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Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: We Have Arrived in Sri Lanka

Dear friends, join us in thanking the Lord for answering your prayers and ours and bringing us to Sri Lanka. We arrived early Tuesday morning and on Sunday, May 19, Benjamin’s supervisor, Pastor Mahlburg, officially installed him as a vicar. This was our first Sunday in Sri Lanka and we had the pleasure of meeting the brothers and sisters at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Colombo. The Tamil congregation welcomed us to Sri Lanka with flower garlands. Immanuel’s own Pastor Devanesan took part in the installation.

The two LCMS missionary families here have taken good care of us in our first days here. We are staying with the Naumanns and Pastor Mahlburg is orienting us to life in Sri Lanka, setting us up with essential needs and taking us apartment hunting. Praise the Lord!

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

Funke News: Welcome

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.Romans 15:7

Karibu (welcome) is one of the most commonly used words in Tanzania, and this month we have had the joy of extending this welcome many times.

On May 5, our neighbors’ dog gave birth to one puppy in our backyard, but after 24 hours of stressful labor, she still hadn’t birthed more puppies. While the local vet was out of town, he managed to contact his former teacher who came out with an aide. They confirmed that there were indeed more puppies inside and that if she didn’t give birth soon, her life and the lives of the puppies would be in jeopardy. Therefore we immediately moved the desk from our office into the shed, covered it with a tarp, and assisted in an emergency C-section. During the surgery the vet discovered that the puppy closest to the exit was positioned feet first, which had made it impossible for Mama Dog to push it out. We had a few scary moments as the six puppies born by C-section struggled to breathe at first. However, after cleaning out their noses and mouths with a syringe and giving them tiny chest compressions, all the puppies began breathing on their own. When the surgery was finished, we transferred Mama Dog and the puppies to our kitchen and gave the puppies some warm milk in a bottle to tide them over until Mama was awake and strong enough to nurse. Once Mama was a lot perkier, we brought the puppies over to nurse. Imagine our surprise when about thirty minutes into nursing, two more puppies were born! Mama Dog is truly an inspiration, and we have greatly enjoyed watching her nurture her nine beautiful puppies. We thank God for a happy ending to this story.

Another highlight from this month was welcoming new GLO missionary, Cheryl Kruckemeyer. Lord-willing, Cheryl will begin Swahili language school in late October and then move to Mwadui and begin teaching English at our school in January 2020. We loved showing Cheryl around Mwadui, Shinyanga and Mwanza from May 27 to June 4. During that time we introduced her to the staff at school (especially her future colleagues in the English department), the students, the diocese staff, the South Africans in our community and her new church family. Everyone welcomed her warmly, and they are all excited for her return. We also helped her gather pictures, stories, clothes and interesting items for her upcoming presentations.

The same week that Cheryl visited, we also welcomed Amber’s internship supervisor, Dr. Jake Youmans, and a team of three students from Concordia University in Austin, Texas. Amber and Austin did a great job of preparing a wonderful week of ministry for the team. On Tuesday we had the opportunity to show them around our school and to eat with them at Bishop Makala’s house. On Wednesday, our kids enjoyed the VBS they led at the diocese daycare, and we joined them for the grand opening of the new basketball court and playground at Bushushu. Eric even got to participate in the first official game on the court. We loved hanging out with them and getting to know them.

On May 11, Erik Lunsford (LCMS Photographer), Shara Cunningham (LCMS Area Deputy and Communications Specialist Eastern/Southern Africa) and Kevin Armbrust (editor of The Reporter) visited our school and interviewed us in the hopes of recruiting more missionaries to this area. On May 19, we worshipped with and welcomed a team from the Mid-South District to our school. It was wonderful to see many familiar faces and to meet some new friends. On May 20, we drove to Mwanza to meet up with Eric’s cousin, Stephanie Schmiege, who was in town for the night. She was a missionary teacher in Bukoba and was back to visit friends throughout East Africa. Then, on May 21, we joyfully welcomed new Lutheran Bible Translators missionaries, Andrew and Alexis Olson, and their daughters. After language school, they will be serving on Ukerewe Island. All of these visits were a wonderful reminder that God is actively nurturing international partnerships in this area, and we love seeing the fruits of those partnerships.

