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Funke News: Transitions

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6–7

Philippians 4:6 is among the most commonly memorized verses in the Bible, and yet it can also be so easily forgotten in the heat of the moment. We wish we could say that in this month of transition we have not been anxious. However, when Linda got sick two weeks before departure, and when our Tanzanian work permits still hadn’t arrived five days before departure, and when we were snowed in four days before departure, and when we discovered Linda’s new eyeglasses had the wrong lenses two days before departure, and when we discovered that there was a significant error in our I-600A homestudy, and when Linda’s last medical supplement still hadn’t arrived the morning of departure, we must confess that we felt anxious.

However, it all worked out. Linda’s body healed. Our Tanzanian work permits arrived on January 11 and our resident permit receipts arrived the day of departure, so we didn’t have any problems reentering Tanzania. The snow cleared and we were able to continue our errands. We received a full refund on the glasses with the wrong lenses and were able to find a place to make Linda new glasses within an hour. Our adoption agency helped us send in the form to correct the error on our home study. Linda’s last supplement arrived fifteen minutes before we headed to the airport. Whew!

This month of transition has definitely had its stressful moments. This year will also be a time of transition for us. There is much we don’t know about the future right now. However, with Philippians 4:6–7 as our guide, we are prayerful and thankful. We trust that the God who saw us through this past month will also see us and our ministry through the upcoming transitions.

Important Announcement

After much thought and prayer, we have decided to move back to the United States in early 2020. For those who were able to attend one of our presentations or read our Christmas letter, this is not new news (you can still find our presentation at YouTube.com/EricFunkeGLO and our Christmas letter at GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/blog/funke/newsletters to get the full story.

As you all know, we have begun the process to get U.S. citizenship for our children. Once our children receive immigration visas, we have to return to the U.S. to pursue their certificates of citizenship. We have heard that it is easier to get those certificates if the family actually intends to reside in the U.S. This move will also allow Linda to have better access to healthcare for her Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, will enable our kids to settle into a school in first grade and kindergarten and will give all four of us the opportunity to spend more time with our extended families.

We therefore plan to dedicate this next year to teaching Tanzanians how to take over various aspects of our ministries, and we are praying that God will provide new missionaries to live in our house and work at our school (in any capacity—teacher, nurse, chaplain, social worker, DCE, deaconess, IT person, etc.). We have prepared a one-page description of this opportunity that you can access and download at GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/blog/funke/newsletters. Please help us spread the word about this opportunity and connect us with anyone who might be interested in working at our school. We would love to have any potential future missionaries come out to visit us in early 2019.

If you are interested in this opportunity or know someone who might be interested, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our Last Two Weeks in the U.S.

In spite of the stress of travel preparations, our last few weeks in the U.S. also contained some precious moments. We started off the new year by making pfeffernusse cookies and watching the Rose Parade. On January 5, we went to see Anastasia at the Fox Theater while Brian and Alison babysat our kids (our Christmas gift from them). We were able to catch up with more friends by phone and in person including Alyssa and Justin (Michael’s godfather). Michael and Julia got in one last snow day with their grandparents, and we had one last pizza night with family. We are also so thankful to Diane Timm, Kimberly Patterson and Eric’s parents for entertaining our kids while we ran many errands in our last week. The past four months have felt like a whirlwind of activity, but as we look back at the pictures, we are so grateful we were able to reconnect and make memories with so many people.

The Journey Back to Tanzania

The journey back to Tanzania felt extremely long and difficult (twenty-plus hours in the air, and nineteen-plus hours in airports), but there were some nice moments along the way. Many people smiled and commented on how cute Michael and Julia were “driving” our four-wheel carry-on bags through the airport. A TSA agent at the St. Louis airport gave Michael and Julia a sticker badge and gloves and let them pretend to give her a shot. Our kids greatly enjoyed the children’s science museum in the Amsterdam airport. When Julia heard a pianist playing Disney classics on the grand piano in the Amsterdam airport, she started dancing, and when she had finished, fellow travelers around us started clapping. These are the memories we want to hold onto from that trip.

