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The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Gathering Resources

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Recently a church leader from outside Kenya stopped by our field office. He was enroute to help his student get settled at the Matongo seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya. Upon graduation, this student will increase to seven the number of pastors in this young church body. That will be seven pastors serving 91 congregations—and growing! At present, however, resources are not sufficient for this student to complete even his first year of instruction.

Part of my work in walking alongside African churches involves seeking resources for efforts they wouldn’t be able to do themselves. In the case of the growing need to train men to become pastors, I’ve had a chance to write grant requests to ask for help from LCMS groups to support our mission work in Africa. After many hours of coordinating with our other missionaries for details, we learned that some of our requests were granted.

However, we still have many projects that require support for this year. As a way to share about our projects in Africa, over the last two years we have produced a catalog of the many ways that churches in Africa have asked for our help. The formation of our new project catalog has been a team effort by our African missionaries, as folks offered photographs, reviewed texts and provided updates on projects.

This year, we have many new projects, including opportunities to grow shepherd pastors, provide mercy in villages, strengthen relationships in new areas, help build new seminaries and help vulnerable children. Through online efforts—and when missionaries are stateside—we hope to share with churches and individuals how they can be part of the mission projects in Africa. But even with these efforts, God is able to do much more. Learn more at LCMSinAfrica.wordpress.com or missioncentral.us/missions/africa-projects/.

May the Lord provide far more abundantly than we ever imagine!

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: The Church as Neighbor

The most important is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.Mark 12:30–31

In Uganda, knowing and belonging to a community is an important aspect of daily life. People know their neighbors. There is a sense of camaraderie and understanding amongst neighbors. Being a good neighbor holds great importance.

This creates great opportunity for the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU), as they are neighbors to a lot of people in various communities. Recently, we witnessed these efforts in Busia-Uganda, which is in the Far Eastern Deanery and borders Kenya. We were able to work alongside the LCU pastors, local evangelists and lay leaders, and a LCMS short-term missionary, in door-to-door evangelism efforts, sharing the love of Christ by connecting to the nearby neighbors in three different villages.

Part of being a good neighbor in East Africa is welcoming visitors when they come to your home. Even if a person does not know you, they will still welcome you into their home and be grateful for the visit. The daily routine around their home pauses, and the focus shifts to learning about the visitors and attending to their needs.

The LCU knows their local churches are neighbors in the various communities. As neighbors, the LCU knows it is important to know one another. This also provides opportunities to share about the Lutheran faith with the surrounding community, answering questions about the Bible and teaching what Scripture says. The church also wants to learn more about the daily lives of the community, share in their joys and pray for the burdens each family carries. Ministry of presence is a strong part of the door-to-door evangelism efforts as we listened to challenges of individuals and families and offered hope through Christ Jesus. We are thankful the door-to-door evangelism efforts create another way for the local church body to follow up and nurture Christ-centered relationships with their neighbors.

The Work of the Church

We praise God that the work of the church continues to be done through the hands of the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU). Most recently in the Eastern Deanery, where we live and serve, the LCU has been working with the local community leaders to plant a church in the village of Bukwara.

Within the same Deanery, in the village of Ikumbya, we praise God that brothers and sisters in Christ were welcomed into the Lord’s family through the waters of Baptism. There were also three people who affirmed their faith at their confirmation.

Life and Ministry Update

Beginning a new semester at the seminary is always an exciting time.

We enjoy reconnecting with the returning students, hearing about their time away from seminary with their families and about their ministries in their various home regions. It is always encouraging to see them with smiling faces ready to greet, share and learn about what has been happening at the seminary since they were last at school.

It is also a joyful experience to meet the new students that are beginning their seminary journey. We met many of them over the break during recruitment and other ministry opportunities, so we are thankful to continue to build relationships with them. This year, there are several students from the refugee settlement in northern Uganda that Mark and the LCU met back in February. We praise God that the LCU is working with the neighboring church bodies to provide them with an education in preparing for ministry.

