HOPE "Youth" Corps is not just for the young in body, but also for the young at heart. Several of our trips are open to all ages, especially our more challenging international ones. Read Suzanne Uhl's account of her recent adventures on the Nepal HYC:
“I’m not dead yet.” As bizarre as that sounds, that sentence sums up my decision to sign up for a HYC trip. Not the most inspiring motivation, I know, but that’s where I was at. I’m a 53-year-old college professor, a married mom of two HYC veterans (Jud is 16 & Shane is 20). I don’t exactly fit the HYC mold, but I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal in December 2016 and that trip forever changed me.
Initially, the plan was to simply be the chaperone for my son during a summer international HYC. My job allows me the freedom of summers off so it seemed perfect. Long story made short, he was accepted in the Scotland HYC with another chaperone and I wasn’t technically needed. So, there I was: hopes up, hopes dashed. That’s when it occurred to me: “I’m not dead yet.” Being a chaperone wasn’t my only HYC option. So, I signed up for the December, Nepal trip. My boys were excited see mom go on an adventure and my husband was happy to let me chase a dream, even though it meant I’d be gone over Christmas.
Kathmandu is an amazing place of simplicity, profound poverty, enormous smiles, crazy drivers, unending kindness, lousy water, and staggering beauty. It is a paradox in so many ways and it just might be the most captivating place on the planet.
In the end, there were over 50 of us from all around the world. We served at the HOPE School in Kathmandu for a week or so. Much of our time was spent playing with the kids: jump rope, basketball, clapping games, Ninja, lots of hugs, all while they attempted to teach us some Nepali! Most of us worked: sweeping, painting, organizing, cleaning, constructing, and sewing. I was in a small group that helped to train and teach, both teachers and parents. I was blessed to take over the 5th grade class for a day and model some different approaches to teaching. The teachers are wonderful and they give their hearts to the kids they teach. However most of them have had little teacher training and they were eager to learn. What I do in a high-tech, comfy, heated college classroom on the other side of the world, they do with a broken piece of whiteboard in a cement room with no heat. They educate. I am so inspired. It was an amazing experience that is hard to confine to words. In the end, the kids just invade your heart.
I learned so much from those who journeyed with me and those relationships are God’s precious gifts to me. The laughter, tears, talks, prayers and hugs bind you together in special ways.
I went to Nepal, not really knowing if God could use me, doubting that I would be of value, and fearful of not fitting in. But I was determined to “step out of the boat”, to make decisions based on faith, not on fear. And He blessed that choice. I still don’t know what God has in store for me but I am renewed, revived and refreshed for whatever it is. He knows I ain’t dead yet and He’s got a purpose for me. I am forever grateful for HYC Kathmandu 2016.
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.