I was in Baja Califoria, Mexico for two weeks on HOPE Youth Corps with amazing people! We built a three bedroom house, and we also spent time with children at the Door of Faith Orphanage, which is where our group stayed. The orphanage itself is painted bright, fun colors and home to approximately 100 children. It's a wonderful place that incorporates family ideals into the kids' lifestyles. I felt humbled and blessed to be able to go and serve the kids and their orphanage, whether it was stuffing letters into envelopes, pulling weeds, or hanging out with them! Here's a picture of us the day that we finished building the house. We're on the roof(ROOF CREW)!
Above the orphanage there was this walkway to a cross that overlooked some of the town, and it was a calm and relaxing spot to have a quiet time and read the Bible, especially during sunsets and sunrises. You could see the ocean if you looked far to your right. We were always listening to music and laughing while working with one another. Building the house with everyone was such a cool accomplishment and experience. On Wednesday, we finished building the house and the moment that Nora walked into the house was so surreal! We built THAT house(with God's help for sure) in a little more than a week and she was walking in it to live there. I will never forget how she kept saying that the house was beautiful. God was definitely moving in that moment!
On Sunday, we went to church in Tijuana. It was awesome seeing how the church there was exactly like ours in America except in a different language! I could definitely feel God's love through the church members there and their warm hugs. After church, a brother actually invited us over to his house for lunch, which was so kind of him, considering that there were 28 hungry teens to feed! Overall, this trip was amazing. I felt like we got to live out James 1:27 by building the house for a widow, and spending time with the children, along with not having internet for two weeks:
"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."
I have also gained lifelong, deep spiritual friendships with many people on this trip, and I feel so grateful to have been able to go. I learned that if it is God's will for something to happen, God will make a way!
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.