Midweek Lenten Series
Wednes­days, March 8 – April 5, 11:00 AM/6:30 PM
Easter Day
Sun­day, April 16, 6:30 AM & 9:00 AM
Good Friday
Fri­day, April 14, 7:00 PM
Holy (Maundy) Thursday
Thurs­day, April 13, 11:00 AM & 6:30 PM
Sunday Worship Service
Sin­gle ser­vice at 9:00 AM
Palm Sunday
Sun­day, April 9, 9:00 AM
Sunday Worship Service
Sin­gle ser­vice at 9:00 AM
Mid­week Lenten Series
Easter Day
Good Fri­day
Holy (Maundy) Thursday
Sun­day Wor­ship Service
Palm Sun­day
Sun­day Wor­ship Service
Open Arms Chris­t­ian Preschool
Easter Breakfast
Sun­day, April 16, 7:30 AM
First Sunday Eat and Greet
Sun­day, April 2nd, 11:30AM
Spring Congregation Meeting
Sun­day, April 30, 10:30 AM
The Eagle
Read this month’s newsletter.
The Eagle
Read this month’s newsletter.
New Life Festival
Sat­ur­day, April 15, 10:00 AM
Easter Break­fast
First Sun­day Eat and Greet
Spring Con­gre­ga­tion Meeting
The Eagle
The Eagle
New Life Festival

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 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: 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.hereiamsendmesendme.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 107:4–9

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.hereiamsendmesendme.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 GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/blog/funke/newsletters/. 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/EricFunkeGLO. 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.diakonia-world.org/2017/Chicago2017.shtml. 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 GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/support-funke.html. 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.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com, where you can also find photos and videos and make donations.

Funke News: In Your Light We See Light

“For with You is the fountain of life;
in Your light we see light."Psalm 36:9

We have so enjoyed all the twin­kling lights of this sea­son, but even more so we have appre­ci­ated the many reminders of how Christ shines light in dark places. A friend recently reminded us that ten years ago, Linda wrote a prayer for Val­paraiso University’s prayer book titled, “In Thy Light We See Light.” As we move into 2017, this is our prayer, and we hope many oth­ers will pray it with us:

Jesus, friend of out­casts and hope for the despair­ing,
Grant us the gen­eros­ity to give fish to all who are hun­gry. Help us to teach oth­ers to fish, so that they may be empow­ered.
Give us wis­dom to stop pol­lut­ing the pond and the for­ti­tude to tear down the fences that have been built around it, so that all may have access to the good­ness of Your cre­ation.
Grant us the humil­ity to lis­ten to the sto­ries of out­casts and the despair­ing, so that we may like­wise be fed by their wis­dom and insight. In so doing, may we be signs of the com­ing of Your king­dom of peace and jus­tice, and may we love with the same pas­sion­ate, rad­i­cal love that you have shown us. In your life-​giving name, Amen.

Chicago/​Valpo

Our first week­end this month, we headed from St. Louis up to Chicago to see dear friends from col­lege and to visit Luther Memo­r­ial. A spe­cial thank you to the Byerly fam­ily for host­ing us and to all our friends at Luther Memo­r­ial for wel­com­ing us so warmly. After our pre­sen­ta­tion, we headed to Val­paraiso to catch up with friends, dea­coness sis­ters, men­tors and for­mer pro­fes­sors. While we didn’t have time to see all of the peo­ple we love in that area, it was so spe­cial to intro­duce Michael to some of the impor­tant peo­ple in our lives. Dur­ing that time, Michael was also able to expe­ri­ence his first snow. He was def­i­nitely a fan!

Texas

Next we headed down to the Dal­las area. On Decem­ber 11, we were warmly wel­comed by another Valpo friend as we wor­shiped and shared with The Cross­ing. That evening we wor­shiped with Umoja Church, a Swahili-​speaking con­gre­ga­tion in Dal­las that has become our newest part­ner church. It was great use our Swahili again and to share about all that God is doing in our area of Tan­za­nia. With that our pre­sen­ta­tion sched­ule was com­plete, and we were able to focus in on Christ­mas, fam­ily and prepar­ing to return home to Tanzania.

