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Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Merry Christmas!

This past month we’ve shifted strategy in a positive way. Our original thinking for the music program was to have youth come from their homes to a central location once or twice a month for a music lesson. After a few months of this, it was becoming clear that we had underestimated how difficult it is to get around in the Up-Country, especially given school schedules. We were asking some youth to travel over an hour’s distance from their homes for a two-hour lesson. It wasn’t working.

So, we decided to try traveling to their villages and homes to teach them. The local pastors and evangelists supported the idea. In the last month, we visited many of the villages where Lutheran churches are found. I brought with me a CD I made with about 45 minutes of music lessons on it. It teaches the Indian solfege (do-re-me-fa-sol) for one Tamil hymn and it also teaches Mary’s Song (The Magnificat) in Tamil. The CD is designed to facilitate practice sessions while I’m away so that more learning can happen despite my only being present in the flesh once a month.

It has been terrific visiting these places, not just for the sake of the music teaching, but because each visit is an opportunity to learn about the Tamil people, spend a little time with them, share Christ with them and pray with them. It’s also an opportunity to get to know the local pastors better, who are so graciously arranging these visits. It’s a challenge. We’re constantly reminded of the need to progress in the Tamil language. But the little we know is well-received and we feel encouraged to keep trying.

Most importantly, God is keeping us and the children safe. Please pray that He continues to do so. Thank you for your support and prayers. We wish you a Merry Christmas!

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: Trust

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.Psalm 37:5

’Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. Here are some of our goals for 2020: pass off our responsibilities here in Tanzania, sort through everything in our house, finish well, say goodbye to beloved friends, fly to the U.S., get U.S. citizenship for our kids, buy a car, present at all of our partner churches one last time, move to Dallas, get professional licensure, find jobs, find a place to live, find a good school for our kids and figure out how to live in the U.S. again. Truly, the tasks ahead seem huge and exhausting, yet we have an amazing God. In my personal devotion time, the word “trust” keeps coming to the forefront. This year will require us to trust God in so many aspects of our lives.

This past month we have been inspired by others who have likewise demonstrated their trust in God.

We are so excited to share that Cheryl Kruckemeyer has reached her financial goal for departure! Thank you to all who contributed to her upcoming ministry! She still has more money to raise in order to be fully funded for the year, but with trust in God’s ability to provide, she will be flying to Tanzania January 22–24. She will spend a week with us in Mwadui so that we can introduce her to more people and help her settle. Then she will travel to Iringa on February 1st for two months of Swahili language school. She will arrive back in Mwadui in time for Easter and will begin teaching at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School after the Easter break. Praise the Lord!

On December 7, we traveled to Kahama so we could celebrate with five new deaconesses, eight new pastors and many new parish workers and evangelists as they graduated from the Makala Bible Training Center. Linda spoke at the graduation and presented each new deaconess with a deaconess stole from her deaconess community in the U.S. She also presented a beautiful banner to all of the Tanzanian deaconesses which was handmade by some of her deaconess sisters in the U.S. They loved it! We stayed the night in a hotel in Kahama and returned to the church the next day for the grand celebration. During the five hour service, Bishop Makala installed new staff members, members of the executive counsel and district pastors, consecrated the new deaconesses and ordained the new pastors. We are so thankful for all of these servants of God who trust God with their lives and are committed to serving God and their communities.

On Sunday Dec. 15, we celebrated the confirmations of many young people in our home church, including five boys who we have had the privilege to watch grow up these past seven years. After a wonderful service, during which these young people confessed their trust in Jesus, we enjoyed party-hopping and rejoicing with our dear friends. Since two of the boys were our neighbors, one of the parties was held in our backyard. The other party was held at the home of the Medard family. It meant so much to us to be a part of their special day.

