Monday, December 11, 2017

Settling In

Margie standing with her friend Rhina at the back
of True Vine's Sanctuary

 We have officially been in Uganda for 2 months.  It has been a bit of a whirl wind up to this point, but we are beginning to feel adjusted to our "new normal".  We still have new things to experience most days, but those are becoming fewer and fewer.  The kids are getting used to the homeschooling routine.  We are all getting used to our roles in the community and at the church.  We still have people that stare and call out to us when we pass, but when we go to the school, or the church we don't attract near as much attention as when we first arrived.  If feels good.  We are feeling more and more "at home" every day.

Millie and Ivan doing some dishes.
Mommy is teaching them to do chores.
Ivan lost another tooth!

We've had some fun/exciting happenings over the past month to share with everyone:

  • Soon after the team from ND went back home Heidi and Andrew were both diagnosed with Kidney infections, and Ivan with a UTI.  Not sure how we all got infected around the same time, but Andrew had enough pain one night that he took his first ride in an ambulance through crazy traffic into Kampala at about 10pm.  All of us were prescribed some antibiotics and within a few days everyone was back to normal.

Ivan when he was getting his UTI checked out.

  • We got our first official pets in Uganda.  We got a nice cat that will help to control the mouse population in our compound, and we got a dog that will one day help our night guard to keep watch over the property.  We got them both on the same day.  The cat we named Azreal, after the cat from the Smurfs of course.  The dog we named Bella.  We had Bella for 4 days, and then one morning she didn't seem to be acting right.  By noon that day, she died.  It was disappointing, but just a couple of days later our night guard brought in a new puppy that was from a litter that was born at a neighbor's house.  This one we named Rhodie, and thankfully she is still alive.

The kids with Azreal and Bella (before she died).
Millie with Rhodie (She is still alive
at the moment)

  • We are starting to explore the area on our own more.  We went on a day adventure with just our family to a waterfall that is only about 12 miles away from where we live, and then after that went to have dinner in Jinja, which is a city located on Lake Victoria, and at the source of the Nile River.

Our trip to Sezzebwa Falls

  • We were able to attend our first two wedding celebrations here in Uganda.  Both of the weddings were at True Vine Church.  The first one was a mass wedding that involved 6 couples.  We only lasted through the first 2 hours of the service with the kids, then we took them home for naps, and went back for the reception at the school.  It was huge!  They had such a big celebration with so many people.  It was amazing.  The second wedding was smaller, but still huge compared to what we are used to.  It was for one of the assistant pastors at the church.  After the ceremony, the whole wedding party came to our house to take pictures.  Then we all went to attend their reception.  It was great, at least it was big.  We couldn't understand most of what was going on.  The food was all local and really tasty.

The Mass Wedding.  There are 6 couples at the table,
there just wasn't a time when people weren't in the way to see them.

Us with Pastor Abraham and his bride!

  • Andrew is getting back into coaching soccer.  There is a large soccer tournament that is happening on the west side of Kampala just after Christmas.  We have met with the leaders of the organization that puts on the tournament.  Andrew asked them if he could enter a team of boys from Victor's Junior Christian School in Mukono, and they agreed.  For the last several weeks Andrew has been working with a group of 14 boys to enter the U15 division of the tournament.  The boys and the staff at the school have been very appreciative of the training, and everyone is excited to see how the boys do.  This past Friday the boys left the school and went to their homes to spend the holidays.  They will be back on the 27th of December.  The tournament is Dec. 28-Jan. 3.

Andrew with the U15 boys team he will be taking
to the Christmas Camp in Kampala

  • We celebrated our 9th Anniversary on Nov. 29th.  Some young ladies from the church babysat the kids and we were able to go into Kampala and have some valuable time with just the two of us.  We hung out, had some coffee, and ate at a wonderful Korean/Japanese Restaurant in Kampala called Miso.  They had really good sushi that we enjoyed very much.

Us enjoying a wonderful dinner at Miso.

  • The next project for the PUR International/True Vine partnership has started.  We are building a Chicken House on the property of the school in order to provide eggs to supplement the diet of the children.  The house will hold 2,000 to 3,000 chickens.  The school provides meals for the children, but they don't get much protein in their diet.  They also have the need for more vegetables.  In January we have 2 interns and a farmer coming to help us build a large garden of raised beds next to the school so that we can raise veggies for the children as well.

Ivan helping to level out the dirt for the floor of the chicken house.

