Poster — Wor­ship Slides

Poster — Front-​and-​Center Slides

Poster — Event Slides

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funke News: Tend­ing the Gar­den

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

Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence in Chicago

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

School

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

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

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

Mid-​South Dis­trict Visit and the Future Clinic

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

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

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

Prepar­ing for the Reeds

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

Cel­e­bra­tions

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

Adop­tion Update

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

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

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Christ Who Lives In Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funke News: Invited

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

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

Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence in Chicago

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

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

LCMS African Mis­sion­ar­ies Retreat

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

Easter

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

Vis­i­tors

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

New GLO Mis­sion­ar­ies!

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

Home and School Life

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

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

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Help­ing Pas­tors Spread the Word

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funke News: Built Up

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

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

Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence

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

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

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

Baraka

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

Grad­u­a­tion and Consecration/​Ordination of Dea­conesses and Pas­tors

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

Our School

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

Bap­tism in Mwanza

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

Adop­tion Update

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

Home-​Life

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

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

Funke News: Love with Actions

Lit­tle chil­dren, let us not love in word or talk but with actions and in truth.1 John 3:18

This month we cel­e­brated the life and faith of a dear mem­ber of our com­mu­nity. We’ve always called her “Bibi” (grand­mother), and she was one of the most con­sis­tent mem­bers of our church. Even though she was ninety years old and strug­gled to walk, she made her way to church each Sun­day. Early into our time in Mwadui, we would greet her after the ser­vice and ask how she was. She would often tell us how her legs were aching. We would express our sym­pa­thies and tell her we were pray­ing for her. Then finally one Sun­day as we went through our rit­ual, she asked for a ride, and it hit us, “Her legs were aching! Why didn’t we think of this sooner?!?” We had missed the sub­tle hints. From that day onward we gave her a ride.

Bibi Janet Makala entered her heav­enly home Feb­ru­ary 12 and is now danc­ing with Jesus. Mem­o­ries of her will always remind us that some­times prayers are not enough in this world. Some­times we are called to love with action. We give thanks for all the oppor­tu­ni­ties God has given us and our com­mu­nity to love with actions this past month.

Update on Dea­coness Spon­sor­ship

As we men­tioned last month, the Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence is com­ing up in Chicago this sum­mer. Servant-​leaders from over 35 coun­tries will gather together to pray, learn and grow in their under­stand­ing and imple­men­ta­tion of ser­vice min­istry. This con­fer­ence pro­vides an amaz­ing con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion oppor­tu­nity for our Tan­zan­ian dea­conesses, and we would love to send two of them so that they can bring back new ideas and con­nec­tions for min­istry here. We are excited to announce that $2,050 has already been raised! We still need $1,250 to send one and another $3,300 to the send a sec­ond. This amount will cover travel expenses, visas, food, lodg­ing and reg­is­tra­tion fees for the week.

We need the money as soon as pos­si­ble, because reg­is­tra­tion fees will increase soon, when early reg­is­tra­tion ends. If your church is will­ing to spon­sor one of these amaz­ing dea­conesses, please email me at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you would like to con­tribute towards these costs, you can go to www​.Glob​al​Luther​a​nOutreach​.com. Press the “Online Dona­tion” but­ton and then write the amount you wish to give next to the head­ing “Funke: Dea­coness Project.” Alter­na­tively, you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Out­reach” with “Funke: Dea­coness Project” in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Out­reach, 6709 Ficus Dr., Mira­mar, FL 33023.

Open­ing of the New Dea­coness House

On Valentine’s Day, we attended the open­ing of the Nyumba Ya Wadi­ako­nia (Dea­coness House), which will be used for a wide vari­ety of min­istries. Most imme­di­ately it will be used for the Right to Live with Albinism project. Witch doc­tors believe that the blood and limbs of peo­ple with albinism are good luck. The gov­ern­ment has a refuge cen­ter for chil­dren with albinism, but they recently sent all the teens home with­out any pro­tec­tion, skills or means to sup­port them­selves. There­fore, the dea­conesses will use the build­ing as a train­ing cen­ter for teen girls with albinism, teach­ing them to make a liv­ing through sewing. We donated the money for one sewing machine, and we pray that God may bless this impor­tant ministry.

