Christian Fantasy Author Lorilyn Roberts' Blog

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The King Wins Gold - Best Faith-Based Fiction for YA


To see the complete list of winners, visit: http://www.clcawards.org/2014AwardRecipients.html

A Longing Fulfilled is Sweet to the Soul

Chapter Four
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul
Proverbs 13:19



The next morning I awoke at 5:30 a.m. Back home, it was 5:30 p.m.—a twelve hour time difference. I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and took a walk in the opposite direction from the previous day. Shops were beginning to open and people were sweeping the dust off the streets in front of their stores with small hand held brooms. I grabbed something to eat and arrived back at the hotel about 8:00.

It was Saturday, the only day of the week that Nepalis didn’t work. I called Ankit to see if I could attend church with him. I was anxious to meet Manisha and I thought if I was with him, it would speed things along. I also wanted to see what his church was like since he was the pastor.

He arranged to have a taxi pick me up and drop me off at a certain location, and he would take me from there. I carried my Bible in full view thinking I would be thrown in jail, but Ankit had assured me it was okay. I felt awkward toting it around where there were so few Christians. Most of the people in Nepal were either Hindus or Buddhists.

Today as I write, after several years of bloodshed and fighting, Nepal has dissolved its Hindu Monarchy and instituted a Republic. The future is uncertain, much like Russia, which teeters between a pro-western form of democracy and the tyranny of its former despotism. God opens doors for a time in countries, and we must seize the opportunity to be a witness to the Gospel while those doors are open. We never know when those opportunities will close.

After what seemed like a long wait—the world of Nepal exists in slow motion compared to America—Ankit arrived and we traveled a short distance to his church. Located several hundred feet back from the road, it was in a small concrete building that would have been hard to find without his help.

On this sunny Saturday morning in April, a guest speaker from the U.K. delivered the sermon in English with Ankit translating into Nepali. The tall, bearded Englishman was preaching from the Book of Ruth which was¬ written over three thousand years ago. So universal in application, a pastor could preach from it in a different language and culture halfway around the world and have it be as meaningful there as it is here. The message was directed at Nepali Christian students on how to honor their Hindu parents while not sacrificing their Christian testimony.

The men of the congregation sat on one side of the room and the woman sat on the other. There were mats on the floor and fans to keep the building cool as there was no air conditioning.

Before I walked in, I took my shoes off and left them outside the door in a pile with everybody else’s. Upon entering, it almost seemed like I was in my own church back home. I could feel God’s presence, warm and refreshing, and sense His love among the people. Some in the congregation even spoke a little English as many of the Nepalis were students from the University of Kathmandu.

Ankit introduced me to his wife, his mother, and several other relatives. Almost everyone in Ankit’s family was a believer. It was exciting to see what God had done in his life and how so many members of his family had come to know the Lord. There were men, women, children, families, young people, old people, and college students, as well as many visitors.

The service went longer than the typical American church service with a lot of singing and music, and many songs were familiar. In a lot of ways, except for the seating arrangement and bare feet, the order of worship was very similar to my church in Gainesville, Florida. With everything being translated into Nepalese, it went very long. I tried to be patient and attentive. Finally the worship ended and several more people came over to greet me. We chitchatted for a few minutes about my adopting and what it had been like since arriving in Nepal.

Ankit walked me to the door and asked, “Do you want to meet Manisha now?”

There was nothing else I wanted to do more. My heart skipped a beat in anticipation. Suddenly waves of fear swept over me—suppose this meeting went awful? Suppose her father wouldn’t give her to me? Suppose I didn’t like her? Suppose this was all a big mistake?

The evil one wanted to steal my joy. How many times did I believe his lies? How many times was I hoodwinked into giving up my dreams (the dreams that God gave me)? The only power Satan has is the power to deceive, and too many times I had allowed him to do so.

I had waited too long and traveled too far to listen to him. I believed God was with me and brushed the negative, destructive thoughts aside. I wasn’t going to let the evil one have a foothold on this day. As Ankit often said, “These Nepali children have a soul and they need a home where they can come to know Jesus.”

I thought of the words to the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children: All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

There was a great deal of discussion about how transportation would be handled and the future course of events for the day. It was decided I would ride behind him on his motorcycle in my best Sunday dress, once again, carrying my Bible. We traveled for several blocks through the streets of Kathmandu and were almost to the outskirts of town when we pulled up to another bare concrete building. It looked dirty and rundown.