Putting up the poles to start the frame of the chicken house.

  • We are excited for January!  We will be finishing the Chicken House and getting our first batch of chicks.  We will be receiving our first two official interns, Tanner from ND and Shelby from NC.  We will be attending a local training for "Farming God's Way", and starting the garden for the school.  Then in February we will be helping with planting season, and hosting another team from ND.

As you can see, we are staying busy.  We have a lot going on, but we are enjoying every minute of it.  We will keep everyone updated as things continue to progress.  We thank God for the way that he continues to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together.  We are learning as we go.  Thank you to all of you who support us financially, and for everyone that is keeping up with us on Facebook and the like.  We Love you guys!  We are so thankful for this season of our life.  We are experiencing so many wonderful things as a result of being a part of what the Lord is doing through this partnership.  We are so grateful for the new friends and many memories we are making during our time here.  We know that it is only a season, and we hope to make the most of it each day we are here.  Once again, if you would like to help support us financially, you can do so online by Clicking Here.

Merry Christmas from Uganda!  Stay warm everybody.
I know we are!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Laying the Foundation

The first team to come to Uganda from Williston, ND
The partnership between PUR International and True Vine Christian Ministries has officially begun.  This week (Oct 29-Nov4) we have hosted the first team of Americans from North Dakota to come and complete two projects that True Vine was in need of.

The first night after the team arrived,
the leadership of True Vine fed us
an Amazing meal with local food.
The first project was to build a pit latrine for a village church near Lugazi.  The foundation of the latrine had been laid before our men arrived, and then with our help, the walls and roof were added.  After completing the latrine the pastor of the church named Peter, and several of the church members showed their appreciation for our help.  We then gathered together to pray over each other, the latrine, and the continued partnership between us.

Beginning the walls of the latrine.
This was a great experience.  The church there currently meets in a building that they rent from a local school.  They do have their own land that they plan to build a shelter on, but the pit latrine was the first priority.  Now that it is there, the next step is to build the shelter, and then they will be able to use that land for their church gatherings.  This is something that we plan to help them with in 2018.

The finished product.
The second project that was completed this week was to build new desks for True Vine's school named Victor's Junior Christian School.  Through money that was raised in our "Foundation Trip" campaign on the website we were able to provide materials for the pit latrine and for 30 new desks to be built.  We were excited to do this project for them, and in fact they were used immediately the next day as students were taking their final exams for the term.

In both of these projects our role was to provide funding, and to help where we could.  The role of the Ugandan's was to instruct us, supervise, and work along side us.  In reality, they do not lack the man power to accomplish these projects, but they do lack the funding.  We are not approaching them with the desire to take over their projects.  We believe they need to be able to take ownership of it.  We also do not desire to just hand them the money.  We want to foster a relationship, and a partnership that goes beyond just funding.  This is more than a sponsorship program.  We are working together, and it is Awesome!

Working to put the desks together.
We have had so much fun working with Ugandan's this week.  Any time we rub shoulders with someone that is very different from us there is the temptation for our differences to take center stage, but when we have a heart to serve one another, we allow the things we have in common to take priority, and we overlook our differences to work together and appreciate each other.  There is so much we can learn in that process.  There is nothing like it, and it is the main purpose in us being here.

Several of the guys from North Dakota with the
desks, and some of the school children
Thank you again to all of you that are helping us in this mission.  We have many other projects that we want to complete throughout the year of 2018.  We will be scheduling some trips that people can sign up for, but we also want to extend the invitation out to anyone that would be able to bring their own team of 5 or more.  If you have a team to bring, we will give you a list of projects to choose from that we can do with your team, and work it out to be done during the time when your team can come.

Some of the projects that we are currently aware of that we would like to have teams come and work with us on are:
  • Painting the outside of Victor's Junior Christian School
  • Building a Chicken House on the School's property
  • Building the village church next to the pit latrine that we helped to build
  • Putting tarmac down on the parking lot at the school
  • Planting a garden of raised beds on land near the school for feeding students
  • Building other pit latrines at the homes of needy families
  • Putting up a fence on a piece of land where they would like to raise goats
These are all projects that we could work on any time during the year of 2018.  We invite you to pick one, decide on dates, recruit your team, and come serve with us.  We will be right beside you every step of the way.  With each 10 day trip we plan to have 3 days of service work, and at least 1 day of "touristy" type activities.  The cost of a trip varies depending on plane ticket prices, but all trips cost around $4,000 per person.  We will help with fundraising through our website, and we will help with all of the planning and preparation.  When in country, we will take care of all of your needs including transportation, lodging, food, and everything you will need while serving.

