At just six months old, Mallorie Fortune was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.
“It limited me in a lot of things I could do. My parents had to explain to me why I couldn’t do as much as other kids,” 36-year-old Fortune said of her childhood in Birmingham, AL. “I knew to be careful; any little thing could put me in the hospital.”
Seven years ago, her disease began to take its toll and she was admitted to the hospital for six weeks. The prognosis was negative. “Doctors said that I wouldn’t make it,” recalled Fortune. “I had to learn how to walk and write again.”
Since the diagnosis and her near-death experience, Fortune has clung tighter than ever to the hope from the Scriptures that she’s cherished since childhood as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“The hope that we have helps me not really focus on myself. I am confident that God will make me better. It is just a matter of time. I exert myself to tell others about it,” said Fortune. She looks forward to a future where she will no longer be limited by her health and can enjoy such activities as horseback riding and mountain climbing with her husband.
This spring, after two years of holding religious services in a virtual format, Fortune joins millions of Witnesses worldwide, including the hundreds in local area congregations, inviting all to hear about that hope in a Bible-based lecture held at a local Kingdom Hall during the week of April 4.
For Fortune and countless others “the Bible describes a future without pain, without suffering — even without death, right here on earth,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Mike O’Connell, 70, of Marietta, Georgia, 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 Scripture 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, 2022.
Admission to both programs is free, and no registration is required.
“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.”
Information on attending locally is available at www.jw.org.