Prayer Update


Air bubbles to the brain

Friends, The second heart surgery of our beloved Liya from Gaza was abruptly abandoned at the Sheba Medical Center today, when doctors discovered that a hole in one of her arteries had allowed air bubbles to enter her circulatory system and travel to her brain. To prevent brain damage or death she was rushed to another hospital… Read more »

All I have is a hallelujah

Friends, Tuesday evening my German coworkers and I came back from a short seminar, and the first thing we did was walk into our family house to say hello to our kids and moms. Not many were in the house when we left on Friday, but now we were greeted by a lot of noise… Read more »

A long-awaited day

Friends, Sunday was a long-awaited day for little Arya from Kurdistan and his mother. After over a month of nothing but waiting, it was finally time for his brain and spinal MRI, the last of a series of tests needed before his big surgery. First thing Sunday morning, we got an exciting message from the hospital—Bring Arya… Read more »

Loved by so many

Friends, If you’ve followed the stories of the children here for even a few months, you probably know Fayez, a two-year-old from the Gaza Strip with chubby cheeks and a big grin. Perhaps you’ve followed his story as his little heart began to fail in the past several months, and his doctors here and in Gaza… Read more »

Just run to him

Friends, I was in the train back home from my day off when I got a call from Daveen’s mother: Daveen is coughing a lot and has trouble breathing. She already had a little cough the days before, so I first thought it’s probably no big thing, but I called Joanne to go check on her. And… Read more »

Born to die

Friends, After last week’s prayer update we got a call from the mother of newborn Mohammed from Gaza. Some 30 hours after his arrival in Israel, Mohammed died Friday morning despite all the best efforts of his doctors. Joanne rushed to the hospital to support his grieving mother until an ambulance took them back to Gaza. In… Read more »

See what your God has done

Friends, As I started to make my notes for this prayer letter, and my list of kids got longer and longer, I counted in the end. 24 children were with us this week – and only two of them have not stayed in the hospital or in one of our houses for at least one… Read more »

I will not be shaken

Friends, Thursday morning Simona and I sat together at the start of our Ashdod community morning meeting – everyone else already somewhere on the road doing what needed to be done on the last day of this busy week.  We started with one of our favorite psalms: Keep me safe, my God, for in you I… Read more »

Lord where are you?

Friends, When bad things happen, we want answers from God. Sometimes we don’t even wait for answers, but instead become angry at Him for allowing such things to happen. King David had a lot of experience with suffering. His prophetic Psalm 22 begins: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you… Read more »

Be still and know

Friends, Six weeks have passed by since our little girl Hazhin from Kurdistan had her first of two planned surgeries. Six weeks full of suffering, hope, doubts, and the never-ending love of her father. After doctors started dialysis at the end of last week, she lost more than one kilogram of fluids which was a good and… Read more »

The one who provides

Friends, In Genesis 22, we read that Abraham is told to take his beloved son Isaac and sacrifice him. Abraham obediently takes Isaac to Mount Moriah, builds an altar, and is ready to kill his only son. However God instead provides a ram: So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide,” as… Read more »

Laughing and crying at the same time

Friends, It’s been a difficult few weeks for sweet baby Hazhin from Kurdistan. We’re now one month past her first heart surgery, and every week doctors hope that by the next week she will be ready for the arterial switch operation. But one obstacle after another arises. In a CT scan on Tuesday, Hazhin’s doctors discovered an… Read more »

All we have needed

Friends, On Monday afternoon, just a day after 13-year-old Mohammed M.A. from Kurdistan came out of his difficult and high-risk surgery at Hadassah hospital, Tatiana found him awake and breathing on his own. His mother was eager to tell us about his progress—“He’s awake and he’s hungry!” By this afternoon, Mohammed is out of bed and playing… Read more »

A story yet to be finished

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4 Friends, Monday morning began on a note of excitement and anticipation. Not only was it baby Lawik’s three-month birthday—a milestone his mother was eager… Read more »

You’re working so hard for my baby

Friends, On Monday morning, little Lawik from Kurdistan was wheeled into the operating room for his second surgery, the big operation to switch his transposed great arteries. His heart function was still weak and his blood pressure not quite as stable as the doctors would have liked, but it was becoming dangerous to delay the surgery any… Read more »

