My name is Kris Sawin. My husband and I are members of Grays Harbor Foursquare Church in Aberdeen Wash., pastored by Steve and Joan Purdue, and we’re currently serving our last year as church council members. My past ministry involvement has also included facilitating small groups of women during our Wednesday night ladies Bible study. These women have become among my greatest blessings. My biggest ministry and outreach, however, is my job as an elementary public school teacher.
I first heard about Connection 2012 from Pastor Steve in our January council meeting. In the past, I would not have been able to consider going to convention because of my job. But I had been transferred to a different school that actually had the convention week off. As Pastor Steve talked about it, I felt a little nudge in my spirit that I should go.
My husband commented that maybe we would both be able to go this year. As it happened, only I would go. As I looked at the registration, I began to wonder if this was the right thing.
“Lord, really? I don’t fit any of their categories for Wednesday classes at all. I am not a pastor, worship leader or NextGen leader. Are you sure this is right? Am I hearing you?”
“Go. I want you there,” He replied. So, I went.
For the prior 18 months, I had been struggling with a problematic shoulder. I had been through every treatment the doctors could think of, as well as physical therapy, and finally had surgery in November. Two weeks after surgery, I restarted physical therapy and continued until two weeks before convention when my physical therapist felt we had gone as far as we could go.
My range of motion was not 100 percent under my own movement, and my strength was not in normal range, either. Pain was still an issue at times. I was in pain as I headed in for the Wednesday evening session.
As Ted Olbrich, Foursquare Missions International missionary to Cambodia, called us to a time of repentance and prayer, I knelt down, and the tears began before I even formed a thought. The Spirit led me to a place of releasing the fear that the depression I had battled for 35 years would return even though He had healed that struggle earlier in May at a women’s retreat.
As Pastor Jack Hayford led us in prayer, the tears continued. But when we rose to worship the Lord, the tears stopped. About halfway through the second song, I realized that I was lifting both arms high in worship. I had not been able to do that in over a year.
I had plenty of room around me, so I tested out other range of motion moves, and found that I had complete range of motion and no pain! I was stunned. I had not asked for this; no one had touched me or prayed for me that night. I was totally in awe of God and knew the unexplainable had happened in my life once again.
I had chosen to sit in the bleachers by myself that night. I knew where Pastors Steve and Joan were sitting, and they had invited me to sit with them. But I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Stay here.” So, I was obedient, even though I wanted to join them. This decision made it hard to share what had happened with them after the service, because I could no longer find them once worship was over and we were all leaving.
I did share what had happened with my husband and the Purdues that night via texts. Needless to say, they were very excited.
On June 1, immediately following Connection 2012, I went to see my physical therapist for confirmation of the healing. I explained what I believed had happened. He didn’t think I was crazy, because I had been sharing my faith with him for over a year.
He put me through his test for motion and strength, and with each test his smile grew. It had been a long journey, and he was glad to confirm what I already knew.
I continue to be humbled by what God has done. Sharing my testimony is the most humbling thing I have been asked to do. My prayer: God, use my story to bring glory to Yourself. Let someone find hope in their midst of their pain.