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Mission-Minded Manteys: Joy-filled in Jesus

After this past semester had ended at the Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU), we were invited to accompany Bishop Bameka and other Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) representatives to Nakivale Refugee Settlement for the consecration of Alleluia Lutheran Church’s new building.

As we wrote in our June/July 2017 newsletter, the congregation of Alleluia Lutheran Church at Nakivale Refugee Settlement received a grant through the Tin Roof project from the LCMS. This was the perfect opportunity to celebrate alongside the congregation and encourage them in their daily lives and ministry.

When we visit congregations throughout Uganda, the services are in the local language for the region. Depending on the situation, there are also translators available so that the Word of the Lord can be understood by as many people possible. This past visit, Okach Opiew, a student at Neema Lutheran College in Matongo Kenya, translated the consecration and worship service (including 29 baptisms and eleven people confirmed).

When you worship in other languages, it allows the opportunity to observe in other ways how the Lord is working in the lives of his people. While with the people at Alleluia Lutheran in Nakivale, we witnessed great joy in the Lord. We saw this through our time together in worship, conversations and interactions. Even though they encounter hardships, it was their joy in the Lord that was most evident, and for this we praise God.

Ochan, a LTCU student who is a member at Alleluia Lutheran Church, was also present for the celebration. One of our great joys is that we get to continuously encourage and equip Ochan in his ministry, so that he may build up the body of believers at Nakivale.

Christmas Celebrations

In Uganda and throughout much of East Africa, everyday routines often shift during the Christmas season.

Many people leave the cities and go back to their family’s home, often in smaller towns and villages. Most of our colleagues that we work with at the Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU) also went back to their family homes, continuing to work and share the Gospel in their home region. The LTCU students are also responsible for evangelizing, teaching and building up the LCU while at home during the Christmas break. In southwest Uganda several mission stations started with the help of current LCU pastors and LTCU seminarians. In midwest Uganda, pastors and seminarians work together to build bricks to lay the foundation of a new church in their region. We praise God for the work of his kingdom through their hands!

Christmas in Nairobi

While students and staff at LTCU were with families in different parts throughout Uganda, we had the opportunity to visit with our missionary family in Nairobi, Kenya. Even though we are part of a larger LCMS mission team, and often work together in different avenues, we are only able to get together as a team twice a year.

Although not all team members live in Kenya, we were able to spend time with all families that live in Nairobi. We’re thankful for the opportunities to build upon and strengthen relationships, worship and spend time together, and encourage one another in life and ministry.

We now look forward to preparing for a new semester and welcoming students back to the seminary!

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: Fullness

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth Hhis Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.Galatians 4:4–5

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.Psalm 16:11

This past month has been so full! We’ve had a house full of family and guests, bellies full of delicious foods, a calendar full of activity and celebrations with friends and, most importantly, hearts full of gratitude and joy for all that God has done.

Christmas Letters

Thank you for all the Christmas letters we have received so far! It has been so fun to see pictures and hear stories from many of you. If you did not receive a copy of our Christmas letter and would like to, you can find a digital copy at www.dropbox.com/s/4whl4cs5shbp76y/Christmas%20Letter%202017.pdf?dl=0.

A Big Thank You!

Thank you so much to the sixteen individuals and families who either became monthly donors for the first time or increased their monthly donations! While we didn’t quite make our goal of twenty new or increased monthly donations by the new year, we are so grateful to those sixteen and to all of you who gave wonderfully generous one-time gifts. Thank you all! You are such a blessing in our lives and are living proof that God provides in many and varied ways. We will strive to be good stewards of these resources as we continue raising our children and serving our community here.

If you had intended to partner with our ministry but forgot during all the activity of Christmas, it is never too late! You can always set up a secure monthly automatic donation or a one-time gift at www.GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/support-funke.html. Thank you again for supporting this ministry through your prayers, encouragement and financial partnership.

Special Events

This month was filled with community as we celebrated a wedding, a confirmation and a birthday with friends. On December 2, we joined with Bishop Emmanuel Makala and Lillian Makala at the wedding of Lillian’s brother. Then, on December 10, numerous young people in our church confirmed their faith in Jesus, including our neighbor and family friend, Victor. We made the cake for Victor’s celebration and had a wonderful time with friends at his party. Finally, on December 26, we again put our cake baking skills to use as our neighbor Noel celebrated his eleventh birthday.

