- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: 06 January 2020 06 January 2020
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.Psalm 37:5
’Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. Here are some of our goals for 2020: pass off our responsibilities here in Tanzania, sort through everything in our house, finish well, say goodbye to beloved friends, fly to the U.S., get U.S. citizenship for our kids, buy a car, present at all of our partner churches one last time, move to Dallas, get professional licensure, find jobs, find a place to live, find a good school for our kids and figure out how to live in the U.S. again. Truly, the tasks ahead seem huge and exhausting, yet we have an amazing God. In my personal devotion time, the word “trust” keeps coming to the forefront. This year will require us to trust God in so many aspects of our lives.
This past month we have been inspired by others who have likewise demonstrated their trust in God.
We are so excited to share that Cheryl Kruckemeyer has reached her financial goal for departure! Thank you to all who contributed to her upcoming ministry! She still has more money to raise in order to be fully funded for the year, but with trust in God’s ability to provide, she will be flying to Tanzania January 22–24. She will spend a week with us in Mwadui so that we can introduce her to more people and help her settle. Then she will travel to Iringa on February 1st for two months of Swahili language school. She will arrive back in Mwadui in time for Easter and will begin teaching at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School after the Easter break. Praise the Lord!
On December 7, we traveled to Kahama so we could celebrate with five new deaconesses, eight new pastors and many new parish workers and evangelists as they graduated from the Makala Bible Training Center. Linda spoke at the graduation and presented each new deaconess with a deaconess stole from her deaconess community in the U.S. She also presented a beautiful banner to all of the Tanzanian deaconesses which was handmade by some of her deaconess sisters in the U.S. They loved it! We stayed the night in a hotel in Kahama and returned to the church the next day for the grand celebration. During the five hour service, Bishop Makala installed new staff members, members of the executive counsel and district pastors, consecrated the new deaconesses and ordained the new pastors. We are so thankful for all of these servants of God who trust God with their lives and are committed to serving God and their communities.
On Sunday Dec. 15, we celebrated the confirmations of many young people in our home church, including five boys who we have had the privilege to watch grow up these past seven years. After a wonderful service, during which these young people confessed their trust in Jesus, we enjoyed party-hopping and rejoicing with our dear friends. Since two of the boys were our neighbors, one of the parties was held in our backyard. The other party was held at the home of the Medard family. It meant so much to us to be a part of their special day.
By God’s grace, we finally received stones for the foundation, and the new home for vulnerable children in Mwadui is well-underway. The home will have space for eight boys and eight girls who are in crisis situations. The location is ideal, because it is right next to the secondary school’s soccer field and clinic and the children will be able to attend school at one of the primary schools in Mwadui. Only time will tell whether the home will open before we move, but we trust that God will use this new ministry in mighty ways.
The week of Christmas was filled with making Christmas cookies, hosting a cookie decorating party for neighborhood kids, helping Pastor Julia deliver three goats, other food supplies and underclothes to the children at Buhangija Center and hosting a showing of The Nativity Story movie at our church. On Christmas Day we celebrated the birth of Jesus with our church family, opened presents from our family in the U.S. (which by God’s grace arrived the day before), showed our kids the video we had put together of our family safari earlier this year and enjoyed a delicious lunch with the Nzelu family. The weekend after Christmas we traveled to Mwanza to visit friends. We are thankful to the Berry-Stableins for watching our kids so we could see The Rise of Skywalker. Our New Year’s Day got off to a rocky start as Linda was diagnosed with an amoeba. However, while Linda rested Eric and the kids enjoyed a delicious lunch with our dear friends Abel and Mercy, who also happened to host us for our very first New Year’s in Tanzania seven years ago.
Thank you to all who sent us Christmas letters! It has been so fun to see pictures and hear stories from many of you. If you did not receive a copy of our Christmas letter and would like to, you can find a digital copy at our website—www.GlobalLutheranOutreach.com/blog/Funke/newsletters.
This month we finished out the 2019 school year both at the secondary school and in homeschooling our kids. On December 10, Eric led a training at our school for administrators from six different area schools, teaching them to use the gradebook and scheduling programs he designed. On December 19, we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of our neighbors and dear friends, Yohana and Lilian Nzelu. Last but not least, on December 22, Michael lost his second tooth! We have had so many causes for celebration this month, and we trust that God will continue to lead us and this community in 2020!
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.