- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: July 09 2019 July 09 2019
[May Christ] dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3:17b–19
Earlier this month we attended a retreat where the theme verses were Ephesians 3:14–21. As we swapped stories with missionaries from across Africa and enjoyed the beauty of Lake Victoria, we were reminded just how wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ for us and for all the world.
We were fortunate to attend Global Lutheran Outreach’s first-ever regional missionary retreat June 10–13. With GLO Director Jim Tino and GLO Missionary Developer Dale Talsma in Kenya with their wives for a conference the week before, the timing for a retreat worked out perfectly. The retreat was held at the beautiful Wag Hill Lodge just outside of Mwanza, Tanzania, and seven families attended. During the retreat, each missionary family had an opportunity to share how God led them to this ministry, a bit about their ministries and a devotional based on the retreat’s theme verses. We also had time to take in some practical continuing education and to hear more about GLO’s dreams for the future. Likewise, we had a wonderful time worshipping together and enjoyed the many amenities of Wag Hill Lodge, including swimming, horseback riding, hiking, a sunset cruise and a barbeque dinner by the lake with Maasai singers and dancers sharing part of their culture. We are so thankful for this opportunity to be spiritually refreshed and to get to know other GLO missionaries better.
Bidding the Reeds a Fond Farewell
With the submission of Linda’s last mentor form, Amber’s internship is now officially complete. On June 18, we joined with many of Amber and Austin’s other friends here to celebrate their time with us and to send them off with our love and prayers. The celebration included cake, dancing, gifts, a Tanzanian feast, speeches and prayer. We then joined them in Mwanza for their final weekend before taking them to the airport on June 24. Amber has accepted a call to Memorial Lutheran Church in Katy, Texas. We know they will take all they learned and experienced with them as they begin their next chapter. We already miss them, and we are so thankful for their time here in Tanzania.
Community Health Evangelism
We are happy to say that the CHE program continues to help young people live healthier lives physically, mentally and spiritually. On May 11, the CHE leaders led a session for the newest class at the Right to Live With Albinism program. They taught about courage, hygiene, being made in the image of God and caring for all of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26–27, 31). Now that the basketball court is finished, they have also started leading lessons on Tuesdays for the young men who come to play. With lessons based around verses such as 1 Timothy 4:12, the CHE leaders have been sharing with the youth how they can set “an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” The leaders are looking forward to the opening of schools after June break, because they have plans for lessons in schools and hope to start a Saturday kids’ club.
Building a Missionary Team
Update on Our Kids’ U.S. Citizenship
Our paperwork at the U.S. Embassy continues to move forward, and we are now planning to travel to Dar Es Salaam for our children’s medical check and hopefully for the immigration visa interview. Once we receive the immigration visa, we have to travel to the U.S. within six months, so October is the earliest we want to get it. Before that however, we need to get Michael a new Tanzanian passport that has an electronic chip. They were already distributing passports with chips when Julia got hers, but Michael has the old version. Unfortunately the process of getting that passport was much more complicated than we expected. After seven stops—5.5 hours of waiting in offices—we have managed to submit Michael’s application. Please pray that we receive his new Tanzanian passport without any further problems.
Life at Home
Since most of the students are home for June break, we have had a lot more flexibility in our schedule and time as a family. We have had some unexpected family adventures, such as our car breaking down on the way home from the retreat in Mwanza. After an hour and a half on the side of the road, the school driver Gaspar arrived to tow us home. By God’s grace, we had take-out dinner and were able to have a car picnic during the tow. We used our neighbors’ car for the next week and have used Amber and Austin’s car since they left. Hopefully ours will be fixed soon.
We have also continued homeschooling our kids, and we love their creativity and desire to learn. Because Michael has been rubbing his eyes frequently lately, we took him to see an eye doctor in Mwanza. As soon as we returned, our kids wanted to play eye doctor. Thus, Eric built them an eye exam machine out of Tinker Toys. We also enjoyed celebrating what an amazing father Eric is with homemade Father’s Day cards, homemade cinnamon rolls, and a “sleep until you are done” nap. While we look forward to returning to a regular rhythm, we have been grateful for this time together.
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.