The rest of our time in Texas, we enjoyed play dates and get-​togethers with friends and fam­ily. We relived some of Linda’s child­hood mem­o­ries by going to Santa’s Vil­lage, a free pop-​up vil­lage with activ­i­ties for kids. Linda and her mom attended a live per­for­mance of the Nut­cracker. Linda’s side of the fam­ily watched Michael for two evenings so that we could go on our first dates in a year and half. We also enjoyed tak­ing Linda’s god­daugh­ter Mag­gie to Jump Mania as an early Christ­mas present.

Davis Fam­ily Christ­mas

Linda’s cousin Kelly came to visit shortly before Christ­mas, and Linda’s aunt Jan­ice stayed through Christ­mas. We enjoyed an “on loca­tion” ser­vice at a mall with Linda’s par­ents’ con­gre­ga­tion on Christ­mas Eve. While Linda put Michael to bed, the rest of the fam­ily enjoyed a Christ­mas Eve night ser­vice fea­tur­ing Karen’s choir. Then the whole fam­ily joined together for a Christ­mas day ser­vice and pre­cious time together as a family.

Funke Fam­ily Christ­mas

Back in St. Louis, New Year’s week­end also served as Funke Fam­ily Christ­mas. Linda and Andrea went to a paint­ing party on Fri­day. We rang in the New Year with fam­ily games. Then New Year’s Day the whole fam­ily got together for Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions, com­plete with Eric’s mom’s Christ­mas dessert. Michael loved it! This is the first time in six years we have been able to enjoy Christ­mas and New Year cel­e­bra­tions with our fam­i­lies, and it was so special.

Back in Tan­za­nia

Our school has been closed for the Christ­mas break and will reopen for a new school year on Jan­u­ary 9. The roof is fin­ished on the new admin­is­tra­tion build­ing, and, if all goes accord­ing to plan, the staff will begin using it in Feb­ru­ary. A spe­cial thank you to all of you who have been pray­ing for our friends Dixon and Christy and have donated towards help­ing them rebuild after the fire. Their friend who was in the house at the time of the fire has now been released from the hos­pi­tal and is just con­tin­u­ing to return to the hos­pi­tal reg­u­larly to have the ban­dages changed. Dixon and Christy still need about $2,000 to replace all that was lost, so if you are able to help, please go to glob​al​luther​a​noutreach​.com/​s​u​p​p​o​r​t​-​g​b​e​a​n​q​u​o​i​.​h​t​m​l or write a check to “Global Lutheran Out­reach” with “Gbean­quoi” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Out­reach, 6709 Ficus Dr., Mira­mar, FL 33023. They will return to Tan­za­nia Jan­u­ary 15 and will be stay­ing in Pas­tor Mimii’s house until they can find a new home.

Upcom­ing

We will begin the long jour­ney back to Tan­za­nia Jan­u­ary 17. Please pray for smooth trav­els, a drama-​free reen­try and a quick recov­ery from jet lag.

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: LCMS Projects in Africa

In South Sudan, prior to June 2011, a small group of priests departed the Angli­can church in that coun­try to begin a small but grow­ing Lutheran church body. Recently dur­ing his visit to Nairobi, John had the chance to meet with Rev. Nathaniel Bol, the leader of the South Sudan Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church (SSELC). The SSELC is one of the many new and exist­ing Lutheran church bod­ies John will get to work with in Africa.

As we become acquainted with our new sur­round­ings we are also learn­ing about the mis­sion needs and project activ­i­ties in Africa. In west and cen­tral Africa, John will work along­side many mis­sion­ar­ies, includ­ing Rev. Gary Schulte, the LCMS direc­tor of that area. In his words, “there is a need for focus on heal­ing the soul and heal­ing the body” in an area of the world where peo­ple are under strains of dis­ease, civil strife, and out­side pressures.