By God’s grace, we finally received stones for the foundation, and the new home for vulnerable children in Mwadui is well-underway. The home will have space for eight boys and eight girls who are in crisis situations. The location is ideal, because it is right next to the secondary school’s soccer field and clinic and the children will be able to attend school at one of the primary schools in Mwadui. Only time will tell whether the home will open before we move, but we trust that God will use this new ministry in mighty ways.

The week of Christmas was filled with making Christmas cookies, hosting a cookie decorating party for neighborhood kids, helping Pastor Julia deliver three goats, other food supplies and underclothes to the children at Buhangija Center and hosting a showing of The Nativity Story movie at our church. On Christmas Day we celebrated the birth of Jesus with our church family, opened presents from our family in the U.S. (which by God’s grace arrived the day before), showed our kids the video we had put together of our family safari earlier this year and enjoyed a delicious lunch with the Nzelu family. The weekend after Christmas we traveled to Mwanza to visit friends. We are thankful to the Berry-Stableins for watching our kids so we could see The Rise of Skywalker. Our New Year’s Day got off to a rocky start as Linda was diagnosed with an amoeba. However, while Linda rested Eric and the kids enjoyed a delicious lunch with our dear friends Abel and Mercy, who also happened to host us for our very first New Year’s in Tanzania seven years ago.

Thank you to all who sent us Christmas letters! It has been so fun to see pictures and hear stories from many of you. If you did not receive a copy of our Christmas letter and would like to, you can find a digital copy at our website—www.GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/blog/Funke/newsletters

This month we finished out the 2019 school year both at the secondary school and in homeschooling our kids. On December 10, Eric led a training at our school for administrators from six different area schools, teaching them to use the gradebook and scheduling programs he designed. On December 19, we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of our neighbors and dear friends, Yohana and Lilian Nzelu. Last but not least, on December 22, Michael lost his second tooth! We have had so many causes for celebration this month, and we trust that God will continue to lead us and this community in 2020!

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.

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Walking Alongside

And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.Acts 15:41

2019 has been a busy year full of many blessings. We give thanks to God for his provisions and your support that has allowed us to serve as missionaries in Africa. Please let us share with you some of the events from this year!

In April, my wife Jenn and I traveled to Togo to meet with our missionaries about projects in French-speaking Africa.

Between February and June, I made several trips to western Kenya to support Project 24 and the Christ’s Care for Children—Kenya child sponsorship program that the LCMS does in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya, as well as begin efforts to improve and complete housing for our missionary professors at the ELCK seminary there.

In July, our two oldest boys traveled with me to the U.S. to promote Project 24 and CCC-Kenya at the National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis, at a Higher Things youth conference, and the synod convention in Tampa, as well as a number of churches in the midwest (Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin). God provided relationships that would help later in the year.

In August I visited the seminary in Nigeria to observe library and dormitory projects, assess how resources were used and report back to donors. This was the culmination of a review that I had started earlier this year in March. God certainly helped make this trip happen, and it was a blessing to see His hand at work in this country.

In September, our family travelled to Ethiopia to visit the seminary our missionaries teach in. This country has the largest body of Lutherans (over eight-million and growing). In October, I travelled to French-speaking Burundi with our missionaries from west Africa and Lutheran Heritage Foundation to assist with a catechism seminar and learn about the growing church in this mountainous country.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. May God grant you a Blessed Advent and a very Merry Christmas!

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.hereiamsendmesendme.blogspot.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mailing list and make donations.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Happy Thanksgiving

A Sri Lanka cornucopia, drawn by Grace, complete with king coconuts, jackfruit, papaya, pumpkin, beets, woodapple, rambudan, avocados, brinjal, pineapple, kohlrabi, leeks, watermelon, banana leaves, mangos and curry leaves.

If you’re like me, you frequently fall into the bad habit of saying “I’m thankful for X, Y and Z.” Around the time of Thanksgiving, you have an opportunity to speak truth to your neighbors in the U.S. So many do not know who God really is. They don’t know who to thank. They don’t know their creator who gave them everything. So, with no one to give thanks to, naturally the celebration of Thanksgiving has morphed into a celebration of “thankfulness.”

