I learned a great number of things during my first (and hopefully not last) Hope Youth Corps in Delhi, India over Christmas 2014. I was not a disciple yet, during this HYC, but I was studying the Bible, and so heading into this adventure, I just tried to keep an open mind. I knew the conditions of the slums would be unimaginable and the wounds of the lepers something my selfish, very sheltered brain couldn’t envision. I knew that Hope Youth Corps would be impacting, I’d been told so by all of my friends who had had the privilege of going on one, but I really didn’t know how impacting HYC really would be, or how much God would work on my heart through the people of Delhi.
As a typical “Kingdom Kid” my studies had been going well before this HYC, but I was struggling with having a sense of urgency. I had worked through some challenges, but then I was just kind of stuck; stuck in a rut. HYC was just what I needed though, and God knew that. He had this in His plan all along.
Between being out all day serving, listening to lessons and having quiet times, there was a lot of time for growing and learning. There was one particular lesson that I remember that was about the 10 Advantages of Being Poor. #1 was: “The poor know they are in urgent need of redemption.” And #10 was: “The poor can respond to the call of the gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.” This lesson left me asking myself some pretty tough questions. Where was my urgency? What was I waiting for? What was holding me back from the water? And even tougher questions about my soul and where I was going to spend eternity, which I just couldn’t ignore any longer. As Haggai 1:5-6 says, “Now this is what the Lord Almighty says; ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in your pocket with holes in it.” I stumbled upon this scripture during the early hours of a sunrise in Delhi, giving me even more to reflect upon.
The next day, we visited the Village of Hope, and bandaged lepers, literally just like Jesus would have. The scriptures came alive to me. For the word of God IS living and active, working like a double-edged sword on my heart during HYC and continuing to do so today.
HYC softened my heart.
I made lifelong friends; a group of disciples that inspire and encourage me to no end. It is a very dear wish of mine that everyone would get the chance to go on a HYC sometime during their life. Sending in my application was one of the best decisions I made. But the very best decision I’ve ever made and ever will make was that I made Jesus Lord of my life on March 1st, 2015, just two months after I returned home from India.
Hope Youth Corps was a major factor in which lead me to getting baptized. It was that push I needed. It’s a cliché to say, but going to Delhi, India was life-changing. God is greater, and I’m just so grateful that I was given this experience.
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.