Our Trip to Mwanza

December 14–18, we headed to Mwanza to pick up a new homeschool curriculum from friends, drop off some clothes and toys for kids at Forever Angels Baby Home, pick up new GLO missionaries, Amber and Austin Reed, from the airport and check on the progress at the new Lutheran secondary school. We were pleased to see that lab tables, sinks and a septic system have been installed in the laboratory of the new school. Thanks to all who made this possible!

While in Mwanza, we also made some time for some family fun, including splashing and sliding during Julia’s first trip to the water park, painting hand camels and magi at Sunday School and going to see Star Wars at the new theater in Mwanza while our kids enjoyed pizza and a movie with friends. It was a wonderfully productive and refreshing weekend. For more pictures from our Mwanza adventures, visit our Facebook page.

Getting Amber and Austin Settled In

For the past three weeks, Amber and Austin Reed have stayed in our guest room while we all worked together to get their house set up. Over the course of three day-trips to Mwanza and ten day-trips to Shinyanga, we’ve been able to get/order/install everything that the Reeds need to begin their new lives here—driver’s licenses, resident permit stamps, a car, furniture, appliances, curtains, cookware, linens, etc. Earlier today, January 4, they moved into their house, and soon they will begin their work serving young people with albinism. We have greatly enjoyed having them stay with us the last few weeks and look forward to more time together in the months and years to come.

Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

Our first Christmas as a family of four was so lovely and memorable, and it was made even more special by having Amber and Austin here with us. Fifteen years ago Linda’s mother wrote a nativity play for preschoolers called “A Little Bit of Christmas,” so this year we performed our own version of it at home. To see more pictures of our play, visit our Facebook page. The week of Christmas we also made Christmas cookies to share with friends, crafted homemade Christmas cards, sang carols and watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Eric and I also stayed up late several nights hand-painting the finishing touches on the kitchen play set that we designed and our carpenter built. Our kids were so excited on Christmas morning! We also loved finishing our Advent devotionals with Amber and Austin and worshiping with our church family on Christmas Day. To see more pictures of our Christmas festivities, visit our Facebook page.

On New Year’s Eve, after our kids went to sleep, we had a game night with Amber and Austin until we rang in the new year. Soon life will settle back into a routine as school begins again, but we have been grateful for this uniquely full season and the memories that were made.

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: Merry Christmas

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[a] from the Father, full of grace and truth.John 1:1–2,14

During this Christmas season, it is with joy we remember the birth of Christ, the Word incarnate that dwelt among us. This Word of grace and salvation is eagerly heard and tenderly embraced by so many in Africa. Over this last year, it has been a blessing for us to see the Lord’s Hand at work in so many lives, countries, and people groups across this continent.

2017 has been a year of blessing for our family. We are thankful for the warm welcomes we have received while traveling, and for the many locals and missionaries who have befriended us as we start our work here in Africa. Thank you to the many families, congregations, friends who have walked with us, prayed with/for us, and encouraged us over this last year—we are grateful for your partnership in helping us tell others about salvation through Jesus.

As 2017 comes to a close, we look forward to the new year and the opportunities to share the Word of Christ with others in Africa. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Merry Christmas!

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

Mission-Minded Manteys: Grateful as We Serve

Our first semester ended the last full week in November. This allowed us to reflect on the generosity of our hosts, the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU), and our individual and church partners through the LCMS.

Throughout the semester, there have been ample opportunities to be grateful. After several months of transitioning, our recent focus was more on our assigned roles of project management and teaching. We have been able to work alongside the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU), learning the best practices to teach and learn about financial management in different cultures and build relationships with people all throughout Uganda. Megan enjoyed teaching three classes and learning more about class subjects she’s familiar with through the context of her students’ experiences. Mark has gained a better understanding of how projects develop and how the church implements their vision. The LCU has warmly embraced us, assisting us as we learn, asking questions to better understand and serve God’s people in Uganda. The real blessing is seen through the interactions we have with the 41 students at the seminary and the pastors and leaders of the LCU. We understand the unique opportunity to daily serve alongside others who are passionate about sharing the Gospel on a daily basis with communities throughout Uganda.

As we reflect, our hearts and minds also ponder the relationship with you, our friends, family and partners in the Gospel who live in the United States. We’re grateful for the varying ways that we’re cared for, such as daily prayer, encouraging emails, phone calls, cards and letters, as well as ongoing financial support. We’re grateful to be your missionaries in Uganda.

This past month, we had a lot to be thankful for in life and ministry.

