Good news from the Philippines! The story of how a couple reached out to during HOPE Youth Corps last Christmas undergo a transformation.
God uses our service for His good. He uses it to reach people. They see Jesus when they see us serve and be humble. Sometimes serving, loving and helping is a more effective witness than handing out church cards, or inviting someone to Bible talk. HOPE Youth Corps and other Volunteer Corps have an impact beyond the service projects we get involved in. Again and again, people turn to God because of what they see, not because of what we tell. Last December, a group of about 80 volunteers served for two weeks in Daanbantayan, a part of the Philippines that was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan three years ago. There were volunteers of all ages, but predominantly teens and students, and they came from all over the world. Most had never met before but bonded during their time in Daanbantayan, whilst serving a community in need. They painted fishing boats, they taught children, five homes were built, they visited and spent time with families, they ate the local food, had quiet times together in the mornings and daily devotionals and discipleship groups. They laughed, they danced, and yes, they also cried.
The local people were watching. It was clear that this group was special; they had given up their Christmas to travel to the other side of the world and serve a people they did not know. Aimee Sericon was one of the local women. When she saw this large group serving, she came forward and offered to help also. On Christmas Day we had a party for the children of the daycare center run by HOPE worldwide. Aimee helped to serve the food. Some of the sisters on the trip started talking to Aimee, in particular Jo Donado (Melbourne, Australia) and Isa Gonzales Araneo (San Diego, USA). Both of them are originally Filipino and were able to talk and connect to Aimee. They began studying the Bible with her that same day and went on to meet every day until the end of the trip.
After their departure, the sisters of the Daanbantayan church continued studying the Bible with Aimee. She brought her partner, Marlon. They had three children together, but were not married. It was not easy for them to change, repent and face opposition from their relatives and friends. Marlon would often work on a different island, so the brothers had to go by boat to study the Bible with him. The brothers and sisters who had come on the HYC stayed in touch and everyone prayed and persevered. Finally, ten months later, Marlon and Aimee were married on October 17 and on October 23 they were both baptized! Their initially skeptical friends and relatives have been amazed at the radical change that has taken place in Aimee and Marlon. HOPE Youth Corps is a program designed for service, but as we serve, people see us striving to be like Jesus and it always has an impact. The impact is felt not only on the volunteers themselves, but also on the communities we are serving. We are going back to the Philippines to serve this Christmas and we still have a few spots on the trip! Apply here: https://www.hopeww.org/hyc
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.