"Something just clicked for me..."
Brooke Hammer, a teen from LA, went on the Philadelphia (Track 1) HOPE Youth Corps this past July; it changed her life and she was baptised a couple of weeks ago! Again and again, God changes the hearts of our youth through service, as they strive to become more like Jesus. Read about how God transformed Brooke's heart on HYC.
"Going to HOPE Youth Corps has had a huge impact on my life. I had studied the Bible for a long time before I went but I wasn’t ready to become a disciple. My heart just wasn’t in the right place. I wanted it to be, but I didn’t know how to get it there. When my parents brought up the idea of going on one of the HYC trips I was interested because I thought it would be fun, but also because I secretly hoped it could help change my heart and get me to a place where I wanted to study the Bible again.
When I arrived in Philadelphia it was inspiring to meet the staff and the rest of the participants. The love I felt from them, and constantly saw them give to others, served as an example to me throughout the program. They all worked joyfully non-stop; cleaning, building, painting, and repairing to improve the community for the people who lived there. We also had the opportunity to help at Camp Hope for Kids, a program for inner city youth. Seeing what the kids went through every day gave me a new perspective on how generous God had been to me. That gratitude softened my heart and, together with being surrounded by the giving, spiritual HYC workers, helped me turn my focus back to God.
I remember one night in particular when I went out to pray with one of the participants I had become friends with. She was already a disciple and listening to her prayer really got my attention. She talked to God about everything as though they were best friends and were having a normal conversation. I wanted that kind of close relationship with God too. I can’t fully describe it, but something just clicked for me that night. It was then I decided I wanted to start studying the Bible again. Not wanting to wait, I called my teen leader from Philadelphia and shared with her all that I was feeling. Once I got home we jumped right back into some Bible studies. Three months later on October 23 2016, I decided to make Jesus the Lord of my life and was baptized.
It has been so amazing to experience this myself, as well as to hear about the many other participants from HYC getting baptized. It shows me that this program has changed, and is continuing to change, so many hearts. Not only did participating in HOPE Youth Corps open me up to a true relationship with God, it also gave me some amazing friendships. Thank you to the HYC staff and all the participants for everything you have done. God truly changed my heart through feeling your love as we served others side by side, and I’ll be forever grateful. I am already looking forward to my next life changing adventure at HYC next summer. I hope so many of you will get a chance to join me."
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.