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U.S. Missions Celebrates with Honors, Laughter

During the U.S. Missions luncheon at General Council, missionaries were honored, a new video debuted, and comedian Cleto Rodriguez kept the room rolling in laughter.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- On Thursday, U.S. missionaries and supporters joined together for fellowship, encouragement, and laughter at the U.S. Missions Luncheon held in the Hyatt's Regency Ballroom during the 60th General Council.

While enjoying an assortment of tacos, tortilla soup and churros, luncheon guests celebrated the missionaries in attendance who have the most years of service with U.S. Missions.

John and Rana Maracle (48 years), Lynette Santiago (43 years), and Emory and Cynthia Dively (41 years), all serving with Intercultural Ministries, were recognized for their outstanding work. U.S. Missions Administrator Ramona Edgman told attendees, “Whether you have been a missionary for six months or 60 years, we appreciate each and every one of you.”

U.S. Missions Executive Director Malcolm Burleigh took the stage and proclaimed, “Scripture is clear that we are to give honor where honor is due, and Jesus has ultimately led U.S. Missions in everything. Let us thank Him above all!” The room erupted in applause and praise.

Burleigh then expressed his appreciation for those who work in and for U.S. Missions before introducing From the Heart of a Missionary. This new video shares the testimony of Chris and Monica Delaurentis, U.S. missionaries who were both delivered from addiction and now minister to hurting communities in Minneapolis.

Following a drawing, where numerous gifts were distributed, nationally touring stand-up comedian Cleto Rodriguez entertained the crowd. Roars of laughter crossed the venue as he shared stories based on himself, his family, and his church.

“Thank you, thank you! I promise, you are all so much better looking than my last audience,” he laughed as he stepped off the stage.

Former AG U.S. Missions Executive Director Zollie L. Smith Jr. closed the luncheon in prayer, asking the Lord to help missionaries — both those in attendance and those not present — realize that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them.

Samara Smyer

Samara Smyer works as communications and content strategist for Assemblies of God U.S. Missions. She graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.