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Mission-Minded Manteys: Life Together

As Christians, life together in Christ allows us to focus on the mission that He sets before us. Even though barriers often persist, our God is ever faithful in providing for our needs and giving opportunities for us to share the love of Christ with the people He puts before us. This past month, life together for the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) included two instances where they continue to walk together, share the love of Christ and proclaim His name.

Baptism

The LCU continues to grow, as they evangelize and share the love of God in communities throughout Uganda. Recently, one of the areas where the LCU has been preaching and teaching is Bubago, Uganda, which is about an hour away from Jinja. As they spent time with the community, they learned many people in the community were not baptized. The LCU saw the need to continue to minister to the people of Bubago, encourage them and continue to teach them the Word of the Lord.

On one Sunday morning, the congregation gathered under tents for a worship service. Bishop Bameka and Rev. Peter Maganda (Dean of the Eastern Deanery) led worship. After reading Acts 2:42–47 in worship, parents gathered with their children around the altar for Holy Baptism.

210 people were baptized that day! We celebrated alongside as the family of God multiplied! We praise God for these moments. The faithful believers at Bubago continue to gather together for worship, and the church continues to minister to their spiritual needs. Please pray for the community in Bubago, and for the LCU as they remain faithful in teaching and preaching God’s Word.

Team Ministry

As you may have heard us share before, the LCU works daily to expand the kingdom of God in Uganda. Even though there are now over 135 congregations, there are few pastors to do His work.

Recently, there have been men from the Lutheran Church of Uganda that graduated from the neighboring Lutheran seminary in Matongo, Kenya, including Erifazi Buluba.

For Erifazi’s wedding and ordination, it was very much a church and community event. In other church denominations throughout Uganda, not all ordinations are done where the local community can witness and participate. Yet, the LCU finds value in actively inviting the congregation and community to be a part of these ministry events. It is one of the ways they use to teach about the church.

The most meaningful part of the ordination for us was witnessing and hearing the pastors gather around Erifazi and pray for him in their native language. It further showed the unity in Christ these men have, even though they come from different backgrounds, languages and experiences. They all belong to the body of Christ. The deans and pastors from other regions were able to assist in the ordination and encourage Erifazi in this way.

Another aspect to this day was witnessing the excitement and joy of the community. They worked together to prepare the church and to put on the reception. They also openly displayed the joy of the Lord for their new pastor, Rev. Erifazi Buluba. We are thankful for these moments of celebration in ministry. We praise God for the twentieth pastor who joyfully serves in the LCU.

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.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Thank You!

Greetings in Christ from Jinja, Uganda. Megan and I hope that you and the believers at Saint John’s are well. Thank you for your wonderful gift of support for the seminary here. Through the generosity of the people of Saint John's, more men will be trained to spread the gospel in Uganda and beyond.

Leaders of the Lutheran Church of Uganda along with members of the seminary management committee are working with engineers and builders in planning the completion of the chapel building on campus (see the photo, below). Once that plan is complete it will be submitted to the LCMS for final approval and the transfer of funds, including the $8,600 from Saint John’s.

During the week the chapel will be used for matins and evening prayer services, along with other programs. On weekends, there is a local congregation that meets here, currently in a lecture hall, that is looking forward to using the chapel as their permanent worship space.

I will send some pictures during construction so that your community can see more of what they are a part of. It is such a blessing that the people of Saint John’s are able to help in this ministry. Thank you again!

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.

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Teaching Little Ones

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:5, 7a

Despite heavy clouds and pending rain, excitement and singing brightened the mood as we gathered for morning devotions at the Project 24 (P24) Children’s boarding facility at Othoro in western Kenya. Today was the start of a two-day Catechism Club that brings together orphaned and vulnerable children from all five children homes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK).

The Catechism Club is a joyful celebration that allows children to share their knowledge of God’s Word through songs, dramas of bible stories, recitation of memory work and fellowship. This twice-a-year gathering plays an important part of the ELCK’s effort to bring up orphaned children in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Bringing children up in the church makes P24 different from other popular child-sponsorship programs.

Four of the Wolf boys (John, Ian, Sean and Angus) travelled this month to join this event, renew acquaintances with the children and meet with many of the pastors, bishops and workers who encourage and care for these children.

Local pastors and chaplains play a key role in growing the children in the Lord. Pastor Paul, who serves as chaplain for the children at P24 site in Lenkishon, makes regular visits to the clans and extended families of orphaned children of that site, sharing salvation and hope through Christ. Last year he baptized over fifty children and family members. The outreach and impact that this P24 site (and the others) has on the community has even been recognized by the local chief and county government.

