From Brian Mace:
This week there was no Gaza clinic at Wolfson hospital, due to holidays. However, one sweet little boy named Emaan needed to be transported from Erez to Wolfson on Tuesday morning to be admitted for surgery on Wednesday.
Cami and I were truly blessed to be able to travel to the Gaza border in brilliant sunshine and a lot of heat. Upon arriving, we quickly found little Emaan and his grandma waiting under in the shade under a shelter. They were delighted to see us and to be on their way in our air-conditioned van. However, little Emaan (about 14 months old) was initially very cautious in my presence: in fact, if I got too close, he was a little fearful.
When we arrived at Wolfson hospital, there was quite a wait for Emaan to be admitted, and we played a little game of hiding and re-appearing, which Emaan loved. He was slowly getting used to me.
Some time later, he went through a traumatic time with needles and checks in the nurses station, and he was subsequently relieved to be able to lie on his bed. At this time, he was much more relaxed, and for a short time I held him close to me. Then I asked his grandma if I might pray with him, and I had the wonderful privilege of being able to present his needs directly to Jesus. When he was securely placed in his bed, Cami and I returned to base.
Last Tuesday, Judy, Mohammed and Nagah were admitted for caths the following day, and on Thursday 14th, Marilyn and I had the joy of being able to return all three to the Erez border on our way back to base.
From Kristina Kayser:
Yesterday, Majd was discharged from Sheba Medical Center! For the last several months our community has been praying and preparing for Majd to be the first child ever from Gaza to receive a heart transplant in Israel. God answered our prayers and provided all that was need for this monumental surgery, but God had an even greater miracle in store. After being admitted on Monday for a catheterization, doctors ran a series of tests instead and determined a heart transplant is not necessary at this time. Rather they think his heart condition is improving. They will do another echo in two months to again verify these results. We praise the Lord for this unexpected and joyful news. Majd went to Sheba expecting to begin a journey towards a heart transplant, but God had an amazing surprise in store for him.
Last Tuesday, one of the children whom I had the great privilege of taking to the hospital was dear little Amal. She held my hand as I took her to the children's ward to be admitted for a cath. She was discharged on Thursday the 7th, and Jesse returned her to the border at Erez. Unfortunately, we don't have a photo taken of her at this time.
On Monday the 11th, it was my great pleasure to take Ali H from Erez to the hospital for surgery.
Tuesday the 12th, however, was the Gaza clinic day, when we had been expecting to collect 14 children! As the day began at 8:15 the number seemed to have been reduced to 12. As the day went on, we were then expecting five. Jesse and Yusef left in one van, and Kristi and I left in the other. When we arrived at Erez, Jesse had already loaded Nagah, Walid, and Mohammed in his van, and soon went on his way to the hospital.
Nagah and Mohammed were both admitted to the children's ward.
Kristi and I were met by the loveliest smile and friendliest of young ladies, named Kawther, with whom we spent a most enjoyable time whilst waiting for Judy to emerge through the border.
Kawther had come for admission for surgery, however, the hospital had to cancel her surgery and re-schedule it for the 2nd of June.
Judy was admitted to the children's ward.
We were advised that as no more children would be coming through the border, we could leave for the hospital, which we did around 11:30 am, arriving an hour later.
Surprisingly, we were told a little before 4 pm that a sixth child, Motaz, had come through the border. They had arrived by their own means, expecting to be admitted for a cath.
The doctors did a very quick job in assessing this little boy, but there was nobody to tell his mum, in arabic, that he couldn't be admitted on this day. He would be invited in the future for a cath, and then for surgery.
It was now getting late, but miraculously we found someone who could translate for us, so we explained all this to his mum before leaving around 5pm. She was very disappointed.
Two children were also discharged from the children's ward, so we took Majd and Ali back with us together along with Motaz.
We had taken Ali to hospital on Sunday the 3rd.
Majd was admitted on Tuesday the 5th.
We arrived back at base at 8 pm, only 15 minutes short of a 12 hour day, but what a privilege and a joy to be able to help these dear little children.
