Prayer Update

Recoveries fast and slow

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from those of us in Ashdod. I am, regretfully, tremendously ill as I write this letter (please pray for me), and so it will be brief. This week we assembled our Sukkah, in preparation for the holy week of Sukkot, and we will spend the rest of the week eating… Read more »

Time really together

Friends, If you read Zack’s prayer letter last week, you’ll know that our community is in a season of change and growth as we adjust to new coworkers arriving and old coworkers getting ready to leave. It’s an exciting and hectic period, sometimes challenging, sometimes a little chaotic, and an important time for us to grow… Read more »

A new kind of life

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from those of us in Ashdod. This was another week of introduction for our community. We welcomed Mark and Aishah and their two beautiful daughters Abigail and Hannah to our community this week; it has been a long and tumultuous road for them coming from Holland, with many unexpected setbacks,… Read more »

What you do to my child

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from those of us in Ashdod. This was a busy week, with many early-morning departures. We weren’t able to have a single morning meeting with all our community members present; we sometimes have to send one or two out to pick up children or sit with family during surgeries, but… Read more »

Stand against the flood

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from those of us in Ashdod. It’s funny how much power our expectations have over our experiences. We started this week expecting it would be an easy and quiet time; each day had almost nothing in the schedule, and each night looking ahead I would say: Should be an easy day… Read more »

Neither slumbers nor sleeps

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from those of us in Ashdod. We had a quieter time this week; there were a couple tight days, but generally we had welcome breathing room. We began by saying farewell to Omed and Ahmed, who were here with us for three and four months respectively. They have both safely… Read more »

Bravery of our mothers

Friends, brothers, and sisters, I started this letter at 2 AM from the Assuta Hospital ER lobby, here in Ashdod. Our coworker Joanne was inside the ER with the mother of Revand; we rushed her there with terrifyingly high blood pressure, a condition she suffers from periodically. We stayed at the hospital for several hours,… Read more »

Ask with boldness

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from those of us in Ashdod. It’s been a busy few days. I wrote last week about all the Kurdish children who were finally in the hospital, and now almost all of them are back in the house with us, most of them just one successful echo examination away from… Read more »

Gathered together in unity

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from our communities in Ashdod and Jerusalem. It has been a week of transit and beginning of transformation, primarily signified by my many trips to Ben Gurion Airport at various and sundry hours of the day and night. Four young new volunteers joined us this week; Bjorn from the Netherlands,… Read more »

For the first time pink lips

Friends, While writing this prayer letter, I’m sitting with Rizhna’s Kurdish mother in the waiting room in Sheba hospital. Rizhna went into surgery at 8 am for valve repair, widening of the pulmonary arteries and closing a hole between the heart chambers. It’s a complicated surgery and it might take a long time. The mother was softly… Read more »

When the trumpet sounds

Friends, Sunday afternoon, the doctors at Sheba took baby Yousif from Gaza into the operating room for an attempt to take him off ECMO heart-lung support. It’s a slow and painstaking process, and during the procedure, Yousif had complications and was not able to come off the machine. “He’s in extremely critical condition,” a doctor told us… Read more »

It is well with my soul

Friends, A total of ten Kurdish children filled our houses in Ashdod and Jerusalem this week. In Jerusalem, we have sweet baby Mam, who is flying home today. Mam underwent a successful heart surgery. His recovery wasn’t easy, and he needed another emergency surgery to remove part of his colon. But now he is fully… Read more »

In the thicket of the Jordan

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from Ashdod. Last week I wrote about the death of Ahmed. Yesterday another baby boy from Gaza named Eslam, who has been with us for just shy of four months, also passed away at the Sheba Medical Center: This is a heavy blow for our community. We had all grown to love Eslam… Read more »

So we fight for them

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from those who remain in Ashdod. It’s been a tight couple of weeks. We’ve had a high flow of children coming in and out of our communities, with only a few people to look after them; and we volunteers have also been hit by sicknesses, meaning here in Ashdod we’ve… Read more »

No matter what we will trust you

Friends, In the middle of an incredibly eventful week here at Shevet, we read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. These three young men, thought to be as young as their late teens, watch their homeland fall to an invader and are themselves carried off to captivity in Babylon. Yet their… Read more »

You all are my sisters

Friends, This week marked the end of a long and beautiful period of time in our Shevet community. For the last ten months, our community has been stronger and richer for the presence of our beloved German coworkers, Doro, Luisa, Lena, and Elise. We’ve celebrated moments of immense joy and walked through valleys of deep… Read more »

Something beautiful

Friends, At the beginning of the week we heard that Somaia was back in the ICU in Gaza and not doing well. And while Jonathan and Bria were working together with the doctors in Gaza and Israel to get her transferred to the Sheba Medical Center, we received on Monday afternoon the message from her… Read more »

He wasn’t alone

Friends, Like most weeks at Shevet, we’ve had an eventful week. A week full of children coming and going in and out of Gaza, Kurdistan and the West Bank. The week started with a fun trip for my coworker Lena. The Sheba Medical Center ICU suggested we take Niyan from Kurdistan and Ahmed from Gaza… Read more »

From where does my help come?

