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The small, bent woman walked past our car, where Don, Paige and I were enjoying our Starbucks breakfast. Dressed in a wool skirt and sweater, black tights, shoes, and a black cap, the woman looked warm enough to be outdoors. Carrying two plastic shopping bags, she walked over to the two garbage containers outside Starbucks and rummaged around, then continued on her way. I thought she was hungry.

Turning to Don, I asked, “Shall I ask if she needs food?”


I walked around the corner of the Starbucks and didn’t see the woman, so asked a gentleman sitting outside if he’d seen her. He pointed to the right, around another corner. “She went that way.”

I Wanted to Help

Following his lead, I looked around the corner to see her standing about four parking spaces from me.

“Ma’am,” I said, “are you hungry?”


“I’d be glad to buy you breakfast.”

“No, thank you. I have no upper teeth and can’t chew anything.”

“Not even a cup of coffee?”

“With lots of cream? That sounds great. Wee-hee!”

“We can do that.” I smiled and walked to meet her. As we walked back to Starbucks, I noticed the heart-shaped pin on her sweater that said “I love Jesus.”

“You love Jesus!” I spoke. “I do too.”

“Oh, yes, he’s so good to me.”

She Began to Tell me About Herself

Her name was Lora Lee Spurlock, and she had a winsome sweetness about her. She and her husband, Jack, taught at Valley Christian School for many years before going as missionaries to Africa between 1968 and 1980.

“Do you have enough food?” I asked.


Lora Lee said she lived about three blocks from this shopping center. I asked if there was anything I could do for her.

“You’re doing it,” she said. “You’re giving me fellowship.”

Inside the store, I suggested a vanilla latte and she accepted. As we exited Starbucks, I waved to Don to bring Paige and join us. I couldn’t leave this amazing woman just yet.

Lora Lee’s Story

Don pulled up a chair and he and Paige sat with us as Lora Lee told us more of her story.

In 1968 her husband, Jack Spurlock, and she relocated their family of six to Zaire, Africa (formerly Belgian Congo). There Jack served as a missionary pilot, delivering medical supplies, Bibles and other supplies to various jungle mission stations he served.

One morning in July 1980, Jack told Lora Lee to which station he was flying. She kissed him and sent him on his way. He soon radioed her to tell her one engine had stalled. Later she received word that his plane had crashed, taking Jack’s life and sending him into the presence of his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

It took Lora Lee forty-five minutes to walk to the mission where her husband died. Jack knew he could land safely in the station’s gardens. But his wife later learned that he looked down and saw a woman working in the garden and realized he could not land there without killing her. By this time his windshield was covered with oil. He tipped the plane to see if there was another safe place to land—and crashed.

Lora Lee remained in Zaire about six months after Jack’s death before returning to America.

I Thought She Was Hungry …

And she was. But not for food. For company, for fellowship. I couldn’t have enjoyed our time more, learning of her love for our God and her years of service.

Was she looking in the garbage for food?

No. She collects cans “so I can have something to give in the church offering.”

My heart was delighting in our time together and I didn’t want to leave. Lora Lee is beautiful.


Every time she liked something – “Wee-hee!”

“This is my husband, Don,” I said. “God brought us together after we both lost our first spouses.”


When we finally parted and I asked if I could give her a hug, she said “A hug—wee-hee!” Loved it!

“May I write about our meeting?” I asked. It was such a divine appointment. She said no. Only if I wrote about the God who has cared for and guided her all these years. At 93, this woman is radiant. “God is so good. All I am is because of him.”

I pray I meet Lora Lee again in this life but, if not here, I am eager to meet her again in heaven.

God’s Purposes

Don and I marveled at God’s leading.

  • Don and I went to a Starbucks we’ve never been to before, which was actually out of our way.
  • Saw a woman we thought was hungry.
  • Met a woman, radiant in the love of God.
  • Learned a story of a life lived faithfully in service of, and trust in, our Lord.
  • Discovered that, at 93, Lora Lee is still looking for ways to give, to serve, to care for others in the name of Jesus Christ.

We. Were. Blessed!

What Are You Hungry For?

We tend to fill our hungers with food, material goods, shopping, accomplishment, the world’s measures of success. But what is the basic hunger beneath all those surface ‘treatments’?

Is it a hunger to know God better?

For deeper connection with others?

Or for peace? Or security?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT



  1. Kathleen Caballero says:

    Carol, what a beautiful and heartwarming story! May God Bless you and Don as you always have the heart, hands and feet of Jesus as you venture out in life.

    1. Carol Loewen says:

      Thank you Kathy! You are a blessing to me and I’m grateful!

  2. Wee-hee! What a sweet storyI I loved that your assumption was wrong and that she needed you for the nourishment of fellowship rather than food. May God continue to bless her with contagious joy! May God bless you for seeing her need and responding as God called you to do.

    1. Carol Loewen says:

      Wee-hee indeed! Yes, what a picture of the reality of someone’s needs being different than our assumptions; and how important to listen rather than assume we know. Thank you for your comment!

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