“I have to go to the bathroom.” I could tell that was not what Ankit wanted to hear. My anxiousness had put my kidneys in overdrive, and it had been several hours since I had an opportunity to use the facilities.

He looked at me with one of those knowing looks. “Well, you can go here if you want, but you may not want to.” We continued walking around the outside of the building trying to find the entrance, now with even more of a sense of purpose.

Having no luck, Ankit said, “Why don’t you wait here and I will go in and try to find it.” Eventually he came back out and motioned me into the building. He pointed to the facilities at the end of a dark hallway. I started to walk in, but I could already smell the stench. No matter how badly I needed to go, I would wait.

Ankit later came up with a phrase for my fellow Americans and me, “You Americans are soft.”

Moving to the matter at hand, he said, “They are upstairs.” We found the stairway and proceeded up. We wandered around on the second floor in the dark because he couldn’t remember which room they were in. Eventually he found a door that looked like the right one and knocked. Nothing happened. He knocked again a little louder and still nothing happened.

“I’m sure this is the right room,” he whispered. Standing there for a minute not sure what to do, he opened the door and looked in.

“Yeah, she’s in there.” I was standing beside him and hadn’t yet seen inside.

“I want to look in.” The wait seemed unbearable.

Ankit stepped aside to allow me to see. I peered in and Manisha was bouncing on one of the beds with just her shirt on. Her father lay straddled across the opposing bed asleep as if he had been up all night.

If I had been writing this scene for a play, there would have been a grand crescendo of music playing right about now, perhaps Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” The plush, velvet curtains would open to a beautifully prepared stage fit for a princess. Everyone would be applauding the momentous, joyous occasion. My fondest moments paled in comparison to this one.

As Jesus was born in a manger without pomp and celebration, giving up His Kingship and heavenly home to become one of us, there was nothing to make this moment seem extraordinary. I was simply a young woman adopting a little girl in a foreign country, nothing that would make the headlines on CNN or Fox News.


The room was barren with no furniture save the two bare beds with a single white sheet covering them. Not even any drapes to cover the broken windows. No air conditioning to cool the hot, dirty Nepali air. No television, no telephone, no books, and no rugs covered the cold floor. I have no doubt, though, that heaven stirred with excitement and anticipation as one of God’s precious little ones would soon be joined with her new mother. Jeremiah 1:5 says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”

*~*~*~*


I am offering a special edition signed copy of my adoption memoir, Children of Dreams. To learn how to get a copy visit: http://lorilynroberts.com/donate_christian_books_to_nepal.html

Saturday, October 11, 2014

There is a Time for Everything

Chapter Three
There is a time for everything
Ecclesiastes 3:1


One of Manisha's Referral Pictures

There was so much to do and so little time. If God had made a day to be twenty-five hours long, I could have filled that extra hour up with something. When a woman gets pregnant, she has nine months to prepare for her new bundle of joy. I only had two months.

Our U.S. international adoption laws were never written for the faint of heart. Not only did I have to meet the U.S. international requirements, I had to meet Nepal’s requirements as well. Each country has its own set of documentation that must be filled out, submitted, and approved.

I had to fill out an application for an I-600 Petition that permits a person to classify an orphan as an immediate relative, allowing the adoptive parents to bring the child into the country. I had to complete a notarized affidavit of support and provide a copy of my marriage certificate and divorce decree. I had to submit employment letters, plus my 1040 since I was self-employed.

My bank had to provide a certified letter stating what my average balance was for the previous twelve months. I had to show proof of citizenship by providing a certified copy of my birth certificate. I had to type up a cover letter stating I wished to complete filing of my I-600 Petition and attach my fingerprints to the document. I had to have a home study performed by a licensed social worker approving me as a prospective parent. The police department did an abuse registry check to make sure that I didn’t have a criminal record. I had to pass a physical and show verification of health insurance. It seems like there was more, but I blocked it out. I don’t want to remember.

With international adoptions, individual countries can open and close adoptions without notice or make changes in requirements. When I initially began the adoption process, I was looking at Guatemala. While gathering my documents, Guatemala closed adoptions and I had to find another adoption agency and country.

