienced more pain and itchiness than when she had chicken pox as a child. After that, Eric developed a mean poison ivy rash after working in the backyard, even though he never had an allergic reaction to poison ivy when he used to work at camp. On top of all this, Linda’s doctor continues to try to determine the cause of some of Linda’s longer term symptoms, including running a continual low-grade fever (99–99.5°) for the past few months. Our doctor recommended additional parasite testing. It is expensive, but will hopefully help us find the cause of some of Linda’s health issues the past few years. We are hoping to receive the results in the next few weeks.

News From Tanzania

As the president of Tanzania has declared that there are no longer cases of COVID-19 in the country, Tanzania has begun reopening schools and other sectors in society. Meanwhile, we hear from doctor friends there that they are still seeing several deaths from COVID-19 daily. They have asked for prayers as they anticipate a large number of new cases with schools now reopening. Likewise, the U.S. Embassy continues to caution that “the risk of contracting COVID-19 through community transmission remains elevated.” Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School started classes again on Monday June 29. Please pray with us that none of the students and teachers who returned to campus brought COVID-19 with them.

GLO missionary Cheryl Kruckemeyer is currently co-teaching English classes, helping youth connect by email with penpals in the U.S. and enjoying time with students on the basketball court. Sadly, we found out a few weeks ago that Cheryl’s first work permit application was denied. We knew this was a possibility, especially when the government started denying permits for Peace Corps volunteers and other missionary friends of ours. However, it is still disappointing. Diocese General Secretary Happiness Yorum Gefi traveled to Dodoma on Friday, July 3 to file an appeal. Please pray for a successful and smooth appeal process.

GLO missionaries Dixon and Christy Gbeanquoi are continuing to serve their church community in Mwanza. Dixon has also begun teaching classes again at the Lutheran Bible school. Many of the other missionaries from Europe returned to their home countries, so Dixon is now teaching four different classes. We praise God that they received about $3,000 this past month. That being said, they still need $3,500 to continue their ministry through December. They are particularly in need of monthly donors. By the end of August, Eric will begin receiving a paycheck. Therefore, if you have been a monthly donor, we ask that you consider transferring your monthly donations to the Gbeanquoi family at that time. They are a wonderful family, and we would love for them to be able to continue their amazing ministry in Mwanza.

In September of 2012, Eric Funke, grandson of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, followed God’s call to Tanzania. Eric taught math and science at a secondary school while Linda worked for the Department of Planning and Development. They worked 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.

Funke News: Lament and Hope

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.Lamentations 3:21–23

The suffering in the world feels so potent right now—so much injustice, so much pain, so much conflict, so much loss. As a friend recently shared her pain over the loss of a loved one, I reminded her that lament is Biblical and that Jesus cried. As I have been thinking more about lament, I have naturally been drawn to the book of Lamentations. I was reminded that “because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning.” In spite of it all, we cling to hope. Here are some of the bits of hope God has shown us this past month.

We hope to be able to reconnect with many of our partner churches in the coming months. You all mean so much to us! In the mean time, after many hours of prep, we are thrilled to say that our video presentation is now online! This presentation is what we would have shared with you all if we had been able to visit in person. It includes three sections:

  1. A twelve-minute video recap of the past seven years of ministry;
  2. A slide show with more details about the past year and a half since we last visited the US; and
  3. A song with pictures we hope will be a blessing to you all.

On May 4, Eric attended a virtual job fair for Garland Independent School District. By the end of the day, North Garland High School issued him a letter of intent. We are happy to announce that he will be teaching Algebra 1 (one of his favorite subjects to teach) at North Garland starting in August. Thankfully, it is only an eleven-minute drive from our new home. We thank God for this answer to prayer!