During this month, we received a special visit from Rev Dr Brent Smith of Mission Central. Together with the site manager of P24 Lenkishon and Bishop of ELCK Central diocese we saw clan homes, the school and local church that help the P24 children.

May God protect and care for these children.

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.

Funke News: Renewal

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:30–31

Earlier this month we had the joy of introducing our children to their first kite. Watching the wind lift the kite up into the air brought to mind Isaiah 40:30–31 (see above). We have entered into an exceptionally strenuous period of our lives, filled with multiple dynamic ministries, ongoing time-intensive efforts to finish Julia’s adoption and to get U.S. citizenship for our children and the energy of two lively children. At times, we have, admittedly, related to the tired and weary part of the verse. Yet this verse has also reminded us of the need for rest and trust in God. I’ve been reminded lately that only when we hope in the Lord—trusting that our value lies in Christ rather than what we do, trusting that God will provide, trusting that God will take care of the needs of others while we rest—can we truly take the time to breathe and to allow God to renew our strength. We are so thankful for the times of renewal this past month in the midst of all the walking and running.

Easter

This month began with the jubilant celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Our celebration included Easter egg dyeing, an early-morning Easter egg hunt, worship with our church family, and hosting the Medard family (dear friends from our first year here who recently moved back to Mwadui) for playtime and dinner. We also sponsored a dinner for the 23 boarding students remaining at school and Easter dinner for Joseph’s family—the struggling family that we mentioned in our last newsletter. It all made for a wonderful, memorable first Easter as a family of four.

Spring Break

Since the first week of Spring Break was consumed with adoption-related errands and preparations for Easter, we intentionally set aside the second week for family and relaxation. We started our Mwanza trip by dropping off hand-me-downs at Forever Angels. This visit was Julia’s first time back to Forever Angels since we brought her home. We then spent two lovely nights with the Peck family and three nights at Wag Hill Lodge, taking advantage of their “pay two nights, get the third night free” special. We swam in the pool, hiked for hours, rode horses, enjoyed a complimentary evening boat ride, canoed, watched the monkeys play while eating delicious meals, read on the lakeside deck of our cabin and made beautiful memories. The time away definitely helped prepare us for the full schedule of the following weeks.

Adoption Update

May 3 was our first court hearing for the Tanzanian side of Julia’s adoption. Even though we had to wait over three hours to see the judge, we are happy to say that overall it went smoothly. They assigned our case to the same judge that we had for Michael’s case and gave us the date of June 12 for the next hearing. Please pray that our judge, our lawyer and our social worker all show up for that hearing. The second hearing is the most important one in this process. With Michael’s case, we had to reschedule the second hearing three times before everyone showed up!

U.S. Citizenship

We have begun the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship for our children. In order to file an I-600A/I-600, we must work with a Hague-accredited adoption agency in the U.S. After much research we signed a contract with Wasatch International Adoption Agency (WIAA). Our next steps include collecting loads of documentation, completing all 72 homework questions associated with the 223-page Parenting Education Manual, and completing the 21-page essay-based questionnaire. We also have to have a U.S.-accredited social worker fly to Tanzania to conduct a home study. Thankfully, WIAA has a social worker stationed in Germany, so he will not have to fly all the way from the U.S. He is planning to come to Tanzania July 5–7. The entire process will cost about $18,000 over the course of the next two years. However, we need $8,500 of that as soon as possible to cover the application fee, program fee, home study fee, travel expenses for the social worker, translation costs for Swahili documents and flights to Dar Es Salaam to access a U.S. notary. If you are willing to help our children become American citizens, you can make a secure online donation at https://globallutheranoutreach.com/support-funkekidsproject.html. 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; 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL 33023. We know we can’t get through this process on our own and greatly appreciate your prayers and support.

Community Health Evangelism

We are happy to report that the three deaconesses who attended the Community Health Evangelism training last month returned with great enthusiasm and many new ideas for how CHE materials could be more effectively used in our diocese. One of those ideas was beginning CHE in school, so they started at our school on April 29. They did an amazing job holding the students attention and teaching them about the importance of wholistic health. I am excited to see how God continues to use their talents and passions to develop new models for CHE in our diocese.

