- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 05 October 2018 05 October 2018
Those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.Psalm 65:8
This month we have spent time in Mwadui, Mwanza, Nairobi, Paris, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Dallas. It has been a remarkable journey, and we have only just begun our four months of travel. In each place we have seen the wonders of God—in worship, in the kindness of strangers, in encouragement and help of friends and family, in God’s creation, in the joy of our children and in good news to share.
Before we share all the details of this past month, remember that we are visiting Saint John’s on November 4. If you would like to come hear us talk about all that God is doing in our lives and in our corner of Tanzania, we will be presenting after the service, during the Bible study hour at 10:30 AM. We would love to see you there!!
Our last week in Tanzania before the start of furlough was an absolute whirlwind. On Monday (September 3) Julia and Linda were treated for schistosomiasis—a parasitic infection that they likely got from boating on Lake Victoria many months prior. On Tuesday night, Linda taught a last “Lessons in the Movies” class, teaching positive messages from the Chronicles of Narnia movies. On Wednesday, we hosted Jumuiya (Swahili Bible study) at our house. On Thursday, we celebrated the birthday of fellow GLO missionary, Austin Reed. During the whole week, Eric helped input grades and prepare reports for school, and then on Friday the school was closed for a two-week break. On Saturday, we packed while Dinnah or Amber and Austin played with our children. On Sunday, the school driver drove us to Mwanza. After staying with our friends the Pecks, on September 10 we began the long journey from Tanzania to Minnesota.
Our first leg from Mwanza to Nairobi went well, but the nine-hour layover in Nairobi felt exceptionally long, especially since our children did not sleep at all before our midnight flight. Thankfully our kids slept almost the entire way from Nairobi to Paris, and were very content to play with stickers, eat snacks, nap and watch videos from Paris to Minnesota. Somehow, in spite of being jet-lagged, we made it through the one-hour wait in the immigration line, transferred all our bags to our rental van, and drove to the home of Eric’s Uncle Don.
We stayed in Minneapolis for five days, which allowed us to do some jet-lag recovery, visit Eric’s aunt and two uncles in the area, catch up with friends from college and celebrate the birthday of Eric’s sister, Andrea, with her. Eric’s Uncle Don treated us to the Sea Life Aquarium, we picked apples and raspberries with Andrea at the Afton Apple Orchard and Eric’s Uncle Rob and Aunt Lois paid for us to visit the Crayola Experience. We treasured our time there.
We flew from Minneapolis to St. Louis on Saturday, September 15. Over the next ten days, we managed to squeeze in eleven medical appointments and finished our presentation. We had the joy of visiting Salem Lutheran Church in Blackjack on September 23. We also enjoyed precious time with Eric’s parents, brother, sister-in-law and our nieces and nephew, celebrated Linda’s birthday by taking our kids to a Cardinals game and visited Forest Park, the Science Center and the zoo. The time really flew by.
On Thursday, September 27, we drove the twelve hours to Dallas, where we were reunited with Linda’s parents, sister and brother-in-law. We took in all the sights at the State Fair of Texas on the 29th and then finished out the month by presenting at Linda’s home church, Messiah Lutheran Church in Plano. It has been really wonderful to reconnect with beloved friends and family.
Meanwhile, back in Tanzania, students are back from the break and preparing for national exams. Eric’s assistant, Sundi, is teaching all of Eric’s computer classes and just updated the e-learning program with new materials. Pre-Form 1 students have arrived to begin their three month course. Amber continues to spearhead the diocese’ day-care program, which is now up to ten children, while Austin helps the diocese design a youth center. The three deaconesses that we sent to the Community Health Evangelism six-week internship in Kenya are finishing up their classes and will soon return to Tanzania to share all that they have learned. We are so thankful for our colleagues in Tanzania and for all the wonders God is working through them.
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.