On May 2, we signed a lease for a rental house in Richardson, Texas, and May 8–10 loaded up a trailer to be delivered to our new home. After more precious time with our family in St. Louis, we drove down to Dallas May 12. We stayed with Linda’s parents for the next week while we waited for our trailer and repainted the three bedrooms and two bathrooms (all of which were pink) and all the ceilings in our new house. May 16–17, our Davis family helped us unload all of our belongings. Unfortunately, we soon discovered that the garage conversion/playroom reeked of cat pee, and we have cat allergies. We squeezed all of our things into the other rooms while the landlord tried to remedy the situation. We tried repainting the closets, using a good enzyme cleaner on the carpet, sealing off the room and using the landlord’s industrial strength air purifier for a weekend, ripping out all the carpet and treating the subfloor with enzyme cleaner and laying Kilz sealant. Nothing worked until finally we discovered that the cat pee had seeped into the baseboards, damaging the sheet rock. Now that the sheet rock is removed, the smell is finally dissipating. Adding to the craziness of the move, as Linda was navigating boxes she tripped on the couch and broke her baby toe!

We’ve spent much of the last few weeks consolidating our possessions for the first time in our married lives, selling unneeded items and searching Craigslist for items that we do want/need. We’ve found many good deals, including a brand new washer and dryer for half price, a dining set, patio furniture for the backyard, and a piano—which was on sale for $20! Hopefully we will finally feel more settled soon.

As chaotic as this past month has felt, we are thankful for finally being able to celebrate Julia’s (February 23) birthday very belatedly with our Davis family, time to camp with Linda’s parents in their trailer over Memorial Day weekend and Linda’s parents hosting a sleepover for Michael and Julia so we could enjoy a romantic dinner at home in celebration of our ninth wedding anniversary.

News From Tanzania

The president of Tanzania has declared that Tanzania is now free of COVID-19. This assertion is in direct contradiction to what some of our doctor friends are seeing on the ground. There continues to be a crackdown on anyone in Tanzania who challenges the government’s claim, and doctors are fearful of sharing what they are seeing. Thankfully, the hospital in Mwadui has had no cases of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, both Lutheran dioceses in Shinyanga and Mwanza received grants from the LCMS to help with COVID-19 awareness and food scarcity issues. They will also receive money to start radio ministries.

This month Cheryl Kruckemeyer began mentoring young women in the community, facilitating a Bible study for other expats in Mwadui, hosting a German agricultural missionary, and helping a few families with food aid. Dixon and Christy also continue to lead and serve their church in Mwanza. Unfortunately, their funding is now extremely low. If they don’t receive $6,500 in the next few months, they will be forced to return to Nigeria. If you can help this wonderful family continue their ministry in Tanzania, please go to globallutheranoutreach.com/support-gbeanquoi.html. Every little bit helps!

Our friends in Tanzania continue to be in our hearts and in our prayers.

In September of 2012, Eric Funke, grandson of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, followed God’s call to Tanzania. Eric taught math and science at a secondary school while Linda worked for the Department of Planning and Development. They worked 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.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Greetings in Christ

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.Romans 12:10–13

World-wide we are all discovering the “new normal” in regards to daily life. In Uganda, the countrywide lockdown is slowly lifting, even as the curfew remains in place. Private and public transportation are now allowed on the roads with limited passengers and face masks. From mid-March until late-May people relied on walking or bicycles to get around as a measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, many non-essential businesses have been able to resume operations. Country borders, schools and public worship remain closed for now. So, the Lutheran Church of Uganda continues to minister via radio, phone calls and limited gatherings. Like a lot of the world, Uganda is discovering what this means. What elements of life remain the same? What is different?

As we have shared before, greetings hold great value in Uganda. It is a way to acknowledge that you see a person, including their worth and value. Greeting someone and taking the time to listen and talk to them greatly acknowledges that they matter and are an important part of your day’s interactions. While out in Jinja after the lockdown, it was a joy to see people we had not seen in several months.

Observing other interactions, people were joy-filled to be able to greet others as well. Yet, there was some differences on how greetings now took place. Instead of the standard lingering handshake, people now might wave, or raise eyebrows as a quick greeting. Hands are now kept to oneself, but the joy of interacting and sharing about the day are still present. Smiles (albeit some are under masks) are still shared. People are grateful to hear how their neighbors and community members are doing. This presents such an opportunity for the church, and for us as missionaries, as we can continue to share about Christ’s love in the midst of a fallen world.

Life and Mission Update

Despite the many challenges people have endured during this time, it has been a blessing to see the helpers.

The Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) continues to distribute food to students that attend the Lutheran schools, pastors, and seminary students that are in need. Working with partners, the LCU has been able to make several distributions over the lockdown. We are grateful for their continued care during this time. Likewise, we appreciate the deep care for one another and sharing what is available with those nearby.