When we finally arrived in Mwanza, four checked bags and Michael’s car seat were missing. We then spent the night catching up on sleep at a hotel in Mwanza and awoke to a beautiful view. Thankfully, our lost luggage arrived the next day. We are so grateful to Bishop and Lilian Makala for picking us up from the hotel, taking us to retrieve our bags from the airport and driving us back to Mwadui. Our neighbors warmly welcomed us home.

Back Home in Mwadui

For the past two weeks we have been catching up with friends, unpacking, recovering from jetlag and starting to settle back into our rhythm. This year Eric is continuing in his role as Assistant Academic Master and will be teaching math for Form One and computers for Forms Four through Six. We returned with eight more donated laptops for the school’s computer lab. Linda is once again homeschooling our kids, teaching her guidance and counseling class at the secondary school and mentoring DCE intern Amber Reed and Tanzanian deaconess students. We were thrilled to see the growth at the Lutheran daycare center Amber helped to start. They are now up to twenty children! At the request of Bishop Makala, we also sponsored a deaconess study tour to Haydom Lutheran Hospital in the Arusha this past week (more on that in our next newsletter). It is a joy to be back, and we are excited for the work ahead.

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: Hollen Shirley Vanderhyde

We are happy to announce that Hollen Shirley Vanderhyde was born on January 13. She weighed seven pound, six ounces and measured 21 inches long. Both she and her mother are perfectly healthy. We thank God that there were no complications with the pregnancy or labor. We thank him for giving us our sweet little girl! Hollen’s grandfather will baptize her into the Lord’s family on January 27.

With that, our team is assembled! We are moving to take care of Hollen’s passport and papers as quickly as possible. Our fellow workers in Asia are anxious for us to deploy and join them! We greatly anticipate our work in Sri Lanka, the work to which Christ’s Church has appointed us. Vocation (being needed by others) is a wonderful gift.

And, even though we are still waiting to serve in our vocations as missionaries in Sri Lanka, God is blessing us with a time to work in our vocations as husband, wife, father, mother, (and now) sister, brother, son and daughter. These will remain our primary vocations even in Asia. May the Lord strengthen us and you in this God-pleasing work called family!

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 Child-Like Faith

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”Mark 10:13–14

Watching our children embrace the wonder of this season has brought us so much joy and taught us as well. While we have enjoyed watching our children delight in Christmas lights, ice-skating, ballet dancers, decorations, treats and gifts, our favorite part of this month was watching our kids be angels in the Christmas play at Linda’s parents’ church. If you would like to see Michael as the angel Gabriel telling Mary, “You are going to have a baby,” or Julia singing with exuberance as a member of the angel choir, you can find clips at youtube.com/EricFunkeGLO. There is something about our children telling the story of Christ’s birth that drew us away from the pressures of our to-do lists and reminded us what Christmas is really all about.

Speaking of videos, we have posted many more new videos. If you didn’t have the opportunity to hear us sing “Look What God Has Done,” to watch our seven-minute Year-in-Review video or to see our full presentation at one of our partner churches, you can now find them all at youtube.com/EricFunkeGLO. We sent out Christmas letters to everyone whose address we had, but we know we were missing many of your addresses and some of the letters came back to us undelivered. If you didn’t receive a Christmas letter from us and would like to read a copy, you can find it at globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funke/newsletters/. Thank you to all who have helped make this year so meaningful.

December

Our December began by being reunited with Jamie Wisely and Jess Strong, who came out to Tanzania with a mission team this past summer. Jess’s parents graciously offered to host us Saturday night and put together a wonderful dinner for us and for the staff and missions committee of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Peoria, Illinois. During the Bible class on Sunday, December 2, we shared all that God has done in the past five years through their gifts to our school. It was a wonderful, memorable weekend. Then, on December 9, we traveled to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Greenville, Illinois, where we were welcomed with open arms and a delicious potluck. It has been such a joy to see so many beloved people during these past twelve weeks of presentations and to convey in person our gratitude for all you have done to support us, our ministry and our community in Tanzania.

