When Laura was born, her mom left her in the hospital. She grew up in an orphanage, not knowing anything about her family besides her mother’s name. It probably goes without saying, but the orphanage was not the most positive environment in which to grow up. Laura dealt with a lot throughout her childhood, knowing all along that, when she turned eighteen, she would be “kicked out” and on her own.
One thing Laura did have was a godfather. This man had a friend (who, for the sake of this retelling, I will refer to as Joyce.) Joyce was married with three young children, and she took a liking to Laura when Laura was a teenager. However, Laura did not care much for Joyce. She thought Joyce was too nice, happy, and friendly, and found these things to be annoying. Not to mention, this woman had three children of her own to worry about… why would she want to bother with Laura? After a very difficult event in Laura’s life, not long before she turned eighteen, Joyce invited Laura to their home on a weekend. Laura did not want to go, but figured she had nothing better to do. She said she thought they were weird because Joyce and her husband spoke so nicely to each other, they treated their children so well, they had a Bible on the table, and they had praise music playing in the house. Also, they went out of their way to do things for her.
Even though she didn’t like talking with Joyce and her husband, Laura found herself at their home every weekend after that. Eventually, she accepted their invitation to go to church with them. Laura had been required to attend the Catholic Church because of the orphanage, and she hated it. She would often sneak out during the service when no one was looking. Joyce attended a protestant church. In Lithuania, protestant churches are few and far between. Many people see them as sects or cults, so it is not favorable to be a protestant. But, Laura found that she understood the sermons at Joyce’s church, and she enjoyed the entire two-hour service every week. (The Catholic Mass was only one hour.) In time, Laura started having God conversations with Joyce and eventually accepted Christ as her Savior. It took time for her to believe that God could be real and actually care about her, but He answered her calls and made Himself known to her.
After a few months, as it was getting closer to the time when Laura would have to leave the orphanage, she started to worry because she had no idea where she was going to go. She prayed that God would show her what to do. She had heard about a speaker who was coming to Joyce’s church to give a presentation on depression and wanted to go. However, she was sick the evening of the presentation. But, God knows what He’s doing… They posted a recording of the presentation online. Laura started listening. During the introduction, the speaker identified herself as a member of the board for LCC International University. Laura paused the recording and Googled LCC. After learning about the school and the requirements to get in, Laura did everything she could to get accepted. When the time came to leave the orphanage, Laura found her new home at LCC.
It is incredible to listen to her tell her story. I wish I could recount every piece of it… this is the short version. Laura is a “new” Christian, but godly wisdom pours out of her. She feels the presence of the Holy Spirit inside of her and sees how God has worked, and is working, in her life. Despite living with non-Christian roommates, she holds tightly to her beliefs and does her best to share them. She told me that she used to ask, “Why me? Why do I have to go through this?” But now she sees why everything happened… because God is using it now. I praise God for Joyce and her husband, that they followed God’s call and demonstrated the love of Christ to Laura. I am so excited to see how God continues to work in and through Laura… I know He has big plans for her! And she knows it, too!
God sure does work in amazing ways. Laura told me that she read my last blog post and, after reading it, felt like she needed to tell me her story. She said she knew in her heart that she should come talk to me. The crazy thing is, I almost didn’t post my last blog update. I felt like it was vague and not super interesting. Little did I know that God would use my entry about learning as an open door for someone to teach me even more!
At the end of our conversation, I told Laura that I was impressed with her. The response she gave: “Be impressed with God, not me.” Alright, I can do that.