A Tribute to the Hope Family Legacy
This story is one that I considered doing for a while, so as I promised myself years ago if I get inspired, I need to put it down on paper (or on the P.C.) so as not to lose it.
There are two brothers residing in this Midwest Florida area who have the legacy of their family name well imprinted in local history. If you live or work on the south side of Brooksville, you may have passed Buck Hope Road on the way to the Publix shopping area. Then, there is Hope Hill Road on the bypass, just east of Broad St., as you drive past the Grace World Outreach Church. When driving north (headed out of town) on Rte.41, you may have noticed the Stable Faith Cowboy Church (on the west side of the road). This church is pastored by Mr. David Hope. His brother, Robert, pastors the Pasadena Baptist Church in the South Dade City area.
A personal and historical note here. There is more than a “writer’s curiosity” about this family. I can tie the Hope family name (loosely) in with ours by “Steve’s Theory of Relativity!” (It’s a Steve-ism). My wife Cecelia has a sister who married into the Hope family and her husband is the uncle to both David and Robert Hope. Through the past history of our family gatherings (and mainly the Christmas parties that their Uncle Dale and my sister-in-law Joyce would host), I have had brief interactions with them, and as of late, was able to get with both Robert and David Hope.
Pastor Robert Hope
It was just this last summer that our church grounds were overrun with a “sounder” of wild pigs, and I was able to give Robert two out of the four of those that were harvested. As I planned to interview these two preachers, I was able to speak to Robert first. It was a little awkward doing the interview, but he understands my motivation for doing this story, as he knows that I have a heart that leads my mind to doing the Lord’s work (wherever and whenever possible). It may not be a “Big Thing” that I am writing about two preachers, it is, however, “special” that they are not only “preachers of the cloth” but are brothers by blood as well.
Now, Robert Hope (Pastor Hope) will tell you that he is a proud veteran of the Coast Guard, and his having to learn how to help people out in tight situations helped to prepare him for the trials he would be facing later on. His first ministry was here in Florida (he says around 1990 or ‘91). Pastor Hope also did some mission trips to Africa, Honduras, and Mexico. He would help pass out the medicines during the day and would be found ministering to the people with the Gospel (or “Good News”) of Jesus’ teachings and miracles in the evenings. As of late, his wife, Brenda, has been battling cancer, and Bob gave me a “praise report” that she had her last chemotherapy on Tuesday, Jan. 9th. The pastor then informed me that he had fought cancer (lymphoma) twice in the past. He told me that the doctors were going to set him up with a barrage of tests and treatments. He said that he gave it to the Lord, and that was it!
Now, regarding the church and congregation, they have a gathering of about 85 souls and even offer a live stream of the service (for the shut-ins). The church phone number is (352) 521-0545, and the internet contact is [email protected]. We spoke on that Sunday evening, and then on the next day, Monday (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day), I was able to speak with his brother, Pastor David Hope.
Pastor David Hope
I started out by asking David about his first “nudges” by God to prepare him for his ministry work in the future. He said that he was in the 7th grade in (what is now) Parrot Middle School and had to speak in front of his class concerning a book to be read. He said he was unprepared at the time he was supposed to speak, but the teacher gave him until the following week to read a book. He went to the Lykes Library and found a book titled, “Savage Sam, Son of Old Yeller.” When it came time for him to do his presentation, the teacher had to interrupt his “oration” when he passed the 50-minute mark of speaking!
At age 13, he had to memorize and recite a “Mother`s Day Flower Talk” at the Aripeka Baptist Church. He was then told that he had an “unrealized life skill.” It was about that time that he heard a preacher impress on his congregation the passage from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 6, and vs 33. “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
The loss of their father
I asked Pastor David about the loss of their dad, Mr. Charles Hope. He mentioned briefly that their dad went out on the night of March 31, 1982, and was never seen again. They found his car by his workplace the next morning (but they never found him). Pastor Dave said that his dad was sorely missed! He also said that prior to that time, he and his dad had “issues,” but they were resolved before his disappearance. I then asked him about his coming around to starting a “Cowboy Church.” He said that he was doing some preaching at the Bethel Baptist Church (on the corner of Rte. 41 and Hwy. 52), which has been dissolved and is now a major intersection! He had to take on a part-time job (to pay the bills) and ended up over at the 4-G Ranch (on Hwy. 52). That job ended up being full-time for over seven years.
As he was “plugged in” to the agricultural lifestyle of working on a big ranch, he started following “R.F.D.- TV” with Russ Weaver preaching and Susie McEntire singing. (That’s Reba McEntire’s younger sister)! This led Pastor Dave back to the Lord’s work and centered his “target audience” on the rural country folk! In the closing conversation, he mentioned that the “Stable Faith Cowboy Church” grew by 54 percent last year! I have to say that it was a pleasure (and an honor) to be able to showcase these two brothers of Christ and of blood. It also shows (again) how the Lord can take people through trying times and mold them into a vessel of worth and of Hope!
Steve Goodwin is a recently retired Christian conservative veteran (of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division), who still feels that “duty to country” did not end when the military uniform got hung up. He and his wife Cecelia live on the edge of a beautifully wooded tract of land just south of the bypass, and are involved in not only church activities, but also attend school board meetings and local community action events as well.