After sharing a tasty lunch prepared by the mother of Dilshad, we were ready to go. We were blessed with a beautiful day, and everything went smoothly and quickly at the border crossing terminals. The only difficult part of the journey was knowing that Hedi himself did not feel good. Instead of enjoying his happy smiles and baby talk, this time we rode with Hedi sleeping most of the journey. He has developed a bad cold, and was rather lethargic even as they left this morning - please pray for this to be healed quickly!
Another of God's amazing connections happened when we arrived at the airport today. Each time we send a mother and child home without a second mother and child, we seek another family who is on the same flight who can help with luggage or other issues for "our" family. Today was no exception, and as this husband, wife and toddler daughter were introducing themselves and happily accepting the opportunity to help, another man came forward and introduced himself to Jody. He is associated with some contacts of ours in Iraq, and those contacts had led him to email several of us -- and he was there in the airport! He is a pastor in Iraq, and was also willing to offer help to Hedi and his mother on their return home. Praise God!
I have had the honor of receiving the thanks for Hedi's heart surgery from his parents, and they desire that you know how thankful they are. Hedi's father called me several times to check on our progress, and each time he began and ended with saying thank you. When he called to be sure his wife and son were on the plane, he gave many thanks again, to God and to us. I am thanking God as they are thanking me because I know that apart from Him, neither I nor this organization could do this, and in fact I am continually in awe that He has given me this opportunity to touch these precious lives with His love. I told Hedi's mother when we parted that I will always have them in my heart and prayers. It is my hope that you will continue to pray for them too as we trust them into God's loving hands upon their return to their family and friends.
You will note that we've taken care not to show the face of Hedi's mother due to the danger involved for them if those in the city where they live find out they've been to Israel - even for heart surgery for their infant son. Pray that there will be no harm to them from this risky act of love shown by these desperate parents.
We were able to enter the plaza area of the Western Wall, and when we came out Jonathan showed Hedi's mother where the temple once stood, and explained how it was destroyed as Jesus had foretold a generation before.
Since we were so near the Garden Tomb, we walked the short distance to the site and managed to enter the premises even though the place was officially closed at noon. Here, Jonathan briefly shared with Hedi's mother why the tomb of Jesus was empty.
After lunch, Simantov drove Hedi and his mother, accompanied by Donna, to the border. Tomorrow Donna will update us on the rest of the story....
I was both glad yet sad to see Hedi leave us so soon, but I know he will probably grow up with stories his parents would tell him about his special trip to Israel where he has received his life-saving operation... and the CD of photos and video clips I had made for him will serve to help him the understand what his parents will be telling him. I pray that Hedi will grow up knowing that God so loves him that He made it possible for Hedi to come to Israel before he was even one year old, to have his heart healed!
Hedi 'passed' his echo-cardiogram today and is now released from Wolfson to recuperate at the Save A Child's Heart house. He had his operation barely 10 days ago, and by yesterday his condition was confirmed stable 24 hours after the oxygen tube was removed from him.
Dr Houri had given me the go-ahead when I asked if the children who have had their operations could be given effervescent Vitamin C drinks once their conditions are stable. So yesterday, I made the fizzy orange-flavoured Vitamin C drinks for Hedi and Rayan at the hospital.
While Rayan finished his drink, feisty little Hedi seemed more interested in play than drinking or eating. It is a joy to watch how young children like Hedi can easily forget their painful wounds so long as they have something new or fascinating to capture their attention!
When I lifted Hedi up to burp him, he noticed the button on my jacket even though the color of this button was black on my black jacket!
Looking at Hedi's toothy smile, you would think that he is one happy boy inspite of having gone through an operation just a couple of days ago, at such a tender age. And you are right, Hedi is a cheerful baby, curious about what goes on around him, and is even more curious over the protruding 'eye' of the digital camera pointed his way.
Nevertheless, his generally cheerful countenance belies the fact that it hurts where he has been operated on. Today, while my camera was trained on Hedi, he suddenly sneezed and immediately cried, albeit for only a short while. The 'force' of his little sneeze jerked him and increased the pain he is beginning to feel more acutely, as the sedative which he had been given after his operation fades.
As long as Hedi has something new or interesting to focus his attention on, he would forget his discomfort. Such as when I gave him a clip-on koala which Jai's friend from Australia brought to Israel on her recent visit. After a couple of minutes, Hedi started to whimper. His mother figured it was time for his feed and started to prepare his bottle while my digital camera came to the rescue to distract Hedi. Well, as you can see from the video at the bottom of today's blog, Hedi seemed to be more interested in the "steel cyclops" looking at him than in his milk bottle!
On the whole, Hedi is doing very well after his operation, except for his increasing sensitivity to the soreness from his operation wounds as well as the discomfort of having the nasal tube attached to him. It is partly because of this that both his hands are put on splints so that he won't grab at the tubes or the dressing over his wounds. We thank GOD for the quick healing of this dear child as he recuperates.