- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: November 07 2019 November 07 2019
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:17
While we were in Dar Es Salaam recently, we enjoyed a free juggling show. As we watched the amazing performer, we empathized with the struggle to keep everything up in the air. We often feel like we are juggling many things at once, but we give thanks that God has given us so many opportunities for service and that God brings joy to us and to others in the juggling.
On October 5, we celebrated the graduation of 126 Form Four students (high school seniors) at our school. This is the fortieth graduating class at Mwadui Secondary School! Now all of our students are preparing for national and regional exams, which will take place in November. On October 9, Linda led one last class for the year, sharing tips for calming test-taking anxiety and preparing for their exams. Please pray for our students as they begin exams, especially for our Form 4 students as these tests will determine whether they are allowed to continue their education.
U.S. Citizenship Update
After some trouble locating a case number, on October 8 we were finally able to finalize our DS-260. On October 15, we attended our children’s medical check in Dar Es Salaam. Unfortunately, we learned that all medical tests for U.S. immigration are sent to South Africa, so we wouldn’t be able to file the results until the following Monday. Since all we could do was wait, we found a cheap hotel and took the ferry for a long-weekend in Zanzibar.
We greatly enjoyed beach time and pool time as a family. We hoped that once the documents were filed we would be able to have our kids’ immigration visa interview that week. However, when we arrived on Monday October 21 to file the documents, we learned that the earliest they could get us in for an interview was 7:30 AM on Oct. 31. We started crunching numbers and realized that staying in Dar Es Salaam for those ten days was still considerably cheaper than flying home and returning for a second trip.
Through the power of social media, we were connected with another mom who had adopted from Forever Angels. We moved into a discounted one-bedroom AirBnB in her apartment. For those ten days, we worked long distance, home-schooled our children, visited with friends in the area and enjoyed many of the free/cheap amenities in Dar Es Salaam, including the studio for a local kids’ TV show, a juggling act, a clown show, a tour of the Azania Front Lutheran Cathedral and the National Museum of Tanzania.
Thankfully, on October 31 the interview went smoothly, and we were able to pick up the immigration visas the following day! We are grateful to friends who have already stepped up to help cover the unexpected costs of this trip. The next step is using the immigration visas to move to the U.S. in March. If all goes well, our children will receive U.S. citizenship upon entry.
Our Sister School
Mwanza Lutheran Secondary now has over 200 pre-Form 1 students and will open fully in January! We rejoiced as we recently saw the school in action. Thanks to donations from St. John in Cypress, Texas, Christ the King in Memphis, Texas, and Saint John’s in Fort Collins, Colorado, the school’s kitchen is now fully funded and construction is continuing. Praise the Lord! The school is now trying to find funding for the piping and equipment in the chemistry laboratory ($4,680). If you know of a church or Lutheran school who would like to get involved, please email us!
New Missionary Cheryl Kruckemeyer
While in Dar es Salaam, we submitted the applications for Cheryl’s work and residence permits. Please pray that the process goes smoothly, especially as many missionaries are struggling to get permits under the current administration. Please also pray that Cheryl receives what she needs to move before we leave Tanzania in March. Cheryl has been hard at work, presenting at churches such as Zion in Vernon, Texas, Crown of Life in Colleyville, Texas, St. Paul in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Word of Life in Cibolo, Texas.
She has now moved out of her apartment and moved in with her daughter until the big move to Tanzania—i.e., she is fully committed to this new ministry. It would greatly help all of our transitions if we could overlap with her here in Tanzania. We want to be able to show her various aspects of this house (it definitely has quirks). We want to introduce her to more people who can help her settle, help her learn Swahili and support her in the years ahead. We want to transfer our mailbox to her, help her get her own phone line, help her apply for her national ID and driver's license and help her learn to drive on the opposite side of the road. We want to give her more tools for connecting with international partners and ensure a smooth transition at our school. All of this will only be possible if she can move here before March, which means she needs to have funding by December or January. Once she has funding, she will be able to book plane tickets and arrange to attend Swahili language school.
She currently has about 54% of what she needs in cash and pledges. We are praying that she will reach 75% by Thanksgiving, but she needs another $9,000 for that to happen. We have been praying for God to work some financial miracles. If you are interested in being part of that miracle, you can give a secure online donation at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/support-kruckemeyer.html or you can write a check to "Global Lutheran Outreach" with "Cheryl Kruckemeyer" in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Outreach, 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023. All donations are tax-deductible, and every little bit helps. At this point, supporting Cheryl through prayer and financial gifts also greatly helps us and our ministry. When we leave Tanzania, we want to leave well with as many loose ends tied up as possible.
Community Health Evangelism (CHE)
The CHE training team has been hard at work, leading a Women’s Cycle of Life training for the parish workers studying at the Makala Bible Training Center on October 18, a training for youth at Shinyanga Secondary on October 30 and a training for young women at the Right to Live With Albinism program on October 31. We are so thankful for all they are doing to teach communities about holistic health.
After discovering that Baraka’s most recent casts caused terrible sores, Linda traveled with “Team Baraka”— Baraka, Baraka’s mom, Sara, Deaconess Esther, and Pastor Julia—to Mwanza on October 8. Through a series of small miracles, they were able to get him in to see the orthopedic surgeon on October 8 and the pediatric neurologist on October 9 at Bugando Hospital. On October 16, Baraka underwent an MRI. Baraka’s sores continue to heal slowly and the doctors now have him on new medication to help with his involuntary muscle contractions. Please pray for continued healing.
New Home for Vulnerable Children
Our diocese is planning to open a family-style home for vulnerable children on our school’s campus. The building will accommodate eight boys and eight girls in crisis, including children with albinism who are in dangerous situations. The plans have now been approved by all departments of the government, and a fundraising effort, spearheaded by Rev. Peter Brock of St. John in Decatur, Indiana, has raised over $40,000 for this project! Praise the Lord! Construction is now beginning, and we are excited for the future of this ministry.
Additional Celebrations and Fun
This month has also been full of festivities, such as the fourth birthday of Baraka’s brother, Amani, a surprise birthday party for our friend Dr. Anne Berry, Michael’s sixth birthday, which we celebrated at Fun City Amusement Park in Dar, and then with a belated party with friends after we returned, and Halloween, where Michael and Julia made the most adorable dinosaur and mermaid. We thank God for all of the people in our lives who bring us joy and help us to celebrate life.
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.