Seminary Construction Continues

As classes resume at the seminary, so does construction to finalize the structures. We are thankful for the willing hearts and hands who make this possible. As the structures near completion, this assists the Lutheran Church of Uganda to better equip the men they are training for ministry. This is realized through a healthier living environment in the dormitory, a library that can protect the books against the elements and eventually a chapel for weekend and mid-week worship, training, and outreach opportunities. As the structures get closer to being completed, the LCU is excited about the possibilities the campus can be utilized to share the love of Christ with their community.

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: God's Faithfulness

Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.Psalm 9:9–11

At the beginning of this month, we decided to visit one of the beaches near Dar Es Salaam while we waited for Julia’s Tanzanian passport to be prepared. There is something so powerful and yet so peaceful about the ocean, much like the power and peace of God’s enduring faithfulness. We have been riding emotional waves for months, but, through it all, God has been faithful, and this month we have once again seen God at work.

Before we share all the details of this past month, we have exciting news! We will be in the U.S. September 11 through January 16. You can hear us talk about all that God is doing in our lives and in our corner of Tanzania on November 4, during the Bible study hour in the Large Fellowship Hall.

Trip to Dar Es Salaam for Julia’s Passport

When we wrote our last newsletter, we were in Dar Es Salaam having received Julia’s Certificate of Adoption and applied for Julia’s passport. Our immigration agent informed us that she was no longer allowed to pick up passports herself. Thus, she was going to try to have Julia’s passport expedited so we could pick it up before we left on Saturday. We decided to make the most of the waiting time by taking advantage of the midweek deal of a hotel with both a beach and a water park. While in Dar, we also had the joy of reconnecting with friends, many of whom had also adopted from Forever Angels. Then, by God’s grace, we were able to pick up Julia’s Tanzanian passport the day before we flew back. Praise the Lord!

Trip to Dar Es Salaam for U.S. Visitor’s Visas

We were back in Dar Es Salaam August 19–24 in order to get U.S. visitor’s visas for our kids. We originally tried out a brand-new Airbnb, because we got a 20% discount if we gave a first review and the pictures made it appear to be a nice place. However, when the power went out at 4:30 AM in the dirty apartment, which lacked essentials like a working refrigerator, toilet paper and sufficient towels, we decided to find a new place. We dressed and fed our kids in the dark, attended our 8:00 AM interview at the U.S. embassy, received a full refund from Airbnb and promptly packed our things and moved our family to a much nicer Airbnb. Thankfully, the rest of the week went much more smoothly. We were able to get our visas by Tuesday (much sooner than expected), and by the time we left on Friday, we had received all of the official translations of the Swahili documents that we needed for our U.S. citizenship application.

US Citizenship

We have now received our Tanzanian police clearance letter and are waiting for two more state background checks. We are still hoping to file the first round of paperwork with USCIS in September. In terms of funding, so far we have received $9,200 towards the Funke Kids’ U.S. Citizenship project! We are now over halfway to what we will need for this whole process. Thank you all so much! If you are willing to help us get to our total goal of $18,000, you can make a secure online donation at globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funkekidscitizenshipproject/. Please make sure to write your donation next to “Funke Kids Citizenship Project” so it goes to the right place. Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” and put “Funke Kids Citizenship Project” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Outreach; 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL 33023. We greatly appreciate your prayers and support.

Community Health Evangelism

August 17–19, the three deaconesses trained in CHE traveled to Meatu and held CHE trainings for young people at five different congregations, teaching about sanitation, disease prevention and how to love people as God loves us. We have been so impressed by their initiative! Therefore we joyfully sent them to the next level of CHE training in Kenya, which includes a six-week internship. They arrived August 26 and will return October 5. Thank you to all who make educational opportunities like this financially possible. We know that these women will use what they are learning to serve communities throughout the Shinyanga region.

More Paperwork

One of the biggest tasks since returning from Dar has been preparing all of the documents necessary for our work permit and resident permit renewals. Thankfully, the diocese has just opened up a brand-new daycare center for kids with working parents, and our dear friend Amber has been asked to head up this project. While we spent days gathering, filling out and scanning paperwork, our kids enjoyed quality time with Amber and new friends.

Our School

This month we rejoiced to see more progress on the school’s clinic. Thanks to contributions from friends at Redeemer Lutheran in Peoria, Illinois, the clinic is now plastered and windows have been installed. They also purchased a school motorbike to be used by whoever is Teacher on Duty.

