I thought I'd take a week to impact Haiti...but Haiti impacted me! I realized how self-centered I am in my recent trip to Haiti. I take 20-30 minute long showers because "they feel so relaxing." Yet, I managed to take a 30 SECOND shower in Haiti as the water from the bucket was much cooler than I'm used to. In fact, I have begun to notice how many man-made flowing water fountains there are in the US, whereas Haiti struggles to provide safe drinking water. I have started asking if it's at least
I also learned how much I need to soften my heart and really see people. Daily, a chauffeur drove our group from the village to wherever our destination for the day was. He waited around, nearly all day, while we completed whatever tasks. One of our disciples from the trip asked around to see if anyone had any food as he had not had anything to eat. Though he never complained.
I came to terms with the fact that, despite the numerous bilingual disciples who were so willing to translate 24/7, that I would sometimes have no clue what was going on around me. I missed many encouraging conversations from Haitian disciples in fellowship after church, the requests from the children at the orphanage, signs and activity as we drove through Port-au-Prince. It was difficult, but I had to be very trusting and surrendered, despite my seemingly insatiable curiosity.
I faced that I had favoritism in my heart. When we visited the orphanage, children, teenagers, and adults from the community joined in on the fun also. The community members stole many of the toys and crayons that we had brought for the orphans. I have never seen up close and personal what poverty can do to people. I found it hard to love them as Jesus would.
In all that I'd learned, there is also much positivity. Many Haitians are still joyful and generous as a society, despite that they have nothing. I have everything I NEED, everything I WANT, and more, and I can't hold a candle to their contentment. From the photos I'd seen from 2011 to our trip in 2015, a GREAT deal of progress has been made in terms of rebuilding. I did see many Haitian disciples bond together and share each
others' burdens also.
The children in the village, whose parents are all disciples, were hugely different from others we'd met. They didn't snatch toys from my hands. They didn't rummage through my purse or backpack (WITHOUT PERMISSION!) in search of candy or toys. They thanked me in their best broken English. They hugged me, ran up to me and jumped into my arms. They were respectful if I asked them for something or to do something. They wanted to be with me desperately- they wanted my time, not my material objects.
I am indebted to Ayiti for the rich experience. The delicious food. The beautiful countryside. The many things I take for granted in the US, like Wal-Mart and city services, may I never look at these things the same way again. Ayiti has stolen my heart. Forever.
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.