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for the locals: Holding on to Hope


Hello friends!

Our church is hosting a community-wide event the weekend of March 13th, 14th, & 15th… and I want to invite YOU {those of you who are nearby}. The conference will focus on trusting the Sovereign God when your world falls apart. David and Nancy Guthrie will be leading us and along side them will be Reverend Charles McGowan. Charles McGowan spent 12 years pastoring First Pres Dothan and has most recently spent his years at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville. It was in Nashville that he met David and Nancy and witnessed first hand how they chose to follow God and honor Him when they lost 2 of their children. Since then God has blessed Nancy and David with a ministry of trust and hope to countless of people nationally and internationally.

An excerpt from Nancy’s website describes what she and her husband have walked through:

In today’s modern world, few parents have to face the bitter task of burying a child that they love. But Nancy Guthrie has faced the grave twice now, burying two children who lived only six months.

When Nancy gave birth to a daughter, Hope, in 1998, club feet, extreme lethargy, an inability to suck, and a number of other small problems hinted at something more significant. On her second day of life, Hope was diagnosed with Zellweger Syndrome, a rare metabolic disorder that is characterized by the reduction or absence of peroxisomes (cell structures that rid the body of toxic substances) in the cells of the liver, kidneys, and brain. There is no treatment and no cure for Zellweger Syndrome and most children with the syndrome live less than six months.

For Nancy, her husband David, and their son, Matt, the diagnosis was devastating and disappointing. Hope’s brief life—a life of only 199 days— made a significant impact on them and those around them, causing them to dig deep into their faith to make sense of such significant suffering.

To have a child with Zellweger Syndrome requires that both parents be carriers of the recessive gene trait for the syndrome. So, after Hope was born, David and Nancy took surgical steps to prevent a future pregnancy. Evidently it didn’t work. Just a year and a half after Hope died, Nancy discovered she was pregnant. And a few months later, pre-natal testing revealed that this child also had the fatal syndrome. The Guthrie’s second son, Gabriel, was born on July 16, 2001, the same day a story on the Guthries appeared on the pages of TIME Magazine. Gabe’s life was also very short, a mere 183 days.

Those who have watched Nancy and David walk through such loss, and the millions who have read their story worldwide in TIME Magazine and USA Today have wondered at their ability to emerge from such sorrow with joy for life and passion for God. Nancy offered many of the lessons she learned from this sorrowful experience in her 2002 book, Holding On to Hope: A Pathway of Suffering to the Heart of God which has helped thousands of people pursue God in the midst of their suffering. She regularly hears from readers who have been touched by the book from all around the world as the book has been translated into German, Danish, Norwegian, Korean and Chinese. The One-Year Book of Hope, provides hurting people with a daily dose of truth from Scripture to guide them toward healing. Publishers Weekly wrote: “Where other devotionals offer tiny and undemanding snippets from Scripture, Guthrie’s approach is meatier, and we see her genuinely wrestling with some of the more difficult passages of the Bible. Throughout, Guthrie’s soul-searching honesty and personal anecdotes make her a perfect companion in times “

This conferece is free and childcare will be available by reservation (334-794-3128) by Tuesday, March 10th.

Friday, March 13th— First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary 6:30-8:30– When Your World Falls Apart
Saturday, March 14th— Fellowship Hall– 9am complimentary breakfast & coffee — 9:30 -11:30– Questions We Ask When Life Hurts
Sunday, March 15th— Combined Sunday School classes in Fellowship Hall @ 9:00 am– Worship Service @ 10:15 in sanctuary with sermon by Charles McGowan

Let me know if any of you have any further questions! Charles McGowan was here this past Sunday and he always presents a powerful message full of the richness and grace of the Gospel. I’ve had the benefit and blessing of hearing him preach several times and each and every time I am moved to tears! As much as I’d like for you to come to my garage sale the weekend before, I’d much rather you come to this… or how ’bout both? 🙂

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  • Wright Family
    February 25, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I grew up with him as my pastor at Christ Pres.:) And the Guthries are amazing. Wish we lived close by and could come to that event!!

  • Becky
    February 25, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    uuuugh! SICK that i can’t come. i was just listening to Casting Crowns “Praise You in the Storm” on the way home, in my quiet van and thinking of our blog friends who are suffering right now and wondering if i could be like them and praise Him in such storms. i hope God rains down on that weekend and brings anyone who truly needs it and HIM.

    February 25, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I’m glad I crack you up. =)
    Don’t worry…I’m a total 30-year-old has been gymnast who has a body that gravity has taken over. We can totally lay next to each other on your patio…or, maybe I don’t want to lay next to you…and your skinny, dark-skinned body…toned from chasing the kids and carrying JM. Lol.
    I’m coming to Dothan April 2-4…maybe I’ll see ya then.
    Tell Justin I said hello. He hasn’t aged since highschool…lucky you!

  • Kellie
    February 26, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Oh how I wish I could come to that! Maybe I could bring all 3 of my children and REALLY turn your house upside down!!!! Sounds great – thanks for sharing – hope it is successful and touches many lives.

  • Laura
    February 26, 2009 at 9:43 am

    If you haven’t yet met Pastor McGowan, you are in for a treat. He is an amazing person and very special to our family – as he is to every family that was a member of First Presbyterian during his time there. I was actually the first baby he baptized in Dothan and he performed my wedding in Austin this past November. We are coming to Alabama/Florida two days after this, so I am sorry we will miss it, but excited to hear Pastor McGowan will be at First Pres once again!

  • Victoria
    February 26, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Oh I’ve met Mr. Guthrie, as he used to work in conjuction with my husband, and they are an amazing family! What a great story they have. Wish I lived close enough to come.

  • trying to remember it all
    February 26, 2009 at 11:15 am

    That sounds like an amazing conference – and what a story.

  • Laura
    February 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    This sounds great! I am super interested. Maybe I can get hubby to treat me, after all this is the last weekend of Upward!

  • Jennifer
    February 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    That sounds wonderful. I feel I coould use a weekend like that….it’s been a hard hard week here as one of my childhood friend’s three year old son was killed Sunday in a horrible auto accident. The services have been the most painful and heartwrenching thing I’ve ever witnessed, so I can’t imagine what my friend Lauren and her husband Doug are walking through right now. Please say a prayer for sweet Corey John, who would have been four tomorrow.

  • Joel and Lee-Anne
    February 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Darby – I just had to tell you about my son Nate. I was quickly scrolling down your blog, trying to find a previous post about a book (I think Erika had posted it, I found it) anywho, Nate caught a glimpse and asked me to “scroll up” (seriously, our kids are smarter than we are)…I kept going, past some pics of your kids and then the farm pics….he kept telling me to “go up mom”….then there it was….the picture of your man’s birthday muffin – he licked his lips and said “yeah mom, that’s it” with a HUGE grin in his face. Guess what I’m making him for his upcoming 5th birthday???? 🙂
    have a great weekend
    Much love

  • pve design
    February 26, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    let us know how this is. sounds pretty amazing.
    we all need hope.

  • Becky Brodbeck
    February 27, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Hey the book by the Gutheries is amazing…God really used it to minister to me during difficult seasons of my life. I suggest Holding on to hope to many friends who need encouragement. Wish I was close enough to be a part of the conference!