Other Activities

School has been back in session for three weeks now. Eric attended a Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC) e-learning seminar and has been integrating ideas from there. Linda taught the students about ways to grow in their relationship with Jesus, and we have reinstituted student movie nights. Linda continues to homeschool our two precious children. We also had the opportunity to spend time with Pastor Peter Gregory who was teaching a short course at the Bible Training Center. We spent Eric’s birthday (April 27) with friends in Mwanza, because we needed to meet with our adoption lawyer. The next day we returned to Mwadui to attend the send-off of the daughter of our dear friends Mercy and Abel. A send-off is a giant party for the bride and her friends/family before the wedding. If you would like to see pictures from this event and read more details about the tradition of the send-off, please click here. While our schedules are sometimes hectic, being connected to godly community (including you all) continues to lift our spirits.

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: Sustained By Christ

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:35, 38–39

We waited while a couple young shepherd boys followed their flock of goats and sheep across the dusty road as we made our second day of travel to remote villages in Turkana. Although clouds graced the skies, rain hadn’t fallen for over a year in this forgotten region of northwestern Kenya.

Upon arrival at the home of Pr. Atan in the village of Lokori, from which he shepherds four rural congregations, we were greeted with chai tea. Our visits to some of these churches took us to a tree in Marelem, under which the congregation had met since 1997 when the Lutheran faith was first brought to Turkana by three evangelist men. Despite having only a single pastor, the Lutherans at Marelem and throughout Turkana have remained faithful to Christ alone, scripture alone and grace alone.

John was joined by Rev. Shauen Trump (LCMS area director for east and southern Africa) and Rev. Benjamin Lamosi (General Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya). Along with sharing the Word of God and encouraging congregations, we attended an ECLK-hosted gathering of Lutheran church leaders within Turkana.

Through partnership with the LCMS, the ELCK has added a missionary of their own and soon a second refugee pastor to the existing three church workers that share Christ within a region the size of West Virginia. The large influx of refugees, the discovery of oil and nomadic traditions make this a challenging area, but one which the churches are eager to tell others of their salvation through Christ.

While we sat on modest log benches under the tree at Marelem, a young boy put his hand in mine, and I was humbled by how the Lord has sustained these people and kept them strong in the faith. May we learn from them that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Later that night, we fell asleep to heavy rains.

May God continue to sustain His people and grow His church in Turkana.

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.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Collaboration in Ministry

Recently, the LCMS and the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) collaborated ministry efforts to share the Word of the Lord from a Lutheran perspective with the leaders of the independent Anglican Church of South Sudan at Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement in Adjumani, which is in northern Uganda. Because they are independent, they have not been able to access training for new pastors, teachers and lay leaders and wanted to learn more about Lutheran doctrine.

The LCMS and the LCU saw an important opportunity to provide instruction, answer questions and share about the Lutheran faith by teaching on the Small Catechism. Copies of the Small Catechism in Dinka, the language of the people group in attendance, were brought from the U.S. for use in training and continued study. It’s amazing how God continually provides the resources to share His word in even the most remote locations. Bishop Bameka, Rev. James Odoo and Rev. Raymond Kaija were able to represent the LCU as instructors and leaders to teach and answer questions about the Lutheran faith in East Africa. Two LCMS pastors who are missionaries in East Africa were also able to attend, teach and support the work of the LCU in Adjumani. Mark was also able to serve as an advocate, encourager and logistics coordinator to the pastors for both the LCU and LCMS.

By the end of the seven days together, the leadership of the Anglican Church of South Sudan was eager to learn more about Lutheran theology and asked for more training. It was resolved that the LCU would offer additional training opportunities to pastors and lay leaders so they can continue to learn more about the Lutheran teachings and doctrines.

Life and Ministry Update

At the Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU), farming is an important part of being good stewards of the resources God gives the church. Uganda is blessed with rich soil and the ability to grow enough food to feed the seminarians, faculty and staff. By growing much of the needed food, students also learn important farming techniques which will help them provide for their own families once they are regularly serving in their communities. It’s also an important contribution of the church body to provide for the 41 students in this way.

Seminary staff and leadership have the opportunity to lead by example by spending time in the garden with the students. Most recently, Mark was able to help plant beans with the students over a weekend. We praise God for these hands-on opportunities to encourage His workers, serve alongside students and utilize the resources that God continuously provides.

Megan was recently invited to participate in a LCU women’s conference and facilitate a session about mentoring and equipping other women in congregations. As many of the women live in very remote areas, it’s always a celebration when they are able to gather together to enjoy, encourage and listen to one another. They are able to share in each other’s joys as they gather together to study God’s Word. Megan appreciates the opportunities to build relationships with the women and learn more about their daily lives in Christ.

