H.O.P.E. Children’s home is a part of ISA 117 Ministries. H.O.P.E was founded almost eight years ago by Phil Jones. Phil was on a missions trip to Uganda when he noticed a large number of street children roaming the small town of Iganga. Instead of shying away Phil began to ask the kids questions. Some kids were orphans, some had fled from the LRA in northern Uganda, and some were just not welcome by family. After some research Phil realized that what would really help these children would be an education. He then told about 20 kids that if they met him the next day at school then he would pay for their education. When Phil showed up, to his surprise, not 20 but 60 kids stood in front of him. Feeling the Lord’s leading, Phil knew what he had to do. Less than a year later his ministries was born.
Today, ISA 117 cares for about 130 children. And not only are these kids sent to school, they are fed, clothed, housed, and most importantly loved and reared by the staff. This is not something to be casually mentioned. Phil and his staff parent these children. The kids are loved and encouraged, but just as important they are required to follow rules and obey authority. This has created a trust and security in these children that I have rarely seen in a children’s home. These children are incredible! They are as young as five and as old as 17, and each one of them was so kind, so respectful, and had the heart of a servant. Our entire team was blown away by the maturity that these kids showed. We were able to speak encouragement to them, but they did same for us. We would teach them things that we had learned, and they would in turn share wisdom beyond their years. These kids come from a hard place, but they have learned forgiveness, perseverance, and immense gratefulness to God for giving them hope and this chance at life. Yes, there are still kids here that struggle; this is a problem that crosses borders. But I am in awe and immensely grateful for how God is using Phil Jones to change the lives of children in Iganga.
This place screams HOPE. I felt it, our team felt it, and I hope through our pictures and words you will feel it too. Iganga is just a tiny pinhole on a map, but the people there are serving with all their hearts. And the kids there are not only making the most of a second chance at life, but they are blessing the people around them at the same time. I know this because I have seen it firsthand, and it is not something I will soon forget.
Meet the Founder.
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 ISA 117 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 ISA 117.
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), Phil was able to form a home for over 100 street children where each child began receiving food, shelter and an education. But what amazes us about ISA 117 (and Phil and his Ugandan staff) is that Phil and his Ugandan staff became more than just a provider to these kids; they became parental figures. They steward the children spiritually, discipline them when they act out or are not trying in school, teach the boys how to respect girls, and stress the importance of forgiveness towards the people who have wronged them in life; even toward their family that abandoned them. ISA 117 is producing the next generation of Ugandan leaders.
One of the biggest ways the children at ISA 117 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 ISA 117 (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 at ISA 117? $40 goes a long way! I know we can rally together and get these kids sponsored!