After a three-month illness, Mary Soga (62) died of a tuberculosis-related infection at Goroka General Hospital, Papua New Guinea, on Monday evening, June 12.
At the time of her death, Mrs Soga headed up the women’s and children’s ministries departments for the Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission (EHSM), where her husband, Pastor Benny Soga, is the president. They have four children: Sonja, Darren, Tracy and Dawn.
Mrs Soga is originally from Aua Island, Manus Province. Accompanying her husband as he took on various roles around Papua New Guinea, she held a number of positions, including women’s and children’s ministries director at Morobe Mission (2000-2002), North East Papua Mission (2003-2007) and South West Papua Mission (2008-2010), and Partners in Ministry coordinator at EHSM (2011–2015).
EHSM secretary Pastor Danny Philip paid tribute to Mrs Soga, saying that she and her husband have “served the church with total dedication and commitment in the responsibilities entrusted to them. She has performed exceptionally well regardless of challenges encountered.
“We are in mourning at this time,” said Pastor Philip. “Do uphold Pastor Benny Soga and children, Mary’s family and the EHSM team in prayers as we’re sharing tears at the loss of our colleague, wife and mother.”
“Her loving, caring personality will be sorely missed by all, especially her family and the women she served so faithfully,” said Mrs Erna Johnson, who focuses on women’s ministries in her role with the South Pacific Division’s discipleship team. “On behalf of Adventist Women’s Ministries of the South Pacific Division, I would like to pass on my deepest condolences to her family. We know we will see her again. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus.”
In an email to PNG Church employees, Pastor Philip said Mrs Soga’s funeral service will be held on Monday, June 19. “On Tuesday, her casket will be flown to Aua Island (Vuvulu) for her relatives to view the body and will be flown back to Goroka in the afternoon. On Wednesday, Late Mary Soga will be laid to rest at Kainantu (Omaura District Headquarters), awaiting the LORD’S return,” he said. “We sincerely thank the Adventist Aviation Services management who have offered their support in this regard.”