Meet Papa Ken

“Papa” Ken Knowles

I was saved for 33 years on May 26 2015. I am 73 years old and have taught Bible a lot of the time that I have known Jesus. I have always been interested in missions and Africa. The Lord began to speak to me about coming to Africa sometime in 2005. Through my pastor, I got connected with International Accelerated Missions (IAM) out of Berne, NY. They felt that I should work with Paul and Jean McFate who had been in Africa for 12 years. The McFates manage a system of IAM discipleship training schools throughout East Africa. So I came to Tororo, Uganda in January 2006. There was an IAM school starting in Tororo and I taught in that school. After that, there were no schools close by, so I began teaching in villages. Through teaching in the villages, I got involved in peoples lives and began to see the situation with orphans here. I saw that Jesus wanted me to make disciples and not just teach, and that making disciples requires that you really get involved with people deeply. It became evident that Jesus wanted me to begin something new.

I had some savings and God told me to use it to build the compound where we now live, for His work. There are three houses on the compound, one was for the McFates, one for me, and a third that sent empty.

Then in September 2007, I had severe malaria and was admitted to a clinic for two days. It was there that I met Awinjo Joyce. This girl was 16 years old and full height, but weighed 67 pounds. She was saved and sang in her church choir. Her stomach was bloated and lumpy. I took her for an ultrasound, and was with her when the doctor did it. He showed me masses in her abdomen, some as big as a large orange, the liver and kidneys and spleen were affected. He said that he was very sure it was lymphoma. For a week I took Awinjo and her mother to various doctors and labs for tests etc. The best diagnosis was advanced lymphoma, which is cancer in the lymph system. The treatment is chemotherapy, which she could not survive in her weakened condition and no one could afford it anyway. She was born out of wedlock and her father abandoned the situation, and then her mother got married to another man and that man sent Joyce to live with her grandmother. She had been staying with this poor widow and eating only cassava millet bread, which is poor in nutrition by itself. I brought Awinjo and her mother to the third house so that we could at least give her good food and lots of prayer. She died in late October 2007. I went to church grieving and with a lot of questions, and God spoke clearly to me that “Out of death comes life, John 12:24.” In other words, when we die to ourselves, we really live, and can bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God. He also said that there was to be a ministry and it was to be called Awinjo House. Awinjo means “I have heard” implying I have heard the word of God and it has gotten into me and done something there and I will obey. So the third house became Awinjo House at that time.

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