A sweet welcome

I first heard of Mahmoud yesterday, the newest of the Gaza babies which our team were working to prepare for his transfer into Sheba hospital. He was just two days old, and thank God that the hospital here in Israel were able to accept his case. When co-worker Alena and I dropped off three families at the Gaza border last night, we saw an ambulance there waiting, and it felt special to realise that this must be to transport baby Mahmoud. I prayed at the time, unable to imagine all of the hopes and fears of the family as their newest baby is urgently bundled into an ambulance and taken through the border to the hospital in Israel. May they know God our Father and defender:

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faith-fulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 

I learnt today that this isn’t an entirely unfamiliar situation for the family, as Mahmoud’s older brother had heart surgery at Wolfson hospital some years before. Mahmoud was diagnosed on the day he was born in Gaza with a complex mixture of cardiac problems, including Transposition of the Great Arteries and Pulmonary Atresia. His oxygen saturations were dangerously low and he was in a critical condition.

Alena and I saw Mahmoud today at the hospital, on the third day of his life, accompanied by his sweet grandma. He had been intubated already by the time we arrived. First of all,we watched at a distance as the nurses tenderly gave him a bath. We could see the umbilical cord was still there, a reminder that only a few days before he was safely inside his mother, from whom he is now separated. When we entered the room, the nurse greeted us so warmly. She also introduced herself to the grandma and asked us to explain to her that whatever she and the baby need, she is there to help. It was a beautiful moment to see that Mahmoud was and is truly surrounded by people who are caring deeply for him.

We also introduced ourselves to the grandma, and admired Mahmoud together. She explained that he is the youngest of five siblings, and his father is very tall, hence why Mahmoud also looks so big! When we said goodbye to her, she started to cry a little and we held hands for some time. She is a very beautiful and dignified lady, and is doing a brave thing for her grandson. It was difficult to leave them. The doctor explained to us that he will have a CT scan before he can have surgery next week. Please pray God’s blessing over Mahmoud and his family.