So the next time someone tells you what they’re thankful for, ask them who they are thanking. They need to know the identity of the one who has given them everything. They especially need to know that He became a man, that He is the Lord of all and that He is coming one day for judgement, when He will make all things new.

In Sri Lanka too, God’s identity is up for grabs. Who is your creator? Who is the Lord? Is it Allah? Buddha? Vishnu? Shiva? Ganesha? Jesus? Thanksgiving is one of the ways we confess our faith and identify God.

The one leper whom Jesus healed in Luke 17 returned to Jesus to give Him thanks. Who did the other nine thank? Or were they just thankful in general? The one identified His Lord, His savior, Jesus.

Sadly, not everyone who hears the word of God believes. Nine out of ten lepers whom Jesus personally healed didn’t come back. They didn’t believe, at least we aren’t told that they did. That percentage is a reality in many parts of the world, and may be soon in America too.

I pray during this holiday season, that God would give you, our dear partners in Christ’s mission, opportunities to show others who He is not only by your thanksgiving, but also by your faith in Him, your hope, and especially your love.

We know and we give thanks to God that out of your faith in the Lord, and in thanksgiving for His blessings, you are supporting us for His mission in Sri Lanka. Especially on this day, our hearts are warm as we think of all of you, our dear family in Christ. We sorely miss being with you, but we feel so privileged to be serving here on your behalf.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!Psalm 67:1–3

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: From God's Hand

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.1 Chronicles 29:13–14

The Thanksgiving holiday provides such a wonderful opportunity to remember that all we have comes from God and God calls us to share what we have been given with others. This month as we shared the tangible gifts we have been given, we were amazed by how many intangible things we received— joy, community, gratitude, hope, refreshment.

The weekend before Thanksgiving we opened our home to the Olson family— the Lutheran Bible Translators on Ukerewe Island— and to five Peace Corps volunteers who work in the Shinyanga region. Putting together this Thanksgiving celebration was truly a group effort. We are so thankful for Riaan who helped us make housing arrangements for the Peace Corps volunteers and gave a tour of the mine to some of our guests, for Ansa who made cookies for each of our guests, for the Nzelu family who found us a turkey and prepared it for cooking and for all of our guests who helped with food preparation. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving feast with turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, biscuits, pumpkin pie, cookies and ice cream. As the food fueled our bodies, the meaningful conversations, laughter and dancing strengthened our spirits.

On Thanksgiving Day we had the joy of helping some of our South African friends distribute gifts to the children at Buhangija Centre. Buhangija is a refuge for children with blindness, deafness, albinism (who are often hunted because their body parts are considered magical) or who are in crisis situations. For many months, our South African friends have been hand-making and gathering blankets so that each child could have their very own unique blanket. They also put together treat bags and provided food supplies and clothes for the center. Seeing these kids hug their blankets, feel each pattern on the blanket and wrap the blankets around themselves brought us such tremendous joy.

Our students took their national and regional exams this past month, and now most of the students have returned home for the Christmas holiday. As classes concluded, Eric took the time to train Sundi and Ephraim on how to use the Lego NXT Robotics program we received from First Lego League. Sundi and Ephraim’s excitement was contagious, and they are looking forward to starting a robotics club at school next year.

