"My time in Kingston taught me a huge lesson in humility and my own lack of involvement in personally knowing those in need.
The National Children’s Home is an orphanage in Kingston, that homes children without guardians or those fleeing from harmful situations of abuse. The woman who leads the home described the children as having gone through “ every imaginable evil there is”. Some of them having been physically or sexually abused, and there for their own protection. I went in with the mindset that we would not be welcomed by these kids. And with good reason, what child would be inviting to complete strangers after having gone through trauma. I expected harsh treatment and prepared my heart to love anyways. We stepped off the bus and right away they came rushing towards us, wanting to take our hands and show us around. They were so full of joy I couldn't understand it. How could they be so happy after everything they've gone through? Day after day we got to know them and day after they day we grew more attached and they taught me more about gratitude, being content and humility than ever before.
“ At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:1-5
One of the days we went to the Tegywn Unit across the street, which is where people with varying ranges of disabilities lived.
You never really understand what you have until you spend time with someone, sitting idle in a wheelchair, who is moaning and struggling to communicate to you but they cant because of a disability. So they sit there in the hot sun, as you wave away the flies nipping at their soars staring at you because there isn't much else they can do. And yet they have a huge smile on their face, nodding their head to the music playing in the background, and giggle as you take their hand and move their arms attempting to dance with them. We made the most of our time there, but it tore me to think what their lives are like regularly, when theres no music or bubbles or a group or people there for each one of them trying to make them smile. The staff there was amazing, but they could not offer them the type of attention they needed constantly because there were only so many of them. It made me think, do I go out of my way to serve like this in my city? There are people with needs everywhere, how can I do this consistently?
Jesus spent time with the lepers, prostitutes, the sick, and the outcasts. We recognize this, we read it in our quiet times, in theory it sounds noble and valiant. We say we need to be like Jesus and so we may serve occasionally, maybe do a walkathon once a year to raise money for cause, but steer away from actually being in contact with the needy. We make excuses of work or social lives and so compensate for it with a donation here and there if even that. Would Jesus toss in a few coins occasionally to those grabbing at him asking to be healed? This HYC truly taught me Jesus’s real heart. Jesus didn’t just love the poor from afar, casting down prayers and well wishes from a distance, he knew them, he touched them. I think sometimes we can get so caught up in the ministry and divide making disciples from serving people, but for Jesus they were one in the same, there was no division or separation of the two. He showed people God through meeting their needs and becoming a servant to all."
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.