- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 07 February 2017 07 February 2017
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.1 Peter 4:10
Lately we have had many reminders that all belongs to God, and we are merely stewards of what we have been given. We are caretakers of our time, our money, our house, our planet and our natural abilities and skill. We knew this even before moving overseas, yet living off the generosity of others has made us even more aware of our role as stewards. We are grateful for every opportunity we have been given to serve our communities and for all of you who continue to love and encourage us.
If you did not receive our Christmas letter in the mail and would like to read a copy, you can find it at GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/blog/funke/newsletters/. Also, many people have mentioned that they missed our full presentation during our furlough, either because they had other responsibilities that Sunday or because we gave a shorter version at their church. If that is you, you can now enjoy the full 45-minute presentation at https://www.youtube.com/user/EricFunkeGLO. You can also find our eight-minute “Year in Review” video there.
Diakonia World Federation Conference
We have a unique opportunity right now. The Diakonia World Federation Conference is held every four years in various countries around the world. This year it will be held in Chicago, June 28–July 5. Servant-leaders from over 35 countries will gather together to pray, learn and grow in their understanding and implementation of service ministry. Linda attended this week-long conference in 2009, and it was life-changing! You can learn more about this conference at www.diakonia-world.org/2017/Chicago2017.shtml. We unfortunately won’t be able to attend this year because we will be in the middle of our second adoption, but we would love to send two Tanzanian deaconesses from our diocese. Through this continuing-education opportunity, participants will learn of new avenues of ministry to bring back to their community and will make connections around the world. Bishop Makala is also excited about this opportunity, believing that sending representatives to an international conference will increase the standing of the new deaconess community among Tanzanian leaders.
However, we can’t do it without your help. Travel expenses, visas, food, lodging and registration fees for the week cost about $3,300 per participant. Registration has already started and fees will increase by $100 after March, so this is time-sensitive. If you would like to contribute towards these costs, you can go to GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/support-funke.html. Press the “Online Donation” button and then write the amount you wish to give next to the heading “Funke: Deaconess Project.” Alternatively, you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” with “Funke: Deaconess Project” in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Dr, Miramar, FL 33023.
Thank you all for your prayers for our health. While in the U.S., Linda underwent a wide variety of tests related to her gastrointestinal struggles. The tests confirmed the diagnosis of Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth and Candida overgrowth and thankfully showed no other complicating factors. Given that SIBO and Candida are both chronic conditions, we realized that we needed a doctor who was up-to-date on the current SIBO research and was willing to stay in regular communication with us while in Tanzania. We are grateful for the recommendation of Dr. Williams, who guided us in what antibiotics and supplements we needed to bring back, connected us with a dietitian, and will continue to communicate with us through email. Unfortunately, though her office applied to be in-network with our insurance over six months ago, they have not yet received the confirmation. During our time in the U.S., Michael also underwent a variety of tests as part of St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s International Adoption Center. Through bloodwork, they determined which vaccines he still needed and that he likely had a parasite. This was confirmed through multiple stool samples. He had to undergo two different medications for this parasite. We are thankful for their thoroughness and diligence. However, our insurance thus far has refused to pay over $3,000 for Michael’s tests and treatment. Please pray with us that we can resolve these issues with our insurance company soon. Our medical bills have put a large dent in our budget. That being said, if you have ever considered becoming a monthly donor, now is an excellent time.
Last Weeks in the U.S.
Our last few weeks in the U.S. were a flurry of activity. Jennifer Williams took Funke family pictures for us. Eric spent a few days with his sister in Minnesota. We enjoyed Brian and Alison’s Christmas gift to us—a double date night, including a night at a hotel while Eric’s parents graciously watched all four grandkids. We caught up with more friends in St. Louis, enjoyed a few more family dinners, finished up last doctors’ visits, packed and then, before we knew it, it was time to head back. If you would like to see more pictures from our last few weeks in the U.S., visit our Facebook page. Thank you to all who made these last four months so memorable and special.
Since We’ve Been Back …
Life definitely did not slow down upon our return. After 41 hours of travel (twenty hours on planes), we finally arrived in Tanzania. Once we reached Mwadui, Michael enjoyed time with his friends here, and we began unpacking, setting our house back up, looking for a school for Baraka, starting to plan the next Community Health Evangelism training (February 28–March 3), getting to know our new Peace Corps volunteer Taylor better and teaching. We brought back six laptops from the Lutheran High School Association for our school. We also brought back over $1,000 dollars for books for the library and supplies for the computer lab! Thank you to all who donated!
School is back in session, and the new administration building will be ready in a month or two. Dale Talsma, GLO’s International Missionary Developer, joined us for two nights so that he could meet with Rev. Nzelu and Bishop Makala and help us process all that has happened in the last year of ministry. Then we all headed to Mwanza to celebrate the ordination of fellow GLO missionary Dixon Gbeanquoi and eight other pastors. We are so happy for him! You can see more pictures from the ordination on Facebook. With that trip, our four months of nearly constant travel are complete, and we are looking forward to settling back into our life and work here. :-)
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.