Coun­tries have a need to hear the Gospel in their own lan­guage, and there are Chris­t­ian men and women who want to do so. One way is to equip men as pas­tors as they return to their home coun­tries to teach oth­ers about their sal­va­tion through Christ. The Cen­ter for The­o­log­i­cal Stud­ies (CLET) in Togo cur­rently sup­ports sem­i­nary stu­dents from eight coun­tries and con­tin­ues to grow. West Africa has also expe­ri­enced bouts of malaria, ebola, and dingy fever. LCMS med­ical and mercy mis­sions in part­ner­ship with part­ner Lutheran churches and local med­ical orga­ni­za­tions pro­vide an oppor­tu­nity to wit­ness and heal both body and soul.

In east­ern and south­ern Africa, John will “walk closely with part­ner churches and new churches in ways that they request,” per Rev. Shauen Trump, the LCMS direc­tor for that area. Each church has its own cul­ture, con­text and unique cir­cum­stances. Some are well-​developed churches with over seven mil­lion mem­bers and grow­ing, like the Lutheran church in Ethiopia. Some are very small and just begin­ning, like the Lutheran church in South Sudan, and are eager to do things to reach out to their com­mu­ni­ties in ways they feel will spread the gospel.

The needs in Africa are great and var­ied, and it is an honor to meet and work along­side cur­rent and future pas­tors and con­gre­ga­tions who are reach­ing and teach­ing those in unreached areas about Jesus Christ, just like Rev. Bol. Thank you for your con­tin­ued prayers and sup­port, and may God bless you as we remem­ber the birth of our Sav­ior dur­ing this Christ­mas season.

Learn more about the growth of Lutheranism in South Sudan by vis­it­ing wmlt​blog​.org/​?​s​=​s​o​u​t​h​+​s​u​d​a​n.

Home Projects

This was unex­pected, but my first project was to design and install a fire escape for our home. The welders were excel­lent crafts­men (and very gra­cious when I made mis­takes speak­ing Swahili).

Our other home project is try­ing to get our shamba (“farm” in Swahili) going. We are grow­ing greens that we need to feed the fam­ily, and hope­fully soon we will have a few chick­ens run­ning around for eggs!

Get­ting to the mis­sion field requires many resources, and we are hum­bled and thank­ful for the many prayers and sup­port we have received from amaz­ing folks want­ing to help spread the Gospel in Africa. If you are not already, would you prayer­fully con­sider part­ner­ing with the work of the LCMS in Africa through on-​going support?

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: Wolf Fam­ily Video

Greet­ings from Nairobi, Kenya! Blessed Advent and Merry Christ­mas. As we cel­e­brate our Savior’s birth, we remem­ber that Christ came lowly like us; yet, despite our sin, He redeemed us with His pre­cious blood. He came to seek and save the lost — He came to save us.

The Lord con­tin­ues to seek and save His peo­ple in remote Kenya, South Sudan, Mada­gas­car, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Burk­ina Faso, Ghana, Congo and through­out Africa. It is hum­bling to now be in Africa and see how the Lord is work­ing. We are just get­ting started here and have much to learn, much for which to be thank­ful and many oppor­tu­ni­ties to remem­ber that God leads His mission.

Thank you for being part of this mis­sion in Africa. Your con­stant prayers and sup­port are cer­tainly felt — our ser­vice here would not be pos­si­ble with­out you! As a way of say­ing thanks for your sup­port over this last year, we wanted to let you expe­ri­ence the sights and sounds of Africa through the below video.

Please feel free to con­tact us (via email or oth­er­wise). It is a plea­sure (and very encour­ag­ing) to hear from you — and there is much more to share. Thank you again for your prayers and support.