After filling out all the required paperwork, I had to make sure my passport was valid so I could travel outside the country. Then I prayed that I would stay sane because I hate filling out documents. International child referrals can take a long time because of the voluminous paperwork, or worse—political upheavals, greed, corruption, baby-selling, and deceitful scams. Sometimes it takes years to jump through all the hoops. For God to accomplish Manisha’s adoption in two months was nothing short of miraculous, but then again, we have a God who is in the business of doing what, humanly speaking, seems impossible.

Even before I left, God was taking care of every detail that would require His intervention for Manisha to be my daughter. I had no idea how close I would come to not getting her.

God had always put extraordinary people in my life to accomplish His sovereign purposes. A couple of days before leaving, as I was packing my six sets of documents, I called the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Miami, Florida, to see if they had received my dossier.

“You must be psychic,” the woman on the other end of the phone said. “Your packet was just placed in front of me.”

“No, I am not psychic. I am a Christian and I think God wants me to adopt this little girl.” She wasn’t sure what to say to that, so she continued to go through a list of things.

“I don’t see your home study,” she said. “They never gave it to me,” I told her. “It was mailed by the adoption agency that did my home study, to the adoption agency in the Midwest that was coordinating the Nepali side of things.”

“You must have that document,” she insisted. “I will overnight a copy of it to you and make sure you take it with you.”

The next day, the home study arrived by Fed Ex, and I made a copy and packed it in my suitcase. Neither adoption agency made sure I had it. A lady from the INS gave it to me overnight by Federal Express.

I could not have adopted Manisha without the home study in my possession.

After dinner and having returned to the Bleu Hotel, I climbed the three flights of stairs to my room and filled out a couple of faxes to let people know I had arrived safely. This was back in the prehistoric days before email. I walked down the stairs again to hand the papers to the receptionist. As I waited for him to finish sending the fax, another Canadian man whom I had not met earlier walked up and gave me one of those looks that makes a woman feel uncomfortable.

I tried to turn away from him, but he persisted, “Why don’t you come up to my room tonight...”

I thought I would be nauseous. The last thing I wanted to do was spend an evening with some guy I didn’t know. I tried to explain to him I was adopting a little girl, but he had no interest in hearing about that.

I quickly finished my business with the attendant and once again climbed up the three flights of stairs making sure he didn’t follow.




Ankit later told me, “You know the wickedness of man. Man is even more wicked here.” I had no reason to doubt him. More than once while in Nepal, I felt an evilness that I associated with Hinduism. It was like a coffin being lowered into the ground, a veil covering the truth, the darkness of a bottomless pit full of people with no hope.


*~*~*~*~*

I am offering a special edition signed copy of my adoption memoir, Children of Dreams. To learn how to get a copy visit: http://lorilynroberts.com/donate_christian_books_to_nepal.html


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

For My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

Chapter Two
For my thoughts are not your thoughts
Isaiah 55:8



I exited the Bleu Hotel, walked a few blocks, and turned left to explore a couple of streets I had not seen. I was careful not to stray too far for fear of becoming lost. Each road looked the same, lined with small, open air bazaars on each side, with people selling their wares. The tourist trade from Europe and the Middle East helped families eke out a small living. Beautiful silver jewelry hung in the open air along with marionettes used for religious rites.

As the evening drew near, the Nepalis dumped their garbage out along the streets, and the starving cows, now becoming a familiar sight to me, foraged for food from the leftovers. I vacillated between wanting to rub and protect my sleep-deprived eyes from the dirt in the air to not wanting to miss anything, no matter how gross or unsightly. Fascination with the strangeness of the culture whet my appetite to see more.

With shoulder length, wavy, blonde hair and fair skin, I was as much a curiosity to the Nepalis as they were to me. Questioning eyes stared back at me. I represented wealth and money. Shop owners wanted rupees from me to feed their children. Every few minutes a Nepali man would wave at me as if to say, “Come here and buy something.”

Nepal is the forty-eighth poorest country in the world. Out of a population of eighteen million, six million drink water we wouldn’t give to our dogs. Four years later, I would find out what drinking contaminated water could do to a seven-year old child. Trying to ignore the stares, I picked up my pace to find a suitable restaurant.

