A joyful heart

This evening, after four months in Israel and an amazing recovery after a major heart surgery, my good friend Mizgeen boarded his flight home to Kurdistan.

“I’m so happy today!” This was Mizgeen’s refrain all day long as he waited for evening to come. After his long-awaited farewell party last night, he was ready to get home to his dad and sisters, who are planning a special welcome party for him back home. He spent his last day in Israel as he spent most days– playing with volunteers and stirring up mischief with his good friend Ahmed.

Mizgeen and his mom have been truly wonderful friends to all of us here for the past months. I had the unique privilege to be with them not only for his operation day, but every day since his surgery as well. I’m especially grateful for the last month with them at our guesthouse in Jerusalem.

His mom has looked after me like her own daughter, always sitting me down for food and rest after long days at the hospital. She has a beautiful and caring heart and always has a big smile and sweet words of encouragement to share.

Mizgeen has inherited his mom’s big heart and joyful spirit. I’ll always remember one particularly challenging day, when I felt especially exhausted and discouraged, Mizgeen hurried to my side, grabbed my hand, and said “You’re so beautiful, my friend.” This sums up this little boy’s sweet and kind heart.

Since his arrival in Israel, Mizgeen has told us all about home– his city, his school, his dad and his sisters. I’m so very glad to send him home healthy to go back to school, to play football with his friends, and most of all,

to grow up in the love and care of his family, and the God who will never let him go.