Our first week and a half of December were filled with visits, including a get-together with friends at 2Schae Café, a trip to the Butterfly House at the St. Louis Zoo, dinner with the social worker who has been helping us with our kids’ U.S. citizenship paperwork, a luncheon with St. Louis area deaconesses and a party with friends which included twenty adults and fifteen children ages six and under. We also spent precious time with family, including time decorating the Christmas tree.

On December 11 we drove down to Dallas. During our time in Dallas, we enjoyed taking our kids to Santa’s village at the Richardson library, helping our kids ice skate for the first time, going on a double date with Linda’s sister and brother-in-law, celebrating the first birthday party of the son of Linda’s friend Lois, taking our kids to The Nutcracker Ballet, climbing and playing at Safari Run park, catching up with Linda’s goddaughter and her family and celebrating Christmas with Linda’s side of the family. Her aunt came into town, and we all enjoyed worshiping together and then opening gifts and eating Christmas dinner at her sister Karen’s house.

On December 27, we made the long trip back to St. Louis, and Eric’s sister Andrea flew in the next day. Over the next few days we enjoyed decorating cookies, celebrating Funke Family Christmas, playing games with Eric’s sister and parents, and hanging out with our nieces and nephew. We finished the year off with a cozy New Year’s Eve celebration at home, including puzzles and games. On December 31 we learned that our I-600A has been approved! We are another step closer to getting U.S. citizenship for our kids! It was a great end to 2018.

Meanwhile, Back in Tanzania …

School is now back in session in Tanzania, and we were thrilled to hear that the class scheduling program Eric designed is working well. Students will continue trickling in during the coming weeks, and we look forward to being reunited with both teachers and students again soon. Please pray for peace as we pack for the journey home, for smooth travels, and for our jet-lag recovery. Thank you to all who helped make these last four months so special!

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: Partners in Faith

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.1 Corinthians 12;12, 27

“It’s gonna be cold where we’re going.” After home service, John stayed for a couple weeks to travel with John Kissinger Nyang’au to visit churches and districts in the upper Midwest to promote Project 24 and Christ’s Care for Children—Kenya (CCC—K). Kissinger is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK) and supports our field as the Director of Project 24, a project partnership of the ELCK and LCMS to care for orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya so they may know about Christ.

In past newsletters, we’ve shared about the children, the members within the ELCK who support the boarding facilities and the chaplains who share Christ with their families. This time I had a chance to visit many supporters and advocates who helped start Project 24, many of whom are in the North Dakota and Minnesota-North districts. This trip also included South Dakota, Minnesota-South, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Some supporters, who have visited Kenya and have a passion for helping children, have become advocates of the program. They volunteer their time and resources to share with other congregations and people in their areas about the children, how they grow in God’s Word and how people can be part of this mission work. Some have been with the program for nearly ten years and have a wealth of knowledge, deep relationships and a love for Christ. We’ve gradually come together as a team to bring our respective background and perspectives and to do things together that we wouldn’t be able to do alone. Through their guidance and connections, we were able to strengthen some relationships and develop new ones.

During our visits, we met with several current and new donors—people who value relationships, develop trust through interaction, assess dependability based on results, but put their trust in the Lord and His guidance. It was a blessing to share with them first hand how this program works, the interaction with the church leaders, the care they have for the children and the accountability they encourage and enforce to ensure the children can grow up in the Lord and have the resources they need.

Over two weeks, John traveled over 5,000 miles. On the day of his last two presentations, he woke up to eight inches of fluff on the ground. Time to head back to 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.hereiamsendmesendme.blogspot.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mailing list and make donations.

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Handshakes and Home Service

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.3 John 5–6

For nearly thirty minutes, we reached no further than the church foyer, exchanging hugs and greetings, introducing new family members, sharing news and all caught up in the excitement of our visit. It had been nearly twelve years since we last visited Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Falls, Montana, the place where Jenn and I had met and married nineteen years ago. We are grateful the congregation organized a special event so we could spend time together.

Over the two months of our home service in September and October, our visits to churches were memorable with warm welcomes, lots of questions, bountiful potluck meals and many stories. We were astounded how relationships had grown over the two years since we departed to serve as LCMS missionaries in Africa.

