Surprised by God:It was a warm sunny afternoon in early October. We had gathered for the celebration of the fourth anniversary of our church. 500 people had shared a meal outside together on the grass outside our homes. The little inflatable pool had been filled with water for the baptisms to follow our celebration meal. 13 people from our church would be baptized that afternoon. I rejoiced as I watched each person testify to their faith in Jesus Christ and his power in their lives. Then, a little girl named Rachel stood up and gave her testimony of faith in Christ—as confidently and courageously as any of the adults. I was overcome with the happy tears that began pouring out of my eyes washing the dust off my face. She shared how “Auntie Lolah” (how Ugandans say Laura) had taught her the Bible in Sunday School. Rachel shared her faith with a resolute focus I’ll never forget. The previous few months had been wearing-but then in an instant God gave me a token of His special blessing and encouraged my heart in a way that only He can. God has graciously given us a sample of the fruit that will blossom in the years ahead as a result of the work HE is doing here in Uganda. Some people look at Sunday School as something that’s done to keep the kiddos busy while the adults do the important classes, but God is at work in the hearts and lives of these children—the future of Uganda.

This was an exciting and encouraging day for a number of people on our staff who had similar emotions of joy as they watched those they had taught in Bible studies or discipled testify of their decision to follow Christ. Some old, some young but all an encouraging reminder that Christ will build His church and nothing will stop it!

As the months continue to pass I am more and more convinced that the future of this country is in the youth. I’m excited to see the impact that is already happening as a result of the kids in our primary school.

The last few months have once again… flown by (I feel like I have started every newsletter from Uganda in this way!) Thank you for your prayers and love over these last few months. This fall we had a team here from California and I also had my big brother Jonathan and his wife Marney here visiting for almost 3 weeks! I loved spending time with them and showing them around. They taught my Sunday school class, took part in ministry at our school, did a little school evangelism, spent some time on the road doing pastoral visitations & Jonathan did a little preaching. They also installed soccer nets for our school and community. Tonight as I was typing this newsletter I could hear the happy laughs of youth as they practiced for the next big game! During their visit here, we managed to escape for two days on a safari along with a couple of our interns. We had a blast and took tons of pictures and just enjoyed being together and seeing God’s creation up close.

Time is flying by-my first year is almost done it’s hard to believe. It’s funny because I now feel that I’ve always lived here, this has become the new “normal.” I still have my moments where I am suddenly shocked by a situation… as I was last night when we rushed a man to the hospital after I stopped the bleeding in and bandaged up his almost completely severed hand and the hospital staff didn’t hurry a bit to treat him. Two hours after we arrived at the hospital they finally took him into the surgery room and removed the tourniquet and bandages I had put on the mans arm… they then saw the cut veins, tendons, etc.… By God’s grace this young man not only lived, but they were able to save his hand. This young man had walked 30 minutes to our house. I triaged him and then we drove for 1 hour to the closest hospital… then the hospital didn’t open the bandages for another two hours. But somehow they still managed to save his hand. Some people ask why God lets so many people die, but over the last few months I’ve been thinking I’m amazed by how many people are still living! God graciously intervenes in events to sustain and protect life.

The weekly Bible studies continue. This last Sunday one of the young ladies from my Tuesday Bible study went forward following the service and said that she had placed her faith in Christ and talked to one of our elders about being baptized. Last week I had given my ladies the assignment of reading Roman's 5 (my favourite chapter) and told them I would quiz them on it this week. Two of the ladies decided to memorize it; one of them memorized 9 verses and another memorized 5! They both answered the quiz questions easily. Please pray that God would continue to help them see His truth clearly and embrace it in their hearts.

In other news… my parents have already given me my Christmas present-a trip home to Canada in December!!! The airline had a good sale on tickets a few months back and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I wasn’t originally expecting to be home for Christmas, but the Lord is providing this special gift. I won’t be able to visit all my supporting churches while I’m home, but I hope to have a special dessert evening at my brothers house in Northern Ontario which will provide an opportunity for me to see some of you during this short trip home. I’m excited!

Please pray for God’s continued grace & wisdom and pray that He would continue to direct my heart as to the future… two years will be gone before we know it. Thank you for your prayers, love, and support (and a number of you recently for your care packages!) Please know that you continue to play a very real part in what God continues to do here.

Love you all! Laura