Recently, Eric has been helping to prepare mid-term exams and has been training other teachers in how to use the gradebook software. We’ve also hosted a few more movie nights for students. Our school will close for the fall break on September 7. Then we will drive to Mwanza September 9 and begin our journey to the U.S. September 10. Please pray that this next month of travel goes smoothly. We are looking forward to seeing many of you in the coming months!

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.

Missionary Thank Yous

The church mailbox has been filled with many thank you notes this year, as grateful missionaries recognize the gifts sent by Saint John’s to support projects around the world. Most recently, the congregation made a gift to the Vanderhyde family, who are preparing for mission work in Sri Lanka. The offering taken at Ben Vanderhyde’s presentation when the family visited Saint John’s in July, along with a Thrivent supplement, added up to $850. The Foundation sent the Vanderhydes an additional $1,500, and the Heseder mission group voted to send $500 of their fundraising dollars to the family.

Seminarian Ben Vanderhyde served as a summer intern last year, playing organ and assisting Pastor Nettleton. Ben received his third-year vicarage call to Sri Lanka, so the family will be serving there before he returns to complete his final year of seminary. Right now the Vanderhydes are fundraising, as they have have to raise, through gifts and pledges, all of the money that will be required to support them while they are serving before they begin their mission. Once their funding has been secured, they will leave for Sri Lanka. Ben will spend his vicarage preaching, teaching and developing music programs tere.

Ben writes,

Dear Friends in Christ,

We just recently got word of your gifts of support through Mission Central! Thank you for partnering with us for God’s work in Sri Lanka. We’re so glad to have your support and prayers going with us as we embark on this journey.

God bless your work and ministry as His church in Fort Collins!

Your friends,
Ben, Grace and Larson Vanderhyde

In a letter of thanks on behalf of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s “Mission Central,” LCMS President Matthew Harrison expressed his thanks to Saint John’s:

My dear fellow redeemed:

I have been blessed to know people who experience profound, life-changing joy when they tell others about Jesus through their sacrificial giving. I pray you are one of them. There is something intensely personal and full of meaning in a gift like the one you have joyfully given. Thank you.

St. Paul said it best in Philippians 1:3–6: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

In service to our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Pastor Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Nikolai Gibbons (son of the congregation, former summer intern and current pastor in Michigan) was visiting Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in February, to attend the “We Love the Seminary” event. He had not met and did not know Ben at the time, but noticed the t-shirt that Ben was wearing from Ben’s summer here in Fort Collins: “Saint John’s Lutheran VBS.” Nikolai, of course, struck up a conversation with Ben, and sent this picture!

Most of the recent missionary correspondence has been related to the recent gift to the Vanderhydes. However, Saint John’s will also be sending all of the offerings given during Sunday fellowship times in August (with a Thrivent supplement) to support the Wolf family. In addition, the church received another thank you, this one from the East Africa Field Office of the LCMS, for the donation to the Lutheran Seminary in Uganda made earlier this year.

Dear Saint John’s Lutheran Church,

Greetings in the name of our Risen Savior. Thank you for your generous gift to support the LCU Seminary in Uganda. The people of the LCU are grateful for your partnership to help them equip their pastors to spread the Gospel.

We appreciate your mission hearts. May God continue to bless you and keep you.

In Christ,
Britt Odemba
LCMS Missionary Serving in Kenya

Many thanks to all of you who have donated and otherwise supported the work of the Vanderhyde family and the other missionaries who count Saint John’s among their benefactors.

Tom Miles is the Parish Administrator at Saint John’s. You can reach him at the church office Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to Noon and 1:00 to 4:00 pm, at 482-5316 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: A Vicarage Where?

One of the questions people always ask me is, “How did this happen? Why is your viarage in Sri Lanka?”

I try to give an honest answer. I tell them the whos and the whats—how Grace and I filled out paperwork for missionary candidacy, how, when we learned Sri Lanka was the option and spoke with the missionaries involved there, we decided that this was a good fit for us, how we accepted the appointment we received on Call Day.