In several places where two years ago we may only have met with a pastor during our initial networking, now we were able to meet with the whole congregation. It was such a blessing (and sometimes overwhelming) to hear the reactions and questions of people who have been praying for us and following our newsletters.

Over the last couple years in my travels to observe and help with projects across Africa, many fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in Burkina Faso, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi have shaken my hands and asked me to pass their greetings to congregations back in the States. It was a blessing to personally carry those greetings and handshakes to our supporting congregations and share with them how the Lord is bringing people to Christ across Africa.

We are truly grateful for the time and meals people offered to share with us, the resources they offered to help with our lodging and travel and the prayers and encouragement of so many. We were blessed to experience how mission work isn’t just done by those in the field, but by the Lord working through the many people and churches praying and supporting to make this possible.

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: The Lord’s Plan

We have some unfortunate tidings regarding the timing of our deployment to Sri Lanka. For a long time, we have been planning to leave for the field by the end of November or early December. The single reason for this plan was that Grace is due to give birth to our second child in January. It made sense to us and to our regional team for us to be overseas when the baby arrived. However, because of delays related to the securing of entry visas, we will be staying in the U. S. until after the birth.

The plans we make never take everything into account. What makes sense to us at one level might be irrational at another. Since accepting our vicarage assignment this Spring, we have realized more and more how little we know, how limited is the scope of our understanding. (This will only become more apparent when we’re immersed into a new culture.) But the one who appointed our family through His Church to be missionaries operates on a level above all others. His plans are perfect. He takes everything into account.

We thank God that He planned to restore us and all of creation even before He laid the earth’s foundations, by the Advent of His Son. Moreover, He graciously incorporated all of us into that plan, as short-sighted as we are. He is so far above us; His reason baffles us, but he gives us a part to play. He makes us members of Christ’s Church, and through this Church, brings the good news to the world. Praise the Lord that he has a plan. Thank him for giving each of us a part to play.

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: Clothed

In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.Galatians 3:26–27

Early this month we journeyed up to Estes Park, and Julia experienced snow for the first time. She delighted in it, jumping right in immediately. Unfortunately, not having waterproof gear, she soon became wet and cold, crying “It hurts!” as if the snow had somehow betrayed her. The next day we went to a thrift store in Fort Collins and bought snow pants, snow boots and other gear for our kids. The next time they saw snow, they were well-clothed.

Later in the month, Julia put on another new piece of clothing: her baptism dress, as she received the blessing of baptism and was reminded that she is a beloved child of God who is clothed in Christ. We are so thankful this month as we trust God to not only provide for our physical needs, but also to clothe us in joy, strength and salvation and to help us share those gifts with others.

Upcoming

Here’s a look at what we have coming up. We have two more Sunday presentations, then we will spend two weeks with Linda’s side of the family in Dallas and two weeks with Eric’s side of the family in St. Louis. We will fly back to Tanzania January 16–18. We hope to see many of you in the coming weeks.

Fort Collins Visit

At the beginning of this month, Eric’s dad joined us out in Colorado to visit Eric’s grandparents and his aunt and uncle. During that time we also enjoyed the day in Estes Park and a walk around Sprague Lake, caught up with dear friends in the area, took a picture of our kids in Grandma and Grandpa’s tree (a family tradition) and worshiped and presented at Saint John’s Lutheran Church.

Indiana and Illinois

After flying back to St. Louis, we spent a few days regrouping and recovering from food poisoning (Eric), and then drove out to Valparaiso, Indiana. We stayed with Linda’s long time friend Margaret Felde and enjoyed a few days of showing our kids our alma mater, Valparaiso University, and catching up with deaconess sisters, mentors and friends in the area.

On November 10 we drove to Chicago. Over the next few days, we enjoyed catching up with Linda’s college roommate, visiting with the Byerly family, who hosted us for two nights, visiting with some of Linda’s deaconess sisters and worshipping and presenting at Luther Memorial in Chicago. Before we left, we were able to pick up some free robotics equipment for our school in Tanzania from First Lego League, run by Rev. Tim and Susan Eckert.

