Monday, December 02, 2013

Graduation Day - November 30, 2013

Staff and Students marched through town to announce their graduation

Words cannot even express how wonderful Graduation day was here at Gideon Theological College in Melut yesterday! Excitement was high - people danced, cheered, sang, prayed, and thanked God for carrying them through.
The student wives

The graduates sat at the very front

From left to right: our new Principal: Mr. Kur Deng Kur, Academic Dean: Jamie Boland, and Dean of Students: Eli Fader
 Eli had the privilege of opening the ceremony with a speech in honor and memory of our late Principal, Rev. Philip Eisa. Philip's name was mentioned by many throughout the day, recognizing that it was his passion and vision that helped this day, this dream, come to pass. How we wish you could have been with us Dear Friend.

Graduates were called to the front in groups with their wives for a special commissioning prayer

One of our students receiving his diploma

One of the wives with her certificate of attendance in the women's program

This couple, Yuna and Martha, have been some of our closest friends from the very beginning of our life in South Sudan! Here Martha is "decorating" her husband proudly with wreaths right after he received his diploma.

Some of them were so decorated you could hardly see their faces!
 The Graduation Ceremony started around 9:30 am and finished around 2:30 so it was five hours long on a very hot day. However, the heat and length of the program didn't dampen anyone's spirits! As the graduates came forward to receive their degrees, groups of people (usually family or church members of the graduate) would rush forward and perform a traditional dance with the graduate. It was incredible to see the depth of their joy as they celebrated each of the students' hard work!

After all the graduates had received their diplomas, the staff also presented an honorary Bachelors degree to Elizabeth William, our beloved student who went to be with the Lord on October 17th of this year. A family member came forward to accept the diploma on her behalf and her oldest daughter brought a beautiful heart-shaped wreath to commemorate all her mother's hard work. It was a quiet, solemn, and tearful few moments as we all paused to remember our sister who was missing from our midst.

The GTC kids - children of staff and students - did a great job with their two songs that they've practiced for the last two weeks

The day ended with many, many pictures, hugs, and goodbyes. Students and their families will continue to slowly disperse and leave what has been their home in Melut for the last few years to their villages and towns.

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