Other Joys

Also this month Eric taught, prepared exams and helped to compile grades before the June break. Linda taught a class on how to combat bullying and make sure each student feels welcome at the school. She also taught a “Lessons in the Movies” class based on the three recent Chronicles of Narnia films. We purchased curtains for the multipurpose hall so students can better see the screen during the day and fixed up the missionary office for future missionaries.

On May 12, Linda enjoyed Mother’s Day, made complete by time worshipping as a family, commemorating the mothers who can’t be with us right now and receiving homemade cards and flowers from our backyard. Finally on May 29 we celebrated eight beautiful years of marriage. We spent some time away as a family at a nice hotel before and after Cheryl’s visit, and we were so touched when some of our Tanzanian friends surprised us with a special cake on our actual anniversary.

Hoping to Welcome More Future Missionaries

We would love to welcome other new missionaries so that Cheryl can have missionary colleagues in the area. Do you know any teachers (preschool, elementary or high school), nurses, doctors, chaplains, social workers, DCEs, deaconesses, computer gurus, agricultural specialists or childcare workers who might be interested in serving in Tanzania? We have prepared one-page descriptions of these opportunities that you can download at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funke. If you know of someone who might be interested or have other ideas for how we can get the word out, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

Mission-Minded Manteys: The Joy of Forgiveness

Recently, I (Megan) had the opportunity to accompany fellow missionary, Rev. Dr. Mark Rabe, and Ambassadors of Reconciliation (AoR) President Dwight Schettler and Lead Ambassador Ted Kober to Rwanda. We had the joy of serving together at the first pastors and wives conference for the Lutheran Mission in Africa—Synod of Thousand Hills (LMA—STH).

Dwight and Ted taught about reconciliation in Christ Jesus and how this positively affects our relationships with one another. The conference was days before the 25th anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Although intentional work has been done in the country and the Lutheran church to reconcile and rebuild relationships, the stories shared by church leaders reflected the immeasurable pain and challenges that are still a part of their narrative.

Yet, as I spent time with the women at the conference, it was the immeasurable joy in Christ that was ever present. I also witnessed an eager willingness to learn, practice and implement what AoR was teaching about forgiveness through Christ Jesus in daily life and ministry. Even with some trepidation, the women showed great fortitude as they shared their own stories and applied Scripture about reconciliation to their own lives.

As the women practiced coaching one another through the reconciliation process, there was some uncertainty. One brave woman even shared, “How can we do this? Who would listen to us?” After some time together sharing their stories, they reiterated that we are God’s children. If Christ has forgiven us, then we can forgive ourselves and one another! After this realization, the women’s apprehension shifted to joyful confidence.

They certainly can share that we are children of God capable of being forgiven, and also able to forgive one another! As women in their communities, they can help strengthen relationships by sharing the importance of the love and forgiveness we have in Christ Jesus.

Life and Ministry Update

During Holy Week, the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) had several opportunities to share Christ’s love through worship and gathering together. Throughout the country, Lutheran churches hosted Good Friday services. In Nakabango, local musicians accompanied Lutheran school students in an Easter Carols service. This was held on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Children and youth from the regional Lutheran Schools gathered to share their favorite Easter hymns as they prepared to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It was a unique opportunity for the nearby Lutheran schools to get together, reach out to the nearby community and share about what Christ has done for us through songs of praise and a drama.

New Missionary Family

The LCMS continues to work with the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU), especially as it fits within the mission, vision and strategy of both church bodies. As part of this strategy, the LCMS collaborates with the LCU for people to assist in training the next generation of pastors in Uganda.

Thus, we are pleased to welcome new missionaries, the Rev. Michael and Mrs. Karen Schempf to Uganda. Pastor Mike will teach theological education at the Lutheran Theological College Uganda, and joins us as our colleague at the seminary. The LCMS and the LCU are grateful the Schempfs are able to join in the Lord’s work in Uganda! Please keep them in your prayers as they acclimate to their new home and join us in walking alongside the LCU in life and ministry.

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

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: We’re Moving!

We are excited to share with you this quick update that we are moving to Sri Lanka in mid-May. The Lord has answered your prayers as well as ours, and everything is prepared for us to go. At long last, we have all four visas approved. Thank the Lord that he is making a way for us to serve him in Sri Lanka.

