Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Building Homes Helps Lay Foundations of Gratitude
As part of our ongoing commitment to keeping you up to date about HOPE worldwide, we are sending you this good news article about how volunteers are changing lives through a house building program in Cambodia.
I know that you will be moved by this story of two widows who for the first time will have a house their families can call “home.”At the same time,
HOPE worldwide continues to help Cambodia’s medically underserved population through the Sihanouk Hospital of HOPE. We invite you and your church to join the
HOPE worldwide team for the 2009 Compassion Tour this fall. Participants will have an opportunity to take part in volunteer activities in Phnom Penh. Opportunities will also be made available for sightseeing and to join with hospital staff, alumni, local dignitaries and other hospital partners to celebrate the One Million Patient Consultation since the hospital began in 1996. All participants can select their own itinerary. For more details go to www.hopeww.org/hvc where you can register. Registration closes on September 15.We would appreciate your sharing these monthly updates with your congregation. I pray it will encourage them as they continue to remember the poor.Any comments, questions or suggestions you may have are welcome. Thank you for being a voice for the poor.
HOPE worldwide Vice President of Development
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Thirty-three volunteers from Singapore and Japan didn’t realize they’d be tearing down walls in their own hearts when they signed up to build houses for HIV patients in Cambodia.
It was a week full of dirt, sweat, laughter and foot massages. With an average of about 86° during the week, the group truly labored in love as they pushed through the scorching heat to build homes for two HIV+ widows.
The volunteers came to the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE to get more involved in helping the desperately poor and needy in the Third World. Thirty-one of the 33 volunteers live in Singapore, which is the world’s ninth wealthiest country in terms of GDP per capita. Cambodia ranks at 188—where 35 percent of the population lives on less than $1 US a day.
“To know the conditions that poor people live and the importance of shelter over their head - Cambodia is a humbling experience,” volunteer Joshua Cher shared.
Dr. Gerlinda Lucas, Deputy Director of Administration at SHCH, states that the majority of deaths in Cambodia are due to communicative diseases, and a lack of adequate basic housing contributes to the problem.
With tear-filled eyes 54-year-old Ly Nath, one of the widows receiving a home, shared about her life and expressed her gratitude to the group.
“My whole life I have been living in a poor hut,” Ly Nath said. “Since the Singaporean volunteers have started to build a brick house for my family, I cannot sleep—I keep asking myself, ‘Is this a dream?’”
Building houses not only changed the lives of these two widows and their families, but those of the volunteers as well.
"This is the most meaningful trip I’ve ever been on,” volunteer Hong Meng Tang said. “When it dawned on me how ungrateful I am with everything I already have but still want more, I was moved to tears. I will always remember my experience with the poor and needy in Cambodia."
For many in the group, it was their first visit to a third-world country. When asked who would be returning to Cambodia in the future, almost every single hand went up.