The first thing someone from the Palouse notices about Loren is her New Zealand accent, an unusual finding in Moscow, Idaho. However, her accent doesn’t begin to show the path of her life, which is not a straight line from New Zealand to the United States.
I sit down with Loren to talk about her story. I hear about her journeys around the world, the cool experiences she has had and interesting people she has met.
But more than simply hearing her story, I am watching a path being traced through the continents as God has followed her around the globe, and as she has also learned to follow Him.
She is effervescing with enthusiasm over the next place God is taking her, her next adventure to spread God’s love.
Sit down with me, and see for yourself the path of God in Loren’s life.
When Loren was seven years old, life was perfect in her eyes, but it wasn't long before things fell apart as her parents got divorced. After the divorce, her parents independently started going to church, making divorce, and the pain associated with it, Loren’s first association with God. Her life was shattered at the same moment that God entered the picture, so He became something to direct her anger toward.
Her second association with God was old church ladies repeatedly telling her “Jesus loves you,” something Loren now believes to be true but something that was lost on her without the context of the gospel. However, when things got hard she began to cling to the idea of someone loving her.
Loren next encountered God when she was nineteen, having just returned from a year spent in the United Kingdom after high school. Loren came back feeling hurt and alone after a year of living with the perfect exterior but with hypocritical, unhealthy relationships consuming her interior. Loren decided to try church again, and there she found caring people who discipled her and taught her. Through this, she came to a greater understanding that we do not choose God; God loves and chose us and we are created to glorify Him. However, she still found herself living to be a good person and was met with temptation again as she entered a messy and damaging relationship that nearly led to the hurt of multiple people.
On the day this relationship was set to go from bad to worse, Loren received a phone call informing her she had been awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Idaho, an opportunity she applied for but never expected to win. After googling where Idaho was, she used her approaching departure as a way out of her unhealthy relationship. Loren thanks God every day for providing her a perfect escape.
Although she came searching for God this time, Loren experienced God unlike she had known before while at the University of Idaho. She arrived skeptical her first week at Resonate, expecting to learn nothing new from the weekly sermon on the frequently-taught parable of the Prodigal Son. However, Loren had never before considered the story of the self-righteous older son. Hearing that nothing we do can make God love us any more or less changed Loren’s outlook on everything. She no longer had to work to be with God or to make Him love her.
As much as she learned about love, Loren also learned about sin.
When given the opportunity to tell her story in Village, a place she felt comfortable and accepted, she was able to share parts of her story she had not been able to share before. By sharing honestly in the company of other failed human beings, she felt relief as she disclosed the struggle of being a Christian and finding herself attracted to girls, the pain of past sin, and the confusion of aligning her love of God with His desires for her life.
She began to understand that sin has no hold on those who put their hope in Christ. As this truth overtook her, she moved to Wisconsin for the summer where she was able to work at a Christian camp, believing for the first time that Jesus’ love was the truth for everyone.
The last area that Loren felt God start to change while she went to the University of Idaho was her future desires. She had come to an understanding that we are not just called to love God, but to further His kingdom. Loren was set on going back to the United Kingdom during the ten months between the end of her time in Idaho and when she could begin school again in New Zealand. While in a meeting preparing for a Thanksgiving trip to Tijuana, Loren heard about long-term opportunities to serve in countries where English is not spoken.
After this meeting, the desire to go to the United Kingdom was swept from her heart and she instead applied to spend six months in Southern Asia working with women in slums and teaching women’s health classes. As you read this, she is across the world from Moscow, Idaho, but still making known the same God she learned about here.
As Loren looks at where she has been and where she finds herself now, she sees nothing but God’s love tracing through her life. God loves Loren despite the fact that she has nothing to offer Him, and not because she is trying her best to be a good person. Through this, Loren no longer has to live the tired existence of pretending, but instead can live and accept all God has for her.
Her next journey is teaching her to truly rely on God, financially and for every form of comfort. Loren is glad to be taken to a place that is not going to feel like home so that every day she has a reminder that her home is not on this earth.