In light of the recent terror attacks, we do not make this move lightly. We have had many discussions with the teams in Taiwan and Sri Lanka. Our safety is their top priority. We are thankful that security in Colombo is at an all-time high and that the current situation presents no obstacle to our following the call to serve there. Nevertheless, we will be prepared to leave quickly should the situation deteriorate. Please pray for safety both in our travels to and our life in Sri Lanka.

We post regular updates to our Facebook group “Sri Lankan Vicar-hydes.” These posts are more frequent than our newsletters, enabling you to catch what’s happening as it breaks. If you use Facebook, type “sri-lankan vicar-hydes” into the facebook search bar to find us.

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

Funke News: Answered Prayers

I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.Psalm 118:21

We are so thankful to all of you who pray for us and for our ministry so consistently. Sometimes it feels like God is slow to answer, and then some months we see so clearly how God is at work. This was one of those months!

We are thrilled to share that after much prayer and many meaningful conversations, Cheryl Kruckemeyer feels that God is calling her to serve here in Mwadui! Praise the Lord! Cheryl is a member of one of our partner churches, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Worth, Texas. She is currently an English teacher at Newman International Academy in Arlington. In the past, she has also homeschooled missionary kids in Tokmok, Krygyzstan, led Vacation Bible School in Uganda and taught ESL classes both in Krgyzstan and at Grace Community Church in Arlington. She likewise brings with her a wealth of experience in the business world; she has held leadership positions in numerous companies over the course of her career, including serving as Senior Vice President of Esend and President and Founder of Healthcare Management Solution, Inc. Her resume is incredibly impressive, and we thank God for her heart to serve students internationally. Her next steps are to work through Global Lutheran Outreach’s orientation program and then come out to visit us May 25–June 5. We are so excited to meet her and to show her around our school and community! She will then return to the U.S. to begin her Support Discovery journey. She is eager to share about how God has led her to this moment and about her upcoming ministry. We pray that the funds will come together for her to begin Swahili language school this coming September or October. Please keep her in prayer during her trip this month and in the months ahead as she prepares for this ministry.

As we mentioned in our previous newsletter, we would love for Cheryl to have missionary colleagues, so we are continuing to recruit new missionaries in the hopes of building up a team here in Mwadui and Shinyanga. Amber and Austin Reed will be concluding their time in Tanzania in June, so their car and furniture will likely be available to future missionaries. Do you know any teachers (preschool, elementary or high school), nurses, doctors, chaplains, social workers, DCEs, deaconesses, computer gurus, agricultural specialists or childcare workers who might be interested in serving in Tanzania? We have prepared one-page descriptions of these opportunities that you can download at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funke. If you know of someone who might be interested or have other ideas for how we can get the word out, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

U.S. Citizenship Update

We are still waiting to hear from the U.S. Embassy that our children’s I-600s are approved. Thank you to all who have prayed for us and supported us in the process. This week we took a closer look at our Funke Kids’ Citizenship account and realized that some of our expenses had accidentally been entered twice, so we have more money than we thought! If the remaining fees and costs for travel to Dar Es Salaam are what we expect, we are only $700 away from the goal! If you are able to help finish off this project, 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. You can also 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.

School

During the first two weeks of April, Eric helped register all the students for national exams, taught, typed up midterm exams and prepared grades before the Easter break. Linda taught a Guidance and Counseling class with the help of her new aide Deaconess Esther Levison, who will be taking over Linda’s class when we leave next year. They taught about spiritual warfare and how to grow closer to Jesus. The students greatly enjoyed the part about the armor of God where Linda dressed up a student in homemade armor. Before the two-week break, we also showed The Jesus Film to all the students in Swahili. The school closed on April 12 and then reopened April 21.

Trips to Mwanza

As soon as break began, we drove to Mwanza. We (Eric and Linda) had both been having unexplained symptoms, so we had tests done at a clinic there. It turns out that both of us had H. pylori, a stubborn bacterial infection in the stomach that can cause ulcers. We did a week of intensive treatment, which caused headaches and fatigue. Thankfully, during the next visit, it was confirmed that the treatment worked. We now just have to complete three weeks of Prilosec to help heal our systems. The visits to Mwanza also allowed us the opportunity to catch up with friends and see the progress at the new Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School. We praise God that their inspection on April 12 resulted in a positive report. We pray that the diocese will now be able to register the school and complete the remaining projects so that the school can open next year.