What beautiful love

Friends, We had an unusually quiet house in Ashdod this week. Following the end of the high holidays, our family house emptied out as one by one the kids were admitted to the hospital or went home to Gaza. So it’s a welcome change today to find the house full of the sounds of laughter… Read more »

We will not fear

Friends, On Wednesday morning, three weeks after two-month-old Lawik arrived in Israel from Kurdistan, Doro and his mother kissed his hands and prayed for him and the doctors wheeled him into the operating room for the first stage of surgical repair for his transposed great arteries. The planned procedure was relatively straightforward—place a band around Lawik’s pulmonary… Read more »

Given another chance

Friends, Tuesday evening marked the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the most solemn of all the holy days laid out in the Torah. It’s a time of fasting and confession, a day set aside to seek cleansing and forgiveness from sins against God and man. Across Israel work and normal life come… Read more »

A quiet holiday evening

Friends, It was the middle of a quiet holiday evening Monday when one-year-old Kenan’s mother knocked on the staff house door with her little boy in her arms. He has for some time now been having brief episodes of oxygen denaturation, but this time she knew something was wrong. Kenan’s heart rate was far higher than… Read more »

You all are really happy

Friends, Tuesday evening we had a big and long-awaited celebration in our house in Ashdod: After three and a half difficult months in Israel, two-year-old Sohaib was finally cleared to return home to Kurdistan. Joining him were 11-year-old Lewan, who was discharged to Kurdistan just three weeks after her valve repair surgery, and two-year-old Ahmed, who was discharged last… Read more »

Do little things with great love

Friends, Thank you for praying for tiny Laith from Hebron these past three and a half weeks. Since his arrival at Sheba hospital the cardiac ICU staff has fought hard for this precious boy’s life. Through an intense series of ups and downs they, along with Laith’s father, refused to give up hope. Early this… Read more »

Who we were made to be

Friends, It’s been quite a week for tiny Laith from Hebron. After a week and a half on the ECMO machine, his condition had not improved as the doctors had hoped.  So early Monday morning he went into what we expected to be a relatively straightforward operation to dilate his pulmonary artery, allowing more blood flow to… Read more »

God is great

Friends, First thing Sunday morning, we got a long-awaited call from Sheba hospital: Bring Lewan today, we want to do her surgery tomorrow. Lewan and her mom have been waiting patiently for this news for nearly a month, so when I arrived at their door with a big smile, they knew right away. “We’re going today?”… Read more »

He cares about you

Friends, It’s been eight long weeks since we began receiving anxious phone calls from baby Liya’s parents. Only recently discharged from Sheba hospital, Liya was in the ICU in Gaza with sepsis and heart failure. These last two months haven’t been easy for her since she was transferred back to Sheba via ambulance—a major surgery, a tracheostomy,… Read more »

I will not be shaken

Friends, We were in the middle of a quiet Friday when Doro called me from the family house next door. “Can you come over?” she asked. “I don’t think Ahmed is very well.” Ahmed’s oxygen saturations, normally in the upper 80s, were at 63%. Doro and I brought him straight to the emergency room at Sheba, where… Read more »

Dwell together in unity

Friends, Sweet baby Malak from Gaza is off the ECMO machine and breathing on her own! She improved so much after her big catheterization last week that she was weaned from ECMO heart-lung support on Monday and extubated only two days later: Malak’s mother is exuding joy more and more each day as her baby girl improves…. Read more »

Take our time, use our treasure

  Glory be to God, the Maker Glory be to God, Creator Take our time, use our treasure Turn them into something greater. Friends, What beautiful gift it is to serve the God who is the Maker, the great Creator who can make something of nothing and bring light and hope out of even the… Read more »

Hine Mah Tov

Friends, Wednesday was a long-awaited day for five-year-old Syrian refugee Hussein and his mother, as they boarded a flight that took them back home to Kurdistan. It’s only been a day and Hussein’s presence is already missed in our home. For the last week, he’s trotted over to the staff house for dinner every evening, always insisting… Read more »

