- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 09 January 2019 09 January 2019
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”Mark 10:13–14
Watching our children embrace the wonder of this season has brought us so much joy and taught us as well. While we have enjoyed watching our children delight in Christmas lights, ice-skating, ballet dancers, decorations, treats and gifts, our favorite part of this month was watching our kids be angels in the Christmas play at Linda’s parents’ church. If you would like to see Michael as the angel Gabriel telling Mary, “You are going to have a baby,” or Julia singing with exuberance as a member of the angel choir, you can find clips at youtube.com/EricFunkeGLO. There is something about our children telling the story of Christ’s birth that drew us away from the pressures of our to-do lists and reminded us what Christmas is really all about.
Speaking of videos, we have posted many more new videos. If you didn’t have the opportunity to hear us sing “Look What God Has Done,” to watch our seven-minute Year-in-Review video or to see our full presentation at one of our partner churches, you can now find them all at youtube.com/EricFunkeGLO. We sent out Christmas letters to everyone whose address we had, but we know we were missing many of your addresses and some of the letters came back to us undelivered. If you didn’t receive a Christmas letter from us and would like to read a copy, you can find it at globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funke/newsletters/. Thank you to all who have helped make this year so meaningful.
Our December began by being reunited with Jamie Wisely and Jess Strong, who came out to Tanzania with a mission team this past summer. Jess’s parents graciously offered to host us Saturday night and put together a wonderful dinner for us and for the staff and missions committee of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Peoria, Illinois. During the Bible class on Sunday, December 2, we shared all that God has done in the past five years through their gifts to our school. It was a wonderful, memorable weekend. Then, on December 9, we traveled to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Greenville, Illinois, where we were welcomed with open arms and a delicious potluck. It has been such a joy to see so many beloved people during these past twelve weeks of presentations and to convey in person our gratitude for all you have done to support us, our ministry and our community in Tanzania.
Our first week and a half of December were filled with visits, including a get-together with friends at 2Schae Café, a trip to the Butterfly House at the St. Louis Zoo, dinner with the social worker who has been helping us with our kids’ U.S. citizenship paperwork, a luncheon with St. Louis area deaconesses and a party with friends which included twenty adults and fifteen children ages six and under. We also spent precious time with family, including time decorating the Christmas tree.
On December 11 we drove down to Dallas. During our time in Dallas, we enjoyed taking our kids to Santa’s village at the Richardson library, helping our kids ice skate for the first time, going on a double date with Linda’s sister and brother-in-law, celebrating the first birthday party of the son of Linda’s friend Lois, taking our kids to The Nutcracker Ballet, climbing and playing at Safari Run park, catching up with Linda’s goddaughter and her family and celebrating Christmas with Linda’s side of the family. Her aunt came into town, and we all enjoyed worshiping together and then opening gifts and eating Christmas dinner at her sister Karen’s house.
On December 27, we made the long trip back to St. Louis, and Eric’s sister Andrea flew in the next day. Over the next few days we enjoyed decorating cookies, celebrating Funke Family Christmas, playing games with Eric’s sister and parents, and hanging out with our nieces and nephew. We finished the year off with a cozy New Year’s Eve celebration at home, including puzzles and games. On December 31 we learned that our I-600A has been approved! We are another step closer to getting U.S. citizenship for our kids! It was a great end to 2018.
Meanwhile, Back in Tanzania …
School is now back in session in Tanzania, and we were thrilled to hear that the class scheduling program Eric designed is working well. Students will continue trickling in during the coming weeks, and we look forward to being reunited with both teachers and students again soon. Please pray for peace as we pack for the journey home, for smooth travels, and for our jet-lag recovery. Thank you to all who helped make these last four months so special!
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.