Easter and Other Joys

As usual, we celebrated Easter by dyeing eggs with our kids and their friends, hiding eggs for our kids to find, rejoicing with our church community, sponsoring Easter dinner for the remaining boarding students and Joseph’s family, and hosting friends for dinner. Since this will likely be our last Easter in Mwadui, this Easter felt even more poignant, and we spent time reminiscing over past Easters in this place. We praise God for the joy of Jesus’ resurrection that reverberates around the world.

On April 27 we celebrated Eric’s birthday with homemade cards, cake and a “sleep until you are done” nap. We also give thanks that Baraka’s walking continues to improve and that the new playground equipment Amber and Austin funded is bringing joy to all the kids at the daycare. We continue to pray with confidence, trusting God to answer in His own time.

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: Sharing Christ’s Healing and Forgiveness

“Once people hear the Word of God, they come, and when they go home, they bring others back next week.” I listened as Bishop Selestine shared with me how the Lutheran Mission in Africa—Synod of a Thousand Hills (LMA—STH) in Rwanda started two years ago. Today, this church body has twenty pastors and over 2,000 members (and growing) across this small, hilly country.

In February, I joined three other missionaries to visit Rwanda to meet church leaders and parishioners in this small but growing confessional church. The LMSSTH began when a group of Christians opted to stay true to God’s Word in the face of false beliefs.

In addition, the people here still face the aftermath of their history from early 1990s. Annually, the people commemorate the events at various memorials across the country. Many survivors feel blessed that they are able to tell others about Christ.

In March, at the request of the LMA—STH, two missionaries worked with Ambassadors of Reconciliation, a LCMS RSO, to provide an opportunity to discuss forgiveness through Christ. Using the elements of the small catechism, the team taught pastors and their wives to use God’s Word to point people back to Christ for forgiveness and reconciliation to God.

To all who prayed for and supported this effort, we say murakozee—that’s “thank you” in KinyaRwandan.

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

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: The Church in Sri Lanka

One of the great blessings of being in Taiwan during this final period of waiting was participating in a two-day theological conference. The presenters explored what it means to be Lutheran in the mission field. That’s a question with which Lutheran missionaries and partner churches alike have to wrestle.

Luther sought to reform the church, which, in his view, had departed from the true Christian faith. Following his example, Lutherans continue striving to witness Christ faithfully. Since the time of the Apostles, Christians have examined themselves and each other constantly to ensure that they are keeping the same faith that the Lord Jesus taught. It’s clear from the Apostles’ letters that Christians need to examine both what they believe about Jesus Christ and how they live their lives together as his disciples.

This past February, the CELC held a convocation in which the congregations affirmed their commitment to the restructuring of the church body. These congregations are committed to examining what it means for them to be Lutheran in Sri Lanka, which is to say, they are committed to the Church’s aim: faithfully witnessing Christ both in teaching and in living. We thank God for enabling them to make this commitment. We pray that by his grace, they would continue to make disciples throughout Sri Lanka, baptizing and teaching them everything that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19–20).

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

Funke News: Life Together

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.Acts 2:42

During a recent missionary retreat, we learned about the concept of “convivence: living life together” and the importance of convivence in cross-cultural ministry. As we live life together, we are called to help one another, learn from one another and celebrate (or “feast”) with one another. This past month we have seen this kind of “convivence” emerge in numerous settings, and each one has been a blessing to us.

New Missionary Opportunities

One of our many blessings this year has been our relationship with Amber Reed, the DCE Intern in Shinyanga, and her husband, Austin. We are so thankful for their help, their perspective and their presence at many events and celebrations. In June Amber’s internship will conclude, and they will return to the U.S. so they can live closer to their families and possibly even start a family of their own. Thus, in June the Reeds’ furniture will be relocated to a house recently built by the diocese for the purpose of housing missionaries. The Reeds’ car will be available to any new missionaries to the area. And when we transition back to the states in 2020, our house and car are also a bonus to anyone called to serve God's people in this area.

