My name is Tory Foster, and I’m a part of Harvest Community Church (Concord Northwest Foursquare Church) in Concord, N.C. I have always loved art and artistic expression.
When I was 3, I painted the bottom 3 feet of our apartment walls (that’s all I could reach!) after learning what a canvas was at a friend’s art gallery. In third grade, my poor teacher had to deal with me drawing on the desks, every single day. I washed it off every day after school, and that was fine with me, as long as I got to do it again the next day!
My mama, brother and I used to paint rocks that we found outside; it was another great opportunity to be creative. I was surrounded by so many neat things that let me be, and become, different. Honestly, I like being different; the “average teenager” is kind of scary.
My mama and others around me have always been so supportive, getting me art supplies for Christmas, for example, and letting me do what I wanted to do and go where my heart led me instead of making me follow what they saw for me; this allowed me to end up doing what I was actually meant to do.
Harvest Community Church, pastored by Jeff Burris, has been a huge blessing in our lives, even though we found it only a year ago. The smiling faces, open arms and overall sprit of the people are amazing and awe-inspiring.
We have become involved in our church; its community is very strong. We attend one of the church’s “life groups,” where one Sunday night a month we get together with a group of about 10 families. They get together at the host’s house and talk about Scripture and their lives.
During these meetings, I watch the small children. I also work in the nursery every second Sunday morning. I love kids—they are amazing, so open, so creative and not yet blinded by the meaningless stuff that we eventually fill our lives with.
Earlier this year, our pastor showed me a video of someone painting a picture of Christ, crucified. He had seen it online and thought of how neat it would be to do that for an Easter service—then he asked me if I thought I could do it. I was so excited and honored that he asked me, and I said that I would at least try!
I went home and started to play with things to see what I could do about representing what Easter is and what it all means to us, to Him, and to the world. Hours went into making up this painting, one that could be done in 6-1/2 minutes live. I practiced every day after school and into the nights.
The process was very challenging for me emotionally because of the intensity of Christ’s pain and sacrifice. Then Easter Sunday came, and I was doing it for myself, not expecting the response—the tears, the people coming up afterward, the understanding that was reached. They saw it. That was the most amazing thing ever.
Then, at Foursquare Connection 2011 in Columbus, Ohio, I got to do it all over again, but this time in front of thousands of people. That was amazing, and I’m so thankful. The painting was, in total, me saying: “Thank You. I see, Jesus, what You did. I feel it.”
Tory brought the crowd at Foursquare Connection 2011 to tears during a powerful worship art performance as she beautifully executed a dramatic painting of Jesus’ face while the worship song “How He Loves Us” played. Watch the video here.