Hope Positive Africa is a Christian intentional community residential ministry dedicated to demonstrating the love of Jesus daily, in a very tangible way, to the poor and oppressed.
HOPE+ Africa is the name given to the work of Hope Phillips and her husband Paul in response to the desire to prevent other women and children from suffering as Hope did growing up an AIDS orphan.
Read Hope’s story here.
We love women out of personal, cultural, and habitual problems that have historically prevented them from becoming whole and fully Christ-like in faith, community, and country.
We work to empower poor women, single mothers, orphans, widows, victims of violence, and the HIV+ to follow Jesus at a deeper level. This includes living with those we work with, eating three meals a day with them, getting involved with their families.
Specifically, we have begun two small businesses that facilitate training. We are sewing handbags and women’s accessories and have a small donated wedding dress rental business.
We are in the beginning stages of setting up an urban garden from the HOPE+ Africa house, which we use as an informal training school to help our women and girls become skilled at running their own businesses and taking care of their own families without outside assistance.
In the context of these relationships we confront all manner of problems, from theological confusion and fear, to preventing the spread of HIV and malnutrition, teaching hygiene, to teaching basic Biblical peacemaking and non-violent conflict resolution.
Our daily work can be as exciting as showing a malnourished friend how set up a compost pile and mulch their garden so they can grow more nutritious food, to talking a friend through the shock of an HIV diagnosis, to working through a dispute between friends, to offering a bar of soap and a meal to a dirty and hungry neighbor child whose parents cannot afford either.
Or, more often, our time can be as mind numbingly boring as waiting for funding, waiting for paperwork to get a rubber stamp from some recalcitrant government agent, to waiting on busses, to waiting for the electricity/water/Internet/cellular network to come back, to waiting for the rain to stop and mud roads to dry out. We do a lot of waiting. As far as patience being a virtue, we are all learning it well!
We do not build church buildings, host evangelistic crusades, or set up anything that can look impressive outwardly to attract those interested in using religion to move up socially or improve their chance at becoming rich, which is an epidemic in Africa. Africa has more than enough of these “miracles and blessings” ministries. We work to attract those interested in personal and spiritual growth through discipleship and friendship.
We invest our energy and funds in poor women and their children, helping them to become healthy members of The Church, The Church on a mission to reflect the Upside-down Kingdom of God on Earth, among us, and in us now. They, as The Church, can solve their own problems by tapping into the power of their own God-given capabilities and spiritual strengths. We just work to help our friends draw out those talents and abilities while helping them understand who they are because they are God’s “best beloved.”
In the West
Likewise, we work with Western friends to connect those who have succumbed to spiritual malnourishment through the abundance of their possessions with our friends who are poor in material wealth, but whose suffering has brought them to a place of rich spiritual strength, not usually encountered in the West. We work to show our wealthier friends how love for the poor, and embracing them in their suffering, can reinvigorate their faith by giving them a sense of purpose they have not experienced before. We work to demonstrate a deeper “costly grace” life of thanksgiving for the gift of Jesus.
We do this work because a very broad community of Christians all over the world financially, emotionally, and spiritually enables us to do so. This is how The Church comes together. It is the miracle of unity we get to witness daily and are so grateful to have that privilege. Please join us, there’s HOPE enough to go around.
HOPE+ Africa is the name we are giving to the non-profit 501-c-3 we are setting up. Currently, Paul and Hope are independent missionaries sent out by their home church, Missiongatehering, in San Diego, California.