Since my return from the HOPE worldwide Singles Corps trip to Kathmandu, questions like, “How was Nepal, Jake?” and, “What was your favorite part?” are pretty much all I’ve heard. It’s nice to talk about how great my experience was and all of that, but I’m starting to wonder if my experience is what really matters.
The two weeks I spent in Nepal were maybe the best of my life. It’s not hard to believe that spending time with 30 incredible disciples would be life changing. Add in that we did nothing but serve the needy, share our lives, and discuss the Bible in one of the coolest and most beautiful cities in the world. So yeah – Nepal was pretty incredible.
However, I’m not the center of this narrative. Jesus is, and here’s the real story.
Our group of volunteers served at HOPE worldwide’s Asha Vidhyashram School, which offers free education and meals to impoverished children in Kathmandu, Nepal.
From day one, the workload was expansive. Although it could have been overwhelming, God built our faith by using the volunteer. We took down the tent that people used as shelter following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that happened just six months before. The kids now get to use cleaned and repainted classrooms at the school, with new fun designs on the walls. The teachers received daily training on how to teach the kids, which will translate to a stronger education. Instead of playing in dirt, now there is a tiled patio for the kids to spend time on. Students who weren’t previously able to get their hands on any school supplies now have plenty to choose from. The kids were hugged, held, taught, and loved in a way they rarely are.
That is the story of my trip to Nepal. That is what matters. Not that some upper-middle class and privileged Christian who grew up comfortably had some great, perspective-changing “experience”. No, my HSC story is about how the love of Jesus was spread in action and in truth to some of the people who need it most. That was, and always will be, by far my “favorite part” of serving.
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.