- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 04 April 2017 04 April 2017
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.Acts 9:31
This month we have seen God strengthen the church in so many different ways: education, baptism, the calling and sending of leaders, people giving of their gifts. We continue to be amazed by all that God is doing in our community and thank you all for joining with us in prayer and support!
Diakonia World Federation Conference
So much is coming together for this conference! We have already registered three representatives and almost have enough money to send our Tanzanian “dream team” to the Diakonia World Federation Conference this summer. We are planning to send Matrida Sanga (Coordinator for Diaconal Ministries), Grace Mutabuzi (Director of Education) and Bishop Emmanuel Makala. Bishop Makala is a fairly recent addition to our plans, but a significant one, as he will be the one to ultimately decide how involved the diocese will be in Diakonia World Federation in the future and which ideas from the conference are feasible in our context. We have full confidence that these three will find the conference an enriching, inspiring and empowering experience and that they will bring back many new ideas and connections with which to bless our community here.
Registration fees, airfare and visas will cost about $3,300 per person. Of the $9,900 needed to send these three wonderful servants of God, we have already received $8,350! Thank you to all who have partnered with them! Now we only need $1,550. We’ll need the remainder of the money as soon as possible in order to buy plane tickets at a decent price.
After several months of research and calls, we finally found a school for the blind that was willing to see and evaluate Baraka. Finding schools for children with vision impairment is hard enough here, but adding in developmental disabilities is even more challenging. Uhuru School in Dar Es Salaam has agreed to accept Baraka as a boarding student later this year if he can become more self-sufficient in eating, bathing and dressing before then. Please pray for this family as they help their son prepare for school.
Graduation and Consecration/Ordination of Deaconesses and Pastors
On March 11, we celebrated as seven new deaconesses and seventeen new pastors graduated from the Makala Bible Training Center. As a deaconess herself, Linda spoke at the graduation. She also had the joy of presenting to each new deaconess letters of congratulations from members of her deaconess community in the U.S. and handmade deaconess stoles from First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Longmont, Colorado. The next day even more people came together to celebrate the consecrations/ordinations of these deaconesses and pastors. Linda and other deaconesses read Scripture over the new deaconesses. The five-hour service was full of joy, music, Scripture and hope as these leaders committed their lives to serving God and their communities.
This month the computer lab was dismantled so that ceiling tiles and air-conditioning units could be installed. While work was going on in the lab, Eric spent a large portion of time coding and creating an amazing gradebook system that monitors student progress. Linda taught lessons on goal-setting, growing in one’s relationship with God and protecting yourself from the powers of evil. Our students are now taking midterm exams, and the school is winding down for the Easter break. We hope the break is refreshing for everyone after such a productive start to the school year.
Baptism in Mwanza
The weekend of March 18–19, we traveled to Mwanza to catch up with friends and celebrate the baptism of Fiona Leen, the daughter of our friends Ashley and Michael. Linda had the honor of reading scripture at the event, and Eric served as photographer/videographer. It was such a special day and a great joy to witness God already at work in little Fiona’s life. We also had the joy of meeting many other missionaries in the Mwanza area.
We are thrilled to announce that after six and a half months of waiting, our home study report is finally finished. Let’s just say our second adoption has already had some hurdles. Last Saturday we met up with our social worker and mailed all of the documents necessary to begin another adoption to the Ministry of Social Welfare. We pray that the papers land on the right desk soon, that there will be no additional documents needed, and that in two or three months we will receive approval to go select our little girl. We are all so excited!
Linda’s English Bible study finished up a four-week course, and we also had the opportunity to host Jumuyia (Swahili Bible Study) at our house one day this month. Michael and Linda continue to enjoy his homeschool curriculum. We were also very happy to welcome back and celebrate the belated birthday of our Peace Corps friend Taylor. We look forward to more family adventures and opportunities to host 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.