This was my second year doing Philadelphia HOPE Youth Corps and I came out spiritually stronger than before. I prayed a lot before HOPE Youth Corps that I would change and I truly feel as though I did. Going into HYC I was so weak spiritually and I had no idea but after many lessons and deep conversations I came to a realization that I was not doing well spiritually.
A lot of the work we did last year we did again this year, but the only difference was that it had more of an impact on me. Seeing the poverty in Philly was hard for me last year but by the end of the two weeks, I went back to my perfect little word. Coming back to Philly a year later and seeing that a lot of things hadn’t changed it really hit me that my life isn’t normal. As we heard stories at ODAAT (One Day At A Time), one woman said something that really made me reevaluate my relationship with God. She was talking about her life story and stated “Satan looks attractive before he’s destructive”. After she said that I realized that I did not have the same fire for God that I did when I was first baptized. I had let Satan sneak in and make me lose sight on what’s most important, my relationship with God and living my life for him.
After a girls morning devotional about love, many of the girls had shared many deep and heartfelt things. I was so impacted by this small morning devotional that I talked to my site leader and got some help with how I was doing spiritually. I could not be more grateful for her amazing advice and wisdom. A week after we served at ODAAT, we served children of inner city Philadelphia at Camp Miracles. Camp Miracles was a whole new experience for me this year. Coming back and seeing a lot of the same children who were there last year made my heart melt. A lot of the children remembered me which was super encouraging but seeing them live in the same places and not have any improvement in their home life was so sad. You would expect them to be rough around the edges but they were some of the sweetest and kind hearted children I have ever met. I had the privilege of mentoring a nine year old boy who I just fell in love with. He had an amazing personality and was very protective over me. At first I didn’t know how mentoring a boy was going to workout but it worked out perfectly. By the end of the week my mentee and I were both crying. I didn’t want to let him go back but watching him go was the hardest part.
I was so grateful for the opportunity to get to know the Camp Miracles kids because it made me more grateful for what I have and the life I live. I’m not only grateful for Camp Miracles but also my HYC experience as a whole. The impacting lessons, deep conversations and amazing friendships really moved me over two weeks and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for me for this upcoming school year.
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.