Thursday, June 27, 2013

Marriage "Buzz"

      On Sunday Eli preached a fantastic sermon on marriage using Scripture passages from both Ephesians 5 and Genesis 2. Though the sound system decided not to work that Sunday, the whole congregation was all ears for his entire sermon. Why? Eli was giving them encouraging  and challenging words about something close to their hearts - their marriage.
      Not only did many come up and thank him after the service but his sermon has been the "talk of the town" this week. I've already had 2 very good conversations with some of the student wives regarding things Eli talked about and also what we had discussed in the women's conference last week. It is so encouraging to hear these women talk about what God says our marriages should be like. It would be easy to talk about the cultural differences in marriage but it is so refreshing instead to focus on what the Bible says about marriage and how wives and husbands should treat one another.
    This week God has reminded me that our lives spent here in South Sudan are a daily sowing of seeds. Seeds that God will water and grow in His perfect time.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Getting back into Melut life

It's always interesting to me how it takes some time to get back into normal life again after being in Kenya for a break. Of course this time around, circumstances were even more complicated by the sudden passing of our dear colleague, Philip Eisa, but as we cling to the Lord each day, we're slowly getting our feet back under us.

Some of the highlights of our first weeks back have been:
1. The beginning of the rainy season. Everyone on campus has been out digging and planting their gardens including our boys. This year they've joined their friends to plant their very own garden. They are planting maize, okra and onions. :)

2. Another highlight has been getting back into home school. OK, highlight for me, maybe not for the boys. :) Since we had just moved into our new house 2 weeks before we went on R&R in Kenya, we finally put up some posters, maps, multiplication tables and set up a real classroom!

3. Eli's birthday rolled around on June 6th and it was a joy to celebrate with our Melut team.

4. I always enjoy seeing Eli relax since he works so hard. I bought him a hammock for his birthday this year and he's already putting it to great use!

5. Last week our teammate Claire Meckler, finished up a great First Aid course she's been teaching to the student wives on campus. The grand finale was a presentation of their very own fully stocked first aid kits. They were ecstatic.

6. Q-Tip, our cat, was very relieved to have us home after a very lonely month. He is now making up for lost time with many hugs and cuddles.

7. Our first Saturday back, we went into town to have breakfast: Sudanese chai (tea) with zalabia (doughnuts). It's sure good to be back!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Principal Philip's Funeral

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.