- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 29 March 2018 29 March 2018
Last week we had the joy of joining with Bishop Makala as he passed by our town during his two-week, 211 miles walkathon across the diocese. His pace was brisk and exhausting, so much so that our littlest walkers could only keep up for a few minutes. The community was joyful, hopeful and filled with song. We still don’t know completely what the final results of the Bishop’s efforts will be, but we know he is walking by faith.
The characteristics of this walkathon very much resemble how this month has gone for us generally. The pace of our lives lately has been brisk, exhausting and has included some “blisters.” For this reason we have decided to share this newsletter before Easter. We hope to dedicate the week after Easter to rest, recovery and time together as a family. Like Bishop Makala, this month we have also been surrounded by a joyful community and have seen many signs of hope. And we continue to walk by faith.
Bishop Makala’s Walkathon
Bishop Makala arrived at his final destination of the walkathon today (March 29), two days earlier than expected! He was really moving! All the money Bishop Makala raises will go to a missions and development fund, which supports projects like roofs for new churches, staff housing and motorcycles and training for evangelists. If you would like to support these efforts, you can write a check to our friend Bob Allen with “SELVD Walkathon” in the memo line, and send it to Bob Allen, 208 Peachtree Street, White House, TN 37188. All donations must be received by April 30 so Bob can wire the money directly to the diocese.
We have been so inspired by Bishop Makala’s efforts. Not only did he walk long distances each day, but he also stopped along the way to receive donations, plant trees, baptize and lead worship services. You can find more pictures from his journey at www.facebook.com/AFunkeTimeInTanzania.
Helping a Family in Need
Around December three young boys started showing up at our door to beg for food. They were in terrible condition so we decided to help them every time they came. We wanted to visit their home, and finally this month Linda, Rev. Nzelu, Rev. Mdindi and the local evangelist were able to go. The situation was worse than we imagined. Their mother had disappeared, their aunt was sick with an illness that made her swell and shake, there are at least five children, and the only other adults were two grandmothers who are so old that the people around thought they were witches and wouldn’t help. We were able to provide food supplements and are working to find sustainable ways to help them. Please pray for this family and for wisdom in how to help them.
Early this month, Eric faced many challenges as he tried to get Form 2 and Form 4 (Sophomores and Seniors) registered for national exams. He also helped the school implement a new grading system that considers homework, not just exams, in computing final grades, allowing students to see their progress over time. These projects required multiple evenings at school where he didn’t return home until 10:30 or 11:00 PM. Thankfully, he was successful and when the school closed for Easter break on March 23, all the students were registered and had accurate records of their grades. He was even able to share his gradebook program with the other secondary school in town. Linda concluded her study skills lessons and taught a special lesson on goal-setting. We also organized two student movie nights—“Cool Runnings” in honor of the Olympics and “The Jesus Film” in Swahili to help the students prepare their hearts for Holy Week. We hope all the students and teachers now have a restful two-week break and return refreshed.
Our journey toward finalizing Julia’s adoption has been an uphill slog so far, including the Ministry of Social Welfare losing our undertaking document, which gives us legal custody of Julia. Thankfully, after months of searching and making phone calls, this week we discovered that all three copies of the undertaking—the commissioner’s, ours and our local social worker’s—had accidentally been mailed to the Chairperson of the District Council of Kishapu. Our local social worker finally came to do the second home study on March 14, only eight days before the end of our six-month probationary period. On March 26, Eric drove to Mwanza to pick up the Petition to Adopt from our lawyer. On March 27, we drove an hour out to Kishapu to retrieve the lost undertaking papers. On March 28, we spent six hours trying to file the petition. The process involved finding a notary in Shinyanga, reprinting the petition when they told us the name of the court had changed since Michael’s case, paying at the bank and then waiting for hours for the accountant to return from lunch and the registrar to give us our first hearing date. Thankfully we had brought a soft copy, the official paper, our computer and our printer to the court, so we could complete it all in one day, Today (March 29), we mailed the social worker’s request for the Consent to Adopt to the Ministry of Social Welfare. In spite of all the adoption drama, we are thrilled to be a few steps further in the process! Please pray for our first hearing in court on May 3rd.
Community Health Evangelism Training
The leader of our Community Health Evangelism (CHE) program unfortunately moved to Arusha this past January, so we have been looking for new leadership. Thankfully, we were able to send three amazing deaconesses— Esther Mangesho, Stella Matary, and Lilian Makala—to a CHE training in Kenya March 12-16. Linda looks forward to working with them and reconnecting with the training teams to see how CHE can be better implemented in the diocese.
Surrounded by Friends
Early in the month we made a weekend trip to Mwanza to visit friends and to buy a small printer for the academic office at school so the academic staff don’t have to walk across campus every time they need to print. On March 12–13, we welcomed GLO mission developer, Dale Talsma, and participated in important meetings with him, Bishop Makala and Rev. Nzelu. We also had the joy of celebrating Taylor’s birthday with her. We were also grateful for time with all the GLO missionaries in Tanzania as Dixon, Christy and Milcah Gbeanquois visited for the weekend. We joined them and many other friends at the six-hour Palm Sunday worship service the next day where new leaders in the diocese were installed. We are so grateful to be surrounded by a loving community, including all of you, as we walk on this journey.
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.