Thursday, March 15, 2018


"The Lion of Judah"
My strength and my shield.
My ever present help in time of need.

What are we (PUR International) doing in Uganda?  What is our purpose?  What is our goal?  The defining verse for our organization comes from James 1:27a that says, "Pure and Undefiled Religion is to care for orphans and widows in their time of need."  That is what PUR stands for.  That is our goal.  In all of the projects/plans that we have, that goal is in our mind.  We are seeking to do that through the fundraiser campaigns on our website, and through the projects/volunteer opportunities that we have here in Uganda.

Overall, we have been amazed at how well things have gone.  In less than 4 months we were able to fund the building of a chicken house that now houses over 2,000 chickens, start two large vegetable gardens, install a greenhouse for tomatoes and peppers, and host a team that was able to build desks for the school and a pit latrine for a village church.  We have become part of a community in which we are able to employ several people, be involved with the church through Bible teaching, be involved at the school through soccer coaching, and begin building relationships in which we can share the Love that God has given us.  We have also hosted 2 wonderful interns that are having the experience of a lifetime living and serving along side of our family.

A picture showing a small section of the garden
with the greenhouse in the background.  We have
most of the garden planted and mulched.  We will
be getting the greenhouse ready for planting next week.
Our interns Tanner and Shelby working with Cyprian and Emma
our Garden Manager and Assistant Manager.  Here they are working
on the bed where we have been raising seedlings.  You can't go to
Wal-Mart and pick them up here in Uganda. 

We made it through our first 4 months here with very little opposition.  This last month however, has brought with it some challenges we did not expect.  During the second week of February someone crawled under the fence we have around the garden, they cut a hole in the side of the greenhouse, and stole a bunch of our garden equipment that we had inside.  The third week in February we began preparations for the arrival of 3 of our partners from North Dakota who were coming during the last week of February to plant 50 acres of maize (corn).  As we began moving forward with that plan in mind, we found that our plan did not match the plan that True Vine had.  This caused some disappointment and disagreement on both sides of the partnership.  The men from ND still came, and we worked through some the issues between us and True Vine, but we were not able to accomplish what we had hoped to accomplish.

Over the past few weeks we have learned many things about True Vine that we did not know before.  Several of those things were negative.  We have lost a lot of trust in our relationship with them.  So what do we do with that?  Do we stop working with them and try to do our own thing?  Do we find someone else to work with?  As we have searched for the answers to those questions, we have been lead back to our purpose and our goal, James 1:27a.  No ministry, organization, or outreach program is perfect because they are run by people.  We are not here to do our own thing.  We want to help established organizations that are already helping people.  We want to help them gain the potential to help even more people.  The bottom line is that no matter what issues True Vine has, they are helping people.  We are called as Christians to Love God and Love People.  God is perfect, but people are not.  God does not give up on us, and we should not give up on others.  We need to be wise, but we also need to be gracious and merciful.

We have partnered with True Vine because of the potential that they have to minister to the needs of people here in Uganda.  Since we have been here we have seen and experienced that, and that is why we are here.  We would like to introduce you to some of the amazing people that we have been Blessed to be in relationship with through our involvement here in Uganda:

This is Pastor Adams Kawooya.  He is the pastor of the church we attend.
  Heidi, Ricky, and Becca have known Adams since 2006.  He is a faithful
and loyal man with a wonderful family.  We have spent much time with him
and his family.  Heidi was able to help with the delivery of their 5th child,
and they chose to give the little girl the name "Trust Heidi Mubeezi".

This is Rose.  She is one of the two ladies that cleans our home 3 days a week.
She is a member of True Vine church.  Her and her husband are both on the
worship team.  They have 2 children of their own, but as with most families here
they support several other children that are from their extended family.  She
has a wonderful smile as you can tell, and a very "Spunky" personality.

This is Ruth.  She stays with us.  She helps with the cooking, meal planning, and
market shopping.  She has been a wonderful addition to our family.  She is very
good with the kids, and with the interns.  We all love her very much.  She has a
laid back personality, and may seem shy at first, but she is one of those strong silent
types.  She is a strong confident woman.  Her strength comes from her relationship
with God.  She has had a tough life, but God has been faithful to her.