Here I am send me

Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking: “Who will I send? Who will go for us?” I said: “Here I am. Send me.” –Isaiah 6:8 Friends, Tiny Kinan from Gaza is not yet one month old and has already undergone two surgeries, with more on the horizon. The first was Sunday morning, a five-hour operation… Read more »

Your right hand will hold me

  Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,… Read more »

Your labor is not in vain

Friends, It was just after dinner on Sunday evening when coworker Quinlan texted me that one-year-old Sohaib’s oxygen saturation, normally in the upper 90s, was 65%. “Are you sure?” I asked a minute later when I arrived. Sohaib was his usual content and relaxed self, rosy-cheeked and happily munching on a banana. But sure enough, when… Read more »

Courage in unlikely places

Friends, It’s been just over a month since sweet one-year-old Lara arrived from Kurdistan and was rushed to the emergency room at Sheba hospital with oxygen saturations in the 40s. She’s made a beautiful and mostly smooth recovery, but after last week’s news that she has some narrowing near one of her valves, her mother has spent… Read more »

Brimming with gratitude

Friends, On Tuesday afternoon we got a surprise phone call from Sheba hospital; a surgery had been canceled at the last second, which opened up a spot for the year-old Yazidi refugee Sohaib to come for his much-needed operation. He was admitted to Sheba on Tuesday afternoon: The multiple holes in Sohaib’s heart were causing pulmonary hypertension… Read more »

So many astonishing recoveries

Friends, Tuesday night one-week-old Tahsin from Gaza arrived by ICU ambulance at Sheba hospital. Tahsin was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the artery that carries blood to the body), and needed urgent surgery to correct this condition: This afternoon he went into surgery and just a few short hours later he was back in… Read more »

Hold fast to the anchor

Friends, Yesterday evening two-year-old Sohaib and his mother arrived at Ben Gurion airport, from a refugee camp in northern Iraq. Sohaib has a hole between the large chambers of his heart, as well as severe pulmonary hypertension—high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries that can seriously damage the right side of the heart: Sohaib had a catheterization in… Read more »

Waiting for the dawn

Friends, A week ago doctors in the ICU at Sheba hospital worked late into the night to connect baby Racheal from Kurdistan to the ECMO machine for heart and lung support. Going on ECMO is a difficult process that carries a lot of risk, and after the procedure was done the doctor’s report was gentle, but honest: “Tell… Read more »

Do people here hate Muslims?

Dear friends, Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7). First thing Sunday morning, coworker Joanne and I drove to Ben Gurion airport to pick up two families arriving from Kurdistan. One-year-old Lara (seated above) had Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of… Read more »

Give a child a chance

Friends, As we come to the end of another week, please pray for baby Racheal from Kurdistan, whose situation is growing increasingly serious. First thing Sunday morning, we got the call from Sheba hospital that Racheal was going into surgery to place a BT shunt, a connection between the aorta and pulmonary artery, and to close… Read more »

A week of grief and joy

Friends, The doctors in the pediatric ICU at Sheba hospital fought all weekend for baby Adam from Gaza, whose chest closure surgery was canceled after his condition deteriorated further. He developed an infection and his kidneys began to fail. On Monday morning, our coworker Frank found Adam in fragile condition, unable to breathe on his… Read more »

Battling without compromise

Friends, Please pray for little Racheal from Kurdistan, whose situation remains very difficult. A week after a failed attempt at weaning, she is still on the ventilator and receiving sedatives to keep her from resisting ventilation. This morning she began to wake up a little and her oxygen saturation dropped very low. In addition, she has been experiencing… Read more »

Even if he does not

Friends, Less than a week after he was rushed by ambulance from Gaza to Israel’s largest hospital, newborn Adam went into surgery first thing Monday morning to switch his transposed great arteries. It was a big operation but praise God, it went without complication. Because Adam is so tiny and had some fluid in his chest after… Read more »

Walking in the light

  This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. 1 John 1:5 Friends, This week began with a quiet sunrise over Israel on Sunday morning, an echo and celebration of the morning two thousand years ago when Messiah’s resurrection marked… Read more »

Little keepers of the promise

Friends, Our home in Ashdod is filling up quickly as we welcomed two new families from Kurdistan yesterday evening! Toddler Eliana‘s family is from the ancient Assyrian Christian community in Kurdistan: Eliana has a problem with one of the valves in her heart that was discovered when she was a baby, and she now needs surgery to… Read more »

Don’t you want to thank someone?

