Each Christmas season I spend time outside of North America, the awareness of this wonderful gift which is for ALL continues to grow. I hear the Christmas songs and story in a different, but richer way. For some reason when I heard "Joy to the World" previously I unconsciously thought "joy to MY world" but Jesus came for the whole world, bringing them joy through the gift of Himself ... Click to read more
Today I had a peppermint mocha that cost me way too many Euros, but it was my first one in a year and it was in celebration of a God and Saviour who kindly leads us in His ways... Click to read more
We were making a “flying” road trip to the capital, along the roadside there was a very elderly gentlemen, his clothes threadbare hanging on an even more frail body. He hobbled along barely managing to carry the heavy jug of water... My heart broke for him and I wondered: Does he have any family? Then God spoke to my heart, as He has numerous times over the last few months: "Laura, I see. I am the God who sees.” ... Click to read more
Shortly after my last prayer letter, one Sunday morning I was discouraged and I felt like staying at home. (Isn’t it amazing how so often it is just before God is going to work that things seem the darkest?) BUT, I was really happy I didn’t follow my flesh to stay home… Click to read more
I just realized today how many times during this last year God has encouraged me through passages from the book of Isaiah-and this one is my current favorite. God is always about doing new things and redeeming what is dry and dead. This is the cry of our hearts for the people and district we are working in; that God would bring rivers of life and do a new work as only He can do…. Click to read more
Some of you read my blog update from last week on the paradoxes of going and returning... On the mix of the joys and burdens of holding two very different lives and countries in your hands and hearts. It has been sweet to see how my old Ugandan friends are also recognizing and processing this-one of them said to me earlier this week: "how do the people at home ever let you go? How do they do it? ... I don't know how to describe it, but when you left us, we had a big gap... We suffer a wound from which we shall never recover." This brought joy to my heart because of the sweet friendship and connection that God had blessed me with from my old Ugandan village; and it also brings tears because I and they still miss our friendship so very much. Pray that God would bring the same friendship and connection with the new people I will be living among here in Bundibugyo... Click to read more
She looked at me with her sweet blue eyes and asked this question, “but do you still want to go?” The question surprised me in the moment, and yet I understand why she asked the question. My little sister was seeing me off at the airport and I had tears shamelessly flowing down my cheeks. Seeing me cry, I guess she began to wonder if I had somehow at the last minute changed my mind. I wanted to return, I know the sweet joy and peace that comes from being right where God wants you-and I didn’t doubt for one minute that I was about to head to the place where God wanted me. A place that I knew from previous experience would hold BOTH joy and pain, peace and tension, adventure and drudgery, excitement and frustration, deep friendships and isolation… Click to read more
After spending years as a political assistant preparing politicians for and writing talking points for media interviews, I had my own very first radio interview on the MCBI network... Hear it here, Click to read more
I just got them this week-my tickets are booked back to UGANDA!!! What a journey it has been and how much God has done through these last few months!
I am filled “right up to the brim” with gratefulness to God for so many of you who have helped me along the way through the long transition and who are helping me return! ... Click to read more
Recently, with all the events going on in our world I have been reminded what good news we have. Our Redeemer came to earth bringing everlasting light and hope right into the middle of great darkness, not unlike the darkness of our current world. The weary hopeless shepherds suddenly saw the bright light and heard the good news of Jesus’ arrival—and were overjoyed when they heard the truth, the everlasting “tidings of great joy.”
This reminds me of a day in my old village, a young muslim mother had begun coming to one of my weekly ladies Bible studies...
