Welcome to July in Uganda… Our kids are in school. The hot sun is high in the sky. The rains aren’t giving our farmers quite all the help they need.
And He is still on the throne.
Our God is good – all the time. Just ask these kids – and they will tell you…
Here are some of the great things going on with I AM Family Ministries and your kids!
We are so thankful to count you as Family! A lot has been going on with I AM Family Ministries in recent months, so grab yourself a cool drink and let’s get caught up with all the Family news!
As you can see, we are well into 2022, and… Sadly, no I AM Family Choir tour is planned this year. For reasons outside of our control – including ridiculous inflation in Uganda, the lingering threat of COVID-19, and incredibly long waits for appointments with the American Embassy in Kampala – we are praying that our children will be able to return to America maybe in late 2023. It’s all in God’s hands.
But while we wait, our kids continue to make music…From the young drummers and singers at I AM Academy in Wabinyira, to the big kids leading worship Sunday mornings at I AM Family Church, may our songs be a blessing to Him.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
1 Chronicles 16:9
Special News for our Check-Writing Sponsors
As you know, I AM Family Ministries’ work in Uganda is supported by a team of volunteers here in the United States. Today’s news primarily concerns our Finance Team…
Since our incorporation and designation as a 501c3 organization in 2014, our Finance Team has primarily worked out of a small office in Woodland Washington. The time has now come for I AM to move some of that operation from Woodland to our newest location in Arizona. Most of our donors remit payment through Paypal or with a credit/debit card, but for those of you who send checks, or electronic checks through your banking institution, please update your records with our new donations mailing address.
107 Lewis River Rd #321
Woodland, WA 98674
Our new donation address is:
5045 W. Baseline Rd, Suite A105 #426
Laveen, AZ 85339
Please send future donations to this new address. If it would help you, we would be happy to send you sticker-labels with this new address. To receive some, please click here to email your request.
Thank you so very much for your support!
We are so grateful for our sponsors who stand by us, our children, and our families, through thick and thin. We truly are living through a time in which we’re blessed to see God work miracles for us.
Just as God miraculously provided flour and oil for Elijah and the widow at Zarephath, He continues to provide for us. In recent months, we have watched prices skyrocket here in Uganda – over the last 7 months, a liter of gasoline has increased from 3,300 Ugx to 6,900 Ugx – more than double! – and it is still going up. Not surprisingly, fuel prices are impacting everything else.
(Ugx – Ugandan shillings – about 3,333 to a US dollar)
Over those same 7 months:
– A kg of sugar has gone from 1,800 Ugx to 4,000 Ugx
– A kg of beans has gone from 2,000 Ugx to 4,500 Ugx
This has created a dire situation among low-wage earners because they can no longer afford to feed their families. A month’s salary for a single mom cleaning houses is only about Ugx 100,000 (around $30). We’re all familiar with the term, “creative accounting” – in Uganda, that is an everyday reality.
Right now, If you can help us to support the most needy families with food and basic needs, your donation would be very much appreciated.
Unfortunately, among the costs that we see increasing are the school fees for all of our children. To all of our sponsors who so faithfully support a child (or several!) with education, food, medical care, and more, when we see where these increases leave us, we will communicate that with you. Thank you for continuing to stand with us through this challenging time. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. Thanks to you, our children are thriving. May God continue to bless you, as you are a blessing to so many!
Sponsorship Success Stories
Today’s sponsorship success story is about prayers answered with… college graduation!
Unlike America, Uganda is a country where families and students do not have to submit to formal education, and those who receive that education do not take it for granted. Education is a special gift.
According to https://wearerestless.org/2022/01/13/education-in-uganda-unlocking-the-future-potential/ (accessed 7/8/22):
“In Uganda, only one in four children who start primary school makes it to secondary school. Even when 90 per cent of children attend primary school, only about 40 per cent are literate at the end of primary school while less than 25 per cent complete secondary school.”
Furthermore, during Uganda’s COVID-imposed 22-month school lockdown, “According to a UNICEF Uganda report, it was estimated that only 10 per cent of primary and secondary school children had access to some form of alternative schooling.” (ibid.) Thanks to your faithful support, our I AM kids were among that 10 percent! Thank you!
Considering the challenges to education in Uganda… Remember that picture at the beginning of this newsletter, of all those handsome and beautiful I AM Family college students?
Thanks to your support, five of those students will be graduating from college in October!
* Susan Nimurungi
* Sheilah Kobusingye
* Tabitha Najingo
* Joy Natukunda
It’s a shame that she couldn’t be there when that group picture was taken, but it’s hardly a surprise. This is an amazing group of young people! They are a busy bunch! We’re sure that we will see her soon though… and she’ll definitely be there in October!
In October, this event will be a celebration for I AM Family Ministries. If you’ve ever considered visiting Uganda and your sponsored child, mid-October – specifically around October 14 – would be a fantastic time to be here – that’s when the party will be! Think about it. Pray about it. And know that you are not the only one considering making the trip – there are others just like you who are waiting to see if there’s someone else going that they could travel with… If you have questions, please reply to this newsletter – we would love to help you plan your special trip to Uganda!
Special Sponsorship Opportunities
Meet Evelyne Kisaakye. She is 18 years old, the oldest of 4 children being raised by one of our Wabinyira maize farmers. This young girl and her family expect that she will receive good results from her school exams, and hope and pray that she will be able to start college in the fall.
