- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 13 July 2017 13 July 2017
Since most of the students go home for June break, the month of June always provides us with some different opportunities for ministry. This month we had the joy of supporting and encouraging others who are taking up the cause to serve some of the most vulnerable in our society—orphans, families living in poverty and people with albinism.
Walking the Adoption Road with Friends
Since adoption here is such a long dynamic journey, we have been so grateful to walk with other families who are on the same road. Early this month, we had lunch in Mwanza with Stephanie and Aaron Boon, friends from our language school days, just before they brought home their son from Forever Angels. We are thrilled for their family and pray that the foster period and court hearings go smoothly. We also love that we have pictures of their son Isaya and our Michael together as babies.
Later that week, we had the joy of hosting Michelle and Dave Heed and their daughter Olivia, friends from Kigoma, for a few days as part of their vacation trip to Mwanza. Linda and Michelle met at a retreat at the very beginning of our families’ adoption journeys. While we have been supporting and praying for each other for years, this visit was our first opportunity to meet each other’s children. We greatly enjoyed worshiping God together in English, exchanging parenting resources, and watching the kids play together.
Reeds’ Field Visit
This month we also welcomed Amber and Austin Reed, future GLO missionaries to Shinyanga. Amber and Austin will be focusing on serving young people with albinism. This will serve as Amber’s Director of Christian Education internship through Concordia University in Austin, Texas.
During their week-long visit, we introduced them to organizations that support people with albinism, including SHADE, which teaches young adults soap-making, batik-making and other entrepreneurial skills, Buhangija Center, which houses and protects children with albinism, and our diocese’s Right to Live With Albinism program, which teaches young girls sewing and life skills. They also visited Forever Angels in Mwanza, where they will volunteer in the future and learn more about supporting vulnerable families. We also began their paperwork for permits, showed them around Shinyanga, and introduced them to their new home church, Ebenezer Cathedral.
They have now returned to the U.S. to gather support and will hopefully begin language school this fall. We enjoyed our time with them and eagerly anticipate their return.
DIAKONIA World Federation Conference
After so many months of fundraising, prayer and preparations, we finally have three representatives at the DIAKONIA World Federation conference. Thank you again to all of you who helped make this dream possible! Bishop Emmanuel Makala, Deaconess Matrida Sanga (Coordinator for Diaconal Ministries) and Grace Mutabuzi (Director of Education) are currently in Chicago finishing up an amazing week of worship, learning and networking.
Representatives from over 28 countries gathered together for this event. The overall theme was “Shaken by the Wind,” which explored how the Holy Spirit moves in the world. Each day also had a theme—to be gathered together, to create community, to rock the foundations, to face the chaos, to explore the unknown, to find a new perspective, to nourish hope and to be scattered to serve.
Many of Linda’s deaconess sisters have sent pictures of our friends enjoying the conference. Please keep them in prayer as they begin their trip back to Tanzania. We look forward to sharing many more pictures and stories after they return.
After waiting for over three weeks for our approval letter to be typed, the letter was finally sent to Dodoma for the commissioner’s signature. Because the commissioner now lives seven hours away from the main office in Dar Es Salaam, we’ve heard it takes about three weeks to get anything signed and sent back. Long story short, we expect to receive our letter any day now. Please keep us in prayer as the next step will be to prayerfully decide which child is meant to be our daughter.
Mwanza School Laboratory
We want to extend a huge thank you to St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas. Not only have they offered a $7,000 matching grant for building the laboratory at the new Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School, but they also raised $3,350 through their Vacation Bible School this past month! Fellow missionaries Dixon and Christiana Gbeanquoi have also raised $1,300 towards the laboratory. Thus the school only needs $2,350 to complete the match grant and finish the laboratory. Once the science lab is finished, the school can finally open!
If you are able to help, please go to GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/support-gbeanquoi.html and write the donation amount next to GBEANQUOI: MWANZA LAB. Or you can write a check to "Global Lutheran Outreach" with GBEANQUOI: MWANZA LAB in the memo line and send it to Global Lutheran Outreach; 6709 Ficus Dr., Miramar, FL33023. We would love to see this school opened so that it can begin to nurture students academically and spiritually!
Home and School
We enjoyed a relaxed Father’s Day this month with homemade cards, a home-cooked steak dinner, homemade cinnamon rolls and movie night after Michael went to sleep. Eric also spent over eleven hours of break cutting ethernet cable and getting the computer lab set back up. We used the rest of the break to get some home repair projects done and spend some quality time together.
School is back in session now, and we are settling back into our rhythm. We look forward to seeing what new activities and causes God will bring into our lives this 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.