From the Save A Child's Heart house, we went to the hospital to say goodbye there. Hussein and Mustafa and their mothers had been together since the screening in Amman in early October, and had become very good friends. I watched as they parted, Hussein's mother both comforting and encouraging Mustafa's mother - this dear woman who had been so full of fear before, now nearly aglow with confidence in Mustafa's success after his second surgery. It was a sweet scene to me to see one able to help the other in time of need. And these women do this so beautifully.... the previously vulnerable ones becoming the strong encouragers.
Next we drove to Jerusalem so the families could see the Temple Mount and Garden Tomb. We shared some lunch, and though just a few weeks ago we were able to in the afternoon, today were too late to catch the window of time when the area is open to all faiths, so we walked through the Western Wall plaza to the gate nearby where our guests could go and pray to thank God for their child's health.
Afterwards we drove to the Garden Tomb only to find it closed because it is Sunday.
I realized as we set out on that walk that Diyar had been walking all this time and keeping a pretty good pace... Praise God! When he arrived in Israel he could not walk across the room without needing oxygen! Having accomplished our purpose for passing by Jerusalem, we left for the Jordan border.
God faithfully answered our prayers about the timing of our arrival on this very full day. Three of our Shevet efforts were converging at the Israeli-Jordan border early this evening, and it was my prayer that no one would have to wait for a long time for any of the others. With God's help, our van of departing patients arrived at the same time Dirk brought three new families from the Jordan side to enter Israel for their surgeries. Since two of the new patients (Diar and Bestoon) were going to Haifa, we had another van there to drive those families to their new host homes. We brought Rebar and his mother here to Jerusalem, and Dirk took the three families going back home to Amman to await their flights. Security in the Israeli terminal allowed us to work through the slight wait we had while the new patients finished clearing customs on the "Arrivals" side of the terminal. This allowed the new families to meet the ones departing with new hearts - what an encouraging way to begin their stay in Israel!
As we walked Hussein, Diyar and Delir and their mothers to the bus which would take them with Dirk over to Jordan, there were many thanks to God and to us as representatives of Shevet Achim for helping them come. They said to thank the doctors and the Save A Child's Heart house staff. They are different women now, having experienced a new land and culture, endured the trial of their child's surgery and recuperation, and grown as they've persevered and encouraged each other to do the same. Your prayers have helped carry them through every step! Please continue to pray that they will understand that the God of love has been there as well, for each and every one of them.
As you might imagine, Hussein's mother has not had sleep for the last two nights. She is very tired, and I encouraged her to sleep tonight while Hussein is sleeping peacefully under sedation. After he awakes, it will be harder for her to be away from him so she can sleep. Please pray that she will get rest so she is strong and can persevere through his recovery period. Pray too that Hussein will have a full recovery, and a speedy one, with God's continued help.
The last time I met Hussein was at the Save A Child's Heart house in Azur almost three weeks ago, and that's where he has been since. This evening I went over to Azur after my trip to Wolfson hospital and found Hussein in the midst of a roomful of colorful toys, and he seemed rather busy and torn between playing with two different toys at the same time!
The Save A Child's Heart staff brought Hussein to the dentist this morning for a check-up, and it is confirmed that he will need massive dental work. It seems that Hussein's poor dental condition is somehow related to his heart problems, and the Wolfson doctors have advised that Hussein should get his dental treatment before he is scheduled for his heart operation.
When I asked his mother how bad were Hussein's teeth, Hussein gamely opened his mouth wide for me to peek into. All his upper front teeth are missing, and because of insufficient lighting to examine his oral cavity closely, I couldn't make out if the teeth had dropped off or if they had never actually grown out properly. On occasions such as this, I wish I knew Arabic so that I could ask Hussein's mother for more details!
Hussein hardly talks, but he is quite expressive in his own way. When I was about to leave the house, his mother told Hussein to wave good-bye to me, but he chose instead to give me his own version of a "Hi-5" by thumping his little hand against my palm tirelessly.