A group of women will share their testimonies of faith Saturday in hopes of giving encouragement to others.
Columbia County residents Karen McGowan and Amy Murphey are two of seven women from Georgia and the Carolinas who will speak at Pineview Baptist Church in Martinez.
"Their stories are awesome," said McGowan, the event organizer. "They will encourage. They'll uplift. They're all different."
The idea for the "LOVE Celebration" started after McGowan finished her fourth book, Moving From a Broken Spirit to a Servant's Heart . The Evans resident said she felt a calling from God to write the book and include stories of others to reiterate her message.
McGowan then decided to contact each woman whose story is told in the book and ask whether they'd be interested in a speaking engagement. Six of the nine women signed up.
"I'm just thrilled that they were sent my way to help me with this day," McGowan said. "I deal with physical limitations. I couldn't have done it by myself."
In 2005, McGowan contracted pulmonary fibrosis, which causes shortness of breath, chronic fatigue and other respiratory problems. At one point, she was placed on life support and given 12 hours to live.
Since then, McGowan has written and spoken about God's unconditional love and the importance of faith.
The stories to be shared Saturday will be about a variety of topics, including forgiveness, health issues and healing, she said.
The speakers, called the Ladies of Victory and Encouragement, will hold the free event from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Martinez church, 117 Pleasant Home Road.
Murphey said speaking at the event and sharing her experience is her way of giving glory to God.
Doctors diagnosed the 34-year-old with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in December 2008.
"The doctors gave us no hope," the Grovetown resident said. "They said there is no cure for this. Just enjoy your life is basically what they told us."
Murphey, who is married with two small children, was told the typical life span of someone with the disease is two to five years.
"Even in the midst of that, I had such a peace that I knew this was not the end," she said.
After her diagnosis, Murphey said she found and studied every scripture in the Bible dealing with healing. Her symptoms have not spread, and she does things her doctors are amazed by, she said.
"I walk by faith and not by sight," Murphey said. "I'm standing on God's word that I am healed no matter what it looks like."
During the event, a light breakfast and lunch will be served by the church and singer Brenda Ruppe will provide Southern gospel music.
Men, women and teens are welcome to attend, but those interested must register by Tuesday. The church can seat 700.
The women hope to find several churches where they can speak this year.
The event is free, but donations will be accepted.
"I would rather them come thinking they're not getting much for free and leave feeling like money could not pay for what they got," McGowan said.
For information or to register, e-mail McGowan at email@example.com or call the church at (706) 863-6525.
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