Two hours ago, Michael and Angela Clifton loaded their children into a minivan and pulled out of Beltsville after an amazing weekend on worship, laughter and sharing. The embers of friendship between the five children were reignited on the grounds of the church property and the hillside of Laurel’s Dinosaur Park. Michael and Angela were able to share their hopes and desires for a new ministry in the Republic of Georgia. As I reflect on the weekend, a few random thoughts are coming to the forefront of my mind.
We should consider ourselves to be especially blessed to be a part of the ongoing ministry that God has given to Michael and Angela. A large percentage of missions couples do not continue on in international ministry this long. They have bravely moved from Kenya to Ukraine, then on to Georgia; all the while embracing the culture and language of the people. Incidentally, the Cliftons had to decline many offers and invitations by other groups and churches. They chose to visit Beltsville over other opportunities. We are blessed indeed!
In turn, I know that Michael and Angela are very humbled by the generosity and love of the Beltsville faith community. Michael was genuinely surprised and (surprisingly) speechless by the financial gifts given to them. Thank you for blessing them and sending them away with love and joy in their hearts. They told us that Beltsville went immediately to the “must go” list of possible locations during their time in the states.
I will miss the Clifton family during the next few years. Although I can look them up on Facebook at any time; although emails will be exchanged often; although we will undoubtedly videoconference with them in the coming months, I will miss seeing them face to face. Please join my heart in prayer for them during the coming months and years. In doing so, Georgia will always be on our minds and hearts.