“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Calling for brothers! Nepal is a place filled with adventure and beauty. We would like to invite you to take up the challenge with us this year in the HWW Singles Corps Kathmandu! I sincerely hope that as I share my personal story with you, it will inspire YOU to join us this year in Nepal.
On May 9, my dad and I were given an opportunity to work together with the HOPE worldwide Disaster Relief Team to give out emergency supplies to villagers.
In the beginning, we were not fully prepared for the trip both spiritually and mentally. We were still scrambling to raise funds prior to the day of the trip. However, God humbled us when we started on the trip and graciously showed us how much we needed to rely on Him.
Deserted. Chaotic. Chalky.
This was what stood out to me about Kathmandu in the beginning when I touched down in the capital of Nepal. Half the population had previously fled the city in fear of a second earthquake and little did we know that we would experience the next one.
Most road journeys were on average 5 hours long. We sat at the back of a truck with neither cushion seats nor suspension. The rides were bumpy and one would require a strong gut to stomach the waves of nausea that caught us. At some point, we too had to push the truck up the steep hills and through muddy roads. It was an eye opener for I never knew that Nepal was a place bustling with adventure and excitement!
Indeed, Nepal challenges our physical perseverance. This has forced me to rely on God for strength.
My best memory of the trip was a 10-hr ride to Jimnang village which was situated within a remote area of Nepal. Throughout the journey, the truck rode on a dirt path of a slip road which was wide enough for only one vehicle to pass at a time.
We were on our 6 hour mark when I heard a “Boom!” as the house in front of us collapsed into smithereens and we could see dust rings building up from the villages below us. My dad and I were on a hill, 8 hours away from Kathmandu but from our position, we could still feel the tremors from the second earthquake.
My driver began to panic when he heard his phone ring-- it was not the first time that he had experienced an earthquake. One of his family members called to inform him that he one of his houses back in his village had collapsed and pleaded for him to come home.
In a blink of an eye, everything went downhill. The driver told us he wanted to head back home now, but we knew that we could not turn back where we came from without risking our lives. The sun would begin to set in a few hours and thus, not enough time for us to arrive back in the city safely.
The remaining leg of the journey was arduous, both physically and emotionally; we had to clear rocks off the path from the landslide, and push the lorry up the steep slopes against gravity.
We had no food and limited water supply throughout the period, and it seemed as if our bodies were giving up on us at times. The most emotionally draining part was how insistent our driver was about returning home to be with his family, but my dad persevered in assuring the driver that all of us would be able to get out of this rut safely.
It was undoubtedly God’s plan that he put the Nepali disciples with us. They showed us what mental strength and perseverance was when they endured the same obstacles as my dad and me, but doing so without grumbling. Their attitude helped me to get through the trip on a much positive note.
Finally, we reached the village. It was pitch dark as the power had tripped and electricity was cut off.
Another incident that impacted me was how the villagers allowed strangers like us to live in their homes for us to recuperate. They also provided us with food and wonderful black tea when we were famished.
God showed me that in the end, it was all worth it.
The next day we gave out tarpaulins, rice, and other basic necessities to the people.
As I strolled through the village, I saw how much the people needed the supplies-- most of their houses were flattened by the back-to-back earthquakes and the school built out of concrete where all the village children went, was devastated. The homes that we were put up in for the previous night was hastily made with leftover zinc from their old homes.
The perseverance from the villagers moved my heart and inspired me to see how God was able to use this trip to Nepal to teach me how to show love to people around me back home. It also showed me the importance of how our mere presence in the needy community could have an effect on their lives.
The people in Nepal still need a lot of help; the children and women are still at risk from human traffickers while the school-going children still need our love and foundational education. Women and children serve as easy preys to human traffickers. Also, most people had little to no access to proper sanitation and struggled with meeting their daily nutritional intake.
The challenge that most men face while on volunteer trips (HYC / HSC) is to acknowledge the emotions we feel when we see the devastation and widespread destruction that the people have to go through. Emotions are good. Sensitivity and vulnerability are good. Sometimes men try to be “tough” and “strong”, yet it is okay to feel and even cry. Jesus did.
I know for a fact that as you serve in Nepal or other places around the world, you will be inspired yourself to grow in your love for God’s people and most importantly, your love for God.
What you do will really change people’s lives.
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.