Finding Real Hope in Times of Trouble
“Do you have the right patient?” asked 66-year-old Tallahassee resident Jane Hand. Her doctor had just diagnosed her with stage 4 cancer. “I felt like I’d been hit with 50 cinder blocks,” she said..
With over 40 years of experience as a certified nursing assistant, including hospice care, Hand was shocked at the diagnosis because there should have been symptoms. All she had was a persistent pain in her leg. To make matters worse, Hand is also a caregiver to her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease.
Despite this diagnosis, Hand’s doctor was surprised by her calm reaction. She attributed her inner peace in that moment to prayer. Faced with the possibility that she could die, Hand points to her faith in God’s promises for the future to give her strength. She reflects on her “hope of the resurrection.” That hope, she added, “can turn tears of sadness into tears of joy.”
Jane Hand is not the only Tallahassee resident and Jehovah’s Witness dealing with challenging family health circumstances.
While caring for her elderly father who was diagnosed with cancer, 55-year-old Marisol Gelvez was caught off guard when her husband, Oscar, also 55, suffered a heart attack. “Unexpectedly, my husband had to have heart surgery and my father was diagnosed with cancer simultaneously,” she said.
And then COVID-19 hit.
Gelvez found herself in the middle of the pandemic, juggling between being caregiver for both her father and husband. This proved to be a real test to her faith. “You think you are in a nightmare,” she related.
Despite these challenges, Gelvez has clung to her faith through prayer and the Bible’s hope of a better world ahead. She credits her faith with helping her endure these challenges and remaining hopeful. Along with prayer, which gives her “peace and calmness,” her reliance on the Scriptures and support from members of her congregation also prove to be a real support.
This spring, after two years of holding religious services in a virtual format, Hand and Gelvez join millions of Witnesses worldwide, including the hundreds in local area congregations, inviting all to hear about that hope in a Bible-based lecture to be held at a local Kingdom Hall during the week of April 4, 2022. This special presentation entitled, “Where Can You Find Real Hope?” comes at a very special time for Jehovah’s Witnesses locally, who headed back to their meeting places April 1 for the first time in two years.
“We’re overjoyed to be able to come together again in person at this very special time,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “This event takes on a new dimension as we return to our Kingdom Halls and invite our neighbors to join us. It’s very exciting!” Congregations will also offer a videoconferencing option for all congregants and visitors.
The 30-minute program “Where Can You Find Real Hope?” will be hosted worldwide by congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in person at local Kingdom Halls. The public is also invited the following week to the annual Memorial observance of Jesus Christ’s death on the evening of Friday, April 15, 2022.
Admission to both programs is free, and no registration is required. Information on attending locally is available at www.jw.org.
“In times like these, we need hope more than ever,” said Hendriks. “Hope helps a person look ahead with courage and confidence to the fulfillment of God’s beautiful promises. That’s why attending one of these special programs can be life-changing.”