Our gratitude also extends to our partnering congregations and individuals in the United States. Thank you for your continued support that allows us to stay in Uganda during these times. We are very grateful for your ongoing prayers and support.

Additionally, we are thankful for the hands-on helpers. We have had several individuals assist with sending out our USPS newsletter when churches were unable to do so. Also, there have been people available to help send handwritten thank you notes on our behalf since Uganda is not able to send or receive mail at this time due to the country’s borders being closed. Those acts of kindness allow us to share communication with friends and ministry partners.

We praise God for the helpers! May we listen to one another, learn from one another, and share in each other’s burdens when appropriate. Our prayer is that we all can continue to serve in Christ’s name, spur one another on, and encourage one another in the one true faith.

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: Life and Death

The phrase “life or death situation” definitely seems to fit these days. We know that some of you are already grieving the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19. You are in our hearts and prayers. With the celebration of Holy Week this past month, we also have been thinking much about life and death. We were reminded that because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, he is Lord over both the living and the dead. We don’t know what the future holds, but for as long as we live, we will continue to live to the Lord.

Since all of our partner churches are still meeting online, we are now preparing a video presentation through which we can share more about our last year of ministry in Tanzania and what is happening there now. We will let you all know when that video is available. We are also hoping to arrange a get-together with each church through Zoom or some other platform. We would still love to be able to see and talk with you all.

Living in the Present

We are currently still living with Eric’s parents in St. Louis. This past month we held our own Palm Sunday reenactment and celebrated Easter with window decorations, egg decorating, an Easter egg hunt, our kids’ first Easter baskets, online worship and an Easter feast.

We are continuing to homeschool Michael and Julia. We love their creativity and curiosity as they create plays for us, make art out of many household materials and rejoice over every new Kindle library book. We are adjusting to wearing masks out in public. (Thanks to Karen Eichinger for making us stylish masks!) We are trying to keep a bit of whimsy in our days. For example, Linda became a dinosaur this month, and we have been taking “Dino walks” around the neighborhood. We also made quick social-distanced visits for our nieces’ birthdays and celebrated Eric’s birthday with oatmeal chocolate chip cake. We’ve realized we are in a time of “and”—we are grieving many things and we are grateful for so many things.

Preparing for the Future

We are still trying to figure out what our next chapter will look like. We’ve chosen to move to North Dallas, because there we will be close to family, have the opportunity to interact with a large Tanzanian-American community (and keep practicing our Swahili) and enjoy a warmer environment, which will hopefully alleviate some of Linda’s physical pain. This month we’ve been gathering information about potential elementary schools in the area for our kids.

Eric submitted job applications to five different school districts and a few private schools in North Dallas. He also attended numerous new teacher webinars this past month. One school in Dallas has already expressed interest in him. They put him through two rounds of online interviews and had him present a mock lesson via Zoom. They said they will offer him the job, but that school would require a forty-minute commute each way. Many closer school districts are behind in their hiring and won’t be interviewing until June.

Please pray for wisdom and discernment as we make difficult decisions. This month Linda completed a sixteen-hour video course in preparation for the LMSW exam to become a licensed social worker in Texas. She will continue studying for the four-hour exam, and hopefully testing sites will open again soon. Since her driver’s license expired while we were in Tanzania, she will also need to take a driving test once DMVs reopen!

With the help of Linda’s dad and a realtor friend providing virtual tours, we’ve found a rental house in Richardson. Lord-willing, we will sign the lease and move down to Texas in the next few weeks. We need to sign a lease soon because we found out that we are required to provide proof of residency to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before July 2. If we can’t provide it by then, Michael and Julia’s immigration papers will be canceled, and they will be denied U.S. citizenship. Most of our furniture and belongings are still in Eric’s parents’ basement in St. Louis, so we are now researching moving services. We still aren’t quite sure how this move will work. The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely complicated our repatriation process. We greatly appreciate your prayers.

Also, just as a reminder, we will continue to need financial assistance until we have a steady source of income. We still have living costs, moving costs, and medical costs (including the $760 worth of emergency dental care for Linda this past month). If it is possible for monthly donors to continue their contributions until Eric’s first paycheck in August, we would greatly appreciate it.

