As I woke up to travel to Haiti, for a mission trip with HOPE worldwide Singles Corps, I looked around at my room, my car, my family, my dogs, and everything I have. I took note of what I take for granted every day and knew it would only be a week away from all the comforts of living my life in the states.
This would be my second trip with HWW to Haiti. Haiti holds a special place in my heart. Many of my friends are from Haiti and what better way to show them how much they mean to me than by serving in their country. I was leaving my comfy bed, running water, hot showers, A/C, mosquito free home, and abundance of food for a hard bed covered by a mosquito net, a toilet that doesn’t flush without the assistance of water being dumped in it, cold bucket showers, heat in morning, noon, and night, and food served on other’s timing.
This year it was bittersweet seeing the same orphans, plus a few more, because I knew they were not adopted or reconnected with their families and had been living in the same conditions we saw them in last year. Everyone wants to know how to help them and what we can do for them. The biggest need I heard over and over again was funding to help them go to school. I am so grateful for Dave Roderick in taking the initiative to start Orphan Education Foundation. He donates all the money given to the foundation to the education of the children and teenagers of Haiti Mission Parla Foi and the HEAR (Haitian Education And Residence) program located in the Village of Hope where we were staying.
Spending time with the children and teenagers both this year and last makes me realize all the things I take for granted at home. They have nothing and are so joyful and excited, and I realize because they understand and accept that they have the best thing in the world which is the love of God. They are fully surrendered to Him to get them through all of the trials of everyday life. They are in constant prayer to put food on the table and to give these children an education that we receive for free in the states. In Haiti if you do not have money, your children do not go to school and receive an education. Makes me think of all the days and time I took for granted in school not paying attention, these kids would do anything to have what I had.
Now that I am home I realize there is no need for hour long hot showers, being glued to my cellphone (since I didn’t have it all week), or keeping to myself. How will I learn needs and life lessons without face to face interactions? I was excited to see everything I left at home when I pulled back into my driveway, but I am no longer taking them, my family or my life for granted, but grateful for every moment I have with them and every day I get to spend serving an amazing God! Ayiti stole my heart last year and I know its Haiti’s forever! Can’t wait to go back!
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.