As many in the United States prepared their homes and kitchens for Thanksgiving, life in Uganda continued on its normal path. Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, it is not widely celebrated here. However, since people in Uganda are so caring and and compassionate towards others, we were asked about what Thanksgiving is and how we were celebrating.

We saw this as an opportunity to have a “Thank-filled” meal at our house, inviting friends from the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) along with our neighbors. Our meal included a combination of traditional Ugandan and American foods. The most important aspect was spending time together as friends, learning more about our cultures and sharing the love of Christ through fellowship, hospitality and conversation.

As there are many Muslims in our surrounding area, we also wanted to be intentional about reaching out with the love of Christ and introduce our friends who are Muslim to our friends within the LCU. We were overjoyed when our neighbor, who is Muslim, could join us for dinner and be part of our “Thank-filled” meal. It was quite the celebration with friends and for that we are grateful!

Servant Leaders

We are grateful that seminary students get the opportunity to practice and lead worship at our congregation in Jinja. This month we had Earnest and Obed, originally from southwest Uganda, serve in this role. This also allowed us to spend additional time with them outside of worship and the classroom. We’re thankful for such moments as we build relationships with the body of Christ!

Lusoga Learning Update “Nenda okugula akatunda. Mukalini leero?” This translates to “I would like to buy some passion fruit. Do you have it today?” Every couple of days we go to the Central Market. This gives us the opportunity to practice language, build relationships, as well as buy the delicious foods that are in season. This market is similar to an American farmer’s market. It has different farmers and vendors that sell fresh produce, spices and more throughout its three levels of shops. All of our produce comes from here, so you could say it is definitely farm to table. As we grow in our language skills, we enjoy that we can engage with others in our community this way.

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: Praise the Lord!

Thanksgiving has always been one of our favorite holidays. Not so much for the delicious foods—though they are a wonderful treat—but because it gives us a time to sit back, reflect on the many gifts God has given us and give thanks. In other words, “Praise the Lord!” As we now begin preparing our hearts and minds for Advent and Christmas, we continue to be reminded of all that God has done. This year we have rejoiced in opportunities to teach at our school, to connect with our students, to sponsor kids who are differently-abled, to mentor and strengthen the local deaconesses in their ministries, to take next steps in community outreach programs and, of course, to welcome the newest addition to our family. For all this and so much more, we praise God.

Christmas Letters

Soon we will be sending out hard-copies of our Christmas letter. If you have moved this past year or didn’t receive a Christmas letter last year and would like to, please email your address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, we love receiving your Christmas letters, too. Our address is Eric & Linda Funke; P.O. Box 252; Shinyanga,Tanzania; East Africa.

Needing Your Help

As we shared last month, due to the added expenses that come with having a new family member and due to various sponsors having to reduce their monthly contributions for personal reasons, we are praying that God would bring forward twenty new monthly donors (of any amount) and/or increases by current monthly sponsors by the end of the year. We so happy to report that we have already heard from five new monthly donors, and one current donor has told us they are increasing their monthly sponsorship! Praise the Lord! We are still looking for fourteen more people to either become monthly donors or increase their monthly sponsorship towards our ministry. Could you be one of them?

If you feel God calling you to partner with our ministry in this way, you can set up a secure monthly automatic donation at globallutheranoutreach.com/support-funke.html. Please let us know if you become one of the twenty by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We would be very happy to send you a small thank you gift from Tanzania.

Our School

This month Eric has been hard at work holding final review sessions, writing and grading exams and compiling grade sheets for students to take home. However, as of Tuesday November 28, all of the students except for Pre-Form 1 are headed home for the Christmas break. And with that, our fifth school year in Tanzania is complete! Eric plans to do some computer system updates in December, and then we will welcome students back again in January.

Progress at Our Sister School

Earlier this month we traveled to Mwanza to do some preparatory shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner, catch up with friends and see how things are going at the new Lutheran secondary school in Mwanza. Thank you again to everyone at St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas, who raised money for the new school laboratory. We were so pleased to see that the outside is completely plastered, the stairs are in, the window frames and doors have been installed, the trenches for chemicals in the laboratory have been dug and they are hard at work installing the cement lab tables. They are also finishing the administrative building, have painted the classrooms and have installed doors in the bathrooms. They are still hoping to start classes in January, but could use your prayers because the government continues to try to add new requirements for starting a school. Now the government is saying they need a library and a kitchen before the school can start. Please pray that the diocese leaders will be able to convince them to allow the school to start with one of the classrooms as the library and the pastor’s house as the kitchen.