News From Tanzania

As of May 1, Tanzania has 480 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 167 recovered and 17 deaths. However, these numbers are not an accurate reflection of the situation. The president of Tanzania, who is up for reelection this year, is arresting or fining any reporters who publish information not cleared by him. Tests are also hard to come by. There is no incentive for people to be tested, because they do not want to be quarantined. Health centers likewise do not want to test people, because if they do, they are required to close until the results come back. Schools remain closed. There are no international flights going in or out of Tanzania at this point. Churches are allowed to hold services, but attendance and giving has understandably dropped. As such, the Lutheran church is struggling to pay its workers. Adding to the problems, Tanzania (and all of East Africa) is also facing flooding and a plague of locusts which are eating up crops. Linda has been working with the diocese to put together an LCMS grant application to cover COVID-19 awareness campaigns and food relief.

Thankfully, our GLO missionaries in Tanzania are still well. Cheryl Kruckemeyer continues to study Swahili with a tutor, learn more about Tanzanian culture, read books and articles about cross-cultural ministry in preparation for her future ministry and go on daily walks around Mwadui. The Gbeanquoi family continues to serve their congregation in Mwanza. They are still severely under-funded, so if you would like to help this beautiful family, please go to www.globallutheranoutreach.com/support-gbeanquoi.html. Please keep these missionaries and all of our dear friends in Tanzania in your prayers.

In September of 2012, Eric Funke, grandson of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, followed God’s call to Tanzania. Eric taught math and science at a secondary school while Linda worked for the Department of Planning and Development. They worked 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.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

As we continue to see the effects of COVID-19 throughout the world, we also witness those that are helping to support people in need. In Uganda, there have been various shut-downs and self-isolation initiatives, similar to other countries in the world. As a country that has experienced Ebola and HIV/AIDS epidemics, the country is very proactive with preventative measures.

The Ugandan government put actions into place to protect their people and limit the spread of the virus. Currently, only essential stores are open. Transportation, by public or private means, has been restricted. This effort, as well as a curfew, has limited the movement of everyone. Some of the challenges initially started in the urban and suburban parts of the country. A lot of people rely on daily income for their food needs. Because of either not being able to work, the price of food, or having more people home since schools are on a hiatus, there are challenges with being able to access food. Likewise, seminarians in the rural communities were not able to plant crops as they were at the seminary studying. Thus, there have been hardships for them as well in being able to access food and supplies.

We are grateful for the response of the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) as they share the love of Christ and help with daily needs. Along with their ministry partners, they have worked diligently to assess the challenges with the Lutheran schools, their congregations and communities. Each deanery (district) has unique situations, so the LCU coordinates those needs through the local leadership. We are thankful that God continues to provide for his people through the hands of the Lutheran Church of Uganda. We praise God that in the midst of challenges, He meets our daily needs. Please pray for those in Uganda who are serving in Jesus’ name and also those receiving care and provision.

During the past month, we continue to do the work the Lord has called us to do. Primarily we are working from home, but are grateful to continue interacting with leaders of the Lutheran Church of Uganda, seminary students and colleagues throughout East Africa.

Our Easter was spent with the opportunity to participate in worship with the LCU via the radio and our East Africa missionary team, led by colleagues in Ethiopia over the internet. Our neighbors were able to join us for worship and a meal afterwards. It was great to worship our risen Lord together with colleagues throughout parts of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania. We praise God for these opportunities.

Missionary Care Team

Over the past several years, Megan has been working with the East Africa Area Director to build on foundations for care ministries for the East Africa missionary team. Living overseas oftentimes presents unique challenges and opportunities for missionaries and their families, and it is crucial to provide support, encouragement and resources.

Megan is part of a regional Missionary Care team of four people who get to provide care and caring opportunities for the missionary families throughout East Africa. The team has been planning and developing for some time, but they are now serving the East Africa team at large. The team will focus on providing care in a Stephen Ministry format, have the ability to give one on one counseling as needed and serve as resources for promoting spiritual and emotional wellness. Megan is thrilled to utilize her counseling background for this needed ministry. Please pray for the Missionary Care Team in East Africa and for their fellow missionaries as they serve and care for one another

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.

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