Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Where is Your Future Home?

Mount Everest
After spending a week in Nepal and returning home, I appreciate the little things so much more—I can drink tap water, enjoy coffee with breakfast, and eat anything I want. I’m not sneezing anymore from allergies. The air is clean, and I love sleeping in my own bed. I know this sounds trite, and I don’t mean it to be. God uses the mundane and ordinary in this world to teach us about the extraordinary in the next.

My home is here in sunny Florida where we have far too many cats and a rescued dog. This is where I’m comfortable. It’s where most of my friends are and where I work and play and do far too much complaining about mostly meaningless things.

Nepal was foreign to me. What made it familiar were the relationships with the Christians I met. We worship the same God, we sang the same songs in church, and Joy and I enjoyed the sweet fellowship of the Christians in Nepal in their homes and place of worship.

I’m reminded of Matthew 16:19 that says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Our job in this world is to build a foundation for the next. Are you sending ahead of your homecoming an investment in the future?

If you aren’t a Christian, you wouldn’t want to go to heaven. It would be outside of your comfort zone. The Holy Spirit is not in you because you rejected God; neither are Christian relationships. You chose not to be part of that world. You rejected the most important relationship, Jesus Christ, who died so that you would have an inheritance at your homecoming. Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you.”

We live in worlds of comfort zones here, and there are thousands of them, scattered to the four winds. Home is our familiar world, but it is temporary. Where will your future home be? Nothing familiar exists in hell. Hell was made for the devil and his fallen angels—not for humans. In heaven, we will have the Body of Christ, the relationships we’ve forged here, and whatever we have here will be so much more there.

Let us not grow weary of doing good (as I’m apt to do at times), because we are God’s workmanship, created for good works. We are building a kingdom right here on earth.

I longed to do a better job of keeping my priorities in order—and I want God to renew His Spirit within me. Help me, God, to have more of you in my life, in my home, in my world, and less of me. Your Kingdom is increasing here, I know it, even though outwardly, we may be persuaded to think otherwise, but you promised in Isaiah 9:7, "Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.” I believe before I went to Nepal I was allowing the evil one to convince me otherwise.

Now I see your kingdom with more hope and with more belief in the impossible. In Isaiah 64:4, you say, “Since ancient times, no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.”

God’s kingdom is expanding here in our homes, in our communities, in our government, and in our world. Nothing except our unbelief can stop God’s power from being manifest everywhere. Seize the moment and make your home a “taste” of your heavenly home. What greater gift can we give our families than a preview of what’s to come?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Amazing Time in Nepal

Nepal is a Land of Contrasts - Extreme Poverty and Extreme Beauty

Motel view in Pokhara
Nepali girl in one of the adoption homes
Orphan girl adopted into a home reading a John 3:16 book.
Fellowship after church - Kathmandu
Lorilyn reads a story to the children
Mount Everest

Saturday, October 25, 2014

…I Will Fear No Evil, For You Are With Me

Chapter Six
…I will fear no evil, for you are with me
Psalms 23:4

On March 15, 1994, at the end of the child referral letter I received from the adoption agency was this paragraph:

Any family adopting Manisha will be required to travel to her native village in Janakpur to obtain signed paperwork from the village mayor and Chief District Officer. This district is accessible by plane, car, and foot. It is a remote, rural district isolated from medical and other facilities. There may be no heat, running water, or electricity. The location and isolation of this district places any individual or family at increased risk for accidents, disease, and even death, prepared by the director and placement supervisor.

Today, as I reread the paragraph above from the adoption agency, I am reminded of my fear that night at the Bleu Hotel.

Romans 8:15 says: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.”

Why would God contrast a spirit of fear with the spirit of adoption? I knew God wanted me to adopt Manisha so why was I so fearful? Upon arriving back at my hotel room later that night, I succumbed to overwhelming fatigue. I laid my head on the pillow bemoaning my weakness. I didn’t have what it took to be a single mother, I cried.

Halfway around the world all alone in a country and culture completely different from America, I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake. Could I take a child whom I had just met, who didn’t look anything like me, and promise her, you are mine forever? Was I willing to spend twelve hours in a van the next day on a one lane, half-paved road with strangers speaking a language I didn’t understand? Could I eat strange food and not worry about the guards that Silas warned might stop or search us? What about my fear of heights as we traveled atop the highest mountains in the world on a road that wind like a corkscrew to China?

I felt dizzy thinking about what lay ahead of me, as if I was a minute droplet amongst millions cascading over the steep Himalayans into streams thousands of feet below. Could I handle seeing starving children with red hair and distended bellies, images that would sear my conscience forever, knowing I could only save one?

“Oh, God,” I cried out, “please help me not to be afraid.” I was too overwhelmed to read my Bible. The lack of sleep made even the simplest of logic seem impossible. I wasn’t sure I could go through with it. Would God be sufficient in my hour of greatest need?

