When we serve we often get to experience God in intimate and personal ways. I recently returned from an HSC program in South Africa. As we worked with children in some of the poorest communities in Johannesburg we gave our entire hearts to these communities but what we received in return was so much more powerful.
Matt 11:25 (NCV) “At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the people who are wise and smart. But you have shown them to those who are like little children.”
Children teach us so much. Imagine if we all forgave like little children. If we could say, “I’m sorry” and then go right back to playing together like children do. No bitterness, no holding on, no fight to get right in our hearts to view someone the way we used to before they hurt us-all released. Children mimic everything you do. It’s amazing how teachable they are and how quickly they absorb information and adapt. Imagine if we could learn like children, be as generous, vulnerable, wholehearted and loving like them. When I was younger there was a lot going on around me that was not good, but it was what it was, and I didn’t really know what it all meant. I couldn’t understand the longer term consequences and in some ways that was good. I lived and loved in the moment as a child.
Matt18:3 “I tell you the truth, you must change and become like little children. Otherwise, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
When I can see the world through a child’s eyes I can see what God sees. I can see beyond my circumstances, people’s opinions and my own insecurities. Children don’t care what others think of them when they are young, they say and do whatever comes to mind and we revel in it, post it to social media and let it go viral, why? Because there is something about living wholeheartedly and showing the world who we are that pulls at our heart. I used to care so much what people thought that it prevented me from fully engaging with my whole heart. Being with the kids in South Africa that have so little yet love and give so much filled me and I gave to them with my whole heart. I went with a heart and mind that didn’t care anymore what anyone thought but God. It enabled me to only care about loving and giving with all I had because they deserved my all and they gave their all. One woman living in a small tin shack was quoted as saying, “You must love a child from corner to corner.” She was referencing the diameter of the shack. Imagine loving each person God places before us from corner to corner.
There is something powerful that stirs inside when a small child reaches out their hand to you, or gives you a hug, or laughs with their entire being. You can’t help but see God in their eyes, to feel his presence. When Jesus spent time with children, a friend recently concluded, “I can’t help but think it was because they reminded him of his Father.” I agree.
The God we serve reveals His love to us through little children. I had the privilege to serve them, we get the privilege to serve in many different ways but what we get in return can be so much greater, it can be the very experience of the presence of God Himself. So we all grow up and our expectations and references change for people but at the end of the day, if we can seek and see those before us the way God does, as His children, doing the best they can with what they have, it can powerfully transform how we experience day to day life. It empowers us to love others in such a way that can change this hurting world one person at a time.
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.