SEBRING, Fla.—At Maranatha Village, Buz Cliffe is thankful for the caregiving ministry of several men who are year-round and seasonal residents of this Baptist retirement community.
In 2015 Buz, a retired pastor, was hiking on Mount St. Helens with his family members when the trail gave way, and he fell 40–60 feet. After a two-hour effort to get to a waiting ambulance and then to a helicopter pad, he was airlifted to a hospital in Vancouver, Washington. Having suffered central cord syndrome, a cervical spinal cord injury, he spent seven weeks in the hospital. During that time, volunteer caregivers came daily to help him stretch and exercise, and he relearned how to walk and swallow.
At Maranatha Village, where Buz and his wife, Barbara, have been spending their winters since 2012, Buz is blessed to have other caregivers help him progress. That group of caregivers includes retired missionaries and pastors of Regular Baptist churches.
“These men are the essence of the motto Maranatha Village adheres to: Helping One Another ’til Jesus Comes,” says resident Betty Hendsbee. His testimony, she adds, reveals the truth of Romans 5:3–5, that suffering produces perseverance, which determines character and hope, and hope never disappoints.
Recalling Nehemiah 8:10—”The joy of the Lord is your strength”—Buz says that God’s Spirit “is our joy.”