But even this didn’t compare to my fear a few years earlier scuba diving in the waters off the Turneffe Islands.

The Turneffe Islands are the largest of three atolls consisting of over two hundred mangrove islands thirty five miles off the coast of Belize City. Not only is it a diver’s paradise, but after leaving Belize City for the three hour jaunt in a small boat, it becomes a complete escape from the busyness of our chaotic world. There are no TVs, no computers, no telephones, no radios, and no newspapers.

One morning we went out on what is called a “drift dive.” A drift dive is where the diver jumps off the side of the boat and the current carries him either on a harrowing rollercoaster ride or a meandering, leisurely tour.

Drift diving was my favorite kind of dive because I didn’t have to worry about where the dive boat was. I was never adept at using a compass under water. With drift diving, the dive boat follows the “bubbles” and picks up divers when they float to the surface.

On this day I jumped off the boat and went down like a weighted anchor. Rather than floating lazily in the current, I found myself within a few seconds at eighty feet deep. I was quite impressed that I beat everyone else down. Usually my dive buddy would have to wait on me because scar tissue in my left ear made it difficult for me to equalize. All alone, I moseyed around for a few minutes waiting for the other divers to float down beside me, but no one showed up. It was a beautiful dive and I didn’t want to cut it short by heading to the surface, but divers aren’t supposed to swim alone in the ocean. Actually, it’s a foolish thing to do, so reluctantly, I went to the surface.

When I poked my head out and looked around, the only boats in sight were way off in the distance. The dive boat had left me behind, following the other divers on their drift. I was all alone in the Gulf of Mexico with a 40-pound tank on my back in the middle of nowhere. I knew it would take an hour for the others to finish their dive and decompress, depending on how deep they went. They would have to get back on the boat and discover I was missing. I figured it would be at least a couple of hours before I would be rescued if I was ever rescued at all.

The first hour floating all alone in the ocean I remained calm. The second hour gave way to waves of fear and panic as I began to seriously ponder my desperate situation. Suppose the dive boat never found me? My life passed before my eyes. What a horrible way to die. I wasn’t ready. “Please, God,” I cried out, “don’t leave me out here in the Gulf. I want to live.”

I contemplated what few options I had, which were none, and thought about how many sharks might be lurking. What was underneath my dangling feet and would I ever be found? I floated helplessly for hours with a forty-pound tank on my back breathing though my snorkel in the middle of nowhere.

Had God not saved my life that day in the Turneffe Islands for something far more wonderful than I could have imagined? Would I let Satan rob me of my joy of adoption by filling my heart with fear? I was tired, hungry, and emotionally drained. Satan knew I was vulnerable.

Only God could take away my slavery to the fear that paralyzed me. As fear’s grip on me let go, God held me in His arms, much like a mother would hold her infant daughter, and spoke silently to my heart, “I love you.”

At last, I peacefully dozed off. I awakened early the next morning feeling strong and courageous, anxious to get on the road and ready for an incredible adventure. Never again in the years since have I doubted that Manisha was supposed to be my daughter. I was filled with peace, had a good night’s rest, and was ready for whatever storms lay ahead.

We would be leaving at 5:30 a.m. to travel to the Janakpur District to have documents signed by the CDO. It would be a long and arduous journey.

I am offering a special edition signed copy of my adoption memoir, Children of Dreams. To learn how to get a copy visit:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

…The Greatest of These is Love

Chapter Five
…the greatest of these is love
I Corinthians 13:13

Ankit nudged me back so he could shut the door. He knocked several times loudly to wake up the father. We finally heard stirring in the room and he came to the door. He partially opened it and smiled at both of us, motioning for us to come in. He and Ankit exchanged a few words in Nepali. I eased my way into the room and sat down on the bed opposite where Manisha had been jumping. There was an awkward moment of silence. I wanted Manisha’s father to put some clothes on his daughter.

I asked Ankit to ask him if he had any clothes for her. Raj, her father, smiled politely and grabbed a pair of blue, ragged looking denim trousers. They were well-worn and dirty, about three sizes too big, but I was glad for anything.

Manisha was playful and warm. Her face was more light complexioned than her arms and legs, which looked dry from lack of good nutrition. She had round, deep brown eyes. Nepalis look more Indian than Chinese. Her father pulled out of his pocket what appeared to be a small bottle of oil and stroked some of it into her short, straight, dark brown hair. I wondered why he had done that.

She turned her attention to Ankit and they played a silly game. She pretended to hide something she had made into a toy. I felt left out but enjoyed watching them, impressed at how happy and content she was.

There were no toys or snacks in the room. There was nothing for her to entertain herself with, but she had made a toy and was happy to share it with us.

After a while, I got up the nerve to ask if I could hold her. Her father smiled and nodded. A warm and engaging person, I would learn later Manisha was much like him. He was about my height in stature with curly dark hair and glasses. His glasses were the most noticeable feature besides his smile. I immediately took a liking to him.