Baptism in St. Louis

Back in St. Louis, we finally had our FBI biometric fingerprints taken, so we are another step closer to getting U.S. citizenship for our kids! We also had some fun with sledding as we made the most of a St. Louis snow day, saw our niece’s choir sing in a tree lighting at a local community center, welcomed Linda’s side of the family to St. Louis and showed them around the St. Louis Arch and enjoyed a big family dinner the night before Julia’s baptism.

On November 18, surrounded by family and friends at Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis, we shared about our work in Tanzania and celebrated the baptism of our daughter Julia. Linda’s sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Cory Perkins, will serve as Julia’s godparents. God is doing amazing things in the life of this little girl, and we already see the light of Christ shining brightly in her.

Thanksgiving and Other Activities

We celebrated Thanksgiving with all of our Funke family. Even though Linda was sick with a fever, the time together was precious. That week we also had Funke family pictures taken and celebrated Eric’s brother’s birthday. On November 25 we had the joy of worshiping and sharing at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Illinois, and reconnecting with friends there. After so many full weeks, this week we have been trying to slow down a bit and care for our bodies before traveling again in December.

Meanwhile, Back in Tanzania …

The fourth class of women graduated from the “Right to Live With Albinism” program. Our friend Esther Mangesho was consecrated as a deaconess. Austin Reed’s mom and brother came out to visit, and the preschool/daycare center continues to grow. They have now added playground equipment, napping beds, cubbies and tables. Lastly, students at our school have started returning home as they finish their exams. We pray that the Christmas break will be refreshing for all.

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

Mission-Minded Manteys: Sent Out to Serve

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.Titus 1:9

If you happen to be in Eastern Uganda and drive by the Lutheran Theological College Uganda in December, you will notice a difference. Final exams are finished, students have traveled home to their various regions and the instructors who are there on a weekly basis are now in their own regions focused on the local ministry. It is now quiet at the seminary.

Yet, this is wonderful news! This means that men are now sent out. The second-year students are three semesters into their seminary training and the first-year students have successfully completed their first semester. We praise God for this!

During the closing worship service, Bishop Charles Bameka preached on Titus 1, and focused on verse nine. He encouraged the men that as they go home, reconnect with family, celebrate Christmas and, most importantly, participate in the ministry efforts in their regions, they hold firm to the trustworthy message they have been taught.

These are encouraging words to the seminary students. They know the work before them is challenging, yet they are empowered and strengthened by what they have learned at the seminary. They also know the Holy Spirit goes before them as they evangelize and teach. The men also know they are not alone in their efforts and are encouraged by the pastors and deans that guide and lead them.

We are thankful for these men, that they continue to answer the call as they are sent out to serve. We are grateful they get to put knowledge into practice during the Christmas break, and can also get rejuvenated for the upcoming semester after the new year. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to grow, learn and serve in the Lutheran Church of Uganda.

Home Service

Home service is the opportunity for missionaries to reconnect with sending congregations and to share about the ministry in Uganda with other congregations and groups. We are thankful for this opportunity to visit and reconnect with those who have stepped out in faith to support the Lord’s work in Uganda through our hands. We’re grateful to be your missionaries!

While on home service from December through February, we will share about the different aspects of the Lord’s work in Uganda, including our work at the seminary, a snapshot of daily ministry in the Lutheran Church of Uganda, and the people we get to walk alongside in life and ministry. In East Africa, greetings are very important. So we have many greetings to share with those that daily pray for us and continue to send us out. We are privileged to carry a message of encouragement and gratitude as we update on what the ongoing support from people means to us.

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: News from the Field

Rev. Dr. Wilfred Karsten, pastor of Holy Cross, Moline, Illinois, visited the Lutherans in Sri Lanka in late October. His work included a three-day workshop on hymnody and Christology of the early church.

Dr. Karsten has been travelling to Sri Lanka for the last twenty years, providing Lutherans there with continuing education in the areas of church music and theology. He has learned the Tamil alphabet, which enables him to help set sacred texts to music. We are encouraged and excited to know that we will be his partner in church music education in Sri Lanka.

