Finding hope in times of trouble subject of Jehovah’s Witness program

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Special to the Southwest Daily News

Diagnosed with cone dystrophy at birth meant Daria Bergeron would have to learn to live with limited vision. When the rare disease showed signs of progression and she was also diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension in her early 20s, the unknown replaced Bergeron’s normal way of life.
“I felt scared. My mama cried because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said the 23-year-old from Westlake.
Since her diagnosis, Bergeron has made adjustments to help her cope. However, at the forefront of her endurance is the hope from the Scriptures that she has cherished since she became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses over 10 years ago.
“How they can fix it now is kind of like a Band-Aid,” said Bergeron of medical procedures she undergoes to help alleviate the spinal fluid from building up in her brain. “Just knowing that what I’m going through now is only temporary gives me so much comfort. I look forward to seeing a rainbow and having an actual day without pain or sickness.”
This spring, after two years of holding religious services in a virtual format, Bergeron joins millions of Witnesses worldwide, including the hundreds in Lake Charles 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. This special presentation entitled “Where Can You Find Real Hope?” comes at a momentous time for Jehovah’s Witnesses locally, who will be heading back to their meeting places as of 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.
Exploring the theme of “real hope” resonates with many who feel hopeless in the face of relentless bad news and mounting problems. For Las Vegas teen Hailey-Ann Seavey, negative thoughts became a vicious cycle before she found some relief. By her sophomore year of high school, painful memories of past trauma left Seavey unable to envision a future worth living for. “I kept cycling through the same negative feelings over and over,” she said. “I thought, ‘If this is how my life is going to be, what’s the point?’”
Seavey confided in a classmate, who comforted her with the Bible’s promise of a future time when pains of the past will plague no one.
Hope began to rise in Seavey’s heart. She started an in-depth study of the Bible and accepted her schoolmate’s invitation to attend congregation meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Soon, she was sharing her newfound hope with others.
“Learning what the Bible teaches gave me something to look forward to,” said Seavey, now 18. “I feel refreshed and uplifted, and I want others to have that too.”
Mike O’Connell, 70, of Marietta, Ga., finds comfort in the same Bible promises.
His wife, Dee, contracted COVID-19 last year while hospitalized with a stroke and died just days before their 39th wedding anniversary. “I miss everything about her,” said O’Connell.
Picturing how he will welcome her back in the global resurrection to life on earth as described in the Scriptures helps O’Connell endure the pain of Dee’s absence.
“I have no doubt I’ll see her again,” he said. “Staying focused on that time keeps my hope alive.”
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.
Admission to both programs is free, and no registration is required. Information on how to attend locally is available at www.jw.org.
“In times like these, we need hope more than ever,” Hendriks said. “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.”