Our Stories: Testimony of Jennifer Watt

Our Stories: Testimony of Jennifer Watt

As we approach the 60th anniversary of WEFC, it seems like the perfect time to look back and remember how God has moved in our midst. This week we'd like to thank Jennifer Watt, our head usher, for sharing her testimony! Keep reading and be encouraged that God has always and will always move in power to draw people to himself. 

TO GOD BE THE GLORY: The Testimony of Jennifer Watt

It was 1984 and I was working as a full time supervisor at The Bay. One of my colleagues saw me sitting in my car coughing severely after one of my shifts; it was winter and I often coughed a lot in the cold.  At my colleague’s urging,  I went to my family doctor despite having seen him only 6 months previously for the same issue.  I told my doctor if he could not find out what was wrong, I was going to die - because I was having so much trouble breathing.  In response to my pleading he sent me for a chest x-ray and, after seeing the results, told me to go to the emergency room at the Victoria General Hospital. I ended up being admitted to the hospital almost immediately. 

The following day my family doctor arrived and told me I had fluid in my lung and that he was going to drain it.  After the procedure I ended up with a collapsed lung which was so painful I could hardly move in bed. My doctor advised me that a specialist would be in to see me with the results from the tests conducted on the fluid which had been drained from my lung. 

Later that day I was visited by a Dr. Maxwell who, unbeknownst to me, was the head of oncology at the Victoria Hospital. In a rather kurt and matter-of-fact way he ordered a CT scan, a body scan, x-rays, liver scan and bone scan so they could determine if the cancer had spread.  I had no idea Dr. Maxwell was an oncologist or that they suspected I had cancer. In addition to the tests, I had an operation to remove swollen lymph nodes from my neck which would be biopsied. After all the test results were in, I was told I had Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is cancer of the lymphatic system. 

I was devastated by the diagnosis, angry and scared.  After a panel of doctors reviewed my results, I was told my treatment would involve 3 months of chemotherapy combined with  upper body radiation.   After having several chemotherapy treatments involving 4 drugs, which were administered by intravenous in the hospital, it appeared the treatment was not working. As a result, 4 more drugs were added to my regime by Dr. Maxwell. The treatment became prolonged, lasting 2 years and involving not only aggressive chemotherapy but also full body radiation. I was so sick and it became obvious to me that I might not make it.  

It was January 5th, 1985 when I was diagnosed at the age of 38 years of age.  Needless to say I was devastated, angry, and scared....wanting to run but with nowhere to go.  In May of 1986, when I realized my treatment was not working,  I wanted to get right with God. To do so I needed a church.   There were 4 churches within walking distance from my home.  Not knowing which one to contact I prayed over the yellow pages of the phone book for God’s guidance.  I picked up the phone and called Windsor Park Evangelical Free Church, which is now the WEFC.  Within minutes of that phone call I met with Pastor Jamey McDonald. Pastor Jamey had also experienced cancer in his family so I was very comfortable talking with him about my situation. 

The following Sunday was Mothers’ Day and it was my first time in any church since my childhood.  On this Sunday God confirmed to me this was exactly where He wanted me to be. The man sitting next to me during the service was J.D.Penner, one of the founders of WEFC, and at the end of the service he handed me a copy of the New Testament. I had found my church. 

I accepted the Lord as my personal saviour, was baptized and became a member.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  Gal. 2:20. I no longer felt alone, scared or angry because I could feel God’s overwhelming presence in the midst of my suffering. 

 “I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, and I tell you don’t be afraid, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13.  I knew His will would be done and this was His plan for my life.  The year before I was diagnosed, I had legally changed my birth name so I could change my life...what I really needed however was a new life in Christ. I came to believe my cancer diagnoses was a gift from God; He choose to heal me both physically and spiritually.

WEFC has been such an incredible sanctuary for me with the faithful teaching of God’s Word, support and encouragement in my spiritual walk, and help through very difficult times. Noteworthy was when Pastor Ron went to my parents’ home, even though they did not attend our church, and prayed with them leading them both to the Lord.  They are now both in glory.  Pastor Lorne was a spiritual friend to me and my father during the difficult time after my mom died.  He would faithfully visit with my dad, almost on a weekly basis, sharing the love of God. Praise God for the faithful leadership in our church.  We are a blessed people! 

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the Glory forever! Amen”                                    Romans 11:36

Jennifer Watt