The last twenty years have been filled with hardships and joys, turmoil and change for the Lutherans in Sri Lanka. Dr. Karsten has encouraged the CELC during some tough years. He shared that, just like Christians anywhere, these saints see good times and bad. Nevertheless, God blesses all of us with his word of promise. He is in control. Every power—of government, of nature, of sin—all are subject to His will. Thy will be done, Lord.

Dear friends, we are waiting for Sri Lanka to approve our visas. Once that happens, we will make our travel arrangements. We are just a few steps away!

We have enjoyed staying with family in Colorado this fall. We are soaking in the snow-covered mountains, warm-colored leaves and crisp air. Larson is nineteen months old and likes puzzles, spending time with cousins, reading books and, occasionally, yard work. He had the opportunity to meet his Uncle Panpan, who visited in October before heading home to China.

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: Imagining

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.Ephesians 1:16-19a

This month, as we traveled around the US, our kids experienced so many opportunities to use their imaginations at children’s museums, at playgrounds and with costumes. We are regularly inspired by their imaginations and their ability to dream. We also have had the joy of not only telling people what God has been doing in Tanzania, but also imagining with them what the future of these ministries could look like with the right resources. Thank you to all who have welcomed us so warmly, and we look forward to reconnecting with more of you in the months ahead.

Houston, Texas

While we began this month in Dallas catching up with family and friends, on October 5 we drove down to my Aunt Janice’s house in the Houston area. On October 6 we had the joy of meeting the parents of fellow GLO missionaries Amber and Austin Reed and sharing with them in person all that God is doing through their daughter and son. On October 7 we worshiped and shared at St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress. The rest of the week we enjoyed time with family and friends, played at the Woodlands Children’s Museum and explored new playgrounds. Linda’s aunt and mother also treated us to a movie date night. On October 13 we checked into a hotel that Zion Lutheran graciously offered to us next to the church. On October 14 we enjoyed sharing at Zion Lutheran Church in Pasadena, and that afternoon we had the honor of speaking at their LWML Fall Rally. We thank God for this week filled with encouragement.

Dallas, Texas, and Spokane, Washington

On October 15 we returned to Dallas. Over the next two rainy weeks we explored many indoor play places and caught up with friends. We were thankful to meet with a preschool teacher at Messiah Lambs who gave us new ideas for homeschooling our kids. We also took the opportunity to have family pictures taken with Linda’s family. On October 18 we enjoyed worshiping with and sharing at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Plano. That evening we worshiped and shared at Umoja Church, a wonderful Swahili-speaking congregation. On October 23 Eric’s parents flew in for Michael’s birthday weekend. We loved showing them around the Dallas Arboretum. Linda’s sister was also able to get free tickets to the Dallas Zoo’s “Halloweekend.” Our kids, dressed as a fairy princess and astronaut, loved seeing all the animals at the zoo. On October 28 we reconnected with many friends as we shared at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Worth, and then returned home for Michael’s fifth birthday party. The next day we used some of our frequent flyer miles to fly to Spokane, Washington, to visit Linda’s grandparents, aunts and uncles. Each memory made with family is so precious to us.

US Citizenship Update

This month we finally received Linda’s Texas background check and our US homestudy. Therefore on October 26 we were able to send the I-600A, the first round of paperwork towards our kids’ US citizenship, to USCIS. Please pray that it will be processed quickly and that we can have the FBI fingerprints done while we on furlough. We have received $9,500 of the $18,000 needed to complete this process. If you would like to help us keep this process moving forward, you can make a secure online donation at globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funkekidscitizenshipproject/. Please make sure to write your donation next to “Funke Kids Citizenship Project” so it goes to the right place. Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” and put “Funke Kids Citizenship Project” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Outreach at 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL 33023.

Meanwhile, Back in Tanzania...

Our school just held a graduation ceremony, and our students are all preparing for their national exams. Please pray for these students as they take their exams in the coming month.

The three deaconesses that we sent to the Community Health Evangelism internship in Kenya have returned and are putting their experiences to work in the local community. In fact, another church in Mwanza has requested that they come and offer a CHE training there!

We are so thankful for our Tanzanian colleagues who continue to serve, and we look forward to being reunited with them in January.

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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