- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 09 September 2016 09 September 2016
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!Psalm 27:14
So much of life includes waiting. This last month has been especially full of waiting—waiting to receive Michael’s corrected papers, waiting at the airport, waiting at the immigration office, waiting for the last remaining parts of the library building, waiting for Michael’s passport, waiting for rains to bring new life to the earth, waiting for joyful reunions … yet, the waiting is not passive. God is teaching us so much about patience, preparation and relinquishing control.
On Wednesday, August 10, we finally received Michael’s corrected Order of Adoption and Adoption Ruling. We sent them to Dar Es Salaam and received word that Michael’s Certificate of Adoption was complete on August 18. On August 21 we all flew to Dar to apply for Michael’s Tanzanian passport. We are still waiting for news. Please pray that we will receive it soon. We don’t know exactly when it will come because we have heard that the Immigration office has run out of passport booklets and is waiting for a new shipment.
We think/hope we will be returning to the U.S. this next month. As such we have started contacting churches and will give you a full outline of our travel schedule as soon as it solidifies. Generally we think we will be arriving in St. Louis. Then we will be in Texas for most of October, St. Louis, and Fort Collins areas for November, Chicago for the first weekend of December, Dallas area for the rest of December, and then St. Louis again in January. We haven’t yet figured out how we are getting to all these places, so if you know of anyone who would be willing to loan us a car for all or part of our time in the U.S., please email us! Likewise, there will likely be days when a stroller that can fold back for naps would be extremely helpful. Please let us know if you have any leads. We are so looking forward to seeing many of you again in the coming months!
A Loss in Our Lives
Two months ago, we mentioned that Albert, a math and business teacher at our school, had been attacked by thieves seeking his laptop. They drugged him and poured something corrosive down his throat. He was found almost two days later. Our school driver used our car to drive him to the hospital in Mwanza. The last time we saw him, the doctors were expecting a full recovery. However, he suffered complications and was later transferred to a hospital in Dar Es Salaam. He underwent surgery on his trachea and was waiting for surgery on his stomach. Some of the teachers were planning a trip to visit him when we learned that he had passed away. He was only thirty years old and completely dedicated to his students, often tutoring during evenings and on weekends and holidays. However, according to his sister, he was ready. Before he died, he said that he felt God was calling him, and he wanted to “cheza na Yesu” (dance/play with Jesus). His funeral was held on September 6 in Mwadui, and the next day Eric drove many friends to Nzega (2.5 hours away) for his burial. We are heartbroken to lose our friend and colleague, and yet we are encouraged that one day we will be reunited.
This month, in addition to his computer classes, Eric taught Form 1 math. Linda also went up to school one night to teach a “Lessons in the Movies” class with clips from the Chronicles of Narnia movies. The library/computer lab now has newly built shelves and tables. All we are waiting on now are some of the doors and the air conditioning units coming from Mwanza. Eric plans to have everything moved in and wired before we leave. We are also thankful for his new assistant, Sundi, who will be taking over his computer classes while we are in the U.S. She has been a huge help to Eric this past month.
Festa Brown, a former teacher at our school and current deaconess student, approached us last month about a project she wants to start. She had saved up her money and bought a piece of land about an hour away from us. She said she was so inspired by the deaconess study tour to Arusha and saw so many opportunities for diaconal ministry, but knew that many aspects of ministry require money. Therefore, she wanted to start a farm with crops and animals. After she builds it up, she wants to turn the farm over to the diocese with all the proceeds used for deaconess ministry. She needed some money to begin building a house for workers, so we were able to contribute $175. A few weeks later we traveled with Bishop Makala to see the progress. Festa has started preparing the land and told us that she plans to plant peanuts, maize and sweet potatoes during the next rainy season. We look forward to seeing how the farm progresses.
This month included many “firsts” for Michael. He greatly enjoyed his first time at a brand new water park in Mwanza. We were amazed! For only $10, all three of us were able to enjoy a day of family fun, plus we received complimentary drinks. Later in the month, Michael had the non-fun first experience of malaria. Thankfully it was a very light case. He only had an upset stomach one night. The only other symptom was not being his normal happy self. He also transitioned to a big boy travel bed. Then Michael went on his first airplane ride to Dar and enjoyed his first trampoline at a playground there.
When our friends Michael and Ashley Leen visited for a weekend, he enjoyed his first tour of the mine with them. He loved all the big machines! Later in the month, he attended his first wedding as our fellow teacher Moses got married. A week later he experienced his first funeral. He handled all these firsts like a champ, and we look forward to many other firsts 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.