After a while, all the eating establishments began to look the same and I arbitrarily picked one that seemed friendly. A small sign outside the restaurant written in Nepali displayed their menu. I knew I wouldn’t be ordering a hamburger.

I was greeted by a smiling, young Nepali lad who handed me a menu and seated me at a table. The menu was meaningless and the waiter spoke no English. I smiled at him and he smiled at me. At last I pointed to something and he nodded and left. Looking around the dimly-lit restaurant, I was greeted by more stares. Feelings of insecurity crept in as I wondered, sitting all alone, what the future held.

I reflected on how my journey to Nepal really wasn’t that unique. I was just a sojourner traveling to a distant land to fulfill what turned out to be only the beginning of my dreams. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

God knew my heart-felt desire was to become a mother. As God longed to have a relationship with me, I wanted a little girl that I could hug, hold, kiss, teach, and spoil. God had promised to wipe away my tears when I met Him in Heaven, but I wanted Him to wipe away my tears now. It was a longing that consumed me, that spoke to my heart with every little girl I saw on the street, in the mall, or in a restaurant.

Did God care about my dreams? Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy.” Could I trust God, half a world away, that He would not abandon me? If I left Nepal without the little girl that danced in my dreams and filled me with hope, would I still love God?

My thoughts were interrupted by the waiter laying a tray of food on the table. I couldn’t tell what it was in front of me, but I thanked him and smiled to show my approval. He seemed satisfied and proceeded to the next table. I took a few bites and my mind continued to wonder.

I reflected back to some of the events that had brought me to this point. When I was young, my birthfather left my mother and me. I wouldn’t meet him again until many years later. Eventually my mother remarried and her new husband, Gene, adopted me when I was ten.

A few years following my painful divorce, I fell in love with a wonderful Christian man, but broke off the engagement when I realized that I was more content to remain single than to marry again. Instead, I poured my energy into obtaining that long elusive college degree. A month following graduation, my adoptive father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His impending death forced me to examine my own mortality. What would my life be like in ten years? What did I really, really want?

My desire to be a mother remained unfulfilled. No amount of involvement with children at church had quenched my desire and longing to have children of my own. I believed that if God was who He said He was in the Bible, there was no hope, no want no desire, and no dream that was so big that God wasn’t bigger still.

Now I sat in a restaurant as different in culture from America as the East is from the West. In Romans 8:37, Paul writes that “...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”


Would Manisha be willing to love and accept me? I was probably the least likely person to adopt a child as a single woman. It would have been hard to find a person more insecure than I was just a few years earlier. I had spent a lifetime believing Satan’s lies that I was no good, that I would never amount to anything, that God didn’t love me, and that I was unlovable. Unwanted memories would flood my mind, stirring up buried emotions.

I would later meet Manisha in a dingy, dirty motel room halfway around the world. I would bring her out of filth, depravity, and hopelessness for a better life in a new country. She would be given full citizenship and the rights of every other American. She would leave her country of birth for a better place.

Had God not done the same for me? Had He not purchased me with Jesus’ shed blood? Did I not long for a better place, an inheritance, where there would be no more pain, sickness, or death? Where my adoption papers were already sealed, waiting for the moment when, as portrayed in Revelation, Jesus would break the seal and open the scroll?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

That God chose me, as weak as I am spiritually and mentally, to go to Nepal and adopt a daughter and later adopt a child from Vietnam, is a testament to His faithfulness and unconditional love. I always thought I would have to do something or give up something or suffer something that in my own strength I would cry out, “No, God. I will do anything but that.” I had to lay my life down before God could give it back to me.

The rich young ruler was unwilling.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21).

Was it my dream to be a mother that took me to Nepal or was it God’s plan for me to adopt Manisha? This side of eternity, I may never know completely, but when I met my daughter for the first time, I knew I was standing on holy ground. Lest I get ahead of myself, night was falling and I needed to return to the Bleu Hotel. I gave what I learned later was a humongous gift for a tip and proceeded on my way.


As I departed, my waiter was immensely pleased, beaming and inviting me to return anytime. Even in his broken English, sign language, and Nepali, it came through clearly that I had made him a rich man, at least for one evening.


*~*~*~*


I am offering a special edition signed copy of my adoption memoir, Children of Dreams. To learn how to get a copy visit: http://lorilynroberts.com/donate_christian_books_to_nepal.html