But this week, during New Missionary Orientation, I realized that the answer I had been giving all this time was wrong. Why is our vicarage in Sri Lanka? It’s not my doing. Our vicarage is in Sri Lanka because God opened a door and answered a prayer.

Ever since I decided to study music in college, I’ve been hoping and praying that I would be able to use music in my ministry. Throughout college, my love of music deepened while my resolve to pursue the Holy Ministry heightened. Then, after our first year at seminary, God answered a prayer and opened a door. Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, Colorado, eighty miles from my home, offered me a summer internship that combined music and ministry. God brought our family to a place where I could serve Christ joyfully, with the talents he’s given me, in a place that needed me.

God opened a door and answered a prayer. Now He’s doing it again. While I learn how to be a pastor on my vicarage in Sri Lanka, I will also serve with music. The Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church needs help seeing music’s potential for the church. Through music I’ll be working with our partner church to teach the faith, praise the Lord and uplift the soul.

Isolated in a Buddhist nation, the Sri Lankan Christians need the encouragement, refreshment and Christian confidence that church music can give. We give thanks that God is sending us, through you, our dear brothers and sisters in His Son. God works through His church—through His people—to bring Christ to the world!

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Welcome to Our New Newsletter

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:33

Through these letters, we get to share with you the amazing work God is doing, both here in the US, as we prepare for deployment to vicarage, and especially in Sri Lanka, when we get to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people we’ve been appointed to serve there.

Entering to be a missionary candidate through the LCMS Office of International Mission was quite a learning process. Before we found out that we might be headed to Sri Lanka, we discovered that we would be raising 100% of the funds for our two years of vicarage, through a process called Network Supported Missionary (NSM), in which the missionaries travel from congregation to congregation, sharing the work God will be doing overseas and inviting churches to participate in that mission through prayers and financial support. The time it would take to generate a network of support was for us an unexpected add-on to an already elongated vicarage.

But as time went on, we became convinced that this mission to Sri Lanka was for us, and NSM would simply be a part of our work preparing for that. Here we are in the middle of the summer and we could not have imagined the amazing things God had in store for us. When Missionary Gary informed us he would be networking on our behalf, and when those notifications of your support started popping up in our inbox, we quickly realized that God was sending us to Sri Lanka. We stopped worrying about the money and the time, because he was choosing to send us through you all, through Christ’s church.

It was a great joy to visit Mission Central on the nineteenth of June and meet some of the wonderful people who are sending us on our mission, including Pastor Hedstrom and some of the members and youth of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Lakefield, Minnesota. What a blessing it was to meet those folks and to be sent by them then and there through prayer and the laying on of hands! Mission Central is a miracle place! Jesus is working great things for his church through Gary and Brent and everyone involved there.

Later that week, Ben got to visit Peace Lutheran Church in Antigo, Wisconsin, and share his very first presentation about the work God is doing in Sri Lanka. The wonderful people of Peace were so welcoming and encouraging. It was especially exciting to be the guest of Pastor Dave Karolus, who had spent a few weeks in Sri Lanka several years back and recognized some of the people and places from my slides!

Overall, we’re thankful for the time we get to spend in the states before our deployment. For an overseas vicarage, there sure will be a lot of opportunities to share God’s word with his people stateside, experiences that can be nothing but mutually encouraging and educational for all of us. Through all of this, we’re learning to trust God more and more—for everything—even if that’s simply for strength on a hectic day of travel, or rest after a late night of sermon prep.

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde

Mission-Minded Manteys: Work Together, Serve Together

One of our great joys in ministry is witnessing both the delight in the Lord and commitment to do God’s work through the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU). People are committed in sharing the Gospel, sharing the love of Christ with their communities and supporting one another as they are called to do.

Recently, Megan got to be a part of this through a seminary recruitment trip to the southwest, midwest and central regions of Uganda. The purpose of the trips are to recruit new students for the upcoming term. However, other important elements of the trip include opportunities to encourage and check-in with current students home for the break and uplift, update and share expectations about the seminary with congregational and deanery leaders. The Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU) is a ministry of the church, and this means that it requires all people to understand, support and encourage in their own ways.