Yousef and I left for Erez expecting to find seven children for transport to Wolfson hospital, so it was arranged that five children would be taken by taxi. However, just before arriving, it was discovered that no more children would emerge, and we were asked to divert. As we stopped to query this, one child came through the border. When we arrived at Erez, another child was waiting for us so we had two children to take to Wolfson. Surprisingly, later in the afternoon, a boy was found playing on the floor in the hospital echo waiting room. Upon asking who he was, we found he was one whom we had been told would not come today [Omar]. He and his mum arrived by their own means.
We therefore brought eight families to the hospital. Four were admitted: two for surgery, and two for caths. We had four families to return to Erez, which we did by taxi.
I had the great pleasure of taking one of those admitted, Amal, down to the children's ward. As we crossed the vehicular area outside, and inside again, this adorable little girl held my hand: bless her.
Last Thursday we returned Gassan after his cath the day before. He is such a sweet and adorable little boy. As we were waiting to receive the doctor's letter, he often came to me to hold my hand, and later when I got down on one knee at Erez to give him a little hug, he kissed me on the cheek: bless him too.
The other child we brought last Tuesday for a cath was suffering from his wound on Thursday, but he was returned to Erez on Friday.
On Sunday, I had the joy of going to Erez with Johannes from Denmark to take Sara and Ali to Wolfson for surgery the next day.
Unfortunately, Sara was returned to Erez yesterday by Kristina and Whitney, as she needed to gain more weight before she could undertake surgery.
Well, it was a lovely day of surprises and blessings. The greatest blessing is that so many children were able to come to the hospital for check-ups and admission for surgery and cath.
Aad and I travelled to Erez Border in the most brilliant hot summer weather, with sea smelling breezes wherever we stopped during the day.
We began by taking a lady from Jerusalem to Erez, and then picked up Gassan and Mohamad, taking them to Wolfson hospital, where they were quickly admitted to the children's ward for caths tomorrow.
A doctor from Gaza, who had arrived earlier than we did at the Erez border, found his own transport to Wolfson, taking two more families with him: Isra and Ahmad. These two were checked, but it was so sad that the doctors, even after several deliberations, were not able to help dear little Ahmad. He is very blue, and at times struggles to breathe after he seems to have choked. His mum was devastated; but she was pleased for me to pray with, and for her beloved son's healing in the precious name of our Saviour and Messiah. This dear little boy needs all the prayer we can give.
Last time we reported on sweet little Ayatt who had surgery for a VSD repair, and who had been extubated. Last Sunday last was discharged, and it was my great privilege and joy to take her and her mum back to Erez border; looking fit, well, and full of life.
From Brian Mace:
Tuesday, a lovely spring day, it was a pleasure and a joy to be able to travel with Ruth to the Gaza border at Erez to collect two lovely little children and to take them to Wolfson Hospital.
Malak is an adorable little girl who came to Wolfson for a routine check-up and came through, having simply been requested to return in six months for another check.
Mostafa is a lovely little boy, seen here in a very smart jacket.
He, too, came for check-up, and it was decided he would need to be fitted with a "halter" ECG in Gaza, which will monitor his heart function over a 24-hour period. He has been asked to return in a year for another check-up.
From Ruth Zellweger:
Little Ayatt's open heart surgery had been postponed several times, but Monday afternoon the moment finally came that she was taken in the operation room.
Her mother was teary-eyed as she walked beside her daughter's bed down the hallway. The morning had already been hard on her, as Ayatt had to fast from water and food and was crying most of the time. A mother feels deeply for her child, and Ayatt's mother was no exception.
After a short while in the waiting room, Ayatt was carried into the operation room by a very kind and gentle nurse. After one last kiss from her mother, Ayatt disappeared around the corner. Her mother started weeping but calmed down after a while. We walked together upstairs to the children's ward where I sad goodbye.
On Tuesday, Brian and I had the opportunity to visit Ayatt and her mother in the ICU. Ayatt was already extubated (taken off the mechanical ventilator) and breathing on her own.
Her mother was beside her bed, still with a worried expression on her face. We are praising God for healing Ayatt's heart. He holds this beautiful little girl in His hands.
Aad and I had the privilege of taking children to the Gaza Clinic at Wolfson hospital Tuesday. Upon arriving at Erez Border, we were met with five families, but we only had room in our van for two families. It was eventually agreed that we would take the two babies, and a taxi would take the other three older children. All children with us adapted really well to the long journeys.
