- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 09 January 2017 09 January 2017
“For with You is the fountain of life;
in Your light we see light."Psalm 36:9
We have so enjoyed all the twinkling lights of this season, but even more so we have appreciated the many reminders of how Christ shines light in dark places. A friend recently reminded us that ten years ago, Linda wrote a prayer for Valparaiso University’s prayer book titled, “In Thy Light We See Light.” As we move into 2017, this is our prayer, and we hope many others will pray it with us:
Jesus, friend of outcasts and hope for the despairing,
Grant us the generosity to give fish to all who are hungry. Help us to teach others to fish, so that they may be empowered.
Give us wisdom to stop polluting the pond and the fortitude to tear down the fences that have been built around it, so that all may have access to the goodness of Your creation.
Grant us the humility to listen to the stories of outcasts and the despairing, so that we may likewise be fed by their wisdom and insight. In so doing, may we be signs of the coming of Your kingdom of peace and justice, and may we love with the same passionate, radical love that you have shown us. In your life-giving name, Amen.
Our first weekend this month, we headed from St. Louis up to Chicago to see dear friends from college and to visit Luther Memorial. A special thank you to the Byerly family for hosting us and to all our friends at Luther Memorial for welcoming us so warmly. After our presentation, we headed to Valparaiso to catch up with friends, deaconess sisters, mentors and former professors. While we didn’t have time to see all of the people we love in that area, it was so special to introduce Michael to some of the important people in our lives. During that time, Michael was also able to experience his first snow. He was definitely a fan!
Next we headed down to the Dallas area. On December 11, we were warmly welcomed by another Valpo friend as we worshiped and shared with The Crossing. That evening we worshiped with Umoja Church, a Swahili-speaking congregation in Dallas that has become our newest partner church. It was great use our Swahili again and to share about all that God is doing in our area of Tanzania. With that our presentation schedule was complete, and we were able to focus in on Christmas, family and preparing to return home to Tanzania.
The rest of our time in Texas, we enjoyed play dates and get-togethers with friends and family. We relived some of Linda’s childhood memories by going to Santa’s Village, a free pop-up village with activities for kids. Linda and her mom attended a live performance of the Nutcracker. Linda’s side of the family watched Michael for two evenings so that we could go on our first dates in a year and half. We also enjoyed taking Linda’s goddaughter Maggie to Jump Mania as an early Christmas present.
Davis Family Christmas
Linda’s cousin Kelly came to visit shortly before Christmas, and Linda’s aunt Janice stayed through Christmas. We enjoyed an “on location” service at a mall with Linda’s parents’ congregation on Christmas Eve. While Linda put Michael to bed, the rest of the family enjoyed a Christmas Eve night service featuring Karen’s choir. Then the whole family joined together for a Christmas day service and precious time together as a family.
Funke Family Christmas
Back in St. Louis, New Year’s weekend also served as Funke Family Christmas. Linda and Andrea went to a painting party on Friday. We rang in the New Year with family games. Then New Year’s Day the whole family got together for Christmas celebrations, complete with Eric’s mom’s Christmas dessert. Michael loved it! This is the first time in six years we have been able to enjoy Christmas and New Year celebrations with our families, and it was so special.
Back in Tanzania
Our school has been closed for the Christmas break and will reopen for a new school year on January 9. The roof is finished on the new administration building, and, if all goes according to plan, the staff will begin using it in February. A special thank you to all of you who have been praying for our friends Dixon and Christy and have donated towards helping them rebuild after the fire. Their friend who was in the house at the time of the fire has now been released from the hospital and is just continuing to return to the hospital regularly to have the bandages changed. Dixon and Christy still need about $2,000 to replace all that was lost, so if you are able to help, please go to globallutheranoutreach.com/support-gbeanquoi.html or write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” with “Gbeanquoi” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Dr., Miramar, FL 33023. They will return to Tanzania January 15 and will be staying in Pastor Mimii’s house until they can find a new home.
We will begin the long journey back to Tanzania January 17. Please pray for smooth travels, a drama-free reentry and a quick recovery from jet lag.
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.