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For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.Romans 15:4

First, to all of you who were affected by Hurricane Harvey, especially our friends at Zion Lutheran Church in Pasadena, Texas, and St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas, we just want you to know that we love you and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

This past month was one of our harder months in Tanzania, and yet, throughout the month, we have received little gifts of grace and hope.

Adoption Update

While we had hoped to share the happy news that Julia is home, we didn’t get to that point this month. We did, however, make progress. The police report made it to Dar Es Salaam, the approval letter was sent from the Ministry of Social Welfare to the commissioner in Dodoma and the commissioner returned it with his signature. However, instead of calling us when the letter arrived back at the Ministry of Social Welfare, the social worker put the letter in the regular post. For almost two weeks now we have been waiting for the arrival of that letter. We are praying it has not been permanently lost, because if it has, we will have to get another letter from the commissioner, and that will mean another month without our daughter. Please pray with us that it comes soon. We are aching to bring her home.

Graduation of Students with Albinism

On August 4, we celebrated with the eleven women who graduated from the deaconesses’ “Right to Live With Albinism” program. For the last four months, they have been learning how to make clothes and how to start a business to sustain themselves and their families. These women have endured so much stigma, danger and struggle in their lives all because they were born with albinism. We admire their strength and are so thankful to our diocese's deaconesses and other supporters for helping them gain confidence and skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. The deaconesses are currently seeking funds to begin the program again with a new class of students.

A New School for Baraka!

After more than seven months of researching, praying and sending Baraka and his mother to schools for interviews, on August 9 Baraka was finally accepted into a boarding school for the blind. Praise the Lord! He will be attending Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind in Moshi. So far he loves his new school and teachers. His mother took this picture of him playing with the sensory objects. Please pray that he adapts to boarding school well and that they take good care of him.

Travels

We spent a great deal of time traveling this month. The second week of August we traveled to Dar Es Salaam to follow-up on Julia’s paperwork and Eric’s resident permit renewal. Unfortunately, we had to submit yet another application for the renewal (our fourth one in the last two years), and we still haven’t received the actual permit. Our prayers continue for progress in this nightmarish bureaucracy. While we were in Dar, we had the joy of visiting friends and fellow adoptive parents of Forever Angels kids.

We have also gone to see Julia in Mwanza at least once a week for the last six weeks. We are so grateful that friends of ours let us stay at their house during our visits. Finally, this past Monday we traveled with our friend Abel to Sengerema, Julia’s birth place, to learn more about her history from the social worker there. We hope that our days of so much traveling will soon be over and that we can spend time as a family in Mwadui.

Health

Thankfully, with the exception of breaking one of his toes, Eric’s health has been better. Michael had to go back on meds, because the amoeba wasn’t completely out of his system. With all the travels, Linda has been battling a UTI that just won’t quit. The doctors here even inserted a hep-lock one week so they could give her daily IV antibiotics. She is now on her third round of meds, and we are praying that this will be the end of it.

Other News From the Homefront

In between trips to Mwanza, Eric has continued teaching and working on the computer lab. Michael and Linda have enjoyed homeschool and playtime, and Linda’s Bible study group finished another study. School is now on a two-week September break. Last week we also enjoyed a dinner with Taylor and her mom, who was visiting from the U.S. We also gave her a tour of Mwadui and introduced her to the Bible study group.

Finally, we have had multiple new critters next door. The bad news is two deadly snakes were killed on our neighbors property this past week. Please pray that there is not a nest nearby and that this is the last we see of them. The good news is Kiss (one of Maisha's children) now has seven adorable puppies. I think God knew we would need puppy therapy this month.

Julia

Last but not least, our love for Julia continues to deepen. This month she has really warmed up to us. She and Michael laugh and giggle together, chase each other around and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Her shyness is melting away to the point that we have now heard her use full sentences in Swahili. She loves to read with us and even fell asleep in Linda’s arms this week. We can’t wait to bring our little girl home.

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.