Lorie confided in me that a medical condition had driven her to living a life “of passionate urgency.” She partied hard in the bar scene, suffered through abusive relationships with boyfriends, traveled solo to Australia and jumped out of planes. Lorie visited mosques, because she was part Arabic, to find something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
A Passionate Urgency
Lorie’s medical condition was very rare because of its complexity. Her doctor invited her to speak about her condition with a class of 1st year medical students at the University of Alberta.
She invited me along.
Quite matter-of-factly she stated, ” I have been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, insulin dependent diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, hypertrophic osteoarthropothy and most recently have been battling aspergilloma. I have recurring lung infections, staphlococus, haemophilus, and pseudomonas. I had about 16-17 surgeries including thoracic surgery on my lung after it collapsed.”
Then she added, “But I’m glad I don’t have cancer.”
The students laughed, nervously.
What else could they do?
That was Lorie.
Her enthusiasm was infectious and her joy was contagious. You couldn’t be in her company and not feel lifted by her spirit.
When we first met on a Sunday in December ’97 at old Central Tabernacle she introduced herself as Lorie Van de Klashorst.
A Life Changing Experience
A week earlier she attended a performance of Central’s “Singing Christmas Tree” at the invite of her new boyfriend, Larry Lorence.
The presentation concluded with an invitation to believe on the Jesus as a personal Saviour. Lorie decided to believe.
Lorie explained to me, “I said the prayer you asked us to pray about Jesus. I am thankful how Jesus changed my life! I know now that Christ was what I was missing. Physically and emotionally, I was OK, but spiritually there was such a hole. I am full now! I found what I’ve been searching for. I’ve found Jesus. I have no words to express how blessed I am to have Jesus in my life.”
“When I came to Central, I knew this was where I was supposed to be. I asked if Larry would take me again to the service the following weekend. All week I somehow could not wait to get back there. I feel like I’ve found home.”
A Brief Honeymoon
I officiated Larry and Lorie’s wedding on May 22, 1999.
Lorie says, “We took a brief honeymoon because my kidneys failed. But we still had a really nice time and it was an adventure to see if we could get back before they shut down totally and I died! Even though a lot of this sounds bleak, you have to make the best of it. I’ve made my lifetime out to be what I wanted because I do know how precious it is.”
Lorie and Larry plunged head first into volunteering.
“I loved serving the Lord in the drama with Larry for the Singing Christmas Tree and serving on a Care Team, co-leading an Alpha group, serving on the young marrieds executive, following up couples who were new to Central, helping to start the “Happy Scrappers Club” and being a part of the young marrieds book club.”
A Second Home
In her final year of life, the University of Alberta Hospital became a second home to Lorie and Larry. She spent most of the year in a hospital room. Every Friday night was “date” night.
Larry would bring her dinner, which always included a Diet Coke and a Mr Big chocolate bar.
They would fall asleep on her bed watching movies.
A Home In Heaven
On June 2, 2002 Lorie wrote, ” I have learned that having faith is the biggest and the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your life. Have that faith in God and do not question.”
On July 22, 2002, just 5 months short of her 34th Christmas, Lorie passed away.
A few weeks earlier she had written a note to be read to her parents at her funeral: “I am now with my Father in heaven, which is something I have looked forward to my whole Christian life.”
A Village Of Hope
Lorie’s influence lives on in many ways.
In 2003, Central (now North Pointe) became involved in a fledgling initiative in Harare, Zimbabwe. Compassion to provide for orphans of HIV/AIDS had birthed a vision to develop a “Village of Hope.”
The Village would provide housing, education, medical care and most of all caring, Christian house mothers who would love and nurture orphans.
In 2005, the very first home was created in Lorie’s memory with money donated at her funeral and through the giving of her friends and family at North Pointe.
Today, that one home has become eight, along with a school for 600 children, a medical clinic, a feeding program for 1,000’s each week and a community centre/church.
Lorie was only one, but her life and death was the initial kickstart to provide an opportunity for many boys and girls to find the same hope that carried her.
“Never give up hope. Always persevere. There’s a solution to every problem if you just try to find a way.” Lorie Lorence
Will you be a hope giver? You can donate to the Village of Hope here. Please leave a comment below.
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Truly a message and encouragement for every one today. Thank you
My personal favourite.
A wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it with us Pastor Bob.
Murray and I sang in the Singing Christmas Tree the year Lorie was in the drama piece.