As Rev. Enoch Macben (principal of the seminary), Rev. Raymond Kaija (Dean of the Midwestern Deanery and LTCU faculty) and Megan shared with the congregational leaders about the roles and responsibilities of the students, congregations and deaneries, and the needs of the seminary, the congregational leaders responded positively about how they could best support. New students who are called by God to serve as future pastors in the LCU are sent by these congregations. The congregations in turn help provide for the student and his family while away at seminary by praying and checking in on the family, helping in the garden and sending the student with items he needs for studying. The congregations contributions also includes sending food for the seminary. We praise the Lord for his continued work through the LCU!

Over the semester break, we were able to serve in a variety of ways.

Directly after the semester ended in June, we celebrated alongside the LCU as they commissioned their first class of vicars. It was a great celebration, not only for the region, but for the whole country, as these men were sent out to six of the seven areas the Lutheran Church of Uganda serves in daily. It was a proud moment for both the LCU and for us, as we have closely interacted with the men this past year. It was a joy to see them equipped to serve as they continue to grow and learn in their vocation. We look forward to hearing about and seeing the work the Lord accomplishes through their hands this year!

In July we had the opportunity to go to Nairobi to spend time with and encourage recent graduates from the seminary in Matongo, Kenya. There were two graduates that are from the Lutheran Church of Uganda, and one additional person that serves in Tanzania.

We were able to represent both the LCMS and be a part of the representation alongside our colleague, Rev. Peter Maganda, from the LCU. It was a great day to celebrate the graduates accomplishment of their recent degree and another opportunity for us to share the love of Christ through the ministry of presence. We are thankful we can build and foster relationships in this way. We pray the Holy Spirit continues to guide and lead them as they serve in ministry. We look forward to serving alongside the LCU graduates in their respective home regions in the Eastern and Central deaneries.

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: Seeking and Finding

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!Psalm 9:9–11

Earlier this month Linda put together a treasure hunt for Michael and Julia as part of X-Week in homeschool, because “X” marks the spot. Every time they used the map to find the treasure, they delighted in the two jelly beans or raisins inside. It quickly became one of our kids’ favorite games, and they continued to play the game for weeks afterward. This month we also spent much time seeking—seeking documents and seeking God in the midst of many challenges. We are so grateful to have a God that invites us to seek Him and seeks us as well.

Adoption Update

When we wrote our previous newsletter, our Consent to Adopt document had been sitting on the desk of the Commissioner of Social Welfare in Dodoma for weeks. Here’s what has happened since then …

  • July 5: Bishop Makala finally reached the commissioner by phone and learned that the document would be signed July 9 (one day before our court date).
  • July 8: Bishop Makala sent the General Secretary Happiness Gefi and our school’s driver Gaspar to Dodoma.
  • July 9: Happiness received the document from the commissioner in the afternoon and she and Gaspar drove the ten hours back to Shinyanga. We started running fevers that day and prayed for strength to make it through the week.
  • July 10: The Assistant Bishop arranged for a magistrate to meet us at the diocese at 7:30 AM to notarize the document. Eric waited for the bank to open at 8:30 AM so he could pay for the filing, but when he returned with the receipt, the court accountant was MIA. However, after much searching we were told we could still continue with the hearing. Our lawyer arrived from Mwanza and our substitute social worker arrived from Kishapu, but unfortunately our judge was not present. Apparently another judge had been in a car accident that morning, and our judge went to be with her. When they told us our next hearing date would be August 7, we wanted to cry. Thankfully, our lawyer and social worker convinced them to let us try again two days later.
  • July 12: We arrived in Shinyanga only to be told again they would have to reschedule our hearing. However, our lawyer and social worker again came to our rescue and convinced them to see us that afternoon. At 2:45 PM we finally had our hearing.
  • July 13: We returned to court on Friday for the reading of the ruling and thought we were done until we learned the Order of Adoption would not be ready until Monday.
  • July 16: We finally received our copies of the ruling and the Order of Adoption! We immediately sent them to our lawyer in Dar Es Salaam so that she could begin the application for the Certificate of Adoption.
  • July 26: We heard from our lawyer in Dar Es Salaam that our Certificate of Adoption would be delayed, because some of the government workers were at a training. Our lawyer wasn’t sure how long it would take. We had already scheduled a meeting with the U.S. Embassy for July 30, so we continued with our travel plans and prayed the certificate would be finished while we were in Dar Es Salaam.
  • July 29: We flew to Dar Es Salaam (Julia’s very first plane flight). The flight was almost three hours delayed because it was the maiden voyage of a brand new 787-8, and many dignitaries were at the airport to give speeches and commemorate the occasion.
  • July 30: By God’s grace, our Certificate of Adoption was finished and correct! Praise the Lord!
  • August 1: We applied for Julia’s Tanzanian passport. Now we wait for Julia’s passport, and when it arrives we will need to get U.S. visitor’s visas for both of our children.

