I went into HYC with no expectations, mostly because I had no idea what it would be like and to refrain from dealing with fear or anxiety, I went in with a blank slate. Little did I know that I was in for the best experience of my life. Being at HYC for two weeks had me going through different emotions that stretched my faith and my ability as a person. Being surrounded by people of different cultures and backgrounds I was amazed by how we were able to connect, and what connected us, was God. There is no other explanation for what brought us so close. Everyone’s love for God and the passion to carry out his mission moved me beyond words. Going in, my faith was questionable, but seeing God work through people, such as the founder of ODAAT and Camp Miracles, I began to fall more and more in love with God.
With ODAAT (One Day At A Time) I saw that despite what people went through (Drug Addictions, Homelessness, and HIV) they still were so grateful and that in itself humbled me. I saw how blessed I was to have a family who loves me, a roof over my head, and countless amount of things I took for granted. It brought me to tears to know how much God loved me and everything he had done for me despite me constantly hurting him and pushing him away. ODAAT taught me so much and to see people making an effort to better the lives of those less fortunate amazed me. I was so grateful for God’s love.
The girls that I lived with for two weeks constantly encouraged me with their lives and their scriptures. They built me up and were vulnerable with me. I was blown away from their compassion and faith in God. It was so amazing to see God work in their lives and I was honored with what they shared that with me. We cried together, laughed together, shared our fears and our struggles, and helped each other. I’ve never been so vulnerable with a group of people in my life. The guys also encouraged me with their love for God and persistence to live by him. They shared their stories as well, which was surprising to me because I was so used to guys not being sentimental. We all bonded and got so close. Seeing how much the world needed God and it was such a sobering experience.
Camp Miracles was just life changing. Spending time with kids with such a hard life, was not what I expected it to be. Despite their rough upbringing, they were so full of love. They were full of gratitude and you could see how important Camp Miracles was to them. They impacted me in so many ways because they were so full of light and just so talented and beautiful. I got close to these kids in a short period of time, and I was just amazed by how they did not let their difficult lives prevent them from having a good time. Only with God could this be possible. It’s honestly miraculous seeing how God works through people. HYC not only impacted other people’s lives, it impacted mine. Leaving HYC my faith is strengthened in so many ways and now I am so ready to begin my walk with God and see him work throughout my life. I am so grateful for this experience because it truly changed my life forever.
Since being on HYC, I have made the decision to get baptized!
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.