Friday, May 25, 2018

Answering the Call

We found a great hike right from our home that overlooks the
whole town of Mukono.  Ivan says he is practicing for
when he climbs Mr. Everest.

What is "The Call" of God for the life of a Christian?  For us, we believe the answer to that question is simple, "to Love God and Love People." (Mark 12:29-31)  We also believe that it is possible to do that no matter who you are, what you do for a living, how much stuff you have, or where you are in the world.  We did not have to come to Uganda to fulfill that call.  We do not need to have financial support to fulfill that call.  So why are we here?  Why do we ask for the financial support?

To answer the first question:  Well, the opportunity came, we got excited about it, we prayed about it and didn't sense any warnings from God, so we did it!  Since making the decision, there are many things that have happened that confirm to us that God is in support of our decision.  Many people have been and will continue to be Blessed and Encouraged as we remain obedient to the call of Loving God and Loving People.

To answer the second question:  It is true that we could not be here without financial support.  We also would not be able to do the projects/service team trips without the donations that come in to support those things.  As a result of those generous donations we have been able to some incredible things here that have benefited, and will continue to benefit the lives of Ugandans.

This was the group of local guys that were hired to help us get the garden
in shape for planting.  Our projects are providing jobs to people here
every day.

In just over 6 months since we arrived, there is a long list of projects/trips that we have been able to accomplish.  We are so grateful to ALL of the support we have received, and for everyone that has been involved in any way no matter how big or small.  Here is a rundown of what has been going on during our first 6 months here:
  • Oct. 9, 2017-  We arrived as a family in Uganda.  We spent the first couple of weeks getting moved in to our new home, getting a feel of the community where we were now living, and being introduced to the new people we would be interacting with on a daily basis.
  • Oct. 28-Nov. 4- We had our first team come.  It was a team of guys from North Dakota who worked with us to build 30 new desks for Victor's Junior Christian School, and to build a pit latrine for a village church.
  • November- We continued to grow into our community.  We attended a couple of weddings.  We became more involved at the church.  Heidi began homeschooling.  Andrew began coaching soccer at the school.  We got a cat and a dog.
  • Dec. 4- We started construction on the Chicken House project at the school.
  • Dec. 25- We had our first Christmas in Uganda, and were able to share it with Pastor Adam Kawooya and his family.
  • Dec. 28-Jan. 3- These were the dates of the "Christmas Camp" soccer tournament that Andrew took the team from Victor's to.
  • Jan. 8- We had 3 more come and join us from the States.  John stayed about a week to help us get the gardens started.  Tanner and Shelby were here to stay with us for several months.
  • January- We spent most of our time getting the garden ready for planting, and putting the greenhouse up.  Heidi helped the pastor's wife deliver a baby.  Her and Shelby both got to speak at a youth conference.  Tanner began singing at church and teaching guitar lessons.  The baby chicks arrived on the 29th.
  • February- We did more work in the gardens.  We gathered mulch, continued to break up the dry ground, and set up drip-lines.  Heidi was able to help in the delivery of another baby.  The school students came back from the holiday break.  Andrew worked with the administration of the school to enter a soccer team into a local league.  He also started a 12 week Bible class both in the village of Kyajja and at the church in Mukono.
  • Feb. 25-Mar. 3- Another team from North Dakota came for about a week to work with True Vine and make decisions about our partnership with them.  We did our last minute garden preparations before the rains came.  We did some soil testing, and had many planning meetings.
  • March- We spent most of our time with planting in the garden.  Shelby's dad came to stay with us and help us for 3 weeks.  The soccer team had games each weekend.  We worked on completing all of our immigration paperwork so that we all have legal permits rather than visas.  We were able to attend our first official Introduction ceremony for pastor Adam's sister.
  • April 4- Shelby and her father went back to NC.
  • April 9-18- Another team from from North Dakota to help with our first medical camp.  They brought with them $4,000 of medical supplies, hundreds of pillow case dresses for girls, and hundreds of washable sanitary napkins for young women.  We handed out the sanitary napkins to the girls at Victor's.  We conducted a 3 day medical camp that gave free treatment to over 1,000 people in need of medical care.  We handed out the dresses to girls in one of the villages where we did the camp.  The men helped to build a pit latrine and wash room for a widow and her family.  We did medical training, CPR training, and sewing training.  It was a hugely successful trip with many lives being touched.
  • Since then, the students at the school have gone on another holiday break.  Tanner went back to ND for the summer.  Andrew finished the Bible classes he was doing.  Heidi and the kids are back to a more normal routine with homeschooling.  We have been harvesting things out of the garden.  So far we have been selling everything we harvest in order to build up a savings account for the garden so that the ministry will be able to sustain it without continuous input of finances.
Margie came to help us harvest.  We harvest on Fridays, and take
the produce to the market.  In this picture we have a load of
Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens, Beets, Carrots, Bell Peppers,
and Onions.
This is what the garden looks like right now.  We still have a lot to harvest!

