- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 03 May 2018 03 May 2018
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:30–31
Earlier this month we had the joy of introducing our children to their first kite. Watching the wind lift the kite up into the air brought to mind Isaiah 40:30–31 (see above). We have entered into an exceptionally strenuous period of our lives, filled with multiple dynamic ministries, ongoing time-intensive efforts to finish Julia’s adoption and to get U.S. citizenship for our children and the energy of two lively children. At times, we have, admittedly, related to the tired and weary part of the verse. Yet this verse has also reminded us of the need for rest and trust in God. I’ve been reminded lately that only when we hope in the Lord—trusting that our value lies in Christ rather than what we do, trusting that God will provide, trusting that God will take care of the needs of others while we rest—can we truly take the time to breathe and to allow God to renew our strength. We are so thankful for the times of renewal this past month in the midst of all the walking and running.
This month began with the jubilant celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Our celebration included Easter egg dyeing, an early-morning Easter egg hunt, worship with our church family, and hosting the Medard family (dear friends from our first year here who recently moved back to Mwadui) for playtime and dinner. We also sponsored a dinner for the 23 boarding students remaining at school and Easter dinner for Joseph’s family—the struggling family that we mentioned in our last newsletter. It all made for a wonderful, memorable first Easter as a family of four.
Since the first week of Spring Break was consumed with adoption-related errands and preparations for Easter, we intentionally set aside the second week for family and relaxation. We started our Mwanza trip by dropping off hand-me-downs at Forever Angels. This visit was Julia’s first time back to Forever Angels since we brought her home. We then spent two lovely nights with the Peck family and three nights at Wag Hill Lodge, taking advantage of their “pay two nights, get the third night free” special. We swam in the pool, hiked for hours, rode horses, enjoyed a complimentary evening boat ride, canoed, watched the monkeys play while eating delicious meals, read on the lakeside deck of our cabin and made beautiful memories. The time away definitely helped prepare us for the full schedule of the following weeks.
May 3 was our first court hearing for the Tanzanian side of Julia’s adoption. Even though we had to wait over three hours to see the judge, we are happy to say that overall it went smoothly. They assigned our case to the same judge that we had for Michael’s case and gave us the date of June 12 for the next hearing. Please pray that our judge, our lawyer and our social worker all show up for that hearing. The second hearing is the most important one in this process. With Michael’s case, we had to reschedule the second hearing three times before everyone showed up!
We have begun the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship for our children. In order to file an I-600A/I-600, we must work with a Hague-accredited adoption agency in the U.S. After much research we signed a contract with Wasatch International Adoption Agency (WIAA). Our next steps include collecting loads of documentation, completing all 72 homework questions associated with the 223-page Parenting Education Manual, and completing the 21-page essay-based questionnaire. We also have to have a U.S.-accredited social worker fly to Tanzania to conduct a home study. Thankfully, WIAA has a social worker stationed in Germany, so he will not have to fly all the way from the U.S. He is planning to come to Tanzania July 5–7. The entire process will cost about $18,000 over the course of the next two years. However, we need $8,500 of that as soon as possible to cover the application fee, program fee, home study fee, travel expenses for the social worker, translation costs for Swahili documents and flights to Dar Es Salaam to access a U.S. notary. If you are willing to help our children become American citizens, you can make a secure online donation at https://globallutheranoutreach.com/support-funkekidsproject.html. Please make sure to write your donation next to “Funke Kids' Citizenship Project” so it goes to the right place. Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” and put “Funke Kids' Citizenship Project” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Outreach; 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL 33023. We know we can’t get through this process on our own and greatly appreciate your prayers and support.
Community Health Evangelism
We are happy to report that the three deaconesses who attended the Community Health Evangelism training last month returned with great enthusiasm and many new ideas for how CHE materials could be more effectively used in our diocese. One of those ideas was beginning CHE in school, so they started at our school on April 29. They did an amazing job holding the students attention and teaching them about the importance of wholistic health. I am excited to see how God continues to use their talents and passions to develop new models for CHE in our diocese.
School has been back in session for three weeks now. Eric attended a Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC) e-learning seminar and has been integrating ideas from there. Linda taught the students about ways to grow in their relationship with Jesus, and we have reinstituted student movie nights. Linda continues to homeschool our two precious children. We also had the opportunity to spend time with Pastor Peter Gregory who was teaching a short course at the Bible Training Center. We spent Eric’s birthday (April 27) with friends in Mwanza, because we needed to meet with our adoption lawyer. The next day we returned to Mwadui to attend the send-off of the daughter of our dear friends Mercy and Abel. A send-off is a giant party for the bride and her friends/family before the wedding. If you would like to see pictures from this event and read more details about the tradition of the send-off, please click here. While our schedules are sometimes hectic, being connected to godly community (including you all) continues to lift our spirits.
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.