What do we really want out of serving others? Do we really do it for their sake or just to feel good about ourselves? The world is so vast and so many people need help; so how do you choose where, and when to go?
I wanted an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and do work out of my direct vicinities. I wanted to be able to meet people from other cultures and share/help in the struggle they face. I wanted to be a vessel ready for God’s work. I chose Nepal, because I used to work for a Non-profit Organization that helped refugee children get adjusted in the US. A lot of the Children we worked with were Nepali/Bhutanese. I wanted a chance to see the country of these kids that had captured my heart. This trip made me realize that God will stretch us beyond what we think we could do.
I was sick and in pain for almost the entirety of the trip, which made it difficult for me to have a serving attitude. Nonetheless, God tugged at my heart to just look past the physical and mental pain and see the vast reach He has. Here I was surrounded by a group of people from all over the world, who individually responded to the call of God to go in a foreign land and minister to strangers and to other brothers and sisters.
The trip was adventurous; we started it with a trekking experience. This was one great icebreaker; I know many people connected through this experience. Along the same line, the great adventure of the trip was working at the HOPE worldwide School.
My Lord, What am I doing here? If you ever ask yourself the question, pause and look around. Amazingly, being there in Nepal despite what seemed unfavourable living conditions, etc., it was a small taste of what Heaven could be like. I was surrounded with people that share the same mind, and desire to serve. God used these people to remind me that it was not about me, that I was there for a work He had prepared ahead for me (as Ephesians 2:10 mentions). God wanted me to remember to share in the spirit with others, to value those that were less fortunate or even my peers, and share the blessings/gifts I have received.
Seeing people willing to let go of SELF, to focus on others, and take hold of the task at hand, created moments of awe for me. There are no real words to describe it, as I believe this is personal to each. I loved the devotionals in the morning before we headed out to help at the school. I loved hearing the kids sing when one of us taught the class. I loved seeing so many of us, volunteers, humbling into doing whatever work was asked of them. I liked the fact that we addressed the issues we saw as we worked and did not focus only on the original plan, but all were willing to go beyond to accomplish the work original designed and more.
I was profoundly stricken and humbled in my entitled behaviour by seeing how, even though we were there to serve, the Nepali people served us more; it was mind-boggling, delightful, and uncomfortable at the same time. This was truly the most personal touch for me. To see the contentment and unassuming attitude of these people, reminding me that I was gaining more from this experience than I was giving.
As I was thinking of where I was and what I was doing I realize how grateful I was that God had me in this community of believers and that we had a program such as HOPE worldwide that could help me go almost anywhere around the world to minister to people I may have never gotten a chance to see. Nepal, certainly kept a piece of me. I cannot imagine not having had this experience. Though it was hard to come back to the U.S.A. and tryimg to get back in my routine, I do not look at it as a negative side effect of my trip, but more as a continuous reminder to seek out where else God would like for me to use my serving gifts. So, as long as God allows it, I want to be able to go back to Nepal or to other places and serve and minister to those that meet my path.
They are many opportunities, many of them next door to you. We are, as believers, called to share our faith and through serving we have an opportunity to do that. Maybe you can’t do/afford HOPEww, maybe you need to budget, or fundraise… but if in fact there is something you could do to go, why wouldn’t you?
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.