Pre-Form 1 classes continue at Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School, and thanks to many of your donations, the kitchen finally has a roof! The school continues to try to find funding for the piping and equipment in the chemistry laboratory ($4,680). This month we met with Bishop Gulle to discuss his vision for the school and to offer resources that our school in Mwadui has found helpful. Mwanza Lutheran will have its official grand opening on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. A team from St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, TX will be coming for the occasion. They will begin their journey on February 13 and return to the U.S. on February 22. The trip will include opportunities to visit many of the ministries we talk about regularly and a two-day safari in the Serengeti. The trip will cost about $3,500–$4,000 per person, depending on how many people come and cost of airfare. If any of you would like to join them, please email us as soon as possible at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cheryl Kruckemeyer

As of December 1, Cheryl Kruckemeyer was only $7,808 short of reaching her goal for departure! We are praying the remaining money comes in this month so that by January she can book plane tickets for her move to Tanzania. It would really help all of our transitions if she can overlap with us so that we can show her the quirks of this house and introduce her to more people who can help her settle, help her learn Swahili, and support her in the years ahead. If you can help close the gap, you can make an online donation at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/support-kruckemeyer.html. Or you can write a check to "Global Lutheran Outreach" with "Cheryl Kruckemeyer" in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023. All donations are tax deductible.

Other Happenings

We welcomed and hosted Rev. Dale Talsma, GLO Missionary Developer, November 18–20. It was wonderful to catch up with him. We helped Baraka get to his next doctor’s appointment, and the doctor once again increased the dosage of his medicine. We also took Joseph to the doctor when he showed up at our door ill and provided emergency food rations for the family so he had enough food to take with his medicine.

Michael and Julia continue to grow and astound us with all that they are learning. We gave big bags full of clothes they had outgrown to Baraka’s brother Amani and to Forever Angels Baby Home this month. Both Michael and Julia also lost their first teeth this month, and Julia lost a second tooth on December 2. Currently their favorite thing to talk about is the movie Frozen. They even dressed up as Elsa and Sven with headpieces from our friend Louise. This past month we have also enjoyed flying kites with them, playing games during Sunday afternoon picnics, swimming with them in Mwanza and decorating our home for Christmas. We look forward to continuing to share what God has given us as we enter into the season of Advent and Christmas.

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: Not Just Music

Not only does our work in Sri Lanka involve music, but God is also using Grace’s skill and training as an artist in service to the proclamation of the Gospel. For the last few months, Grace has been working closely with Dr. Edward Naumann, another missionary here (theological educator to South Asia). He and his family live near us in Colombo. One important aspect of his work is managing publications. Currently, he is working on having the book of John translated into simple, readable Sinhala and Tamil for children. He is enlisting Grace’s help for the illustration of the book.

The John book will contain around thirty illustrations. Grace is providing Sri Lankan painters with descriptions and sketches of the illustrations. Then they set to work on large acrylic paintings that will eventually be photographed and incorporated into the book. These paintings may also be framed for use as decoration in sanctuaries. The first few paintings are complete now, and more are on the way. We hope we will get to see the finished book before we return to seminary, but it’s been fun seeing what the artists come up with. Not only will the book be a blessing for the South Asians who read the words of John’s Gospel, but also for the local artists who are encountering God’s word as they work.

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: Juggling

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:17

While we were in Dar Es Salaam recently, we enjoyed a free juggling show. As we watched the amazing performer, we empathized with the struggle to keep everything up in the air. We often feel like we are juggling many things at once, but we give thanks that God has given us so many opportunities for service and that God brings joy to us and to others in the juggling.

On October 5, we celebrated the graduation of 126 Form Four students (high school seniors) at our school. This is the fortieth graduating class at Mwadui Secondary School! Now all of our students are preparing for national and regional exams, which will take place in November. On October 9, Linda led one last class for the year, sharing tips for calming test-taking anxiety and preparing for their exams. Please pray for our students as they begin exams, especially for our Form 4 students as these tests will determine whether they are allowed to continue their education.

U.S. Citizenship Update

After some trouble locating a case number, on October 8 we were finally able to finalize our DS-260. On October 15, we attended our children’s medical check in Dar Es Salaam. Unfortunately, we learned that all medical tests for U.S. immigration are sent to South Africa, so we wouldn’t be able to file the results until the following Monday. Since all we could do was wait, we found a cheap hotel and took the ferry for a long-weekend in Zanzibar.

