- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: July 08 2020 July 08 2020
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.Romans 5:2–5
We have heard from so many friends that 2020 has been a particularly challenging year for a wide variety of reasons. As we enter the second half of the year, we are holding Romans 5:2–5 close to our hearts and praying that God may use these challenges to produce endurance, character and hope.
Early in June we submitted the lease agreement, school enrollment and bills necessary to prove residency to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. On July 3, we received the best Fourth of July presents ever—Michael and Julia’s Certificates of U.S. Citizenship! They are now officially Tanzanian Americans. Praise the Lord! Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, encouraged us and donated to the Funke Kids’ Citizenship fund during this long journey. We couldn’t have done this without you.
As we mentioned last month, you can now watch our final presentation at www.youtube.com/EricFunkeGLO. This presentation is what we would have shared with you all if we had been able to visit in person. It includes three sections: 1) a twelve-minute video recap of the past seven years of ministry, 2) a slideshow with more details about the past year and a half since we last visited the U.S., 3) a song with pictures. We hope it will be a blessing to you all. Since we last wrote, we have enjoyed Zoom calls with members of Messiah in Plano, Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis, St. Paul in Plano, and Saint John’s in Fort Collins. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the calls and asked such wonderful questions! You have been such an encouragement to us in this time of transition.
This month we had the joy of camping with Linda’s immediate family over Father’s Day weekend. Our kids greatly enjoyed Vacation Bible School at home with kits and videos from Messiah Lutheran Church in Plano. We also fulfilled our promise to our kids that they would get swimming lessons this summer. While group classes aren’t a great option right now, we are thankful that Linda was a swim instructor at Cooper’s Swim Academy for five summers and that friends are allowing us to use their pool so we can teach Michael and Julia to swim. They are doing wonderfully! Our kids also enjoyed their first Fourth of July in the U.S. as we were able to see fireworks from our front yard.
It has been a rough month for our family health-wise. On June 12, Michael started running a high fever so we went into quarantine mode until we could make sure it wasn’t COVID-19. Thankfully his fever broke after two days. Then during our camping trip, Linda was completely eaten up by chiggers (130+ bites). That week she experienced more pain and itchiness than when she had chicken pox as a child. After that, Eric developed a mean poison ivy rash after working in the backyard, even though he never had an allergic reaction to poison ivy when he used to work at camp. On top of all this, Linda’s doctor continues to try to determine the cause of some of Linda’s longer term symptoms, including running a continual low-grade fever (99–99.5°) for the past few months. Our doctor recommended additional parasite testing. It is expensive, but will hopefully help us find the cause of some of Linda’s health issues the past few years. We are hoping to receive the results in the next few weeks.
News From Tanzania
As the president of Tanzania has declared that there are no longer cases of COVID-19 in the country, Tanzania has begun reopening schools and other sectors in society. Meanwhile, we hear from doctor friends there that they are still seeing several deaths from COVID-19 daily. They have asked for prayers as they anticipate a large number of new cases with schools now reopening. Likewise, the U.S. Embassy continues to caution that “the risk of contracting COVID-19 through community transmission remains elevated.” Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School started classes again on Monday June 29. Please pray with us that none of the students and teachers who returned to campus brought COVID-19 with them.
GLO missionary Cheryl Kruckemeyer is currently co-teaching English classes, helping youth connect by email with penpals in the U.S. and enjoying time with students on the basketball court. Sadly, we found out a few weeks ago that Cheryl’s first work permit application was denied. We knew this was a possibility, especially when the government started denying permits for Peace Corps volunteers and other missionary friends of ours. However, it is still disappointing. Diocese General Secretary Happiness Yorum Gefi traveled to Dodoma on Friday, July 3 to file an appeal. Please pray for a successful and smooth appeal process.
GLO missionaries Dixon and Christy Gbeanquoi are continuing to serve their church community in Mwanza. Dixon has also begun teaching classes again at the Lutheran Bible school. Many of the other missionaries from Europe returned to their home countries, so Dixon is now teaching four different classes. We praise God that they received about $3,000 this past month. That being said, they still need $3,500 to continue their ministry through December. They are particularly in need of monthly donors. By the end of August, Eric will begin receiving a paycheck. Therefore, if you have been a monthly donor, we ask that you consider transferring your monthly donations to the Gbeanquoi family at that time. They are a wonderful family, and we would love for them to be able to continue their amazing ministry in Mwanza.
In September of 2012, Eric Funke, grandson of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, followed God’s call to Tanzania. Eric taught math and science at a secondary school while Linda worked for the Department of Planning and Development. They worked 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.