"I grew up in the church and had never doubted there was a God. I knew that to be saved, I had to become a disciple and be baptized. I studied the Bible for about a year when I was 14, but decided I'd rather "experience the world" before making such a huge commitment. I wanted to have a good story to tell.
I went on a HOPE Youth Corps in Hawaii in 2013 with my brother, and had a lot of fun, so I decided to apply again the next year(that was all God). After applying, my life went into a downward spiral. I got into a worldly relationship at school that my parents didn't know about. I was constantly lying to my parents and sneaking around. My boyfriend was not a good influence on me and I started doing a lot of things I had never done before. I had a lot of secrets that I felt like I couldn't tell anyone because I felt so ashamed of the things I'd done. I put all of my security into that relationship.
I hated my family and hated being around them so I spent as little time with them as possible. I started to become bitter towards all of the friends at church I'd grown up with, resenting them for choosing to love God. My parents found out I was lying to them and I lost their trust, but I didn't care. By the time I was supposed to go to HYC Dallas I did not want to go at all. When I got there, I was surprised to hear how vulnerable all of the other girls were. They shared about things that I was going through then, and how God helped them overcome it. It made me start to feel that if they could get through it I could too.
On the last night, Leigh Anne Vett told a story about a girl who had felt insecure about not having a good enough testimony. Her friend told her she shouldn't feel bad that she didn't have to leave God to know she loved him. That hit me very hard,and I realized I had done just that. I left God because I wanted my own story, and I felt so ashamed. The next day, I broke up with my boyfriend on my way back home, and I set up my first study. I was baptized 18 days later on August 8, 2014."
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.