We greatly enjoyed beach time and pool time as a family. We hoped that once the documents were filed we would be able to have our kids’ immigration visa interview that week. However, when we arrived on Monday October 21 to file the documents, we learned that the earliest they could get us in for an interview was 7:30 AM on Oct. 31. We started crunching numbers and realized that staying in Dar Es Salaam for those ten days was still considerably cheaper than flying home and returning for a second trip.

Through the power of social media, we were connected with another mom who had adopted from Forever Angels. We moved into a discounted one-bedroom AirBnB in her apartment. For those ten days, we worked long distance, home-schooled our children, visited with friends in the area and enjoyed many of the free/cheap amenities in Dar Es Salaam, including the studio for a local kids’ TV show, a juggling act, a clown show, a tour of the Azania Front Lutheran Cathedral and the National Museum of Tanzania.

Thankfully, on October 31 the interview went smoothly, and we were able to pick up the immigration visas the following day! We are grateful to friends who have already stepped up to help cover the unexpected costs of this trip. The next step is using the immigration visas to move to the U.S. in March. If all goes well, our children will receive U.S. citizenship upon entry.

Our Sister School

Mwanza Lutheran Secondary now has over 200 pre-Form 1 students and will open fully in January! We rejoiced as we recently saw the school in action. Thanks to donations from St. John in Cypress, Texas, Christ the King in Memphis, Texas, and Saint John’s in Fort Collins, Colorado, the school’s kitchen is now fully funded and construction is continuing. Praise the Lord! The school is now trying to find funding for the piping and equipment in the chemistry laboratory ($4,680). If you know of a church or Lutheran school who would like to get involved, please email us!

New Missionary Cheryl Kruckemeyer

While in Dar es Salaam, we submitted the applications for Cheryl’s work and residence permits. Please pray that the process goes smoothly, especially as many missionaries are struggling to get permits under the current administration. Please also pray that Cheryl receives what she needs to move before we leave Tanzania in March. Cheryl has been hard at work, presenting at churches such as Zion in Vernon, Texas, Crown of Life in Colleyville, Texas, St. Paul in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Word of Life in Cibolo, Texas.

She has now moved out of her apartment and moved in with her daughter until the big move to Tanzania—i.e., she is fully committed to this new ministry. It would greatly help all of our transitions if we could overlap with her here in Tanzania. We want to be able to show her various aspects of this house (it definitely has quirks). We want to introduce her to more people who can help her settle, help her learn Swahili and support her in the years ahead. We want to transfer our mailbox to her, help her get her own phone line, help her apply for her national ID and driver's license and help her learn to drive on the opposite side of the road. We want to give her more tools for connecting with international partners and ensure a smooth transition at our school. All of this will only be possible if she can move here before March, which means she needs to have funding by December or January. Once she has funding, she will be able to book plane tickets and arrange to attend Swahili language school.

She currently has about 54% of what she needs in cash and pledges. We are praying that she will reach 75% by Thanksgiving, but she needs another $9,000 for that to happen. We have been praying for God to work some financial miracles. If you are interested in being part of that miracle, you can give a secure online donation at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/support-kruckemeyer.html or you can write a check to "Global Lutheran Outreach" with "Cheryl Kruckemeyer" in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023. All donations are tax-deductible, and every little bit helps. At this point, supporting Cheryl through prayer and financial gifts also greatly helps us and our ministry. When we leave Tanzania, we want to leave well with as many loose ends tied up as possible.

Community Health Evangelism (CHE)

The CHE training team has been hard at work, leading a Women’s Cycle of Life training for the parish workers studying at the Makala Bible Training Center on October 18, a training for youth at Shinyanga Secondary on October 30 and a training for young women at the Right to Live With Albinism program on October 31. We are so thankful for all they are doing to teach communities about holistic health.