Thanksgiving

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, we hosted our own Thanksgiving celebration for other Americans in the area. We felt so blessed to be joined by six Peace Corps volunteers and two missionary friends. Everyone helped out to get the meal ready, including our two littlest helpers. We all enjoyed turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, sweet potato casserole, cornbread, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, chess pie, ice cream and peanut butter cookies. We even were able to download last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Several of our guests shared that they had been struggling with homesickness lately and this little taste of home was exactly what they needed.

Life at Home

Julia has been home with us for over two months, and we are now having trouble remembering life before her. Every moment—our first family road trip to Mwanza, playing music together, scavenger hunts, blowing bubbles, stomping in puddles after a rain storm, decorating our Christmas tree—feels so incredibly special. Julia’s English is growing by leaps and bounds, as is Michael’s Swahili. She no longer cries in her sleep every night. She is gradually overcoming her fear of dogs. As she gains confidence, we see her becoming more curious, more outspoken and more creative. She and Michael continue to be best buds, and we love how Michael looks out for her. While we are still very much in the bonding process and we know her scars will take love and time to heal, we are amazed by how far she has come and how far we have come as a family. Praise the Lord!

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: Joyous Malawi

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.Matthew 6:28b

When Scottish missionary David Livingstone ventured to bring the Gospel into central Africa, he traveled along the River Shire to the region that eventually became the beautiful country of Malawi. In August, John visited the “Warm Heart of Africa” and met with members and pastors of the Confessional Lutheran Church—Malawi Synod.

This church has grown substantially in the past decade, with 91 congregations in Malawi and neighboring Mozambique and eleven church buildings, but only six pastors. Chichewa-speaking people are eager to hear the Gospel and know Christ as their Savior.

Pastor Davis Wowa, Executive Chairman of the CLCMS, graciously escorted us to visit a congregation in Liwonde enroute to his home church in Mzuzu to attend a Women’s Conference with LCMS Deaconess Grace Rao and Missionary Shara Osiro.

At Mzuzu, we were greeted with a jubilant song about Creation as the ladies of the Women’s League walked us into the church. Women in the CLCMS have played a valuable role in helping the church grow. Although most congregations meet under a tree or rented building, the CLCMS annually builds a new church, raising most funds themselves. The joy of stewardship and sense of ownership were blessings to see as this young church tells others about Christ.

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: Reformation in Uganda

We enjoyed seeing how people celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. More importantly, we were thankful to witness the different opportunities to point people to Christ. In Uganda, October 29 was an important celebration, as it was also the consecration of the first presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU), Bishop Charles Bameka.

People gathered together from all over Uganda and bishops and church leaders came from Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and South Sudan to celebrate this milestone in the church body. The LCU has been steadily growing since Lutheran missionaries first came to Uganda from Ghana in 1994. As a partnering church of Ghana, the LCMS provided support to the growing Lutheran church in Uganda since 1995.

Since that time, the leadership structure of the Lutheran Church of Uganda has changed to better suit their needs as a developing church body so they may do the Lord’s work in Uganda. The Gospel continues to be shared throughout the country by trained pastors and lay leaders. Men and women answer the Lord’s calling by attending seminary to study towards being pastors and deaconesses within the Lutheran church. Members of the LCU serve Christ through their everyday lives in their various roles. The Holy Spirit continues to do great work through the people of LCU.

As they enter this new chapter in the church body, please pray for Bishop Bameka, the deans and pastors, other church leaders and the congregants as they live, serve and share Christ Jesus with their communities.

The month of October brought two unique opportunities to learn more in our roles as missionaries.

During the mid-semester break in early October, we were able to travel to Matongo, Kenya, to visit with the faculty and staff at Neema Lutheran College. This is about a six hour drive east from Jinja, Uganda. We were accompanied by two of our colleagues from the Lutheran Theological College (LTCU), Rev. Dr. Enoch Macben (Acting Principal) and Rev. Peter Maganda (Dean of Students). Neema Lutheran College is a long-standing seminary in East Africa, with similar educational structures and comparable joys and challenges that we also experience in Uganda.

Since it is only the LTCU’s second year of operation, we are grateful for opportunities to gather together and learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ in Matongo. It was a very worthwhile experience as we observed and were able to further discuss best practices for Lutheran theological institutions in East Africa. Most importantly, it’s encouraging to be part of a partnership with a neighboring Lutheran seminary to train people to further the Gospel message throughout East Africa.