Evelyne’s maama, Margaret, is a leader among our Wabinyira maize farmers. She and I AM Family Executive Director, Barnabas Rwakatale, have worked very closely together through our I AM Agro-Farming project, providing land, tools, good seed and fertilizer, and training to enable local farmers to become self-sufficient. With help received through I AM’s program, these farmers are now generally able to raise enough corn to feed their families, plus sell the excess at the market.
Young Evelyne has grown up on the family farm, and as all who’ve lived that lifestyle know, the life of a farmer is not easy. In Uganda, as you can imagine, a farmer’s challenges are multiplied…
Among other things, this year, the rains that the farmers rely on in March-April to help give their crop a strong start hadn’t yet materialized when we visited. You can see the sorry state of Margaret’s field as her growing season began.
The rains eventually arrived in May but were short-lived and the dreaded maize caterpillar also affected most of our farmers’ gardens this season, including Margaret’s. The harvest was so little and of poor quality. Most of it was used to make silage for animals.
This means that farmers who planted maize early this year had a very bad season. We hope to make up for the losses next season, which starts in August.
When we visited Margaret and her family in early April, we were able to bless her with some basic groceries, soap, and the first of ongoing prayers for rain.
That’s when our prayers for educational support for Evelyne also began.
Our dear Evelyne is now completing her Senior 6 school year. She is 18 years old. Her dream is to help her family and her village by becoming a teacher. This educational program will require three years, two semesters each year, at $1600 per semester. Evelyne is a hard worker – it won’t be easy on her family if she goes away for college – they will miss her and the help she provides at home and on the farm. But what an opportunity this will be for her!
Might God be tugging at your heart to provide some, or all, of the support Evelyne will need to achieve her dream? If so, please contact us today: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-622-7779 if you would like to discuss the possibility. Thank you!
Christmas in June
It’s hardly a surprise that Kris Kringle and our I AM children know the truth… Christmas isn’t just a day – it’s a frame of mind! And thanks to Samaritan’s Purse, our kids got to celebrate an extra Christmas in June this year.
There’s nothing more precious than a group of sweet, smiling faces saying,
“Thank you, Samaritan’s Purse!”
And thank you all who took time to fill those shoe boxes!
I AM Academy
A few months ago we shared that, sadly, we had to close our I AM Academy school in Kampala. However, life at I AM Academy in Wabinyira Village has been bustling! There are now 265 children enrolled in our school, and that number is still growing. We believe there are 261 of them in this photo (although I confess, it’s likely that no one counted…). Of those 261 children, only 48 are fully sponsored.
When complete, our campus will support 400 students. We have another school building almost complete to provide for these children, and plans are in place to develop student dormitories, faculty housing, a church, and a medical clinic on site. Work on the school is progressing rapidly, and opportunities to lend a hand abound.
Our biggest need at the school right now is to build a dormitory so that some of our Kampala students can attend school in Wabinyira by February of 2023. Please visit https://iamfamily.org/i-am-academy/ to make a donation toward that dormitory building.
Might you know of a group who would like to come for a visit to work on some of these projects? What great fun it would be to help build facilities that will bless these children, their families, and their whole community! And for those who aren’t quite so skilled with construction – the children will obviously be blessed by your sponsorship to cover school expenses, uniforms, materials, food – meals at home and at school, medical care, and more. Opportunities abound!
During Sue Poland’s recent visit to I AM Academy, Daniel Mugerwa filmed and created a fantastic 5-minute video that will show you the school, the community, the vision, the children, and the opportunities there. Please watch it, pray about it, and then make plans to come and see for yourself…
We couldn’t do these things without you. We thank you, and our Wabinyira children thank you!
I AM Agro-Farm Initiative
During Sue’s recent Uganda trip, she and Barnabas truly enjoyed connecting with our Wabinyira maize farmers and the local coffee farmers. Like it is in America, farming is not just a job – it’s a lifestyle – and it’s not an easy one. Daily, farmers are challenged by weather, temperature extremes, drought, flooding, and pests of all shapes and sizes. In Uganda, add to that list the challenge of getting good quality seed and fertilizer, and it’s a wonder our farmers can make ends meet.
Thank you for supporting our I AM Agro-Farming families (https://www.facebook.com/groups/IAMFarming), financially and with your prayers.
This headline, from April 5, reports on a devastating insect threatening many areas in Uganda. Please pray that it spares our Wabinyira families.
We are Grateful for Guests in Uganda!
In his book, “The Vanishing American Adult”, author and Senator Ben Sasse encourages travel to help us see and learn the difference between “need” and “want”. He encourages us to take our children and travel, and “experience” rather than “tourist”, to really connect with those around us, and to learn empathy. Nowhere is this more true than when you go personally and spend time with our dear children in Uganda and Rwanda.
From late March into early April, Sue Poland visited I AM Family – offices, children, schools, and families – for about 3 weeks. During that time she visited hundreds of children and their families, many of our schools, our African office locations, and many of our local “tourist attractions” as well. We could never fully describe her trip here, but we share some of her random pictures.
When you come to Uganda and visit, you will be – as Sue was – blessed to get to spend time with your sponsored child and his or her family. Further, the opportunities you will have to get to know some of the children and young adults who are growing up in this program that you support and are actively praying for, and the lessons that your children can learn from such a trip are truly priceless. Every supporter’s visit is unique – and we would love to talk with you about your personal journey to East Africa. It is a trip you and your sponsored child will never forget.
We look forward to seeing you!