Friends, Spring is all around us here in Israel. From the park behind our home in Ashdod to the bushes at the side of the highways to the fields beside the Gaza border crossing, everywhere has exploded in a burst of color. After months of cold winter rain, the arrival of spring is a welcome… Read more »

In deed and in truth

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. Friends, Two weekends ago volunteer Israeli ICU doctors helped evacuate two emergency newborns… Read more »

Sad things come untrue

The Lord is the strength of his people; He is a stronghold of salvation for his anointed. Save your people, bless your possession, Shepherd them, and bear them up forever. Psalm 28:8-9 Friends, Over the weekend, doctors in Gaza and Israel worked hard to transfer two of the three urgent babies we wrote of last… Read more »

His gifts to us

Friends, Urgent prayer is needed for three newborn children with complex, life-threatening heart defects, each now on mechanical ventilation in the European Hospital in the Gaza Strip. Over the last two days the ambulance services have changed their longstanding policies, and are now refusing to transport these tiny children to Israel without an accompanying doctor…. Read more »

A ray of sunshine

Friends, This week began with a long-awaited day for our community. On Sunday evening, after weeks of work and planning, we drove two vans full of volunteers, Kurdish families, and lots of luggage, from Jerusalem to our new home in Ashdod. Things are really taking shape in the new house, and it’s exciting to see… Read more »

Written in your book

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. –Psalm 139:15-16 Friends, This week,… Read more »

To lean on him

Friends, This week brought an exciting and long-awaited day for little Abed from Gaza. Early Monday morning, an ambulance arrived at Sheba hospital to take Abed (on his portable ventilator) and his mother back to their family in Gaza after nine months in Israel. I remember meeting Abed and his mother on my first day in the… Read more »

Wreaking joyful havoc

Friends, As this week drew to a close, we welcomed six-year-old Mizgeen and his mother to our guesthouse in Jerusalem, after nearly a month at Sheba hospital. It’s been an eventful few weeks for Mizgeen. He was admitted to Sheba for observation after episodes of tachycardia, and remained hospitalized for his dental surgery, followed by the Fontan… Read more »

Lambs in his arms

Friends, It’s been quite a journey for newborn Rohat from Kurdistan, who has been in the ICU at Sheba hospital almost since his arrival in Israel two months ago. His mother has grown increasingly anxious about him, and almost seemed to lose hope as the days stretched into weeks with no answers for her baby. A diagnostic… Read more »

Laughter, tears, growth and grace

Friends, This week began with a very big day for my good friend Mizgeen from Kurdistan. First thing Sunday morning he was taken into the operating room for his Fontan surgery, the last of a series of three operations needed to help him live with a single ventricle: This surgery is a difficult one, and truthfully Mizgeen’s mother… Read more »

Worth the living

Friends, Thank you for praying with us for precious three-year-old Akar for these last six weeks. He fought to hang on to life after his heart surgery, while bit by bit his body deteriorated and his strength waned. Finally, the strain became too much for his fragile heart, and early Wednesday morning, with his beautiful mother beside… Read more »

Hope and heartbreak for Akar

Friends, It’s been just over a month now since doctors at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel performed a complex heart surgery for Akar from Kurdistan, and he is still in desperate need of healing. The doctors have been gradually reducing his medications for the last couple of weeks, and when Jonathan stopped in for a visit… Read more »

Lead us home

‘Twas grace that brought us safe thus far, And grace will lead us home. Friends, This eventful week marked a number of changes in our community. A particularly joyful occasion was Tuesday, as we celebrated the return of Meer and his father home to Kurdistan: Meer has had quite a journey; this was his second time with… Read more »

Called you by name

I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, And the rivers will not overwhelm you. Isaiah 43:2a Friends, As the first week of the new year draws to a close, we continue in prayer for three-year-old Akar, who remains in critical condition in the… Read more »