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: From Gen­er­a­tion to Gen­er­a­tion

Then we your peo­ple, the sheep of your pas­ture, will praise you for­ever;
from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion we will pro­claim your praise.Psalm 79:13

This month included many joy­ful reunions with fam­ily, encom­pass­ing four gen­er­a­tions. We are so grate­ful for how God has worked and con­tin­ues to work in the lives of each generation.

Michael’s Bap­tism

On Novem­ber 6th, sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends at Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis, we shared about our min­istry in Tan­za­nia and cel­e­brated Michael’s bap­tism in faith. Eric’s sis­ter, Andrea Funke, will serve as Michael’s god­mother, and one of Eric’s best friends, Justin Moses, has agreed to encour­age Michael’s faith as his god­fa­ther. We can already see God doing mighty things in Michael’s life. If you would like to watch a video of Michael’s bap­tism, you can click here or go to www​.youtube​.com/​E​r​i​c​F​u​n​k​e​G​L​O.

Fort Collins, Col­orado

On Novem­ber 10, we flew out to Col­orado to meet up with Eric’s par­ents and grand­par­ents. We are over­joyed that Eric’s grand­mother has been able to return home since her stroke in June. She speaks much more clearly now, and she is get­ting along pretty well with her wheel chair and using her left hand. She and Michael share a spe­cial bond as the left­ies in our fam­ily. Thank you to all who have kept her in your prayers dur­ing these months of heal­ing. We also had the oppor­tu­nity to visit with some of Eric’s dad’s cousins. Michael loved play­ing with toys that his grandpa used to play with as a child and explor­ing local play­grounds. On Sat­ur­day we took a short trip into Estes Park to do some hik­ing, and Michael ran most of the way around Sprague Lake. On Sun­day, we enjoyed wor­ship­ing and shar­ing with Saint John’s. We were grate­ful to hear about the suc­cess­ful fundrais­ers to gather money for more books for our school’s library and equip­ment for the com­puter lab.

Spokane, Wash­ing­ton

On Mon­day, Novem­ber 14, we flew from Col­orado to Spokane, Wash­ing­ton, so that we could see fam­ily on Linda’s mom’s side. We thank God that Michael was able to meet all four of his liv­ing great-​grandparents this past month. We loved stay­ing with Linda’s grand­par­ents and enjoyed a won­der­ful meal with two uncles, an aunt and a cousin. These fam­ily reunions are so precious.

St. Louis, Mis­souri

Novem­ber 16, we flew back to St. Louis. We have greatly enjoyed vis­it­ing with St. Louis area churches and schools, includ­ing Salem Lutheran Church in Black­jack, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Greenville, Lutheran High School North, and Atone­ment Lutheran School. We have met and recon­nected with so many won­der­ful servant-​hearted peo­ple. We are so grate­ful for the sup­port and encour­age­ment we con­tinue to receive from many dif­fer­ent generations.

More Fam­ily Time

We also had more time this month with our Funke fam­ily. Eric’s sis­ter Andrea stayed for a few extra days after Michael’s bap­tism. We enjoyed qual­ity time with Brian, Ali­son and our nephew and nieces. We gath­ered for a deli­cious Thanks­giv­ing feast with Eric’s par­ents and Aunt Linda and Uncle Ken. As we head into Advent, we also trea­sured time with fam­ily to dec­o­rate the Christ­mas tree and drive around look­ing at Christ­mas lights.

Back in Tan­za­nia

Com­mu­nity Health Evan­ge­lism (CHE) con­tin­ues to have momen­tum in our absence. The CHE coor­di­na­tor, Jere­miah Shauri, and Pas­tor Odolous Gyunda led a two-​day sem­i­nar for the train­ers Novem­ber 1718, review­ing pre­vi­ous mate­r­ial and shar­ing some of what Jerry learned at his course in Kenya. We’ve also received won­der­ful news that con­struc­tion has begun on the new admin­is­tra­tion build­ing at our school.