Majid

It’s amaz­ing the dif­fer­ence a year can make! A year ago Majid couldn’t walk, and his fam­ily didn’t know how they would afford his treat­ment. Now, thanks to the gen­er­ous sup­port of many of you, he is walk­ing and is even able to attend school for the first time. His teach­ers at Agape Lutheran Pri­mary School are work­ing hard to catch him up and even bought a spe­cial desk for him that can accom­mo­date his braces. They’ve informed me that they will have to build a spe­cial bath­room for him. Most kids use squat toi­lets, but he can­not use those toi­lets well, and they fear he will get a bac­te­r­ial infec­tion. The bath­room will cost $600. The local church has com­mit­ted to raise $200. Thanks to gen­er­ous spon­sors, we will be able to send the remain­ing money for the bath­room later this week.

Our School

School is back in full swing. Eric has been busy teach­ing, get­ting dic­tio­nar­ies checked out to stu­dents, sub­bing for the physics teacher who had to travel for a fam­ily funeral and design­ing an error-​proof elec­tronic grade­book for teach­ers. We are so pleased that the school has asked Sundi to stay on as Eric’s assis­tant in the com­puter lab. A group from Mwangaza train­ing cen­ter also came to help the teach­ers con­tinue to improve their teach­ing tech­niques. We’ve started movie nights again, which teach the stu­dents life lessons and improve their English.

Linda taught a four-​lesson course on study skills and answered ques­tions the stu­dents wrote to her each week. Two times this month these ques­tions have led to coun­sel­ing ses­sions. One student’s cousin was mur­dered, and another stu­dent is strug­gling with depres­sion because of fam­ily trauma. We feel hon­ored when our stu­dents choose to trust us with some of their deep­est hurts. Please keep these stu­dents in your prayers.

Com­mu­nity Health Evan­ge­lism— Train­ing of Train­ers 2

This week (Feb­ru­ary 27 – March 3) we spon­sored and helped orga­nize the next level of Com­mu­nity Health Evan­ge­lism (CHE) train­ing. The food, hous­ing and mate­ri­als cost about $1,350. Thanks to all of you who con­tinue to sup­port us in these kinds of ini­tia­tives! While last year’s Train­ing of Train­ers 1 (TOT 1) course cov­ered much of the the­o­log­i­cal basis, foun­da­tional prin­ci­ples and struc­ture of com­mu­nity orga­niz­ing, this week’s TOT 2 course pro­vided much prac­ti­cal application.

First, we were pleased to hear how the train­ing teams in six pilot areas are already start­ing small CHE-​inspired projects in their com­mu­ni­ties — projects like mod­el­ing how to make a dish dry­ing rack so dishes are fully dry and san­i­tary, teach­ing chil­dren to plant trees, demon­strat­ing how to care for chick­ens and other ani­mals and demon­strat­ing how to san­i­tize water using the sun. Then, dur­ing the week, the teams learned more edu­ca­tion and men­tor­ing prin­ci­ples and gained con­fi­dence by tak­ing turns teach­ing the six com­mu­nity aware­ness lessons and the nine lessons on how to train the local CHE com­mit­tee. The lessons were filled with skits, activ­i­ties, group work and dis­cus­sion. The train­ing teams left excited about empow­er­ing their com­mu­ni­ties through these Bible-​based lessons.

Home-​Life

We have set­tled into life back home. If you are inter­ested in read­ing more about our tran­si­tion back and forth between the U.S. and Tan­za­nia, check out Linda’s new blog post “My Dou­ble Life” at <a href=“http://afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com/2017/02/my-double-life.html>www.AFunkeTimeInTanzania.blogspot.com. We con­tinue to bat­tle the insur­ance com­pany about Michael’s med­ical bills in the U.S., so prayers are appre­ci­ated on that front.

We’ve appre­ci­ated time to catch up with friends in our area. Linda started up her weekly English-​speaking Bible study again, and she and Michael have been enjoy­ing the “Before Five in a Row” home­school activ­i­ties. We are happy to report that Michael is now diaper/​pull-​up free! Michael also cur­rently loves sten­cils, build­ing mazes for his cars and read­ing books with Mommy and Daddy. We are look­ing for­ward to another month of growth and love in action!

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

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Feed­ing Body and Soul

Let the chil­dren come to me; do not hin­der them, for to such belongs the king­dom of God.Mark 10:14b

As a young boy, Peter would walk this area to tend to his cat­tle. A mem­ber of the Maa­sai peo­ple, he knew the lay of the land and how best to care for the cat­tle for his fam­ily. But not every young boy in Kenya has a fam­ily. Today the land is much the same, but now there are over 1.8 mil­lion orphans in Kenya, largely as a result of HIV/​AIDS, tribal con­flicts and other causes.

