- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 07 December 2017 07 December 2017
Thanksgiving has always been one of our favorite holidays. Not so much for the delicious foods—though they are a wonderful treat—but because it gives us a time to sit back, reflect on the many gifts God has given us and give thanks. In other words, “Praise the Lord!” As we now begin preparing our hearts and minds for Advent and Christmas, we continue to be reminded of all that God has done. This year we have rejoiced in opportunities to teach at our school, to connect with our students, to sponsor kids who are differently-abled, to mentor and strengthen the local deaconesses in their ministries, to take next steps in community outreach programs and, of course, to welcome the newest addition to our family. For all this and so much more, we praise God.
Needing Your Help
As we shared last month, due to the added expenses that come with having a new family member and due to various sponsors having to reduce their monthly contributions for personal reasons, we are praying that God would bring forward twenty new monthly donors (of any amount) and/or increases by current monthly sponsors by the end of the year. We so happy to report that we have already heard from five new monthly donors, and one current donor has told us they are increasing their monthly sponsorship! Praise the Lord! We are still looking for fourteen more people to either become monthly donors or increase their monthly sponsorship towards our ministry. Could you be one of them?
This month Eric has been hard at work holding final review sessions, writing and grading exams and compiling grade sheets for students to take home. However, as of Tuesday November 28, all of the students except for Pre-Form 1 are headed home for the Christmas break. And with that, our fifth school year in Tanzania is complete! Eric plans to do some computer system updates in December, and then we will welcome students back again in January.
Progress at Our Sister School
Earlier this month we traveled to Mwanza to do some preparatory shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner, catch up with friends and see how things are going at the new Lutheran secondary school in Mwanza. Thank you again to everyone at St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas, who raised money for the new school laboratory. We were so pleased to see that the outside is completely plastered, the stairs are in, the window frames and doors have been installed, the trenches for chemicals in the laboratory have been dug and they are hard at work installing the cement lab tables. They are also finishing the administrative building, have painted the classrooms and have installed doors in the bathrooms. They are still hoping to start classes in January, but could use your prayers because the government continues to try to add new requirements for starting a school. Now the government is saying they need a library and a kitchen before the school can start. Please pray that the diocese leaders will be able to convince them to allow the school to start with one of the classrooms as the library and the pastor’s house as the kitchen.
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, we hosted our own Thanksgiving celebration for other Americans in the area. We felt so blessed to be joined by six Peace Corps volunteers and two missionary friends. Everyone helped out to get the meal ready, including our two littlest helpers. We all enjoyed turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, sweet potato casserole, cornbread, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, chess pie, ice cream and peanut butter cookies. We even were able to download last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Several of our guests shared that they had been struggling with homesickness lately and this little taste of home was exactly what they needed.
Life at Home
Julia has been home with us for over two months, and we are now having trouble remembering life before her. Every moment—our first family road trip to Mwanza, playing music together, scavenger hunts, blowing bubbles, stomping in puddles after a rain storm, decorating our Christmas tree—feels so incredibly special. Julia’s English is growing by leaps and bounds, as is Michael’s Swahili. She no longer cries in her sleep every night. She is gradually overcoming her fear of dogs. As she gains confidence, we see her becoming more curious, more outspoken and more creative. She and Michael continue to be best buds, and we love how Michael looks out for her. While we are still very much in the bonding process and we know her scars will take love and time to heal, we are amazed by how far she has come and how far we have come as a family. Praise the Lord!
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.