This month a retired teacher contacted us expressing interest in potentially teaching at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School. She will determine in the next two weeks whether God is calling her to teach here. Please keep her in prayer as she contemplates this big decision.

In light of all of this, we hope to build a team of missionaries who can be a source of help and encouragement to one another and to the larger community. We would love for more people to experience the hospitality, joy, energy and wisdom of this Tanzania community.

Do you know any teachers (preschool, elementary, or high school), nurses, doctors, chaplains, social workers, DCEs, deaconesses, computer gurus, agricultural specialists or childcare workers who might be interested in serving in Tanzania?

Our dream is for potential new missionaries to come visit sometime between now and July, begin fundraising this summer, and hopefully start Swahili language school this fall/winter. We have prepared one-page descriptions of these opportunities that you can download at GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/blog/funke/newsletters/. If you know of someone who might be interested or have other ideas for how we can get the word out, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

U.S. Citizenship Update

On March 3, we flew to Dar Es Salaam so that we could file our kids’ I-600 applications at the U.S. Embassy. Unfortunately, the process did not go as smoothly as hoped. Very long story short, Eric had to go to the U.S. embassy twice on March 4 because of miscommunication and misinformation. During the second visit, they accepted our paperwork but would not allow us to pay until they could get confirmation from USCIS that we could file I-600s for both children. We were incredibly frustrated, because we already confirmed with USCIS over a year ago that we could file I-600s for both children. Two days later, after we had already flown to Kenya for a missionary retreat, we received the expected email saying USCIS had confirmed our plan and we needed to return to Dar Es Salaam to pay. We were able to change our tickets to extend our Dar Es Salaam lay-over after the retreat. The extra trip cost us about $500 in airline fees and accommodations, but we are so thankful that the papers are now filed and we are one step closer to U.S. citizenship for our kids.

We still have multiple remaining steps and costs. The next big expense is a $3,500 placement fee due to our adoption agency in the next few months. If you are willing to help us with this next fee, 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.

LCMS East African Missionaries Retreat

We were so blessed to be able to join LCMS missionaries from all over East Africa for a retreat March 6–11. We are grateful to Shauen and Krista Trump for inviting us and to the LCMS for paying for our airfare from Nairobi to Malindi and all of our food and accommodations at Medina Palms in Watamu. We worshipped together every morning and evening. During the mornings we also enjoyed Bible Study and continuing education classes led by Dr. Detlev Schultz while a childcare team from the U.S. looked after our kids. In the afternoons we relaxed at the pool and the beach. We are so thankful for this opportunity to exchange joys, challenges and ideas with other missionaries and to receive spiritual refreshment.

Opening of New Diakonia Center

About three years ago we sponsored a deaconess student study tour to Moshi. During that trip deaconess student and former teacher at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School, Festa Brown, saw so many opportunities for diaconal ministry, but knew that many aspects of ministry require money. She saved up money and bought a piece of land on which she could start a farm. We went out to visit the property in 2015 and gave $175 so she could start building a house on the land for workers. On Sunday, March 24, 2019, we were welcomed back to the land for the official opening of the Diakonia Center Bethel Lyabusalu. We celebrated by singing, praying, reading Scripture, planting trees and feasting. We praise God and rejoice that Festa's dream has become a reality.

Form 6 Graduation

Finally, on March 30, we celebrated the graduation of our Form 6 (junior college)students. Since we just started Form 5 and 6 classes a few years ago, this was only our second class of Form 6 students, but the class size has already grown from nine graduates last year to 25 this year. Praise the Lord! We loved being able to celebrate with them and pray that God will guide and strengthen them as they continue preparing for their national exams. This month has been full of Christian fellowship, and we look forward to more “convivence” in the coming month.

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

Mission-Minded Manteys: Reconnections

Every two years, LCMS missionaries have the opportunity to reconnect with the individuals, families and congregations that have sent them out to serve in regions throughout the world. Since we use a network support model, it is important to personally update as many of these people as we can on the work that the Lord is doing in Uganda, as well as provide more details about daily life and ministry there. It allows people to know they are an important part of the work that is being done.