How­ever, today on that six acre plot of land in Lenk­in­shon, in south­ern Kenya, stands a place of refuge for orphans and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in this region. Up to eighty chil­dren can receive food and shel­ter from the on-​site dor­mi­tory and din­ing facil­i­ties and attend a nearby pri­mary school for edu­ca­tion. With the help of the local pas­tor and Lutheran con­gre­ga­tion, the Lenk­in­shon board­ing facil­ity is the newest Project 24 board­ing site to pro­vide needs for soul and body for Kenya’s orphans.

At the end of Feb­ru­ary this year, it was with much antic­i­pa­tion that John and other LCMS mis­sion­ar­ies and vis­i­tors attended the offi­cial open­ing for the Project 24 site in Lenk­in­shon. As the res­i­dent chil­dren returned from school, neigh­bors from the com­mu­nity started to gather along with mem­bers from the local Lutheran church. Cooks were busy in the out­door kitchen prepar­ing the slaugh­tered cow to feed the grow­ing num­ber of vis­i­tors. When church and county gov­ern­ment offi­cials arrived, beau­ti­ful Maa­sai women adorned with beaded neck­laces and head­dresses began singing and danc­ing. There was much excite­ment about this spe­cial occa­sion for chil­dren in this region.

Project 24 is a com­bined effort of the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK), the Lutheran Church — Mis­souri Synod and var­i­ous LCMS indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions to pro­vide a Christ-​centered and safe envi­ron­ment for chil­dren who might not oth­er­wise attend school. Located near ELCK churches, the youth par­take in daily devo­tions, cat­e­chism instruc­tion, spir­i­tual care from the pas­tor and fel­low­ship with con­gre­gants. The Lenk­in­shon site is the newest of five such board­ing facil­i­ties man­aged by the ELCK.

In their respec­tive loca­tions, the Christ-​centered envi­ron­ment of the Project 24 sites has gar­nered the sup­port, pro­tec­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion of the com­mu­nity, and the open­ing of the Lenk­in­shon site seems to be no excep­tion. Local tribal lead­ers and county gov­ern­ment offi­cials had also sup­ported con­struc­tion and start-​up support.

Jesus said ‘Let the lit­tle chil­dren come to me’,” said Rev. Shauen Trump, LCMS Area Direc­tor for East and South­ern Africa, dur­ing the com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony, who through a trans­la­tor so that he could speak to the Maa­sai chil­dren in their native lan­guage. “He loves each of us to the small­est child, so we also try to help, to teach, to preach the Word of God, and we also love our chil­dren. To you chil­dren I say ‘God Bless you.’”

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

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Bring­ing the Word to the Peo­ple of Turkana

Some wan­dered in desert wastes, find­ing no way to a city to dwell in; hun­gry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trou­ble, and he deliv­ered them from their dis­tress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the Lord for his stead­fast love, for his won­drous works to the chil­dren of man! For he sat­is­fies the long­ing soul, and the hun­gry soul he fills with good things.Psalm 107:49

Every morn­ing, Daniel’s wife works to grow and sell veg­eta­bles from a gar­den plot offered through the county gov­ern­ment. Peri­od­i­cally, she makes the four-​hour jour­ney home to pro­vide food and money for their fam­ily, while Daniel, a Lutheran, con­tin­ues to search for work. This is one of a hand­ful of such pro­grams in Turkana, the largest and poor­est county in Kenya.

At three degrees above the equa­tor, it is a cool 95 degree win­ter day (nor­mal temps are above 105 degrees) as I walk and feel the soil with vil­lage elder Jack­son and Kenyan mis­sion­ary Pas­tor Mutai. LCMS agri­cul­tural mis­sion­ar­ies Delano and Linda Meyer join us to exam­ine options for the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church of Kenya to estab­lish a mis­sion sta­tion in the coun­try seat of Lod­war to serve peo­ple in this low-​land arid desert county the size of west Virginia.

Peo­ple per­se­cuted for their eth­nic­ity and reli­gious beliefs come from Sudan, Ethiopia and Congo to seek relief at Kakuma Refuge camp in the north. In the south, tra­di­tional herders rus­tle cat­tle of adver­sary tribes. Through­out the county, large under­ground oil and water reserves have been dis­cov­ered. Caught in the mid­dle is a nomadic peo­ple strug­gling with tra­di­tional means to pro­vide for themselves.

