"It has been seven months since my Hope Youth Corps trip to La Paz, Bolivia and since that time I can honestly say that that Youth Corps was one of the best and impacting experiences of my life. I thought that when I left I would fall back into the pattern of seeing the world and living my life how I always did before, but it’s been months later and there isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t think about the lessons I learned about myself, about God, and about others from that trip.
Before coming to Bolivia my heart was more calloused than it had ever been spiritually. I felt every time I chipped pieces from it I would form a new callous around it. I felt stuck, and I was waiting for moments and situations to change me, but I didn’t realize I didn’t need to see those things to change me I needed to see God, and being in Bolivia helped me get to that point. I always wanted to believe it was my “calling” to help people and serve, but in reality it’s every disciples calling, and every disciple’s heart should want to give back because we’ve already been given so much.
I learned that church family is the same everywhere, and it’s something special to know that I can go to a completely different continent than my own, meet people completely different from me, and we still have the same goals and love each other as if we actually came from the same blood line. I learned not having “enough” is a lie. What I lack at times is not having enough faith that God will provide for me, because there were Bolivians that I saw physically not having enough yet still gave. So me feeling like I don’t have enough to give wasn’t a stuff issue it was a heart issue. I learned that God is big and my problems are small compared to him. I learned people need help with more than just physical needs, they need help with emotional needs as well. Being hopeless at times is worse than being without food or clothes. Being there to comfort, listen, and show love can have bigger impacts than I thought it could. I learned serving as a group brings unity and it pushes one another to go past comfort zones. I learned I can set an example without saying a word, but with my actions.
But most importantly I learned that my life is not my own, and if I live it like it is I’m not really living at all. I feel so honored and blessed that I was able to build friendships, been able to serve some of the most amazing people I have ever encountered, and see the beauty of Bolivia. That almost a week and a half trip has shown me more than anything years before. I had to save up almost a year’s pay checks in order to go to La Paz, but it was one of the best investments I could’ve ever made. I just want to tell you thank you so much for the opportunity to have that experience, no words could really fully express my gratitude."
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.