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

Funke News: Walking By Faith

Last week we had the joy of joining with Bishop Makala as he passed by our town during his two-week, 211 miles walkathon across the diocese. His pace was brisk and exhausting, so much so that our littlest walkers could only keep up for a few minutes. The community was joyful, hopeful and filled with song. We still don’t know completely what the final results of the Bishop’s efforts will be, but we know he is walking by faith.

The characteristics of this walkathon very much resemble how this month has gone for us generally. The pace of our lives lately has been brisk, exhausting and has included some “blisters.” For this reason we have decided to share this newsletter before Easter. We hope to dedicate the week after Easter to rest, recovery and time together as a family. Like Bishop Makala, this month we have also been surrounded by a joyful community and have seen many signs of hope. And we continue to walk by faith.

Bishop Makala’s Walkathon

Bishop Makala arrived at his final destination of the walkathon today (March 29), two days earlier than expected! He was really moving! All the money Bishop Makala raises will go to a missions and development fund, which supports projects like roofs for new churches, staff housing and motorcycles and training for evangelists. If you would like to support these efforts, you can write a check to our friend Bob Allen with “SELVD Walkathon” in the memo line, and send it to Bob Allen, 208 Peachtree Street, White House, TN 37188. All donations must be received by April 30 so Bob can wire the money directly to the diocese.

We have been so inspired by Bishop Makala’s efforts. Not only did he walk long distances each day, but he also stopped along the way to receive donations, plant trees, baptize and lead worship services. You can find more pictures from his journey at www.facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania.

Helping a Family in Need

Around December three young boys started showing up at our door to beg for food. They were in terrible condition so we decided to help them every time they came. We wanted to visit their home, and finally this month Linda, Rev. Nzelu, Rev. Mdindi and the local evangelist were able to go. The situation was worse than we imagined. Their mother had disappeared, their aunt was sick with an illness that made her swell and shake, there are at least five children, and the only other adults were two grandmothers who are so old that the people around thought they were witches and wouldn’t help. We were able to provide food supplements and are working to find sustainable ways to help them. Please pray for this family and for wisdom in how to help them.

Our School

Early this month, Eric faced many challenges as he tried to get Form 2 and Form 4 (Sophomores and Seniors) registered for national exams. He also helped the school implement a new grading system that considers homework, not just exams, in computing final grades, allowing students to see their progress over time. These projects required multiple evenings at school where he didn’t return home until 10:30 or 11:00 PM. Thankfully, he was successful and when the school closed for Easter break on March 23, all the students were registered and had accurate records of their grades. He was even able to share his gradebook program with the other secondary school in town. Linda concluded her study skills lessons and taught a special lesson on goal-setting. We also organized two student movie nights—“Cool Runnings” in honor of the Olympics and “The Jesus Film” in Swahili to help the students prepare their hearts for Holy Week. We hope all the students and teachers now have a restful two-week break and return refreshed.

Adoption Update

Our journey toward finalizing Julia’s adoption has been an uphill slog so far, including the Ministry of Social Welfare losing our undertaking document, which gives us legal custody of Julia. Thankfully, after months of searching and making phone calls, this week we discovered that all three copies of the undertaking—the commissioner’s, ours and our local social worker’s—had accidentally been mailed to the Chairperson of the District Council of Kishapu. Our local social worker finally came to do the second home study on March 14, only eight days before the end of our six-month probationary period. On March 26, Eric drove to Mwanza to pick up the Petition to Adopt from our lawyer. On March 27, we drove an hour out to Kishapu to retrieve the lost undertaking papers. On March 28, we spent six hours trying to file the petition. The process involved finding a notary in Shinyanga, reprinting the petition when they told us the name of the court had changed since Michael’s case, paying at the bank and then waiting for hours for the accountant to return from lunch and the registrar to give us our first hearing date. Thankfully we had brought a soft copy, the official paper, our computer and our printer to the court, so we could complete it all in one day, Today (March 29), we mailed the social worker’s request for the Consent to Adopt to the Ministry of Social Welfare. In spite of all the adoption drama, we are thrilled to be a few steps further in the process! Please pray for our first hearing in court on May 3rd.

Community Health Evangelism Training

The leader of our Community Health Evangelism (CHE) program unfortunately moved to Arusha this past January, so we have been looking for new leadership. Thankfully, we were able to send three amazing deaconesses— Esther Mangesho, Stella Matary, and Lilian Makala—to a CHE training in Kenya March 12-16. Linda looks forward to working with them and reconnecting with the training teams to see how CHE can be better implemented in the diocese.

