- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: October 04 2019 October 04 2019
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.Isaiah 43:19b–21
Early this month, we finally fulfilled a long-standing promise to our children that we would take them on a real safari before we left Tanzania. Since school was on break and a missionary friend of ours was able to get us a reduced rate with Masumin Tours, we loaded up in a safari truck on September 1 and began a wonderful family adventure in the Serengeti. Over the next three days/two nights, we watched as our kids marveled at and learned about God’s creation—lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, jackals, owls, hyenas, a leopard, wildebeest, hippos, crocodiles and ostriches. The first day everything was dry and brown with hippos literally getting sunburnt due to the lack of water in their ponds. However, that first night we watched a storm roll across the Serengeti, bringing us our own amazing lightning show. With it came a refreshing rain. The next day many more animals were out enjoying the coolness. After a late afternoon storm, we were treated to the most glorious rainbow. The trip was like water to our parched spirits. It reminded us of the verse in Isaiah 43 about how God makes a way in the wilderness. That idea has continued to follow us this month as God has made and continues to make a way through many wildernesses.
Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School
We have the most wonderful news! After seven years of jumping through bureaucratic hoops and raising money, the new school in Mwanza finally has students! Praise the Lord! In Tanzania the school year typically starts in January and ends in December, but students in Standard 7 (eighth grade) take their national exams mid-year and then have to wait to receive their results before beginning high school (Form 1). Therefore a lot of secondary schools offer Pre-Form 1 classes September through December and this year the new Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School is among them! Not only that, but they already have 185 students! The bad news is this means that the diocese is scrambling to buy more desks and chairs even while it still doesn't have the money to put a roof on the kitchen. The good news is this bodes really well for recruiting students for the first school year. We still need $2,350 to put a roof on the kitchen. Please email us if you know of a Lutheran school or group that would like to do a fundraiser on behalf of this new school. If you would like to make a personal donation, press the “GIVE” button at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/MwanzaSchoolProject/ and write 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. Every little bit helps! We pray that the kitchen will be finished in time for the new school year.
Right after our safari, we stayed with our friends the Soards while continuing to advocate for Baraka at Bugando Hospital in Mwanza. He was admitted on September 3, but due to other hospital priorities was not able to get into the operating room for anesthesia and casting until September 5. The doctor said that the next day his legs would be x-rayed and then he would be released. However, on September 6 the doctor forgot to schedule the x-ray, finally showed up around 2:00 PM, said the x-ray wasn’t necessary, shortened the casts that were already rubbing his legs raw, released him at 5:00 PM and told us to return in six weeks for new casts. Then we had the challenge of finding his medication, as for the first time ever we were not able to find baclofen anywhere in Mwanza. It is dangerous to go off baclofen “cold-turkey,” so we reduced his amount, prayed, and continued looking for a place to order it. By God’s grace, we found someone who could order a nine-month supply, which came in on October 1. Baraka continued to complain of pain this month, but we were not sure whether it was from his muscles and tendons stretching (normal) or something else. Finally, after four weeks of these casts, we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. When we removed the casts on October 2, we discovered huge abscesses on his heels and sores all over his feet. We were absolutely heartbroken. Please pray for healing for Baraka and for wisdom as we determine best next steps. Also, this month we spent over $500 on his medical care, so if you would like to contribute towards any of those costs, please email us at .
This month the chairs arrived, so Community Health Evangelism (CHE) leaders can now begin their chair rental business. All of the proceeds from this business will pay for travel and materials for future trainings at schools. This project will hopefully allow CHE to continue long after we have moved back to the U.S. The CHE team led a week-long seminar at the Makala Bible Training Center. During the week, future evangelists and parish workers learned about the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health, and learned how to teach and empower their communities towards healthy living. They also learned the basic principles of community organizing and how to use local resources to solve community problems. The class was very well received, and they all left with materials to share with their communities.
After the school break, Eric began finalizing national exam registration and preparing brochures, calendars and a video for the school’s graduation. Linda taught a “lessons in the movies” class, continued to homeschool Michael and Julia, helped get government approval for the new home for vulnerable children, worked on Cheryl’s work permit and resident permit applications and wrote a grant proposal for another project. We also had the joy of hosting Maryknoll Lay Missioner friends, the Berry-Stablein family, for a weekend. We loved showing them around our home, our school and the diamond mine in Mwadui.
The following weekend we traveled to Mwanza so that we could show new Lutheran Bible Translator (LBT) missionaries, the Olson family, around the city and introduce them to other missionaries in the area. We also were able to grab dinner with Jim Laesch, the S/E Africa regional director for LBT, when he visited Shinyanga. Finally, we held a joint birthday party for Linda and our young friend Divine Medard on Sept. 24. We were joined by a few dear friends who have known and loved us for all seven years in Tanzania.
New Missionaries to Tanzania
Cheryl Kruckemeyer is still in the support discovery process. We are so excited for her to live in our house and serve at our school when we move back to the U.S., and we continue to pray for her in this part of her journey. She is currently at 40% of what she needs in order to move to Tanzania. If you are able to help reach her next goal of 50%, please go to www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Kruckemeyer. If you have ideas for places she can present, please email her at .
We are still on the lookout for more new missionaries to Tanzania. 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? If so, please download the one-page descriptions of these opportunities at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Funke and/or email us at . This is a wonderful place to live and work.
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.