As part of our field research, we learned of efforts by the min­istry of agri­cul­tural to teach nomadic peo­ples to farm, and vis­ited the forestry office and a cou­ple of river­side gar­den plots to learn about trees and plants suit­able for the desert. How­ever, imple­ment­ing any tech­ni­cal solu­tion would be short-​lived and inef­fec­tive with­out the involve­ment of the com­mu­nity, and this is dif­fi­cult with­out first grasp­ing the Gospel.

Although peo­ple here live in a phys­i­cal desert, their souls also dwell in a spir­i­tual desert. Daily sus­te­nance must be pro­cured in a man­ner pleas­ing to ances­tral spir­its. Soci­etal pres­sures have degraded social and fam­ily roles of father and mother. Wealth is deter­mined by the num­ber of cat­tle in spite of impov­er­ished liv­ing con­di­tions. Rather than pro­vid­ing for one’s fam­ily, once strong men find it eas­ier to ask NGOs or fam­ily mem­bers for help.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthi­ans 12:9, “My grace is suf­fi­cient for you,” and in Romans 8:18, ”For I con­sider that the suf­fer­ings of this present time are not worth com­par­ing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Paul also states that through Christ, we are rec­on­ciled to God through the death and res­ur­rec­tion of His Son. God has rec­on­ciled his Cre­ation unto Him­self through Christ.

This mes­sage of sal­va­tion and heal­ing is being car­ried to the rapidly grow­ing area of Turkana by just one Kenyan mis­sion­ary pas­tor — just one pas­tor to sup­port Lutheran groups in north­ern refugee camps, to lead strug­gling but grow­ing con­gre­ga­tions in the south and to spread the news of Christ’s sal­va­tion through­out the area. Please pray for God’s grace and pro­vi­sion for the peo­ple of Turkana as we begin work in this area.

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

Funke News: Stew­ards

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stew­ards of God’s var­ied grace.1 Peter 4:10

Lately we have had many reminders that all belongs to God, and we are merely stew­ards of what we have been given. We are care­tak­ers of our time, our money, our house, our planet and our nat­ural abil­i­ties and skill. We knew this even before mov­ing over­seas, yet liv­ing off the gen­eros­ity of oth­ers has made us even more aware of our role as stew­ards. We are grate­ful for every oppor­tu­nity we have been given to serve our com­mu­ni­ties and for all of you who con­tinue to love and encour­age us.

If you did not receive our Christ­mas let­ter in the mail and would like to read a copy, you can find it at Glob​al​Luther​a​nOutreach​.com/​b​l​o​g​/​f​u​n​k​e​/​n​e​w​s​l​e​t​t​e​r​s​/. Also, many peo­ple have men­tioned that they missed our full pre­sen­ta­tion dur­ing our fur­lough, either because they had other respon­si­bil­i­ties that Sun­day or because we gave a shorter ver­sion at their church. If that is you, you can now enjoy the full 45-​minute pre­sen­ta­tion at www​.youtube​.com/​E​r​i​c​F​u​n​k​e​G​L​O. You can also find our eight-​minute “Year in Review” video there.

Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence

We have a unique oppor­tu­nity right now. The Diako­nia World Fed­er­a­tion Con­fer­ence is held every four years in var­i­ous coun­tries around the world. This year it will be held in Chicago, June 28 – July 5. Servant-​leaders from over 35 coun­tries will gather together to pray, learn and grow in their under­stand­ing and imple­men­ta­tion of ser­vice min­istry. Linda attended this week-​long con­fer­ence in 2009, and it was life-​changing! You can learn more about this con­fer­ence at www​.diako​nia​-world​.org/​2017​/​C​h​i​c​a​g​o​2017​.​s​h​t​m​l. We unfor­tu­nately won’t be able to attend this year because we will be in the mid­dle of our sec­ond adop­tion, but we would love to send two Tan­zan­ian dea­conesses from our dio­cese. Through this continuing-​education oppor­tu­nity, par­tic­i­pants will learn of new avenues of min­istry to bring back to their com­mu­nity and will make con­nec­tions around the world. Bishop Makala is also excited about this oppor­tu­nity, believ­ing that send­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives to an inter­na­tional con­fer­ence will increase the stand­ing of the new dea­coness com­mu­nity among Tan­zan­ian leaders.