This is Susan.  She is the other lady that comes to clean our home 3 days a week.
She also works as a dorm mother for the boarding students at Victor's Junior
Christian School.  Her husband passed away several years ago, and she now
lives on the grounds at Victor's with 6 of her 7 children.  She is one of the sweetest
people we have ever met.  She is wonderful with children and has such a meek and
peaceful spirit about her.  Before she came to work in our home she only had the income
from Victor's to support her family, and all of her children were being cared for by
other family members because she did not have the means to support them.  Along with
True Vine, we have worked together to help make it possible for her to be able to have her
children go to school at Victor's and live there with her.

This is Apale (Charles).  He belongs to a tribe from Northern Uganda called Arua. 
He is ourGardener.  He takes care of the grounds at the property where we stay. 
He worksat our home during the day, and is a security guard at night.  He sleeps
when he can.  He has a wife and little girl that still live in Arua, and he stays here
in Mukono because there is more opportunity for work.  He sends them money each
month to support them.  He always has a wonderful smile and is a very faithful worker.

This is Atibo (Michael).  He is from the Arua tribe as well, so he and Apale are
tribal "Brothers".  He is our security guard by night, and our gatekeeper by day.
He is also our biggest connection to the neighborhood we live in.  He knows
everyone, and if you need anything done, he knows who to talk to.  He has been
such a valuable resource to us.  We are glad to be able to give him work and a salary.
He is an honest and faithful worker.  He has a girlfriend back in Arua that he plans to
marry next year.  He sends her and several younger brothers and sisters money each
month to support them and give them school fees.

Starting from the left, the Muzugu is Tanner.  He is our intern from North Dakota that came
for 10 days in November with a team, and then decided to come back again in January.  He
first said he would be here for 3 months, then changed it to 6, now he is saying he may stay
for even more than that.  We have enjoyed having him here with us so much.  He has been very
involved with the other young people at church and has been teaching guitar lessons on a daily
basis both at church and at our home.  Beside him is Emma.  He has the biggest smile of any person
I've ever met, and is one of the hardest workers I've ever met.  He works as the assistant to the garden
manager, and he also coaches the soccer team at Victor's and organizes volleyball games.  Next to Emma
is Cyprian.  He is our garden manager.  He has a diploma in Agriculture and is enjoying the chance to
put all of his knowledge to work.  He loves to experiment with new ideas and has been trying many new
gardening techniques to figure out what is going to give us the best yields.  The last guy is me.

This is Shelby.  She is our other intern.  She has also been with us since January.  She is from the
same area of North Carolina where my family lives.  I actually had her as a student when I was still
teaching in NC.  She has been such a joy to have.  She is not scared to get her hands dirty, and has been
willing to help us in any area we ask her to, including help with the kids as you can see.  The kids love her,
we all love her.  She will be greatly missed when she goes back home at the beginning of April.  It has been
encouraging to us to see how much she has grown spiritually during her stay with us.  She has expressed to us
many times how much she has appreciated her time here.  She is a great example of why we believe we
are here to minister just as much to the people that come to stay and serve with us, as to Ugandans.

There are many reasons we are here, and it is not up to know them all.  We are called to just be obedient to the tasks that we are given.  The things we are doing here we could do anywhere in the world, with any organization.  Here is where we are now, and we will do the most we can with what we have been given.  We thank God every day for the opportunity to be here, recognizing that our call is to Love God and Love people no matter where we are.  Every day we are faced with new experiences and new challenges.  Every day we are stretched in new ways.  These "new" things are not always comfortable, but they are always good for us when we have the desire to learn from them.  We pray to God each day to help us to keep that attitude, and to help us see things from His perspective.

We put up a couple of volleyball nets (wires) at the school.  The kids
love them, and the staff does too.  There is someone playing on them
whenever classes are not in session, rain or shine.
Tanner got the chance to test out his Boda-boda skills.
It was just a great picture I had to include.

Again, thank you all for continuing to follow our adventure, and for supporting us in whatever way you can.  We want to bring as many of you along with us as we can.  Please feel free to interact with us from your side too.  We send these things out into the internet hoping that we connect with you, but we also appreciate when you respond and connect with us.  The interaction is really good for us.  We are so far away from our friends and family, and we miss you guys.  We will stay in touch.  We appreciate your prayers.  We Love You!  Till next time.

The Kanagy's

We all got to take a 2 day break and go to Jinja to see some sights.
This is a picture of us at the Source of the Nile River.