- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 07 June 2018 07 June 2018
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.Romans 12:12–13
This past month has been such a whirlwind of activity that it is hard to even know where to begin. We have celebrated and rejoiced—in meaningful seminars at school, in supporting a family in need, in Amber and Austin’s return from their visit to the U.S., in hugs and homemade cards on Mother’s Day, in seven years of marriage and a lovely picnic to mark the occasion, in the initiative of our CHE trainers and in visits from two U.S. mission teams. Sometimes we laughed until we cried, such as when we accidentally left the backdoor open and discovered a chicken in our bathroom. We have tried to embrace the chaos—when our Peace Corps friend Taylor was stung by a scorpion and Linda spent part of the night with her at the hospital, when siafu ants tried to invade our home or when we couldn’t return home from a Mwanza trip because our house was surrounded by an angry swarm of bees. We have grieved—a missionary friend lost at sea, the sudden death of a friend’s groom less than a month before the wedding, friends being hurt by rumors and setbacks in our adoption case. Yet, God remains the constant, and even in the struggles, we are thankful for the hope and balance God provides.
Our journey towards U.S. citizenship for Michael and Julia continues. As we mentioned last month, we have hired Wasatch International Adoption Agency to help us get U.S. citizenship for our children, and this past month we have been working steadily on gathering documents, completing essay questions and finishing the homework for the agency’s “Parenting Education Manual.” A U.S. social worker will come to our home July 5–7 to conduct an official home study.
However, we need financial help to get through this process. The citizenship process will cost about $18,000 over the course of the next two years. We need $8,500 by July 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. So far we have received $2,400! Thank you so much to all who have contributed!
If you are willing to help our children become American citizens, you can make a secure online donation at 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 greatly appreciate your prayers and support on this intense journey.
On May 5, Linda led her annual 6.5 hour seminar on sex and relationships with the help of five other staff members. This seminar covers the basics of sex, abuse, the physical, emotional, and spiritual ramifications of sex, and how to develop healthy relationships and make decisions for their futures. At the end, the boys and girls were separated so that they could ask questions. Once again, the seminar brought up some tough topics and Linda provided some follow-up counseling sessions for some individual students.
On May 12, Linda helped our Peace Corps friend Taylor German implement the Huru program for the girls at our school, which not only provides reusable menstrual pads, but also covers topics such as puberty, menstruation, how to avoid risky behaviors, assertiveness training, goal-setting and self-awareness/self-worth. Linda also led a “Lessons in the Movies” class, which pulled life lessons from some of their favorite movies.
Meanwhile, Eric’s time at school was spent teaching, typing exams, registering all students and teachers into the e-learning system and compiling student grades before the June break. All but the Form 4 students have returned home for the break and will return July 1.
Joseph and other children in his family have been coming to our door for months begging for food. They were living in terrible conditions. Previously, we provided the family with emergency rations and have been looking for sustainable solutions. This month, with the help of local Lutheran church leaders, we were able to provide two bicycles so the children can attend school more regularly and ten goats so that the family can develop a steadier income. Thanks to all who help make efforts like this possible! Please continue to keep this family in your prayers.
Community Health Evangelism (CHE)
This month the three deaconesses trained in CHE taught the students in the “Right to Live With Albinism” program about their value in God’s eyes and the basics of good hygiene and how to avoid disease transmission. We love that they continue to show initiative and send us pictures of their work. We hope to send them to the next level of training this coming August.
Mission Teams from the U.S.
This month we also had the joy of showing two mission teams from the LCMS Mid-South District around our school. We were also delighted to have Jamie Wisely and Jessica Strong from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Peoria join us for a reception at school, breakfast at our home and worship at the school that Sunday. Partnerships like these enable so much ministry to happen at our school and beyond.
Finalizing Julia’s adoption continues to be an uphill battle. Shortly after our “mention” in court on May 3, we discovered our lawyer had forgotten to provide the “Consent to Adopt” form. He thus sent it to the Ministry of Social Welfare, where it sat unopened for two weeks. Eventually we learned that our lawyer had only submitted two copies instead of three. Eric and our friend Godfrey drove the ten hours to Dodoma May 27–28 to hand-deliver enough copies. Then Eric and Godfrey drove back to Dodoma June 3 to pick up the signed documents. They also found the letter our local social worker needed, which had been sitting in the mailroom for six weeks. However, when Eric tried to file the Consent to Adopt at the court this past Tuesday, June 5, we learned that our lawyer had written it incorrectly, and the Commissioner won’t return to the office until June 18. We will have to reschedule our court date, which was supposed to be June 12. We have the additional hurdle of our local social worker now being on maternity leave. Please pray that we can file the correct and properly signed Consent to Adopt, that our social worker files her report soon and that our lawyer, judge and social worker or an appropriate substitute all show up for our next court date.
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.