Phil Jones is a 53 year old Texan, living in Uganda. In 2008 Phil moved to Iganga, a smallish town in central Uganda, and began what is now Elpis Ministries. If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to meet or know Phil, then you know a few things about this man:
1.) Anytime you’re around Phil you’re in for a few good storytelling sessions.
2.) You will hear about the power of Christ and the amazing miracles He has done for the children at Elpis.
3.) You will see his passion for caring for others, and it’s infectious so watch out!
Through his church, God began bringing Phil to Uganda on mission trips a few years prior to 2008. One morning of a short term trip Phil noticed young children scrounging through trash piles, literally eating any type of scraps they could find. Early the next morning Phil gathered a few of his team members and went to feed these children. As he began to meet the children, Phil started to learn that they were homeless and most of them orphaned in some form. Many of them were from war torn parts of Norther Uganda and had come to Iganga to escape. They had nothing. Not only were they unable to buy food but going to school was out of the question. At which point this sweet Texan told a small group of children, “if you meet me at school on Friday I will pay for your school term.” Phil recalls with a chuckle in his voice, “word got around” and there were about 20 kids that showed up on Friday to have their school fees paid for. It was then that Phil realized the great need of the street children of Iganga, and if he was going to truly help these children, he need to provide for their basic needs and an education that would give them a chance at a future.
After many provisions from the Lord (literally, Phil had no money), Elpis ministries was formed and over 100 children began receiving food, shelter and an education. But what amazes us about Elpis (and Phil) is that Phil became more than just a provider to these kids; he became their father. He stewards them spiritually, disciplines them when they act out or are not trying in school, teaches the boys how to respect girls, and stresses the importance of forgiveness towards the people who have wronged them in life; even toward their family that abandoned them. Elpis is producing the next generation of Ugandan leaders.
One of the biggest ways the children at Elpis are getting an education is through sponsorship. Child sponsorship is amazing for so many reasons. Not only does it provide a child with an education but it speaks worth and value into their life. The idea that someone half way around the world cares about them is immensely empowering. All of the kids at Elpis (or H.O.P.E Children’s home as it’s known in Uganda) who are sponsored know the names of their sponsors. They know where they live, what hobbies they have, their children’s names, and most of them keep a photo or something directly from their sponsor!
These kids are dreaming big; they want to be astronauts, nurses, and doctors. They want a better future for themselves, their families, and their fellow countrymen. They have the drive to do it, but they need your help! Would you join us in sponsoring a child from Elpis? They only have 20 kids left that need sponsorships (update, they only have 7 kids left to sponsor!!!) and I know you guys can do it! I know we can rally together and get these kids sponsored! If you need some ideas of where to find room in your budget check out the info graphic below! Stay tuned for a week of posts by our February Media Mission team members on their experience with the kids at Elpis and for a video on Thursday!
(Phil became like our Ugandan dad while we lived there. So who else would we ask to take us to the airport as we head home? Who was the last person we wanted to say goodbye to? You got it, Phil and Ken!)