At our school, most of the classes have fin­ished their exams. Only Pre-​Form 1 and Form 5 remain, and they will return home just before Christ­mas. Thank you to those who donated money toward books for our school library as part of #Giv­ingTues­day. If you still would like to donate, it isn’t too late. You can give a secure online dona­tion at Global Lutheran Out­reach. Please make sure to mark your dona­tion in the sec­tion titled “Funke: Mwadui Library” so that it does not get added into our gen­eral funds. You can also write a check to “Global Lutheran Out­reach” and put “Funke: Mwadui Library” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Out­reach (6709 Ficus Drive, Mira­mar, FL 33023). All dona­tions are tax deductible.

Com­ing soon!

Our last two pre­sen­ta­tions will be at Luther Memo­r­ial in Chicago on Sun­day, Decem­ber 4 and The Cross­ing in Dal­las on Sun­day, Decem­ber 11. We will be in the Dal­las area with Linda’s side of the fam­ily until Decem­ber 28. Then we will be back in St. Louis until we begin our jour­ney to Tan­za­nia on Jan­u­ary 17. Thank you for all your prayers as our trav­els continue.

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: Dis­cov­ery

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heav­ens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;[a]
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?” Job 12:79

Chil­dren have the amaz­ing abil­ity to help us see the world with won­der, as if we are again see­ing it for the first time. Dur­ing Michael’s first full month in the U.S., we have had the joy of watch­ing him dis­cover so many new places, peo­ple, ani­mals and things. He now reg­u­larly asks “What is it?” or “What hap­pened?” when he sees some­thing new that he doesn’t under­stand. Seem­ingly lit­tle things such as ice or a squir­rel or a water foun­tain are oppor­tu­ni­ties for learn­ing. We are so thank­ful for each new dis­cov­ery and for all the reminders of God’s love both in the U.S. and in Tanzania.

CHE

While we are trea­sur­ing time with fam­ily and friends here in the United States, we con­tinue to stay in con­tact with dear friends in Tan­za­nia. We were delighted to hear that Jere­miah (Jerry) Shauri, our dio­cese Com­mu­nity Health Evan­ge­lism (CHE) coor­di­na­tor, has returned from his five-​week course in Kenya. The course cov­ered CHE con­cepts in a vari­ety of con­texts includ­ing agri­cul­ture, women’s health, children’s min­istry, micro-​enterprise and serv­ing peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. The par­tic­i­pants were able to visit numer­ous sites that are cur­rently imple­ment­ing CHE pro­grams and learn from their expe­ri­ences. The course also cov­ered prin­ci­ples of teach­ing, using appro­pri­ate tech­nolo­gies, mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion and report writ­ing. Jerry returned with even more knowl­edge and enthu­si­asm to share with the train­ers in our pilot pro­gram. In fact, he has already planned a two-​day review sem­i­nar for the train­ers Novem­ber 1011. Thank you to all who made it pos­si­ble for Jerry to attend this incred­i­bly valu­able training!

Our School

This month, we received the won­der­ful news that our dio­cese in Tan­za­nia held a fundraiser for our school’s new admin­is­tra­tion build­ing. Around 500 peo­ple attended the event at the cathe­dral, and they raised $20,000 for the new build­ing! The Williamson Dia­mond mine has also pledged 400 bags of cement and 300 sheets of iron for the project. Con­struc­tion will begin soon! Our fel­low teach­ers and stu­dents also con­tinue to work dili­gently as national exams began this week. Please keep our stu­dents in your prayers, espe­cially those in Form 4 tak­ing exit exams. Thirty-​five Pre-​Form 1 level stu­dents have also arrived and are receiv­ing intro­duc­tory lessons until Decem­ber. These classes will give them a head-​start for when the new school year begins in Jan­u­ary. Eric has been help­ing his sub­sti­tute Sundi with a few com­puter issues long-​distance, but we are so pleased with her abil­i­ties and how com­puter lessons are con­tin­u­ing in our absence.