Baraka

After discovering that Baraka’s most recent casts caused terrible sores, Linda traveled with “Team Baraka”— Baraka, Baraka’s mom, Sara, Deaconess Esther, and Pastor Julia—to Mwanza on October 8. Through a series of small miracles, they were able to get him in to see the orthopedic surgeon on October 8 and the pediatric neurologist on October 9 at Bugando Hospital. On October 16, Baraka underwent an MRI. Baraka’s sores continue to heal slowly and the doctors now have him on new medication to help with his involuntary muscle contractions. Please pray for continued healing.

New Home for Vulnerable Children

Our diocese is planning to open a family-style home for vulnerable children on our school’s campus. The building will accommodate eight boys and eight girls in crisis, including children with albinism who are in dangerous situations. The plans have now been approved by all departments of the government, and a fundraising effort, spearheaded by Rev. Peter Brock of St. John in Decatur, Indiana, has raised over $40,000 for this project! Praise the Lord! Construction is now beginning, and we are excited for the future of this ministry.

Additional Celebrations and Fun

This month has also been full of festivities, such as the fourth birthday of Baraka’s brother, Amani, a surprise birthday party for our friend Dr. Anne Berry, Michael’s sixth birthday, which we celebrated at Fun City Amusement Park in Dar, and then with a belated party with friends after we returned, and Halloween, where Michael and Julia made the most adorable dinosaur and mermaid. We thank God for all of the people in our lives who bring us joy and help us to celebrate life.

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.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Meet the Year One Students

Each new school year there is excitement at the seminary. Some of that excitement comes from the students and faculty being reunited after the break or students being introduced to new coursework and studies as they continue to learn. Sometimes the greatest joy is witnessed in the first year students as they begin their seminary journey.

This year the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) has sent new students to the seminary from the Eastern Deanery, the Midwest, and a new area from the Northern Deanery. The LCU has also welcomed more South Sudanese students from the refugee settlements in Northern Uganda to study at the Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU).

When listening to the students, it gives great encouragement of how the Holy Spirit is growing the church in Uganda. Several of the year one students have a great love for languages and are eager to use those skill sets in preaching and teaching in their home regions.

Others understand their position as new students at the LTCU as an opportunity for evangelism work with family, friends and neighbors. They are able to share about how the Lord has called them to study at the seminary as a way to share about the Lord’s work in Uganda through the LCU.

All the men are eager to learn more in their classes and already generate great discussion as they grow as theologians. Their excitement is also encouraging to the other year two and year four students. Even though they are excited about being called to serve in this way, they do not enter the seminary lightly. They are also aware of the challenges of studying full time. Please pray for these men as they embark on their seminary studies, as they learn, grow in the faith and faithfully serve God’s people in Uganda.

Life and Mission Update

Besides serving in our daily roles at the seminary, this past September and October we were able to participate in other ministry opportunities.

This past September the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) held their Partners Conference, which occurs every two years. This allows the LCU to provide ministry updates to the partnering LCMS congregations, an opportunity to provide strategic mission and vision for the next two years and for partners to share updates from short team visits. We are thankful we were able to support the LCU leadership by attending, as well as interacting with the partners who have a love for the people and the LCU’s ministry.

While in the United States we were also briefly able to connect with family, friends and congregations that support the Lord’s work in Uganda in various ways. We praise God for those moments!

Each year we are also grateful for the opportunity to gather together with other LCMS missionaries from the East and South Africa region. This year we met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and were taught by Dr. Jeff Oshwald from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Our topic was “Reading Acts as Scripture” which was a welcomed and reassuring topic.

It is always very encouraging when our team is able to gather. We support each other with conversation, prayer and joining together in worship. Studying Acts was a great reminder of how we live and serve together as members of the Church, while focusing on Christ. For many of us, this was poignant as we live and serve alongside church bodies in East Africa and work together to carry on Christ’s mission of the church.

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: 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. They 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.

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