A heart struggling to beat

Dear friends, Thank you for your continued prayers for three-year-old Akar from Iraq. Up until today there were some positive signs as the condition of his liver and kidneys improved and he was taken off dialysis. There is apparent paralysis of his right side, but no cause for this was found in the brain CT the doctors… Read more »

O come Emmanuel

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel Friends, As we come to the end of a challenging week, and draw near to the celebration of Messiah’s birth this weekend, I am reminded of the words of Zechariah in Luke 1: Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit… Read more »

Saving three baby Gaza girls

Dear friends, Another week has passed, and the new year is quickly approaching. Each day brings new challenges that we often try to work through with our own human logic, but this week I was reminded of the words of Jeremiah: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of… Read more »

Renew our strength

Dear friends, Please pray with us this week for the needs of those we serve, and in thanksgiving for how God already has brought about much good in their lives as well as ours. What stands out from this week was the night the mother of Fatima shared after dinner about her life in Gaza, and we… Read more »

Your labor is not in vain

  For as in Adam all die, so in Messiah all will be made alive… For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. Friends, Sunday morning we received word from a doctor at the Sheba Medical Center that 5-year-old Yano was not improving almost… Read more »

The end of all those promises

Dear friends, As we approach the end of another week, our most urgent prayer request continues to be for Yano, our dearly beloved 5-year-old Kurdish girl who is still on the ECMO machine and fighting for her life. Tuesday marked one week since she came out of surgery on the ECMO, and the doctor in the… Read more »

Pray for Yano, please pray

Dear Friends, “Pray for Yano,” her mother asked even before the big and potentially-difficult Fontan surgery Tuesday and the replacement of the mitral valve. And indeed, Yano’s heart did not work well after the surgery, and doctors had to put her on ECMO for heart-lung support and also performed an emergency catheterization to check her coronary arteries…. Read more »

With boldness and courage

Dear praying friends, In our daily Bible study, we have reached this week the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. In John 19.38-40, we read about two men who apparently have previously been unable to openly declare their interest or affiliation to Jesus: After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus,… Read more »

Faithful until the end

Dear friends, At the start of this week three new children, Meer, Zheer, and Farooq, entered Israel. Meer is returning to continue his next stage of treatment; he was here previously at Sheba Medical Center in 2019 and had the first of three staged surgeries to help him live with a single ventricle: Zheer and Farooq are… Read more »

Where does my help come from?

Dear praying friends,  We have homes and hospitals filled with action it seems at the moment! Our coworker Margarita in Jerusalem is busy visiting two children from Gaza at Hadassah Medical Center. Ayham is a tiny newborn baby, rushed to Jerusalem on Friday for a life-saving catheterisation procedure, and now awaiting surgery to switch his great arteries:… Read more »

Be still my soul

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever—Psalm 107:1 Dear friends, What a week it has been here in our Shevet community! Through a busy week of highs and lows, we have truly seen God’s faithful love again and again. After six months in Israel, the premature Yazidi triplet Hena and… Read more »

18 families in our care this week

Dear friends, Ahmed T and his mother left for Kurdistan yesterday after his successful surgery, shedding tears of joy and thankfulness. Upon leaving they encountered a delay in their flight to Istanbul and missed their connecting flight. Ahmed’s mother handled these unexpected challenges with courage, and God willing, they will be on their way to Kurdistan… Read more »

A one kg (two pound) baby from Gaza

Dear friends, As this week comes to an end there is much to thank God for and much to pray for: Mohammed M is going home to Kurdistan at this hour! At his final echo this week, his cardiologist said that while his condition is not perfect, he is leaving much better than when he first… Read more »

Hena finally to surgery

Dear friends, It is Thursday evening in Israel and this day alone has been so full. The holidays have finished so yesterday and today were back to the normal working schedule. The Yazidi triplet Hena, who came to Israel in April when she was just two months old, had the second and final surgery of her… Read more »

Dina is a miracle

Dear friends, Today we are rejoicing that little Dina has been discharged and can finally return to Kurdistan! Given her fragile condition over the last few months (severe heart infection and ruptured aorta), her doctor remarked today that Dina is a miracle and is doing better than ever: The staff at Sheba gave Dina quite a send-off… Read more »

