They seemed to recognise both Jonathan and me, as they beamed us bright smiles. These boys appear so different from my first encounter with them during the one-day medical screening in Amman. Then, they were bursting out in tears each time I approached them with my camera but now, look at how Mustafa posed for me today!
After lunch, the nurse trolleyed into the room the blood pressure equipment and the weighing machine, followed by a 'cabinet' of what Mustafa recognised as "lethal weapons" of anesthetics, needles, syringes and rubber gloves. Then fear overcame the boy and he started bawling even before the medical staff touched him! But the tears stopped the moment each phase of the checks was over, be it the measuring of his height and weight or the taking of his blood samples. He received a souvenir for his bravery -- a rubber glove blown up into a balloon!
Rayan and his mother were back at Wolfson for his echo appointment, and they dropped by to visit with Mustafa and the other two new Iraqi arrivals. Cheerful Rayan was held up as a smiling testimony of how well a boy can be after going through a life-saving operation, which took place just two weeks ago.
After lunch, Mustafa proceeded to get his x-ray and echocardiograms. Throughout all these procedures, all three boys -- Mustafa, Hussein and Hedi -- were together. Not only did the boys enjoyed each other's company, but it was also a great relief for us that Mustafa's mother knows English and was able to help translate for the other mothers what needed to be communicated.
This evening, Mustafa and Hussein were transferred to the Save A Child's Heart house where they were warmly welcomed by the Iraqis presently staying there -- the mothers of Tara, Rayan, Soz and Karwan. Karwan's mother promptly brought out some home-cooked rice, chicken and french fries for the tired group, who ate their dinner heartily and went to their room soon after for an early night.
Tomorrow, Mustafa and Hussein will return to Wolfson for more detailed medical checks.
Finally today I got the call from the embassy all of us here have been waiting for: Mustafa's visa was ready and I could come and pick it up!! Praise God!! I called Mustafa's mother immediately to tell her the good news, and once I convinced her it was really true, we shared joyous laughter over the phone. She invited Robin and I to dinner for a celebration for Mustafa, Hedi, and Hussein before we travel tomorrow.
We arrived this evening to a happy household and presented a glowing Diyka ("mother of") Mustafa with her visa. Then we sat together and had a delicious meal of one of my favorite dishes, Tebsi with chicken, prepared for this special day. I was invited to pray before the meal, and it was precious to get to thank God for all He is doing to help these families while looking ahead to all that yet remains of His work among us. The only grey cloud around the gathering was that we all knew this meant that Hedi and his mom would say goodbye to his father in the morning. But we also know that it is only for a short time, and then they will be reunited when Hedi comes home with a new heart.
We talked together of the plans for tomorrow, and enjoyed each others' company for just a little while before saying goodnight. We will all be awake early to leave for the border at 5 AM and continue on to the hospital to have the children examined upon our arrival. Please pray for us to have favor as we travel, and at the border crossings. We are thankful that our friend Jody can drive us to the border so that Hedi's father can ride with us and say goodbye to his family there. Remember the tender hearts of these anxious mothers as they enter Israel and the medical process that awaits them as their children receive the healing needed. Lift up the children, asking for peace in their young lives as they enter a new hospital environment. And remember our partners with Save A Child's Heart who will treat the children, as well as join us in caring for the families during their stay.