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Saying goodbye to Michael Guido
While holding on to a collection of scripture compiled by Michael Guido, Kim Hill of Brooklet reflects after paying her respects during Saturday's public viewing at the Hamstra Worship Center at Guido Gardens in Metter Saturday. Hill, who first got to know Guido as a member of Trinity Baptist Church, said the minister known as "The Sower" corresponded with her son who is a United States Marine, both in basic training and later when he was deployed in Iraq
    In spite of threatening weather, hundreds braved the rain to pay tribute to Dr. Michael Guido, world-renowned evangelist whose joyful voice and “Seeds from the Sower” ministry made his name a household word.
    Guido, 94, died Feb. 21 from complications stemming from pneumonia, exhaustion and diabetes-related conditions.
    The visitation and memorial services were scheduled a week after his death to accommodate visitors from afar who possibly needed time to plan for the trip, according to information from the Guido Evangelistic Association based in Metter.
    Georgia State Patrol troopers guided visitors to parking areas off Ga. 121 in Metter, where Guido Gardens is located. Volunteers shuttled visitors from the parking area to the Hamstra Worship Center, located adjacent to Guido Gardens, a spot where the ministry offices are surrounded by lush foliage and flower beds, where Guido filmed many of his “Seeds for the Garden of Your Heart” television spots.
    Guido Gardens was one of Michael Guido’s most favorite places; he enjoyed visitors to the gardens, especially during the month of December, during the “Nights of Lights” Christmas celebration. Thousands visited every night to view  the scenery and celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday, and Guido was present in the gardens each night to greet guests.
    Exhaustion after last December’s events led  to a decline in his  health, which resulted in Guido’s being  hospitalized in January, said his brother, Dr. Larry Guido, who is now presiding over the ministry.
    After a hopeful rally, Michael Guido’s health went into another decline, with respiratory issues and diabetes-related problems from which he never recovered.
    Visitors quietly entered the Hamstra Worship Center Saturday, coming as early as 10 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m., to honor and remember the man who  touched millions of lives with his kind words, prayer and heartfelt spirituality.
    “Nobody could say ‘Jesus” quite like Dr. Guido,” said long-time friend Billy Hickman.
    Guido’s casket, a silvery gray, was adorned at each corner with praying hands. At each end were candles encased in glass, upon graduated cast iron holders with white tassels.
    Beautiful floral arrangements were situated around  the casket, mixed with greenery. A colorful floral spray over the end of the casket included a large white cross created from white carnations.
    Under the inside of the casket lid was the well-known depiction of the Sower casting his seeds of God’s word.
    Two Georgia State Patrol troopers were posted at the casket at all times, with the guards being changed at periodic intervals. People sat quietly, seated in rows as they watched the military style changing of the guards and viewed scenes from Guido’s life as they played in two large screens at each end of the casket.
    Some approached the casket to quietly reflect upon their own personal memories of Dr. Guido, and many sobbed quietly.
    The video spanned years of Guido’s life, from when he was a young black-haired boy first inspired to follow the path of ministry by a visiting revival; to his later years, with hair of silver, but the same bright smile and sparkling eyes that emanated his love for God and mankind.
    Music set to the video was from Archie Jordan’s works” Songs for the Sower,” said Fred Pasmore, spokesman with the Guido Evangelistic Association.
    Many of the scenes in the video were of Guido in his beloved Gardens, which some could say was his “ Eden on earth.” He was shown with friends, with family, and by himself, often caught on camera in quiet reflection or studying the Bible.
    Long-time friend Rick Hutchison recalled many times he asked Guido for answers to life’s puzzling questions. He remembered asking Guido if he thought people could “look down” upon earth after they died.
    “He said no,” Hutchison said. “He said it said nothing like that in the Bible, and that the Bible did say Heaven was happiness, and people could not be happy if they were looking down on  their loved ones” during times of duress, he said.
    People attending the visitation were greeted by volunteers including may of Guido’s personal friends, including Ellis Wood, who often drove or flew Guido to speaking engagements and other events.
    At the end of the video shown during visitation, Guido is shown in Wood’s yellow helicopter, eyes sparkling with his famous smile, waving goodbye as the helicopter lifts off.
    A memorial service will be held today at 3 p.m. in a tent adjacent to Guido Gardens.
    The memorial service will also be viewed on large screen television at the Hamstra Worship Center, as well as  Cedar Street Baptist Church,  Metter Primitive Baptist Church,  and Free Will Baptist Church in Metter.
    The services will also be live streamed and available on the Statesboro Herald web site
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414. 
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