Surrounded by Friends

Early in the month we made a weekend trip to Mwanza to visit friends and to buy a small printer for the academic office at school so the academic staff don’t have to walk across campus every time they need to print. On March 12–13, we welcomed GLO mission developer, Dale Talsma, and participated in important meetings with him, Bishop Makala and Rev. Nzelu. We also had the joy of celebrating Taylor’s birthday with her. We were also grateful for time with all the GLO missionaries in Tanzania as Dixon, Christy and Milcah Gbeanquois visited for the weekend. We joined them and many other friends at the six-hour Palm Sunday worship service the next day where new leaders in the diocese were installed. We are so grateful to be surrounded by a loving community, including all of you, as we walk on this journey.

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.

Funke News: Gifts of Love

Valentine’s Day this year was unique because it was also Ash Wednesday. While the two holidays generally have two completely contrasting moods, it did provide an opportunity for us to reflect on Jesus, God’s greatest gift to us, as well as the many other gifts of love that we have received and have had the opportunity to give.

Second Graduation of the “Right to Live With Albinism” Program

February 1 we had the joy of celebrating the graduation of thirteen amazing women with albinism. For the last four months, they had been learning how to make clothes, pastries, lotions and soaps. They also learned how to start a business to sustain themselves and their families. We are so proud of them and the deaconesses who mentored and taught them. A fundraiser was held during the graduation so that each woman will return to her community with her own sewing machine and start-up materials. Thanks to the support of many of you, we were able to contribute enough money for a sewing machine and start-up materials for one of the women. We pray that as they return home, they will be able to live with security and dignity.

Bishop Makala’s Walkathon

Bishop Makala recently shared with us that he was inspired by the “Kilimanjaro for a Cause” fundraiser we did four years ago, and he has decided to hold his own two-week walkathon across the South-East of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD). March 18–31 he will walk a total of 340 km (211 miles) from Lamadi to Kahama. Should he for some reason not be able to complete the journey, Assistant Bishop Trafaina Nkya has agreed to take his place.

The money he raises will help fund staff housing for diocese leaders (eliminating the high expenses of monthly rent), roofs for new churches in mission areas and motorcycles and education for evangelists to unreached areas. We are so proud of and excited for him. We will be praying for his journey and donating a certain amount per kilometer, and we hope some of you will join us in supporting his efforts. If you would like to sign our pledge sheet or share a pledge sheet with your own family and friends, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us. Next month we will share stories from his journey and where donations can be sent.

Couple’s Day Retreat

The first weekend in February we traveled to Mwanza to participate in a couple’s day retreat. We were so grateful to our Peace Corps friend Taylor for coming with us and babysitting our kids at the hotel while we enjoyed six hours of Bible study and fellowship with other missionary couples.

While in Mwanza, we had a lovely dinner with all the other GLO missionaries in Tanzania. We were also able to meet with our adoption lawyer and give him everything he needed to write the petition. We will hopefully be able to file it next month!

Eric put his life guard skills to use, rescuing a young boy and his dad in an active drowning situation at the hotel pool. Thankfully, though they were shaken, they all were fine. Overall, it was a very productive and meaningful weekend.

Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School

Eric continues to enjoy his new position as Assistant Academic Master. His time at school is filled with teaching, registering students, adjusting schedules, making peer education lists and putting together math and science worksheets and activities. He also was able to download Wikipedia and Khan Academy so students can use the computers to research even without internet. Multiple teachers have likewise approached him to help them include media in their classrooms, such as watching examples of debates or a movie for a history class.

This month Linda’s guidance and counseling class covered how to ask good questions, how to stay awake when studying and the difference between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.” She also helped to organize the first Career Day of the year. We were joined by the Honorable Neema Gasabile and Grace Mutabuzi. Neema Gasabile is a magistrate and a lawyer for our diocese. Grace studied journalism and now works as a communications officer for our diocese (among other things). We were so grateful that they took the time to come and answer students' questions about these fields of study.

Life at Home

On Valentine’s Day, Linda and the kids had a wonderful time making Valentine’s cards for friends. The following weekend Amber and Austin graciously gifted us with free babysitting so we could enjoy a belated Valentine’s lunch in Shinyanga. On February 23, we joyfully celebrated Julia’s birthday. While this was her third birthday, it was our first time to celebrate with her, which made the day extra special. Thankfully, all the packages from our families in the U.S. arrived on time. She had a wonderful time eating cake and ice cream and batting around balloons with her friends. Linda continues to arrange home school activities for Michael and Julia around the letter of the week, and the weeks seem to be flying by. If you would like to see more pictures from Julia’s birthday or all of the kids’ home school activities, you can find them at www.facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania.

