Tuesday, December 25, 2018

God is Good!

Hello again from PUR International in Uganda!  We have had a very busy and productive month.  We have had the Waitman family with us from North Dakota and Hallie and Jess Clark from Alaska.  60 more care packages were distributed to needy families.  We held a basketball camp for 80 kids where they received new shoes, a jersey, and 4 days of free meals.  We have also been able to share Christmas with several different families as well as some of our own family.  We can't help but say, God is Good!  None of this would happen without Him.  He deserves all the credit.  We see His hand in everything we are doing, and we are continually amazed.

At the very beginning of this month, Heidi was able to travel with some of the leadership of Girls of Destiny Training Center to a village where they handed out many sanitary pads that they had sewn to girls from needy homes.

On December 5th, the Waitman's arrived!  For those that do not know, Becca is Heidi's sister, and Ricky and Becca are the founders of PUR International.  They have 4 children, Israel, Bergen, Ireland, and Finn.

On December 10th, Hallie and Jess Clark arrived.  Jess has led the effort to raise money for both the basketball camp and care packages that we have been delivering.  Hallie and Jess hit the ground running.  The day after they arrived we had a day of distributing packages.

From there we started the basketball camp at Nation Changers Primary School.  We had planned on having 60 campers, and ended up with 80.  We had to adjust some things, but everything worked out perfectly.  We still had plenty of shoes to make sure that every player got one, and everyone had a wonderful time.  The young players and the Ugandan coaches learned a lot of new skills and drills, and had a lot of fun in the process.

After camp, the day before Hallie and Jess needed to get back on a plane, we had one more full day of delivering care packages.  We delivered packages in the village where we hosted the basketball camp.  We had a meal with the local church congregation, and then went with them to deliver the packages within the community.

The trip for Hallie and Jess was so full, and so productive.  We are so grateful to all of their effort.  They have played a huge part in impacting the lives of so many people here in Uganda.  This Christmas was so much brighter for so many families here who had plenty of food to give to their families.

The day after Hallie and Jess left, the Waitman's and the Kanagy's headed to two nights on safari at Murchison Falls National Park.  We all had a great time and saw many many animals.  We couldn't leave Africa without taking some time to see this beautiful place.

We did have some frustration when our van broke down while in the national park.  We had to have someone drive mechanics from the town where we live.  We rode home in a different vehicle and our mechanics stayed to fix the van and bring it back.  We all made it back to Mukono fine, and were able to share Christmas Eve with three other families.  Heidi did such a great job making sure all of the children got presents that they needed.

Christmas morning we woke up and had Christmas together with the Waitman's.  It was such a Blessing to have family here with us for such a special time.  God truly has been so good to us.  We are so grateful.  We are so honored to play a part in all of this.  

There are SOOOOOO many people who have chosen to join us in the effort to be a blessing to others through this channel known as PUR International.  That is what we want everyone to see PUR International as.  It is nothing more than a channel, with a label.  It is a pathway to connect people that desire to give, with people that are in need.  The money is nothing more than a tool.  We do not desire to have the attention go to the channel or to the tool.  The attention goes to people, relationships, experiences, giving, blessing, and ultimately the one who is the author of life itself.

God truly is so Good!  Thank you once again to everyone that has helped to make our time here possible.  We have about a month here remaining before we return to the US.  There are still many question marks about exactly what our life will look like after we move back, but we have peace in our hearts and trust that everything will work out great.  If you would like to give towards our family's expenses one last time to help with our moving and "restart" expenses that would be great.  Click Here to give towards our campaign.  We will be moving back to North Carolina, and then figuring out life from there.

2018 truly has been a great year.  Here's to the wonderful opportunities that are coming in 2019!!

God Bless You!!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Making the Most of It

As of today, Nov. 30, 2018, we have exactly two months remaining in Uganda before we go back to the US.  This past month has been one of the busiest months we have had, and next month is sure to be even busier.  During this month we helped to add two rooms onto a one room house for a widow and her family.  We hosted Brandon and Erica Kanagy.  Brandon helped Andrew with the home, and Erica volunteered at Victor's Junior Christian School and Girls of Destiny Training Center.  All of us worked with a village church to deliver 20 care packages to needy families that were funded by a community in Alaska.  In the middle of all of that, we also took some time to show Brandon and Erica some of the great tourist experiences Uganda has to offer!

Here is a recap of this past month using some of our pics:

This picture shows the original small one room home that Nalongo lived in
with her two daughters and her granddaughter.

This is Nalongo.  She prepared lunch for the workers each and every day
during the work.  She was so happy and excited.

This is Brandon in his element.  He got to help with mixing some of the cement
and some of the other stuff, but painting is his favorite.

This is the view of the house from the road just before it was painted.

This was taken after the home was finished.  Nalongo invited all of us to
come share a meal in her new home.

Erica is a children's librarian in NC, so she was invited to read some of her
favorite books to some of the younger students at Victors.
They enjoyed it so much!

Erica is also great at sewing.  She volunteered several days with the Girls of Destiny
Training Center where she showed them how to make a quilt.
This shows all of the supplies given with the 20 care packages.  Each package
cost $30 and supplied a bucket, a basin, cooking oil, soap, rice, beans,
maize flour, sugar, and salt.

We were so glad we were able to include our children as we
worked to deliver the care packages.  We were all able to
say a prayer over the people that were receiving.

All of the families were so happy to be given these simple gifts.
Many of them also needed medical attention which we were
not prepared for.  As we deliver more in December we will
be taking medical staff and medication with us.