A glorious day

Dear praying friends, Julio our Kurdish-speaking coworker was called into the hospital to translate on Wednesday morning, the quiet day as everything prepared to close for Yom Kippur. The doctors had reached a treatment decision for Mohammed L, the long-neglected 33-year-old from Kurdistan. After all these weeks of tests in the hospital, they explained that it… Read more »

Help of the helpless

Dear praying friends, Today in our morning meeting we gathered and read John chapter 6, and we came to think how this describes Jesus’ life becoming our own, if only we humbly accept it and drink in, deeply.  Joanne, one of our new community members, led us in worship before our reading with a beautiful… Read more »

The strength of our hearts

Dear praying friends, It is from a happy and content morning, spent with two good-natured and peaceful Kurdish mothers sitting out on our balcony, that I am writing this prayer letter. Thank God that through all this difficult period of waiting for these mothers of Lava and Ahmed–and I will include the uncle of Hena… Read more »

Eight urgent children flying tonight

Dear praying friends, Nate and Colin are making last-minute preparations at this hour in preparation to fly tonight with eight new Kurdish children to Israel. They all need urgent life-saving heart surgeries, and two of them, Mohammed A and Marya, we are asking to be hospitalized upon arrival as they require oxygen. The others are… Read more »

Asmeen on her way home

Dear praying friends, This week has seen the arrival and departure of two much-prayed-for Kurdish patients. After almost eight months in hospital in Israel, beloved Asmeen and her mother said their final farewells to the Sheba hospital staff just an hour ago: And as I write they are enroute to Ben Gurion airport in an ambulance which will transfer them from… Read more »

Dina still very weak

Dear friends, The week began with the cleft-palate child Dina from Kurdistan in emergency surgery late on Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday morning, as doctors tried to find and control post-surgical bleeding in her heart. Dina is still very weak, but has come through this her third heart surgery and is now breathing on… Read more »

Keep going, keep hoping, keep believing

Dear friends, Please pray for Mohammed E. from Gaza. He came to the Sheba Medical Center almost nine months ago for repair of a hole in his heart, but doctors also found severe problems in many of his bodily systems. They’ve withheld no effort since then in trying to heal Mohammed, but this week reached the point where… Read more »

Teaching us in each season

Dear friends, Please join us this week in prayer: For Shadi’s family – His mother left Israel (above left) yesterday and arrived home in Kurdistan today, to a different life from what she had been dearly hoping for, following Shadi’s death on Sunday. Please pray for the Spirit of God to surround and comfort her… Read more »

How beautiful is the work of God

Dear friends, Ishi Xwa chen khosha — “How beautiful is the work of God.” These were the words of Shadi’s mother on the day of his surgery, referring to his unique combination of heart defects; not only are his arteries are reversed but also the lower chambers of his heart. Because of his double-backwards anatomy, the… Read more »

God of all comforts

Dear friends, There is no more beautiful way to open this letter than with the news that Sulaiman had his chest closed on Sunday, was extubated yesterday and today was moved to the step-down unit of the ICU, to his mother’s great joy! So our Father is redeeming Sulaiman from the damaging consequences of his long… Read more »

A cry of the heart

Dear praying friends, Yesterday we received this message from Colin in Kurdistan, regarding the young man Mohammed who is close to dying from complications of his childhood heart defect: So far Mohammed has twice been denied a visa to enter Israel for treatment. At 33 years old, he is no longer a child and yet… Read more »

Death and life in the ICU

Dear friends, “Ayan, gyan, three months!” Two weeks ago Ayan’s mother marked his three months of life by decorating his hospital bed; she used candy and forks to write the number three: This past week she was asking “Hiwa hiya?” (There is hope?) as Ayan was taken off the ECMO machine after he had not… Read more »

No longer strangers

Dear friends, So much is happening every day that even yesterday seems like a long time ago! We’ll often have to ask each other whether something happened just yesterday or last week. So it seems like forever ago that we were praying for the nine new children’s visas, and before that the nine previous urgent… Read more »

