God works through HOPE Youth Corps in many different ways. Read Anna’s story and the miracle God performed on the plane ride back from HYC:
My name is Anna Fenstermacher and I’d like to share about the ways that God moved in my life and the lives around me these past few months.
The summer of 2015, while serving on HOPE Youth Corps in Austin, Texas, we built safe and stable homes for families who couldn’t afford to get on their feet. We dug holes in hundred-degree weather. This challenged each individual in a different way to give up their own desires and put their trust and hope in God. After experiencing this environment of physical reliance on God, it was on my heart to apply for HOPE Youth Corps again the summer of 2016. God orchestrated for myself and 20 other volunteers from across America to serve in Vancouver, Canada; working to better the homeless community and connect to the Vancouver Church of Christ.
Not only does HOPE Youth Corps bring together volunteers from across the world to serve God, but it challenges each individual person in a unique way to grow in their trust and relationship with God. Each person on this trip had to step over the line of fear to bring hope and light to the world that stood before us. For me to take a leap of faith, I had to surrender my own desires and let God use me. David Louis and Marin Lusk, our site leaders, brought us together each morning and night-opening up each time together with a prayer. As we communicated with God, we gave up our fears, we told Him about our dreams for Vancouver, we reflected on the ways that He moved in that day, and ultimately we put our trust in His strength.
One night, we decided to pray a prayer of hope. As we planted seeds in the lives of the people around us, we prayed specifically that at least one person we encountered would declare Jesus as their Lord after seeing Him through our service. We didn’t know what God’s plan was for each person we encountered, but we knew that God was pursuing each one of them. Throughout the trip, we were filled with joy and peace as we remembered that our success wasn’t determined by the results we saw, but we were successful when we woke up, and decided to do the will of God. Many lives were touched over the span of the trip, and it was time for everyone to part ways and go back to their hometowns. Along with seven other Chicago dwellers, we boarded the flight going back to Chicago with a full heart.
Waddling down the crowded aisle of the airplane, carrying Starbucks that was spilling all over my hand, I noticed a woman struggling to fit her bag into the overhead. Immediately, a young man lifted her bag, and she gave a sigh of relief. Taking notice of such a simple gesture, this reminded me of the love that we showed to the people around us, and ultimately, the burden that Jesus lifted off of the world.
This young man ended up sitting down in the chair next to the seat that I was assigned to. Immediately noticing his Chinese passport, I simply asked what he was doing on a Canadian airline. By asking a simple question, God set before me an opportunity to share about the ways that God moved in my life and the places that He had taken me that previous week. The opportunities continued to unfold before me, and God led me to opening up the Bible and showing him scriptures. With a slight language barrier, this young man eventually took the Bible from me and read it word for word, following each sentence with his finger. The eagerness to understand a book that he had never read before and attentiveness to the things that I shared amazed me. At one point -I admit -I fell asleep while he continued to flip through the pages of the Bible, and yet God was still at work. It ended up that myself and this young man named Jasper were going to the same university - the University of Illinois at Chicago - in the fall for the first time. I had not yet met the campus ministry that I was going into, but I knew that this new family would not only take care of me, but would also take care of Jasper. Trusting that God had a plan for both of us meeting, I simply invited him to join us for a devotional the next Friday.
In under a month, the brothers in the downtown ministry befriended him, studied the Bible with him, and on the 25th of September, he declared Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He knocked and the door was answered. He searched and he found the love of Christ. God places each of us where we are for a reason. By taking the opportunities that God places around us, and through faith, being confident in the salvation we hope for and assured in the ways that God works behind the scenes, a hope and a light shines in this dark world.
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
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.