Each year the LCMS missionaries in East and South Africa gather together for Continuing Education. This year we traveled to Arusha, Tanzania, to learn more about Confessing in Context as facilitated by the Rev. Dr. William Schumacher from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. We discussed the importance of better understanding the context of people we daily work with, including how societal views, time and history are interpreted and how to best communicate within this context.

Lusoga Learning Update

Osiibye otya! This is a common greeting used in the afternoon simply meaning, “How is the afternoon?” The proper response is “Bulungi,” which means “fine.” People then proceed to inquire about the person’s home, family, cattle, work, etc. Greetings are very important in Uganda. There is always time to stop, greet and inquire how a person is doing, whether you know them or not. It’s also a great form of outreach that lets people know we’re interested in knowing them as beloved children of God. We always take the time to greet and speak with our neighbors, shop keepers, taxi drivers and all whom we encounter.

Please continue to pray for us as we engage with our community and share the love of Christ in Lusoga.

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: Diving In

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.Isaiah 43:2a

While there are definitely aspects of Halloween that we don’t like, we love any opportunity for creativity, imagination, costumes and playing pretend. This week Michael and Julia dressed up as scuba divers, ice skaters and some of their favorite sweet treats. To see more pictures of their costume merriment, visit facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania/.

Much like our little divers, this month we too have been exploring new waters—learning to be parents of two dear ones. There is no dipping our toes into these waters. Rather we’ve jumped into the deep end. We give thanks that God goes with us in the waters and provides oxygen. We are so grateful for a month with no travel where we could go deeper into our ministries here and could give our kids some much needed consistency and attention.

A New Prayer Request

Last month we shared the amazing ways God has answered prayers in the last ten months since we returned from the U.S. In case you missed it, on our blog (www.AFunkeTimeInTanzania.blogspot.com) you will find ten one-paragraph stories describing some of the answered prayers we’ve experienced personally and in our ministry. Thank you to all who have prayed for us and have many times been the answers to our prayers. Even as we celebrate all that God has done, we continue to look toward the future.

Due to the added expenses that come with having a new family member and various sponsors having to reduce their monthly contributions for personal reasons, we are praying that God would bring forward twenty new monthly donors (of any amount) by the end of the year. If you feel God calling you to partner with our ministry in this way, you can set up a secure monthly automatic donation at globallutheranoutreach.com/support-funke.html. An increase in contributions from current givers would likewise be a great blessing. Please let us know if you become one of the twenty by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We would be very happy to send you a small thank you gift from Tanzania.

Deaconess Strategic Planning Meeting

Earlier this month, Linda was able to attend part of the strategic planning meeting for the Tanzanian deaconess community in our area. It was a joy to hear Matrida share her experiences at the World Federation of Diakonia Assembly and hear how they hope to implement some of the new ideas they brought back. We pray that Jesus’ love will continue to shine through these amazing women as they serve their churches and communities.

Our School’s Graduation

On October 7, we celebrated the graduation of our senior students. Eric and the students gave their families a tour and demonstrations in the computer lab. Here graduation happens before exams because each grade completes exams and leaves the school for break at different times. Having the graduation early allows all the students to celebrate together. Please keep these students in your prayers as they now prepare for national exams.

Preparing for Amber and Austin’s Arrival

This month we have also been helping new GLO missionaries Amber and Austin Reed to prepare for their work in Shinyanga serving young people with albinism. October 18–20 they flew from the U.S. to Iringa. They are now living with a host family there and working through an eight-week intensive Swahili course. Linda has especially been active in answering questions, helping them with travel arrangements and working with our diocese to find a house for them. By God’s grace, we have found a great house for them in Shinyanga that only needs a few relatively minor renovations. We look forward to helping them move in the week before Christmas! Please pray for the Reeds as they learn Swahili, adjust to new cultural norms and battle homesickness, and also for their families as they adjust to Amber and Austin being so far away.

Michael’s Fourth Birthday

On October 28, Michael turned four years old! How the time flies! Seven of Michael and Julia’s friends came over to celebrate. One of the workers at the local hospital has a cake-making business on the side, and about a month ago, when she saw on Michael’s file that his birthday was coming up, she offered to make him a cake for free. We are so thankful for our community and for our little boy. Michael continues to delight us with his stories, observations, humor, generosity and loving spirit. To see more pictures from the party, visit facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania/.

