- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 02 June 2016 02 June 2016
Early this month, Michael learned about the parts of the body. We’ve thought a lot about bodies this month—for reasons which will soon become apparent. We are amazed at the interconnectedness of the body, but even more so at the interconnectedness of the Body of Christ. As 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” We have definitely seen this in the body of Christ here and around the world. Thus, we will continue to share our points of suffering and joy with you and would love to hear from you as well. Thank you to each one of you for being part of the body.
That Which Pains Us
Death: Partway through the month, the dogs at our house, our school and a friend’s house received a tainted rabies vaccine. Four out of nine of the dogs died, including our beloved Maisha. She was our neighbors’ dog, but she has been a dear friend of ours since we moved here three years ago. She loved and protected Michael as she would one of her own pups.
Illness: Shortly after Maisha’s death, Linda began suffering from what we believed at the time to be a normal reaction to some medication she was taking for SIBO. We later discovered that she actually had a nonrelated infection requiring antibiotics. We thank God that after almost two weeks of fevers and pain, she is recovering.
Disappointment: Only one of the three people we invited to Career Day this month actually showed up. That being said, if only one person was going to exhibit faithfulness and service, at least it was the pastor. The students asked many great questions about the work of the pastor, and we will try to plan another Career Day in the coming months.
Delay: We found out that the judge in our adoption case was called away to Dar Es Salaam to rule on election petitions for the foreseeable future. They gave us a new court date of June 30, saying that by then either he will be back or they will have a better idea of when he will be back. Please pray that we can have patience in the wait and that he will return soon.
Causes for Rejoicing
Sex and Relationships Seminar: This month we, along with two other teachers and the school nurse, held our annual sex and relationships seminar, during which we talk about the physical, emotional and spiritual ramifications of sex. We also cover the topics of abuse and what to look for in a spouse. At the end, we divide the students so that the male teachers can answer any questions the boys have and the female teachers can answer the girls’ questions. As usual, the students asked many great questions and expressed gratitude for the seminar. It also opened up the door for counseling with some students individually.
Michael: This month was Linda’s first Mother’s Day as a mother! We continue to be grateful every day for Michael’s laughter, sweet observations, cuddles and love. All of the documents that the court needs for Michael’s adoption case have now been filed. Praise the Lord! All that’s left is to wait for our hearing. We were also grateful to spend some time with another adoptive couple and our Dar Es Salaam lawyer, Brooke, when they came to meet with their judge who had been transferred to Shinyanga. Brooke is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to Tanzanian adoption and helped us better understand the upcoming steps.
Short Term Teams: Earlier this month, Cindy and Mike Jurgensen visited our school to lead Bible studies for the students and to teach a physics lesson about flight, while their teammate Judy Irwin led meaningful seminars for widows in other parts of Shinyanga. I’ve been trying for years to find a pilot to come talk to our students for Career Day, so I was thrilled that, as a pilot himself, Mike was able to answer a lot of the students’ questions about that profession.
They were later joined by ten others from the Mid-South District of the LCMS, several of which are friends from previous trips. The group stopped by our school to deliver one Kindle, six Kindle Fires, and one Android tablet loaded with resources for our students. We would like to extend a special thank you to the grandchildren of Bob and Susie Allen, who raised the money for the Kindles. Together with Tanzanian evangelists, pastors and interpreters, the group journeyed to many villages, ministering to many different families. Every evening Cinema Leo showed The Jesus Film in that village. Over the course of the week, 1,218 people were baptized! We continue to be amazed by all that God is doing in Tanzania.
More IT Progress: This month Eric has spent even more time talking with internet companies and learning about networking. He also met with a representative from the e-learning program to work out some of the kinks. When the students return to classes in July, he should be able to finally start the e-learning program with them.
Accomplishments of Friends: This month our headmaster, neighbor and friend, Rev. Yohana Nzelu, graduated with his Master of Arts degree in Theology at Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne. Likewise, our bishop and friend, Bishop Emmanuel Makala earned his Doctorate in Ministry. They have now both returned to Tanzania. We are so excited for them and thrilled to have them back.
Our Fifth Anniversary As of May 29, we have been married for five beautiful years. Thanks to money from family, we were able to celebrate at a beautiful hotel in Mwanza with a family suite, a pool and a beautiful view. The weekend was a much-needed opportunity to rest and reflect on all that God has done in our lives the past five years. We are happy to report that we are as much in love as ever. :-)
Upcoming in June
In June, we will be sponsoring and accompanying the deaconess students in our diocese to meet deaconesses in Arusha and to learn about their ministries. Accommodations, food and travel for the ten people going will cost approximately $1,500. We will also be hosting the next level of Community Health Evangelism training for our diocese. That week-long training will also cost about $1,500. Please keep these wonderful ministry opportunities in your prayers, and if you feel called to partner with these ministries financially, please donate in either of these ways. Thank you again to all of you who make opportunities like these possible!
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.