- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 06 October 2016 06 October 2016
The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Pretty much anyone who knows us knows that we are planners. We have daily goals, monthly goals, yearly goals and even multi-year dreams. Therefore, this past month has really been a test of our flexibility as most of our plans came together very last minute. However, God has been faithful, and we are now back in the U.S. until mid-January!
Before we share more about this past month, know that we will be visiting Saint John’s on Sunday, November 13. We hope to see many of you there!
If you would like a sneak peak of our presentation, we have just posted an eight-minute “Year 4 in Review” video to YouTube. We highly recommend you check it out. There’s an exciting announcement at the end. :-)
Documents and Travel
At the beginning of the month, we had no idea when we would receive Michael’s Tanzanian passport. Some immigration officers were saying it could be months before we received it. However, by God’s grace, we received word that Michael’s passport was ready on Friday, September 9. We immediately applied for his U.S. visitor’s visa and then waited to be allowed to sign up for an interview time. Since the offices aren’t open on weekends and Monday was a national holiday, we received the confirmation email on Tuesday. At that point, we learned that the only visa interview appointment available that week was Wednesday morning! We quickly packed and drove to Mwanza. During the drive, we talked to a travel agent by phone, arranged for taxis, and asked a friend to pick up Michael’s passport for us in Dar. We bought same-day tickets for the night flight to Dar es Salaam and finally arrived at our friends’ house in Dar at 11:30 PM.
The next morning, we were at the U.S. Embassy bright and early. Thankfully the interview went very smoothly. Since we weren’t allowed to pick up the visa until the following afternoon, we took a boat to an island off the coast of Dar and gave Michael his very first beach day. It was a wonderful chance for family time in the midst of a very busy few weeks. We also enjoyed staying with our friends, Daniel and Natalie Hayduk, and their daughter, Mila, recently brought home from Forever Angels.
We picked up the visa September 15 and flew home the next day. We spent the next week preparing for our departure and making plans for our time in the U.S.
The school’s week-long September break happened to coincide perfectly with our trip to Dar Es Salaam (yay God!). Before the break, Eric continued to train his substitute Sundi, made sure everyone in the math and science department had what they needed and fixed problems with the Excel grade sheets for students to take home with them. After the break, the books were finally moved out of the storage closet and the backs of teachers’ offices into the brand-new library. Likewise, Eric was finally able to move all the computers and set them up in the new computer lab. Just this past weekend, during the school’s graduation celebrations, Bishop Makala christened the new building. This dream has been a long time coming, but finally the students have a place to engage their curiosities, develop a love of learning and research things that interest them. We are thrilled!
Peace Corps Friends
Our dear friend Lucy Kohler has finished up her two-year Peace Corps term. We are sad to see her go, but since she will be working for a nonprofit in southern Tanzania next year, we look forward to a visit or two. Also, we are thrilled to welcome a new Peace Corps volunteer to Mwadui, Taylor German. We were able to meet her before we left, and we look forward to getting to know her better when we return.
The Long Journey
While we will miss our friends and students in Mwadui, we have been anxiously waiting for the opportunity to introduce Michael to the rest of his family. On Friday September 23, the school driver Gasper drove us to Mwanza. We spent the night with friends there, then—on Linda’s birthday, September 24—we began the long journey. Being in the air for more than twenty hours is rough, but overall Michael handled it extremely well. Many of the flight attendants complimented his behavior. He even slept 6.5 hours on the first flight! Thank you all for your prayers for our travel.
In the U.S.
We arrived in the U.S. on the anniversary of Michael coming home to us :-) September 25th will always be a special day! We spent our first two days with Eric’s sister (Michael’s aunt) Andrea in Minneapolis, relaxing and recovering from the flights. Then we flew to St. Louis, where Michael met his Grandma and Grandpa Funke, Aunt Alison, Uncle Brian, and cousins Jack, Faith and Blythe. While a fair amount of our time has been spent unpacking, prepping for presentations, and doctors’ appointments, we have treasured every moment with family. We also greatly enjoyed worshipping with and sharing with Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Illinois, on Sunday, October 2. Our visit just happened to coincide with their annual sausage dinner, and all the proceeds went to our ministry! Most of October will now be spent in Texas with Linda’s side of the family. We look forward to making many more memories in the next 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.