In 2007 I have visited Georgia for the second time. During my previous visit there I had the privilege of participating in the magnificent Celebration of the Ascension, done on the hills overlooking Tbilisi and Mtskheta. It was then that I met Malkhaz for the first time, and I was struck by his unusual and unique personality.
Having returned to his dear ccountry, and one of my favourites among the countries I serve in my capacity in World Vision, I wanted to spend some time with him. The only chance I had was an extended walk in the hills of Gori, on a rainy and cold Saturday of November. We walked and talked that day for many ours on those hills often surrounded by clouds, and rarely seeing a clear landcape. I felt like I walking with Moses on Sinai, something I will carry with me all my life.
In the coming years we have met many more times, in Tbilisi or Oxford, and, I dare to say, we have become friends.
I know he is not perfect – none of us is – and he is too on a spiritual pilgrimage of growing intimacy with God. But I would say, with confidence, that he is one of the most Christ-life people I have met all my life.
Happy birthday, my dear friend! And may you continue to be a blessing, and a challenge, for many, for the glory of our merciful Triune God.