Former Member Returns Home

August 25, 2016 | Jennifer Burkes

As the sun set over the Rogue River on June 3, Carrie Hise stood in that cold water but did not feel cold. A huge smile spread across her face. Pastors Christian Martin and Jim McMurry walked those last steps with Hise, baptizing her in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

It was a moment that took many people, many years, many prayers and a lot of love to reach. Martin assured everyone gathered that, if they had not before witnessed a miracle, “you will tonight.”

This was a “welcome back” celebration for Hise, as she is no stranger to the Adventist Church. She was active in the church when she was a young girl in Sonora, Calif. A self-professed “former bad girl, gone good” and recovering alcoholic, she understood the concept of a "higher power" but still found herself spiritually lost.

Through a chance trip in June 2015 to Coos Bay and an invitation to a little Adventist church there, Hise heard exactly what she needed to "get off the fence.” She went back home to Medford, where she currently lives (although she plans to relocate to Grants Pass), and started searching for a home church. 

Several events led her to the Grants Pass Church, but Hise says, "The moment I walked through the doors of our church, I felt welcome and that I was home.” It was not too long until she discussed and started preparing for baptism with Martin. Although Hise was baptized when she was 10, this time it was even more meaningful as she has been shown Jesus in a new way, and loves Him more than ever.

With the temperatures in the high 90s (an answered prayer), the evening began with a potluck at the Harry and David Pavilion of Rinehart Volunteer Park with friends, family (all the way from California's Central Valley) and her new, very special church family. The potluck was followed by a short vespers program, with special guest Darrin Wayne singing “The Old Rugged Cross” plus more music and ministry by Martin and McMurry, Hise's longtime pastor who was visiting from Boring, Ore. The entire group made the short walk to the pedestrian bridge. Most viewed the baptism from this bridge, but several were right on the banks of the river to celebrate Hise's “rebirth.”

Hise has wasted no time jumping right into ministry. She will be heavily involved in the Celebrate Life in Recovery program that began June 23 and runs for 14 weeks. Her experiences will inspire and encourage many who need healing. After 40 years, like the prodigal son, Hise is home at last.

Jennifer Burkes, Grants Pass Church communication leader, with Carrie Hise