- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 01 August 2019 01 August 2019
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:20–21
This month a friend asked us to put together a video devotional for the Vacation Bible School at her church. The theme for the day was “To the Glory of God Alone” and we immediately thought of the graduation of the Right to Live With Albinism program. During the graduation some of the women danced to the song, “I Know Who I Am" by Sinach. Through this song these women—women who have been teased, ostracized, threatened and abused because of their lack of melanin—boldly declared, “Take a look at me, I’m a wonder. It doesn’t matter what you see now. Can you see His glory? For I know who I am.” God’s glory shines through these women and through so many here in our corner of Tanzania. Today during Bible study, a passage stood out to me: Ephesians 3:20–21. Only when I started writing this newsletter did I realize how well it fit with the theme and that these verses are the continuation of last month’s theme verses. It served as a beautiful reminder to me that God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” To God be the glory!
Early in July we traveled to Mwanza for Michael’s appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist. Thankfully, Michael did really well, and the doctor was able to determine that he has allergies that have been impacting his vision. We thank God that after several weeks of eyedrops, his eyes are much improved, and there are no signs of other problems. While we were in Mwanza, we also took time to celebrate the Fourth of July by eating hamburgers, pizza and fries and taking our kids to the local waterpark. They had a blast! As we celebrated, we remembered how God has guided us on our kids’ journey to U.S. citizenship. Lord-willing, by this time next year, they will be U.S. citizens.
On July 10 we celebrated with the fifth graduating class of the Right to Live with Albinism Program. We are so proud of the twelve women who graduated and the deaconesses who mentored and taught them. During the past four months, they learned how to make batik cloth, clothes, mats, baked goods, lotions and soaps. They also learned how to start a business to sustain themselves and their families. A fundraiser was held during the graduation so that each woman will return to her community with her own sewing machine and start-up materials. Usually we donate money to purchase one sewing machine. However, thanks to generous donations we received during our furlough last year, this time we were able to contribute the money for three sewing machines! Thank you all! We pray that these new graduates will be able to live with security and dignity.
Our Sister School in Mwanza
The new Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School continues to make progress towards welcoming students in January 2020. The diocese took out a loan to finish the library building. St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas, raised over $4,000 towards building the needed school kitchen. Thank you so much! The diocese still needs $2,600 to finish the roof of the kitchen and another $4,700 for the gas system, water system and furniture for the chemistry laboratory. If you are interested in helping this school get off the ground, you can make an online donation by pressing the “GIVE” button at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/MwanzaSchoolProject/ and writing the donation amount next to Projects—”Funke: Mwanza School.” Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” and put “Funke: Mwanza School” in the memo line,and send it to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023. There is some urgency, because the next inspection is coming up soon. We continue to pray that God will use this school to bless the lives of many generations of students.
Community Health Evangelism (CHE)
One of our goals has been making the CHE program sustainable, so we asked the leaders to put together proposals for income generating activities. They put together proposals for a bee farm, chicken farm and a chair rental business. After much discussion and prayer, we agreed that the chair rental business had the least risk (i.e. chairs don’t die) and the most potential for income as chairs are often needed in Shinyanga for large gatherings—weddings, funerals, seminars, etc. Therefore we pulled $2,000 from our general fund to pay for this project. If you would like to help offset the costs of this project, you can go to www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Funke and give to our general account. The profits from the chair rental business will cover all travel expenses for our CHE trainers as they travel to different schools to teach about physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Now that schools are back in session after the June break, our CHE training team has been busy teaching lessons at various schools, such as Ndala Primary School.
With June break over, Eric is back to teaching computer classes, typing exams and holding science department meetings. This month Linda taught classes on Forgiveness and “Four Lies the World Tells Us” (including the prosperity gospel) with the help of her co-teacher, Deaconess Esther. Linda also wrote out and translated with the help of friends her six-hour Sex and Relationships seminar. This year, Linda asked six teachers to lead all the topics so she could assist and make note of changes needed to the curriculum. The teachers did a phenomenal job! At the end of the seminar, the girls went with the female teachers to ask their questions and the boys went with male teachers. The open communication between students and teachers was wonderful and uplifting. We thank God that this yearly seminar can now continue even after we have returned to the U.S. We are also grateful for the curtains in the multipurpose hall that we were able to purchase a few months back. Those curtains allow students to see images from the projector with much greater ease. This month we also finally received over $1,000 of new books for the library. Thank you to those who donated to the library while we were in the U.S. last fall! We continue to be amazed by how God is at work in this school.
The Next Generation of Missionaries to Tanzania
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.