Helena Lethlean, a teen from Melbourne, Australia, sacrificed her gorgeous long hair to raise money for her trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, over Christmas. Read her story:
"When I first heard about the opportunity to do a HOPE Youth Corp from a friend at church, God put it on my heart almost immediately to sign myself up. The thought of paying for it never even occurred to me, and within a week or two, I was filling out an application to participate in a HYC to Kathmandu, Nepal in December 2016.
A couple of weeks later, I received an email stating that I had gotten into the program. I was over the moon, and for the next few months, I eagerly awaited the Christmas holidays. I had heard nothing but good things about HYC programs, and was more than keen to experience one myself.
When I had first signed up for the program, my parents had clearly explained that they expected me to contribute to the cost, and
back then, I had sort of assumed that I would be successful in finding a part time job or something to help pay for it. I handed out my resume to several different places but for some reason, I had been unsuccessful at finding any kind of work whatsoever. It was starting to make me anxious, and admittedly a bit frustrated, because God wasn’t answering my prayers in the way I wanted him to.
The cut off date for the money loomed closer. If I wasn’t successful in paying before the 1st of December, then unfortunately I would not be able to participate in the program. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to get the money in time, the 1st of December was less than a month away, and I hadn’t contributed anything to the cost besides the $300 deposit that was required in order to get into the program. I freaked out a little. But God took the wheel, and in my slight panic revealed to me the plan that he had all along.
The idea came up to cut off all my hair, and donate it to charity. It was really long, around 2ft (60cm). I had been considering chopping it off for a while, but every time I thought of doing it, something inside me told me that it wasn’t the right time, and to just keep growing it out. But this time was different. It felt right, and when I suggested the idea to my mum, she was hit with a stroke of genius, and proposed that I ask for people to donate in support of this, and all the money donated would go towards funding the HYC trip.
I decided it was a great , and set up a Gofundme account, put a post up on Facebook explaining what I was doing, and with a link to the Gofundme page so that people could donate if they wanted to. Within three days, I had raised $1095 to go towards Nepal. I was so overwhelmed at not only the kindness and generosity of my family and friends, but at the fact that God had it worked out all along. He was just waiting for the right time to reveal his plan. I chopped off my hair, and mum paid the rest of the money needed to secure me a spot in the program.
There is always a way. That is what I have learned from this experience. It may have been kind of minor in this circumstance, compared to the things that some people go through in their lives, but God always has a plan. He may not reveal it to us until the last minute, but that is how we develop faith and perseverance. I didn’t know what I was going to do, or how I was going to raise money, but by letting God step in, he sorted the whole thing out. I am so excited to participate in this HYC next month, and I am so grateful to have God in my life to allow me these opportunities.
The team at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital recently celebrated its 5 year anniversary. SKMH opened in April 2012 with the mission to meet the needs of poor children and women of Southern Cambodia. It is managed by HOPE worldwide . Since its opening, nearly 50,000 patients have been touched by the team. On May 26, the hospital honored 31 employees who have served since the hospital’s opening day. Through the dedication of its staff and supporters, SKMH has seen tremendous growth. Since its opening, the hospital has accomplished the following:
· More than 140,000 patient consultations with nearly 50,000 new patients
· 71% of visits have been for women and children
· Nearly 800 children have been born at the hospital since the opening of the Maternity building in November 2014
· 7 Cambodian doctors have graduated from three year hospital training program.
· Currently employs over 180 people
· The Neo Natal Intensive care unit opened November 2015. To date the NICU has served 49 children
· Centralized Medical Gas System for NICU and campus opened in November 2016.
· Surgical department opened in 2015
· Surgical team has performed over 360 surgeries in 2016, not including C-Sections. 86 surgeries have been for children
· Blood bank opened in August 2016
· A Learning Center for children of hospital staff opened on June 12
Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital has been blessed with international support from medical and administrative partners as well as volunteers from around the world to serve and teach. The local Cambodian staff continues to grow and serves as the primary patient care providers.
The team is grateful for all the support that has been given this past five years; however, there remains more to do. Future development includes the addition of a CT scan, upgraded X-ray diagnostic equipment, continued development of staff training programming and pursuit of international accreditations. Please consider how you can make a difference at the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital. Go to https://www.hopeww.org/donate . Use the drop down box and select Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital. If you wish to learn more about the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital, please visit www.skmh.org .
Dr. Rin Receiving the Empathy Amplified AwardClick here to watch .
Jenny Harkabus spent Christmas serving in the Philippines. She wrote this, and also made a short video:
I did not imagine that I would be spending Christmas in the Philippines for my first HOPE Youth Corps experience. This opportunity has deeply changed my perspective on the importance of service in my daily walk.
We are created in God's image, therefore we are meant to help and serve others. I know this to be true because I have never felt so used by God and fulfilled, than the times spent serving and pouring out my love in the Philippines.
James 1:27 says, " Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Some translations refer to this as true religion. The bible also stresses the importance of giving to the poor (1 John 3:17, Matt 9:21, Proverbs 14:31). God considers caring for the poor and orphans as true religion, yet this can be an area of faith that is overlooked.
I was privileged to spend time with girls who have experienced trauma and abuse at the HOPE worldwide center in Laguna. Many of these girls have been separated from their families, becoming orphans, as a result of the abuse they have experienced. I also received the opportunity to play with children within the community as we rebuilt their homes and provided them with medical care. I witnessed the children’s precious value for human relationships, as they clung to me emotionally and physically. They showed me instant love and respect, which I find to be rare in today’s society. Our focus should be about investing in others just as the children in the Philippines invested in me.