US Citizenship

July 5–7 we hosted Gerald Bowman, a U.S. social worker living in Germany. By that point we had submitted almost all of the necessary documents, so the home study interview itself went very smoothly. We are grateful that he took the time to come out here (36 hours of travel each direction). On July 30, we got Linda’s request for a Texas background check and Eric’s request for Verification of U.S. Citizen Born Abroad (Canada) notarized at the U.S. Embassy. These forms are now on their way to the U.S. We are also still waiting for the Tanzanian police clearance letter. Please pray that all these documents reach us before the end of September. In terms of funding, so far we have received $6,700 towards the Funke Kids’ U.S. Citizenship project! Thank you all so much! We need another $1,800 before we file our I600a in September. If you are willing to help us get to this goal, you can make a secure online donation at 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 greatly appreciate your prayers and support.

Amber’s Birthday and the Youmans’ Visit

This month we also had the joy of celebrating Amber Reed’s birthday and welcoming her internship supervisor, Dr. Jacob Youmans, and his family. We loved getting to know this family and helping to show them around. Because Linda is Amber’s mentor for her Director of Christian Education internship here, she also had several meetings with Jake and Amber during that time. We are so happy with all that Amber and Austin have accomplished so far and look forward to seeing how God continues to expand their ministry.

Other Activities

In the midst of all the unique activities this month, other aspects of our ministry continued. School started back up in early July, which for Eric meant teaching, leading meetings and hosting movie nights. We attended the third graduation of the Right to Live with Albinism program and sponsored a sewing machine for one of the graduates. Linda had the opportunity to join with her U.S. deaconess sisters for their Annual Meeting via the internet. Linda also continued to follow up with those serving Joseph’s family (the family in our community that we have been helping since the kids showed up on our doorstep in December), and we provided more supplementary food as their goat herd grows and their income hopefully stabilizes. Lastly, Linda and the kids finished up their “Letter of the Week” projects in homeschool. As we now transition into furlough preparations, we pray that we may continue to seek God’s guidance and peace.

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: The Potter

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.Isaiah 64:8

While God sometimes acts in big ways in our lives, we’ve been reminded recently that God really molds us in the little everyday moments of faithfulness. This month has had many of those “step by step, bit by bit” moments.

US Citizenship

This month we have been extremely busy filling out and gathering documents for our home study coming up July 5–7. We completed the 21-page questionnaire, which became 36 pages with our answers to all the essay questions. We submitted our answers to the 72 essay questions that went along with the 223-page Parenting Education Manual. We gathered and submitted copies of our birth certificates, marriage license, passports, residence verification, employment verification, health insurance verification, financial statements, tax returns, four recommendation letters, a letter from potential guardians if something happens to us and a quality picture of us. We also began the process of getting background checks in all the states where we have lived in the U.S. and a police clearance letter from Tanzania. Bit by bit, we are making our way through this process.

Also, we have great news! This month we received $5,755 towards Funke Kids’ U.S. Citizenship! Thank you all so much! This amount covers the application fee, the home study fee and the travel expenses for the U.S. social worker to come do our home study! We still need $1,800 to travel to Dar Es Salaam to get notarization at the U.S. Embassy on some of our documents and to pay for official translations of all Swahili documents. If you are willing to help our children become American citizens, you can make a secure online donation at 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 Dr, Miramar, FL 33023. We greatly appreciate your prayers and support.

