July 2014 Funke News: Winds From Heaven
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting… All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-2,4
We are now in the season of kipupwe, meaning the weather is dry, cool, and windy. The wind set a wonderful stage for the celebration of Pentecost this month. However, the celebration came and went with no miracle occurring in our language learning. It seems that God is still calling us to learn Swahili the hard way ;-) However, we have seen the Spirit at work in many other wonderful ways this month.
Dar Es Salaam
As you may remember, we began the month in Dar Es Salaam waiting forour Form 4 students to join us for their senior trip. Sadly, we got word that the trip was postponed. However, we were thankful for extra time with the Boon family, friends from language school. We loved staying with them in their guest house, laughing with them, comparing notes on our time in Tanzania, and seeing many of the sites in Dar.
Weekend in Zanzibar
At the end of the week, we hopped on the 2-hour ferry for a weekend inZanzibar. The trip served as a belated celebration of our 3rd anniversary. We loved the fresh ocean breezes, the boats, the snorkeling, the sea food, the Jozani forest, and time to breathe and reflect. It truly refreshed our spirits.
We returned just in time to welcome a short-term team from MOST Ministries. During their week, this team hosted eyeglasses clinics and shared their faith with others. Thanks to all of you who help fund our ministry, we were able to bus our Form 2 and 4 students who needed glasses to the clinic. The rest of the students will be able to go to another clinic in July. Thank you Most Ministries for enabling our students to see and study well!
This month we also welcomed a team from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Peoria. This church funded the roof for our school’s multipurpose hall. Their luggage got lost in transit, but when it found, it was full of gifts for us and our school! We are so excited about this church’s ongoing partnership with our school.
Finally, towards the end of the month, we met a team from the Pastoral Leadership Institute. They led a conference for Tanzanian pastors and their wives. We greatly enjoyed seeing them as both visiting couples were friends of our parents and Pastor Scott Rische knew Linda’s uncle. So many Lutheran connections!
The new dorm is coming along splendidly! This month crews plastered thewalls,put in the window frames, added the doors, built partitions, and started leveling the floor. Next they will finish out the floors, put screens on the windows, and begin to paint. Thank you again to all of you who helped make this dream a reality.
Movie Nights with New Screen
Since half of the students are still at school right now, we’ve continued to have movie nights. We used some of our mission money to have a screen frame built, so that the students can see the screen and subtitles more easily, and they love it!
On June 21st we celebrated the upcoming marriage of Linda’s friend, Koku. Since weddings are held in the groom’s home town, which in this case is many hours away, the Send-Off is an opportunity for the bride’s community to celebrate with the couple. And it is a big deal! The celebration started with an afternoon prayer service at her house. Then everyone reconvened for the night’s festivities. It was a night filled with beautiful decorations, delicious food, energetic dancing, loving gifts, and community traditions. The party lasted until 3am, though our energy ran out around 1am. Next time we’ll know to take an afternoon nap before coming.
Fighting FiresThere was one moment this month where we wished for a little less wind. We heard a strange soundoutside and quickly realized that a fire was burning less that 30 feet from our house. Our best guess is that someone dropped a lit cigarette by the side of the road. During dry season, it doesn’t take much to ignite parched grass. We were so thankful we were there, since it was just us and the neighbor kids at home that day. We all sprang into action, and by God’s grace, got the fire out before it created lasting damage.
With great joy we welcomed new lives to our neighborhood this month. Our neighbors’ dog Maisha gave birth to an adorable litter of four. While we won’t keep them, we are definitely enjoying them right now.
Service Day at Buhangija
On June 27th, we traveled with our South African friends to Buhangija, a refuge for kids with albinism, blindness, and deafness. We helped distribute a nourishing soup meal, drinks, clothes (every child got a new outfit), and first aid. Many of the kids with albinism had cracked, bleeding lips and sores on their bodies. Hopefully, the ointments we brought will give them some relief.
Women’s Bible Study
This month Linda also started an English-speaking Women’s Bible Study. Many of her South African friends had commented on how hard it is for them to be spiritually fed, since there are no English services in Mwadui and none of them speak Swahili. We hope this weekly study will fill a void for them all.
A Decision About Our Future
After many long months of information gathering, prayer and conversations with our families and various mentors, we have decided to extend our stay in Tanzania. There are many exciting opportunities coming up for us, and we look forward to telling you all about them in person when we come home for a 2.5 month furlough next summer! In the meantime, thank you so much for your ongoing love, encouragement, and partnership.