Oasis of Thirst was recorded in Nashville, TN in the summer of 1999 just after Debbie's son, Noah was born. It is full of Scriptural, Worshipful, Prayerful songs that were written over a period of 15 years before it was recorded! It continues to regularly sell off shelves! Oasis of Thirst is the first of Debbie's CD's, and its continued success is a constant reminder of God's amazing grace to her family...
Debbie's story will help you appreciate her music...
Debbie was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada on April 9, 1970. When she was five years old, she lived in the church annex, where her father pastored. One day, while sitting down at the church piano, discovered that she could play it without ever being taught! Debbie composed her first song at age six and has never looked back.
She was raised in another little country church in Veneta, Oregon where her father pastored. She was baptised there at age 8...
At age 9, Debbie felt called into full-time ministry but soon thereafter was struck with a debilitating disease. She endured a three year battle with pain and gradual blindness. It was in this painful season of her pre-teen years that God prepared her for a life of worship, songwriting and ministry. As she read and memorized the Bible -- plus hundreds of hymns -- she began to write worship songs and hymns that expressed both her faith in God and the Scriptures which were guiding her strength. Her health and eyesight continually deteriorated until she was declared legally blind.
Yet, God's gracious plan was only beginning. The immense faith that was infused in her during those years only grew, as she'd sing the Word of God spontaniously for hours on end. Music was pouring out of her soul during this season of pain. When she was 10, she chose a theme song: "It Is Well With My Soul".
Three years after this season began, it suddenly ended. Debbie experienced the miraculous Hand of God instantly heal her, restoring her to perfect health with perfect vision! She hasn't stopped singing of His Amazing Grace...
Not long after her healing, at age 12, Debbie sang and played the piano for the first time publicly. She became the full time pianist for her father's church at age 13, and helped develop the worship team as the chief musician. At age 15 she wrote the town's theme song, and became very involved in both music & sports during high school.
After high school, Debbie attended AMBROSE UNIVERSITY furthering the development of other ministries by singing and leading worship for Youth / Missions Conferences, Chapels, and Concert Choirs, Vocal Training, and won first place in a Themesong Songwriting Contest.
She graduated in 1990 with a Diploma of Christian Ministries, with an emphasis in Evangelism & Church Planting.
It was also during this time that Debbie met her husband-to-be, Scott Fortnum. On August 25th, 1990 Scott and Debbie were married and began serving together at Sevenoaks Alliance Church in Abbotsford, B.C.
Her worship and discipleship ministry began to grow, and one year later, in 1991, she formed an interdenominational College Worship Ministry, the first of its kind in the area. By 1996, over 30 different denominations were represented at these monthly youth / college worship gatherings, called "Awakenings". Debbie often invited--and was accompanied by singers, worship leaders, songwriters and musicians from other denominations.
In mid-1996, Scott accepted the invitation to pastor a small church in Yarrow, BC. Instantly, they knew this tiny, hurting church was exactly where God had placed them, so they buckled down and jumped into ministry! Scott boldly preached the Gospel, and Debbie formed a strong worship ministry leading, equipping and forming multiple worship teams within their rapidly growing congregation -- which has now tripled in size, holding double Sunday worship services!
Throughout the 1990's, Debbie was asked to sing and speak at Conferences, Retreats, and Worship and Evangelistic Events throughout the USA and Canada, even though none of her music had yet been recorded.
Through yet another series of events, Debbie's friends introduced her to Evangelist Dr. Ravi Zacharias. As a result, she was soon headed to Nashville to meet Dick and Melodie Tunney, Producer and Arranger for this first project, "Oasis of Thirst". Dick Tunney, internationally acclaimed musical director and producer, and Melodie is the founding member of the Grammy Award-nominated group "First Call". Both are Dove Award-winning songwriters for Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, Sandy Patti, the Imperials and many more artists.
Debbie incorporated her publishing/recording company called "Far Away Music Corporation" (www.FarAwayWorship.com) in the Fall of '99 to coincide with the release of her debut, "Oasis of Thirst".
She has shared the stage with Canadian greats such as Brian Doerksen, Quebec's Luc Gingras, Mark Masri, Lianna Klassen, and has led worship at the first ever Canadian Conference to host best selling author / speaker, Beth Moore.
Debbie is also the great (x4) granddaughter of Dr. Andrew Murray, the South African Author, Pastor, and Missionary Statesman who led a revival in the 1880's that shook the country! He has written such classics as "With Christ in the School of Prayer", "Humility", "The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer", and "The Spirit of Christ."
Listen to clips of OASIS of THIRST and see why it is still selling off the shelves...