It is also provides the unique opportunity to learn how the Lord continues to work through the many congregations, individuals and families in the United States. We are grateful that people opened their homes and congregations to us so that they could learn about the the work we do alongside the Lutheran Church of Uganda, as well as how to best support the Lord’s work in Uganda.

We thank God for the ability to share with congregations in fourteen states, ranging from North Carolina to Oregon, Florida to Montana. We are grateful that he gave us the endurance needed to joyfully share about the work, travel safely from place-to-place and had extended time to build relationships with an extensive network of people. We valued the time with our family and friends along the way as well! It is a joy and privilege to daily serve the Lord in Uganda, and it is a joy and privilege to be your missionaries and share about the work that is being done in this part of the world.

We are also thankful to the Lutheran Church of Uganda, who encouraged us during our travels and graciously welcomed us back once we returned to Uganda. We thank God for opportunities to reconnect with people we serve alongside in ministry, both in the United States and Uganda!

Like with any trip, after the journey is finished, it is always good to return home. For us, our life and ministry is in Uganda. So Uganda is home. When a person returns home in East Africa, greetings and visitations are part of the daily routines. This meant greeting those in our community that we see on a regular basis, such as the people in the markets, post office, neighbors and especially our friends and colleagues in the Lutheran Church of Uganda. We spent one day greeting those within Jinja, including people in and around town and the church body, and another day going to the Lutheran Theological College Uganda. It was encouraging to reconnect with our friends, colleagues and students.

We often asked, “what is the news here?” Meaning, what has happened while we were away? People would smile and begin to share the important news that occurred while we were on home service. It brought us great joy to be welcomed back with smiles, knowing we could continue our work of walking alongside one another in life and ministry.

It was a blessing to hear how the Lutheran Church of Uganda continues to grow under the care of the pastors and other leaders, and the students continue to be eager to learn and serve in the communities Some of the news we were able to celebrate alongside the LCU was the recent ordination of Rev. Benard Mwesigwa, who recently graduated from the seminary in Kenya. As we shared with others in person towards the end of our home service, Rev. Benard is now the 22nd pastor to serve the Lord in the Lutheran Church of Uganda. We thank God that He continues to provide workers for the harvest, so that more people can hear and know the Word of the Lord, and grow in the faith.

A Special Message for Saint John’s

Dear Believers of Saint John’s, Greetings in Christ from Uganda! Megan and I hope that all of you are well. Thank you for your prayers and support of God’s work in Uganda. We would not be able to serve alongside the Lutheran Church of Uganda in spreading the Word of God if it weren’t for you.

As you know, Megan and I were in the U.S. for the last three months updating our partners on how God is using the people here to build His Church. This is an important part of our work but we are very glad to have rejoined our brothers and sisters in Christ for service in Uganda. As we were sharing with people in the US, the LCU continued to faithfully share the Gospel and ordained their 22nd pastor in February, Rev. Benard Mwesigwa. Now there is one more able to support the 145 congregations and to share God’s word with those that don’t know Him as their Savior.

Rev. Benard Mwesigwa’s installation.

Thank you again for your prayers and support, Megan and I also pray for all of you. You are a blessing to us and the people of Uganda.

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

Funke News: Walking

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.Ephesians 6:14–15

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?Micah 6:8

Our children love a good walk, especially if it means that they can put on their rainboots, splash in puddles, and get as wet and muddy as possible. We, too, have been continuing our walk in Tanzania. Each day we figuratively put on our boots as we walk with God and with our Tanzanian friends through the highs and lows of life. Sometimes life gets messy, but we pray that we can continue to seek out the joy in each step, just as our children do.

Please Help Us Find New Missionaries

We are preparing to move back to the U.S. in early 2020. We are currently teaching our Tanzanian colleagues how to take over various aspects of our ministry. However, we hope and pray to find new missionaries to come live in our furnished house, to nurture and build up international partnerships between this school/diocese and churches in the U.S., to provide an international perspective at this school and to use their unique gifts to serve this school. They can serve in any capacity—teacher, nurse, chaplain, social worker, DCE, deaconess, IT person, etc. It’s extremely important to us that when we move, we leave well, and that the positive momentum at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School continues. The sooner we can find new potential missionaries and bring them out to visit our school, the easier the transition will be for all involved.