Pre­sen­ta­tions and Con­nec­tions

As we have trav­eled around to dif­fer­ent part­ner churches each week, we have also had the joy of redis­cov­er­ing the love, encour­age­ment, prayers and sup­port of so many part­ners in the US. In the past weeks, we vis­ited many of our Texas churches, includ­ing Mes­siah in Plano, Zion in Pasadena, St. John in Cypress, St. Paul in Plano, and St. Paul in Fort Worth. Zion also held a won­der­ful “Meet and Greet” for us at a local Applebee’s the Sat­ur­day before our visit. In each place, we were truly touched by the warm wel­comes, hugs, encour­age­ment and prayers. We were also grate­ful for fam­ily mem­bers who accom­pa­nied us so that Michael would have a famil­iar face in Sun­day School while we pre­sented. We love get­ting to share all that God has done this past year in Tan­za­nia. It’s pretty amaz­ing! We look for­ward to see­ing many more of you in the com­ing months!

Mak­ing Mem­o­ries

One of the most pre­cious aspects of being back in the US is intro­duc­ing Michael to fam­ily and friends and mak­ing beau­ti­ful mem­o­ries together. This past month we took Michael to his first zoo, camped at Eisen­hower State Park, spent a day enjoy­ing the sites of the State Fair of Texas, enjoyed numer­ous mid-​week play­dates, wan­dered the Dis­cov­ery Gar­dens at the Dal­las Arbore­tum, cel­e­brated Michael’s third birth­day, rode the DART train to down­town Dal­las and took Michael to his first cos­tume party. He made an adorable Super­man! If you would like to see more pic­tures of this month’s adven­tures you can find them at <a href=“http://www.facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania>Facebook.

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: Study­ing Spiritism and Ani­mism

Try as they might, in 1 Kings 18 the prophets of Baal could not do enough to make their god burn their sac­ri­fice, but when called upon by Eli­jah, the True God showed His sov­er­eignty above all gods.

In Sep­tem­ber our con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion for East Africa was on spiritism and ani­mism. It was a bless­ing to have Dr. Kou and Mrs. Mei Kou Sey­ing from Con­cor­dia Sem­i­nary, St. Louis. Dr. Kou reminded us how God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, cre­ator of all things, is above all gods, and only He can bring true peace, free­dom, for­give­ness, eter­nal life and voca­tional pur­pose because of Christ’s sac­ri­fice on the cross for us, to defeat sin, death and the devil for us. He taught us about how many peo­ple who believe in spiritism or ani­mism live in fear of con­se­quences of all their actions. As mis­sion­ar­ies, these are things we will run into reg­u­larly as we part­ner with the Lutheran Churches in Africa to share the peace giv­ing Gospel of Christ cru­ci­fied for all our sins.

Our train­ing took place in the moun­tains north of Nairobi and we were greatly blessed and encour­aged to meet with all the other mis­sion­ar­ies in the East Africa Area Team. It was def­i­nitely a time of learn­ing, but also of fel­low­ship and friend­ship build­ing. We even got to see a cou­ple wild ani­mals around the grounds.

Before return­ing to Tan­za­nia to lan­guage train­ing we were again blessed to be able to stay in our house — on the floor, but it was home for a cou­ple nights! We even made pan­cakes on our not-​completely-​installed stove.

Upon our return to Tan­za­nia, our teacher shared some of his obser­va­tions about spiritism in this area. Tan­za­nia has a very rich cul­ture and his­tory with quite the mix of Chris­tians, Mus­lims and tra­di­tional reli­gions. Many peo­ple, even those who pro­claim Christ, will turn to witch­doc­tors to appease ances­tral spir­its. The work for the Church is great!

We are thank­ful for the teach­ing we are receiv­ing here!

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.