- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: December 09 2019 December 09 2019
And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.1 Chronicles 29:13–14
The Thanksgiving holiday provides such a wonderful opportunity to remember that all we have comes from God and God calls us to share what we have been given with others. This month as we shared the tangible gifts we have been given, we were amazed by how many intangible things we received— joy, community, gratitude, hope, refreshment.
The weekend before Thanksgiving we opened our home to the Olson family— the Lutheran Bible Translators on Ukerewe Island— and to five Peace Corps volunteers who work in the Shinyanga region. Putting together this Thanksgiving celebration was truly a group effort. We are so thankful for Riaan who helped us make housing arrangements for the Peace Corps volunteers and gave a tour of the mine to some of our guests, for Ansa who made cookies for each of our guests, for the Nzelu family who found us a turkey and prepared it for cooking and for all of our guests who helped with food preparation. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving feast with turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, biscuits, pumpkin pie, cookies and ice cream. As the food fueled our bodies, the meaningful conversations, laughter and dancing strengthened our spirits.
On Thanksgiving Day we had the joy of helping some of our South African friends distribute gifts to the children at Buhangija Centre. Buhangija is a refuge for children with blindness, deafness, albinism (who are often hunted because their body parts are considered magical) or who are in crisis situations. For many months, our South African friends have been hand-making and gathering blankets so that each child could have their very own unique blanket. They also put together treat bags and provided food supplies and clothes for the center. Seeing these kids hug their blankets, feel each pattern on the blanket and wrap the blankets around themselves brought us such tremendous joy.
Our students took their national and regional exams this past month, and now most of the students have returned home for the Christmas holiday. As classes concluded, Eric took the time to train Sundi and Ephraim on how to use the Lego NXT Robotics program we received from First Lego League. Sundi and Ephraim’s excitement was contagious, and they are looking forward to starting a robotics club at school next year.
Pre-Form 1 classes continue at Mwanza Lutheran Secondary School, and thanks to many of your donations, the kitchen finally has a roof! The school continues to try to find funding for the piping and equipment in the chemistry laboratory ($4,680). This month we met with Bishop Gulle to discuss his vision for the school and to offer resources that our school in Mwadui has found helpful. Mwanza Lutheran will have its official grand opening on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. A team from St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, TX will be coming for the occasion. They will begin their journey on February 13 and return to the U.S. on February 22. The trip will include opportunities to visit many of the ministries we talk about regularly and a two-day safari in the Serengeti. The trip will cost about $3,500–$4,000 per person, depending on how many people come and cost of airfare. If any of you would like to join them, please email us as soon as possible at Linda.Funke@GlobalLutheranOutreach.com.
As of December 1, Cheryl Kruckemeyer was only $7,808 short of reaching her goal for departure! We are praying the remaining money comes in this month so that by January she can book plane tickets for her move to Tanzania. It would really help all of our transitions if she can overlap with us so that we can show her the quirks of this house and introduce her to more people who can help her settle, help her learn Swahili, and support her in the years ahead. If you can help close the gap, you can make an 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.
We welcomed and hosted Rev. Dale Talsma, GLO Missionary Developer, November 18–20. It was wonderful to catch up with him. We helped Baraka get to his next doctor’s appointment, and the doctor once again increased the dosage of his medicine. We also took Joseph to the doctor when he showed up at our door ill and provided emergency food rations for the family so he had enough food to take with his medicine.
Michael and Julia continue to grow and astound us with all that they are learning. We gave big bags full of clothes they had outgrown to Baraka’s brother Amani and to Forever Angels Baby Home this month. Both Michael and Julia also lost their first teeth this month, and Julia lost a second tooth on December 2. Currently their favorite thing to talk about is the movie Frozen. They even dressed up as Elsa and Sven with headpieces from our friend Louise. This past month we have also enjoyed flying kites with them, playing games during Sunday afternoon picnics, swimming with them in Mwanza and decorating our home for Christmas. We look forward to continuing to share what God has given us as we enter into the season of Advent and Christmas.
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.