Our dream is for potential new missionaries to come visit sometime between now and July, begin fundraising this summer, and hopefully start Swahili language school this fall/winter. So far we have had no solid leads, so please help us spread the word. We have prepared a one-page description of this opportunity that you can download at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funke/newsletters. If you know of someone who might be interested or have other ideas for how we can get the word out, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Deaconess Student Study Tour

Thanks to all of your donations, we were able to say “Yes!” to Bishop Makala’s request that we sponsor a study tour for the current class of deaconess students (January 26–30). They had been studying how to minister to people who are sick and dying, and Bishop Makala wanted them to have real-life experience in a Lutheran context that is known for the quality of their care—Haydom Hospital in the Arusha area, about ten hours drive from our house. During their time at Haydom, Bishop Makala, Deaconess Lilian Makala and the four deaconess students toured the facilities, visited and prayed with patients at the hospital, worshiped at Haydom’s chapel and ministered to people at Haydom’s Amani House for those who suffer from addiction. God was very much at work during this trip. We are thankful for how God worked through them, for all that they learned and for how they are using what they learned to serve communities in our diocese.

Community Health Evangelism

On February 14, Linda was able to sit down with the Community Health Evangelism (CHE) leadership team that we sent to Kenya for a CHE internship August 27 through October 5, 2018. They shared pictures and stories with her from their time in Kenya. During those six weeks, the course covered the Training of Trainers 2 materials, the CHE for Children curriculum, and the Women’s Cycle of Life curriculum. They had the opportunity to learn about appropriate technologies such as how to make candles, liquid soap, key holders and clothes. They also learned about beekeeping and pipe irrigation and had the opportunity to lead trainings in a variety of settings. Since they have been back, they have been teaching classes for women at the Bishop Makala Training Center, but have struggled since all of their materials are on a flash drive and they didn’t have a computer. They were therefore overjoyed when we presented them with a used computer and told them that we have the funds to hire Esther Mangesho to be the CHE Coordinator for this coming year! We are excited to see what God will do with this program.

Walking with Friends

Some of our friends continue to face hardships, and we are thankful that we are able to walk with them in the hard times. Joseph’s family, who live just outside of Mwadui, continue to feel the weight of poverty. The children came to our door looking for shoes this week. Thankfully, Rev. Joe Meyer’s church gave us multiple pairs of “The Shoe That Grows” which we were able to give to the four children in the family. Finally, we were reunited with our young friends Baraka and Amani, who were born without eyes. We hadn’t seen them in over a year since their family moved away from Mwadui. However, the reunion was bittersweet because even though Linda taught him to walk at age five, at age eleven he can no longer take even two steps without falling. On February 21, we took Baraka and his mother to Mwanza to see our American friend Dr. George Stablein. He was able to advise us on what tests we need to get and some possible steps towards treatment. Please keep all of these young people who are dear to us in prayer.

School

Meanwhile, Eric stays busy at school teaching math and computers and registering students for their national exams. Linda has taught study skills for the last four weeks and will be covering goal-setting in her class this week. She was also asked to speak at a gathering of teachers from four schools about the negative effects of corporal punishment, and her presentation was very well received.

U.S. Citizenship Update

The correction to our I-600A document was approved this month, so we can now file our I-600. We found out that we actually need to file the I-600 in Dar Es Salaam instead of Nairobi, so we have an appointment to file it on Monday March 4 at the U.S. Embassy. Please pray that the filing goes smoothly. We should have enough money in our “Funke Kids’ Citizenship” account for this trip and for the filing fee, but we do not have the $3,500 for the placement fee that follows. 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.

Life at Home

At home, Michael and Julia have settled into their homeschool rhythm and are doing well. They also enjoyed baking cookies for friends and neighbors for Valentine’s Day. On February 23, we celebrated Julia’s fourth birthday with eight of her neighborhood friends as well as some grown-up friends. February 24–26 we enjoyed hosting and catching up with Lucy Kohler, our Peace Corps volunteer from a couple of years ago. We are so grateful to be able to walk with so many people and that so many people choose to walk with us, including all of you!

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

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