Almost 950 HOPE worldwide supporters, volunteers and Chapter/youth leaders gathered this fall in five cities across the U.S. to discuss service to people in need. Participants attended classes and discussion sessions to teach, learn and exchange ideas on ways that we can demonstrate the love of Christ in greater ways. Local ministers in all five locations delivered powerful and challenging lessons on “A Heart to Serve”, encouraging humble, thoughtful and innovative service. Dr. Ben Barnett, Lead Evangelist for the Bridge Pointe Church in Atlanta, and Wade Cook, Hww VP of US Operations, spoke on “Rethinking Service to the Poor". This message included paradigm-changing ideas about respect and dignity preservation, dealing with personal biases and service which creates lasting change instead of dependence. Local volunteer leaders conducted discussion-oriented breakout classes on serving with impact, leadership and global outreach with respect as well as lunch and learn discussions on effective domestic outreach. The events ended with an awards ceremony in which front-line volunteers and unsung heroes were honored for their inspiring service. All five events were characterized by warm fellowship, new connections and a spirit of learning from one another. Can't wait for another incredible year of service!
I had been studying the Bible for a few months before going on HYC. Over that time, I had been growing in my faith, at things like teen camp, midweeks, and teen devotionals. I had wanted to do HOPE Youth Corps, but didn’t think this summer was the right time. My parents encouraged me to work it out and I’m so glad I did.
There were a lot of things that helped me grow in my walk with God during HOPE Youth Corps. We had devotionals almost every night which were all very helpful for preparing us for what we were doing that day or in the days to come. The fellowship between all of the participants was amazing. I met so many people from all across the country, and a few from Canada and England. I was able to make so many deep friendships with my new family. Because we spent so much time together we truly did become like a family.
While we were on HYC we did a few different service projects. We did some clean up on the streets of North Philadelphia with ODAAT (One Day At A Time). We also did work around Camp Hope For Kids wherever it was needed. But one of the most important things we did during Youth Corps was mentor at risk inner city kids with Camp Miracles. They spend three days with us at camp. We went swimming, went to the waterfront, played gaga ball, basketball, and volleyball. One of the days we even went to the zoo. We tried to give the kids the best week of their lives by showing them how much God loves them, by us loving them wholeheartedly.
All these things helped me grow in my relationship with God and my faith in him. When I got back from HYC I had some great time with the guys that I had been studying the bible with. I was encouraged by how strong my faith had grown, and wanted to respond to all that Jesus had done for me. I got baptized on August 6th! I am so thankful for my time at HYC!
My name is Louis Le Noan, and as a Global Service Intern, I led the HOPE Youth Corps in Haiti this July. The night we arrived at the orphanage in Les Cayes, where we would be staying for two weeks, the children greeted us with hugs and kisses, even though we had never met them before. They also had a song prepared to welcome us! We quickly understood that they were going to teach us a lot.
We went there to help rebuild disciples’ homes, to paint the orphanage building, to start a garden, to clean the beach, and connect with the kids. In the end, we also learned a lot from these children: how to love simply, how to share, how to be excited about friendships and new faces and how to appreciate and live as a family.
We understood more deeply what Jesus talked about in Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’".
I believe that this is what HYC is all about: making an impact and serving a community but doing it together, as a family, and putting our trust and faith in God to see what he can do around us and in our personal lives.
“Sometimes service is simply holding out your hand and showing others Jesus’ love…”
While serving on HYC Jakarta I saw a lot of hurt and pain. I am originally from Indonesia, and seeing the lives of those around me – hearing the same language and stories! I learned that only God can heal the hurt and pain that I saw. In my pride I thought that it was up to me or that I had to go and fix things. But I learned that what I can do is to give love so that others can see God. It is not me changing the lives of others, but God working through me.
Something that also touched my heart is that we served at the same orphanage that my parents helped to start. I remember visiting it when I was a kid and how I donated the swing set that I had before leaving for the United States. When I returned almost 15 years later, I saw that the same swing set was being used! All it needed was a paint job but it still stood strong. The participants repainted the same swing set that I had received as a gift on my birthday while living in Jakarta.
Something that I also hold close to my heart is something that my mom taught me growing up. My mom had helped to serve with HWW Indonesia and had visited many of the slums in Jakarta. Growing up she taught me to never be afraid to touch the poor and hold their hand. I didn’t understand this truly until we served in one of the slums in Jakarta, where all the children just wanted someone to love them, hug them close and hold their hand. Sometimes service is simply holding out your hand to hold and showing others Jesus’ love.
As I write this article, our family is en route back home to Canada from Budapest, and another successful HYC. Our 22-year-old son, Cameron Taylor, was one of the Global Service Interns who helped organize and lead this this HYC, and our 19-year-old daughter, Jillian Taylor attended as one of the HOPEww volunteers. We head back to our homes in Halifax, Canada, once again deeply impacted by the service and the love lived out on these amazing service trips.
This fall, our son will begin his medical school studies, and as I recently reviewed his essay that he submitted with his application, I am both grateful to God for opening this wonderful door of opportunity for our son, and humbled by the role that HOPE worldwide , its leadership and its service opportunities has played in shaping our son’s worldview and convictions to imitate Jesus by loving the poor. In short, Cameron’s essay had “HOPE worldwide ” written all over it. Let me share with you a bit of our son’s journey with selected excerpts from his medical school application essay…
A few hours after Cameron’s birth, I firmly believe that God played a role in our son’s life through the delivering doctor who acted on a hunch, and located a significant problem with one of our son’s main organs. We were transported from Toronto East General Hospital to Sick Kids Hospital where he eventually spent about half of his first year. Our son had major kidney problems and if this wasn’t taken care of, at best he would live a severely limited life, and at worse, we could eventually lose him. Those weeks and long nights spent walking the halls of Sick Kids, holding our son and caring for him as best as we were able, were a roller coaster of emotions and some of the deepest times my wife and I have ever spent in prayer. Our family eventually moved to Halifax, and after more treatments and surgery, we are so thankful that our son is living a healthy and very normal life.
Cameron’s essay excerpt: “One of my earliest memories is of an operating room. I was four years old at the time, and I can still picture the mask covered faces, silhouetted by the overhead lighting, as the anesthesia induced darkness crept in from the edges of my vision. A core belief of mine is that to those who are given much, ( Luke 12:48 “to whom much was given, of him much will be required” ESV), much will be expected. I have been given much by way of experiences that have shaped my desire to become a physician, a career which would allow me to do the much that I believe is expected of me.”
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.