How­ever, we can’t do it with­out your help. Travel expenses, visas, food, lodg­ing and reg­is­tra­tion fees for the week cost about $3,300 per par­tic­i­pant. Reg­is­tra­tion has already started and fees will increase by $100 after March, so this is time-​sensitive. If you would like to con­tribute towards these costs, you can go to Glob​al​Luther​a​nOutreach​.com/​s​u​p​p​o​r​t​-​f​u​n​k​e​.​h​t​m​l. Press the “Online Dona­tion” but­ton and then write the amount you wish to give next to the head­ing “Funke: Dea­coness Project.” Alter­na­tively, you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Out­reach” with “Funke: Dea­coness Project” in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Out­reach, 6709 Ficus Dr, Mira­mar, FL 33023.

Health Update

Thank you all for your prayers for our health. While in the U.S., Linda under­went a wide vari­ety of tests related to her gas­troin­testi­nal strug­gles. The tests con­firmed the diag­no­sis of Small Intes­tine Bac­te­r­ial Over­growth and Can­dida over­growth and thank­fully showed no other com­pli­cat­ing fac­tors. Given that SIBO and Can­dida are both chronic con­di­tions, we real­ized that we needed a doc­tor who was up-​to-​date on the cur­rent SIBO research and was will­ing to stay in reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion with us while in Tan­za­nia. We are grate­ful for the rec­om­men­da­tion of Dr. Williams, who guided us in what antibi­otics and sup­ple­ments we needed to bring back, con­nected us with a dietit­ian, and will con­tinue to com­mu­ni­cate with us through email. Unfor­tu­nately, though her office applied to be in-​network with our insur­ance over six months ago, they have not yet received the con­fir­ma­tion. Dur­ing our time in the U.S., Michael also under­went a vari­ety of tests as part of St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Inter­na­tional Adop­tion Cen­ter. Through blood­work, they deter­mined which vac­cines he still needed and that he likely had a par­a­site. This was con­firmed through mul­ti­ple stool sam­ples. He had to undergo two dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions for this par­a­site. We are thank­ful for their thor­ough­ness and dili­gence. How­ever, our insur­ance thus far has refused to pay over $3,000 for Michael’s tests and treat­ment. Please pray with us that we can resolve these issues with our insur­ance com­pany soon. Our med­ical bills have put a large dent in our bud­get. That being said, if you have ever con­sid­ered becom­ing a monthly donor, now is an excel­lent time.

Last Weeks in the U.S.

Our last few weeks in the U.S. were a flurry of activ­ity. Jen­nifer Williams took Funke fam­ily pic­tures for us. Eric spent a few days with his sis­ter in Min­nesota. We enjoyed Brian and Alison’s Christ­mas gift to us — a dou­ble date night, includ­ing a night at a hotel while Eric’s par­ents gra­ciously watched all four grand­kids. We caught up with more friends in St. Louis, enjoyed a few more fam­ily din­ners, fin­ished up last doc­tors’ vis­its, packed and then, before we knew it, it was time to head back. If you would like to see more pic­tures from our last few weeks in the U.S., visit our Face­book page. Thank you to all who made these last four months so mem­o­rable and special.

Since We’ve Been Back …

Life def­i­nitely did not slow down upon our return. After 41 hours of travel (twenty hours on planes), we finally arrived in Tan­za­nia. Once we reached Mwadui, Michael enjoyed time with his friends here, and we began unpack­ing, set­ting our house back up, look­ing for a school for Baraka, start­ing to plan the next Com­mu­nity Health Evan­ge­lism train­ing (Feb­ru­ary 28 – March 3), get­ting to know our new Peace Corps vol­un­teer Tay­lor bet­ter and teach­ing. We brought back six lap­tops from the Lutheran High School Asso­ci­a­tion for our school. We also brought back over $1,000 dol­lars for books for the library and sup­plies for the com­puter lab! Thank you to all who donated!

School is back in ses­sion, and the new admin­is­tra­tion build­ing will be ready in a month or two. Dale Talsma, GLO’s Inter­na­tional Mis­sion­ary Devel­oper, joined us for two nights so that he could meet with Rev. Nzelu and Bishop Makala and help us process all that has hap­pened in the last year of min­istry. Then we all headed to Mwanza to cel­e­brate the ordi­na­tion of fel­low GLO mis­sion­ary Dixon Gbean­quoi and eight other pas­tors. We are so happy for him! You can see more pic­tures from the ordi­na­tion on Face­book. With that trip, our four months of nearly con­stant travel are com­plete, and we are look­ing for­ward to set­tling back into our life and work here. :-)

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