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Valentine’s Day this year was unique because it was also Ash Wednesday. While the two holidays generally have two completely contrasting moods, it did provide an opportunity for us to reflect on Jesus, God’s greatest gift to us, as well as the many other gifts of love that we have received and have had the opportunity to give.

Second Graduation of the “Right to Live With Albinism” Program

February 1 we had the joy of celebrating the graduation of thirteen amazing women with albinism. For the last four months, they had been learning how to make clothes, pastries, lotions and soaps. They also learned how to start a business to sustain themselves and their families. We are so proud of them and the deaconesses who mentored and taught them. A fundraiser was held during the graduation so that each woman will return to her community with her own sewing machine and start-up materials. Thanks to the support of many of you, we were able to contribute enough money for a sewing machine and start-up materials for one of the women. We pray that as they return home, they will be able to live with security and dignity.

Bishop Makala’s Walkathon

Bishop Makala recently shared with us that he was inspired by the “Kilimanjaro for a Cause” fundraiser we did four years ago, and he has decided to hold his own two-week walkathon across the South-East of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD). March 18–31 he will walk a total of 340 km (211 miles) from Lamadi to Kahama. Should he for some reason not be able to complete the journey, Assistant Bishop Trafaina Nkya has agreed to take his place.

The money he raises will help fund staff housing for diocese leaders (eliminating the high expenses of monthly rent), roofs for new churches in mission areas and motorcycles and education for evangelists to unreached areas. We are so proud of and excited for him. We will be praying for his journey and donating a certain amount per kilometer, and we hope some of you will join us in supporting his efforts. If you would like to sign our pledge sheet or share a pledge sheet with your own family and friends, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us. Next month we will share stories from his journey and where donations can be sent.

Couple’s Day Retreat

The first weekend in February we traveled to Mwanza to participate in a couple’s day retreat. We were so grateful to our Peace Corps friend Taylor for coming with us and babysitting our kids at the hotel while we enjoyed six hours of Bible study and fellowship with other missionary couples.

While in Mwanza, we had a lovely dinner with all the other GLO missionaries in Tanzania. We were also able to meet with our adoption lawyer and give him everything he needed to write the petition. We will hopefully be able to file it next month!

Eric put his life guard skills to use, rescuing a young boy and his dad in an active drowning situation at the hotel pool. Thankfully, though they were shaken, they all were fine. Overall, it was a very productive and meaningful weekend.

Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School

Eric continues to enjoy his new position as Assistant Academic Master. His time at school is filled with teaching, registering students, adjusting schedules, making peer education lists and putting together math and science worksheets and activities. He also was able to download Wikipedia and Khan Academy so students can use the computers to research even without internet. Multiple teachers have likewise approached him to help them include media in their classrooms, such as watching examples of debates or a movie for a history class.

This month Linda’s guidance and counseling class covered how to ask good questions, how to stay awake when studying and the difference between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.” She also helped to organize the first Career Day of the year. We were joined by the Honorable Neema Gasabile and Grace Mutabuzi. Neema Gasabile is a magistrate and a lawyer for our diocese. Grace studied journalism and now works as a communications officer for our diocese (among other things). We were so grateful that they took the time to come and answer students' questions about these fields of study.

Life at Home

On Valentine’s Day, Linda and the kids had a wonderful time making Valentine’s cards for friends. The following weekend Amber and Austin graciously gifted us with free babysitting so we could enjoy a belated Valentine’s lunch in Shinyanga. On February 23, we joyfully celebrated Julia’s birthday. While this was her third birthday, it was our first time to celebrate with her, which made the day extra special. Thankfully, all the packages from our families in the U.S. arrived on time. She had a wonderful time eating cake and ice cream and batting around balloons with her friends. Linda continues to arrange home school activities for Michael and Julia around the letter of the week, and the weeks seem to be flying by. If you would like to see more pictures from Julia’s birthday or all of the kids’ home school activities, you can find them at www.facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania.

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.