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: Teaming Together

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus. Romans 15:5

Milking cows meandered on the lawn, youthful voices filled the hall and much-needed rain pattered on the tin roof as people from across Kenya and the U.S. gathered for the sake of orphaned and vulnerable children of Kenya. Focusing on the needs of children has a way of bringing people together! In this case, for the third-annual forum on the state of Project 24.

Project 24 is an initiative started by the LCMS and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya to construct boarding centers for children who have lost one or both parents and would otherwise not receive an education. These centers provide a Christ-centered, loving and safe environment near an ELCK church and school. Children at centers can be sponsored through the LCMS Christ’s Care for Children: Kenya program. The forum offers a chance for all those involved to hear, assess, advise and rejoice in the progress of the program. It was a pleasure to interact with on-site staff, site managers and site board members who provide for children’s needs.

The LCMS program director for Program 24, John Kissinger Nyang’au, has used this last year to emphasize vocational training and team-building skills for each of the five operational children’s centers. The consistent emphasis on responsibility, ownership and accountability has resulted in team members helping each other, a better use of resources, safer environments for children and even higher academic achievements. Pride and joy were evident in the eyes of participants recounting the trials and lessons of this last year. The forum even offered an opportunity for ELCK congregations not previously involved to learn and hear how children are cared for.

During this time, John visited with children at the Program 24 centers at Rongo and Othoro. It is a blessing to be part of this effort to provide for stable, Christ-centered homes for children affected by HIV/AIDS, conflict or other calamities. May God continue to bless these children and those who care for them.

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.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Hearing the Word of the Lord

The Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) works daily to build Christ’s church. We are thankful to partner with this important ministry through our work at the seminary. It also brings us great joy when we are able to partner alongside our colleagues at the LCU to share the love of Christ in the villages throughout Uganda. The church’s growth in Uganda continues to expand rapidly, especially in the villages. The Holy Spirit continues to change the hearts and minds of His people, through hearing the Word of the Lord. We have witnessed this continuously through the steadfast work of the Lutheran Church of Uganda.

Most recently, Megan was able to accompany Rev. Peter Maganda, Dean of the Eastern Deanery, and other LCU leadership to Butayunjwa, a remote village near Lake Kyoga, which is near the middle of the country. About twenty years ago, the Lutheran congregation at Butayunjwa had one of the first permanent structures built. Since that time, children regularly attend the school, and families gather on Sundays for worship. Currently, there are over 500 children who attend the school.

The LCU saw great importance in hosting a workshop at Butayunjwa Lutheran focusing on teaching the Word of the Lord, instructing others on the Small Catechism and encouraging the Christians in that region. During the closing worship, thirty six children and two adults were baptized and six people were confirmed.

Megan was also able to spend time with the women in the community, encouraging them in their daily lives of service to the Lord, sharing in their joys and praying about their struggles. We praise God for these moments of witnessing the Gospel message take root.

In January, when students were still home evangelizing, teaching and anticipating coming back to seminary, we prepared for the upcoming term.

For Megan, a lot of preparation goes into how to best approach Christian education and counseling classes for her students at the seminary. The methods of teaching in East Africa are quite different than in the United States. Thus, Megan engages in conversations with local Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) leaders and asks plenty of questions to learn more about implementation. She also researches her topics to ensure a proper approach in teaching within her assigned role and how the students can best understand the information.

Mark’s preparation included meeting with different leaders of the LCU and seminary, looking back at the financial records of the past semester, but also looking ahead and learning about the new goals from the seminary and church leadership. In and throughout all the planning, Mark’s work is centered on Christ Jesus, and helps manage the business aspects of the seminary, so the pastors and students at the seminary can best build up the church through the Holy Spirit.

During the month of February, we welcomed the newest missionary to East Africa, Rachel Meyer. Rachel serves as a teacher at Hope Lutheran Primary School in Bufuula (near Jinja), Uganda. We were happy to welcome her alongside the LCU Mission Coordinator, Violet. We were also able to assist in her orientation with another missionary from Kenya. Please keep Rachel in your prayers as she assimilates to life and ministry in Uganda and gets to better know the people we joyfully serve alongside.

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

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