We were joined by volunteers from the local church in the village to help
us hand out all of the packages.

We took one night and stayed at a guest house on Lake Victoria at a place
called Musana Camps.  It was gorgeous and fun!

We also took a day and went to Nile River Camp in Jinja.  It is right along
the Nile River and has paddle boarding, and a rope swing.
We were so grateful to have the time with Brandon and Erica.  We
all agreed that it would have been a lot harder to say goodbye
if we didn't know that we will be together again in 2 months.

This coming month of December we will be hosting Ricky and Becca Waitman and their family, as well as Jess and Hallie Clark from Alaska.  We will all be working together to conduct a Basketball Camp at Nation Changers Primary School.  We will also be working with other village churches to deliver 80 more care packages.  It will be busy, but we will be making some time to do some site seeing while the Waitman's are here with us as well.

We are still in the process of raising funds for the Basketball Camp and for Jess and Hallie's trip.  If you are interested in donating you can do so by Clicking Here.  Also, if you want to give to help support the Kanagy's any further as they transition back to the US to figure out life there, you can do so by Clicking Here.

We are so excited about everything we have been and are still able to do here in Uganda since we have been here.  We have been here just over a year, but we have been able to be involved in so many different things, and help so many different people in different ways.  Thank you so much to everyone that has helped to make this time for us possible.  May God Bless you richly!

Till Next Time, We Love You Guys!!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Time is Precious

We can feel our time here coming closer and closer to being over, but we are so happy to be busy doing what we came here to do, and to have more projects to do before we leave.  Through the help of many from here and from abroad, we have accomplished so much, and we still have more to do.

We have now been here in Uganda for over one year.  We arrived on October 9, 2017.  What a year it has been!  So many lives have been impacted as a result of our time here and the generous support from those that have given money, time, work, prayer, encouragement, etc.

During this year we have hosted teams of volunteers from the US, we have completed building projects for needy families, planted/harvested crops for children, started an egg laying operation for a local school, and conducted a medical camp that supplied treatment to over 1.000 people.

On top of that we helped to start a soccer program at the school that is still going, did 6 months of Bible teaching for church leaders from several village churches, helped to teach cooking skills to young ladies with little education, have begun supporting the 6 children of a widow who works both at the school and at our home, provide consistent jobs to 9 people and other work opportunities to countless others.

All of those are things that are more tangible.  There are so many intangible affects of our time here that include the relationships we have built with so many here, and the impact this time has had on our own family.  We are so grateful for all of this.  We have experienced and learned so much.

Thank you again to all those who have helped to make our time here possible, and to make it possible to accomplish all that we have been able to over the past year.

Now lets share some pictures from the past month along with captions that explain what we have been up to:

Our goal for this month was to build two pit latrines for widows in a
village about an hour from where we live.

These are the two young ladies that we built the latrines for.
The top one has a mud and stick structure in the woods to use before.
The other literally used a hole in the ground.  Neither had a decent
place to wash themselves.

These are pictures of the Jajas (grandmas) with their new latrines.
Each latrine is just behind their homes, has one stall, and one room
for washing.  Both latrines will benefit the ladies and their families.

The first picture here is an unfinished home that was being built by
one of the ladies sons before he died.  It has sat unfinished for over 17 years.
She has been staying in someone else's home.  We were able to finish her home.
Now she has a roof over her head that is her own.  She will live there along with
several members of her family.

The garden, greenhouse, and chicken house are still going strong.  The children
at the school are receiving more nutritious meals on a daily basis.  The children
are also very involved in helping with the garden and greenhouse.  These projects
provide wonderful opportunities for hands on learning and to take pride in knowing
they helped produce the food that goes on their plate.

Our friend who was making bricks at his home to raise some money has finished
the first round of bricks to be made.  These pictures show the final step where
the bricks are stacked into a huge oven where they are baked using fire wood.  After
they cooled down, they were ready to be sold.

We have had our intern Tanner back with us since early September.
It has been great having him here with us again.  He was a huge
help with the latrines, and the home we finished.

We had several visitors this month.  We had an evangelist from West Virginia and his
daughter that came over for dinner and a night of worship.  We also had another family come
stay with us for several days.  The parents are from Pennsylvania, the children are
Ugandan.  It was really great to share some time with these wonderful people.

We got to go into Kampala for a night with just the two of us.  While we
were there we attended a meeting where Andrew Wommack spoke.  He
is the founder of the ministry where both of us went to Bible School.  He actually
visited us at our home on the Monday after, but we regretfully didn't think about
taking any pictures while he was with us.

That pretty much sums it up.  Time is flying by now.  Next month we have Andrew's Brother Brandon and his wife Erica coming to stay with us.  While they are here we will be building two extra rooms onto the one room home of a local widow here in Mukono.  We are still short of our financial goal for that project.  If you wish to give towards that project, Click Here.  

Then in December we have Heidi's sister Rebecca, her husband Ricky, who are the founders of PUR, along with their whole family, coming to stay with us.  While they are here we will be doing a Basketball Camp at a local primary school, along with a mother and daughter that are coming to stay with us from Alaska.  If you would like to give to help with the expenses of that trip, Click Here.

Thanks again to everyone that supports us, gives towards these projects, and/or thinks about us while we are over here.  It isn't always easy, but it helps to know that we have friends and family back home that are keeping up with us.  We Love and miss you!

God Bless You!

Andrew, Heidi, Ivan, Margie, and Millie