Ankit passed Manisha over to me and I held her in my lap. I couldn’t believe how light she was. She was tiny for three years at twenty-three pounds. She laughed and giggled as I bounced her on my knee. Ankit and Raj watched intently which made me nervous. I asked if I could walk around with her outside. They both said, “Yes, that would be good.”

I picked her up and we walked down the stairs. As we stepped outside, the sun’s rays enveloped us in a severe brightness after being in the dark building. Some nearby birds sang a whimsical melody of enchantment. I was smitten by love! Alone at last with my new daughter, I was overcome with emotion. I walked over to some flowers and pointed to one and said “flower.” I picked it off and gave it to her. We walked around the building several times. I pointed to the chirping birds and said “bird.” The few minutes with her in my arms seemed like a dream from which I didn’t want to awake. She was content and beaming.

Because she didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Nepali, I gazed into her eyes and tried to imagine what she might be thinking. Did she have any idea who I was? I did not know what her father had told her. I longed to talk to her but I would have to be patient. Most of all, I wanted to remember how special the day was.

On this day, as we picked flowers, admired the birds, and basked in each other’s company for the first time, I realized that God had heard my cries for a daughter.
“…what hath God wrought” (Numbers 23:23)!

After a while, Raj and Ankit came outside. They had been discussing plans. I started to realize how late it was in the day and how hungry I was.

“Could we get something to eat?” I asked.

Neither Ankit nor Raj seemed particularly interested in food. They were talking about documents and legal things that needed attention. Tiredness was on the verge of sapping the last ounce of energy within me. I needed to eat something.

After much discussion in Nepali, Ankit translated.

“We’re going to go to my house and get some papers and documents signed.”

I acquiesced without any more mention of food. At least I could use the bathroom. He flagged down a taxi for Manisha and me to ride in and Raj rode behind Ankit on his motorcycle. Manisha seemed content to stay with me rather than her father, so I was happy to keep her.

We arrived at Ankit’s house and he took us up some stairs to one of the bedrooms. I sat down on the wooden floor and they sat on the bed. Ankit was holding a folder with some papers. Manisha, like any active three year old, wanted to run around. So I set her down and she ran out into the hallway.

I could hear a woman’s voice talking to her. It was fretful that I couldn’t understand so much of what was being said.

Ankit spoke English well and would translate for me when I looked at him questioningly. Apparently Manisha didn’t like the picture of the white monkey in the hallway, so it was promptly removed.

Now that we were here and things had settled down, I told him again I needed to use the facilities. He called for one of the ladies in the home and she came and took me to the bathroom.

“Thank you,” I said politely, not knowing whether she understood me or not, only to discover as I closed the door there was no toilet paper.

Sheepishly and somewhat embarrassed, I went back to Ankit.

“There isn’t any toilet tissue.” I would have preferred to have told one of the women, but I didn’t think they spoke English.

In typical Nepalese inflection, he translated into Nepali for one of the women to bring me some toilet paper. By now my stomach was really hurting. So I asked if they could also bring me some food.

After I used the facilities, I saw they had brought me a couple of crackers and a glass of water. I focused on the water and all I could think was what I had been told before I left home. Don’t drink any water unless it’s in a bottle.

Again, I went back to Ankit, “Do you have any bottled water?”

“No,” he said. “We don’t have any bottled water.”

There ensued a great deal of discussion in Nepali. I felt like I had caused everybody a great deal of inconvenience, but after a while, another young lady showed up with some bottled water. I thanked her as best I could.

I thought to myself, Lori, try not to cause any more trouble. You have caused enough for one day.

On a more personal note, I wondered, do they not use toilet paper around here? What about when it’s that time of the month?

I know, too much information.

After a few bites of food, I made myself comfortable on the floor. Ankit handed me what seemed like volumes of documents. Unfortunately I had never been good at filling out papers. I made several errors and could tell he was a little upset. He left the room to retrieve something akin to white out to blot out all of my mistakes, mumbling something to the effect, “It’s important to not make mistakes on the documents.”

There were too many papers. I did not feel like answering any more questions. I was preoccupied with watching Manisha and her father. Everyone was talking in Nepali as I continued to fill in blanks.

There were a lot of personal questions.

“Do I have to answer all of this?” I asked.

Ankit explained, “You did the American side in the States. Now you have to do the Nepali side.”

I had no idea what was in store for me. This was just the beginning.

After what seemed like a long time, I finished answering everything.

Ankit asked me, “Would you like to take Manisha with you? It’s okay with the father.”

I glanced at him who nodded approvingly.

After a few seconds, however, I realized how stressed and tired I was. Jet lag was beginning to take its toll and I knew I needed another day.

“I think I should wait till tomorrow. I need a good night’s sleep.”


I am offering a special edition signed copy of my adoption memoir, Children of Dreams. To learn how to get a copy visit:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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

To see the complete list of winners, visit:

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: