Zachary Parnell, 24, a campus student from Philadelphia, was one of our "master builders' on the Philippines HOPE Youth Corps. He is also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.This is what he shared about his time on HYC...
"I truly had no idea what it meant to serve. Sure, in church I see people "serving in the song ministry" or "serving in children's ministry". But what it meant to serve outside the church walls became clearer to me on this HYC.
I quickly realized that my focus on the HYC and back home was not on serving God, and that needed to change. Through helping build houses, serving communities, and seeing children's eyes light up, I started to feel a longing to serve and wanted to focus on that and nothing else. The HYC took me back to the roots of God, and our relationship, and reawakened things in my character I thought I had conquered but hadn't. And I'm better for it.
I realized that the intention to serve must be there but must also be followed by swift action. I realized that we can do godly thing after godly thing, yet miss the point of service altogether, which is love. Doing everything in your power and with the faculties God provides to make someone who is sad feel happy, and choose to be used by God to give them Hope. It's all about seeing the need through the crowd and going in faith to see the right and not the wrong.
God wanted me to focus again on our relationship, God wanted to use me emotionally and spiritually instead of just physically. God wanted me to boast in my weakness so, in turn, glory is given where it's due. Physical activity doesn't always mean you're being productive if you're not using your activities and gifts to glorify God and reflect God's glory.
We tend to do things so fast that we can forget why we are even doing them. This HYC experience put me in touch with my heart, and helped me realize that I need to be monitoring and checking where it's at often. I need to be asking myself if I'm comparing myself to others, or if I'm comparing myself to Jesus. Am I doing this in response to God's Love?
This HYC experience has me asking myself if I praise God when things aren't going so well, or if I only praise God when things are going well. This HYC has sharpened my eyes for the detail of neglected things, and has struck my heart to make me wonder if I always have the humility to do something about it. "Let the person you've become on HYC be the person you are when you go home". Those words by Aaron in our last devo struck home. If you can say that, it means some amazing things go down on a HYC.
Lastly, God revealed my heart as I've never felt it and experienced it before. It was as if I had loved for the first time, and was scared because I wanted it to last forever, it was a glimpse. I want more glimpses.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve alongside Godly people striving to live out the aspect of Jesus' ministry that many neglect. I'm not sure what God has in store going forward, but I feel different upon returning back to the West, truly different."
If you want to experience what Zach is talking about, apply here:
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.