The echo clinic at Wolfson hospital was packed with our five families plus another four families who had arrived from the West Bank by their own transport, so the doctors and staff had a busy time. Nevertheless, they amazingly completed their work early, and our challenging task of rounding up five families began. After a while, we had enough families together to call for the taxi, and a little later, we were able to leave with our two children, who were Amira and Raged.
Amira was scheduled to return in six months for another check up, and Raged was asked to return in a year. The taxi took Ahmad A., Ahmad M., and Khitam.
Last Thursday, Konrad had the great pleasure of taking Jafar and Wael back to the border after their catheterizations the previous day.
Last Sunday, I went with Yusef to collect Mohammed's body from Wolfson Hospital, then I took it to the Gaza border where I met with his father, who took his remains back home. This family do need our prayers.
Baby Mohammed passed away this past Friday evening, after doctors and nurses had been fighting for his life for more than five weeks. God chose to call precious Mohammed to be with Him, and we are thankful to know that we serve a loving God who ultimately knows what is best for us. Nevertheless, the loss of a child is never easy and causes much grief and pain, and so we ask you to join us in praying for Mohammed's family, as well as for the doctors and nurses at Wolfson Hospital. May they experience God's comfort and peace in the days ahead.
Camie joined me today on a lovely Summery day to Erez Border, where we were to collect two little boys for admission to the hospital for catheterization. Almost as soon as we arrived, we were met by two smiling boys and their charges, who excitedly came to us and boarded the van. Both boys were very happy, and Jafar, especially, was full of fun.
However, this soon changed when they needed to put on hospital pajamas, and Wael began to cry. This was soon taken up by Jafar and another patient in the same ward, and Jafar put up a lot of resistance. His dad was lovingly up to the challenge, and soon both boys were looking like hospital patients.
By contrast, the painful part of their admission (inserting cannulas) went by without with very little sadness and protest. Soon both little boys were as happy as before, drawing and playing in the ward.
Whilst at Wolfson hospital, we also spent some time with Hemn who is looking good, but still a little weak.
Our return journey, attempting to avoid road closures, was interesting and challenging, but we arrived back at base eventually!
Last Thursday, lovely Malak was discharged the day after her balloon catheterization, which successfully opened a valve in her heart. Despite the obvious pain and discomfort from such a procedure, Malak was as delightful as she always is, showing no signs of any distress.
In the beginning of March, tiny, 15-day-old Mohammed from Gaza arrived at Wolfson Hospital via ambulance. He underwent open-heart surgery a few days later, and it seemed that he was on the road to recovery.
But over the course of the past weeks, his condition worsened, and he underwent two more surgeries and had to be supported in between by the ECMO (heart lung machine).
When I went today into the ICU to check on Mohammed, the doctor told me with sad eyes that the medical team at the hospital does not see how Mohammed can survive. He has severe neurological damage and is on a high flow mechanical ventilation to keep him alive.
We ask you to join us in praying for this precious little baby. The doctors are doing everything they can; however, it seems hopeless. But we serve a God "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).
Rebecca, Miriam (from Italy), and I began our journey to the Gaza Border with Hemn on board for his admission to the hospital today.
Waiting for us at the Erez Border was sweet little Malak and her mum. Malak was also to be admitted at Wolfson today for a catheterization tomorrow. She is a fun girl who thoroughly enjoyed playing with a clown, and with Ma'yan and her glove puppets, whilst she was waiting to be admitted by the nurses.
Shortly afterwards we were arranging to collect Sayff from the children's ward, who was to be discharged today, and to return to Gaza in our van. Whilst we were making final arrangements, Fatima (from SACH) asked if we would be able to return a little boy named Mo'atez to the Gaza border as well. He had been called to the Wolfson Gaza clinic a few weeks ago, but he had not been granted a pass to get through the border in time, so he missed that appointment. However, his pass arrived just in time for his mum to decide she could get to Wolfson Hospital today, and she went by her own means. Unfortunately, there has not been a hospital Gaza Clinic for two weeks, due to Jewish holidays, and little Mo'atez had to return with us without being seen by the hospital. The hospital will give him another appointment later on.