Mwanza Trip

After a hectic May, we headed to Mwanza to run some errands, catch up with friends and decompress. We had the joy of reconnecting with Michael Leen, a friend who lived in Mwanza for 3.5 years and was back for a visit. We visited Forever Angels in order to drop off more hand-me-down clothes and get copies of documents from Julia’s file that we will need for U.S. Citizenship. We also made a trip to the waterpark and had a playdate with our friends the Berry-Stableins. Even though our engine belt shredded and the projector at the movie theater broke, it was overall a delightful weekend.

Adoption Update

Because of problems obtaining a correct Consent to Adopt document and our local social worker’s report, on June 12 we had to go to court to reschedule our court date (now July 10). We’ve continued to have difficulties getting our social worker’s report. Not only is she on maternity leave, but on Sunday, June 17, she was in an accident and broke her leg. Thankfully, she and the baby are ok, and she did eventually complete the report. On Monday, July 2, Eric was able to file her report. However, the struggles to get the Consent to Adopt continue. We learned earlier this month that our lawyer had made another error on the Consent to Adopt. Since we had the soft copy and were able to fix it ourselves, we asked if the Ministry of Social Welfare could print it there instead of sending another. However, it took multiple days to find the necessary green court paper. Since then the new Consent to Adopt has sat on the Commissioner’s desk for almost two weeks waiting to be signed. Please pray with us that it makes it to Shinyanga with enough time for us to file it before our court date.

Saying Goodbyes

This month we had to say goodbye to three dear friends. Our Peace Corps friend, Taylor, has completed her service and will be traveling back to the U.S. later this month to prepare for her Masters in Public Health Program at Emory University. We will miss her tremendously at Bible study and at our dinner table. We also said goodbye to two of our oldest friends here in Tanzania. Tilla and Wessel have lived and worked in Mwadui for eleven years and will be retiring to South Africa. Some may remember that Tilla was the one who taught Linda so much about pottery and was the one who stayed by Linda’s side for hours at the hospital when she was so sick with malaria in 2012. We will miss them, and we wish them a joyful retirement.

More Visitors

On June 14, we had the joy of seeing Scott and Lori Rische again as they finished up another successful Pastoral Leadership Institute seminar for pastors and their spouses. On June 22, we also had the opportunity to meet some of Amber and Austin’s friends from language school, Noemi and Manuel Ruckstuhl. We love how many visitors come during the summer months.

Father’s Day

This Father’s Day was unique in that it was our first Father’s Day with Julia. We also spent a good portion of the day at the Opening of the Tanzanian Lutheran Women’s Convention, which was held at our school for the first time. We are glad that our school now has the facilities for events like this. After the service, Eric enjoyed homemade Father’s Day cards, a nap, food delivered from a restaurant in Shinyanga and homemade cinnamon rolls.

Time at Home

Since school was on break, most of this month was spent working on citizenship and adoption paperwork, homeschooling and playing with our kids, leading Bible study and working on many long-neglected household projects. We have been so grateful for this time together.

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: Equipping the Saints

And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.Ephesians 4:11–12

Five generations ago, a German missionary family was diverted to South Africa to share the Gospel with local populations. During a recent visit to the southern part of the continent, John stayed with members of this family who continue today in mission work throughout southern Africa.

John met leaders for both the Lutheran Church of South Africa (LCSA) and Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSiSA), the two Lutheran church bodies the LCMS works with in this area. It was impressive to observe how these historically separate churches support and defend each other. John learned that not only do these churches continue to share the Gospel in South Africa, but have used connections in other parts of southern Africa to help plant Lutheran churches and grow the body of Christ. It was comforting to discuss and learn how we could partner together for mission work in which the LCMS is active in Malawi and Rwanda.

In South Africa, the LCSA and FELSiSA together contribute to the operations of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, which trains and equips men from this country and many others around Africa to become pastors. During his visit, John visited with the board of directors to learn about seminary issues and build upon existing relationships with church leaders, faculty, the rector and student representatives. While exploring the campus, John met a couple South African students. One was a second year student who each weekend returns home to serve as an evangelist alongside his pastor and tend to seven congregations. The other student served four churches. John was amazed and encouraged by the faith and dedication of these young men to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

May God guide and equip these students.

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.

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