A few weeks ago I spoke on Sunday morning sharing what the Lord has for me next in Uganda-as well as sharing what God has been teaching me about leaving our "Comfort Zones." God always wants us to keep us uncomfortable-moving and growing in our dependence on Him. My brother video taped the message (Don't you just love family enthusiasm?! :) Here it is, enjoy! … Click to read more
As I have been doing during this last year, for my "eager readers" I’ll be including another story from the past in Uganda below that I haven’t yet shared. (This month’s story is about my adventures with snakes & God’s protection.) But, I also wanted to take a short moment to reflect with you on God’s goodness and His planning in our lives:
As I was enjoying the last bit of my time in Ottawa this summer, I remembered visiting Ottawa as a young girl (with my Dad who was travelling on business), and looking out the window of the Westin hotel thinking to myself: “I love this city: some day I’d like to live here!” I totally forgot all about that—but God didn’t! In His perfect timing after I finished University I would call Ottawa home for 7 years! I now have so many dear friends and memories in Ottawa—and experiences I would not trade. How good God is... Click to read more
In honour of National Dog day-here's ten things my ole' dog "Boondocks" taught me about life:
1. No matter where we go, where we came from is still a big part of who we are. (Her name "Boondocks"...I named her that to remind me that despite living in the big city and loving it, I'm a country kid at heart. And yes, despite this dog living with me in the city for years-she still loves the outdoors and theres nothing quite like an open field and a squirrel to chase)
2. Everyday is a new day with new adventures in it... and, no doubt, new mistakes as well. Being woken up every morning by my tail wagging dog that just couldn't wait to see what the new day held is infectious. (Life and a career are much the same.) Meet it with gusto and gratefulness. ... Click to read more
I was reminiscing recently on this memory and I realized that for me God has given me this sort of thing in the sky numerous times in my life. I don't base my faith on it, but I guess God just decided I needed little extra reminders of Him?! It might be because I can so easily forget that He's got everything under control, I can forget His love and all that He has already done, and the hope He's secured for us in heaven. He "needs" the whole huge sky to open my eyes and remember Him... Click to read more
This summer marks the 10th anniversary of my first missions to trip to Uganda. (Crazy! Has it really been this long?) A few days after completing my freshman year of University, with all our youthful zeal, enthusiasm, and vigor we packed our bags and headed to Uganda. We had an impassioned desire to spread the gospel that had changed our lives. This was also a trip that I believe is now thought of in a particular short-term team missions office as “What should never happen” on a trip. I think our team may have helped "write" a whole additional section in their policy & procedures manual :) ... Click to read more
These last few weeks I’ve come to a realization that those who serve Christ will most likely suffer more than the average person—and that’s a hard truth to sit with. Last night as I watched one of my favorite episodes of The West Wing, someone encouraged Charlie with the phrase “You know you’re doing something right if you’re getting shot at.” This was such a good reminder. Spiritual warfare is very real. Our adversary roams about like a “roaring lion” seeking who he can devour. I find it interesting that this warning is included in 1 Peter, a book that talks about our suffering. Some suffering is a result of sin and the brokenness of this world—but this, as well as other "trials of our faith" are allowed and given to us by the hand of a Sovereign God. Satan wants to use trials to make us doubt who God is. Peter tells us to “submit to God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” Our response in the midst of these trials is to “submit"-putting yourself under and affirm God’s sovereignty & His authority... Click to read more
For some time I have felt uneasy with the general North American response to the Ebola fiasco. For me this aggravation started last spring when the mainstream media finally began covering the Ebola epidemic-months after the outbreak had begun. It didn’t sit well with me because it seemed to me that we ignored the intense suffering until two Americans were infected. Having recently returned to North America from living in a third-world country, I see my native culture in new ways. Anyone who has spent time living in a culture much different than their own will tell you that once you return to your native culture you suddenly see it differently. I would describe it as the view from a huge panoramic photo (rather than the perspective “zoom in lenses” afford.) One gains a new perspective observing patterns, themes, & mindsets... Click to read more
This week as I was praying (and perhaps wrestling with God about my future location!) :) He reminded me of the quote I wrote in the front of my bible almost 10 years ago:
"God does His most stunning work where things seem hopeless. Wherever there is pain, suffering, & desperation Jesus is. And that's where His people belong among those who are vulnerable who think nobody cares. What a place for the brilliance of Christ to shine." -Jim Cymbala.
It's been a full busy week-packed with lots of travel. Dads been a real trooper as we travelled far and wide (to the western border near Congo, to the northern border only a few Kilometers from South Sudan, to the eastern border not too far from Kenya!). I was so blessed and encouraged spending time with friends who are serving and loving Jesus throughout the country-many of them in unpopular and dangerous areas; but seeing Christ use them to spread the gospel and love people!… Click to read more
This week I went back to my old village for a visit. It was wonderful to see my Ugandan friends and some of my former co-workers. When I arrived my dear Ugandan ladies hollered and danced and hugged and laughed. Their commotion caused others to join and it was a sweet reunion with laughter, joy, and tears. For many of these precious people (many of whom never travel far) once you leave you almost grieve it as the death of the person in your life.
Although I promised to visit I think they didn't really believe I would return to Uganda. When I suddenly appeared at their hut they at first looked at me as if I was a ghost but then they ran towards me realizing I was indeed real! Haha. It was wonderful to catch up with them and meet new babies, see growing children and youth, and share in the joy of friendship... Click to read more