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