Stand firm

Dear praying friends, In Exodus 15 Moses and the people of Israel praise the Lord with joyful hearts, as they have come to know Him as their rescuer: I will sing to the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; You have guided… Read more »

A flow of praise and gratitude

Dear praying friends, This week began with another new opportunity to trust in God, and remember that we are living in His kingdom, and working in His strength. The families of Haveen, Meera, Samaa and Big Yousef returned to Kurdistan, each with a different story of their time spent in Israel. Three healthy children and… Read more »

A candle against the darkness

Dear friends, Seven of the nine Iraqi children who’ve waited for so long are now with us in Israel! Six of the most urgent, who all need correction of transposition of the great arteries, already have had first evaluations at the Sheba Medical Center: Yadgar was dressed in his finest clothes, which included a waistcoat and… Read more »

The great Bridge Builder

Dear friends, Firstly, thank God for the approval today of the nine new Kurdish children, seven of whom need emergency surgery to switch their great arteries: They will arrive next week, we think in two groups and the first will travel on Sunday via the the Jordan border. While they have been verbally approved we… Read more »

As the sirens blared

Dear friends, Our daily circumstances don’t always feel remarkable, but this week we saw in a new way the incredible significance of a Jewish surgeon performing a cardiac surgery for a baby from the Gaza Strip–even as the rocket sirens blared throughout Tel Aviv and the surrounding cities. Yesterday baby Ghena had a ten-hour surgery to repair… Read more »

Just look at her mother’s face

Dear friends, One of the Kurdish parents said that you don’t have to ask how Salwa is doing, just look at her mother’s face (below middle) and you’ll know! This week has brought immense improvement for Salwa; it began with her weaning from the ECMO machine on Sunday even as she was still unstable. Then… Read more »

Good news to the poor

Dear friends, Georgia and I watched the newest episode of The Chosen on Saturday night, in which Jesus comes back to his camp completely exhausted and worn. He looks utterly spent after a day of healing hundreds of people, as if he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. And one only needs to look at paintings or… Read more »

The difference it will mean

Dear friends, Thank you for praying for the needs of our community; as seven more urgent children’s visa applications are going in to the Ministry of the Interior, we bear in mind the difference it will mean for each of those lives if everything is approved in the next weeks. Please firstly pray that it… Read more »

Something we will all remember

Dear friends, Our beautiful Meera had her second surgery this week, after a first preparatory surgery. When the doctors first saw the extreme complexities of her heart, I remember thinking: Will there be something they can do to help her? So really praise God that the cardiologists and surgeons have been able to save her life, and that she… Read more »

Live the impossible

Dear friends, Since last week’s Shevet Prayer we’ve received eight new Kurdish families. Yousif, Lia, Yousef, Samaa, and Meena crossed by land from Jordan into Israel on Monday: And Salwa, Khanda and Maili arrived this afternoon also by land, following a warm welcome in Jordan by new Shevet friend Elizabeth: Because of a deterioration in her condition while traveling, Khanda was taken straight to… Read more »

Whom do you seek?

Dear friends, In John’s gospel Jesus asks a twice-recurrent question which bookends his crucifixion. “Whom do you seek?” he asks the guards who came to arrest him on Passover night in the garden of Gethsemane. He asks this same question of Mary, his disciple, friend, and first witness to his resurrection, in the garden of… Read more »

The upside-down kingdom

Dear friends, In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says something quite well-known: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” This may seem commonsense or even trite; of course this is how we should be treating others. But is… Read more »

Where Messiah is

Dear friends, As this week comes to a close Paul’s letter to the Colossians has been a consistent prayer through the very busy and long days: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven… Read more »

Effectively at work

Dear friends, At the beginning of the week, the likelihood of our six discharged Kurdish children traveling through Jordan home to Iraq seemed very small. Their flights through Ben Gurion airport for this week and next were canceled, and we were trying to plan how to deal with the impending arrival of six new Kurdish… Read more »

With him in paradise

Dear friends, In the ninth grade my English class read The Pearl, a novella by the American author John Steinbeck. I still remember my teacher belaboring a specific passage in which the protagonist watches an ant caught in a trap. His cool observation of the doomed creature is described as him watching with ‘the detachment of… Read more »