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Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.Romans 15:7

Karibu (welcome) is one of the most commonly used words in Tanzania, and this month we have had the joy of extending this welcome many times.

On May 5, our neighbors’ dog gave birth to one puppy in our backyard, but after 24 hours of stressful labor, she still hadn’t birthed more puppies. While the local vet was out of town, he managed to contact his former teacher who came out with an aide. They confirmed that there were indeed more puppies inside and that if she didn’t give birth soon, her life and the lives of the puppies would be in jeopardy. Therefore we immediately moved the desk from our office into the shed, covered it with a tarp, and assisted in an emergency C-section. During the surgery the vet discovered that the puppy closest to the exit was positioned feet first, which had made it impossible for Mama Dog to push it out. We had a few scary moments as the six puppies born by C-section struggled to breathe at first. However, after cleaning out their noses and mouths with a syringe and giving them tiny chest compressions, all the puppies began breathing on their own. When the surgery was finished, we transferred Mama Dog and the puppies to our kitchen and gave the puppies some warm milk in a bottle to tide them over until Mama was awake and strong enough to nurse. Once Mama was a lot perkier, we brought the puppies over to nurse. Imagine our surprise when about thirty minutes into nursing, two more puppies were born! Mama Dog is truly an inspiration, and we have greatly enjoyed watching her nurture her nine beautiful puppies. We thank God for a happy ending to this story.

Another highlight from this month was welcoming new GLO missionary, Cheryl Kruckemeyer. Lord-willing, Cheryl will begin Swahili language school in late October and then move to Mwadui and begin teaching English at our school in January 2020. We loved showing Cheryl around Mwadui, Shinyanga and Mwanza from May 27 to June 4. During that time we introduced her to the staff at school (especially her future colleagues in the English department), the students, the diocese staff, the South Africans in our community and her new church family. Everyone welcomed her warmly, and they are all excited for her return. We also helped her gather pictures, stories, clothes and interesting items for her upcoming presentations.

The same week that Cheryl visited, we also welcomed Amber’s internship supervisor, Dr. Jake Youmans, and a team of three students from Concordia University in Austin, Texas. Amber and Austin did a great job of preparing a wonderful week of ministry for the team. On Tuesday we had the opportunity to show them around our school and to eat with them at Bishop Makala’s house. On Wednesday, our kids enjoyed the VBS they led at the diocese daycare, and we joined them for the grand opening of the new basketball court and playground at Bushushu. Eric even got to participate in the first official game on the court. We loved hanging out with them and getting to know them.

On May 11, Erik Lunsford (LCMS Photographer), Shara Cunningham (LCMS Area Deputy and Communications Specialist Eastern/Southern Africa) and Kevin Armbrust (editor of The Reporter) visited our school and interviewed us in the hopes of recruiting more missionaries to this area. On May 19, we worshipped with and welcomed a team from the Mid-South District to our school. It was wonderful to see many familiar faces and to meet some new friends. On May 20, we drove to Mwanza to meet up with Eric’s cousin, Stephanie Schmiege, who was in town for the night. She was a missionary teacher in Bukoba and was back to visit friends throughout East Africa. Then, on May 21, we joyfully welcomed new Lutheran Bible Translators missionaries, Andrew and Alexis Olson, and their daughters. After language school, they will be serving on Ukerewe Island. All of these visits were a wonderful reminder that God is actively nurturing international partnerships in this area, and we love seeing the fruits of those partnerships.

Other Joys

Also this month Eric taught, prepared exams and helped to compile grades before the June break. Linda taught a class on how to combat bullying and make sure each student feels welcome at the school. She also taught a “Lessons in the Movies” class based on the three recent Chronicles of Narnia films. We purchased curtains for the multipurpose hall so students can better see the screen during the day and fixed up the missionary office for future missionaries.

On May 12, Linda enjoyed Mother’s Day, made complete by time worshipping as a family, commemorating the mothers who can’t be with us right now and receiving homemade cards and flowers from our backyard. Finally on May 29 we celebrated eight beautiful years of marriage. We spent some time away as a family at a nice hotel before and after Cheryl’s visit, and we were so touched when some of our Tanzanian friends surprised us with a special cake on our actual anniversary.

Hoping to Welcome More Future Missionaries

We would love to welcome other new missionaries so that Cheryl can have missionary colleagues in the area. 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? We have prepared one-page descriptions of these opportunities that you can download at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funke. If you know of someone who might be interested or have other ideas for how we can get the word out, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.