If you are interested in bringing a team,  Contact Us today!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Developing Partnership

Mukono is a town east of Kampala
and about half way to Jinja

Over the last couple of months since we posted our first blog, and launched our non-profit organization PUR International, a lot has been happening.  Everyone on our team has been spreading the word about what we are planning.  We have several running campaigns for widowed families in the States, a campaign to raise funds for the devastating flooding in Costa Rica, and we have hit the ground running here in Uganda.

Here are some important events that have happened in the last couple of months:

  • Ricky and our friend Ken from MT came to Uganda to start getting the house ready for the Kanagy's to live, and for future teams.
  • Several campaigns for widowed families, and the campaign for Costa Rica have been running on the website.
  • We have planned and run a campaign for our first team trip, "The Foundation Trip", which will be at the end of this month (October).
  • The Kanagy's officially moved to Mukono, Uganda, and are doing further preparations for life in Uganda, and for hosting teams.

True Vine's Church building in Mukono

True Vine's school in Mukono

A lot of work has went into all that has happened up to this point, and there is much work to be done as we continue to pursue the dream that the Lord has put into our hearts.  So many different people have played a part so far in helping to make this dream become a reality.  Over and over the Lord has been speaking to our hearts the idea of Partnership.  The members of the PUR International team have partnered with each other to figure out what roles and responsibilities we need to fill.  We are partnering with the ministry here in Mukono called True Vine to help us to navigate the ins and outs of life and ministry in Uganda, and to make preparations for future projects.  Many other people have made the decision to support what we want to do, and take partner with us in whatever way they can.

True Vine's Medical Clinic in Mukono

We need your support.  You can join with us to make a positive impact in the lives of others.  One of the biggest reasons this Adventure is so exciting to us is because it is an opportunity to join hands with so many people to accomplish more good than any of us could on our own.  What is your passion?  What are you gifted at?  You can add a piece to this puzzle that no one else can.  You have something special to offer that will add an element of beauty to this whole experience for everyone that is involved.  Like I said, we need you.  Some can contribute through their communication on social media, and through conversations with friends.  Some can contribute through prayer, and by making donations to a trip or campaign on our website.  Some can contribute by organizing a campaign for PUR Compassion or joining a PUR Service Team Trip.  If you are interested in how you can get involved Contact Us!  Be sure to let us know what your interests/gifts are.  If you have some idea of how you would like to get involved, let us know.  There are several campaigns that are currently running on the website to raise financial support for widowed families, our first team trip to Uganda, and for the devastation from flooding in Costa Rica.  You can view them on Our Website.

During this first trip to Uganda we will be working with True Vine to plan out PUR Service trips for the whole year of 2018.  We have two trips already scheduled that you are welcome to sign up for.  We have a trip during the very end of December and beginning of January 2018 in which we will be working with an organization known as Watoto Wasoka to organize a soccer tournament that will host, lodge, and feed over 2,000 children from the slum areas of Kampala, Uganda.  We also have a trip coming during the second half of February in which we will be partnering with True Vine ministry to help them with their planting season.  We also have a Medical Outreach Trip coming up in April.  You can view all of these on our Upcoming Trips Page.  If you are interested in any of these, contact us today.
The Beautiful house where we will be hosting teams.
I know, it's not the mud hut you expected.

The last thing to mention at this point in the adventure is that we, the Kanagy family, are in need of any financial support that you can give.  We have been in contact with so many of you over the last few months communicating what we are doing, and inviting you to come along with us.  We have a beautiful house and two vehicles that have been provided for us here in Uganda, but we will be relying on financial support from our friends and family for our everyday personal expenses such as medical needs, food, fuel, and other household expenses while we are not hosting teams.  We are very fortunate to have the things provided for us that we do.  Our financial needs are not huge.  The cost of living here is quite low compared to the US, but we still cannot sustain a living here without people like you donating to support us through the PUR website.  If you are able to give please Click Here and donate today.

Thank you for your support!