Life at Home

Eric continues to teach and prepare his students for their exams. However, we are grateful to the school and to his coworker Sundi for allowing him to be home as much as possible to continue bonding with Julia. We are slowly settling into a rhythm. We have started up some home schooling activities with the kids again, including helping them start their own garden. Julia continues to blossom. She now loves doing puzzles, giving hugs and kisses, going for rides in the jogging stroller, learning new English words and playing on the playground. If you would like to see more pictures of us diving into this new life, visit facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania/. We so appreciate all of your love and prayers during this time of transition.

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: Time to go to Togo

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God.Acts 17:26–27a

Undaunted by a steady downpour, red slippery mud and ever-shrinking dirt roads, we made our way through the back roads near Dapaong, Togo, to visit a local congregation. John’s continued travels to west Africa allowed him to meet Rev. Lamon and other leaders of the Lutheran Church of Togo (ELT).

Started in the early 1980s by missionary Rev Walter DeMoss from Ghana, the ELT continues to grow. Initial LCMS missionaries began simply by living and sharing the Gospel in a few small villages. Today, the Lutheran Church of Togo continues to plant churches. Togo is also the center of Lutheran pastoral training in French-speaking west Africa via the Centre Lutherien d’Etudes Theologiques seminary, which supports students from eight French speaking nations and is managed by an Africa director.

We were hosted by LCMS area director Rev. Gary Schulte and his wife. John was able to visit locations for LCMS missionaries Rev. Jacob Gaugert, Rev. Micah Wildauer and Valerie Stonebreaker, as well as current and future projects. We’re looking forward to visiting again soon!

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: Tanzanian Prayers Answered!

The Funke family, missionaries in Tanzania, Eastern Africa, sent this special bulletin to share with the congregation at Saint John’s.

They won’t be able to visit us this year because of their recent adoption of a little girl, their second child, but wanted to let us know how our prayers for them and their ministry in Tanzania are being answered and what help they continue to seek from Saint John’s and fellow congregations back in the United States.

Majid, a boy who with your support had surgery to help him walk in 2016, was able to complete kindergarten in 2017! With a modified desk and handicap-accessible bathroom funded by a partner family and a school that took a chance, God is helping this child learn and walk through life.

God rushed deaconess stoles to Tanzania. Members of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Longmont, Colorado, made these gifts in January and sent them on February 17. The stoles miraculously arrived in time to be presented at the March 11 consecration. Most packages take much longer, but these were obviously carried on angel wings!

Deaconess Matrida Sanga, Deaconess Grace Mutabuzi and Bishop Emmanuel Makala attended the World Federation of Diakonia conference in Chicago. Your generous support, discounted registration, passports, visas, housing, drivers, etc … all came together miraculously for these leaders to meet, worship and exchange experiences with others from around the world. They returned bursting with new ideas to integrate!

Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School needed a completed laboratory before the government would let the school open. God stirred St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas, to ask about the school’s progress, agreed to match donations, and, through Vacation Bible School, raise the remainder of the money needed to finish the lab. This new Lutheran school should open in January! No building project is too big for God!

Baraka, a boy born blind, completed two years of preschool last December. The Funkes and Baraka’s parents searched for many, many months for an elementary boarding school that would further his education. This past August, Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind in Moshi not only enrolled Baraka, but also said they’d be willing to teach Baraka’s blind younger brother Amani when the time comes. God continues to see and meet the needs of this precious family!

Faulty wiring in the school’s computer lab came to Eric’s attention when a student reported that a computer that was turned off was hot. This dangerous wiring could have injured students or caught fire. Eric supervised the rewiring of over half the lab, and the students and teachers now love working there. God often keeps his children safe when they don’t even know they’re in danger!

In September 2016, Eric and Linda started the process to adopt a second child. The process included many setbacks, but on September 22, 2017, Julia came home to be their daughter. She had only been eligible for adoption for a few weeks. As usual, God’s time was perfect! The family is now in the probationary period and will begin the court process to finalize the adoption in six months. Thank you for your prayers and support of the Funkes! God answers prayer!

Due to the added expenses of a new daughter and various sponsors having had to reduce their monthly contributions for personal reasons, the Funkes are hoping to find twenty new monthly donors of any amount by the end of the year. If you feel God calling you to partner with them in this way, you can set up a secure monthly automatic donation at globallutheranoutreach.com/support-funke.html. An increase in contributions from current givers would likewise be a great blessing. We pray that God’s love and power will continue to shine through their ministry in Tanzania.

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.