Every HYC yields a different result, a new adventure. This particular one was my fourth and yet once again, I was blown away by God's power and love. This is the story of HYC Jakarta.
We started off with staggered airport arrivals, heavy jetlag, uncertainty. About 20 international participants with the same amount of Indonesians joining us at different points of the trip. Night 1 was spent in the Jakarta church building as we were warmly welcomed by the disciples there, and we were given a convicting lesson by Harliem Salim. 'You are the light of the world', he told us. Sure enough, this HYC would require us to hold on to that thought and believe in God's ability to use us even in our weakness.
We travelled up to Bogor, on the mountains. We lived in little villas with a variety of roommates such as spiders, mosquitoes and other more frightening creatures. A typical day looks like this: Quiet time accompanied by a breathtaking view of the city below. Indonesian breakfast with all the spice and flavour followed by a devo with spirited worship and a lesson to align our hearts for the days' activities. We served at a local school and were split into the Wall Team, the Toilet Team and the Teaching Team. The Wall Team worked on building a wall to prevent landslides, the Toilet Team built new toilets for the school and the Teaching Team taught English to the students. It was hard work, often physically and emotionally draining. But breaks were marked by joyous singing, dancing, laughter and fellowship. There was a spirited vibe in this group that drove us to push harder, step out of our comfort zones, and serve with fervour. Evenings would be spent playing sports with the children, spending time with each other or even swimming. Dinner would then follow, with Dgroups after where we were allowed space to reflect, express our emotions and bond at a deeper level. The night would usually end with a couple rounds of mafia and roommate bonding in our villas.
The next morning, we made our way back to Jakarta. But first, we drove through the Safari Park and came face to face with elephants, lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes, hippos and many more! Definitely a pretty unconventional bus ride. We braved Jakarta traffic to gather at the church building for dinner and fellowship with the teens ministry there. However, a couple of the participants started falling ill and had to be sent to the hospital for treatment. Yet despite people not feeling well, it was encouraging and uplifting to see everyone else continue to give with even more determination and courage.
The next two days saw us going to church where Martin and I shared for communion, and we did more recreational, restful activities such as swimming, games and shopping. It allowed everyone to rest, regroup, recover, and reconnect. Then we began our service at a fishing village called Cilincing. We were helping to build the second storey of a community centre where HOPE Worldwide Indonesia would be able to conduct their English classes. We worked in shifts, with the resting teams given a chance to interact with the playful children who did not hesitate to approach us and talk to us. As much as language would limit us, the languages of smiles, laughter, photographs and dance were very much alive and universal. Other activities we did included cleaning up the compound and sewage system of one of the four Saturday Academies set up in Jakarta, and teaching at two of the other Saturday Academies. Our evenings were spent at the HOPE Worldwide Indonesia office where we would play games, dance, watch movies, eat bowls of Indomie and have dgroups before heading back to our apartment for bed.
Our second weekend included a Saturday night church service, dinner with the Singles and Campus ministries there, a surprise Sisters' Appreciation Night and a dance party. We ended our HYC by taking part in HOPE Worldwide Jakarta's annual Walkathon fundraiser, before saying our tearful goodbyes.
I can't possibly do this HYC justice through mere words. But know that it was uplifting, faith-building, bonding and as HYCs usually are, life-changing.
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.