- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: June 01 2017 June 01 2017
Earlier this month our friend Abel invited Michael out to the school’s garden, teaching him how to pick okra and hoe the earth. As he worked, I thought about how planting the seeds are not enough. Gardens generally take consistent maintenance and care, and, even then, only God can make the plants grow. We are currently in one of those seasons where many seeds are planted—projects started and papers submitted—and now we continue to tend the garden, trusting that God will bring forth a harvest. We rejoice in the many buds of progress so far!
Diakonia World Federation Conference in Chicago
Wonderful news! The trip for our Tanzanian colleagues is now fully funded, and Matrida received her passport. Thank you all for your contributions and prayers! We also managed to get a great price on tickets. We basically bought three round-trip tickets for what we normally pay for two. These savings are especially helpful since the trip to Dar Es Salaam to get their visas is going to cost more than we originally anticipated. Their visa interview at the U.S. Embassy is scheduled for June 12. Please keep them in prayer. Lord-willing, by the time our next newsletter comes out they will be in Chicago with representatives from dozens of other countries.
We spent a large amount of time at school this month. In addition to teaching computer and physics classes, Eric oversaw a complete rewiring of half the computer lab. He was alerted to problems when both he and a student received a shock from a computer that was turned off. We are so thankful that he discovered the problems before anyone was hurt. An electrician was called in to run new wire to ensure the safety of the students and building.
Meanwhile, Linda led the yearly 6.5 hour Saturday seminar on Sex and Relationships, with the help of the school nurse and fellow teachers. It covered the basics of sex, abuse, the physical, emotional and spiritual ramifications of sex and how to develop healthy relationships and make decisions for their futures. We always separate the boys and girls at the end, so Eric and other male teachers can answer the boys’ questions and Linda and other female teachers can answer the girls’ questions. This month, Linda also taught a lesson on bullying—what it is, what causes it, how can we respond to it and we keep it out of our school. We’ve also hosted a few movie nights to give the students a fun way to continue learning English.
Now we are preparing for the June break, when all the students will return home except the Form 4 students preparing for national exams. Eric will be heavily involved in getting all the grades logged and preparing grade report sheets for families. This month we also received our order of 107 books for Form 5 and 6, funded by the money brought in for books last November/December. Thank you to all who helped add more books to the school’s library!
Mid-South District Visit and the Future Clinic
This month we had the joy of welcoming back returning friends and some new friends from the Mid-South District. They spent most of their week in the villages of Maswa district, but were able to come one afternoon to see all the progress at our school.
The teachers selected Eric to be the chairperson of the fundraising committee for our school’s new clinic. As such, he shared with the group the school’s goal of raising $30,000 to finish the clinic buildings by January. During the June break, students will be trying to raise $10 each and teachers will be raising $25 each, with some prizes as an incentive. Another fundraiser will be held during the school’s graduation on October 7. While the school hopes to raise $13,000 with these fundraisers, they will still need $17,000 to complete the buildings. Eric shared with the team that we are hoping to find four or five groups or churches in the U.S. willing to raise $3,000–5,000 toward finishing the clinic buildings.
Every year our school spends almost $7,500 on medical costs for students who have to go to the local expensive hospital for any medical care. This clinic will cut down student costs and will also offer a more affordable option to communities near the school. The clinic will thus give the school another source of income and will be an outreach tool for the church into the community, demonstrating God’s unconditional love and mercy for all people. If you know of a group or church that might be willing to partner with our school to help build this clinic, please email Eric at .
Preparing for the Reeds
This month we have also been preparing for Amber and Austin Reed’s field visit—setting up appointments, sending them information they will need for their trip and preparing documents for their future work and resident permits. We also visited SHADE, one of the ministries with which they will be partnering. SHADE tutors young adults with albinism in academic subjects, teaches them entrepreneurship skills and trains them in making batik cloth and soaps. Since the students will be on break during the Reeds’ visit, we went ahead to get a few pictures of them. We were very impressed with their work.
Earlier this month, Michael and Eric made Mommy homemade flowers and gave her lots of hugs and kisses in celebration of Mother’s Day. Then this past weekend (May 29) we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Thanks to our families, we were able to spend two days at Wag Hill Lodge, about thirty minutes outside of Mwanza. We enjoyed breathtaking views of Lake Victoria, delicious foods, a fun motorboat ride and a boat-driving lesson for Michael, the opportunity to pet horses and camels, steep hiking paths, climbing obstacles, games at the pool table, a brisk swimming pool and a glorious morning canoe trip. It reminded us of our days at camp. We are so thankful for six beautiful years of marriage and for this opportunity to make new memories together.
Last but not least, we’ve heard that the social workers at the Ministry of Social Welfare have received and approved our application. Now we are just waiting for the signature of the Commissioner in Dodoma. After the documents go to Dodoma and return to Dar Es Salaam, they will send our approval letter. Then we will be able to identify and meet our daughter! We hope and pray that will be soon.
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.