Friends, Our coworker Willem is now flying back to his family in the Netherlands, after making a big impact on our community in the last two months. It is a great example for all of us to hear the way Messiah was able to turn Willem into a humble and hardworking man who only wants… Read more »

Face shining like the sun

Friends, Yesterday was finally the day for our beautiful Liya to go back to Gaza. Early in the morning, before even entering the ICU, I already saw all her mother’s bags piled up next to the elevator. She was all excited and ready to go, and told me she was up at six in the… Read more »

Dangerous for me here

Friends, At noon yesterday we all gathered for a delicious Kurdish lunch in our family house here in Ashdod. For the first time in quite a while our big dining room was filled with laughter, chaos, joy and families from Gaza and Kurdistan. But just as we were finishing lunch we heard that rockets were… Read more »

Consecrated chicken soup

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to… Read more »

How exactly did I end up here?

Help me to love with open arms, like You do A love that erases all the lies and sees the truth So that when they look in my eyes, they would see You Even in just a smile they would feel the Father’s love. Friends, We often find ourselves in situations here that leave us… Read more »

What are we worrying about?

Brothers and sisters, We have spoken a lot this week in our community about love. This morning we read Paul’s guidelines in Romans 14 for how to live together with others. The key verse: So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. In Shevet Achim we have been struggling for a… Read more »

Bread of sincerity and truth

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from Jerusalem. We spent this week, like our Jewish neighbors, celebrating Passover. The week was inaugurated by the clearing out of leaven from the house—all bread or rising products that we hadn’t already eaten were thrown away. Our carb consumption plummeted. Holidays and deprivation do not easily mesh in my… Read more »

Love them anyway

Friends, As the sun set Wednesday evening, households all over Israel lit their candles and began the Seder meal, an ancient tradition in memory and celebration of God’s deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt. At our home in Ashdod, we all crowded around two tables set end-to-end, so full we could barely fit… Read more »

One day at a time

Friends, When we looked at the calendar at the beginning of this week we were a little shocked – 30 appointments for Gaza kids in only one week. This is more children in a week than we ever had in my entire time here – possibly the most Gaza kids in a week in Shevet… Read more »

Tongues of fire

Friends, brothers, and sisters, We at Shevet live in a believing community—that is to say, we try and make a space around us where God is worshiped, the Messiah is followed, and our neighbors are loved. I say “try” for two reasons: first, because we do these things intentionally and with effort to grow, and… Read more »

A promise of reunion

Friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from the community in Ashdod. Over the last weeks, our community has been reading through the Acts of the Apostles. The book has served as both instruction and preparation for a long-planned study of the letter to the Romans, which we just began yesterday. Acts is a wonderful resource for… Read more »

Where he is there is hope

Friends, This morning I received a discouraged text from seven-week-old Jud’s mother: Look at my daughter. Is there any solution for her? Tell me if there is a chance. It’s true that over the last few weeks we haven’t seen the improvement we hoped for in Jud’s condition. It’s been a month since the surgery to… Read more »

Outdo one another in showing honor

To our friends, brothers, and sisters, Greetings from Ashdod. It has been a long, though not particularly difficult, week here at Shevet Achim. Our numbers dwindled somewhat due to sickness or vacation, but our community here was strong, and we gathered in mutual support and encouragement. There is a passage of scripture I think about… Read more »

Rejoice in the darkness

Friends, This week we had an American woman named Carly, who works in Iraq, visiting our community. She escorted a new child coming for heart surgery, and flew back with two of our families to Kurdistan. While with our communities in Jerusalem and Ashdod she shared her testimony. She suffered almost her whole life from… Read more »

Keep their doors open

Friends, This week in Ashdod has been marked by joy and laughter—a surprising thing when you consider that our house is full of families who have been here for quite some time and are eager to return home to Kurdistan. All five of our Kurdish children have faced some unexpected delay or another, yet somehow… Read more »

They are not forgotten

Friends, During what’s been a relatively quiet week here at Shevet, I spent quite a bit of time sorting through records of children from Gaza and the West Bank—countless medical records, surgical reports, and blog posts, each telling the story of a precious child who has passed through our doors over the years. As I… Read more »

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 »