- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 04 April 2019 04 April 2019
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.Acts 2:42
During a recent missionary retreat, we learned about the concept of “convivence: living life together” and the importance of convivence in cross-cultural ministry. As we live life together, we are called to help one another, learn from one another and celebrate (or “feast”) with one another. This past month we have seen this kind of “convivence” emerge in numerous settings, and each one has been a blessing to us.
New Missionary Opportunities
One of our many blessings this year has been our relationship with Amber Reed, the DCE Intern in Shinyanga, and her husband, Austin. We are so thankful for their help, their perspective and their presence at many events and celebrations. In June Amber’s internship will conclude, and they will return to the U.S. so they can live closer to their families and possibly even start a family of their own. Thus, in June the Reeds’ furniture will be relocated to a house recently built by the diocese for the purpose of housing missionaries. The Reeds’ car will be available to any new missionaries to the area. And when we transition back to the states in 2020, our house and car are also a bonus to anyone called to serve God's people in this area.
This month a retired teacher contacted us expressing interest in potentially teaching at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School. She will determine in the next two weeks whether God is calling her to teach here. Please keep her in prayer as she contemplates this big decision.
In light of all of this, we hope to build a team of missionaries who can be a source of help and encouragement to one another and to the larger community. We would love for more people to experience the hospitality, joy, energy and wisdom of this Tanzania community.
Do you know any teachers (preschool, elementary, or high school), nurses, doctors, chaplains, social workers, DCEs, deaconesses, computer gurus, agricultural specialists or childcare workers who might be interested in serving in Tanzania?
U.S. Citizenship Update
On March 3, we flew to Dar Es Salaam so that we could file our kids’ I-600 applications at the U.S. Embassy. Unfortunately, the process did not go as smoothly as hoped. Very long story short, Eric had to go to the U.S. embassy twice on March 4 because of miscommunication and misinformation. During the second visit, they accepted our paperwork but would not allow us to pay until they could get confirmation from USCIS that we could file I-600s for both children. We were incredibly frustrated, because we already confirmed with USCIS over a year ago that we could file I-600s for both children. Two days later, after we had already flown to Kenya for a missionary retreat, we received the expected email saying USCIS had confirmed our plan and we needed to return to Dar Es Salaam to pay. We were able to change our tickets to extend our Dar Es Salaam lay-over after the retreat. The extra trip cost us about $500 in airline fees and accommodations, but we are so thankful that the papers are now filed and we are one step closer to U.S. citizenship for our kids.
We still have multiple remaining steps and costs. The next big expense is a $3,500 placement fee due to our adoption agency in the next few months. If you are willing to help us with this next fee, 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.
LCMS East African Missionaries Retreat
We were so blessed to be able to join LCMS missionaries from all over East Africa for a retreat March 6–11. We are grateful to Shauen and Krista Trump for inviting us and to the LCMS for paying for our airfare from Nairobi to Malindi and all of our food and accommodations at Medina Palms in Watamu. We worshipped together every morning and evening. During the mornings we also enjoyed Bible Study and continuing education classes led by Dr. Detlev Schultz while a childcare team from the U.S. looked after our kids. In the afternoons we relaxed at the pool and the beach. We are so thankful for this opportunity to exchange joys, challenges and ideas with other missionaries and to receive spiritual refreshment.
Opening of New Diakonia Center
About three years ago we sponsored a deaconess student study tour to Moshi. During that trip deaconess student and former teacher at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School, Festa Brown, saw so many opportunities for diaconal ministry, but knew that many aspects of ministry require money. She saved up money and bought a piece of land on which she could start a farm. We went out to visit the property in 2015 and gave $175 so she could start building a house on the land for workers. On Sunday, March 24, 2019, we were welcomed back to the land for the official opening of the Diakonia Center Bethel Lyabusalu. We celebrated by singing, praying, reading Scripture, planting trees and feasting. We praise God and rejoice that Festa's dream has become a reality.
Form 6 Graduation
Finally, on March 30, we celebrated the graduation of our Form 6 (junior college)students. Since we just started Form 5 and 6 classes a few years ago, this was only our second class of Form 6 students, but the class size has already grown from nine graduates last year to 25 this year. Praise the Lord! We loved being able to celebrate with them and pray that God will guide and strengthen them as they continue preparing for their national exams. This month has been full of Christian fellowship, and we look forward to more “convivence” in the coming month.
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.