- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 07 July 2016 07 July 2016
In June, most of our students returned to their homes for a five-week break, while Form 4 continued their preparations for national exams. The break also gave us time to pursue different ministry opportunities. We spent most of this month helping to prepare others for works of service—or, as they are called in Biblical Greek, “diakonia.”
Deaconess Student Study Tour
As a deaconess herself, Linda has a special heart for the Tanzanian women studying to be deaconesses. These students feel called to and are being trained to live out their Christian faith, promoting the work of diakonia (service-ministry). Deaconesses often work with the most vulnerable and forgotten in society. Because deaconess ministry is new to the diocese, we’ve found that it is so helpful for students to meet women in other dioceses doing the work of diakonia. This month, eight students, one newly consecrated deaconess and Bishop Makala joined us for a study tour in Moshi/Arusha. During that time, we were inspired by the ministries of that diocese, including a school for children with physical disabilities, a holistic services program for the families of people who are differently-abled, a college for the caregivers of orphans and other vulnerable children, a loving orphanage for kids ages 0–5 and a Montessori teachers’ college.
The students returned full of ideas and enthusiasm for their ministries here in Shinyanga. To see more pictures and hear more stories, go to www.facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania and click on the album “Deaconess Student Study Tour 2016.” Thank you to all of you who helped make this trip possible!
Extra time in Arusha
As the rest of our group returned home, we spent an extra two nights in Arusha with our Finnish missionary friends, Pekka and Katri. They recently moved from Mwanza to Arusha, and it was so good to reconnect with them. We were able to enjoy the beautiful artwork at the free Cultural Heritage Center/Art Gallery in Arusha. Likewise, we were able to visit friends from St. Louis who moved to Arusha last year. Finally, we began the long thirteen-hour journey home. We broke the trip up into two days for Michael’s sake. On our last day of travel, Eric enjoyed his first Father’s Day. It was definitely a memorable trip.
Community Health Evangelism— Training of Trainers 1
Back in March we held a vision seminar for representatives of each district in our diocese, to determine whether there was interest in starting a Community Health Evangelism (CHE) program. We received an amazingly positive response! Out of the twenty people who attended the vision seminar, twelve applied to have a training team in their area. From there, Bishop Makala chose six areas in which to start pilot programs.
Last week, four teams of four people and two teams of three people participated in a five-day Training of Trainers course. Two of the teachers from the vision seminar and our diocese CHE coordinator led the training while Linda prepared all the visual aids, managed the schedule and did her best to keep everything running smoothly. Meanwhile Eric took care of Michael, ran errands, and managed the budget.
Over the course of the week, the six training teams learned the theological basis for holistic health initiatives, community organizing methods, sustainable development techniques and best practices in teaching. The week was full of skits, activities, deep discussion, Bible study, prayer and laughter. Each trainer received a CHE overview packet to show their community leaders, a “Let’s Build Our Lives Together” Bible study book which they will use in studying together twice a week for the next ten weeks and a CHE Trainers’ Manual. Through the “Let’s Build Our Lives Together” book, they will unite as a team and learn even more about CHE.
With this foundation and the help of their CHE Trainers’ Manual, they will then spend the next six to nine months sharing the vision, visiting community stakeholders, assessing the community’s needs, organizing the community around small health initiatives and projects and helping the community select a CHE committee. We hope to provide the next level of training—Training of Trainers 2—sometime early next year.
One of the things we absolutely love about this program is that it is truly an investment in people. We are so excited to see how the Holy Spirit will work through these teams in the coming months! Thank you to all who helped make this last week possible!
Michael + Adoption Update
Michael has now been home with us for nine beautiful months! This month Linda started blogging again and wrote two new posts about our journey—“Right People, Right Times” and “My Top 10 Tips for Toddler Adoption.” Both can be found at www.aFunkeTimeInTanzania.blogspot.com. Looking back, we continue to be amazed by how God has been with us in each step, by how much Michael has grown, and by how much we have grown as a family.
This past month, he did wonderfully with all the travel and schedule changes. He is making great progress with potty-training and continues to impress people with his letter/number/color recognition. He now considers all children friends, though our six-year-old neighbor Suzy is currently his favorite. If you would like to see adorable Michael videos, you can find several new ones at www.youtube.com/EricFunkeGLO.
Meanwhile, we continue to wait for our next court date. Our judge hasn’t yet returned from working on election petitions in Dar Es Salaam, but he should be back in time for our new court date July 21. We pray that he, our lawyer and our social workers will all be there and that we can move on to the next step.
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.