Beyond of all of those tangible/visible things that we have been doing and been involved with, there are many relationships we have been able to develop with so many different people here.  It has been a joy.  There have been challenges and frustrations.  Most of those stem from cultural differences.  Still, we feel Blessed to be here, and we believe many have been Blessed as a result of us being here.  Thanks so much to all those that have helped to make it possible for use to be here.

Andrew was able to attend the burial for one of the ushers
at church.  He was a well loved man.  In this picture
those who attended are praying for the man's heir
and his sister.  Both attend Victor's

We have purposed to spend 2 years here in Uganda, and to make the most of it.  We have been pretty busy since we have been here, and we have much that we are still planning.  There will be another soccer league for the students at Victors this term.  We plan to enter two teams this time, an older one and a younger one.  Andrew is preparing for another 12 week Bible class on the book of Romans.  We have seedlings that will soon be ready to start growing tomatoes in the greenhouse.  The chickens will be starting to lay eggs next month.

Here's the latest picture of the chickens.  It won't be long now!!

On top of all those things, we have planned 7 new projects/team trips over the course of the next year.  For each of these projects we are inviting people to Sign Up and come to Uganda to help us.  We are also setting up Fundraiser Campaigns on the PUR website so that we can collect donations towards the cost of each project.  Below is a list of the projects/trips that we have planned along with the cost of each.  There are already campaigns set up for the first 3 on the list so that we can begin collecting donations for those.  We also have room for people to sign up for any of the trips.
For each of those trips, the cost to come to Uganda and serve with us is $1,000 per person plus the cost of air-fare and travel documents.  The two exceptions to that are the Parking Lot trip and the Medical Camp trip.  Both are longer trips with more expensive projects, therefore the cost is $1,500 plus air-fare for those trips.  We plan to do each of these projects during these times no matter who we have come from the US to help us, as long as we are able to raise the funds.

This is Elijah.  He is one of those that came for treatment at the Medical Camp.
He had some kind of insect bite that was not treated, and was infected.
If it wasn't for the camp, and for our team, this boy would have lost his foot.

We do have other opportunities for people to come and serve with us.  We have already had 2 interns come and work with us.  If you are interested in that, we would love to talk to you about that.  If there is a specific area of expertise that you would love to use to invest in the people of Uganda, please contact us and we will figure out how to make this a reality.  The people here, especially the ministry we are working with are very receptive and appreciative to any help we can give them in whatever form we have available.

This is our family along with both of our interns while they were here.
They were such a great help to us.  Thanks Tanner and Shelby!
Tanner plans to be back in September.

We also have several other projects that we would like to do, but have not yet planned trips for.  We are hoping to be able to build a church in the village of Kitola during the summer of 2019.  For that we hope to connect with a church group from the US that would be interested in sending a team to complete that project with us.  

This is from the pit latrine that we built with the first team that came.
The area in front of the latrine, where the trees are, is the area
where the church in Kitola will be built.

We have smaller projects at Victor's Junior Christian School that we would like to do.  The ministry offers reduced tuition and even free tuition to many needy students and orphans.  It is supposed to be a business that helps support the rest of the ministry, but there is very little profit margin.  As a result, much of the school has not been updated in years.  We would like to help with some of the renovations that are needed such a windows, perimeter fence, paint, etc.  These can be worked on at any time with the help of anyone who would like to come.  If we are not able to get to them during the next year, we will plan to do them during the summer of 2019.

Here's Heidi being goofy with a group of the girls from Victor's School.

Lately Millie has been my little helper in the
garden.  She asks to go with me every time.

As always, we appreciate any funds you are able to give to support these projects.  If you are able to come to Uganda and experience this adventure with us, we would be excited to see you, and to help make your experience unforgettable.  We love doing these projects, and we love helping the people here, but we also love hosting teams and allowing others to take part in this experience that we are living every day.  If you are at all interested, or have any questions at all, please Contact Us today on Facebook, or email us at

Love you all!

Andrew, Heidi, and the Kids