I AM Family Ministries is a holistic care program that was initiated as a response to the overwhelming number of orphaned children and vulnerable women in Uganda whose lives had been devastated by Cholera outbreak and AIDS epidemic in 1999.
How we started: A sack of 50 kilograms of maize and another of rice fed the Lwakatale family of 13 for a month. The father, Ponsiano Lwakatale, a pastor in Kampala, Uganda, took note of each grain.
When cholera swept the Lwakatales’ neighborhood in 1998, their youngest daughter, Omega, 8, began sneaking scoops of maize and rice to her friend whose father had died from the disease.
At the end of the month, the Lwakatales were short of food and the father, discovering that Omega had been sneaking it out, was angry. As he was about to punish Omega, she said, “If you beat me for giving to the needy can you still be a pastor?”
Her words halted her father. “It was an eye-opener for him that there was so much bigger need outside our family.”
Omega’s little question and her father’s reaction sparked the beginning of something that has become truly special, including:
• An organization that helps orphans and widows in their Kampala community and beyond.
• A children’s choir that travels the world to raise awareness about the plight of underprivileged children in Africa.
• A church focused on changing the community for Christ by nurturing God-fearing leaders of tomorrow.
Today I AM Family Ministries serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
Our vision is to nurture honest God-fearing leaders of tomorrow, and provide for five basic needs of each child that He brings us: food, shelter, clothing, education, and parental love.
God: I AM Family Ministries is a Christian organization. We believe in the one God. We believe in the Trinity. We believe within the nature of the one true God there are three co-equal, co-eternal, co-loving persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus: We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. We believe Jesus lived a perfect life and shed His blood for our sins by dying on a cross. We believe Jesus rose bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven.
Salvation: We believe that all who put their faith in Jesus and repent from their sins will have eternal life in heaven with God.
The Bible: We believe that God speaks to us through His Bible – both Old and New Testaments. The Bible is without error in its original writings and authoritative in guiding our faith.
Rev. Ponsiano Lwakatale was born in 1941 in Uganda. He accepted the Lord in 1965. Ponsiano and his wife Susan got married in 1971 and they had ten biological and 3 adopted children. Together, pastor Ponsiano & Susan Lwakatale founded I AM Family Ministries in 1998.
When the first missionaries of the Evangelical church came to Uganda in the 60’s to preach the gospel, Uganda was still under the British rule and many people believed in witchcraft. The Late Ponsiano Lwakatale was among the first converts to join the Evangelical Bible School.
After Bible school, he preached the gospel, taught many Africans and helped plant over 1600 churches. Unfortunately, after Uganda’s Independence, the Evangelical Church suffered terrible persecution during the Muslim reign of Idi Amin.
In 1978, Idi Amin’s soldiers stormed Pr Ponsiano’s home church, arresting him and other Christians. The church was closed down. Pr Ponsiano was put in prison and was to be executed. The record shows that Idi Amin killed over half a million people during this period of persecuting the church.
By God’s grace, Pr Ponsiano survived the arrest and continued to serve underground despite all the trials and tribulations. After the fall of Idi Amin, the church was restored.
But the war and ten years of Idi Amin devastated so many lives, and many children and women were left desperate, homeless and orphaned. Pr Ponsiano realized that the gospel of words was not enough; compassionate action was needed to help these vulnerable children and widows. When I AM Family Ministries started in 1998, our intention was to take the gospel of Christ outside the 4 walls of the church and reach out to single mothers and the needy and orphaned children.
“I AM Family is all about giving needy children and widows a new hope. We want to show them that the Lord loves them, He is the father of the fatherless, and He has a plan for their lives. We just want to be His instruments to help them have a future and a hope”. – Pastor Ponsiano Lwakatale.