- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 06 October 2017 06 October 2017
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.”James 5:7
One of the discussion questions for my Bible study earlier this month was “What season of life are you in right now?” My answer was “winter, but heading into spring.” I felt like we were right on the cusp of new life, and I was right. Praise the Lord!
The first two weeks of September were our school’s fall break. Thus, most of the month was spent visiting doctors in Mwanza as they tried to figure out why Linda was still having chronic infections, visiting Julia as we waited anxiously for the letter that would let us bring her home and traveling back and forth between Mwanza and Mwadui. The travel and stress were taking a toll on Linda’s body. Finally, on September 18, we decided enough was enough and Linda flew to Dar Es Salaam to find out why our letter, which was supposedly sent three weeks prior, still hadn’t reached us. By God’s grace, the social worker at the Ministry of Social Welfare in Dar was able to find a copy of our letter, which was enough for us to bring her home! Eric and Michael were still in Mwadui because Eric had meetings with international representatives from Sweden regarding the school’s e-learning pilot program. Therefore, we all met up again on Thursday, September 21, and on Friday, September 22, we brought our daughter, Julia Karena Funke, home! It will still be probably another year before the adoption is finalized and we can bring her to visit the U.S., but we rejoice that now we can grow together as a family. If you would like to see more pictures and stories from the day we brought her home, visit our Facebook page.
Answered Prayers— A New Blog Post
As of September 7, we have lived in Tanzania for five years! Wow! Thank you to everyone who has walked with us through all the highs and lows of ministry here. Usually this time of year we put out a “Year in Review” video as a summary of what God has been doing here. This year, with all the illness, travel and now a new daughter to build a relationship with, we’ve concluded that making a video will not be possible. However, we do want to take a moment to acknowledge all the amazing ways God has answered prayers in the last ten months since we returned from the U.S and the ways you all have been answers to our prayers. On our blog, www.AFunkeTimeInTanzania.blogspot.com, you will find ten one-paragraph stories describing some of the answered prayers we’ve experience personally and in our ministry. We hope you enjoy them and will continue to partner and pray with us in the years to come.
Other Moments of Joy
As we were waiting for the letter, Michael needed some special time to just have fun. He had been such a trooper with all of Mommy’s doctors’ appointments, all the road trips and all the irregularities and unknowns in our schedule. Therefore one day while in Mwanza we attended a Mexican Independence Day celebration with other expats, where he hit his first piñata. Another day we took him to the water park in Mwanza with friends of ours. Michael had such a wonderful time!
After a two-year saga of trying to get our resident permit renewals, we are thrilled to share that on September 19 Linda picked up Eric’s permit in Dar Es Salaam. She was also able to retrieve the permits for new GLO missionaries Amber and Austin Reed. Praise the Lord!
On September 24 we celebrated Linda’s birthday. Michael and Julia, who both came home on days around her birthday, are by far the best birthday presents she has ever received!
September 30, we had the joy of celebrating with friends at the wedding of Jeremiah Shauri, our Community Health Evangelism Coordinator and dear friend, to his love Merikinoi. If you would like to see more pictures from the wedding, visit Facebook page. We pray that their marriage will be a blessing to them and to all those around them.
A Busy First Week Back Home
While we are so happy to be home, life has definitely not slowed down since our return. The first week after we arrived back, we had to get Julia’s paperwork set up at the doctor’s office and get her a checkup. We drove to Shinyanga multiple days to get the resident permit stamp in Eric’s passport and to have Linda’s follow-up tests done. We also spent a full day driving back and forth on the bumpy road to Kishapu to have the social worker there sign all the custody forms for Julia. We were very grateful to the good Samaritans that stopped when we got a flat tire and our jack broke. Then we spent another day in offices applying for our national IDs. We are hoping to establish our new “normal” very soon.
After the many medical tests to rule out other possibilities, it was determined that poor quality antibiotics were the cause of Linda’s ongoing problems with UTIs. Thankfully, this latest round of antibiotics (made in Germany) seem to have done the trick. Please pray that her body remains infection-free and recovers from the numerous unsuccessful treatments of the last few months. Please also pray that we can get Julia healthy. She arrived home with giardia and fungal growth on her head. Finally, we pray for healing for Eric. This week he first fell ill with a fever. Then yesterday he suffered from food-poisoning. We hope and pray for healthier days ahead.
Life as a Family of Four
In many ways, Julia’s transition into our family has gone very smoothly. Thanks to her big brother’s example, she is now comfortable riding in a car seat, eating at the table and playing with her brother and the neighborhood kids. She mostly sleeps through the night. She does sometimes have nightmares, but greets every morning with a smile. She loves to sing, dance, color, and go for rides in the double stroller with Michael. She has been teaching Michael new Swahili words, and he has been teaching her new English words. Our church family and community have welcomed her with open arms, and her brother Michael has already told us, “I love Julia.” Her giggles are among our favorite sounds in life. We love her so much and look forward to sharing more of our family’s adventures.
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.