A few weeks ago, the Sudanese Principal of Gideon Theological College (GTC), Philip, passed away unexpectedly. Our missionary friends working at the college wanted to attend the funeral but lacked a vehicle to carry them to the small village near Doro where Philip’s funeral would take place.
So our regional director and I purchased a 55 gallon drum of diesel for $600 (which, believe it or not, is cheaper than buying it from the local fuelers). We siphoned fuel into our Toyota Landcruiser tanks, installed our new SIM stickers on the doors and hoisted the SIM flag onto a bamboo pole lashed to the bullbar. These last two items would aid us through police check points without any hassles.
Monday morning we departed Malakal after filing a travel permit for our trip. A little over 3 hours later we pulled into Melut and the GTC compound. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we loaded luggage and camping gear on the roof rack and piled into the truck. Nine adults and 6 kids filled the bench seats on both sides of the back. Nearly 4 very bumpy hours later we pulled into the SIM Doro compound welcomed by a large feast prepared by our teammates.
Tuesday morning we made the short drive to the village of Dangji. We greeted Philip’s widow and family before joining the massive group of people assembled for the memorial service. The service started around 11 continuing for 6 hours, alternating between speeches (in Arabic) and hymns (in Arabic and Mabaan).
Philip’s testimony is amazing. He learned English from SIM missionaries years ago, went on to get a BA and a Masters, studied abroad only to come back to teach and train his own people to be pastors. Although I could only understand bits and pieces, it is obvious this man impacted many, especially if the 1,425 people in attendance at his service is any indication.
I’m sure the words “well done good and faithful servant” echoed throughout heaven when he was called from here to his permanent home.