- Written by Eric and Linda Funke Eric and Linda Funke
- Created: September 08 2020 September 08 2020
Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.Jeremiah 6:16
Eight years ago today (September 7), we arrived in Tanzania to begin a new chapter of our lives. Thus, we figured today is the perfect day to send out our last monthly newsletter—our 101st since we first signed on with Global Lutheran Outreach.
On July 13–17, we attended an online debriefing retreat for returning missionaries. Thank you to Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis for paying for us to attend. We were deeply moved as leaders normalized so much of what we are experiencing. They shared that on average it takes returning missionaries one or two years to go from “old normal” to “new normal.” You can read more about our experience at that retreat on our blog, www.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com. Throughout the week we were reminded that God calls us to abide at these crossroads, processing all we’ve experienced, prayerfully seeking out the next best steps and remembering that God goes with us. We thank you all for walking with us during these years of ministry and for your prayers going forward.
The past two months have been tremendously full. We hosted ten more Zoom calls. Thank you to all of you who participated! It meant so much to us to see you and talk with you. We’ve continued settling into our house (a seemingly endless process of sorting through boxes from our lives before Tanzania). Because Linda’s U.S. driver’s license expired while we were in Tanzania, Linda endured a seven-hour online driver’s course, a written test, an in-person driving test, and two DPS appointments in order to get her driver’s license reinstated. Through additional testing, our doctor discovered that both of us do still have residual parasites, so we have started a three-month treatment. We’ve also learned new recipes as our doctor recommended changing our diet for these months—no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, etc. We are praying that no additional treatment will be necessary.
Eric hit a huge learning curve as he prepared to teach online Algebra 1 classes for North Garland High School. He still goes into the school building, but has been teaching online courses since August 10. He must be doing well though, because the administration asked him to continue teaching the online students for the foreseeable future. Michael and Julia started school virtually on August 19 and will continue online with Linda assisting them with asynchronous assignments for at least the first quarter. Linda was invited to give a homily at the virtual annual meeting of her deaconess community. We enjoyed a weekend of camping with Linda’s parents before school began. We also had the joy of celebrating the 40th anniversaries of both Linda’s parents and Eric’s parents this past month. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to take steps towards our new normal.
We will be closing out our Global Lutheran Outreach account by the end of the year. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and our ministry all these years! For those who have been giving monthly through automatic withdrawal, please email GLO (office@GlobalLutheranOutreach.com) in the next few months to ask them to stop payment or to transfer your monthly support to another missionary. If GLO receives any donations for us in the months before our account is closed, those funds will continue to go toward our resettlement (likely healthcare costs) and toward students we continue to sponsor in Tanzania. We pray that in the coming months some of you will transfer your monthly contributions to our friends, Dixon and Christiana Gbeanquoi. They have a wonderful ministry in Tanzania and continue to live by faith financially. You can find their newsletters at www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/Gbeanquoi/our-blog.
The account for the Safe Schools Initiative will remain open until the project is completely funded. We continue to see the need for this three-year teacher training program requested by Headmaster Yohana Nzelu and Christian Education Director, Grace Mutabuzi. Even this past month, Cheryl Kruckemeyer witnessed a teacher slapping a student’s face. To learn more about this project and how you can help, please go to www.globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/safeschoolsinitiativeproject. You can make checks to “Global Lutheran Outreach” with Safe Schools Initiative in the memo line and send them to 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL, 33023.
We have so much great news from Tanzania! The Community Health Evangelism team made the most of their grant from the LCMS, traveling to many different villages and teaching about COVID-19 and hygiene in general. They distributed food for families in need and materials for making tippy-tap handwashing stations. Thankfully, Tanzania (and Africa in general) has not experienced the high mortality from COVID-19 that other nations have faced. Many theories are circulating as to why that is the case—an overall younger population, less obesity, the prevalence of the BCG vaccine, genetic factors, climate, the power of prayer, Africans having a greater ability to make antibodies because of previous exposure to other coronaviruses, malaria or other infectious diseases … whatever the reason, we are rejoicing and breathing a sigh of relief for our friends.
Cheryl Kruckemeyer continues to teach English, guidance classes and basketball. We also heard recently that her work permit appeal was approved! Praise the Lord! The students and teachers are currently on a two week break, but when they return, Cheryl will begin tutoring struggling students. We encourage you to sign up for her monthly newsletter at email@example.com so you can receive regular updates from Mwadui.
The school has made more progress on the home for vulnerable children and hopes to begin welcoming children in just a few months. Rev. Nzelu also hired our former house helper Dinnah to do some work at the school, meaning she will be able to keep her home in Mwadui. Our friend Pastor Julia Mutungi recently started a nonprofit called the Inuka Foundation to advocate for families in need. Thanks to your donations, we were able to send some money for chairs and office supplies. Our friend Deaconess Grace Mutabuzi has sadly been very ill for several years. She let us know that because of medical fees and loss of work time, she couldn’t afford her daughter’s school. Thankfully, some of Linda’s deaconess sisters came together and paid her daughter’s school fees for the year. We praise God for all of these answered prayers and continue to pray for all of our friends in Tanzania!
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.