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Vision Becoming Reality

Andrew, Heidi, Becca, Ricky, Joe

The picture above was taken in Entebbe, Uganda in November of 2016.  The five us in the picture are good friends who had traveled to Uganda from North Dakota.  The purpose of our trip was the same purpose we live each day with, to love God and love people.  We had the hope that there might be something we could get involved with, but we did not know exactly what that might look like.  We thought maybe we could get involved with supporting an orphanage, or providing jobs through farming, or connecting with a non-profit organization that was in need of volunteers.  We were amazed at what we found.

Ricky and Francis from Watoto Wasoka
The people of Uganda, while generally poor, are profoundly resourceful.  They are able to do so much with so little.  The first non-profit organization, or NGO, that we met with was called Watoto Wasoka.  It is an organization that supports the children from the slum areas of Kampala through organizing soccer or, as they more correctly call it, football leagues, tournaments, camps, and workshops.  Through the activities of Watoto Wasoka children learn hygiene, they are given exposure that results in scholarships for schooling, during the camps they are given food and a place to stay for a week, and at every activity the kids just have a great time.  

At their annual Christmas Camp, they host over 2,000 kids from all over the country.  They also do another major tournament in May, they organize a primary schools league, and hold workshops on school campuses year round.  They do all of this with 2 full-time staff, and a budget of less than $15,000 a year.  We had the privilege of sitting and visiting with the staff, Francis and Kennedy, and hearing about all they are doing, and some of what they hope to do in the future.  They are both young men in their mid twenties who were raised in the slums themselves.  They are smart, humble, and very passionate about what they do.  It was an honor to meet them.

True Vine Church Service in Mukono 
The next NGO that we visited was an organization called True Vine Christian Ministries.  Our contact for True Vine was a man named Adam, who 3 of us had known since 2006. This is an organization that has a local church in Mukono Town, Uganda of which Adam is the lead pastor.  We visited the church the first Sunday that we were in country.  After church Adam had us meet with a man named Richard who told us all about their organization, and then gave us a tour.  Again, we were amazed by what we saw and heard.  They have a network of over 200 other churches throughout the country.  They operate a primary school with over 600 students, a medical clinic that provides care for their students and the local public, and three farms that are used to grow crops for food and grow trees as an investment for their future.  They also have one orphan home with a house mother and 8 children.  Richard also shared with us some of the vision they have for other projects in the future.

Ricky, Pastor Adams, and Bishop Stephen
On our second day of visiting with Adam, and the leaders of True Vine, we met the founder of the Ministry, and Richard's father, Bishop Stephen.  He began our meeting by reading in Isaiah 61 the same prophetic word that Jesus reads in Luke that the Spirit of God will bind up the broken hearted, set the captives free, and bring liberty to the oppressed.  He continued to explain that this passage is what drives everything they do.  He was excited to meet us, and appreciative of our desire to get involved with them on some level, but he communicated very clearly to us that they have no intention of starting any projects that are not in line with their mission as outlined in Isaiah 61.  It was very clear to us that these people also are passionate about what they do, and that we share their heart to help the broken and hurting.

Joe with some boys at one of True Vine's farms
Becca with a boy from orphanage in Masindi
We visited two other NGO's while we were in Uganda.  One in Mbale, and one in Masindi.  Both were amazing NGO's that were run by native Ugandans.  Both are doing so much with the little they have.  Both are in need of any support we can give.  We were so encouraged by all we saw while we were in Uganda.  Yes, the need is great, and we cannot solve all of the problems there, but even the smallest amount that we are able to give them, or the very little that we are able to do for them, is sure to go a long way.  They have few resources, but they are so efficient with the resources they have.  The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is expected.  We in the United States have been given much.  We want to be good stewards of what we have been given.  We are encouraged to see the potential of how far our resources can stretch to do good in a country like Uganda.

We took that trip last November.  That was almost 9 months ago.  Since then, the five of us have been working to start something that we believe has the potential to do more good than we can imagine.  Today is the day that we will launch our website, and our nonprofit organization known as PUR International.  The name comes from James 1:27 which says that Pure and Undefiled Religion looks like caring for orphans and widows in their time of need.  Our organization will be raising funds to support families that have lost their father/husband here in the the United States.  We will also be raising funds and sending teams of volunteers to support different projects and NGO's in Uganda.  We will have a team that will be based in Uganda that will host teams that come over.

Andrew and Heidi will be your hosts in Uganda

Check out our website today at:

There you can donate to a widowed family in need, donate to an upcoming project in Uganda, sign-up for a trip to Uganda, or donate to a team that is already scheduled to go.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Expect more to come as our organization continues to grow and develop.

The PUR Intl. Team