Last Monday most of Gideon Theological College's students and many people who loved Philip piled into a bus and 13 missionaries squeezed into a landcruiser to travel the 4 hours to a small village called Dangagi in Mabaan county, South Sudan. We traveled to Dangagi to attend a special funeral service for our beloved friend and Principal of GTC, Rev. Philip Eisa, who passed away very suddenly on May 21. Dangagi was his home town.
Philip's service was held on Tuesday, May 28, a week after his death. That morning we arrived in the village around 10:30 am. David Heska, our SIM Melut teammate, arranged the flowers on Philip's brand new grave stone.
At 11 am the service began. Chairs were set up under several large shade trees. The service lasted 6 hours until shortly after 5 pm. Many people gave speeches honoring Philip's life and character. We sang in different languages and shed many tears.
During this particular song people came forward to cry for Philip as they sang in his native tongue, Mabaan. It was overwhelming as almost 1000 people cried and wailed for our loss.
One of GTC's students, Andrew Nita, encouraged everyone in prayer and with words from Scripture.
He was a great help to Lydia, Philip's wife and their 5 children since he too is from the same tribe.
This was just one of the sad, grieving faces
Eli represented Gideon Theological and gave a speech in Arabic honoring Philip and the great man and leader he was.
Philip's wife, Lydia, is in the black covering and her son, Jif is there on the right. PLEASE PRAY for this precious family who are now without a husband/father!
After the service we were fed a giant feast. The GTC students and staff sat together. Though it was a very difficult day emotionally, it provided some good closure for us, especially since we weren't here for his death. Seeing his grave and officially having his service made it more real. Please pray for our family as we grieve his loss and pray that the board of our college will be able to find an outstanding Sudanese Christian man to be our new Principal.
Please also pray for our college students as we resume classes again tomorrow, Monday, June 3rd. They will be doing a 2 week intensive class on the Psalms which we believe is very providential.